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info_outline CD285: The Indicteds: Rep. George Santos and Sen. Robert Menendez 11/20/2023
CD285: The Indicteds: Rep. George Santos and Sen. Robert Menendez Two members of Congress, one from each side of the aisle and each branch of Congress, are currently under criminal indictment, yet are steadfastly clinging to their roles as lawmakers. In this episode, we’ve got the dirt straight from the criminal indictments of Rep. George Santos of New York and Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey. Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via Support Congressional Dish via (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: [email protected] Send Venmo payments to: @Jennifer-Briney Send Cash App payments to: $CongressionalDish or [email protected] Use your bank’s online bill pay function to mail contributions to: Please make checks payable to Congressional Dish Thank you for supporting truly independent media! Background Sources Recommended Congressional Dish Episodes Sen. Bob Menendez The Indictment Egypt Aysha Bagchi and Josh Meyer. November 13, 2023. USA Today. Mark Mazzetti and Vivian Yee. October 14, 2023. The New York Times. Larry Neumeister. October 12, 2023. AP. Nicole Hong et al. October 1, 2023. The New York Times. Jeremy M. Sharp. May 2, 2023. Congressional Research Service. Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam October 24, 2020. BBC News. September 2, 2020. The New York Times. Marriage Nina Burleigh. October 31, 2023. Intelligencer. Previous Indictment Nick Corasaniti and Nate Schweber. November 16, 2017. The New York Times. April 1, 2015. U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Public Affairs. Initial Appointment to Senate Marek Fuchs. December 9, 2005. The New York Times. Rep. George Santos The Indictment House Ethics Committee Investigation November 16, 2023. House Ethics Committee. November 9, 2023. House Ethics Committee, Investigative Subcommittee. Brazil Fraud Case Andrew DePietro. October 21, 2022. Forbes. Expulsion Attempts Kevin Freking. November 17, 2023. PBS NewsHour. Kevin Freking and Stephen Groves. November 2, 2023. AP. Wealthiest Districts Andrew DePietro. October 21, 2022. Forbes. IRS Doesn’t Fight Dark Money Maya Miller. April 18, 2019. ProPublica. Bills Audio Sources October 28, 2023 Chat Box with David Cruz Clips 3:25 Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ): You know, I have drawn from my personal credit union savings account, for the better part of 30 years, $400 every week in cash. And while that may seem old fashioned, some people may think of it as crazy, the reality is that the government has those records. They have the accounts that show that and they chose not to use it. So, you know, this is why I look forward to being in a position to actually speak to these issues, so that New Jerseyans will have a different set of facts than the ones they have right now. 5:20 Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ): I was not barred from going into an intelligence briefing. I still have all of my intelligence credentials. 7:20 Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ): I have not missed a beat. I've been here for votes and for hearings, and for pursuing the issues that are important to the people in New Jersey. 11:35 Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ): I still serve on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which gives me a perch on all of these global issues, and I am pursuing them in the same way as I did before. The difference is that I am not leading the [Senate Foreign Relations] Committee, but I am very much active in the Committee pursuing the things that I care about for New Jersey. 15:25 David Cruz: So the considerations that Egypt received, including getting a green light from your committee, the quid pro quo as it were, was Egypt behaving better in exchange for arms sales and other considerations? Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ): Each consideration depended upon the nature of the sale, whether it was for example, defensive equipment, whether it was equipment for the Sinai, where they are playing a vital role for security with Israel, which everybody -- Democrats and Republicans -- have called for. So these followed the traditional uses of both foreign aid and arms sales in a way to ensure that the US national security interests was pursued and that's simply the case. 16:15 David Cruz: And in the case of one of your co-defendants receiving a contract to certify halal — Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ): I can't answer for my co-defendant, you'll have to ask him. David Cruz: Well, the question is, was it your relations with Egyptian officials that helped ease the way for him to get that contract? Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ): David, there's a lot of suggestions. As a matter of fact, as I read the indictment, there's a lot of inferences, but not a lot of facts at the end of the day. Those inferences try to play and create a storyline. That is the most negative pejorative storyline you can create. But when those get challenged by the facts, as we will, in the legal proceedings that both motions and trials will allow us to do, then we will see a totally different story. May 27, 2021 Senate Foreign Relations Committee Witnesses: Robert F. Godec, Acting Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of African Affairs Sarah Charles, Assistant to the Administrator, Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, United States Agency for International Development Clips Sen. Bob Menenedez (D-NJ): Then, finally, I will make a comment. It is not a question. I have spoken to the Egyptians on more than one occasion on this issue at their behest. I have a real sense that if the GERD issue is not dealt with in a way that assures them of their concerns about the Nile flowing into what would be the heart of their water supply in Egypt that they will do what is necessary. I do not like red lines, but they have suggested that they have red lines and I take them at their word that they have red lines. Not that they are desirous of doing that. They also have a very strong expression that they hope to have a resolution peacefully, but that they have their own red lines. I hope that we are engaging in that very robustly because the last thing we need, in addition to everything that is going on in Ethiopia, in addition to the possibility of a famine, to the sexual violence that is taking place, is to then have a military conflict over the GERD. So I just seriously hope we are fully engaged and understand where the parties are and how serious some of them are of purpose. Executive Producer Recommended Sources Music by Editing Production Assistance
info_outline CD284: Thieving Russia 11/05/2023
CD284: Thieving Russia While the world is distracted, members of Congress are writing bills designed to steal Russia’s money and give it to Ukraine. In this episode, listen to the pitch being made to Congress as we examine if this is a good idea. Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via Support Congressional Dish via (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: [email protected] Send Venmo payments to: @Jennifer-Briney Send Cash App payments to: $CongressionalDish or [email protected] Use your bank’s online bill pay function to mail contributions to: Please make checks payable to Congressional Dish Thank you for supporting truly independent media! Background Sources Recommended Congressional Dish Episodes Taking the Russian money: is it legal? Lee C. Buchheit and Paul Stephan. October 20, 2023. Lawfare. Chelsey Dulaney and Andrew Duehren. October 11, 2023. The Wall Street Journal. Lawrence H. Summers, Philip Zelikow, and Robert B. Zoellick. June 15, 2023. Foreign Affairs. Paul Stephan. April 26, 2022. Lawfare. Laurence H. Tribe and Jeremy Lewin. April 15, 2022. The New York Times. April 15, 2021. President Joe Biden. White House Briefing Room. What we’re being told about Ukraine Secretary of State Anthony Blinken [@SecBlinken]. November 3, 2023. Twitter. Visual Journalism Team. September 29, 2023. BBC News. June 2023. Reuters. Israel-Hamas War Jaclyn Diaz and Aya Batrawy. November 7, 2023. NPR. Sharon Zhang. November 2, 2023. Bills Audio Sources October 31, 2023 Senate Appropriations Committee Witnesses: Antony Blinken, Secretary, U.S. Department of State Lloyd Austin, Secretary, U.S. Department of Defense Clips 1:05:05 Secretary of State Antony Blinken: If you look at total assistance to Ukraine going back to February of 2022, the United States has provided about $75 billion our allies and partners $90 billion. If you look at budget support, the United States has provided about $22 billion during that period, allies and partners $49 billion during that period; military support, we provided about $43 billion allies and partners $33 billion; humanitarian assistance, the United States $2.3 billion allies and partners 4.5 billion, plus another $18 to $20 billion in caring for the many refugees who went to Europe and outside of Ukraine. October 19, 2023 Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (The Helsinki Commission) Witnesses: Eliav Benjamin, Deputy Head of Mission, The Embassy of Israel to the United States Jamil N. Jaffer, Founder and Executive Director, National Security Institute at George Mason University Dr. Jonathan Schanzer, Senior Vice President, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies Dr. Dan Twining, President, International Republican Institute Oksana Markarova, Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States of America Clips 19:25 Eliav Benjamin: Understanding in the most unequivocal manner and in the clearest way that these are evil people. If we can even call them people. This is Israel's 9/11, only if you take the proportion of the size of Israel, this is 9/11 times 10, at least. 20:45 Eliav Benjamin: Because these terrorist organizations are not only against Israelis or against Jews, and not only in Israel, they are against mankind and anything which calls for decency, any entity and anybody who calls for protecting human rights and protecting individuals and protecting civilians. 21:25 Eliav Benjamin: Hamas have no value for human life, while Israel is doing its utmost to protect human life, including Palestinians in Gaza by even calling for them to go down south so that they won't be affected by the war. Hamas is doing everything in its power to harm civilians, to harm its own civilians. And everything that Hamas is committing -- and committed -- is no less than war crimes. And if you want crimes against humanity, and this is while Israel is working within the international human rights law, and within the military law. 28:15 Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN): Ambassador we have attempted to get some monies to from Putin and from the Soviet Un -- the oligarchs, to help rebuild Ukraine. Do you have any new information about that, or concerns? Oksana Markarova: Thank you for this question. First of all, I think it's very just that all this horrible destruction, which only for the first year of the war the World Bank estimated at $411 billion -- just the physical destruction -- has to be compensated and paid for by the Russians. So with regard to the Russian oligarchs and everyone who finances this war, supports this war, thanks to Congress we already have the possibility to confiscate it through the courts and DOJ has already moved forward with one confiscation of malfeasance money -- $5.4 million, and others. It is going to take time. But I think the major question right now to discuss with all the G7 is the Russian sovereign assets. We know that there are at least in the vicinity of 300-400 billion, or maybe even more, frozen by G7 countries. Not only that, but we recently discovered there are about $200 billion that are frozen in the Euroclear system in Belgium. So I'm very glad that there are more renewed talks right now between the G7 Ministers of Finance on how to confiscate and how to better use this money even now. I think we have to join forces there because again, we're very grateful for the American support, we are very much counting on this additional supplementary budget, but at the end of the day, it's not the American, or Ukrainian, or European taxpayers who have to pay for this, it is the Russians who have to pay for their damages. We look forward to working with Congress and we're working very actively with the administration, the State Department and Treasury, on how to better do it. As the former Minister of Finance, I not only believe -- I know -- that it can be done and I know this is a very specific case, that will not jeopardize the untouchability of the Sovereign Money, which is normal in the normal circumstances. This is a very specific case of a country that has been condemned by 154 countries in the UN for the illegal aggression. We have in all three major cases, the cases against Russia on both aggression and genocide and everything else. And it's only natural and just to use the sovereign assets as well as the private assets of Putin's oligarchs to compensate and to pay this. 32:50 Eliav Benjamin: Look at the charter of Hamas, which calls for destruction, annihilation of Jews, of Israel and yes, wants to control everything from the Mediterranean Sea until the Jordan River. 33:00 Eliav Benjamin: That is their aspiration, that is what they want to do, with zero care about civilians, including their own whom they take us human shields. As we're speak now, they're firing rockets from underneath hospitals, from underneath schools, from underneath mosques, from within residential areas, putting their own people at risk and sending them to die as well. This is not what Israel is about, but this is what Hamas is about and has been about. And now once and for all, unfortunately, really unfortunately, it took such a horrific war that they launched on Israel for the whole world to realize what Hamas is really about and what we've been saying for so many years that Hamas stands for. But it's not only Hamas: it's Hamas, it's the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, it's Hezbollah, it's all of these terrorist organizations who have zero care about human beings. This is who we should go after, and make sure they don't do any more harm. 39:10 Jamil Jaffer: It was the single deadliest day in Israel's history, single deadliest day for the worldwide Jewish community since the Holocaust. The equivalent of over a dozen 9/11 attacks on a population adjusted basis. Let me say it again. On the day of the 9/11 attacks, we had about 280 million Americans and we lost approximately 3000 Americans that day. Israel has lost 1400 have their own in a population of approximately 9 million -- over a dozen 9/11 attacks. 41:15 Jamil Jaffer: There's a key connection between these two fights. We know that Iran today supplies all manner of drones to Russia in its fight in Ukraine. We know that Iran has troops on the ground in Ukraine, training Russians on the use of those drones. We know that Iran is considering providing short range ballistic missiles to Russia, in that conflict. Russia, for its part, has provided Iran with its primary source of Conventional Munitions and nuclear technology for the vast majority of the time. Now, the key connection between these organizations is important to note. It's not just Russia and Iran; it's China and North Korea as well. These are all globally repressive nation states. They repress their own people, they hold them back, they give them no opportunity, and then they seek to export that repression to other parts of the globe, first in their immediate neighborhood, and then more broadly across the world. These nations are increasingly working together. We see China and Russia's no-limits partnership. We see President Xi saying to President Putin, in an off hand conversation that the world heard, that there are changes that haven't been seen in 100 years, and Russia and China are leading those changes. We know that for decades, Iran and North Korea have cooperated on ballistic missile and nuclear technology. We know that today in the fight in Gaza, Hamas is using North Korean rocket propelled grenades. So the reality is these globally repressive nation states have long been working together. And it is incumbent upon the United States to stand with our friends in Ukraine and our allies in Israel in this fight against global repression. 41:35 Dr. Dan Twining: It's vital not to mistake Hamas's control of Gaza with legitimacy. There have been no elections in Gaza since 2006. Hamas will not hold them because it thinks it will lose. Polling from September, a month ago, shows that only a quarter of Palestinians support Hamas leading the Palestinian people. Before the conflict, 77% of Palestinians told pollsters they wanted elections as soon as possible. A super majority tells pollsters that Hamas is corrupt. It is a terrorist organization, not a governing authority that seeks better lives for Palestinians. Residents of Gaza suffer poverty, isolation, and violence at its hands. 43:25 Dr. Jonathan Schanzer: Israel has just suffered in Iran-sponsored massacre, Ukraine is struggling to repel Russian forces, and Taiwan watches with grave concern as China threatens to invade. America must view these three embattled democracies as important assets. And it must view these three adversaries as a threat to the US-led world order. As we speak, there is a very real possibility of a regional war erupting in the Middle East. The Islamic Republic of Iran has armed and funded Hamas and Hezbollah along with other factions in the region. Recent reports point to the existence of an Iranian-led nerve center in Beirut that is designed to help these terrorist groups target Israel more efficiently. Fortunately, the IDF has thwarted Iranian efforts to create a new terror proxy in the Golan Heights. Israel has repeatedly destroyed most, if not all, of what Iran is trying to stand up there. However, Iran-backed militias do remain in Syria, and Russia's presence in Syria is complicated all of this. Moscow's missile defense systems have forced Israel to take significant precautions in the ongoing effort to prevent the smuggling of advanced Iranian weapons from Syria to Lebanon. These are precision guided munitions. We've never seen a non-state actor or a terrorist group acquire these before and Russia is making this more difficult. The operations to destroy these weapons in Syria are ongoing. They often take place with Russian knowledge. It's an uneasy arrangement and because of that, the Syrian front is still manageable, but Russia's role in the region is far from positive. Moscow continues to work closely with both Iran and Hezbollah. In fact, Russian-Iranian relations have deepened considerably since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2022. This goes beyond the sanctions busting that was the basis of their relationship before all this started. Russia has received UAVs from Iran, which we've heard today, Tehran has sent advisors to train Russian personnel, and since last summer, Russia has launched over 2000 Iranian UAVs into Ukraine. Moscow now wants to produce some of these UAVs domestically and so Russia and Iran are currently working together to increase the drones' range and speed. Iran has supplied other material to Russia like artillery shells and rockets. In return, Tehran wants Russia to provide fighter jets, attack helicopters, radar and combat trainer aircraft, and more. Moscow has sent to Tehran some captured Western weapons from Ukraine. These include javelin, NLAW anti-tank guided missiles, and Stinger MANPADS. Amidst all of this, on top of it all, concerns are mounting about a Chinese invasion of Taiwan. Beijing has openly intimidated the island nation. Within a 24 hour time span in July, 16 PLA warships approached Taiwan, accompanied with over 100 different aircraft sorties. China's calculus about an invasion of Taiwan could be influenced heavily right now by what the United States does in Ukraine and in Israel. Ihe landscape is clear: China, Iran and Russia are working together. Our policy must be to deny them the ability to threaten our friends and our interests. 47:45 Dr. Jonathan Schanzer: It's great news. I was gonna recommend it, but it's already happened: the United States has sent two of its Iron Dome batteries based in Guam to Israel, en route already. 52:15 Dr. Dan Twining: If America's three greatest adversaries are going to actively collaborate in armed attacks on our allies, that's all the more reason for us to ensure that friendly democracies prevail in the fight. Giving Ukraine and Israel what they need to restore their sovereignty and security is essential. Appeasing aggression in one theater only invites belligerence in another. Make no mistake, China is watching our reaction to the wars on Ukraine and Israel with great interest. If we don't show the will and staying power to help our friends win, we only embolden Chinese designs in Asia. Defeating aggression in Europe and the Middle East is central to deterring aggression in Asia. 1:09:55 Dr. Jonathan Schanzer: I am going to use the current crisis right now to sort of explain how America can get a win. That attack by Hamas was sponsored by Iran. Hamas is an Iran-back terrorist organization that also enjoys the support of China and Russia. As Israel has now readied to go into the Gaza Strip and to destroy this terrorist organization with the support of the United States, we're now seeing Iran-backed proxies threaten a much wider war. We're watching Hezbollah and Lebanon, Shiite militias in Syria, potentially other groups in other parts of the region. What needs to happen here right now is America needs to determine the outcome of this conflict. And by that, I mean it needs to deter Iran, it needs to deter Hezbollah and any other actor that might intervene, and force them to watch helplessly as our ally destroys Hamas. Watch them look on helplessly as one of their important pieces is removed from the chessboard. If we can do that, then I think we're now in the process of reestablishing deterrence after having lost it for many years. 1:14:15 Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI): Along with Ranking Member [Jim] Risch, I'm the lead on the what we call the REPO Act, which would authorize the President to work with other countries in Europe that are also home to frozen Russian sovereign assets, and create a procedure for seizing those assets and directing them to Ukraine to be used for rebuilding and other purposes. I think there are mixed feelings in the administration about this, but they seem to be moving our way. I'd love to have your thoughts on the value of grabbing those sovereign assets, not just as additional resources for Ukraine, but also as a powerful signal to Putin that his behavior is going to have real punishment and hitting him good and hard right in the wallet, I think, would be a good added signal. 1:15:20 Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI): The second is simply to make sure that we do a better job of grabbing Russian oligarch assets. We have a predicament right now, which is that if you're a US citizen, and you're driving down the highway and you've got $400,000 in unexplained cash in your car, the police can pull you over and they can seize that. If you are a foreign, Russian, crooked oligarch, and you have a $400 million yacht someplace, you have more rights than that American citizen, in terms of defending your yacht. It's a very simple procedure, it's called "in rem." You move on the yacht rather than having to chase through all the ownership structures. And I would very much like to see us pass a bill that allows us to proceed against foreign oligarchs', criminals', and kleptocrats' assets in rem. 1:16:50 Dr. Jonathan Schanzer: The seizing of assets and redirecting them to Ukraine, I think, sounds like a solid thing for the United States to do. I think, though, it would make sense to do this with a coalition of countries. So that the US is not singled out -- Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI): That's what the legislation requires. In fact, the bulk of the funds are actually held in European countries, so acting on our own would not be sensible. Dr. Jonathan Schanzer: It wouldn't be effective, correct. So getting the Europeans on board, and by the way, getting the Europeans to chip in a bit more, just as we are, I think is also a very sound policy. As far as targeting the oligarch assets, I fully understand your frustration. When I worked at the Treasury Department trying to track those kinds of assets was never easy. We did work with a sort of shorthand version of, if we're 80% sure that we know what we're dealing with we're going to move first and then adjudicate after it's been done. And by and large, that worked out very well during the height of the war on terror. And there was an urgency that I think needs to be felt now, as we think about targeting Russian assets too. 1:18:00 Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI): To follow me on my path of in rem Latinate legal terms. There's also qui tam out there, which allows individuals to bring fraud actions in the name of the United States, and if it turns out there really is fraud, they get a share of it. It would be nice to have people who work for, let's say, a Russian oligarch to be able to be paid a bit of a bounty if they come in and testify and say, "Yep, definitely his boat every time we go out, he's on it. Every time the guests come they're his guests and we call him boss." Things like that can make a big difference, so we're trying to push that as well. Dr. Jonathan Schanzer: That sounds like something for the Rewards for Justice program at the State Department. They might be able to expand it. We already have bounties for those that provide evidence leading to arrests of terrorists, why not oligarchs? Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI): Correct. 1:24:40 Dr. Jonathan Schanzer: Qatar has, for the last 10 or 12 years, had a an external headquarters. Some of [Hamas's] political leadership has been based there: Ismail Haniyeh and Khaled Meshaal both call Qatar home. Of course, this is not new for the Qataris. They've also hosted all manner of other terrorist organizations in that country. It's the Taliban, al Qaeda, ISIS. It's well known at this point that Qatar is a hospitable place. They just don't agree with our definition of terrorism. Fundraising takes place there, all sorts of organizational activities take place there, and people are free to come and go. It is a safe haven for them. It is extremely dangerous that we have bestowed upon that country the label of major non-NATO ally,...
info_outline CD283: A Federal Reserve Digital Dollar (CBDC) 10/23/2023
CD283: A Federal Reserve Digital Dollar (CBDC) The House Financial Services Committee has been investigating the possibility of the Federal Reserve creating a Central Bank Digital Currency. In this episode, hear experts unpack the nuances and implications of this idea during three hearings, and discover how you can play a part in shaping the future of American currency. Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via Support Congressional Dish via (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: [email protected] Send Venmo payments to: @Jennifer-Briney Send Cash App payments to: $CongressionalDish or [email protected] Use your bank’s online bill pay function to mail contributions to: Please make checks payable to Congressional Dish Thank you for supporting truly independent media! Background Sources Recommended Congressional Dish Episodes Operation Choke Point Frank Keating. November 7, 2018. The Hill. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Staff. May 29, 2014. U.S. House of Representatives. Digital Asset Glass-Steagall James Rickards. August 27, 2012. U.S. News & World Report. Audio Sources September 14, 2023 Committee on Financial Services, Subcommittee on Digital Assets, Financial Technology and Inclusion Witnesses: Yuval Rooz, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Digital Asset Paige Paridon, Senior Vice President and Senior Associate General Counsel, Bank Policy Institute Christina Parajon Skinner, Assistant Professor, The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania Dr. Norbert Michel, Vice President and Director, Center for Monetary and Financial Alternatives, Cato Institute Raúl Carrillo, Academic Fellow, Lecturer in Law, Columbia Law School Clips 27:35 Rep. French Hill (R-AK): Look, the Constitution is clear. Only Congress has the authority to coin money and regulate the value of such money. And we've heard the same from Fed officials, right before this committee, and most recently from Vice Chair for Supervision, Michael Barr, who last week told an audience in Philadelphia and I quote, "The Federal Reserve would only proceed with the issuance of a CBDC with clear support from the executive branch and authorizing legislation from Congress." The Biden Department of Justice agrees, saying, quote, "there would be substantial legal risks to issuing a CBDC without such legislation." 32:05 Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA): CBDC is just one type of publicly issued digital dollar and would be issued, backed, and regulated by the Federal Reserve and have the full faith and backing of the US government. This could serve as an alternative to existing forms of payments and have a benefit, including instant payment settlement, provide a medium for cross border transactions, and foster greater financial inclusion. More than 130 countries have begun to explore their own government backed digital currencies. China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and India have already commenced pilot programs, and a digital Euro pilot could be launched as early as 2028. Meanwhile, the US remains far behind amid increasing and blatant information about features of digital currency. While concerns about data privacy and government surveillance are real, especially in countries that do not respect human rights and privacy, a CBDC does not have to be designed that way. We could employ an architecture that would protect personal data while including anti-money laundering and terrorist financing features. 33:15 Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA): It is counterintuitive that my colleagues should be raising concerns about data privacy while thousands of private companies, domestic and foreign, are surveilling, aggregating, and selling consumer data each and every day. 33:45 Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA): I'm announcing and inviting my colleagues to join the Congressional Digital Dollar Caucus. This forum will educate members on critical issues relating to the development, design, and potential implementation of a government issued digital dollar. I plan to invite innovators, technologists, academics, and other experts to share their findings and development. I hope my colleagues will join me in this exploration. 34:15 Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA): The use of anonymous cash has plummeted and more of our transactions are occurring online and under surveillance, tracked and aggregated by financial services companies. Indeed China has turned that fact into a tool of full spectrum surveillance of its citizens. This is why I've introduced the Ecash Act. This bill directs the Treasury to design and pilot a digital version of cash and would complement the Fed-issued CBDC. It would allow individuals to make instant peer to peer payments with no consumer data or transaction tracking and without the use of a bank account. 36:10 Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN): The need to protect Americans' right to financial product privacy is at an all time high. That's why I introduced the CBDC Anti-Surveillance State Act with over 50 of my colleagues. This bill prevents unelected bureaucrats from creating a tool for financial surveillance if not open, permissionless, and private, like cash, a CBDC is nothing more than a CCP-style surveillance tool that will oppress the American way of life and we're not going to allow that to happen. 38:20 Dr. Norbert Michel: In my testimony, I argue that the United States should not launch a Central Bank Digital Currency, a CBDC. Advocates for a CBDC tout many potential benefits, but there's nothing unique about the technology that would provide those supposed benefits. 39:00 Dr. Norbert Michel: A CBDC in any form would be a direct liability of the central government, a digital tether to its citizens such that it would radically alter the existing public-private relationship that already exists in our monetary arrangement. 39:25 Dr. Norbert Michel: First, issuing a CBDC would not help preserve the status of the United States dollar, it would likely damage it. Proponents argue that because China has launched a CBDC, the United States must keep up by launching its own. Others make the narrower claim that the US must launch a CBDC to keep up with broader technological changes in the payment sector. But anyone who chooses to do so can transact digitally in U.S. dollars right now. The CBDC does not take us from a world with zero or a few digital transactions to one filled with digital transactions. Moreover, the dollar's renowned status is owed to the strength of the American economy and its legal protections for private citizens relative to many other countries. Unlike in many other places, Americans do not have to live in constant fear that the government will take their money. However, if the US creates a CBDC, anyone who wants to use the dollar would lose a layer of protection from that type of government abuse. 40:30 Dr. Norbert Michel: The second myth is that a CBDC would expand financial inclusion by providing a new source of financial services for America's unbanked and underbanked populations. Again, though, this is not a technological problem. In other words, the CBDC itself does not accomplish this goal. The private sector already enables us to transact digitally, and it has been steadily shrinking the number of Americans without financial services for years. We also know, because the FDIC asked them, that unbanked and underbanked Americans primarily are in that situation because either they don't have enough money to have an account, or they don't want to give their personal information to a bank or the government. And what should be obvious is that a lack of sufficient income is a much broader economic problem than a CBDC or financial service technology. While some proponents argue that a CBDC lowers the cost of providing financial services, that's true only if the government subsidizes those costs or chooses to waive the same level of regulatory scrutiny it requires of private firms. And that level of scrutiny, it turns out is more than just a costly mandate that the government has placed on private firms. It's also the one that causes those unbanked Americans to say they don't trust banks. It's also the same one that requires people to hand over their personal information to private companies, and as a result potentially to the government. If the government removes that mandate for all financial service providers, there would be no cost advantage to a CBDC. 42:05 Dr. Norbert Michel: That brings me to my last myth, the idea that a CBDC could somehow enhance financial privacy. Currently, Americans are forced to hand over personal information to financial institutions. Those institutions are required to track transactions, and the government can access that information without a warrant. The fourth amendment is supposed to protect Americans from the government gaining access to this kind of information, unless they show probable cause and obtain a warrant. But it no longer protects Americans when it comes to financial information. And the only buffer left is that the government must go through the financial institution to obtain that information. Introducing a CBDC would remove this last layer of protection. It would place all financial transactions either in a government database or leave them a keystroke away. 44:15 Paige Paridon: We believe that at this point there is little evidence that a CBDC would bring measurable benefits to the US economy or consumers. Furthermore, a CBDC could upend the commercial banking system and create financial instability. 44:30 Paige Paridon: CBDC can take one of two general forms: a wholesale CBDC, which would be used only by financial intermediaries, and a retail CBDC, which could be used by consumers and businesses. To date, most research and attention has been focused on a retail, intermediated, account-based model in which consumer's CBDCs would be held in an account at a bank or another financial intermediary, like an asset held in custody. The CBDC could not be used by the bank to make loans in the way that dollar deposits are used today. Any transfer of $1 deposit from a bank to a CBDC is $1 unavailable for lending to businesses or consumers. By attracting deposits away from banks, a CBDC likely would undermine the commercial banking system in the United States and severely constrict the availability and increase the cost of credit to the economy. 46:30 Paige Paridon: With respect to financial inclusion, a review of the reasons why certain individuals are unbanked makes it clear that a CBDC would be unlikely to meaningfully increase financial inclusion. For example, FDIC data reveals that many respondents are unbanked because of privacy concerns, and intermediated CBDC is unlikely to mitigate those concerns, given that it would presumably come with the same know-your-customer requirements that currently apply to banks. 54:35 Christina Parajon Skinner: So privacy rights are the clearest place to start. Today, individuals can enjoy comprehensive privacy in their payments transactions by using cash. Now, although most central banks have suggested that CBDC is not going to replace cash, that near-term promise can't be guaranteed over the longer term, and the insinuation that CBDC is necessary or inevitable seems motivated by a view that cash will eventually become obsolete. But because central banks don't have the technology presently to offer cash-like privacy, a digital currency -- unless it's radically redesigned -- will bring with it the ability for the state to monitor or surveil its citizens' payments activity. 55:20 Christina Parajon Skinner: I'd like to focus on the impact of a CBDC on the Federal Reserve. Certainly since 2010, the power and authority of the Fed has grown considerably, and Congress's responsibility to oversee the Fed requires it to understand how a CBDC could further empower the central bank but also how it might weaken it. On the one hand, CBDC could result in a larger central bank balance sheet. Issuing CBDC would increase the liability side of the Fed's balance sheet if the total of bank reserves, repos, and cash balances largely remained unchanged. So if the liabilities with CBDC increase, so too much the Fed's assets. The Fed could buy more Treasury securities to match CBDC, but that could possibly invite pressure on the Fed to issue more CBDCs to in turn absorb more government debt. And overall, that dynamic could further erode the limited fiscal discipline that we have remaining. A CBDC could also affect the Fed's independence in the way that it would establish a direct relationship between the central bank and the real economy for the first time in history. One result of that relationship would almost certainly be the further erosion of the line between monetary and fiscal policy. When central banks begin to issue liabilities directly to the people, it will become much more difficult for the central bank to justify their provision of liquidity to banks and the financial system, as opposed to households, especially during a crisis. And effectively this could open the door to political pressure on the Fed to provide liquidity assistance to households during turbulent economic times. But these sorts of household level interventions would radically transform the central bank and its purpose and role within society. 57:40 Christina Parajon Skinner: So it does not inherently improve financial inclusion unless it's paired with accounts for all citizens, which the central bank itself has already recognized as infeasible. 59:15 Raúl Carrillo: Today, I support the call for a digital dollar system, including CBDC, Fed accounts, and Ecash. 1:02:15 Raúl Carrillo: Indeed, the only way to evolve beyond the surveillance status quo is to establish a direct digital dollar interface with consumers where the Fourth Amendment and other protections may actually apply. If we truly care about privacy, we should treat the banking and blockchain industries’ appeals to partnership as suspect, based on legal and technological grounds alone. We can build a retail CBDC and Fed account system with superior protections compared to what exists now and superior protections to the systems that are being built around the world currently. 1:02:50 Raúl Carrillo: So today I also advocate for the inclusion of digital cash, as detailed in the Electronic Cash and Hardware Security and Secured Hardware Act, the Ecash Act, re-introduced by Representative Lynch. Today, Ecash devices available on a smart card or a phone card would serve as digital counterparts to cold hard American cash. These devices would not make payments over the internet. Instead, they would store Treasury issued digital dollars on card hardware to enable everyday small dollar transactions for everyday people. These transactions would be subject to the BSA/AML regime, and as a boon to law enforcement, we can set privacy-sensitive security controls and caps on transactions and usage. However, the cards would in no instance be capable of generating data that companies and agencies can abuse. We preserve a place for privacy within public infrastructure. The Ecash Act harkens back to the past to the days when President Lincoln established the banking and cash system that we still use today. And it also harkens to an exciting, inclusive, safe digital future. 1:08:05 Paige Paridon: CBDC, because it would be a direct liability of the central bank, it would be perceived as the ultimate safe asset. So from that perspective, particularly during times of economic stress, it could attract depositors to pull their money out of the banking system to flee or run to a CBDC if there was perceived concern about the banking system or the financial system overall. So every dollar that currently resides in a bank account can be deployed for useful purposes in the economy, primarily through lending. Every dollar that is pulled out from the banking system and put into a CBDC is one less dollar that could be put to good economic use. And that is why we have a fundamental concern with a retail CBDC, given the flight-to-quality risks. 1:09:35 Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA): 130 countries, representing 98% of the global economy, are now exploring digital versions of their currencies, including the United States. Almost half of these countries are in advanced development pilot or launch stages of their CBDCs. Can you discuss how CBDCs may shape the future global financial landscape? What would it mean for the United States if we instead chose to stay on the sidelines of this race? Raúl Carrillo: Thank you very much for the question, Representative Waters. My opinion is that it is incumbent upon the United States to provide leadership with respect to an inevitable process that is going to occur across the world. It is clear that we're all moving to digital fiat currency. The question is what sort of protections are going to attend digital fiat currency? 1:12:35 Raúl Carrillo: I hear a lot of concern across the political spectrum in this committee about the power of Silicon Valley. And if you do not create an alternative to the corporate systems that collect data, or promise to protect it and then collect it en mass, which is even worse and common in the blockchain industry, then what is going to happen is that Silicon Valley is going to win. And frankly, I don't think anybody here wants that. But in order to preserve the space that we have for public money and not make it a big tech enterprise, we, in fact, have to move forward with digital fiat currency. 1:13:50 Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH): One of the key characteristics of sound money is that it facilitates permissionless, peer-to-peer transactions like cash. Currently, of the 100+ countries developing a central bank digital currency, none of them are developing a permissionless system. Every one of them is developing a permission system, including the United States Federal Reserve. So when we talk about permissions, we can kind of get something from the Federal Reserve's own report of that. They said in their report that it should be privacy-protected, intermediated, widely transferable, and identity-verified. Mr. Michel, Professor Skinner, in your view, is it possible to be both privacy-protected and identity-verified? Dr. Norbert Michel: No, in my view, it's not. Once the information is in a system, it's in a system and somebody is going to get it and it's going to get out. And I just quickly really want to say I'm very happy to hear everybody here on the panel is pro-Fourth Amendment. The problem, of course, as you know, is that the Bank Secrecy Act, and the anti money laundering regime runs right over the Fourth Amendment. So that's what needs to be fixed. Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH): It's already a problem in third party hands, but this wouldn't even be in third party hands. But, you know, Professor Skinner, what's your view? Christina Parajon Skinner: My view is no, that that's not possible right now, and central banks have essentially admitted as much. And to the extent such technology is or could be under development, it's extremely immature. And I think the point to emphasize here is that inherently there will be a tradeoff to the extent central banks create CBDC, between identity verification and privacy. And more than likely central banks will always choose identity verification because they will never feel comfortable sacrificing the national security goals that they see as accompanying robust identity verification. 1:24:35 Rep. John Rose (R-TN): Decisions in United States v. Miller and Maryland v. Smith gave us the third party doctrine. Under that doctrine. if you voluntarily provide information to a third party, the Fourth Amendment does not preclude the government from accessing it without a warrant. Dr. Michelle, can you explain how the third party doctrine has impacted Americans' financial privacy? Dr. Norbert Michel: Yes, they practically have none at the...
info_outline CD282: Chaos Fires McCarthy 10/09/2023
CD282: Chaos Fires McCarthy For the first time in U.S. history, the Speaker of the House of Representatives has been fired from the job mid-term. This episode is a play by play of the drama that lead up to this historic event, including the passing of a temporary government funding law which triggered agents of chaos to give Kevin McCarthy the boot. Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via Support Congressional Dish via (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: [email protected] Send Venmo payments to: @Jennifer-Briney Send Cash App payments to: $CongressionalDish or [email protected] Use your bank’s online bill pay function to mail contributions to: Please make checks payable to Congressional Dish Thank you for supporting truly independent media! Background Sources Recommended Congressional Dish Episodes Government Shutdowns Clinton T. Brass et al. Updated December 10, 2018. Congressional Research Service. Christopher Hickey. September 29, 2023. CNN. Credit Rating Downgrade Elliot Smith. September 27, 2023. CNBC. Elliot Smith. August 2, 2023. CNBC. Funding Process Congressional Research Service. September 11, 2023. Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget. The Continuing Resolution [Jen’s Highlighted Version.] Wikipedia contributors. Retrieved October 8, 2023. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. The Ousting of Kevin McCarthy S. Dev. October 4, 2023. CBS News. Mini Racker. October 3, 2023. TIME. Audio Sources October 3, 2023 September 30, 2023 C-SPAN Clips Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA): We will put a clean funding stop gap on the floor to keep government open for 45 days for the House and Senate to get their work done. We will also, knowing what had transpired through the summer -- the disasters in Florida, the horrendous fire in Hawaii and also disasters in California and Vermont -- we will put the supplemental portion that the President asked for in disaster thereto keeping the government open while we continue to do our work. September 30, 2023 Clips Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX): Today, the most important priority is keeping government open. Rep. Mike Lawler (R-NY): To shut the government down would be disastrous for the American people, our military, and our economy. The time has come for everyone to put the American people above all interests and continue to do our work as responsible, reasonable, and serious legislators. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA): I cannot justify shutting down our entire government over obscure policy decisions. September 30, 2023 Clips Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY): The alternative to our action today -- an entirely avoidable government shutdown -- would not just pause our progress on these important priorities, it would actually set them back. September 29, 2023 Clips Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA): This bill, that was just dropped on us a few hours ago, really is a piece of garbage, and that is putting it nicely. Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN): We need to make some serious cuts to our bloated government in areas where we don’t need it. We have way too many bureaucrats. Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN): As I have stated many times with these continuing resolutions, they tell us to pass a continuing resolution so we don’t have to pass another continuing resolution. Well, that line of thinking is like telling a crackhead that I am going to give you more crack to get you off of crack. The truth is we are just addicted to money, and now we are addicted to our great grandchildren’s money. September 28, 2023 Clips Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS): I oppose a shutdown of government, in part because a shutdown would make the crisis that we face at our border even worse. September 27, 2023 Clips Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO): We don’t want continuing resolutions or omnibus bills. We want to go through the funding of the Federal Government bill by bill, sit down, and work with our colleagues on the other side of the aisle. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL): Enough is enough. I am putting my countrymen first. I don’t think we should send another nickel to Ukraine. September 27, 2023 Clips Sen. James Lankford (R-OK): We have got to deal with the issue of government shutdowns. They hurt us more than help us. September 26, 2023 Clips Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX): It will be up to Democrats to make a choice. Will they shut down this open border or will they shut down the government of the United States. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on CNN September 21, 2023 Clips Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA): This is a whole new concept of individuals that just want to burn the whole place down, but it doesn't work. September 21, 2023 Clips Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA): Madam Speaker, this majority is a failure. The clowns are running the circus. The day Speaker MCCARTHY handed his gavel over to the clown show, this was the inevitable outcome. Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA): The Republican majority in this House is a joke. They wasted weeks talking about gas stoves, weeks arguing about book bans, weeks telling kids what soccer team they can play on, and now we are on the eve of a shutdown and they are doing nothing to stop it. Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK): Shutting down the government is bad for the American people. It is an abdication of our responsibility. It is something we should not do September 20, 2023 Clips Rep. Tracey Mann (R-KS): Let’s secure the border. Let’s decrease our country’s dependence on Communist China. Let’s commit to reigning in government spending. September 19, 2023 News 12 Westchester Clips Rep. Michael Lawler (R-NY): This is stupidity, the idea we are going to shut the government down when we don’t control the Senate, we don’t control the White House. Rep. Michael Lawler (R-NY): If the clown show of colleagues that refuse to actually govern does not want to pass a CR, I will do everything we need to do to make sure a CR passes. The bottom line here is this: we’re not shutting the government down. September 19, 2023 Clips Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK): It is simply an inappropriate tool in the toolbox, in my opinion. I have seen both sides use it. My side, sadly, has used it more. I hope we don’t do it this time. September 19, 2023 PBS NewsHour Clips Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC): A shutdown is not the best thing in the world, but continued path toward bankruptcy is not an option either, for me. September 18, 2023 Clips Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL): Mr. Speaker, I’m not voting for a Continuing Resolution. I’m not voting to continue the failure, and the waste, and the corruption, and the election interference. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL): It is only a review of single-subject spending bills that will save this country and allow us to tweeze through these programs and force these agencies to stand up and defend their budget. September 13, 2023 Clips Rep. Ben Cline (R-VA): We should make border security a condition of any continuing resolution when the fiscal year ends on September 30. September 12, 2023 Clips Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL): No continuing resolutions; individual spending bills or bust. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL): Individual, single-subject spending bills that would allow us to have specific review, programmatic analysis, and that would allow us to zero out the salaries of the bureaucrats who have broken bad, targeted President Trump, or cut sweetheart deals for Hunter Biden. Rep. George Santos (R-NY): A shutdown would only hurt the very people who are putting their lives at risk for all of us. YouTube Executive Producer Recommended Episodes Music by Editing Production Assistance Cover Art Designed by Clare Kuntz Balcer with images from and
info_outline CD281: Private Policing of the Organ Transplant Network 09/18/2023
CD281: Private Policing of the Organ Transplant Network The system for coordinating organ donations and transplants in the United States is broken, according to experts who have testified over the course of many years to Congress. In this episode, hear their testimony about what is wrong with the current system and then we’ll examine the bill that aims to fix the problems. Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via Support Congressional Dish via (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: [email protected] Send Venmo payments to: @Jennifer-Briney Send Cash App payments to: $CongressionalDish or [email protected] Use your bank’s online bill pay function to mail contributions to: Please make checks payable to Congressional Dish Thank you for supporting truly independent media! Background Sources August 3, 2022. Senate Finance Committee. Lenny Bernstein and Todd C. Frankel. August 3, 2022. The Washington Post. February 10, 2020. Senate Finance Committee. The Bill Audio Sources July 20, 2023 Senate Committee on Finance, Subcommittee on Health Care Witnesses: LaQuayia Goldring, Patient Molly J. McCarthy, Vice Chair & Region 6 Patient Affairs Committee Representative, Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) Matthew Wadsworth, President and CEO, Life Connection of Ohio Raymond J. Lynch, MD, MS, FACS, Professor of Surgery and Director of Transplantation Quality and Outcomes, Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center Donna R. Cryer, JD, Founder and CEO, Global Liver Institute Clips 30:40 Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR): HRSA, the Health Resources Agency, is on track to begin the contract process this fall and we're just going to be working here to complement their effort. 36:30 Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA): In 2005, I started the investigation of the deadly failures of UNOS, the monopoly tasked with managing the US organ donation system. Since then, more than 200,000 patients have needlessly died on the organ waiting list. There's a reason that I call UNOS the fox guarding the hen house. For nearly two decades, UNOS has concealed serious problems [at] the nation's organ procurement organizations, known as OPOs, instead of working to uncover and correct the corruption. This human tragedy is even more horrific because many of these deaths were preventable. They were the result of [a] corrupt, unaccountable monopoly that operates more like a cartel than a public servant. 44:45 LaQuayia Goldring: As a toddler, at the age of three, I was diagnosed with a rare kidney cancer that took the function of my left kidney. And when I was 17, I went back into complete renal failure and I received a first kidney transplant at that time. Unfortunately, in 2015, I went back into kidney failure. And at that time, I wasn't ready for another transplant, but I didn't have a choice but to go back on dialysis. I've been waiting nine agonizing years for a transplant, dependent upon a dialysis machine five days a week, just to be able to live. I was told that I would receive a kidney transplant within three to five years. But yet I am still waiting. I am undergoing monthly surgeries just to be able to get my dialysis access to work so that I can continue to live until I get a transplant. The UNOS waitlist is not like one to 100, where everybody thinks you get a number. I'm never notified on where I stand on the list or when I will get the call. I have to depend on an algorithm to make the decision of what my fate will be. 47:55 LaQuayia Goldring: Just a few weeks ago, a donor family reached out to me to be a directed kidney donor, meaning they chose me specifically for a kidney transplant. But unfortunately, due to the errors in the UNOS technology, I was listed as inactive and this was a clerical error. And all that they told me was this was a clerical error, and they could not figure out why I was inactive. But when it came down to it, I'm actually active on the transplant list. 51:45 Molly McCarthy: The Federal monopoly contractor managing the organ donation system, UNOS, is an unmitigated failure. And its leadership spends more time attacking critics than it does taking steps to fix the system. I've seen this firsthand in my five years as a patient volunteer with the OPTN and three years ago, I stepped into the role of Vice Chair of the Patient Affairs Committee, or PAC. 53:45 Molly McCarthy: Further, I have been called by a board member telling me to stop focusing on system outage and downtime of the UNOS tech system. He told me that having downtime wasn't a big deal at all, "the donors are dead anyway." That comment speaks volumes to me about the lack of empathy and respect UNOS has for donor families. 55:00 Molly McCarthy: Congress needs to break up the UNOS monopoly by passing 1668, ensuring that HHS uses its authority to replace UNOS as its contractor. 1:00:15 Matt Wadsworth: Break up the OPTN contract and allow for competition. 1:00:40 Matt Wadsworth: I commend this committee for introducing legislation to finally break up this monopoly and I stand ready to work with you in any way possible to ensure that this bill passes. It's the only way this industry will be able to save more patients' lives. 1:02:10 Dr. Raymond Lynch: I want to differentiate between organ donation, which is the altruistic decision of the donor patient and their family, and organ procurement, which is the clinical care provided by OPO staff. This is what turns the gift of donation into the usable organs for transplant. Organ procurement is a clinical specialty. It's the last medical care that many patients will ever receive. It's reimbursed by the federal government and it's administered by OPOs that are each the only provider in the territory to which they hold federal contracts. Right now patient care delivered by OPOs is some of the least visible in American healthcare. I can't tell you how many patients were evaluated by OPO workers in the US in 2022. I can't tell you how many patients were examined, or how many families were given information about donation, or how many times an OPO worker even showed up to a hospital to do this clinical duty. This lack of information about what OPO providers actually do for patients is a root cause of the variability in rates of organ procurement around the country. My research has shown that what we call OPO performance is a measurable restriction on the supply of organs that results in the unnecessary deaths of patients with organ failure. For example, if the lowest performing OPOs from around the country had just reached the national median over a recent seven year period, there would have been 4957 more organ donors, yielding an estimated 11,707 additional organs for transplant. Because many OPOs operate in a low quality data environment and without appropriate oversight, almost 5,000 patients did not get adequate organ procurement care, and nearly 12,000 other patients did not receive life saving transplants. 1:03:55 Dr. Raymond Lynch: OPO clinical work is currently not visible, it's not benchmarkable, and it's not able to be adequately evaluated, analyzed, or compared. However, much of the hidden data about how OPOs provide care to patients is known to one entity and that entity is UNOS. 1:05:20 Dr. Raymond Lynch: We need a new network of highly skilled specialist organizations, each attending to areas of expertise in the management of the OPTN contract. 1:21:15 Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN): When we look at OPTN, and look at the Securing Organ Procurement Act, the bill would strip the nonprofit requirement for the manager of the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, which would open the door for profiting from organ procurement and donation. And to me, this is something that I think many people really fear, especially people that are on a waitlist. And so what I would like for you to do is to address that and address those concerns. And why or why not you think the Act has it right. Dr. Raymond Lynch: Thank you, Senator. I think it's unfortunate that people would be afraid of that and it needs to be changed. Many of the patients that you referenced are waitlisted at for-profit hospitals. For-profit is a part of American healthcare. And I can tell you that our not-for-profit entity doesn't work. And there are for-profit hospitals and for-profit transplant centers that do work. So patients don't need to be afraid of that. They do need to be afraid of the status quo. 1:28:30 Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD): Ms. Cryer, do you have any views as to why it's much lower percentage chances for a racial minority to be able to have a transplant? Donna Cryer: Yes. And it really does come down to UNOS not doing its job of overseeing the organ procurement organizations. We know from many studies that black and brown communities donate organs in the same percentage they are the population. So it is not a problem of willingness to donate. It is a problem, as Miss Goldring was starting to discuss, about UNOS not ensuring that OPOs go out into the communities, develop relationships far before that horrible decision is needed to [be] made to donate the organs of a family member. 1:56:45 Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA): And among the many reforms the legislation would support HRSA's proposal to break up the OPTN monopoly contract into multiple smaller contracts, which would allow some competition and allow the best vendors in the business to manage different parts of the transplant network operation. That means hiring IT experts to do the IT. It means hiring logistics experts to do logistics, and so on. 1:57:15 Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA): UNOS does not want to lose control, so they're pushing to have the government limit eligibility only to nonprofit vendors that have worked in the past on organ donation, meaning, for instance, that the IT company that is hired to run OPTNs computers systems would have had to have worked on an organ transplant network in the past and be a nonprofit. So Ms. McCarthy, the requirement UNOS wants would seem to make it so that only one organization could apply for the new contract: UNOS. 1:58:35 Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA): Right now, Congress has an opportunity to root out corruption in this system, but if we don't act before the current contract expires we won't have another shot for years. August 3, 2022 Senate Committee on Finance Witnesses: Brian Shepard, CEO, United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) Diane Brockmeier, RN, President and CEO, Mid-America Transplant Barry Friedman, RN, Executive Director, AdventHealth Transplant Institute Calvin Henry, Region 3 Patient Affairs Committee Representative, Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) Jayme Locke, M.D., MPH, Director, Division of Transplantation, Heersink School of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham Clips 36:15 Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR): A 1984 law created the first computerized system to match sick patients with the organs they need. It was named the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network. Someone needed to manage that system for the whole country, so the government sought to contract an organization to run it. UNOS was the only bidder for that first contract in 1986. The contract has come up for bid seven other times, UNOS has won all seven. Today, the network UNOS overseas is made up of nearly 400 members, including 252 transplant centers, and 57 regional organizations known as Organ Procurement Organizations, or OPOs. Each OPO is a defined geographic service network. Families sitting in a hospital room thinking about donating a loved one's organs does not have a choice of OPOs. 37:40 Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR): Between 2010 and 2020, more than 1,100 complaints were filed by patients and families, staff, transplant centers, and others. The nature of these complaints runs the gamut. For example, in a number of cases, OPOs had failed to complete critical mandatory tests for matters like blood types, diseases, and infection. Our investigation found one patient died after being transplanted with lungs that a South Carolina OPO marked with the wrong blood type. Similar blood type errors happened elsewhere and patients developed serious illness. Some had to have organs removed after transplant. Another patient was told he would likely die within three years after an OPO in Ohio supplied him with a heart from a donor who had died of a malignant brain tumor. UNOS did not pursue any disciplinary action. In a case from Florida, another patient contracted cancer from transplanted organs and the OPO sat on the evidence for months. In total, our investigation found that between 2008 and 2015, and 249 transplant recipients developed a disease from transplanted organs. More than a quarter of them died. 38:55 Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR): Delivering organs has been another source of life threatening errors. We found 53 such complaints between 2010 and 2020, as well as evidence that this was just the tip of the iceberg. In some cases, couriers missed a flight. In others, the organs were abandoned at airports. Some organs were never picked up. Many of these failures resulted in organs being discarded. 39:20 Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR): It's reasonable to assume that many more errors are going unreported. Why? Because filing official complaints with UNOS appears to accomplish zero productive oversight or reform. Organ transplant professionals repeatedly told the Finance Committee that the complaint process was, and I quote here, "a black hole." Complaints went in, UNOS went quiet. In interviews with the Committee UNOS leaders have dragged their feet, dodged tough questions, and shifted responsibility onto others. investigations and disciplinary measures rarely amount to much more than a slap on the wrist. Only one time -- just once -- has UNOS recommended that an OPO lose their certification. 55:05 Diane Brockmeier: We must update the archaic technology system at UNOS. As OPOs, we are required to work with UNOS technology DonorNet every day. DonorNet is outdated, difficult to us,e and often slow to function when every minute counts. Manual entry subjects it to error and OPO and Transplant Center staff are not empowered with the right information when time is critical. I did serve in leadership roles on the OPO Committee from 2017 to 2022. Committee members and industry leaders voiced repeated requests to improve DonorNet. The consistent response was UNOS IT did not have the bandwidth to address this work. The limitations of the UNOS technology are delaying and denying transplants to patients that are dying on the waitlist. Poor technology impacts the disturbingly high kidney discard rate in the United States, where one in four kidneys never make it to a patient for transplantation. Critical time is lost due to the inefficiency of DonorNet, wasting time on offers that will not be accepted. Of course an available organ should be offered to the patient in this sequence. However, far too much of the matching, particularly on older donors and organs that are difficult to place, are left to the individual OPOs and transplant centers to find each other despite, rather than facilitated by, UNOS technology. Mid-America Transplant intentionally identifies surgeons who accept kidneys that have been repeatedly turned down many times. These are life saving options for those patients. In May of 2022, one of these patients was number 18,193 on the list. Relying on DonorNet alone, that kidney would never had been placed and the chance to save a life would have been wasted. 55:20 Diane Brockmeier: UNOS lacks urgency and accountability around identifying and remediating this preventable loss of organs, and they are not required to publicly report adverse events when patients are harmed, organs are lost, or the quality of patient care is deemed unsafe. UNOS does not require clinical training, licensure, or certification standards for OPO staff delivering critical patient care. In this environment, who's looking out for the patient? Who's being held accountable for poor patient care? No OPO has ever actually been decertified, regardless of its performance or its safety record. 57:55 Diane Brockmeier: When an OPO goes out of sequence to place an organ that would otherwise be thrown away, UNOS requires an explanation; however, when organs are recovered and discarded, you must remain silent. 58:05 Diane Brockmeier: We must remove conflicts to ensure effective governance. From 2018 to 2020, I served as a board member for the OPTN. Serving on the board of the OPTN automatically assigns membership to the UNOS board. My board experience revealed that at times UNOS actions are not aligned with its fundamental vision of a life saving transplant for everyone in need. How can you fairly represent the country's interest and a contractor's interest at the same time? 58:35 Diane Brockmeier: Board members are often kept in the dark about critical matters and are marginalized, particularly if they express views that differ from UNOS leadership. Preparatory small group calls are conducted prior to board meetings to explore voting intentions, and if the board member was not aligned with the opinion of UNOS leadership, follow up calls are initiated. Fellow board members report feeling pressured to vote in accordance with UNOS leadership. 59:10 Diane Brockmeier: To protect patients, I urge Congress and the administration to separate the OPTN functions into different contracts so that patients can be served by best-in-class vendors, to immediately separate the boards of the OPTN and OPTN contractors, and to ensure that patients are safeguarded through open data from both the OPTN and OPOs. 1:00:45 Barry Friedman: Approximately 23% of kidneys procured from deceased donors are not used and discarded, resulting in preventable deaths 1:00:55 Barry Friedman: Organ transportation is a process left to federally designated Organ Procurement Organizations, OPOs. Currently, they develop their own relationships with couriers, rely on airlines, charter flights, ground transportation, and federal agencies to facilitate transportation. In many cases, organs must connect from one flight to another, leaving airline personnel responsible for transfers. While anyone can track their Amazon or FedEx package, there is currently no consistent way of tracking these life saving organs. 1:01:45 Barry Friedman: Currently there is no requirement for OPOs to use tracking systems. 1:02:20 Barry Friedman: I also believe there's a conflict of interest related to the management of IT functions by UNOS, as the IT tools they offer transplant centers come with additional costs, despite these being essential for the safety and management of organs. 1:02:35 Barry Friedman: UNOS is not effectively screening organ donors so that they can be quickly directed to transplant programs. UNOS asks centers to voluntarily opt out of certain organs via a filtering process. As a result, OPOs waste valuable time making organ offers to centers that will never accept them. Time wasted equates to prolonged cold ischemic time and organs not placed, resulting in lost organ transplant opportunities. 1:03:10 Barry Friedman: Due to the limited expertise that UNOS has in the placement of organs, it would be best if they were no longer responsible for the development of organ placement practices. The UNOS policy making [process] lacks transparency. Currently OPTN board members concurrently serve as the board members of UNOS, which creates a conflict of interest that contributes to this lack of transparency. UNOS committees are formed in a vacuum. There is no call for nominations and no data shared with the transplant community to explain the rationale behind decisions that create policy change. 1:11:35 Dr. Jayme Locke: The most powerful thing to know about this is that every organ represents a life. We can never forget that. Imagine having a medication you need to live being thrown away simply because someone...
info_outline CD280: Corporate Junk Fees 09/04/2023
CD280: Corporate Junk Fees Do you hate hidden hotel, housing, airline, ticketing, banking, and other corporate fees? Do you want Congress to do something about them? In this episode, learn about the wide range of unreasonable fees being reported to Congress during hearings and examine what proposals could have bipartisan support. Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via Support Congressional Dish via (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: [email protected] Send Venmo payments to: @Jennifer-Briney Send Cash App payments to: $CongressionalDish or [email protected] Use your bank’s online bill pay function to mail contributions to: Please make checks payable to Congressional Dish Thank you for supporting truly independent media! Background Sources Recommended Congressional Dish Episodes FTC Authority Ronald Mann. Apr 23, 2021. SCOTUSblog. Supreme Court of the United States. April 22, 2021. Junk Fee Overview Ashish A. Pradhan. May 19, 2023. The National Law Review. Will Kenton. January 24, 2023. Investopedia. Brian Deese et al. October 26, 2022. White House Briefing Room Blog. October 20, 2022. Federal Trade Commission. Brian Canfield et al. July 7, 2021. Institute for Policy Integrity, NYU School of Law. Internet *Federal Communications Commission Healthcare August 8, 2022. Federal Trade Commission. Banking/Payments Lindsey D. Johnson. July 26, 2023. Consumer Bankers Association. July 11, 2023. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Newsroom. Offices of Consumer Populations and Markets. May 23, 2023. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. October 26, 2022. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Newsroom. September 28, 2022. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Newsroom. August 16, 2022. Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General. August 16, 2022. U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Joe Valenti. March 30, 2022. * Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Blog. January 26, 2022. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Newsroom. December 7, 2020. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Newsroom. December 28, 2018. Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General. Housing July 19, 2023. White House Briefing Room. March 14, 2023. National Consumer Law Center. Jennifer Ludden. January 13, 2023. WBUR. Airlines Reid Bramblett. Frommer’s. Suzanne Rowan Kelleher. Mar 7, 2023. Forbes. U.S. Department of Transportation. U.S. Department of Transportation. December 13, 2022. U.S. Department of Transportation. November 2022. Statista. Rosie Spinks. June 1, 2018. Quartz. May 2011. Jones Day. Hotels November 17, 2021. Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General. Christina Jelski. Mar 12, 2021. Travel Weekly. November 28, 2012. The Federal Trade Commission. Ticketing June 20, 2018. U.S. House of Representatives. Anne Bucher. June 13, 2018. Top Class Actions. “Susan Wang and Rene' Lee v. StubHub, Inc. Case” [No. CGC-18-564120]. The Superior Court of the State of California, County of San Francisco. Cars June 23, 2022. Federal Trade Commission. Laws Bills Audio Sources July 26, 2023 Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection Witnesses: Attorney General, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Director of Housing Advocacy, Atlanta Legal Aid Society Manager Director, Patomak Global Partners Clips Michelle Henry: In the consumer finance space, we recently filed a multi-state lawsuit against Mariner Finance, a Wall Street private equity-owned installment lender. Our lawsuit alleges that Mariner charged consumers junk fees for hidden add-on products that consumers either did not know about or did not agree to buy. These hidden add-on products, such as credit insurance and auto clubs, are typically low- or no-value products. Consumers left Mariner believing that they had entered into an agreement to borrow and repay over time a certain amount of money. In reality, because of these hidden junk fees, Mariner added hundreds to thousands of dollars to the total amount a consumer owed. The cost of the junk fees is staggering. For a random sample of loans originated in Pennsylvania in December of 2020, Mariner charged each consumer an average of $1,085 in junk fees for an average of $3,394 in cash borrowed. Michelle Henry: We also had a significant junk fee settlement in 2018 with Wells Fargo. This settlement stemmed from Wells charging its auto finance customers millions in junk fees. Despite evidence that many customers already had the required car insurance, Wells improperly charged more than 2 million accounts for force-placed insurance. To resolve the multi-state action, Wells agreed to pay states $575 million. Michelle Henry: In 2021, we announced the landmark junk fee settlement with Marriott International. For many years, travelers had been misled by the published rates offered by hotels for a night stay, only later to be hit with the mandatory resort fees when they were checking in. Thanks to our settlement, Marriott now has a policy in place to be upfront and transparent in the disclosure of mandatory fees, including resort fees, as part of the total price of a hotel stay, allowing consumers to compare total costs for hotels and find the one that is the best fit for them. Marriott was the first hotel chain to formally commit to the upfront disclosure of resort fees as part of the initial advertised price. We hope others will follow. Michelle Henry: In the end, what we are fighting here for is basic fairness and transparency. When consumers are shopping online or in person, they deserve to understand what a loan, a house, or a vacation will cost and exactly what key terms they're agreeing to. At the same time, all businesses deserve to compete on an even playing field, where the price is the price with no hidden surprise fees. Lindsey Siegel: My name is Lindsay Siegel and I'm the Director of Housing Advocacy at Atlanta Legal Aid, which provides free civil legal services to families with low incomes in the metro Atlanta area. Today, I will focus on the rental housing market and how predatory and hidden rental fees gouge families living in poverty and make their rent even more unaffordable than it already is. Miss Dixon is a single mother who found an online listing for an apartment in the fall of 2020. The advertisement said it rented for $1,400 per month. It did not list any other monthly fees she would be required to pay. She applied and paid $525 through the landlord's online portal, which covered her $50 application fee, a $175 moving fee, and a $300 screening fee, all of which were non-refundable. She was not able to see the lease or the apartment she'd be renting, but she knew if she did not pay sight unseen she would lose the apartment. And when her application was approved a few weeks later, the landlord charged her another $200 approval fee. She finally received and signed a copy of her lease just two days before she was slated to move in. It was 50 pages long and contained to eight different addenda. She had expected to pay her rent and for water. She didn't expect to be responsible for a package locker fee, a trash removal fee, a separate valet trash fee, a pest control fee, a technology package fee, an insurance fee, and a credit reporting fee. When the fees added up, $83 had been tacked on to her monthly rent. And to make matters worse, Miss Dixon's landlord did not accept the rent by cash, check, or money order. When she paid through the landlord's online portal she was charged another $72-per-payment convenience fee. The low income renters Atlanta Legal Aid represents have an extreme power imbalance with their landlords. The high demand for rental housing, especially at the more affordable end of the market, makes some landlords believe they can easily get away with unfair and deceptive lease terms and rental practices. The bait and switch Miss Dixon experienced where the landlord advertise the rent as one price only to raise it much higher with junk fees after she had spent hundreds of dollars up front is a far too common practice of many investor landlords in the Atlanta area. Low income renters like Miss Dixon become trapped. She couldn't afford to walk away from a predatory lease two days before she was supposed to move in, even if she realized it would be unaffordable. Of particular concern are the use of high application fees. They often far exceed the cost of running a report, and most renters have to pay them several times before finding a home to rent. We've heard reports that some institutional landlords even collect application fees after they've found a renter for an available home. Brian Johnson: The focus of the President's initiative has been on applying political pressure to companies to induce them to change their fee disclosure practices. In the process, the White House and supporting agencies have dismissed broad categories of fees as junk without ever providing any consistent definition of the term, which has created uncertainty as to which fees can be assessed by institutions without undue reputational or regulatory risk. Brian Johnson: The CFPB has been the most enthusiastic among regulators in heeding the President's call, indiscriminately attacking a growing list of common financial service fees, no matter that they are lawful and fully disclosed. Brian Johnson: The agency has publicly hectored companies about deposit account fees and used the implied threat of investigation to induce such companies to abandon these legal fees. Further, in addressing other fees, the CFPB appears appears to have violated its own regulations and laws governing how agencies proffer rules by disguising interpretive rules as policy statements in bulletins and issuing circulars that function as legislative rules. In another instance, under the guise of interpretation, the CFPB read a word into a statute to achieve its desired policy outcome. In still another, the agency treats the rulemaking process as a foregone conclusion, acting as though a still proposed rule has already taken effect, signaling that the agency has no interest in considering public comments, establishing an adequate evidentiary basis to support its conclusions, or considering potential changes to improve the rule. These examples demonstrate an abuse of power and the agency's disregard for process and the limits placed on it. Moreover, the CFPB's behavior subverts the authority of Congress to oversee the agency and legislate the legality of fees in our financial marketplace. Simply put, it's not playing by the rules. Lindsey Siegel: So I think the federal government does have a role to play. The CFPB could create best practices, investigate junk fees further -- especially those being charged for tenant screening reports -- could bring enforcement actions against debt collectors that engage in collection practices that violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act in their collection of rental debt especially includes collection of junk fees. And certainly, you know, HUD could further study and address the disproportionate impact of these practices on renters and rental applicants of color. Lindsey Siegel: Tenants living in Atlanta have a very hard time finding a rental, finding a home, that's not owned by a corporate landlord at this point. They have bought up many properties in the Atlanta area and they always seem to be working in lockstep so that once one institutional landlord is charging a certain kind of fee then another one tends to charge it as well. Just one example of this is the proliferation of landlords charging for insurance fees, and often tenants will think that these are renters insurance because they're often called renter's insurance. But it's not like traditional renter's insurance that protects the renter and their property if it's destroyed. What it does is protect the landlord and doesn't really provide a benefit to tenants at all. And we've seen that proliferate with investor landlords in particular. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC): I can't imagine any reasonable member of Congress not saying, "I want the person to know what their financial obligation is when they sign an instrument, not after they read page 10 in the fine print." Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC): I'm less caught up in whether or not a trash collection fee is appropriate or not, and more caught up in, does that renter know at the point in time they're signing a lease what they're expected to pay every month? Michelle Henry: We often see things bleed over state lines and boundaries, as you are well aware, and so it's important that we work together to enforce these matters. Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA): How often do these kinds of cases cross state lines? And would having federal standards against these types of hidden fees make these cases easier to bring? Michelle Henry: Almost always. And I think that's critical. Where we have been most successful is joining with our fellow states, other attorneys general, partnering with them, and including the CFPB. In December of 2020, the CFPB, with all 50 states and the District of Columbia, filed enforcement action against Nationstar mortgage, again for deceptive practices, for not being transparent when they were servicing borrowers mortgages, and as a result of that joint effort we were able to obtain a settlement of $73 million and brought aid to 40,000 borrowers. Michelle Henry: You know, the reality is a lot of times consumers get misled. So they start, they're looking on the internet, they're trying to do due diligence and look for the best price, whether it's for a hotel, a vacation, and they're in there examining it, and they get led to a certain area of a certain website thinking that's the best price. And they go down this rabbit hole where they have no idea at the end of it that the price they thought they were going to pay for a hotel stay with their family is actually far larger because of fees that they weren't prepared, were not properly advised of, and at that point, they're so far in or they never discover it. So no, I don't think they understand exactly what to be aware of. We're trying to do our best to educate but far more work needs to be done, and I applaud this committee for working on it. Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA): If more federal agencies had the authority to address these hidden fees, how would that affect your office's capacity? Michelle Henry: It would help tremendously. Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA): Thank you so very much. Michelle Henry: If history is any lesson, we know that they can't be trusted to act in the best interest of consumers on their own. Look, they're in the business of making money for their shareholders and we need robust consumer protection rules and enforcement to ensure that. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC): So what we're talking about here is not the "what," it's the "how." And I for one do not think that the regulator's who have demonstrated pushing the boundaries of their authority, giving them more authority is a good idea if we're coming up with a real bipartisan sustainable solution. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC): The problem we have here too, when we transfer power out of Congress to another branch, yes, that changes every four years or so. So you may be thrilled with a regulatory regimen that comes out from the CFBP today, but because of the way they behaved, it'd be one of the first things I would work to repeal if the administration changed and withdraw it. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC): I'd like to submit for the record a letter from the Consumer Bankers Association on the subject. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC): Mr. Johnson, can you talk about the effect of the method that the CFPB is using to go after this and the impact that it can have, the negative implications that has? Is the CFPB's tendency to name and shame business institutions to avoid certain practices or adopt new ones effective regulation? They're not really thinking through the full impact and all the potential unintended consequences. Can you think of any example under this current leadership of the CFPB where they have taken that into consideration? Can you speak a little bit about the efforts and the length the CFPB goes in an effort to avoid judicial review and skirt the APA process? June 8, 2023 Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation: Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security Witnesses: Chief Executive Officer, National Consumers League Bruce Greenwald Professor of Business, Marketing Division, Columbia Business School George Mason University Foundation Professor of Law, Antonin Scalia School of Law, George Mason University Clips 21:35 Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-CO): Simply put, these are fees that are disclosed to a consumer midway through or at the end of a transaction, or they're fees that serve no tangible purpose for a consumer, like a processing fee, and that they are mandatory or unavoidable. 28:00 Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN): The way I look at this issue, and the way many Tennesseans look at it, is this is another way for the FTC, the CFPB, DoT, and all these regulators to clamp down on businesses and try to micro manage businesses. 30:42 Dr. Vicki Morwitz: as a strategy where firms decide to divide a product's price into two or more mandatory parts, a base price for the main product and one or more mandatory surcharges, rather than charging a single all-inclusive price. For example, many hotels have a mandatory fee on top of the daily room rate. These are sometimes called resort fees, or facility fees, or destination fees and can range from $20 to over $50 a night. And many rental car agencies assess several mandatory fees on top of the daily rental rate, such as concession recovery fees, customer facility fees, energy recovery fees, and vehicle licensing fees. 31:20 Dr. Vicki Morwitz: In general, what research on partition pricing has shown is that when firms separate out mandatory surcharges consumers tend to underestimate the total price they'll have to pay and they're often more likely to complete the purchase. 31:50 Dr. Vicki Morwitz: With drip pricing, firms advertise only part of our products' price upfront and reveal other charges later, as shoppers go through the buying process. Drip fees can be mandatory or can be for optional items, but for today's testimony I'll focus on the dripping of mandatory surcharges. Drip pricing is commonly used in industries like the cable TV and the ticketing industries. When a consumer shops for a TV-Internet bundle from a cable television provider, they may first see an attractive base price offer for the bundle, but later learn there are also broadcast TV fees, set top box fees, regional sports fees, and TV connection fees that raise the price considerably. And a consumer shopping for a ticket for a live event, like a concert, a play, or a baseball game, typically first sees the price for different seats in the venue. After selecting a seat, as the consumer clicks through more webpages, they may come to learn there's also a mandatory booking fee, ticketing fee, venue fee, and delivery fee, even when the tickets are delivered electronically. Eventually, they see a total price that may be much higher than the first price they saw and they may be under time pressure to complete the purchase, as there might be a countdown clock that indicates they have to complete their purchase in just a few minutes. Or they may be told there's only two seats left at that price. 33:00 Dr. Vicki Morwitz: What research has shown is that when surcharges are dripped, consumers end up being more likely to buy a product that appears cheaper upfront based only on the base price, but that's more expensive and total given the drip fees. Consumers also tend to buy more expensive products than they otherwise would, such as a seat closer to the stage for a live event. 35:00...
info_outline CD279: The Censure of Adam Schiff 08/13/2023
CD279: The Censure of Adam Schiff On June 21st, the House of Representatives censured Rep. Adam Schiff of California. The House has censured members just 24 times in our nation’s history, making Schiff the 25th. In this episode, we'll detail the actions outlined in the censure and let you decide for yourself: Is it a serious abuse of power? Is it a waste of time? Is it a deserved punishment? Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via Support Congressional Dish via (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: [email protected] Send Venmo payments to: @Jennifer-Briney Send Cash App payments to: $CongressionalDish or [email protected] Use your bank’s online bill pay function to mail contributions to: Please make checks payable to Congressional Dish Thank you for supporting truly independent media! Background Sources Recommended Congressional Dish Episodes The History of Censure U.S. House of Representatives Office of History, Art and Archives. July 22, 2023. Wikipedia. The Durham Report John Durham. May 12, 2023. U.S. Department of Justice. FISA Warrants Rebecca Beitsch. July 21, 2023. The Hill. Andrew Prokop. February 24, 2018. Vox. February 5, 2018. U.S. House of Representatives The Whistleblower Julian E. Barnes et al. October 2, 2019. The New York Times. Julian E. Barnes and Nicholas Fandos. September 17, 2019. The New York Times. Kyle Cheney. September 13, 2019. Politico. Republicans Who Blocked the First Censure Jared Gans. June 16, 2023. The Hill. Senate Campaign Fundraising Jamie Dupree. July 17, 2023. Regular Order. Impeachment Mania Don Wolfensberger. July 10, 2023. The Hill. Alex Gangitano and Brett Samuels. July 1, 2023. The Hill. Rebecca Beitsch and Emily Brooks. June 29, 2023. The Hill. The Resolution Audio Sources June 21, 2023 House Floor June 21, 2023 House Floor Clips 1:15 Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL): With access to sensitive information unavailable to most Members of Congress, and certainly not accessible to the American people, Representative SCHIFF abused his privileges, claiming to know the truth, while leaving Americans in the dark about this web of lies. These were lies so severe that they altered the course of the country forever: the lie that President Donald Trump colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 Presidential election revealed to be completely false by numerous investigations, including the Durham report; the lie that the Steele dossier—a folder of falsified and since completely debunked collusion accusations funded by the Democratic Party—had any shred of credibility, yet Representative SCHIFF read it into the CONGRESSIONAL RECORD as fact; the lies concocted and compiled in a false memo that was used to lie to the FISA court, to precipitate domestic spying on U.S. citizen, Carter Page, violating American civil liberties. 12:20 Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): Mr. Speaker, to my Republican colleagues who introduced this resolution, I thank you. You honor me with your enmity. You flatter me with this falsehood. You, who are the authors of a big lie about the last election, must condemn the truthtellers, and I stand proudly before you. Your words tell me that I have been effective in the defense of our democracy, and I am grateful. 13:15 Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): Donald Trump is under indictment for actions that jeopardize our national security, and MCCARTHY would spend the Nation’s time on petty political payback, thinking he can censure or fine Trump’s opposition into submission. But I will not yield, not one inch. The cost of the Speaker’s delinquency is high, but the cost to Congress of this frivolous and yet dangerous resolution may be even higher, as it represents another serious abuse of power. 14:50 Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): This resolution attacks me for initiating an investigation into the Trump campaign’s solicitation and acceptance of Russian help in the 2016 election, even though the investigation was first led not by me but by a Republican chairman. 15:10 Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): It would hold that when you give internal campaign polling data to a Russian intelligence operative while Russian intelligence is helping your campaign, as Trump’s campaign chairman did, that you must not call that collusion, though that is its proper name, as the country well knows. 15:30 Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): It would fine me for the costs of the critically important Mueller investigation into Trump’s misconduct, even though the special counsel was appointed by Trump’s own Attorney General. 16:00 Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): It would reprimand me over a flawed FISA application, as if I were its author or I were the Director of the FBI, and over flaws only discovered years later and by the inspector general, not Mr. Durham. In short, it would accuse me of omnipotence, the leader of some vast deep state conspiracy. Of course, it is nonsense. 16:50 Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): My colleagues, if there is cause for censure in this House, and there is, it should be directed at those in this body who sought to overturn a free and fair Election. 19:05 Rep. Mary Miller (R-IL): Representative SCHIFF used his position as the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee to mislead the American people by falsely claiming that there was classified evidence of Russia colluding with President Trump, which was not true. 22:15 Rep. Nick Langworthy (R-NY): SCHIFF repeatedly used the authority he was afforded in his position as chairman to lie to the American people to support his political agenda. Even after the Durham report discredited the Russia hoax, he continued to knowingly lie and peddle this false narrative. 24:45 Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY): ADAM SCHIFF has done nothing wrong. ADAM SCHIFF is a good man. ADAM SCHIFF has served this country with distinction. ADAM SCHIFF served this country well as a Federal prosecutor, fighting to keep communities safe. ADAM SCHIFF served this country well as the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, investigating people without fear or favor, including those at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue because he believes in the Constitution and his oath of office. ADAM SCHIFF served his country well as the lead impeachment manager during the first impeachment trial of the former President of the United States, prosecuting his corrupt abuse of power. Yes, ADAM SCHIFF served this country well in the aftermath of the violent insurrection. He pushed back against the big lie told by the puppet master in chief and participated as a prominent member of the January 6th Committee to defend our democracy. ADAM SCHIFF has done nothing wrong. He has worked hard to do right by the American people. The extreme MAGA Republicans have no vision, no agenda, and no plan to make life better for the American people, so we have this phony, fake, and fraudulent censure resolution. A DAM SCHIFF will not be silenced. We will not be silenced. House Democrats will not be silenced today. We will not be silenced tomorrow. We will not be silenced next week. We will not be silenced next month. We will not be silenced next year. We will not be silenced this decade. We will not be silenced this century. You will never ever silence us. We will always do what is right. We will always fight for the Constitution, fight to defend democracy, fight for freedom, expose extremism, and continue America’s long, necessary, and majestic march toward a more perfect Union. 29:10 Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC): Not only did he spread falsehoods that abused his power, he went after a man, Carter Page, who was completely innocent. Inspector General Horowitz found 17 major mistakes. 31:20 Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL): What really gnaws on the majority and what really bothers them is that Mr. SCHIFF was way better than anybody on their team at debate, at leadership, at messaging, and at legal knowledge. He kicked their ass. He was better, he was more effective, and that still bothers them. 35:40 Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA): Mr. Speaker, I opposed the original version of this resolution, not to defend Mr. SCHIFF’s lies, but to defend the process that exposed those lies. We must never punish speech in this House, only acts. The only way to separate truth from falsehoods or wisdom from folly is free and open debate. We must never impose excessive fines that would effectively replace the constitutional two-thirds vote for expulsion with a simple majority. This new version removes the fine and focuses instead on specific acts, most particularly the abuse of his position as Intelligence Committee chairman by implying he had access to classified information that did not exist and his placement into the CONGRESSIONAL RECORD of the Steele dossier that he knew or should have known was false. 42:35 Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT): The most important thing I can say is that I sat next to ADAM SCHIFF for years. He is a man of integrity and dignity. 49:45 Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX): ADAM SCHIFF is tough. ADAM SCHIFF is smart. ADAM SCHIFF gets the job done. ADAM SCHIFF holds the powerful accountable. 56:35 Rep. André Carson (D-IN): Mr. Speaker, what I do know is that ADAM SCHIFF defended the U.S. Constitution. He led an impartial investigation which followed the facts and led to the first of two impeachments of a former President. 1:00:20 Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL): Today, we are voting on a joke of a measure to censure ADAM SCHIFF, a true public servant and patriot. I urge a strong ‘‘no’’ against this resolution targeting a true American hero. 1:08:30 Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): The only advantage to all of this is that instead of reversing what we did on the IRA to save the planet or reversing what we did to reduce the cost of prescription drugs, we are wasting time. September 26, 2019 CNN Clips 9:05 Wolf Blitzer: As you know, Mr. Chairman, you're being severely criticized by a lot of Republicans for mocking the president during your opening remarks today at the committee. Was it a mistake to make light of the situation? Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): Well, I don't think it's making light of a situation. And I certainly wouldn't want to suggest that there's anything comical about this. But I do think it's all too accurate, that this President, in his conversations with the President of Ukraine, was speaking like an organized crime boss. And the fact that these words are so suggestive that the President used of what we have seen of organized crime harkens back to me of what, for example, James Comey said when he was asked by the President if he could let this matter involving Flynn go, when Michael Cohen testified about how the President speaks in a certain code where you understand exactly what's required here. The point is that the President was using exactly that kind of language. And the President of Ukraine fully understood what he was talking about. Wolf Blitzer: Do you regret the, what you call the parody, the use of those phrases during the course of your opening statement? Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): No, I think everyone understood -- and my GOP colleagues may feign otherwise -- that when I said, suggested that it was as if the President said, "listen carefully, because I'm only going to tell you seven more times" that I was mocking the President's conduct. But make no mistake about this, what the President did is of the utmost gravity and the utmost seriousness, because it involves such a fundamental betrayal of his oath. September 26, 2019 House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Witnesses: Joseph Maguire, Acting Director of National Intelligence, Office of the Director of National Intelligence Clips 6:54 Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): President Zelensky, eager to establish himself at home as the friend of the president of the most powerful nation on earth, had at least two objectives: get a meeting with the president and get more military help. And so what happened on that call? Zelensky begins by ingratiating himself, and he tries to enlist the support of the president. He expresses his interest in meeting with the president, and says his country wants to acquire more weapons from us to defend itself. 7:30 Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): And what is the President’s response? Well, it reads like a classic organized crime shakedown. Shorn of its rambling character and in not so many words, this is the essence of what the President communicates. We’ve been very good to your country. Very good. No other country has done as much as we have. But you know what? I don’t see much reciprocity here. I hear what you want. I have a favor I want from you, though. And I’m going to say this only seven times, so you better listen good. I want you to make up dirt on my political opponent. Understand? Lots of it, on this and on that. I'm gonna put you in touch with people, not just any people, I'm going to put you in touch with Attorney General of the United States, my attorney general, Bill Barr. He's got the whole weight of the American law enforcement behind him. And I'm gonna put you in touch with Rudy, you're going to love Him, trust me. You know what I'm asking. And so I'm only going to say this a few more times, in a few more ways. And by the way, don't call me again, I'll call you when you've done what I asked. This is, in some in character, what the President was trying to communicate with the President of Ukraine. It would be funny if it wasn't such a graphic betrayal of the President's oath of office. But as it does represent a real betrayal, there's nothing the President says here that is in America's interest, after all. 1:14:40 Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH): While the chairman was speaking I actually had someone text me, "Is he just making this up?" And yes, yes he was. Because sometimes fiction is better than the actual words or the texts. But luckily the American public are smart and they have the transcript, they've read the conversation, they know when someone's just making it up. 1:19:45 Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): In my summary, the President's call was meant to be at least part in parody. The fact that that's not clear is a separate problem in and of itself. Of course, the president never said, "If you don't understand me, I'm gonna say seven more times." My point is, that's the message that the Ukraine president was receiving, in not so many words. September 17, 2019 Morning Joe on MSNBC Clips Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower. We would like to. But I'm sure the whistleblower has concerns that he has not been advised as the law requires by the Inspector General or the Director of National Intelligence, just as to how he is to communicate with Congress. And so the risk of the whistleblower is retaliation. Will the whistleblower be protected under the statute if the offices that are supposed to come to his assistance and provide the mechanism are unwilling to do so? But yes, we would love to talk directly with the whistleblower. March 28, 2019 CNN with Chris Cuomo Clips Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): One, there's ample evidence of collusion in plain sight and that is true. And second, that is not the same thing as whether Bob Muller would be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the crime of conspiracy. There's a difference between there being evidence of collusion and proof beyond reasonable doubt of a crime. March 24, 2019 This Week with George Stephanopoulos Clips George Stephenopolous: You have said though in the past there is significant evidence of collusion. How do you square that with Robert Muller's decision not to indict anyone. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): There is significant evidence of collusion, and we've set that out time and time again, from the secret meetings in Trump Tower to the conversations between Flynn and the Russian ambassador, to the providing of polling data to someone linked to Russian intelligence, and Stone's conversation with WikiLeaks and the GRU through -- George Stephenopolous: None of it prosecuted. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): Well that's true. And as I pointed out on your show many times, there's a difference between compelling evidence of collusion and whether the Special Counsel concludes that he can prove beyond a reasonable doubt the criminal charge of conspiracy. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): We need to be able to see any evidence that this President, or people around him, may be compromised by a foreign power. We've of course seen all kinds of disturbing indications that this President has a relationship with Putin that is very difficult to justify or explain. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): It's our responsibility to tell the American people, "These are the facts. This is what your president has done. This is what his key campaign and appointees have done. These are the issues that we need to take action on." This is potential compromise. There is evidence, for example, quite in the public realm that the President sought to make money from the Russians, sought the Kremlin's help to make money during the presidential campaign, while denying business ties with the Russians. February 17, 2019 CNN with Dana Bash Clips Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): Look, you can see evidence in plain sight on the issue of collusion, pretty compelling evidence. Now, there's a difference between seeing evidence of collusion and being able to prove a criminal conspiracy beyond a reasonable doubt. August 5, 2018 Face the Nation Clips Margaret Brennan: Can you agree that there has been no evidence of collusion, coordination, or conspiracy that has been presented thus far between the Trump campaign and Russia? Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): No, I don't agree with that at all. I think there's plenty of evidence of collusion or conspiracy in plain sight. December 10, 2017 CNN Clips Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): But we do know this: the Russians offered help, the campaign accepted help. The Russians gave help and the President made full use of that help, and that is pretty damning whether it is proof beyond a reasonable doubt of conspiracy or not. November 1, 2017 MSNBC Clips Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): What is clear as this: the Kremlin repeatedly told the campaign it had dirt on Clinton and offered to help it and at least one top Trump official, the President's own son, accepted. Rachel Maddow: The Kremlin offered dirt to the Trump campaign. The President's campaign said yes to that offer. That's no longer an open question. All that stuff has now been proven and admitted to. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee today, using his time today, using his opening statement today to walk through -- ding ding ding, point by point -- what we've already learned in black and white, in written correspondence and public statements and in freaking court filings, about all the times the Trump campaign was offered helped by Russia to influence our election and all the times the Trump campaign said "Yes, please." March 23, 2017 The View Clips Jedediah Bila: Congressman, you made yesterday what some are deeming a provocative statement by saying that there is more than circumstantial evidence now that the Trump camp colluded with Russia. Senator John McCain was critical of that, others have been critical of that. Can you defend that statement? Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): Yes. And I, you know, I don't view it as the same bombshell that apparently they did. Look, I've said that I thought there was circumstantial evidence of collusion or coordination, and that there was direct evidence of deception. And no one had an issue with that. And I don't think anyone really contested that, on the basis of the information we keep getting, I can say, in my opinion, it's now not purely circumstantial. We had the FBI Director testify in open session about this, acknowledge an FBI investigation. Obviously, this is now public. And I think it's fair to say that that FBI investigation is justified, that that wouldn't be done on the basis of not credible...
info_outline CD278: All Three UAP Hearings 07/30/2023
CD278: All Three UAP Hearings Since May 2022, Congress has held three hearings looking into Unidentified Aerial Phenomena and the possibility of non-human intelligent life flying aircraft on Earth. In this episode, hear testimony from three Defense Department officials and three credible whistleblowers, whose testimony is often as contradictory as it is shocking. Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via Support Congressional Dish via (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: [email protected] Send Venmo payments to: @Jennifer-Briney Send Cash App payments to: $CongressionalDish or [email protected] Use your bank’s online bill pay function to mail contributions to: Please make checks payable to Congressional Dish Thank you for supporting truly independent media! Background Sources Whistleblower Protections Clayton E. Wire. 2020. Ogborn Mihm LLP. Security Classifications Security Classification of Information, Volume 2. Principles for Classification of Information. Arvin S. Quist. Oak Ridge National Laboratory: 1993. UAP Background Brian Entin. June 6, 2023. NewsNation. Leslie Kean and Ralph Blumenthal. June 5, 2023. The Debrief. May 16, 2021. 60 Minutes. Ralph Blumenthal. December 18, 2017. The New York Times. Helene Cooper et al. December 16, 2017. The New York Times. Independent Research and Development National Defense Industrial Association. SCIFs Derek Hawkins et al. April 26, 2023. The Washington Post. Kirkpatrick Response Letter D. Dean Johnson (@ddeanjohnson). Twitter. Audio Sources July 26, 2023 House Committee on Oversight and Accountability, Subcommittee on National Security, the Border, and Foreign Affairs Witnesses: , Former Commanding Officer, United States Navy Ryan Graves, Executive Director, Americans for Safe Aerospace David Grusch, Former National Reconnaissance Office Representative, Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force, Department of Defense Clips timestamps reflect C-SPAN video 4:30 Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI): The National Defense Authorization Act of 2022 established the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office or AARO to conduct or to coordinate efforts across the Department of Defense and other federal agencies to detect, identify and investigate UAPs. However, AARO's budget remains classified, prohibiting meaningful oversight from Congress. 19:50 Rep. Robert Garcia (D-CA): We know the Senate is taking up an amendment to their defense authorization bill which will create a commission with broad declassification authority and we should all agree that that is an important step. 27:40 Ryan Graves: Excessive classification practices keep crucial information hidden. Since 2021, all UAP videos are classified as secret or above. This level of secrecy not only impedes our understanding, but fuels speculation and mistrust. 27:55 Ryan Graves: In 2014, I was an F-18 Foxtrot pilot in the Navy fighter attack Squadron 11, the Red Rippers, and I was stationed at NAS Oceana in Virginia Beach. After upgrades were made to our jet's radar systems, we began detecting unknown objects operating in our airspace. At first, we assumed they were radar errors. But soon we began to correlate the radar tracks with multiple onboard sensors, including infrared systems, and eventually through visual ID. During a training mission in Warning Area W-72, 10 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach. Two F/A-18F Super Hornets were split by a UAP. The object, described as a dark gray or a black cube inside of a clear sphere, came within 50 feet of the lead aircraft and was estimated to be five to 15 feet in diameter. The mission commander terminated the flight immediately and returned to base. Our squadron submitted a safety report, but there was no official acknowledgement of the incident and no further mechanism to report the sightings. Soon these encounters became so frequent that aircrew would discuss the risk of UAP as part of their regular pre-flight briefs. 29:00 Ryan Graves: Recognising the need for action and answers, I founded Americans for Safe Aerospace. The organization has since become a haven for UAP witnesses who were previously unspoken due to the absence of a safe intake process. More than 30 witnesses have come forward and almost 5000 Americans have joined us in the fight for transparency at safeaerospace.org 29:20 Ryan Graves: The majority of witnesses are commercial pilots at major airlines. Often, they are veterans with decades of flying experience. Pilots are reporting UAP at altitudes that appear above them at 40,000 feet potentially in low Earth orbit or in the gray zone below the Karman Line, making unexplainable maneuvers like right hand turns and retrograde orbits or J hooks. Sometimes these reports are reoccurring with numerous recent sightings north of y and in the North Atlantic. Other veterans are also coming forward to us regarding UAP encounters in our airspace and oceans. The most compelling involve observations of UAP by multiple witnesses and sensor systems. I believe these accounts are only scratching the surface and more will share their experiences once it is safe to do so. 31:30 David Grusch: I became a whistleblower through a PPD 19 urgent concern filing in May 2022 with the intelligence community Inspector General following concerning reports from multiple esteemed and credentialed current and former military and intelligence community individuals that the US government is operating with secrecy above congressional oversight with regards to UAPs. My testimony is based on information I've been given by individuals with a long standing track record of legitimacy and service to this country, many of whom also have shared compelling evidence in the form of photography, official documentation, and classified oral testimony to myself and my various colleagues. I have taken every step I can to corroborate this evidence over a period of four years while I was with the UAP Task Force and do my due diligence on the individual sharing it. Because of these steps. I believe strongly in the importance of bringing this information before you. 33:30 David Grusch: In 2019, the UAP Task Force director asked me to identify all Special Access Programs and Controlled Access Programs, also known as SAPS and CAPS. We needed to satisfy our congressionally mandated mission and we were direct report at the time to the [Deputy Secretary of Defense]. At the time, due to my extensive executive level intelligence support duties, I was cleared to literally all relevant compartments and in a position of extreme trust both in my military and civilian capacities. I was informed in the course of my official duties of a multi-decade UAP crash retrieval and reverse engineering program to which I was denied access to those additional read-ons when I requested it. I made the decision based on the data I collected to report this information to my superiors and multiple Inspectors General and, in effect, becoming a whistleblower. 35:20 Cmdr. David Fravor: We were attached to carrier 11, stationed onboard USS Nimitz and began a two month workup cycle off the coast of California. On this day, we were scheduled for a two v two air-to-air training with the USS Princeton as our control. When we launched off Nimitz, my wingman was joining out, we were told that the training was going to be suspended and we're going to proceed with real world tasking. As we proceeded to the West, the air controller was counting down the range to an object that we were going to and we were unaware of what we're going to see when we arrived. There, the controller told us that these objects had been observed for over two weeks coming down from over 80,000 feet, rapidly descending to 20,000 feet, hanging out for hours and then going straight back up. For those who don't realize, above 80,000 feet is space. We arrived at the location at approximately 20,000 feet and the controller called the merge plot, which means that our radar blip was now in the same resolution cell as a contact. As we looked around, we noticed that we saw some whitewater off our right side. It's important to note the weather on this day was as close to perfect as you could ask for off the coast of San Diego: clear skies, light winds, calm seas, no white caps from waves. So the whitewater stood out in a large blue ocean. All four of us, because we were in an F/A-18F F, so we had pilots and WSO in the backseat, looked down and saw a white tic tac object with a longitudinal axis pointing north-south and moving very abruptly over the water, like a ping pong ball. There were no rotors, no rotor wash, or any sign of visible control surfaces like wings. As we started clockwise towards the object, my WSO I decided to go down and take a closer look with the other aircraft staying in high cover to observe both us and the tic tac. We proceeded around the circle about 90 degrees from the start of our descent, and the object suddenly shifted its longitudinal axis, aligned it with my aircraft and began to climb. We continued down another 270 degrees, and we went nose low to where the tic tac would have been. Our altitude at this point is about 15,000 feet and the tic tac was about 12,000. As we pulled nose-on to the object within about a half mile of it, it rapidly accelerated in front of us and disappeared. Our wingmen, roughly 8000 feet above us, lost contact also. We immediately turned back to see where the whitewater was at and it was gone also. So as you started to turn back towards the east the controller came up and said "Sir you're not going to believe this but that thing is that your cat point roughly 60 miles away in less than a minute." You can calculate the speed. We returned to Nimitz. We were taking off our gear, we were talking to one of my crews that was getting ready to launch, we mentioned it to them and they went out and luckily got the video that you see, that 90 second video. What you don't see is the radar tape that was never released, and we don't know where it's at. 37:55 Cmdr. David Fravor: What is shocking to us is that the incident was never investigated. None of my crew ever questioned and tapes were never taken and after a couple days it turned into a great story with friends. It wasn't until 2009 until J. Stratton had contacted me to investigate. Unbeknownst to all, he was part of the AATIP program at the Pentagon led by Lue Elizondo. There was an unofficial official report that came out it's now in the internet. Years later, I was contacted by the other pilot Alex Dietrich and asked if I'd been contacted and I said "No, but I'm willing to talk." I was contacted by Mr. Elizondo, and we talked for a short period of time, he said we'd be in contact. A few weeks after that I was made aware that Lue had left the Pentagon in protest and joined forces with Tom DeLonge and Chris Mellon, Steve Justice, and others to form To the Stars Academy, an organization that pressed the issue with leading industry experts and US government officials. They worked with Leslie Kean, who is present today, Ralph Blumenthal, and Helene Cooper to publish the articles in the New York Times in 2017. It removed the stigma on the topic of UFOs, which is why we're here today. Those articles opened the door for the government and public that cannot be closed. It has led to an interest from our elected officials, who are not focused on Little Green Men, but figuring out where these craft are, where they are from, the technology they possess, how do they operate. It also led to the Whistleblower Protection Act in the NDAA. 39:45 Cmdr. David Fravor: In closing, I would like to say that the tic tac object we engaged in 2004 was far superior to anything that we had on time, have today, or are looking to develop in the next 10 years. If we, in fact, have programs that possess this technology and needs to have oversight from those people, that the citizens of this great country elected in office to represent what is best for the United States and best for the citizens. I thank you for your time. 40:20 Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI): Are your pilots, or pilots that you interact with as part of your organization, do you feel adequately trained and briefed on how to handle encounters with UAPs? Ryan Graves: No. Right now, military witnesses to UAP have limited options for reporting UAP. But more more concerning is that the commercial aviation sector has not adapted to the lessons that the military has implemented. The military and Department of Defense have stated that UAP represent a critical aviation safety risk. We have not seen that same language being used in the commercial markets, they are not acknowledging this. 41:05 Ryan Graves: Right now we need a system where pilots can report without fear of losing their jobs. There's a fear that the stigma associated with this topic is going to lead to professional repercussions either through management or perhaps through their yearly physical check. So having a secure system, reducing the stigma, and making this information available through the public is going to reduce the concerns that aircrew have. 41:30 Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI): Can you just give me a little idea the degree to which reports in the past are not made public right now? Ryan Graves: Well, I don't think there has been a proper reporting system to gather those reports and thus not report them. So to answer your question, I think there is a dearth of data due to the fact that the reporting has been limited up to this time. 41:45 Ryan Graves: There's certainly some national security concerns when we use our advanced sensors and our tactical jets to be able to identify these objects. However, there's no reason that the objects themselves would be classified. I would be curious to see how the security classification guideline actually spells out the different nuances of how this topic is classified from the perspective of UAP, not national security. 43:00 Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI): Mr. Fravor, the tic tac incident that you were engaged [in] occurred in 2004. What kind of reporting took place after that incident? Ryan Graves: None. We had a standard debrief where the back-seaters went down to our carrier intel center and briefed what had happened, and that was it. No one else talked to us. And I was in the top 20 in the battle group, no one came that the Captain was aware, the of Admiral was aware, nothing was done. Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI): Did your commanding officers provide any sort of justification? Ryan Graves: No, because I was the commanding officer of the quadron. So no. Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI): Was this incident the only UAP event that you encountered while you were a pilot? Ryan Graves: Yes, it was. 43:50 Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI): Do you believe UAPs pose a potential threat to our national security? Ryan Graves: Yes, and here's why: the technology that we faced was far superior than anything that we had, and you could put that anywhere. If you had one, you captured one, you reverse engineered it, you got it to work, you're talking something that can go into space, go someplace, dropped down in a matter of seconds, do whatever it wants and leave. And there's nothing we can do about it. Nothing. 44:20 Ryan Graves: I would also like to add from a commercial aviation and military aviation perspective, we deal with uncertainty in our operating space as a matter of our professional actions. Identifying friend from foe is very important to us. And so when we have identified targets and we continue to ignore those due to a stigma or fear of what it could be, that's an opening that our adversaries can take advantage of. 44:55 Ryan Graves: There needs to be a location where this information is centralized for processing and there needs to be a two-way communication loop so the operators on the front end have feedback and can get best practices on how to process information, what to do, and to ensure that their reporting is being listened to. Right now there is not a lot of back and forth. 46:25 Ryan Graves: When we were first experiencing these objects off the eastern seaboard in the 2014 to 2015 time period, anyone that had upgraded their radar systems were seeing these objects. So there was a large number of my colleagues that were detecting these objects off the eastern seaboard. They were further correlating that information with the other onboard sensors. And many of them also had their own eyesightings, as well, of these objects. Now, that was our personal, firsthand experience at the time. Since then, as I've engaged this topic, others have reached out to me to share their experiences both on the military side as well as the commercial aviation side. On the military aviation side, veterans that have recently got out have shared their stories and have expressed how the objects we are seeing in 2014 and 2015 continued all the way to 2019, 2020, and beyond. And so it became a generational issue for naval aviators on the Eastern Seaboard. This was something we were briefing to new students. This is something that was included in the notice to airmen to ensure that there was no accidents. And now with commercial aviators, they are reaching out because they're having somewhat similar experiences as our military brothers and sisters, but they do not have any reporting system that they can send this to. 47:55 Cmdr. David Fravor: It's actually, it's a travesty that we don't have a system to correlate this and actually investigate. You know, so if you took the east coast, there's coastal radars out there that monitor our air defense identification zone. Out to 200 miles, they can track these. So when you see them, they could actually go and pull that data and get maneuvering. And instead of just having the airplanes, there's other data sources out there. And I've talked to other government officials on this. You need a centrally located repository that these reports go to. So if you just stuck it in DOD, you wouldn't get anything out of the Intelligence Committee because they have a tendency not to talk. But if you had a central location where these reports are coming in, not just military, but also commercial aviation, because there's a lot of that going on, especially if you talk to anyone that flies from here to Hawaii, over the Pacific they see odd lights. So I think you need to develop something that allows you a central point to collect the data in order to investigate. 51:20 Rep. Robert Garcia (D-CA): Mr. Grusch, finally, do you believe that our government is in possession of UAPs? David Grusch: Absolutely, based on interviewing over 40 witnesses over four years. Rep. Robert Garcia (D-CA): And where? David Grusch: I know the exact locations and those locations were provided to the Inspector General, and some of which to the intelligence committees, I actually had the people with the firsthand knowledge provide a protected disclosure to the Inspector General 52:15 Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN): Mr. Graves. Again, I'd like to know, how do you know that these were not our aircraft? Ryan Graves: Some of the behaviors that we saw in a working area. We would see these objects being at 0.0 Mach, that's zero airspeed over certain pieces of the ground. So what that means, just like a river, if you throw a bobber in, it's gonna float downstream. These objects were staying completely stationary in category four hurricane winds. The same objects would then accelerate to supersonic speeds 1.1-1.2 Mach, and they would do so in very erratic and quick behaviors that we don't -- I don't -- have an explanation for. 55:50 Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN): Mr. Fravor, do you believe that you witnessed an additional object under the water in relation to your encounter? Cmdr. David Fravor: I will say we did not see an object. There was something there to cause the whitewater and when we turned around, it was gone. So there was something there that...
info_outline CD277: PGA LIVs 07/15/2023
CD277: PGA LIVs The Chief Operating Officer and a board member of the PGA golf tour recently testified to the Senate as part of its investigation into the possible merger between the PGA and LIV golf tours. In this episode, hear a summary of their testimony which was about monopoly powers, labor rights, Saudi Arabian oil money, loyalty to country…. So much more than golf. Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via Support Congressional Dish via (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: [email protected] Send Venmo payments to: @Jennifer-Briney Send Cash App payments to: $CongressionalDish or [email protected] Use your bank’s online bill pay function to mail contributions to: Please make checks payable to Congressional Dish Thank you for supporting truly independent media! Background Sources Recommended Congressional Dish Episodes PGA Tour 2022. Official 2022-23 PGA Tour Media Guide. Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund. February 24, 2021. BBC. LIV Golf Fergus Bisset. February 1, 2023. Golf Monthly. Doric Sam. August 1, 2022. Bleacher Report. LIV vs. PGA Tim Schmitt. February 17, 2023. Golfweek. PA Media. August 3, 2022. The Guardian. Mark Schlabach. July 11, 2022. ESPN. Yemen Ryan Grim. May 18, 2023. The Intercept. Bruce Riedel. January 27, 2023. Brookings. Shuaib Almosawa. March 16, 2022. The Intercept. Audio Sources July 11, 2023 Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs, Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations Witnesses: Ron Price, Chief Operating Officer, PGA TOUR Jimmy Dunne, Board Member, PGA TOUR 2002 HBO Music by (found on by mevio) Editing Production Assistance
info_outline CD276: The Demise of Dollar Dominance 06/26/2023
CD276: The Demise of Dollar Dominance The U.S. dollar’s status as the global reserve currency is diminishing, which reduces the power that U.S. leaders have over the global economic system. In this episode, hear highlights from recent Congressional testimony during which financial elites examine the current status of the global financial system and what Congress is being told to do to address perceived threats to it (and to their own power). Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via Support Congressional Dish via (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: [email protected] Send Venmo payments to: @Jennifer-Briney Send Cash App payments to: $CongressionalDish or [email protected] Use your bank’s online bill pay function to mail contributions to: Please make checks payable to Congressional Dish Thank you for supporting truly independent media! Background Sources Recommended Congressional Dish Episodes International Monetary Fund Updated June 21, 2023. International Monetary Fund. June 9, 2023. International Monetary Fund. Updated December 2022. International Monetary Fund. Argentina October 17, 2018. International Monetary Fund. January 11, 1999. International Monetary Fund. Ecuador March 13, 2003. International Monetary Fund. Smaller Banks within the World Trade System China World Trade Organization. World Trade Organization. Stephen Kirchner. January 24, 2022. United States Studies Centre. Kurt M. Campbell and Ely Ratner. February 13, 2018. Foreign Affairs. The World Bank December 10, 2020. Bretton Woods Observer. Eric Toussaint. April 2, 2020. Committee for the Abolition of Illegitimate Debt. Yukon Huang. January 15, 2020. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Congressional Stock Trade Tracking US Abuse of Sanctions Lawrence Summers et. al. June 15, 2023. Foreign Affairs. Allies Pivoting Jamil Anderlini and Clea Caulcutt. April 9, 2023. Politico. February 2, 2022. Al Jazeera. Witnesses Accessed June 24, 2023. Council on Foreign Relations. Carla Norrlof - Atlantic Council. Audio Sources June 7, 2023 House Financial Services Committee Witnesses: Dr. Tyler Goodspeed, Kleinheinz Fellow, Hoover Institution at Stanford University Dr. Michael Faulkender, Dean’s Professor of Finance, Robert H. Smith School of Business at University of Maryland Dr. Daniel McDowell, Associate Professor, Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs at Syracuse University Marshall Billingslea, Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute Dr. Carla Norrlöf, Senior Fellow, The Atlantic Council and Professor, University of Toronto Clips 34:05 Dr. Tyler Goodspeed: In 2022, as the Ranking Member highlighted, 88% of all foreign exchange transactions by value involved the United States Dollar, a figure that has been roughly constant since 1989, which is testament to the substantial path dependence in international currency usage due to large positive network externalities. As the Ranking Member also highlighted, 59% of all official foreign exchange reserves were held in US dollars, which is down from a figure of 71.5% in 2001. By comparison 31% of all foreign exchange transactions by value involve the Euro, which is the second most commonly transacted currency, which accounted for 20% of official foreign exchange reserves. 34:50 Dr. Tyler Goodspeed: The fact that 90% of all foreign exchange transactions continue to involve the United States dollar, and that global central banks continue to hold almost 60% of their foreign exchange reserves in US dollars confers net economic benefits on the United States economy. First, foreign demand for reserves of US dollars raises demand for dollar denominated securities, in particular United States Treasury's. This effectively lowers the cost of borrowing for US households, US companies, and federal, state and local governments. It also means that on average, the United States earns more on its investments in foreign assets than we have to pay on foreign investments in the United States, which allows the United States to import more goods and services than we export. Second, foreign demand for large reserves of US dollars and dollar denominated assets raises the value of the dollar and a stronger dollar benefits us consumers and businesses that are net importers of goods and services from abroad. Third, large reserve holdings of US currency abroad in effect constitutes an interest free loan to the United States worth about $10 to $20 billion per year. Fourth, the denomination of the majority of international transactions in US dollars likely modestly lowers the exchange rate risks faced by US companies. Fifth, the given the volume of foreign US dollar holdings and dollar denominated debt, monetary policy actions by foreign central banks generally have a smaller impact on financial conditions in the United States than actions by the United States Central Bank have on financial conditions in other countries. 36:40 Dr. Tyler Goodspeed: However, the benefits of the US dollar's global reserve status are not without costs. The lower interest rates in the United States benefit US borrowers, especially the federal government. They also lower returns to US savers. In addition, though a stronger dollar benefits US consumers and businesses that net import goods and services from abroad, it does also disadvantage US firms that export goods and services abroad as well as firms that compete against imported goods and services. Furthermore, the perception of the US dollar as a safe haven asset means that demand for the dollar tends to increase in response to adverse macroeconomic events that are global in nature. As a result, the competitiveness of US exporters and US firms that compete against imported goods and services are likely to face an increased competitive disadvantage at times of elevated global macroeconomic stress. 37:35 Dr. Tyler Goodspeed: However, despite these costs, studies generally find that the economic benefits of the dollar's prominent global status outweigh the costs, providing a modest net benefit to the United States economy. This does not include the substantial benefit to which the chairman referred of the United States dollar's centrality in global transactions, allowing the United States to utilize financial sanction tools when appropriate in support of national security objectives. 44:50 Dr. Daniel McDowell: With little more than the stroke of the President's pen or through an Act of Congress, the US government can use financial sanctions to impose enormous economic costs on targeted foreign actors, be they individuals, firms, or state institutions, by freezing their dollar assets or cutting them off from access to the banks through which those dollars flow. The consequences for individual targets, known as specially designated nationals or SDNs, are severe, significantly impairing targets capacity to participate in international trade, investment, debt repayment, and depriving them of access to their wealth. Over the last two decades, the United States has used the tool of financial sanctions with increasing frequency. For example, in the year 2000, just four foreign governments were directly targeted under a US Treasury Country Program overseen by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). Today that number is greater than 20, and if we include penalties from secondary sanctions the list gets even longer. The more that the United States has reached for financial sanctions, the more it has made adversaries and foreign capitals aware of the strategic vulnerability that stems from dependence on the dollar. Some governments have responded by implementing anti-dollar policies measures that are designed to reduce an economy's reliance on the US currency for investment in cross-border transactions. But these measures sometimes fail to achieve their goals. Others have produced modest levels of de-dollarization. Notable examples here include Russian steps to cut its dollar reserves and reduce the use of the dollar and trade settlement in the years leading up to its full scale invasion of Ukraine, or China's ongoing efforts to build its own international payments network based on the Yuan, efforts that have taken on a new sense of urgency as Beijing has become more aware of its own strategic vulnerabilities from Dollar dependence. 47:05 Dr. Daniel McDowell: The United States should reconsider the use of so-called symbolic financial sanctions. That is, if the main objective of a tranche of sanctions is to signal to the world or to a domestic audience that Washington disapproves of a foreign government's policy choices, other measures that can send a similar signal but do not politicize the dollar system ought to be considered first. Second, the use of financial sanctions against issuers of potential rival currencies in particular, China and its Yuan should face a higher bar of scrutiny. Even a small targeted sanctions program provides information to our adversaries about their vulnerabilities, and gives them time to prepare for a future event when a broad US sanctions program may be called upon as part of a major security crisis, when such measures will be most needed. Finally, whenever possible, US financial sanctions should be coordinated with our allies in Europe and Asia, who should feel as if they are key stakeholders in the dollar system and not vassals to it. Such coordinated efforts will prevent our friends from seeking to conduct business with U.S. adversaries outside of the dollar system and send a message to the whole world that moving activities into secondary currencies, like the Euro or the Yen, is not a safe haven. 48:35 Marshall Billingslea: I'll say at the outset that I agree with you and others that to paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of the dollar's demise have been greatly exaggerated. That said, we need to remind ourselves that in the 16th century the Spanish silver dollar was the dominant currency, in the 17th century it was Dutch florins, in the 18th century it was the pound sterling. The link between a nation's currency and its role as the relatively dominant political actor on the world stage is pretty clear. And that is why people like Lula from Brazil, Putin and Xi all aspire to undercut the role of the dollar as the global reserve currency. 50:00 Marshall Billingslea: If we look at what Russia did in the run-up to its further invasion of Ukraine, they began dumping ownership of treasury bonds in 2018. In that year, they plummeted from $96 billion and holdings down to $15 billion and they also started buying large amounts of gold. China is now, as the Ranking Member has observed, embarking on its own its own gold buying spree. I haven't seen the data for May, but April marked the sixth straight month of Chinese expansion in its gold holdings, and I'm not sure I believe the official figures. We have to recall that China is the dominant gold mining player around the world and half of those gold mining companies are state-owned. So the actual size of China's war chest when it comes to gold reserves may be far higher. In fact, I suspect inevitably far higher than official numbers suggest. Last year China also started dumping its treasuries. 2022 marked the largest or second largest decrease on record, with a drop of about $174 billion, and China stood at the lowest level since 2010. In terms of its holdings, though, this past March they did reverse course. This bears close watching because a sell-off may be a strong indicator of planned aggression. 51:20 Marshall Billingslea: The sheer size of the Chinese economy dwarfs what we've been contending with in the form of Iran, Russia, and so on. And one of the first things that the Biden administration did in the wake of Russia's attack was start sanctioning Russian banks and de-SWIFTing them. That's one thing when you're going after an economy smaller than the size of Texas; it's quite another when you consider that out of the 100 largest banks in the world, China has 20, and all four of the top four are Chinese banks. And that is why many within the Treasury contended when I was there, and they will contend to this day, that these Chinese banks are simply too big to sanction. I don't agree that we can allow that to stand but I do believe we have to start taking very swift action to put us in a situation where we could take punitive measures on these banks if necessary. 54:10 Dr. Carla Norrlöf: I will note that the Dollar's dominance is not quite as strong amongst private actors and private markets as it is with governments. In private transactions, it averages about 45% of the world's total. That includes FX transactions, but also things like issuance of international debt, securities, and cross-border banking. 54:55 Dr. Carla Norrlöf: The Chinese Yuan poses no immediate threat to dollar dominance. It accounts for roughly 3% of overall reserves. So far China has been successful in promoting the Yuan with its trade partners, but the Yuan is scarcely used by countries outside trade with China. China is a potential long term challenger due to its active pursuit of trade and investment relationships. If the Yuan is increasingly used by third countries, it will pose a greater threat to the dollar. 55:30 Dr. Carla Norrlöf: And in addition to these external threats, there is also a domestic threat. Flirting with the possibility of a voluntary default puts dollar dominance at risk. What should the US do to maintain dominance, to curb the domestic threat? Congress should consider creating an alternative mechanism for resolving political differences on government spending and its consequences. 56:00 Dr. Carla Norrlöf: To rein in external threats the United States should, whenever possible, implement multilateral sanctions in support of broadly endorsed goals to shore up the liberal international order. This is likely to limit dollar backlash. 59:40 Marshall Billingslea: The thing I do worry -- I come back to this fact that they've been buying a lot of gold -- that one of the things that they could do, which would be very concerning, if they wind up having larger reserves of gold than we believe, is they could start issuing Yuan or gold denominated, gold-backed Yuan contracts and that would further their ambition for introducing the Yuan onto the world stage. 1:05:00 Marshall Billingslea: China considers the actual composition of its foreign exchange reserves to be a state secret. So they don't publish and they they view it as a criminal offense to try to obtain that information in terms of the balance of how much is gold, how much Dollar or Euro denominated. But the numbers I've seen suggest that still at this moment, about 50% to 60% of their Foreign Exchange reserves are still in Dollars or Euros, which means that they are at high risk of sanctions; we can affect them. The problem is that that war chest that they've built up is enormous. It's more than $3 trillion that they have in Foreign Exchange reserves. Compare that with what Russia had at the onset of its assault, which was around $680 billion, of which we managed to freeze overseas half of it, but Russia is still keeping its economy going despite the Biden administration sanctions. So imagine how they're going to be able to continue with that sizable war kitty in Beijing if they do decide to go after the Taiwanese. 1:09:00 Dr. Tyler Goodspeed: Short term I think the risk is that we continue to see diversification away from the dollar, PRC continuing to push other countries to use trade inverse invoicing and Renminbi, that they continue to promote the offshore Renminbi market, that they continue to promote or force bilateral clearing. Longer term, I think the bigger risk is that foreign investors no longer perceive the United States federal government debt to be as safe and risk free as it is today perceived. 1:41:20 Dr. Daniel McDowell: The demonstration of US control over the actual flow of dollars, of communication, absolutely provides information to adversaries to prepare for events where they may face similar circumstances. And so I think what we're seeing is China, we're seeing Russia, we're seeing other countries try to create alternative payments networks. Russia has its own SPFS payment messaging system. It's quite small. It was launched in 2014, not coincidentally, after the initial round of sanctions targeting Russia. In terms of CIPS, China's cross border payments network, Belarus announced it was having banks join immediately following the 2022 sanctions. So what I'm saying is there's a pattern between when the United States mobilizes control over the pipes and the messaging of cross-border payments and adversaries looking for alternatives. It doesn't mean they're using them, but they're getting plugged into the system as at least sort of a rainy day option in the event of a future targeting. 1:45:35 Dr. Daniel McDowell: I look at China not just as a typical country, because I think they're an alternative service provider. Most countries fall into alternative service users; they're looking for an alternative to the dollar. China, you could perhaps put Europe in this as well, are the only two sort of economic BLOCs capable, I think, of constructing an attractive enough cross-border payments network that could attract those alternative service users that are looking for that network. And so that's why I think again, with China, there should be a higher bar of scrutiny. 2:02:20 Dr. Tyler Goodspeed: As deficits mount and as the debt burden rises above 100%, I think the Congressional Budget Office has it ending the budget window at about 119% of our economy, then we will probably observe an acceleration of diversification away from the dollar as a hedge. Again, I don't see another single currency displacing the dollar as the major international currency or as the major reserve currency, but continued diversification. May 25, 2023 House Financial Services Committee Witnesses: Jesse M. Schreger, Associate Professor of Business, Columbia Business School Mark Rosen, Partner, Advection Growth Capital and former Acting Executive Director, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Daniel F. Runde, Senior Vice President, Center for Strategic & International Studies(CSIS) Rich Powell, Chief Executive Officer, ClearPath & ClearPath Action Daouda Sembene, Distinguished Nonresident Fellow, CGD and CEO, AfriCatalyst Clips 39:55 Mark Rosen: The IMF is the global lender of last resort to countries that are in economic distress. IMF borrowers usually have a balance of payments problem, are running out of foreign exchange reserves, and so cannot meet their obligations. The IMF negotiates a set of economic policies with the borrower in government to alleviate the crisis, and, conditional on the government implementing the agreed policies, provides a loan in tranches, normally over a three year period. 41:00 Mark Rosen: The biggest challenge the IMF faces today is China which, as we've heard, has lent vast sums to emerging market and low income countries in a non-transparent and irresponsible manner. Many IMF members are now struggling to repay China. 42:05 Mark Rosen: The United States is the largest shareholder in the IMF and has veto power over certain key decisions and it's critical that the US continues to maintain its ownership of more than 15% which enables it to have this veto power. 42:20 Mark Rosen: China for some time, has been pressing for an increased quota share at the IMF. However, given its irresponsible lending, and then willingness to provide debt relief to developing countries, this is not the time to reward China with increased ownership at the Fund. Two other issues I'd like to focus on are anti-corruption and the catalytic role of the private sector in the work of the IMF. Corruption is a severe problem for many emerging market countries, which do not have...
info_outline CD275: Debt Ceiling 2023: Crisis Normalized 06/12/2023
CD275: Debt Ceiling 2023: Crisis Normalized Another unnecessary crisis averted. In this episode, Jen examines the debt ceiling crisis events of the past to show that the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 - which raised the debt ceiling - is not likely to reduce our government’s debt but will likely ensure that our environment will be trashed for profit. She also examines the best path forward to ensure that the debt ceiling is never used for political leverage again. Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via Support Congressional Dish via (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: [email protected] Send Venmo payments to: @Jennifer-Briney Send Cash App payments to: $CongressionalDish or [email protected] Use your bank’s online bill pay function to mail contributions to: Please make checks payable to Congressional Dish Thank you for supporting truly independent media! Background Sources Congressional Dish Episodes Debt Ceiling Overview Natalie Sherman. Jun 2, 2023. BBC. Noah Berman. Last Updated May 25, 2023. Council on Foreign Relations. Raymond Scheppach. May 12, 2023. The Conversation. Scott Simon and Lennon Sherburne. April 29, 2023. NPR. New Development Bank Ben Norton. Jun 8, 2023. Monthly Review Online. Jun 5, 2023. New Development Bank. Debt Limit History Bipartisan Policy Center. Paul Lewis and Dan Roberts. Oct 15, 2013. The Guardian. Binyamin Appelbaum and Eric Dash. Aug 5, 2011. The New York Times. Clay Chandler. Sept 22, 1995. The Washington Post. 2023 Crisis Carl Hulse. May 2, 2023. The New York Times. Carl Hulse and Jeanna Smialek. Apr 7, 2023. The New York Times. The Debt Cristina Enache. Jan 31, 2023. Tax Foundation. Updated May 25, 2023. Investopedia. Updated May 2021. Tax Policy Center. The Law Law Outline Sets spending caps for fiscal years 2024 and 2025 2024: Over $886 billion for defense Over $703 billion for non-defense If there is a continuing resolution in effect on or after January 1, 2024 for fiscal year 2024, or a continuing resolution for 2025 on or affect January 1, 2025, defense and non-defense spending will be sequestered, meaning a 1% across the board cut Explains how the House of Representatives must implement this law Explains how the Senate must implement this law Takes money back from accounts where it wasn't all spent including from: The Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Specifically their COVID vaccine activities and vaccine supply chains All the money except $7 billion for COVID testing and mitigation All of the SARS-CO-V2 genomic sequencing money except for $714 million All of the money for COVID global health programs International Disaster Assistance funds for the State Department National Institutes of Health - National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Community health centers National Health Service Corps Nurse Corps Graduate level teaching health centers Mental health and substance use disorder training for health care professionals and public safety officers Grants for mental health for medical providers Funding for pediatric mental health care access Grants for survivors of sexual assault Child abuse prevention and treatment Medical visits at home for families State and local fiscal recovery funds Rural health care grants Restaurant revitalization fund Elementary and secondary school emergency relief funds Housing for people with disabilities Housing for the elderly Grants to Amtrak and airports Air carrier worker support and air transportation payroll support Defunds the IRS by approximately $1.4 billion Requires agencies to submit plan to reduce spending in an equal or greater amount to every action they take that increases spending. This is easily waived and expires at the end of 2024.. At the end of September, people with Federal student loans will have to begin repayment of their loans, and the Secretary of Education is not allowed to implement an extension of the payment pause. Orders reports about work requirements for welfare payments In order to receive food benefits for more than 3 months in a 3 year period, "able bodied" people have to work at least 20 hours per week or participate in a work program for 20 hours per week unless that person is under 18 or over 50 years old, medically unable to work, is a parent with dependent children, or is pregnant. This provision increases the work requirement age over the next few years so it becomes 55 years old. This provision adds homeless individuals, veterans or foster kids until they are 24 to the list of people exempt from the work requirements This provision expires and the qualifications revert back to what they used to be on October 1, 2030 Changes the requirements for NEPA environmental studies to include "any negative environmental impacts of not implementing the proposed agency action in the case of a no action alternative..." and requires only "irreversible and irretrievable commitments of FEDERAL resources which would be involved in the proposed agency action should it be implemented" Adds circumstances when agencies will not have to produce environmental impact documents Requires environmental impact statements when the action has a "reasonably foreseeable significant effect on the quality of the HUMAN environment." Allows agencies to use "any reliable data source" and says the agency is "not required to undertake new scientific or technical research unless the new scientific or technical research is essential to a reasoned choice among alternatives and the overall costs and time frame of obtaining it are not unreasonable." Assigns roles for "lead agencies" and "cooperating agencies" and says that the agencies will produce a single environmental document Sets a 150 page limit on environmental impact statements and 300 pages for a proposed agency action with "extraordinary complexity" Sets a 75 page limit on environmental assessments Requires lead agencies to allow a "project sponsor" to prepare environmental assessments and environmental impact statements under the supervision of the agency. The lead agency will "evaluate" the documents and "shall take responsibility for the contents." Environmental impact statements must be complete in under 2 years after the EIS is ordered by the agency Environmental assessments must be completed in 1 year The agency may extend the deadlines Project sponsors are given the right to take government agencies to court for failure to meet a deadline "Congress hereby ratifies and approves all authorizations, permits, verifications, extensions, biological opinions, incidental take statements, and any other approvals or orders issued pursuant to Federal law necessary for the construction and initial operation at full capacity of the Mountain Valley Pipeline." Gives the Secretary of the Army 21 days after enactment of this law to issue "all permits or verifications necessary to complete the construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline across the waters of the United States" "No court shall have jurisdiction..." to review "...any approval necessary for the construction and initial operation at full capacity of the Mountain Valley Pipeline... including any lawsuit pending in a court as of the date of enactment of this section." Suspends the debt limit until January 1, 2025 On January 2, 2025, the debt limit will automatically increase to whatever amount the debt level is at the end of the suspension Audio Sources June 1, 2023 Senate Session Parts & May 31, 2023 May 30, 2023 House Committee on Rules Clips 22:50 Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO): I should note for my colleagues that Democrats could have raised the debt limit last year when they controlled the House of Representatives. 35:30 Rep. Ron Estes (R-KS): The Fiscal Responsibility Act finally ends the federal student loan moratorium and the so-called interest pause, effective August 31, 2023. For every month borrowers were allowed to skip payments, $4.3 billion were added to the American taxpayers debt. 41 months later, the moratorium has cost American taxpayers approximately $176 billion. 1:01:15 Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO): The President put forward a budget months ago. Chairman Smith, do you know when the President submitted his budget to the United States Congress? Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO): I don't remember but it was -- Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO): It was March 9th. Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO): It was late. It was due February 1st. Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO): Oh, I'm glad you noted that. Chairman Smith, when did the Republicans submit their budget? Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO): You would need to ask the budget committee. Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO): I would need to ask the budget committee. Mr. Estes. When did the Republicans submit their budget? [Pause] Only in the Rules Committee, by the way, could a witness lay blame at the president for being a few weeks late in submitting his budget when his party hasn't submitted a budget, period. 1:06:45 Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-PA): We also run the risk that we will one day not be the reserve currency of the world. The reason why our interest rates are so low comparatively, is because we are a safe haven for investment for the rest of the world. These sort of antics increasingly bring that into doubt whether or not folks will get their money, the folks who are lending to us. 1:24:15 Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez (D-NM): Now, Standard and Poor's, they downgraded our credit rating. Have they increased that credit rating? Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-PA): No. There are three credit agencies Standard and Poor's, which was the one that downgraded us in 2011, never reversed their downgrade. And frankly my concern and the worry right now is that the other two credit agencies will now follow suit, given the events of the last couple of months, which obviously look very much like 2011 all over again. 1:50:55 Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA): I continue to be stunned by the fact that when I look at this deal, which focuses on discretionary funding, that the people who seem to be asked to do the most or to absorb the hits the most are the people that least can afford it. The military budget is part of this discretionary budget, it's over 50% of the discretionary budget. The United States spends more on national defense than China, Russia, India, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, Germany, France, South Korea, Japan and Ukraine combined. And yet, if this moves forward, we see an increase in defense spending. I mentioned in my opening remarks, I don't know how many of you saw the 60 minutes piece the other day, I mean, we all know, of the cost overruns in the Department of Defense. I mean, the idea that we're spending $10,000 for a $300 oil switch. I mean, it's been there for a long time, and yet, we seem unable to want to grapple with that waste and those cost overruns. I don't know if it's the defense lobbyists or the campaign contributions or whatever it is, but somehow, when it comes to the military budget, you know, not only are we not holding them accountable, but you know, we say we're going to increase it even more, even more, we'll give you more. 2:57:40 Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX): Look, I'm for NEPA reforms 100%. We need them for road projects, transportation, particularly for our energy industry. But my concern here that we've got language that none of us have fully reviewed, going through the committees of jurisdiction that has been adopted, that I've got colleagues texting me and saying they're not 100% sure if that language is good or bad for the purpose intended. I've got colleagues on both sides of the aisle that have raised those questions. And so the purpose intended, of course, is to streamline projects, whatever those projects may be. But I've got a text right here from GOP colleagues saying, Well, I'm not so sure that these will actually do what we think they will do, to streamline said projects. And in fact, a former high up in the administration, in the Energy Department under the Trump administration, just validated that concern by one of my colleagues. Yet we are putting forward this measures saying some grand improvement with respect to NEPA, that that's somehow something we should be applauding when it's not the full package of H.R. 1, which had gone through committee. And importantly, the one thing that I think is 100% clear, is that this bill fails to include even the most basic reform to President Biden's unreliable energy subsidies that were put forward in the so called inflation Reduction Act for the wealthy, elites, corporations, and the Chinese Communist Party just to be blunt. And frankly, it ensures that permitting reform will likely benefit renewables the most. Basically, if you're a government that is subsidizing the crap out of something, in this case, unreliable energy, giving massive subsidies to billion dollar corporations, giving significant subsidies to families that make over 100,000, 300,000 for EVs, because you're chasing your your dreams of, you know, a fossil fuel-less world. You're going to absolutely decimate our grid because you're not going to have the projects being developed for the gas and the coal nuclear that are actually required to keep your grid functioning. But yeah, that's what we're doing and I just for the life of me can't understand why we're applauding that. 3:15:50 Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO): So we've been asking for the IRS to give us a plan of how they wanted to spend the additional $80 billion that they had. They finally gave that to Congress about six weeks, eight weeks ago. They broke down how they're spending the $80 billion: $1.4 billion of it was for hiring more agents and what the bill before you does, it eliminates that $1.4 billion for this year. May 25, 2023 House Session, Parts & May 24, 2023 May 21, 2023 60 Minutes May 17, 2023 Senate Budget Committee Witnesses: Bobby Kogan, Senior Director, Federal Budget Policy, Center for American Progress Bruce Bartlett, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy, United States Department of Treasury Samantha Jacoby, Senior Tax Legal Analyst, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities Dr. Adam Michel, Director of Tax Policy Studies, Cato Institute Scott Hodge, President Emeritus & Senior Policy Advisor, Tax Foundation Clips 32:25 Bobby Kogan: Today I intend to make two points. First, without the Bush tax cuts, their bipartisan extensions, and the Trump tax cuts, the ratio of debt to GDP would be declining indefinitely. And second, our rising debt ratio is due entirely to these tax cuts and not to spending increases. Throughout this testimony, When I say spending, I mean primary spending, that is spending excluding interest on the federal debt, and every mention of revenues, spending deficits, and debt means those amounts as a percent of GDP. Okay, according to CBO primary deficits are on track to stabilize at roughly 4% over 30 years, high enough to cause the debt to rise indefinitely. The common refrain that you will hear, that I heard when I staffed this committee, and that unfortunately, I expect to hear today, is that rising debt is due to rising spending. Revenues have been roughly flat since the 1960s and while spending was also roughly flat until recently, demographic changes and rising healthcare costs are now pushing the costs up. These facts are true. Our intuitions might reasonably tell us that if revenues are flat, and spending is rising, then the one changing must be to blame. But our intuitions are wrong. In CBO's periodic long term projections earlier this century, spending was projected to continue rising, but despite this CBO routinely projected long term debt stability, It projected revenues to keep up with this rising spending, not due to tax increases, but due to our tax code bringing in more as our country and the people in it prospered. That prosperity results in both higher revenue collection and higher real after tax income for the people whose incomes are growing, it is a win win. In other words, we used to have a tax system that would fully keep pace with rising spending. And then the Bush tax cuts were enacted and expanded, and then on a bipartisan basis eventually made largely permanent in 2013. Under the law dictating CBO and OMB's baseline construction, temporary changes in tax law are assumed to end as scheduled. In practice this meant that CBO is projection showed the Bush tax cuts ending on schedule with the tax code then reverting to prior law. 2012 was therefore the last year in which CBO is projections reflected the Bush tax cuts expiring. Yes, CBO's 2012 long term projections showed rising spending, but it also showed revenues exceeding spending for all 65 years of its extended baseline with indefinite surpluses, CBO showed debt declining indefinitely. But ever since the Bush tax cuts were made permanent CBO has showed revenues lower than spending and has projected debt to rise indefinitely. And since then, the Trump tax cuts further reduced revenues. Without the Bush tax cuts, their bipartisan extensions, and the Trump tax cuts, debt would be declining indefinitely, regardless of your assumptions about the alternative minimum tax. Two points explain this. The first employs a concept called the fiscal gap, which measures how much primary deficit reduction is required to stabilize the debt. The 30 year fiscal gap is currently 2.4% of GDP, which means that on average primary deficits over 30 years would need to be 2.4% of GDP lower for the debt in 2053 to be equal to what it is now. The size of the Bush tax cuts their extensions and the Trump tax cuts under current law over the next 30 years is 3.8% of GDP. Therefore, mathematically and unequivocally without these tax cuts, debt would be declining as a percent of GDP, not rising. 41:45 Bruce Bartlett: The reason I changed my mind about taxes and decided that we needed tax increases happened on a specific day that I'm sure Senator Grassley remembers, if nobody else. And that was the day in November of 2003, when the Medicare Part D legislation passed, and I was just, you know, at the time, I thought the reason Republicans, and I was a Republican in those days, were put on this earth was to control entitlement programs. And I was appalled that an entirely new entitlement program was created that was completely unfunded. It raised the deficit forever by about 1% of GDP. And I thought a dedicated tax should have been enacted, along with that program, which I didn't oppose and don't oppose. In fact, I benefit from it at my age. But I just think that we need proper funding. And that was when I first started saying we needed to raise taxes, because we just can't cut discretionary spending enough to fix the problem. And I think this is the error of the House budget, which cuts almost entirely domestic discretionary spending, doesn't even touch defense, and I just think that's extraordinarily unrealistic and an unserious approach to our deficit problem. We simply have to do something about entitlements. If you're going to control spending, control the budget on the spending side, I don't think we're going to do that. I think we need a new tax. I have advocated a value added tax for many years, as a supplement to our existing tax system. It creates, you can raise a lot of revenue from it every virtually every industrialized country has one. The money could be used to fix things in the tax code, as a tax reform measure. Once upon a time in the 70s, and even the 80s, it was considered the sine qua non of Republican tax policy, because it's a consumption based tax system, a flat tax, and now many Republicans are in favor of something called the Fair Tax which is very similar except that it won't work. Administratively it's poorly designed. The Value Added Tax will work and that's why it...
info_outline CD274: Norfolk Southern Train Derailment in East Palestine 05/28/2023
CD274: Norfolk Southern Train Derailment in East Palestine On February 3rd, a train carrying 20 cars with poisonous, flammable chemicals derailed in East Palestine, OH. In this episode, we’re going to get some answers. Using testimony from four Congressional hearings, community meeting footage, National Transportation Safety Board preliminary reports, and lots of articles from local and mainstream press, you will learn what Congress is being told as they write the Rail Safety Act, which both parts of Congress are working on in response to the East Palestine train derailment. Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via Support Congressional Dish via (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: [email protected] Send Venmo payments to: @Jennifer-Briney Send Cash App payments to: $CongressionalDish or [email protected] Use your bank’s online bill pay function to mail contributions to: Please make checks payable to Congressional Dish Thank you for supporting truly independent media! Background Sources Recommended Congressional Dish Episodes East Palestine Derailment Overview Alisha Ebrahimji and Holly Yan. Mar 23, 2023. CNN. Associated Press. Feb 8, 2023. NPR. Feb 8, 2023. Cleveland 19 News. Vinyl Chloride and Dioxins Associated Press. Feb 8, 2023. CBS News Pittsburgh. Oct 4, 2016. World Health Organization. Last reviewed Oct 21, 2014. Centers for Disease Control Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. National Transportation Safety Board Findings Last updated Mar 21, 2023. National Transportation Safety Board. Ian Cross. Feb 14, 2023. ABC News 5 Cleveland. “Vent and Burn” Decision Jordan Chariton. May 25, 2023. Status Coup News. Tara Morgan. May 15, 2023. ABC News 5 Cleveland. Daniel Bates. May 15, 2023. The Daily Mail. EPA failures Louis DeAngelis. Mar 29, 2023. Status Coup News. East Palestine Resident Health Problems Zsuzsa Gyenes. May 16, 2023. The Guardian. Nicki Brown, Artemis Moshtaghian and Travis Caldwell. Mar 4, 2023. CNN. Tara Morgan. Apr 28, 2023. ABC News 5 Cleveland. Norfolk Southern Norfolk Southern. Andrea Cambron, Jason Carroll and Chris Isidore. May 11, 2023. CNN Business. Aaron Gordon. Feb 15, 2023. Vice. Rachel Premack. Feb 14, 2023. Freight Waves. Josh Funk. May 16, 2021. AP News. Lobbying Against Regulations David Sirota et al. Feb 8, 2023. The Lever. ECP Brake Deregulation William C. Vantuono. Dec 5, 2017. Railway Age. Railway Safety Act Abigail Bottar. May 10, 2023. Ideastream Public Media. Staffing Cuts Heather Long. Jan 3, 2020. The Washington Post. Long Trains Dan Schwartz and Topher Sanders. Apr 3, 2023. Propublica. Bills Audio Sources May 10, 2023 Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation Clips 36:30 Sen. JD Vance (R-OH): This bill has changed a lot from what I introduced just a few short months ago. We’ve made a number of concessions to industry; a number of concessions to the rail industry, a number of concessions to various interest groups, which is why we have so much bipartisan support in this body but also why we have a lot of support from industry. March 28, 2023 March 28, 2023 House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment, Manufacturing, & Critical Materials Witnesses: Debra Shore, Regional Administrator, U.S Environmental Protection Agency, Region 5 Wesley Vins, Health Commissioner, Columbiana County General Health District Anne M. Vogel, Director, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Clips 30:40 Debra Shore: Since the derailment, EPA has been leading robust, multi-layered air quality testing, using state of the art technology in and around East Palestine, and that extensive monitoring has continued daily at 23 stations throughout the community. Since the fire was extinguished on February 8, EPA monitors have not detected any volatile organic compounds above established levels of health concerns. EPA has also been assisting with indoor air screenings in homes through a voluntary program to keep residents informed. As of March 21, more than 600 homes have been screened, and no sustained or elevated detections of chemicals have been identified. 33:00 Debra Shore: Here's how EPA is holding Norfolk Southern accountable. On February 21, EPA issued a Unilateral Administrative Order to Norfolk Southern, including a number of directives to identify and clean up contaminated soil and water resources, to attend and participate in public meetings at EPA's request, and to post information online, and ordering the company to pay EPA's costs for work performed under the order. All Norfolk Southern work plans must be reviewed and approved by EPA. It must outline all steps necessary to address the environmental damage caused by the derailment. If the company fails to complete any of the EPAs ordered actions, the agency will immediately step in, conduct the necessary work, and then seek punitive damages at up to three times the cost. 46:30 Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH): In one case, trucks were actually turned around at the gate of a proper, certified disposal facility and sent back to East Palestine to sit practically in my constituents backyard. Why did the EPA believe that it needed to send those letters? Debra Shore: Chairman Johnson, the instance you cite occurred before EPA assumed responsibility under the Unilateral Administrative Order for the cleanup. We don't know who told those trucks to turn around, whether it was the disposal facility itself or someone else. 48:50 Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH): Why were they turned around? Debra Shore: This occurred during the transition period between Ohio EPA and US EPA assuming the lead for the emergency response. As such, under the Unilateral Administrative Order, all disposal facilities are required to be on the CERCLA (Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act) approved off-site disposal list. So, we needed a few days to review what had occurred and ensure that those facilities that Norfolk Southern had contracts with were on that approved list. Once we determined which ones were on the approved list, it's up to Norfolk Southern to ship waste off the site. 1:03:30 Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO): Is the EPA intending to use the Unilateral Administrative Order to ensure that Norfolk Southern establishes a health and environmental screening program beyond this initial cleanup period? Debra Shore: Right now, the focus of the Unilateral Order and our work with Norfolk Southern is to make sure the site is cleaned up. I think the responsibility for that longer term health effort, I support what Dr. Vins recommended, and that may have to be negotiat[ed] with Norfolk Southern going forward. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO): Obviously, that hasn't started yet. Debra Shore: Not to my knowledge. 1:09:05 Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA): What will take place in the remediation phase, what happens then? Debra Shore: Then there'll be restoration of stream banks and the places where the soil was removed from along the railroad sites and I think a larger vision for the community that they're already beginning to work on, such as parks and streetscapes. Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA): Right. Any idea of what kind of timeframe we're talking about here? I mean, are we talking like in my district, decades? Debra Shore: No. We believe the core of the removal of the contaminated site and the restoration of the tracks will be several months. 1:11:35 Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ): When did clean up responsibility shift from EPA to Norfolk Southern, and what protections were put in place to ensure the health and safety of the community during that shift? Debra Shore: Thank you, Congressman Pallone. The transition from the State agency, which has the delegated authority in every state, has an emergency response capability, and so Ohio was on the ground working with the local firemen and other agencies as EPA arrived shortly after the derailment. It is typical in these kinds of emergency responses for the state agency to take the lead in the early days and Norfolk Southern was complying with the directives from the state. They continued to comply, but we've found over time that it's important to have all the authority to hold the principal responsible party in this case Norfolk Southern accountable, which is why on February 21, several weeks after the derailment, EPA issued its Unilateral Administrative Order. 1:19:55 Debra Shore: In the subsequent soil sampling that's been conducted, we looked at the information about the direction of the plume from the vent and burn event and focused that primarily where there might have been aerial deposition of soot or particulate matter, and that those soil samples have been collected in Pennsylvania. Rep. John Joyce (R-PA): And today, what soil, air, and water tests are continuing to occur in Pennsylvania? Debra Shore: Additional soil samples will be collected in collaboration, principally, with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, the local Farm Bureau, and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. 1:28:36 Anne M. Vogel: The reason that we have been able to say that the municipal drinking water is safe is based on an Ohio EPA map that pre-exists the derailment. This is the source water protection map. So the municipal wellfield is right here, if folks can see that, that big well in the blue. So the derailment happened way over here, a mile and a half away from the wellfield. And we know how the water flows, down this way, down this way, down the creeks. So the derailment would not have affected the municipal water source and we knew that very quickly after the derailment. 1:49:05 Debra Shore: Norfolk Southern has encountered some difficulties in finding and establishing contracts with sites to accept both liquid and solid waste. And I think we could accelerate the cleanup if they were able to fulfill that obligation more expeditiously. 1:51:20 Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-CA): What are some of the long term health concerns that residents and your providers have? Wesley Vins: We've heard a whole wide range of concerns long term. Certainly, cancer is first and foremost, because of much of the information that the residents see online and here, as well as reproductive concerns, growth concerns, hormonal concerns Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-CA): Do you think there's a potential with the carcinogens or any of the toxins that it could lead to ailments for five years from now? Wesley Vins: Yeah, I understand your question. So the some of the constituents that we have related to this response, obviously are carcinogenic, however, we're seeing low levels, is really the initial response. So I think the long question is, we don't know. Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-CA): We don't know. 2:04:50 Rep. Nanette Barragán (D-CA): Administrator Shore, one concern my office has heard is that relocation costs are not being covered by Norfolk Southern for everyone in East Palestine. How is it determined whether a resident is eligible to have their relocation costs paid for? Debra Shore: I'm sorry to hear that. My understanding was that Norfolk Southern was covering temporary relocation costs for any resident who sought that, and I would direct you to Norfolk Southern to ask why they are being turned down. Rep. Nanette Barragán (D-CA): Can the EPA require that Norfolk Southern cover relocation costs for anyone in East Palestine? Debra Shore: I'll find out. 2:11:45 Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA): I guess my concern is, if the EPA is website says that the sampling data hasn't been quality assured, how did the EPA make the determination that the air is safe to breathe when it appears that the sampling data has not been quality assured? Debra Shore: Congresswoman, I'm going to ask our staff to get back to you with an answer for that. March 22, 2023 Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation Introduction Panel: U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown U.S. Senator J.D. Vance Mike DeWine, Governor of Ohio Misti Allison, Resident of East Palestine Witnesses: Jennifer Homendy, Chair, National Transportation Safety Board David Comstock, Chief, Ohio Western Reserve Joint Fire District Clyde Whitaker, Legislative Director, Ohio State SMART-TD Alan Shaw, CEO, Norfolk Southern Ian Jefferies, CEO, Association of American Railroads Clips 1:35:00 Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX): Is there any relief being offered now to say, if you make the decision to move your home and move your family somewhere else, there is an avenue for you to sell your home and get a fair market price for it? Misti Allison: The short answer is, as of today, no. There is not a clear cut explanation or parameters of how you would do that. We've heard time and time again from Norfolk Southern that they're going to make it right and that they're looking into some long term health care monitoring and assistance and home value protection, but details of that plan have not been disclosed to residents as of today. 1:42:05 Jennifer Homendy: This derailment, as all accidents we investigate, was 100% preventable. 1:43:20 Jennifer Homendy: First, the definition of high hazard flammable train should be expanded to a broader array of hazmats and the definition's threshold of 20 loaded tank cars in a continuous block or 35 tank cars dispersed throughout a train should be eliminated. Second, DOT 111 should be phased out of all hazmat service. They're not as protected as DOT 117 tank cars. Third, people deserve to know what chemicals are moving through their communities and how to stay safe in an emergency. That includes responders who risk their lives for each of us every single day. They deserve to be prepared. That means access to real time information, obtaining the right training and gear, and having the right communications and planning tools. Fourth, light cockpit voice recorders in the aviation, audio and video recorders in the locomotive cab are essential for helping investigators determine the cause of an accident and make more precise safety recommendations. Recorders also help operators proactively improve their safety policies and practices. In the East Palestine derailment, the locomotive was equipped with an inward facing camera. However, since the locomotive was put immediately back into service following the accident, the data was overwritten. That means the recorder only provided about 15 minutes of data before the derailment, and five minutes after. The FAST Act, following terrible tragedies in Chatsworth and in Philadelphia, required Amtrak and commuter railroads to maintain crash and fire hardened inward and outward facing image recorders in all controlling locomotives that have a minimum of a 12 hour continuous recording capability. This was extremely helpful in our DuPont Washington investigation. Now is the time to expand that requirement to audio, and include the Class One freight railroads in that mandate. In fact, now is the time to address all of the NTSB's open rail safety recommendations, many of which are on our most wanted list. Fifth and finally, as the committee works on enhancing rail safety, I trust that you'll consider the resources that we desperately need to carry out our critical safety mission. Investments in the NTSB are investments in safety across all modes of transportation. 1:52:05 Clyde Whitaker: This derailment did not have to happen. And it makes it so much more frustrating for us to know that it was very predictable. And yet our warnings and cries for help over the last seven years have fallen on deaf ears and the outcome was exactly as we feared. Now the result is a town that doesn't feel safe in their own homes, businesses failing to survive and a railroad that prioritized its own movement of trains, before the people in the community, as well as its workers. It truly is a shame that operational changes in place prior to that incident are still in place today and the possibility for a similar disaster is just as possible. My entire railroad career I've listened to the railroads portray a message and image of safety first, but I have never witnessed or experienced that truth, one single day on the property. For years I've handled complaint after complaint regarding unsafe practices and unsafe environments, and for almost every single one I've been fought every step of the way. The truth is, ask any railroad worker and they will tell you, that their carriers are masters of checking the boxes and saying the right things, without ever doing anything meaningful toward improving safety. They're only focus is on the operating ratios and bottom lines, which is evidenced by the fact that their bonus structures are set up to reward timely movements of freight rather than reaching destinations safely, as they once were. Actions do speak louder than words. And I assure you that what you have heard, and will hear, from the railroads today are nothing more than words. Their actions are what's experienced by men and women I represent as well as what the people of East Palestine have been through. This is the reality of what happens when railroads are primarily left to govern and regulate themselves. 1:54:05 Clyde Whitaker: On July 11, 2022, I filed a complaint with the FRA (Freight Railroad Administration) regarding an unsafe practice that was occurring on Norfolk Southern (NS), despite existing operating rules to the contrary. NS was giving instructions to crews to disregard wayside detector failures and to keep the trains moving. This meant the trains were not being inspected as intended, and that the crews were not able to ascertain the integrity of such trains. This practice remained in place even after East Palestine. 1:54:40 Clyde Whitaker: It is a virus that has plagued the industry for some time, with the exception of precision scheduled railroading. Across America, inspections and maintenance is being deferred to expedite the movement of trains. No longer is identifying defects and unsafe conditions the goal of inspections, but rather minimiz[ing] the time it takes to perform them, or the elimination of them all together. 2:17:40 Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX): Why did Norfolk Southern not stop the train then and examine the bearing to make sure that it didn't melt the axle and that you didn't have a derailment? If you'd stop then it would have prevented the derailment. So my question is, why did the second hotbox reading not trigger action? Alan Shaw: Senator, my understanding is that that second reading was still below our alarm threshold, which is amongst the lowest in the industry. In response to this, the industry has agreed to work together to share best practices with respect to hotbox detectors, trending technology, and thresholds. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX): So when you and I visited my office yesterday, you said your threshold is now 170 degrees above ambient temperature. As I understand it, at the time of the derailment, your threshold was 200 degrees above ambient temperature. 2:20:15 Clyde Whitaker: Make note that trending defect detector technology from being in the cab of a locomotive, when we pass a defect detector, it trends to an office like Norfolk Southern in Atlanta, Georgia. It doesn't convey to the railroad crews, which is a problem in this incident as well as many others that still continue to this day. What we need as a train crew -- which they say they listen, they haven't been listening for quite a while -- we need to be notified whenever these trending detectors are seeing this car trend hotter. That way we can keep a better eye on it. 2:22:35 Clyde Whitaker: It is feasible. The technology is there. Several days after East Palestine, we almost had a similar incident in the Cleveland area on Norfolk Southern. The defect detector said no defects to the crew. The train dispatcher came on and said, "Hey, we have a report of a trending defect detector on the train. We need you to stop and inspect it." Immediately after that the chief dispatcher, which...
info_outline CD273: Inside Congressional Committees with Dr. Maya Kornberg 05/14/2023
CD273: Inside Congressional Committees with Dr. Maya Kornberg For this episode, Jen sat down for an interview with fellow Congress nerd Dr. Maya Kornberg. Dr. Kornberg is a Research Fellow for the Brennan Center for Justice's Elections and Government Program and author of Inside Congressional Committees: Function and Dysfunction in the Legislative Process. They talk about how and why the power of committees has shifted over time, how witnesses are selected for hearings, why the hearing archives disappeared, resources for information that Congress has that we don’t have access to, and where we can find hope for improvements in terms of how Congress functions. Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via Support Congressional Dish via (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: [email protected] Send Venmo payments to: @Jennifer-Briney Send Cash App payments to: $CongressionalDish or [email protected] Use your bank’s online bill pay function to mail contributions to: Please make checks payable to Congressional Dish Thank you for supporting truly independent media! Relevant Links Brennan Center for Justice. House Natural Resources Committee. Music Presented in This Episode by
info_outline CD272: What is Taiwan? 04/30/2023
CD272: What is Taiwan? Taiwan’s status in the world has never been clear and neither has the United States’ position on the issue. In this Congressional Dish, via footage from the C-SPAN archive dating back into the 1960s, we examine the history of Taiwan since World War II in order to see the dramatic shift in Taiwan policy that is happening in Congress - and in law - right now. Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via Support Congressional Dish via (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: [email protected] Send Venmo payments to: @Jennifer-Briney Send Cash App payments to: $CongressionalDish or [email protected] Use your bank’s online bill pay function to mail contributions to: Please make checks payable to Congressional Dish Thank you for supporting truly independent media! Background Sources Recommended Congressional Dish Episodes Taiwan History and Background Susan V. Lawrence and Caitlin Campbell. Updated Mar 31, 2023. Congressional Research Service. Erin Hale. Oct 25, 2021. Aljazeera. Stacy Chen. Jan 16, 2020. ABC News. Randy Mulyanto. Sep 26, 2019. Aljazeera. U.S.-Taiwan Relationship Past Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute. Current Rupert Wingfield-Hayes. Apr 6, 2023. BBC News. Jude Blanchette et al. Aug 15, 2022. Center for Strategic and International Studies. Aug 4, 2022. DW News. News Wires. Feb 8, 2022. France 24. Dheepthika Laurent. Feb 8, 2022. France 24. Presidential Drawdown Authority Apr 19, 2023. U.S. Department of State Bureau of Political-Military Affairs. U.S. China Relationship Thomas L. Friedman. Apr 14, 2023. The New York Times. Laws Outline of Taiwan Provisions By the end of 2023, the Secretary of Defense is to assess the viability of our domestic critical infrastructure to identify chokepoints and the ability of our armed forces to respond to a contingency involving Taiwan, including our armed forces’ ability to respond to attacks on our infrastructure. “It shall be the policy of the United States to maintain the capacity of the United States to resist a fait accompli that would jeopardize the security of thepeople of Taiwan.” Fait accompli is defined as, “the resort to force by the People’s Republic of China to invade and seize control of Taiwan before the United States can respond effectively.” Congress wants the Commander of the United States Indo-Pacific Command to carry out joint military exercises with Taiwan in “multiple warfare domains” and practice using “secure communications between the forces of the United States, Taiwan, and other foreign partners” Taiwan should be invited to participate in the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise in 2024. RIMPAC is a multinational maritime exercise, now the world’s largest, that has happened 28 times since 1971. The last one took place in and around Hawaii and Southern California in the summer of 2022. 26 countries, including the US, participated. PART 1 - IMPLEMENTATION OF AN ENHANCED DEFENSE PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND TAIWAN Grants: Expands the purpose of the State Department’s Foreign Military Financing Program to “provide assistance including equipment, training, and other support, to build the civilian and defensive military capabilities of Taiwan” Authorizes the State Department to spend up to $100 million per year for 10 years to maintain a stockpile of munitions and other weapons (authorized by ). Any amounts that are not obligated and used in one year can be carried over into the next year (which essentially makes this a $1 billion authorization that expires in 2032). The stockpile money is only authorized if the State Department certifies every year that Taiwan has increased its defense spending (requirement is easily waived by the Secretary of State). Authorizes $2 billion per year for the Foreign Military Financing grants each year for the next 5 years (total $10 billion in grants). The money is expressly allowed to be used to purchase weapons and “defense services” that are “not sold by the United States Government” (= sold by the private sector). No more than 15% of the weapons for Taiwan purchased via the Foreign Military Financing Program can be purchased from within Taiwan Loans: Also authorizes the Secretary of State to directly loan Taiwan up to $2 billion. The loans must be paid back within 12 years and must include interest. The Secretary of State is also authorized to guarantee commercial loans up to$2 billion each (which can not be used to pay off other debts). Loans guaranteed by the US must be paid back in 12 years. Requires the Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense to create a military training program with Taiwan by authorizing the Secretary of State to train Taiwan through the International Military Education and Training Program. The purposes of the training include enhancements of interoperability between the US and Taiwan and the training of “future leaders of Taiwan”. The training itself can include “full scale military exercises” and “an enduring rotational United States military presence” Authorizes the President to drawdown weapons from the stocks of the Defense Department, use Defense Department services, and provide military education and training to Taiwan, the value of which will be capped at $1 billion per year The President is also given the “emergency authority” to transfer weapons and services in “immediate assistance” to Taiwan specifically valued at up to $25 million per fiscal year. “The Taiwan Relations Act and the Six Assurances provided by the United States to Taiwan in July 1982 are the foundation for United States-Taiwan relations.” “The increasingly coercive and aggressive behavior of the People’s Republic of China toward Taiwan is contrary to the expectation of the peaceful resolution of the future of Taiwan” “As set forth in the Taiwan Relations Act, the capacity to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security, or the social or economic system, of the people on Taiwan should be maintained.” The US should continue to support Taiwanese defense forces by “supporting acquisition by Taiwan of defense articles and services through foreign military sales, direct commercial sales, and industrial cooperation, with an emphasis on capabilities that support an asymmetric strategy.” Support should also include “Exchanges between defense officials and officers of the US and Taiwan at the strategic, policy, and functional levels, consistent with the Taiwan Travel Act.” PART 3 - INCLUSION OF TAIWAN IN INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS “Since 2016, the Gambia, Sao Tome and Principe, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Burkina Faso, El Salvador, the Solomon Islands, and Kiribati, have severed diplomatic relations with Taiwan in favor of diplomatic relations with China” “Taiwan was invited to participate in the World Health Assembly, the decision making body of the World Health Organization, as an observer annually between 2009 and 2016. Since the 2016 election of President Tsai, the PRC has increasingly resisted Taiwan’s participation in the WHA. Taiwan was not invited to attend the WHA in 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, or 2021.” “United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2758 does not address the issue of representation of Taiwan and its people at the United Nations, nor does it give the PRC the right to represent the people of Taiwan.” By the end of Summer 2023, the Secretary of State must create a classified strategy for getting Taiwan included in 20 international organizations. The strategy will be a response to “growing pressure from the PRC on foreign governments, international organizations, commercial actors, and civil society organizations to comply with its ‘One-China Principle’ with respect to Taiwan.” PART 4 - MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS “Taiwan is now the United States 10th largest goods trading partner, 13th largest export market, 13th largest source of imports, and a key destination for United States agricultural exports.” Audio Sources February 9, 2023 Senate Foreign Relations Committee Witnesses: Wendy Sherman, Deputy Secretary of State, U.S. Department of State Ely Ratner, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs, U.S. Department of Defense Clips 17:40 Wendy Sherman: We remain committed to our long standing One China Policy and oppose any unilateral changes to the cross-strait status quo. Our policy has not changed. What has changed is Beijing's growing coercion. So we will keep assisting Taiwan in maintaining a sufficient self-defense capability. 41:30 Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL): I want to get a little broader because I think it's important to understand sort of the strategic vision behind our tactics on everything that we do. So if we go back to the late 80s, early 90s, end of the Cold War, and the gamble at the time was, if we created this international economic order, led by the US and the West, built on this global commitment to free trade, that this notion of that this trade and commerce would bind nations together via trade, via commerce and international interest and economic interest, that it would lead to more wealth and prosperity, that it would lead to democracy and freedom, basically domestic changes in many countries, and that it would ultimately ensure peace. The famous saying now seems silly, that no two countries with McDonald's have ever gone to war. That's obviously no longer the case. But the point being is that was the notion behind it. It was what the then Director General of the WTO called a "world without walls," rules-based international order. Others call it globalization. And basically, our foreign policy has been built around that, even though it's an economic theory it basically, is what we have built our foreign policy on. I think it's now fair to say that we admitted China to the World Trade Organization, Russia as well, I think it's now fair to say that while wealth certainly increased, particularly in China through its export driven economy, massive, historic, unprecedented amount of economic growth in that regard, I don't think we can say either China or Russia are more democratic. In fact, they're more autocratic. I don't think we can say that they're more peaceful. Russia has invaded Ukraine now twice, and the Chinese are conducting live fire drills off the coast of Taiwan. So I think it's fair to say that gamble failed. And we have now to enter -- and I think the President actually hinted at some of that in his speech the other night -- we're now entering a new era. What is that new era? What is our vision now for that world, in which not just the global international order and World Without Walls did not pacify or buy nations, but in fact, have now placed us into situations where autocracies, through a joint communique, are openly signaling that we need to reject Western visions of democracy and the like. So, before we can talk about what we're going to do, we have to understand what our strategic vision is. What is the strategic vision of this administration on what the new order of the world is? February 7, 2023 House Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Cyber, Information Technologies, and Innovation Witnesses: Chris Brose, Author Senior Director, Center on Cyber and Technology Innovation, Foundation for Defense of Democracies Peter Singer, Strategist at New America and Managing Partner of Useful Fiction LLC Clips 1:16:30 Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery: We don't have weapons stowed in Taiwan. In the last National Defense Authorization Act you authorized up to $300 million a year to be appropriated for Taiwan-specific munitions. The appropriators, which happened about seven days later, appropriated $0. In fact, almost all of the Taiwan Enhanced Resilience Act, which you all pushed through the NDAA, ended up not being appropriated in the Consolidated Appropriations Act that passed eight days later. 30:10 Chris Brose: Nothing you do in this Congress will make larger numbers of traditional ships, aircraft and other platforms materialized over the next several years. It is possible, however, to generate an arsenal of alternative military capabilities that could be delivered to U.S. forces in large enough quantities within the next few years to make a decisive difference. Those decisions could all be taken by this Congress. The goal would be to rapidly field what I have referred to as a "moneyball military," one that is achievable, affordable and capable of winning. Such a military would be composed not of small quantities of large, exquisite, expensive things, but rather by large quantities of smaller, lower cost, more autonomous consumable things, and most importantly, the digital means of integrating them. These kinds of alternative capabilities exist now, or could be rapidly matured and fielded in massive quantities within the window of maximum danger. You could set this in motion in the next two years. The goal would be more about defense than offense, more about countering power projection than projecting power ourselves. It would be to demonstrate that the United States, together with our allies and partners, could do to a Chinese invasion or a Chinese offensive what the Ukrainians, with our support, have thus far been able to do to their Russian invaders: degrade and deny the ability of a great power to accomplish its objectives through violence, and in so doing to prevent that future war from ever happening. After all, this is all about deterrence. All of this is possible. We have sufficient money, technology, authorities, and we still have enough time. If we are serious, if we make better decisions now, we can push this looming period of vulnerability further into the future. February 7, 2023 House Armed Services Committee Witnesses: Admiral Harry B. Harris Jr., USN (Ret.), Former Commander, U.S. Pacific Command Foreign Policy Fellow, Strobe Talbott Center for Security, Strategy, and Technology Clips 28:15 Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL): China is the most challenging national security threat America has faced in 30 years. If we fail to acknowledge that and take immediate action to deter it, the next 30 years could be devastating for our nation. Under President Xi, the Chinese Communist Party has nearly tripled its defense spending in the last decade alone. The PLA has gone from an obsolete force barely capable of defending its borders to a modern fighting force capable of winning regional conflicts. The CCP now controls the largest army and navy in the world, with a goal of having them fully integrated and modernized by 2027. The CCP is rapidly expanding its nuclear capability; they have doubled their number of warheads in two years. We estimated it would take them a decade to do that. We also were just informed by the DOD [that] the CCP now has more ICBM launchers than the United States. The CCP is starting to outpace us on new battlefields as well. They have leapfrogged us on hypersonic technology, they are fielding what we are still developing. They are making advances in AI and quantum computing that we struggle to keep pace with. Finally, their rapid advances in space were one of the primary motivations for us establishing a Space Force. The CCP is not building these new and advanced military capabilities for self defense. In recent years, the CCP has used its military to push out its borders, to threaten our allies in the region, and to gain footholds on new continents. In violation of international law, the CCP has built new and commandeered existing islands in the South China Sea, where it has deployed stealth fighters, bombers and missiles. It continues to intimidate and coerce Taiwan, most recently by surrounding the island with naval forces and launching endless fighter sorties across its centerline. In recent years, the CCP has also established a space tracking facility in South America to monitor U.S, satellites, as well as an overseas naval base miles from our own on the strategically vital Horn of Africa. These are just a few destabilizing actions taken by the CCP. They speak nothing of the CCPs Belt and Road debt trap diplomacy, it's illegal harvesting of personal data and intellectual property, it's ongoing human rights abuses, and its advanced espionage efforts, the latter of which came into full focus for all Americans last week when the Biden administration allowed a CCP spy balloon to traverse some of our nation's most sensitive military sites. Make no mistake, that balloon was intentionally lost as a calculated show of force. 44:15 Dr. Melanie W. Sisson: Since 1979, the United States has adopted a constellation of official positions, together known as the One China policy, that allow us to acknowledge but not to accept China's perspective that there is one China and that Taiwan is part of China. Under the One China policy, the United States has developed robust unofficial relations with the government and people of Taiwan consistent with our interest in preserving peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. US policy is guided by an interest in ensuring cross-strait disputes are resolved peacefully and in a manner that reflects the will of Taiwan's people. This has required the United States to deter Taiwan from declaring independence, and also to deter the CCP from attempting unification by force. The 40 year success of the strategy of dual deterrence rests upon the unwillingness of the United States to provide either an unconditional commitment to Taipei that it will come to its defense militarily, or an unconditional commitment to Beijing that we will not. The U.S. national security interest in the status of Taiwan remains that the CCP and the people of Taiwan resolve the island's political status peacefully. Dual deterrence therefore remains U.S. strategy, reinforced by U.S. declaratory policy which is to oppose unilateral changes to the status quo by either side. 45:28 Dr. Melanie W. Sisson: The modernization of the PLA has changed the regional military balance and significantly enough that the United States no longer can be confident that we would decisively defeat every type of PLA use of force in the Taiwan Strait. This fact, however, does not necessitate that the US abandon the strategy of dual deterrence and it doesn't mean that the United States should seek to reconstitute its prior degree of dominance. Posturing the U.S. military to convince the CCP that the PLA could not succeed in any and every contingency over Taiwan is infeasible in the near term and likely beyond. The PLA is advances are considerable and ongoing, geography works in its favor, and history demonstrates that it's far easier to arrive at an overconfident assessment of relative capability than it is to arrive at an accurate one. Attempting to demonstrate superiority for all contingencies would require a commitment of forces that would inhibit the United States from behaving like the global power that it is with global interests to which its military must also attend. This posture, moreover, is not necessary for dual deterrence to extend its 40 year record of success. We can instead encourage the government of Taiwan to adopt a defense concept that forces the PLA into sub-optimal strategies and increases the battle damage Beijing would have to anticipate and accept. 46:45 Dr. Melanie W. Sisson: U.S. military superiority in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean allows us to threaten the maritime shipping upon which China depends for access to energy, global markets, and supply chains. The inevitable damage a use of force would cause to the global economy and the imposition of sanctions and restricted access to critical inputs needed to sustain China's economic development and the quality of life of its people, moreover, would certainly compound...
info_outline CD271: RESTRICTing TikTok 04/09/2023
CD271: RESTRICTing TikTok TikTok might be banned from the United States. In this episode, hear testimony from TikTok’s CEO and judge for yourself if you think the arrangement that TikTok has negotiated with the U.S. government is enough to ensure that the Chinese government will not have the ability to manipulate the app or acquire your data. We also take a detailed look at the bill that would ban TikTok (by granting vast new authorities to the government) and we examine the big picture arena in which TikTok and the RESTRICT Act are merely sideshows. Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via Support Congressional Dish via (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: [email protected] Send Venmo payments to: @Jennifer-Briney Send Cash App payments to: $CongressionalDish or [email protected] Use your bank’s online bill pay function to mail contributions to: Please make checks payable to Congressional Dish Thank you for supporting truly independent media! Background Sources Recommended Congressional Dish Episodes Shou Chew Katie Canales and Sarah Jackson. Mar 22, 2023. Insider. Monica Aggarwal. March 23, 2023. International Business Times. Chinese Influence Over TikTok Senator Marco Rubio [@SenMarcoRubio]. Mar 29, 2023. Twitter. Forced Sale Chang Che. Mar 23, 2023. The New York Times. Facebook Emma Roth. Nov 28, 2022. The Verge. Taylor Lorenz and Drew Harwell. Mar 30, 2022. The Washington Post. OpenSecrets. OpenSecrets. How the U.S. Has Governed the World Trade System U.S. Government-Corporate Spy Partnerships May 15, 2007. Frontline. Iran Nuclear Deal Nov 23, 2021. BBC News. Venezuela Agence France Presse. Apr 17, 2020. Barron’s. Russia-Ukraine Adam Plowright. Feb 12, 2023. Barron’s. China’s Trade and Currency Agreements Jan van der Made. March 31, 2023. RFI. Jamie Seidel. Mar 31, 2023. news.com.au. Agence France Presse. Mar 29, 2023. Barron’s. Peter A. Petri and Michael Plummer. Nov 16, 2020. Brookings. The Pacific Deterrence Initiative Brad Lendon. Apr 4, 2023. CNN. Sen. Jim Inhofe and Sen. Jack Reed. May 28, 2020. War on the Rocks. Chinese Economy Kristalina Georgieva. Mar 26, 2023. International Monetary Fund. Chinese Authoritarianism James Doubek. Mar 11, 2018. NPR. Jeremy Page and Chun Han Wong. Oct 25, 2017. The Wall Street Journal. Bills Audio Sources March 30, 2023 Fox News Clips Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL): Brazil - in our hemisphere, largest country in the western hemisphere south of us - cut a trade deal with China. They’re going to, from now on, trade in their own currencies, get right around the dollar. They’re creating a secondary economy in the world totally independent of the United States. We won’t have to talk about sanctions in 5 years because there will be so many countries transacting in currencies other than the dollar that we won’t have the ability to sanction them. March 29, 2023 Twitter March 23, 2023 Fox News Clips Mark Warner: One of the things I always make clear is my beef is with the Communist Party of China. My beef is with Xi Jinping, the Communist Party leader, who treats his own people awfully... and I do think you need to make that distinction. Not about Chinese people. But to deny the authoritarian regime and their record is not based on a factual analysis. March 23, 2023 House Committee on Energy and Commerce Witness: Shou Chew, CEO, TikTok Clips 7:15 Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA): TikTok collects nearly every data point imaginable, from people's location, to what they type and copy, who they talk to, biometric data, and more. Even if they've never been on Tik Tok, your trackers are embedded in sites across the web. Tik Tok surveys us all, and the Chinese Communist Party is able to use this as a tool to manipulate America as a whole. We do not trust Tik Tok will ever embrace American values; values for freedom, human rights, and innovation. Tik Tok has repeatedly chosen the path for more control, more surveillance, and more manipulation. Your platform should be banned. 15:25 Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ): National security experts are sounding the alarm, warning that the Chinese Communist government could require TikTok to compromise device security, maliciously access American user data, promote pro-Communist propaganda, and undermine American interests. Disinformation campaigns could be launched by the by the Chinese Communist government through TikTok, which has already become rife with misinformation and disinformation, illegal activities, and hate speech. A recent report found that 20% of TikTok search results on prominent news topics contain misinformation. 20:35 Shou Chew: Let me start by addressing a few misconceptions about ByteDance, of which we are a subsidiary. ByteDance is not owned or controlled by the Chinese government. It is a private company. 60% of the company is owned by global institutional investors, 20% is owned by the founder, and 20% owned by employees around the world. ByteDance has five board members, three of them are American. Now TikTok itself is not available in mainland China. We're headquartered in Los Angeles and in Singapore, and we have 7000 employees in the US today. 21:50 Shou Chew: The bottom line is this: American data stored on American soil by an American company overseen by American personnel. We call this initiative Project Texas. That's where Oracle is headquartered. Today, U.S. TikTok data is stored by default in Oracle's service. Only vetted personnel operating in a new company called TikTok U.S. Data Security can control access to this data. Now, additionally, we have plans for this company to report to an independent American board with strong security credentials. Now, there's still some work to do. We have legacy U.S. data sitting in our servers in Virginia and in Singapore. We're deleting those and we expect that to be completed this year. When that is done, all protected U.S. data will be under the protection of US law and under the control of the U.S.-led security team. This eliminates the concern that some of you have shared with me that TikTok user data can be subject to Chinese law. 22:55 Shou Chew: We also provide unprecedented transparency and security for the source code for the TikTok app and recommendation engine. Third party validators like Oracle and others will review and validate our source code and algorithms. This will help ensure the integrity of the code that powers what Americans see on our app. We will further provide access to researchers, which helps them study and monitor our content ecosystem. Now we believe we are the only company that offers this level of transparency. 23:35 Shou Chew: The potential security, privacy, [and] content manipulation concerns raised about TikTok are really not unique to us. The same issues apply to other companies. We believe what's needed are clear, transparent rules that apply broadly to all tech companies. Ownership is not at the core of addressing these concerns. 24:20 Shou Chew: TikTok will remain a place for free expression and will not be manipulated by any government. 27:30 Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA): Have any moderation tools been used to remove content on TikTok associated with the Uyghur genocide? Yes or no? Shou Chew: We do not remove that kind of content. Tik Tok is a place for freedom of expression. Chairwoman, just like I said, if you use our app, you can go on it and you will see a lot of users around the world expressing content on that topic and many others. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA): Thank you. What about the massacre in Tiananmen Square? Yes or no? Shou Chew: I'm sorry, I didn't hear the question. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA): The massacre in Tiananmen Square. Shou Chew: That kind of content is available on our platform. You can go and search it. 28:05 Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA): I will remind you that making false or misleading statements to Congress is a federal crime. 28:15 Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA): Can you say with 100% certainty that ByteDance or the CCP cannot use your company or its divisions to heat content to promote pro-CCP messages for an act of aggression against Taiwan. Shou Chew: We do not promote or remove content at the request of the Chinese government. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA): The question is, are you 100% certain that they cannot use your company to promote such messages? Shou Chew: It is our commitment to this committee and all users that we will keep this free from any manipulation by any government. 39:10 Shou Chew: Congressman, since I've been CEO of this company I've not had any discussions with Chinese government officials. 43:55 Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA): The Chinese government has that data. How can you promise that that will move into the United States of America and be protected here? Shou Chew: Congresswoman, I have seen no evidence that the Chinese government has access to that data. They have never asked us; we have not provided it. I've asked that -- Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA): Well, you know what, I find that actually preposterous. Shou Chew: I have looked and I have seen no evidence of this happening. And in order to assure everybody here and all our users, our commitment is to move the data into the United States to be stored on American soil, by an American company, overseen by American personnel. So the risk will be similar to any government going to an American company asking for data. 44:40 Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA): Well I'm one that doesn't believe that there is really a private sector in China. 54:55 Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO): So I want to know from you, and I will give you time to answer this. You have current controls, but the current controls are not working to keep dosinformation mainly from young people, but from Americans in general. What more is is TikTok doing to try to strengthen its review to keep disinformation from coming across to people. Shou Chew: Thank you for the question, Congresswoman. The dangerous misinformation that you mentioned is not allowed on our platform. It violates the -- Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO): I'm sorry to report it is on your platform, though. Shou Chew: Congresswoman, I don't think I can sit here and say that we are perfect in doing this. We do work very hard. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO): How can you make yourself more perfect? I don't want you to say it's not there or you apologize. What can you do to limit it as much as possible, more than what you're doing now? Shou Chew: We invest a significant amount in our content moderation work. I shared that number in my written testimony -- Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO): I know you're investing, but what steps are you taking to improve the AI, or whatever else you're doing, to limit this content? Shou Chew: For example, if you search for certain search terms, we do direct you on TikTok to safety resources. That's one of the things we have done. We will continue to invest in this I recognize and fully aligned with you that this is a problem that faces our industry that we need to really invest and address this. I'm very in alignment. 1:07:05 Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL): Does TikTok share user information from companies...from parent companies...from affiliated...or send user information to...overseas? Shou Chew: In the past, yes, for interoperability purposes. Now, after Project Texas, all protected U.S. data will be stored here with the access controlled by a special team of U.S. personnel. 1:07:55 Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL): I do want a quote from employees that you had, and here's the quote, "everything is seen in China" is really what they said. People who were in touch with the sensitive data were saying that. How do you respond to that? Shou Chew: I disagree with that statement. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL): Well, I know you disagree with that statement. But my point is, how does that happen that employees of the company are saying that in fact, that's not true. Shou Chew: I cannot speak to, I don't know who this person is, so I cannot speak to what the person has or has not said. What I can say is, you know, based on my position in this company, and the responsibility that I have, that statement is just not true. 1:11:00 Rep. Kat Cammack (R-FL): Yes or no, ByteDance is required to have a member of the Chinese government on its board with veto power, is that correct? Shou Chew: No, that is not correct. ByteDance owns some Chinese businesses and you're talking about this very special subsidiary that is for Chinese business license -- Rep. Kat Cammack (R-FL): Mr. Chew, I'm gonna have to move on. 1:19:20 Shou Chew: First, anything that is violated and harmful, we remove. What I meant to say were [sic] content that is not inherently inherently harmful, like some of the extreme fitness videos about people running 100 miles, is not inherently harmful, but if we show them too much, the experts are telling us that we should disperse them more and make sure that they're not seen too regularly, especially by younger users. 1:33:20 Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH): Do you realize that making false and misleading statements to Congress is a federal crime? Shou Chew: Yes, I do. Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH): Okay. 1:39:35 Shou Chew: We do want to be leading in terms of safety of our users, particularly for teenagers. We were the first to launch a 60 minute watch limit. Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD): And let's talk about the 60 Minute -- Shou Chew: And I'm very glad to see others in our industry follow. For many of the recommendations, we will study them very seriously. We actually have a series of features. Like for example, if you're under 16, you cannot use a direct messaging feature, because we know we want to protect those younger users. If you're under 16, you cannot go viral by default. If you're under 18, you cannot go live. 1:48:20 Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY): Will you continue to get information from these third parties on its users health? Shou Chew: Get information? We do not get any user health information from third parties. 1:56:20 Shou Chew: The American data has always been stored in Virginia and Singapore in the past. And access of this is on an as required basis by engineers globally — Rep. Tim Walberg (R-SC): As required by who? Shou Chew: By engineers, for business purposes -- Rep. Tim Walberg (R-SC): Engineers? ByteDance? The Communist Party? Shou Chew: No, no. Rep. Tim Walberg (R-SC): Why? How can you say that if they have access -- Shou Chew: This is a business. This is a private business, and like many other businesses, many other American companies, we rely on the global workforce. Rep. Tim Walberg (R-SC): So the global workforce, that includes ByteDance, which is connected directly to the Chinese Communist Party. Shou Chew: That is a mischaracterization that we disagree with. Now, in the future -- Rep. Tim Walberg (R-SC): That's not what we can disagree with. That's a fact. Shou Chew: It's not, unfortunately. Rep. Tim Walberg (R-SC): The CEO of ByteDance and your relationship to them. Shou Chew: Congressman, respectfully, in my opening statement, I said this is a private company, it's owned 60% by global investors. Three out of the five board members on ByteDance are Americans. This is a private business Rep. Tim Walberg (R-SC): You report directly to ByteDance, with a CEO who is a member of Communist Party. Let me move on — Shou Chew: He is not. Rep. Tim Walberg (R-SC): -- I think we got the answer. 2:07:20 Shou Chew: We do not collect body, face, or voice data to identify our users. We do not -- Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA): You don't? Shou Chew: No, the only face data that you get that we collect is when you use the filters to have sunglasses on your face. We need to know where your eyes are -- Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA): Why do you need to know what the eyes are if you're not seeing if they're dilated? Shou Chew: -- and that data is stored on your local device and deleted after use if you use it for facial. Again, we do not collect body, face, or voice data to identify users. Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA): I find that hard to believe. 2:30:20 Rep. Gary Palmer (R-AL): When the Chinese Communist government bought a share ByteDance, it's been described as the Chinese Communist Government's way of quieter form of control, and that companies have little choice in selling a stake to the government if they want to stay in business, and what I'd like to know is when the Chinese Communist government moved to buy shares of ByteDance, were you informed beforehand, yes or no? Shou Chew: No, Congressman, ByteDance -- Rep. Gary Palmer (R-AL): Were you or anyone with TikTok asked for your opinion about the sale of shares of ByteDance to the Chinese Communist government? Yes or no? Shou Chew: It just, this hasn't happened. 2:34:55 Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI): Mr. Chew, have any prior versions of TikTok's app collected precise GPS information from us users, yes or no? Shou Chew: Yes. From back in 2020, about three years ago. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI): Are there currently TikTok users who still hold old versions of the app that collect precise GPS information from U.S. users? Yes or no? Shou Chew: That could be, but that's a small percentage. 2:36:05 Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI): Has TikTok, at any time, sold precise GPS information collected from U.S. users? Yes or no? Shou Chew: We do not sell data to data brokers if that's the question. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI): And you've never done that? Shou Chew: I do not believe so. 2:37:15 Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI): Has TikTok, at any time, provided the Chinese government with either precise GPS information collected from U.S. users or inferences made from that data? Shou Chew: That I can give you a straight answer: no. 2:37:30 Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI): Mr. Chew, even in Congress, even if Congress were to ban Tiktok, I'm concerned that China or others would still have access to US consumer data by purchasing it through data brokers. Will you commit not to sell any of TikTok's data to data brokers now or in the future? Shou Chew: We do not do that. We do not sell data to data brokers now. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI): Will you commit to not do it in the future? Shou Chew: This is -- certain members of industry who do this. I think this has to be broad legislation to help us, the whole industry, address this problem. 3:13:15 Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ): A March 21, Forbes article revealed how troves of personal data of Indian citizens who once used TikTok remained widely accessible to employees at the company and its Beijing based parent ByteDance. A current TikTok employee told Forbes that nearly anyone with basic access to company tools, including employees in China, can easily look up the closest contacts and other sensitive information about any user. This current TikTok employee also said, "If you want to start a movement, if you want to divide people, if you want to do any of the operation to influence the public on the app, you can just use that information to target those groups." Mr. Chew, why would a current TikTok employee say this if it wasn't true? Shou Chew: This is a recent article, I have asked my team to look into it. As far as I know there is, we have rigorous data access protocols. There's really no such thing where anybody can get access to tools. Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ): Alright. Shou Chew: So I disagree with a lot of the conclusions of that. 3:18:20 Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL): So Mr. Chew, would TikTok be prepared to divest from ByteDance and Chinese Communist Party ties if the Department of Treasury instructed you all to do so? Shou Chew: Congressman, I said in my opening statement, I think we need to address the problem of privacy. I agree with you. I don't think ownership is the issue here, with a lot of respect. American social companies don't have a good track record with data privacy and user security. I mean, look at Facebook and Cambridge Analytica,...
info_outline CD270: The Twitter Files 03/27/2023
CD270: The Twitter Files The First Amendment prohibits the U.S. government from censoring speech. In this episode, drawing from internal Twitter documents known as “the Twitter files” and Congressional testimony from tech executives, former Twitter employees, and journalists, we examine the shocking formal system of censorship in which government employees are using their influence over private companies to indirectly censor speech in a way that they are clearly prohibited from doing directly. Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via Support Congressional Dish via (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: [email protected] Send Venmo payments to: @Jennifer-Briney Send Cash App payments to: $CongressionalDish or [email protected] Use your bank’s online bill pay function to mail contributions to: Please make checks payable to Congressional Dish Thank you for supporting truly independent media! Background Sources Recommended Congressional Dish Episodes The Twitter Files Matt Taibbi. Jan 4, 2023. Racket News. Matt Taibbi Matt Taibbi. Mar 12, 2023. Racket News. Feb 13, 2023. The Joe Rogan Experience. Hunter Biden Laptop Story [tweet]. Michael Shellenberger [@ShellenbergerMD]. Dec 19, 2022. Twitter. Influence, Propaganda, and Censorship Alex Berenson. Jan 9, 2023. Unreported Truths. Lee Fang. December 20, 2022. The Intercept. Aug 24, 2022. The Washington Post. Audio Sources March 9, 2023 House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government Witnesses: Matt Taibbi, Journalist Michael Shellenberger, Author, Co-founder of the Breakthrough Institute and the California Peace Coalition Clips 17:20 Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH): In the run up to the 2020 Presidential election, FBI Special Agent Elvis Chan, in his deposition in Missouri versus Biden, said that he repeatedly, repeatedly, informed Twitter and other social media platforms of the likelihood of a hack and leak operation in the run up to that Presidential election. He did it even though there was no evidence. In fact, he said in his deposition that we hadn't seen anything, no intrusions, no hack, yet he repeatedly told them something was common. Yoel Ross, Head of Trust and Safety at Twitter, testified that he had had regular meetings with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, and other folks regarding election security. During these weekly meetings, federal law enforcement agencies communicated that they expected a hack and leak operation. The expectations of a hack and leak operation were discussed throughout 2020. And he was told they would occur in a period shortly before the 2020 Presidential election, likely in October. And finally, he said "I also learned in these meetings, that there were rumors that a hack and leak operation would involve Hunter Biden." So what did the government tell him? A hack and leak operation was coming. How often did the government tell him this? Repeatedly for a year. When did the government say it was going to happen? October of 2020. And who did the government say it would involve? Hunter Biden. 19:35 Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH): How did they know? Maybe it's because they had the laptop and they had had it for a year. 21:50 Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH): Finally, as if on cue, five days later on October 19, 51 former intel[ligence] officials signed a letter with a now famous sentence "the Biden laptop story has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation." Something that was absolutely false. 25:25 Rep. Stacey Plaskett (D-VI): And the Republicans have brought in two of Elon Musk's public scribes to release cherry-picked, out-of-context emails and screenshots designed to promote his chosen narrative, Elon Musk's chosen narrative, that is now being paroted by the Republicans, because the Republicans think that these witnesses will tell a story that's going to help them out politically. 25:50 Rep. Stacey Plaskett (D-VI): On Tuesday, the majority released an 18 page report claiming to show that the FTC is quote, "harassing" Twitter -- oh my poor Twitter -- including by seeking information about its interactions with individuals before us today. How did the report reach this conclusion? By showing two single paragraphs from a single demand letter, even though the report itself makes clear that there were numerous demand letters with numerous requests, none of which we've been able to see, that are more demand letters and more requests of Twitter. 28:05 Rep. Stacey Plaskett (D-VI): Mr. Chairman, Americans can see through this. Musk is helping you out politically and you're going out of your way to promote and protect him and to praise him for his work. 28:15 Rep. Stacey Plaskett (D-VI): This isn't just a matter of what data was given to these so-called journalists before us now. 31:35 Rep. Stacey Plaskett (D-VI): Mr. Chairman, I'm not exaggerating when I say that you have called before you two witnesses who pose a direct threat to people who oppose them. 32:30 Rep. Stacey Plaskett (D-VI): We know this is because at the first hearing, the Chairman claimed that big government and big tech colluded to shape and mold the narrative and suppress information and censor Americans. This is a false narrative. We're engaging in false narratives here and we are going to tell the truth. 37:35 Michael Shellenberger: I recognize that the law allows Facebook, Twitter, and other private companies to moderate content on their platforms and I support the right of governments to communicate with the public, including to dispute inaccurate information, but government officials have been caught repeatedly pushing social media platforms to censor disfavored users and content. Often these acts of censorship threaten the legal protection social media companies need to exist, Section 230. If government officials are directing or facilitating such censorship, and as one law professor, it raises serious First Amendment questions. It is axiomatic that the government cannot do indirectly what it is prohibited from doing directly. 41:50 Matt Taibbi: My name is Matt Taibbi, I've been a reporter for 30 years and a staunch advocate of the First Amendment. Much of that time was spent at Rolling Stone magazine. Ranking Member Plaskett, I'm not a "so-called" journalist. I've won the National Magazine Award, the I.F Stone Award for Independent Journalism, and I've written 10 books, including four New York Times bestsellers. 45:35 Matt Taibbi: Ordinary Americans are not just being reported to Twitter for deamplification or deplatforming, but to firm's like Pay Pal, digital advertisers like Xandr, and crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe. These companies can and do refuse service to law abiding people and businesses whose only crime is falling afoul of a distant, faceless, unaccountable, algorithmic judge. 44:00 Matt Taibbi: Again, Ranking Member Plaskett, I would note that the evidence of Twitter-government relationship includes lists of tens of thousands of names on both the left and right. The people affected include Trump supporters, but also left leaning sites like Consortium and Truthout, the leftist South American channel TeleSUR, the Yellow Vest movement. That, in fact, is a key point of the Twitter files, that it's neither a left nor right issue. 44:40 Matt Taibbi: We learned Twitter, Facebook, Google and other companies developed a formal system for taking in moderation requests from every corner of government from the FBI, the DHS, the HHS, DOD, the Global Engagement Center at [the Department of] State, even the CIA. For every government agency scanning Twitter, there were perhaps 20 quasi private entities doing the same thing, including Stanford's Election Integrity Partnership, Newsguard, the Global Disinformation Index, and many others, many taxpayer funded. A focus of this fast growing network, as Mike noted, is making lists of people whose opinions beliefs, associations, or sympathies are deemed misinformation, disinformation or malinformation. That last term is just a euphemism for true but inconvenient. Undeniably, the making of such lists is a form of digital McCarthyism. 1:01:00 Matt Taibbi: So, a great example of this is a report that the Global Engagement Center sent to Twitter and to members of the media and other platforms about what they called "the Pillars of Russian Disinformation." Now, part of this report is what you would call, I think you would call, traditional hardcore intelligence gathering where they made a reasoned, evidence baseed case that certain sites were linked to Russian influence or linked to the Russian government. In addition to that, however, they also said that sites that quote, "generate their own momentum," and have opinions that are in line with those accounts are part of a propaganda ecosystem. Now, this is just another word for guilt by association. And this is the problem with the whole idea of trying to identify which accounts are actually the Internet Research Agency and which ones are just people who follow those accounts or retweeted them. Twitter initially did not find more than a handful of IRA accounts. It wasn't until they got into an argument with the Senate Select Intelligence Committee that they came back with a different answer. 1:06:00 Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL): Before you became Elon Musk's handpicked journalists, and pardon the oxymoron, you stated this on Joe Rogan's podcast about being spoon fed information. And I quote, "I think that's true of any kind of journalism," and you'll see it behind me here. "I think that's true of any kind of journalism. Once you start getting handed things, then you've lost. They have you at that point and you got to get out of that habit. You just can't cross that line." Do you still believe what you told Mr. Rogan? Yes or no? Yes or no? Matt Taibbi: Yes. Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL): Good. Now, you crossed that line with the Twitter files. Matt Taibbi: No. Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL): Elon Musk -- It's my time, please do not interrupt me. Crowd: [laughter] Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL): Elon Musk spoon fed you his cherry-picked information, which you must have suspected promotes a slanted viewpoint, or at the very least generates another right wing conspiracy theory. 1:11:20 Matt Taibbi: That moment on the Joe Rogan show, I was actually recounting a section from Seymour Hersh's book, Reporter, where he described a scene where the CIA gave him a story and he was very uncomfortable. He said that "I, who had always gotten the secrets, was being handed the secrets." Again, I've done lots of whistleblower stories. There's always a balancing test that you make when you're given material, and you're always balancing newsworthiness versus the motives of your sources. In this case, the newsworthiness clearly outweighed any other considerations. I think everybody else who worked on the project agrees. 1:14:45 Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC): Richard Stengel, you know who that is? Matt Taibbi: Yes, he's the former, the first head of the Global Engagement Center. Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC): I want the American people to hear from him for 30 seconds. Richard Stengel: Basically, every country creates their own narrative story. And, you know, my old job at the State Department was what people used to joke as the "chief propagandist" job. We haven't talked about propaganda. Propaganda. I'm not against propaganda. Every country does it, and they have to do it to their own population. 1:24:20 Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH): December 13, the very first letter that the FTC sends to Twitter after the Twitter files, 11 days after the first Twitter file, there have been five of them come out, the FTC's first demand in that first letter after the Twitter files come out is identify all journalists. I'm quoting "identify all journalists and other members of the media" to whom Twitter worked with. You find that scary, Mr. Taibbi, that you got a federal government agency asking a private company who in the press are you talking with? Matt Taibbi: I do find it scary. I think it's none of the government's business which journalists a private company talks to and why. I think every journalist should be concerned about that. And the absence of interest in that issue by my fellow colleagues in the mainstream media is an indication of how low the business has sunk. There was once a real esprit de corps and camaraderie within Media. Whenever one of us was gone after, we all kind of rose to the challenge and supported -- Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH): It used to be, used to be the case. Matt Taibbi: Yeah, that is gone now. 1:28:50 Rep. Stacey Plaskett (D-VI): How many emails did Mr. Musk give you access to? Michael Shellenberger: I mean, we went through thousands of emails. Rep. Stacey Plaskett (D-VI): Did he give you access to all of the emails for the time period in which? Michael Shellenberger: We never had a single, I never had a single request denied. And not only that, but the amount of files that we were given were so voluminous that there was no way that anybody could have gone through them beforehand. And we never found an instance where there was any evidence that anything had been taken out. Rep. Stacey Plaskett (D-VI): Okay. So you would believe that you have probably millions of emails and documents, right? That's correct, would you say? Michael Shellenberger: I don't know if -- I think the number is less than that. Matt Taibbi: Millions sounds too high. Rep. Stacey Plaskett (D-VI): Okay. 100,000? Matt Taibbi: That's probably closer. Michael Shellenberger: Probably, yeah. Rep. Stacey Plaskett (D-VI): So 100,000 that both of you were seeing. 1:37:10 Matt Taibbi: There were a couple of very telling emails that wepublished. One was by a lawyer named [Sasha Cardiel???], where the company was being so overwhelmed by requests from the FBI and in fact they, they gave each other a sort of digital High Five after one batch, saying "that was a monumental undertaking to clear all of these," but she noted that she believed that the FBI was essentially doing word searches keyed to Twitter's Terms of Service, looking for violations of the Terms of Service, specifically so that they could make recommendations along those lines, which we found interesting. 1:48:15 Michael Shellenberger: And we haven't talked about Facebook, but we now know that we have the White House demanding that Facebook take down factual information and Facebook doing that. 1:48:25 Michael Shellenberger: And with Matt [Taibbi]'s thread this morning we saw the government contractors demanding the same thing of Twitter: accurate information, they said, that needed to be taken down in order to advance a narrative. 1:49:55 Matt Taibbi: You know, in conjunction with our own research, there's a foundation, the Foundation for Freedom Online, which, you know, there's a very telling video that they uncovered where the Director of Stanford's Election Integrity Partnership (EIP) talks about how CISA, the DHS agency, didn't have the capability to do election monitoring, and so that they kind of stepped in to "fill the gaps" legally before that capability could be amped up. And what we see in the Twitter files is that Twitter executives did not distinguish between DHS or CISA and this group EIP, for instance, we would see a communication that said, from CISA, escalated by EIP. So they were essentially identical in the eyes of the company. EIP is, by its own data, and this is in reference to what you brought up, Mr. Congressman, according to their own data, they significantly targeted more what they call disinformation on the right than on the left, by a factor I think of about ten to one. And I say that as not a Republican at all, it's just the fact of what we're looking at. So yes, we have come to the realization that this bright line that we imagine that exists between, say the FBI or the DHS, or the GEC and these private companies is illusory and that what's more important is this constellation of kind of quasi private organizations that do this work. 1:52:10 Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX): What was the first time that Mr. Musk approached you about writing the Twitter files? Matt Taibbi: Again, Congresswoman that would — Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX): I just need a date, sir. Matt Taibbi: But I can't give it to you, unfortunately, because this this is a question of sourcing, and I don't give up... I'm a journalist, I don't reveal my sources. Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX): It's a question of chronology. Matt Taibbi: No, that's a question of sourcing — Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX): Earlier you said that someone had sent you, through the internet, some message about whether or not you would be interested in some information. Matt Taibbi: Yes. And I refer to that person as a source. Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX): So you're not going to tell us when Musk first approached you? Matt Taibbi: Again, Congresswoman, you're asking me, you're asking a journalist to reveal a source. Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX): You consider Mr. Musk to be the direct source of all this? Matt Taibbi: No, now you're trying to get me to say that he is the source. I just can't answer — Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX): Either he is or he isn't. If you're telling me you can't answer because it's your source, well, then the only logical conclusion is that he is in fact, your source. Matt Taibbi: Well, you're free to conclude that. Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX): Well, sir, I just don't understand. You can't have it both ways. But let's move on because -- Unknown Representative 1: No, he can. He's a journalist. Unknown Representative 2: He can't, because either Musk is the source and he can't talk about it, or Musk is not the source. And if Musk is not the source, then he can discuss [unintelligible] Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH): No one has yielded, the gentlelady is out of order, you don't get to speak — Multiple speakers: [Crosstalk] Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH): The gentlelady is not recognized...[crosstalk]...he has not said that, what he has said is he's not going to reveal his source. And the fact that Democrats are pressuring him to do so is such a violation of the First Amendment. Multiple speakers: [Crosstalk] Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX): I have not yielded time to anybody. I want to reclaim my time. And I would ask the chairman to give me back some of the time because of the interruption. Mr. Chairman, I am asking you, if you will give me the seconds that I lost. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH): We will give you that 10 seconds. Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX): Thank you. Now let's talk about another item. When you responded to the ranking member, you said that you had free license to look at everything but yet you yourself posted on your...I guess it's kind of like a web page...I don't quite understand what Substack is, but what I can say is that "in exchange for the opportunity to cover a unique and explosive story, I had to agree to certain conditions." What were those conditions? She asked you that question and you said you had none. But you yourself posted that you had conditions? Matt Taibbi: The conditions, as I've explained multiple times -- Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX): No sir, you have not explained, you told her in response to her question that you had no conditions. In fact, you used the word licensed, that you were free to look at all of them. All 100,000 emails. Matt Taibbi: The question was posed, was I free to to write about — Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX): Sir, did you have any conditions? Matt Taibbi: The condition was that we publish — Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX): Sir, did you have any conditions? Yes or no? A simple question. Matt Taibbi: Yes. Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX): All right. Could you tell us what conditions those were? Matt Taibbi: The conditions were an attribution of sources at Twitter and that we break any news on Twitter. Rep. Sylvia...
info_outline CD269: NDAA 2023/Plan Ecuador 02/26/2023
CD269: NDAA 2023/Plan Ecuador The annual war authorization (NDAA) is an excellent opportunity to examine our military’s roles and goals in the world. In this episode, learn about how much of our tax money Congress provided the Defense Department, including how much of that money is classified, how much more money was dedicated to war than was requested, and what they are authorized to use the money for. This episode also examines our Foreign Military Financing programs with a deep dive into a new partner country: Ecuador. Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via Support Congressional Dish via (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: [email protected] Send Venmo payments to: @Jennifer-Briney Send Cash App payments to: $CongressionalDish or [email protected] Use your bank’s online bill pay function to mail contributions to: Please make checks payable to Congressional Dish Thank you for supporting truly independent media! Background Sources Recommended Congressional Dish Episodes World Trade System James McWhinney. Oct 10, 2021. Investopedia. Sally Denton. Simon and Schuster: 2017. Littoral Combat Ships Eric Lipton. Feb 4, 2023. The New York Times. Open Secrets. Foreign Military Sales Program March 10, 2022. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Ecuador Encyclopedia Britannica. Catrin Einhorn and Manuela Andreoni. Updated Jan 20, 2023. The New York Times. June S. Beittel and Rachel L. Martin. Sep 9, 2022. Congressional Research Service. June S. Beittel. Updated Feb 13, 2018. Congressional Research Service. June S. Beittel. Updated April 20, 2017. Congressional Research Services. Debt Default Sarah Anderson and Neil Watkins. Dec 15, 2008. Institute for Policy Studies. Simon Romero. Dec 12, 2008. The New York Times. Violence and Drugs Nov 4, 2022. International Crisis Group. Jun 8, 2022. EcuadorTimes.net. Vanessa Buschschluter. Nov 4, 2021. BBC. Oct 19, 2021. Deutsche Welle. Mining Updated Mar 28, 2022. CGTN America. Bitty A. Roy. Jun 19, 2018. Tropical Conservation Science. Foreign Infrastructure Investments Nov 28, 2022. BNamericas. May 27, 2022. U.S. Trade and Development Agency. Richard Jiménez and Allen Panchana. Dec 16, 2021. Diálogo Chino. Frank Dougherty. Mar 1, 2021. Power. Fishing Joshua Goodman. Nov 2, 2022. Chattanooga Times Free Press. October 2022. U.S. Interagency Working Group on IUU Fishing. Oct 7, 2022. U.S. Agency for International Development. U.S. Coast Guard. Oct 5, 2022. Diálogo Americas. Adam Chandler. Dec 16, 2015. The Atlantic. Cutter Ships Ronald O'Rourke. Updated August 30, 2022. Congressional Research Service. Julian Assange Luke Harding et al. May 15, 2018. The Guardian. Simon Romero. Apr 5, 2011. The New York Times. Chevron Case Zack Budryk. Dec 27, 2022. The Hill. Venezuela Apr 14, 2021. teleSUR. China Trade Deal Jan 3, 2023. Reuters. Sep 23, 2022. The Dialogue. Alexandra Valencia. Feb 5, 2022. Reuters. Business Reforms Ramiro Crespo. Mar 3, 2022. Latin American Advisor. U.S. Ecuador Partnership Isabel Chriboga. Dec 22, 2022. The Atlantic Council. Jim Wiesemeyer. Dec 21, 2022. AgWeb. Dec 19, 2022. Al Jazeera. Isabel Chiriboga. Dec 19, 2022. The Atlantic Council. Nov 1, 2022. Office of the United States Trade Representative. Oct 19, 2022. U.S. Embassy & Consulate in Ecuador. Referendum Sebastián Hurtado. Dec 19, 2022. Americas Quarterly. State Enterprise Resignation Jan 18, 2023. Buenos Aires Times. Lithium Triangle John Price. Aug 22, 2022. Americas Market Intelligence. Colombia Catherine Osborn. Jan 20, 2023. Foreign Policy. María Paula Rubiano A. Nov 16, 2022. BBC. June S. Beittel. Updated December 16, 2021. Congressional Research Service. Tax Reform Ricardo Ávila. Nov 23, 2022. Americas Quarterly. Cesar Vence and Megan Bridges. Oct 26, 2022. U.S. Chamber of Commerce. U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Relationship with U.S. Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Jul 8, 2021. City of Hope. Kejal Vyas. May 4, 2020. The Wall Street Journal. Luoping Zhang et al. Mutation Research/Reviews in Mutation Research Vol. 781, July–September 2019, pp. 186-206. Jun 26, 2018. Syria Mehdi Hasan. Oct 26, 2019. The Intercept. Jan 20, 2021. U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. Mark Mazzetti et al. Aug 2, 2017. The New York Times. C. J. Chivers and Eric Schmitt. Mar 24, 2013. The New York Times. Government Funding Dec 23, 2022. House Appropriations Committee Democrats. Senate Appropriations Committee. Senate Appropriations Committee. Laws Bills Audio Sources January 19, 2023 The Atlantic Council Clips 17:51 Gen. Laura Richardson: The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) that has been ongoing for the last over a decade in this region, 21 of 31 countries have signed on to this Belt and Road Initiative. I could take Argentina last January, the most recent signatory on to the Belt and Road Initiative, and $23 billion in infrastructure projects that signatory and signing on to that. But again, 21 of 31 countries. There are 25 countries that actually have infrastructure projects by the PRC. Four that aren't signatories of the BRI, but they do actually have projects within their countries. But not just that. Deepwater ports in 17 countries. I mean, this is critical infrastructure that's being invested in. I have the most space enabling infrastructure in the Western Hemisphere in Latin America and the Caribbean. And I just caused question, you know, why? Why is all of this critical infrastructure being invested in so heavily? In terms of telecommunications, 5G, I've got five countries with the 5G backbone in this region. I've got 24 countries with the PRC Huawei 3G-4G. Five countries have the Huawei backbone infrastructure. If I had to guess, they'll probably be offered a discount to upgrade and stay within the same PRC network. And so very, very concerning as we work with our countries. 20:00 Gen. Laura Richardson: What I'm starting to see as well is that this economy...the economy impacts to these partner nations is affecting their ability to buy equipment. And you know, as I work with our partner nations, and they invest in U.S. equipment, which is the best equipment, I must say I am a little biased, but it is the best equipment, they also buy into the supply chain of spare parts, and all those kinds of things that help to sustain this piece of equipment over many, many years. So in terms of the investment that they're getting, and that equipment to be able to stay operational, and the readiness of it, is very, very important. But now these partner nations, due to the impacts of their economy, are starting to look at the financing that goes along with it. Not necessarily the quality of the equipment, but who has the best finance deal because they can't afford it so much up front. 24:15 Gen. Laura Richardson: This region, why this region matters, with all of its rich resources and rare earth elements. You've got the lithium triangle which is needed for technology today. 60% of the world's lithium is in the lithium triangle: Argentina Bolivia, Chile. You just have the largest oil reserves -- light, sweet, crude -- discovered off of Guyana over a year ago. You have Venezuela's resources as well with oil, copper, gold. China gets 36% of its food source from this region. We have the Amazon, lungs of the world. We have 31% of the world's freshwater in this region too. I mean, it's just off the chart. 28:10 Gen. Laura Richardson: You know, you gotta question, why are they investing so heavily everywhere else across the planet? I worry about these dual-use state-owned enterprises that pop up from the PRC, and I worry about the dual use capability being able to flip them around and use them for military use. 33:30 Interviewer: Russia can't have the ability to provide many of these countries with resupply or new weapons. I mean, they're struggling to supply themselves, in many cases, for Ukraine. So is that presenting an opportunity for maybe the US to slide in? Gen. Laura Richardson: It is, absolutely and we're taking advantage of that, I'd like to say. So, we are working with those countries that have the Russian equipment to either donate or switch it out for United States equipment. or you Interviewer: Are countries taking the....? Gen. Laura Richardson: They are, yeah. 45:25 Gen. Laura Richardson: National Guard State Partnership Program is huge. We have the largest National Guard State Partnership Program. It has come up a couple of times with Ukraine. Ukraine has the State Partnership Program with California. How do we initially start our great coordination with Ukraine? It was leveraged to the National Guard State Partnership Program that California had. But I have the largest out of any of the CoCOMMs. I have 24 state partnership programs utilize those to the nth degree in terms of another lever. 48:25 Gen. Laura Richardson: Just yesterday I had a zoom call with the U.S. Ambassadors from Argentina and Chile and then also the strategy officer from Levant and then also the VP for Global Operations from Albermarle for lithium, to talk about the lithium triangle in Argentina, Bolivia and Chile and the companies, how they're doing and what they see in terms of challenges and things like that in the lithium business and then the aggressiveness or the influence and coercion from the PRC. June 15, 2022 Clips Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA): The GAO found that the LCS had experienced engine failure in 10 of the 11 deployments reviewed. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA): One major reason for the excessive costs of LCS: contractors. Unlike other ships where sailors do the maintenance, LCS relies almost exclusively on contractors who own and control the technical data needed to maintain and repair. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA): Our top priority and national defense strategy is China and Russia. We can't waste scarce funds on costly LCS when there are more capable platforms like destroyers, attack submarines, and the new constellation class frigate. May 25, 2022 Senate Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Defense Witnesses: Carlos Del Toro, Secretary, United States Navy Admiral Michael M. Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations General David H. Berger, Commandant of the Marine Corps Clips Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS): I think the christening was just a few years ago...maybe three or so. So the fact that we christened the ship one year and a few years later we're decommissioning troubles me. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS): Are there not other uses, if there's something missing from this class of ships, that we would avoid decommissioning? Adm. Michael Gilday: We need a capable, lethal, ready Navy more than we need a larger Navy that's less capable, less lethal, and less ready. And so, unfortunately the Littoral combat ships that we have, while the mechanical issues were a factor, a bigger factor was was the lack of sufficient warfighting capability against a peer competitor in China. Adm. Michael Gilday: And so we refuse to put an additional dollar against that system that wouldn't match the Chinese undersea threat. Adm. Michael Gilday: In terms of what are the options going forward with these ships, I would offer to the subcommittee that we should consider offering these ships to other countries that would be able to use them effectively. There are countries in South America, as an example, as you pointed out, that would be able to use these ships that have small crews. April 25, 2022 March 31, 2022 Senate Foreign Relations Committee Witnesses: Kerri Hannan, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Diplomacy, Policy, Planning, and Coordination, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, U.S. Department of State Peter Natiello, Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator, Latin America and Caribbean Bureau, U.S. Agency for International Development Andrew M. Herscowitz, Chief Development Officer, U.S. International Development Finance Corporation Margaret Myers, Director of the Asia & Latin America Program, Inter-American Dialogue Evan Ellis, Senior Associate, Center for Strategic and International Studies Clips 24:20 Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA): Ecuador for example, nearly 20 years ago, former President Rafael Correa promised modernization for Ecuador, embracing Chinese loans and infrastructure projects in exchange for its oil. Fast forward to today. Ecuador now lives with the Chinese financed and built dam that's not fully operational despite being opened in 2016. The Coca Codo Sinclair Dam required over 7000 repairs, it sits right next to an active volcano, and erosion continues to damage the dam. The dam also caused an oil spill in 2020 that has impacted indigenous communities living downstream. And all that's on top of the billions of dollars that Ecuador still owes China. 56:40 Peter Natiello: One example that I could provide is work that we've done in Ecuador, with Ecuadorian journalists, to investigate, to analyze and to report on the issue of illegal and unregulated fishing off Ecuador's coast. And we do that because we want to ensure that Ecuadorian citizens have fact-based information upon which they can make decisions about China and countries like China, and whether they want their country working with them. 1:23:45 Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA): There are 86 million tons of identified lithium resources on the planet. On the planet. 49 million of the 86 million are in the Golden Triangle. That's Argentina, Bolivia, Chile. So what's our plan? 1:54:10 Evan Ellis: In security engagement, the PRC is a significant provider of military goods to the region including fighters, transport aircraft, and radars for Venezuela; helicopters and armored vehicles for Bolivia; and military trucks for Ecuador. 2:00:00 Margaret Myers: Ecuador is perhaps the best example here of a country that has begun to come to terms with the challenges associated with doing business with or interacting from a financial or investment perspective with China. And one need only travel the road from the airport to Quito where every day there are a lot of accidents because of challenges with the actual engineering of that road to know why many Ecuadorians feel this way. March 10, 2022 Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Witnesses: Jessica Lewis, Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs, U.S. Department of State Mara Elizabeth Karlin, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy, Plans and Capabilities, U.S. Department of Defense Clips 1:23:17 Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT): According to one study, the DoD manages 48 of the 50 new security assistance programs that were created after the 9/11 attacks and out of the 170 existing security assistance programs today, DOD manages 87, a whopping 81% of those programs. That is a fundamental transition from the way in which we used to manage security assistance. And my worry is that it takes out of the equation the people who have the clearest and most important visibility on the ground as to the impact of that security assistance and those transfers. Sen. Chris Murphy: We just spent $87 billion in military assistance over 20 years in Afghanistan. And the army that we supported went up in smoke overnight. That is an extraordinary waste of U.S. taxpayer dollars, and it mirrors a smaller but similar investment we made from 2003 to 2014 in the Iraqi military, who disintegrated when they faced the prospect of a fight against ISIS. Clearly, there is something very wrong with the way in which we are flowing military assistance to partner countries, especially in complicated war zones. You've got a minute and 10 seconds, so maybe you can just preview some lessons that we have learned, or the process by which we are going to learn lessons from all of the money that we have wasted in Iraq and Afghanistan. Jessica Lewis: Senator, I'll be brief so that Dr. Karlin can jump in as well. I think we do need to learn lessons. We need to make sure, as I was just saying to Senator Cardin, that when we provide security assistance, we also look not just at train and equip, but we look at other things like how the Ministries of Defense operate? Is their security sector governant? Are we creating an infrastructure that's going to actually work? Mara Elizabeth Karlin: Thank you for raising this issue, Senator. And I can assure you that the Department of Defense is in the process of commissioning a study on this exact issue. I will just say in line with Assistant Secretary Lewis, it is really important that when we look at these efforts, we spend time assessing political will and we do not take an Excel spreadsheet approach to building partner militaries that misses the higher order issues that are deeply relevant to security sector governance, that will fundamentally show us the extent to which we can ultimately be successful or not with a partner. Thank you. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT): You know, in Iraq, last time I was there, we were spending four times as much money on security assistance as we were on non-security assistance. And what Afghanistan taught us amongst many things, is that if you have a fundamentally corrupt government, then all the money you're flowing into the military is likely wasted in the end because that government can't stand and thus the military can't stand. So it also speaks to rebalancing the way in which we put money into conflict zones, to not think that military assistance alone does the job. You got to be building sustainable governments that serve the public interests in order to make your security assistance matter and be effective. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. March 8, 2022 House Armed Services Committee Witnesses: Melissa G. Dalton, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Hemispheric Affairs Office of the Secretary of Defense General Laura Richardson, USA, Commander, U.S. Southern Command General Glen D. VanHerck, USAF, Commander, U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command Clips 17:30 General Laura Richardson: Colombia, for example, our strongest partner in the region, exports security by training other Latin American militaries to counter transnational threats. 1:20:00 General Laura Richardson: If I look at what PRC (People's Republic of China) is investing in the [SOUTHCOM] AOR (Area of Responsibility), over a five year period of 2017 to 2021: $72 billion. It's off the charts. And I can read a couple of the projects. The most concerning projects that I have are the $6 billion in projects specifically near the Panama Canal. And I look at the strategic lines of communication: Panama Canal and the Strait of Magellan. But just to highlight a couple of the projects. The nuclear power plant in Argentina: $7.9 billion. The highway in Jamaica: $5.6 billion. The energy refinery in Cuba, $5 billion. The highway in Peru: $4 billion. Energy dam in Argentina: $4 billion, the Metro in Colombia: $3.9 billion. The freight railway in Argentina: $3 billion. These are not small projects that they're putting in this region. This region is rich in resources, and the Chinese don't go there to invest, they go there to extract. All of these projects are done with Chinese labor with host nation countries'. November 30, 2021 Senate Foreign Affairs Committee Witnesses: Brian A. Nichols, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, U.S. Department of State Todd D. Robinson, Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, U.S. Department of State Clips 1:47:15 Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX): I'd like to start with Mexico. I am increasingly concerned that the Mexican government is engaged in a systematic campaign to undermine American companies, and especially American energy companies that have invested in our shared prosperity and in the future of the Mexican people and economy. Over the past five months, Mexican regulators have shut down three privately owned fuel storage terminals. Among those they shut down a...
info_outline CD268: Disappearing Oversight: The NFL Sexual Misconduct Investigation 02/12/2023
CD268: Disappearing Oversight: The NFL Sexual Misconduct Investigation In December, the House Oversight and Reform Committee released a final report from their investigation into allegations of sexual assault committed by Washington Commanders team owner Dan Snyder. In this episode, you will hear the testimony and discover what the NFL did - or didn’t do - to punish the people who sexually harassed their employees. You will also learn that in the process of researching this episode, the Congressional Dish team discovered that the hearings related to this investigation, among others, have recently vanished from the committee archives, raising questions about how that happened and what needs to be done to prevent our sources from being disappeared. Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via Support Congressional Dish via (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: [email protected] Send Venmo payments to: @Jennifer-Briney Send Cash App payments to: $CongressionalDish or [email protected] Use your bank’s online bill pay function to mail contributions to: Please make checks payable to Congressional Dish Thank you for supporting truly independent media! Background Sources Recommended Congressional Dish Episodes Washington Commanders-Dan Snyder Background Adam Kilgore and Roman Stubbs. Jul 9, 2020. The Washington Post. Scott Allen. May 24, 2019. The Washington Post. Full House Committee on Oversight and Reform Report Dec 8, 2022. The New York Times. NFL Investigation Sally Jenkins. Jul 1, 2021. The Washington Post. Jul 1, 2021. NFL. Dan Snyder Misconduct Will Hobson and Liz Clarke. Dec 14, 2021. The Washington Post. Will Hobson et al. Jul 2, 2021. The Washington Post. Nicki Jhabvala and Mark Maske. Jun 29, 2021. The Washington Post. Will Hobson et al. Dec 22, 2020. The Washington Post. Will Hobson et al. Aug 26, 2020. The Washington Post. Will Hobson and Liz Clarke. Jul 16, 2020. The Washington Post. Dan Snyder Money Edward Sutelan. Nov 14, 2022. The Sporting News. Lauren Schwahn. Dec 2, 2022. Nerd Wallet. Dave Portnoy Superbowl Arrest Danny Small. Feb 4, 2019. Elite Sports NY. NFL Ownership and Potential Commanders Sale Scott Polacek. Feb 8, 2023. Bleacher Report. Joe Rivera. Nov 2, 2022. The Sporting News. Wikipedia. Past Congressional Oversight of Sporting Organizations Associated Press. Jul 28, 2007. MSNBC via the Wayback Machine. House Government Reform and Oversight Committee (109th Congress). March 17, 2005. C-SPAN. NFL Nonprofit Status and Lobbying IRS. Open Secrets. Matt Johnson. Jul 15, 2022. Sportsnaut. House Control Walter Shapiro. Feb 9, 2023. The New Republic. Laws Bills Hearings June 22, 2022 House Oversight and Reform Committee Witness: Rodger Goodell:, Commissioner, National Football League Clips 3:05 Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY): We also invited Daniel Snyder to testify today, but rather than show up and take responsibility for his actions, he chose to skip town. Apparently Mr. Snyder is in France, where he has docked his luxury yacht near a resort town. 3:45 Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY): According to top executives, he fired women, but not men, who engaged in relationships with other employees while defending male executives accused of sexual harassment. And he kept employees from speaking out through a culture of fear. As one longtime employee described Mr. Snyder's tactics: "If you don't obey, intimidate. If you still don't obey, terminate." Finally, the employee added, "If that didn't work, buy them off." The Committee has also uncovered evidence that Mr. Snyder conducted a shadow investigation to target his accusers, pin the blame on others, and influence the NFL's own internal review. He filed phony lawsuits to collect private phone records, emails, and text messages. 7:10 Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY): Our first bill, the Accountability for Workplace Misconduct Act, will require employers to conduct thorough investigations and share the outcome with victims, and it will prohibit employers from using Non-disclosure Agreements to conceal workplace misconduct -- one of Dan Snyder's favorite tactics. Our second bill is the Professional Images Protection Act. Our investigation confirmed that the Commanders secretly created lewd videos of cheerleaders for the private enjoyment of Dan Snyder. That is despicable and our bill will create notice and consent requirements for employers who use their employees' professional images. 23:10 Rodger Goodell: Hi I'm Roger Goodell commissioner of the National Football League and I'm here today to discuss the NFL's efforts to promote safe and respectful workplaces, including at the Washington Commanders. 23:25 Rodger Goodell: The Commanders are one of 32 NFL clubs, each of which is managed by its ownership and executives and have their own workplaces and policies. Two years ago, the Commanders asked me to recommend independent counsel to address workplace issues and recommend changes to improve the workplace culture. We identified several candidates and the club selected Beth Wilkinson, a distinguished former Federal Prosecutor. Approximately six weeks later, the club asked my office to assume oversight of the Wilkinson firm's work. The Wilkinson firm conducted a comprehensive review of the workplace at the club, interviewing more than 150 witnesses. As a result, we gained a clearer understanding of what the workplace had been at the Commanders, how it had begun to change, and what further steps were needed to support our ultimate goal of transforming that workplace to one that is safe and productive for all of its employees. 25:05 Rodger Goodell: It is clear to me that the workplace in Washington was unprofessional and unacceptable in numerous respects: bullying, widespread disrespect toward colleagues, use of demeaning language, public embarrassment and harassment. Moreover, for a prolonged period of time, the Commanders had a woefully deficient HR function, particularly with respect to reporting practices and record keeping. As a result, we imposed unprecedented discipline on the club, monetary penalties of well over $10 million, and requirements that the club implement a series of recommendations and allow an outside firm to conduct regular reviews of their workplace. In addition, for the past year, Daniel Snyder has not attended league or committee meetings, and to the best of my knowledge has not been involved in day to day operations at the Commanders. The cheerleader program has been entirely revamped and it's now a co-ed dance team under new leadership. And the most recent independent workplace report, which we have shared with the Committee, confirms that an entirely new, highly skilled and diverse management team is in place, and that there has been, "substantial transformation of the team's culture, leadership and human resources practices." 26:35 Rodger Goodell: We did not receive a written report of Miss Wilkinson's findings for compelling reasons that continue to this day. A critical element of any workplace review is broad participation by both current and former employees. Encouraging employees to come forward and share their experiences, which were frequently painful and emotional, was essential to identifying both the organization's failures and how to fix them. To encourage this participation, Ms. Wilkinson promised confidentiality to any current or former employee. For this reason, shortly after we assumed oversight of Miss Wilkinson's work, we determined that a comprehensive oral briefing was best to allow us to receive the information necessary both to evaluate the workplace as it was, and to ensure that the team put in place the policies and processes to reform that workplace, all while preserving the confidentiality of those who participated in the investigation. 28:35 Rodger Goodell: When the committee has asked questions or requested documents which could violate witness privacy, we have asserted privilege. We will continue to do so to safeguard our commitment. 28:45 Rodger Goodell:: Earlier this year, the committee heard testimony from several former employees that included new and direct allegations against Mr. Snyder. We properly engaged former U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White to investigate those allegations. Because those new allegations were brought to the committee in a public setting, we will share the results of that investigation when it's completed and will take additional disciplinary action if warranted. 29:50 Rodger Goodell: Finally, I want to address the Committee's review of Non-disclosure Agreements. Our policies do not allow a club to use an NDA to bar someone from participating in a league investigation, and nobody who wished to speak to the Wilkinson firm was prevented from doing so by an NDA. 36:45 Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY): Mr. Snyder has not been held accountable. His refusal to testify sends a clear message that he is more concerned about protecting himself than coming clean with the American people. If the NFL is unwilling or unable to hold Mr. Snyder accountable, then I am prepared to do so. That is why I am announcing now my intent to issue a subpoena for the testimony of Mr. Snyder for a deposition next week. The committee will not be deterred in its investigation to uncover the truth of workplace misconduct at the Washington Commaders. 38:20 Rodger Goodell: While I have the microphone I'd also like to say, respectfully, that Dan Snyder has been held accountable. As I mentioned in the opening, he faced unprecedented discipline, including financial fines, being removed and away from the team at his request for a period of time up to the year now already, and secondly, and more importantly, transformation of that organization that is going on in the last year, which is really important. 42:25 Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC): This committee has no jurisdiction over private entities. Our jurisdiction is on government entities. 1:10:40 Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL): Now, sir, you had mentioned that the reason for the press release as opposed to a detailed finding, as you had in the other cases was because of privacy concerns. Isn't that right? Rodger Goodell: That was one of the issues. Yes. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL): However, I have this 148 Page Miami Dolphins harassment report that you did where you have redacted the names of various individuals out of privacy concerns. And so it is possible to release a detailed report and at the same time protect people's privacy, yet you chose not to do so in this particular case with the Commanders. Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI): Study after study shows there is not systemic racism in our police departments. There is a narrative out there, for example, who to this day mislead the public as to what happened in Ferguson. The Black Lives Matter movement fanned the flames out there even though Barack Obama's own Justice Department found that shooting was justified and you have kind of piled on with the narrative that we have a fundamental problem. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA): So non disclosure agreements by each of your various teams are not being used. Is that what you're saying? Rodger Goodell: No, I'm not saying that at all. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY): The gentlelady's time has expired. The gentleman may answer her question. Rodger Goodell: I'm not saying that. State by state...our teams operate in different states that have different laws. So the federal legislation is something that we're willing to work with the Committee on it. February 3, 2022 House Oversight and Reform Committee Witnesses: Emily Applegate, Former Marketing Coordinator, Washington Commanders Brad Baker, Former Manager and Producer of Video, Washington Commanders Melanie Coburn, Former Director of Marketing, Cheerleaders, Washington Commanders Rachel Engelson, Former Director of Marketing and Client Relations, Washington Commanders Tiffani Johnston, Former Manager of Marketing, Washington Commanders Ana Nunez, Former Coordinator of Business Development, Washington Commanders Clips 9:45 Rep. James Comer (R-KY): Instead of adhering to our committee's mission to root out waste, fraud, and abuse and mismanagement in the federal government, Democrats instead are holding a roundtable about the work culture in one single private organization. 10:00 Rep. James Comer (R-KY): Make no mistake, no one should face harassment at work and bad actors must be held accountable. But it's unclear why examining harassment that took place a decade ago in one private workplace warrants oversight from this committee. This issue is best handled by human resources and the courts, not Congress. 10:25 Rep. James Comer (R-KY): Further, because of the bravery of the women testifying before us today, the culture of the franchise has completely turned around. And I want to thank the ladies for being here today. After the NFL investigation into the football team last year, Commissioner Roger Goodell levied the highest fine on an owner in the history of the sport, and suspended the owner from team's operations indefinitely. In addition, the commissioner made a series of recommendations to the team to improve its culture. This week, an independent audit confirmed those recommendations are working. Madam Chair, I'd like to submit the audit for the record. 11:30 Rep. James Comer (R-KY): Because of the Commissioner's leadership, bad actors have been held accountable and the culture at the football team has improved. So why are Democrats utilizing committee resources today to examine an issue that is on the path to resolution and is outside this committee's jurisdiction? 18:15 Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY): Our first participant is Melanie Coburn who was a cheerleader for the Washington Football Team from 1997 to 2001 and was the director of Marketing and Marketing Coordinator from 2001 to 2011. 18:30 Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY): Then we will hear from Tiffany Johnston, who was a cheerleader for the Washington football team from 2007 to 2008, and a Marketing Manager and Marketing and Events Coordinator for Club Level Tickets from 2002 to 2008. 18:50 Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY): Next we will hear from Brad Baker, who was a Producer at the Washington football team from 2007 to 2008 and a Video Production Manager from 2008 to 2009. 19:05 Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY): Next we will hear from Ana Nunez, who was a Coordinator of Business Development and Client Service and an Account Executive at the Washington football team from 2015 to 2019. 19:20 Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY): Next, we will hear from Rachel Engelson, who started as an intern for the Washington football team in 2010 and then became a Customer Service Representative, a Manager of Premium Client Services, the Director of Marketing and Client Relations, and the Director of Client Services from 2011 to 2019. 19:40 Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY): Finally, we will hear from Emily Applegate who was a Marketing Coordinator, Premium Client Services Coordinator, and Ticket Sales Representative at the Washington Football Team from 2014 to 2015. 21:00 Melanie Coburn: At cheerleader auditions one year, Dan Snyder ordered the director of the squad to parade the ladies onto the field while he and his friends gawked from a suite through binoculars. The women were directed to turn around slowly, as if they were cattle being examined for sale. One of the women cried on the sidelines because she didn't understand what was happening. 21:30 Melanie Coburn: Over the years, it became clear that Dan Snyder and his male executives were far too interested in the cheerleaders. Eventually, Dan himself had the final say of who made the team and who got months in the calendar. Unbelievably, he requested binders of photographs for auditions and the calendar so that he could choose who to cut based on looks, not talent. One year he cut 10 veterans who otherwise would have made the team based on their skill and experience, evidently because they weren't the prettiest in his opinion. It was known as the Tyson's massacre. 22:10 Melanie Coburn: During calendar production one year, a male Executive took unedited prints off the graphic designer's desk despite my warnings to protect them. One of these compromising full size photos was one of the team's most loyal employees, and my dear friend. She's sitting next to me today. I'm still haunted by this. And at the time, there was no HR department or any reporting mechanism for this abusive behavior. 23:05 Melanie Coburn: I felt compelled to come forward publicly when I read the second shocking [Washington] Post article that revealed two lewd videos of the cheerleaders that were secretly created. I was physically ill when I read that piece. "The Good Bits" videos produced at the behest of Dan Snyder were secretly made from footage taken at our calendar shoots. We trusted the production team to capture footage and keep it safe. Little did we know they were zooming in on private parts and keeping cameras rolling during costume changes. I've cried with the women in these videos as they explain the horror of seeing themselves in what is essentially a soft porn video soundtracked to Dan Snyder's favorite bands. These women remain traumatized. 24:35 Melanie Coburn: Dan Snyder rules by fear. We've seen Dan's vindictive wrath for years, such as when he nearly bankrupted the Washington City Paper for an unflattering article. He sent private investigators to the homes of a dozen former cheerleaders last year and I got calls from these terrified women who didn't understand why PIs were showing up on their doorsteps. He offered hush money to a group of us in exchange for our silence last February, but we declined. This was offensive, and certainly felt like intimidation and witness tampering to us. 26:10 Tiffani Johnston: Hi, my name is Tiffani Johnston. I appreciate you all for taking the time to hear about the constant workplace harassment that occurred at the Washington Football Team for over two decades. I personally experienced it multiple times during my eight year tenure as both a cheerleader and a marketing manager. 26:50 Ana Nunez: Hi, my name is Ana Nunez and I worked in sales for the Washington football team for almost four years. 28:20 Tiffani Johnston: I learned on one specific occasion that when I was asked by my boss to attend a networking event, and oh to dress cute, it was actually an orchestration by him and Dan Snyder to put me in a compromising sexual situation. I learned that placing me strategically by the owner at a work dinner after this networking event was not for me to discuss business, but to allow him, Dan Snyder, to place his hand on my thigh under the table. I learned how to discreetly remove a man's unwanted hand from my thigh at a crowded dinner table at a busy restaurant to avoid a scene. I learned that job survival meant I should continue my conversation with another coworker, rather than call out Dan Snyder right then in the moment. I also learned later that evening how to awkwardly laugh when Dan Snyder aggressively pushed me towards his limo with his hand on my lower back, encouraging me to ride with him to my car. I learned how to continue to say no, even though a situation was getting more awkward, uncomfortable and physical. I learned that the only reason Dan Snyder removed his hand from my back and stop pushing me towards his limo was because his attorney intervened and said "Dan, Dan, this is a bad idea. A very bad idea, Dan." I learned that I should remove myself from Dan's grip while his attorney was distracting him. I also learned at that moment during an unspoken conversation between my boss and I that my boss was not there to look out for me. He was there to listen to any directive his boss, Dan Snyder, had given to him, at my cost. The next day I learned, when I told a senior coworker about Dan Snyder's sexual advance, that I should "not repeat this story to anyone outside this office door." That was when I...
info_outline CD267: The Monopoly Powers of Live Nation/Ticketmaster 01/29/2023
CD267: The Monopoly Powers of Live Nation/Ticketmaster Live Nation and Ticketmaster merged over a decade ago and Congress is concerned - for good reason - that the company is exerting monopoly powers over the live event industry. In this episode, learn how the merger was allowed to happen in the first place, the problems that industry participants and competitors are having with the company, and what Congress is thinking of doing about it. Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via Support Congressional Dish via (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: [email protected] Send Venmo payments to: @Jennifer-Briney Send Cash App payments to: $CongressionalDish or [email protected] Use your bank’s online bill pay function to mail contributions to: Please make checks payable to Congressional Dish Thank you for supporting truly independent media! We're Not Wrong Live Show Wednesday, March 1 | 8:00 PM PSTPianoFight Main Stage San Francisco Background Sources Event Ticketing Market Apr 12, 2018. U.S. Government Accountability Office. Live Nation Overview Open Secrets. Open Secrets. Ticketmaster August Brown. Jan 24, 2023. The Seattle Times. Taylor Swift Ashley Cullins. Dec 5, 2022. The Hollywood Reporter. Caitlin Huston. Nov 18, 2022. The Hollywood Reporter. Caitlin Huston. Nov 17, 2022. The Hollywood Reporter. Bad Bunny Maria Abi-Habib. Dec 16, 2022. The New York Times. Dylan Smith. Apr 15, 2021. Digital Music News. BTS Dave Clark. Mar 3, 2022. Ticket News. Fengyen Chiu. Oct 11, 2021. Republic World. Adele Dave Clark. Dec 8, 2021. Ticket News. Pixies Steve Knopper. Nov 1, 2010. Wired. Bruce Sprintsteen Alex Young. Nov 18, 2022. Consequence Sound. Daniel Kreps. Feb 4, 2009. Rolling Stone. Pearl Jam Shawn Garrett. Nov 17, 2022. KIRO 7 News. Eric Boehlert. Dec 28, 1995. Rolling Stone. Reuters. Jul 1, 1994. The New York Times. Ticketmaster Scalper Program Dave Clark. Jul 8, 2021. Ticket News. Rachel Houlihan et al. Oct 18, 2018. CBC News. Dave Seglins et al. Sep 19, 2018. CBC News. Antitrust Policy and Enforcement Doha Mekki. Jan 26, 2023. U.S. Department of Justice. John Kwoka. Dec 19, 2018. Washington Center for Equitable Growth. Jul 5, 2007. Sheppard Mullin. Alan S. Middleton. Jul 3, 2007. Davis Wright Tremaine LLP. Richard B. Blackwell. March 1972 *13(3). William & Mary Law Review. Mergers and Monopoly Power Open Markets Institute. Live Nation-Ticketmaster Merger U.S. Department of Justice. (July 2010) (January 2020) (January 2020) Kroger-Albertsons Merger Julie Creswell. Jan 23, 2023. The New York Times. Russell Redman. Dec 6, 2022. Winsight Grocery Business. Laws Bills Sponsor: Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) Audio Sources January 24, 2023 Senate Committee on the Judiciary Witnesses: Joe Berchtold, President and Chief Financial Officer, Live Nation Entertainment, Inc. Jack Groetzinger, Chief Executive Officer, SeatGeek, Inc. Jerry Mickelson, Chief Executive Officer and President, Jam Productions, LLC Sal Nuzzo, Senior Vice President, The James Madison Institute Vice President for Legal Advocacy, American Antitrust Institute Clyde Lawrence, Singer-songwriter, Lawrence February 24, 2009 Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights Witnesses: Irving Azoff, Chief Executive Officer, Ticketmaster Entertainment, Inc. Jerry Mickelson, Chairman and Executive Vice President, JAM Productions Michael Rapino, President and Chief Executive Officer, Live Nation, Inc. David A. Balto, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress Action Fund Seth Hurwitz, Co-Owner, I.M.P. Productions and 9:30 Club YouTube Cover Art Design by Only Child Imaginations Music Presented in This Episode by
info_outline CD266: Contriving January 6th 01/06/2023
CD266: Contriving January 6th The January 6th Committee investigation is over and four criminal charges against former President Donald Trump have been referred to the Justice Department by the Committee. In this episode, hear a summary of 23 hours of testimony and evidence presented by the Committee which prove that former President Trump went to extraordinary and illegal lengths to remain President, despite losing the 2020 Election. Executive Producers: Michael Constantino, Shelley Stracener, Daniel Slaughter, and Christine Brendle Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via Support Congressional Dish via (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: [email protected] Send Venmo payments to: @Jennifer-Briney Send Cash App payments to: $CongressionalDish or [email protected] Use your bank’s online bill pay function to mail contributions to: Please make checks payable to Congressional Dish Thank you for supporting truly independent media! Background Sources Recommended Congressional Dish Episodes The Final Committee Report 117th Congress Second Session. Dec 22, 2022. U.S. Government Publishing Office. The January 6th Committee Robert Draper and Luke Broadwater. Dec 23, 2022. The New York Times Magazine. 2020 Election Litigation Oct 27, 2022. The American Bar Association. Daniel Funke. Feb 9, 2021. PolitiFact. January 6th Security Failures February 2022. U.S. Government Accountability Office. Electors and Vote Certification Process Domenico Montanaro. Dec 14, 2020. NPR. May 11, 2021. U.S. National Archives. John Eastman Deepa Shivaram. Jun 17, 2022. NPR. The Federalist Society. Trump and Georgia Matthew Brown. Nov 22, 2022. The Washington Post. Amy Gardner and Paulina Firozi. Jan 5, 2021. The Washington Post. AG Bill Barr Interview Mike Balsamo. Dec 11, 2020. Dec 1, 2020. The Associated Press. Past Electoral Vote Challenges Joseph A. Gambardello. Jun 29, 2022. FactCheck.org. Ted Barrett. Jan 6, 2005. CNN. Fake Electors Amy Sherman. Jan 28, 2022. PolitiFact. Evan Perez and Tierney Sneed. Jan 26, 2022. CNN. Mar 2, 2021. American Oversight. Censure of Cheney & Kinzinger Feb 4 2022. The New York Times. Audio Sources December 19, 2022 House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol October 13, 2022 House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol Featured speakers: Kayleigh McEnany, Former White House Press Secretary Molly Michael, Former Executive Assistant to the President Pat Cipollone, Former White House Counsel Clips Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY): Why would Americans assume that our Constitution, and our institutions, and our Republic are invulnerable to another attack? Why would we assume that those institutions will not falter next time? A key lesson of this investigation is this: Our institutions only hold when men and women of good faith make them hold, regardless of the political cost. We have no guarantee that these men and women will be in place next time. Any future president inclined to attempt what Donald Trump did in 2020 has now learned not to install people who could stand in the way. And also please consider this: The rulings of our courts are respected and obeyed, because we as citizens pledged to accept and honor them. Most importantly, our President, who has a constitutional obligation to faithfully execute the laws, swears to accept them. What happens when the President disregards the court's rulings is illegitimate. When he disregards the rule of law, that my fellow citizens, breaks our Republic. January 6 Committee Lawyer: To your knowledge, was the president in that private dining room the whole time that the attack on the Capitol was going on? Or did he ever go to, again only to your knowledge, to the Oval Office, to the White House Situation Room, anywhere else? Kayleigh McEnany: The the best of my recollection, he was always in the dining room. January 6 Committee Lawyer: What did they say, Mr. Meadows or the President, at all during that brief encounter that you were in the dining room? What do you recall? Gen. Keith Kellogg: I think they were really watching the TV. January 6 Committee Lawyer: Do you know whether he was watching TV in the dining room when you talked to him on January sixth? Molly Michael: It's my understanding he was watching television. January 6 Committee Lawyer: When you were in the dining room in these discussions, was the violence of capital visible on the screen on the television? Pat Cipollone: Yes. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL): A federal appeals court in Pennsylvania wrote, quote, "charges require specific allegations and proof. We have neither here." A federal judge in Wisconsin wrote, quote, "the court has allowed the former President the chance to make his case and he has lost on the merits." Another judge in Michigan, called the claims quote, "nothing but speculation and conjecture that votes for President Trump were either destroyed, discarded or switched to votes for Vice President Biden." A federal judge in Michigan sanctioned nine attorneys, including Sidney Powell, for making frivolous allegations in an election fraud case, describing the case as a historic and profound abuse of the judicial process. Recently, a group of distinguished Republican election lawyers, former judges and elected officials issued a report confirming the findings of the courts. In their report entitled "Lost, Not Stolen," these prominent Republicans analyzed each election challenge and concluded this: Donald Trump and his supporters failed to present evidence of fraud or inaccurate results significant enough to invalidate the results of the 2020 Presidential Election. On December 11, Trump's allies lost a lawsuit in the US Supreme Court that he regarded as his last chance of success in the courts. Alyssa Farah: I remember maybe a week after the election was called, I popped into the Oval just to like, give the President the headlines and see how he was doing and he was looking at the TV and he said, "Can you believe I lost to this effing guy?" Cassidy Hutchinson: Mark raised it with me on the 18th and so following that conversation we were in the motorcade ride driving back to the White House, and I said, like, "Does the President really think that he lost?" And he said, "A lot of times he'll tell me that he lost, but he wants to keep fighting it and he thinks that there might be enough to overturn the election, but, you know, he pretty much has acknowledged that he, that he's lost. July 12, 2022 House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol Witnesses: Jason Van Tatenhove, Former Oath Keepers Spokesperson Stephen Ayres, January 6th Defendant Clips Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL): According to White House visitor logs obtained by the Committee, members of Congress present at the White House on December 21 included Congressmen Brian Babin (TX), Andy Biggs (AZ), Matt Gaetz (FL), Louie Gohmert (TX), Paul Gosar (AZ), Andy Harris (MD), Jody Hice (R-GA), Jim Jordan (OD), and Scott Perry (PA). Then Congresswoman-elect Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA) was also there. Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL): We've asked witnesses what happened during the December 21 meeting and we've learned that part of the discussion centered on the role of the Vice President during the counting of the electoral votes. These members of Congress were discussing what would later be known as the "Eastman Theory," which was being pushed by Attorney John Eastman. June 28, 2022 House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol Witnesses: Cassidy Hutchinson, Former Special Assistant to the President and Aide to the Chief of Staff Clips 9:10 Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY): Today's witness, Ms. Cassidy Hutchinson, is another Republican and another former member of President Trump's White House staff. Certain of us in the House of Representatives recall that Ms. Hutchinson once worked for House Republican whip Steve Scalise, but she is also a familiar face on Capitol Hill because she held a prominent role in the White House Legislative Affairs Office, and later was the principal aide to President Trump's Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows. 10:10 Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY): In her role working for the White House Chief of Staff, Miss Hutchinson handled a vast number of sensitive issues. She worked in the West Wing, several steps down the hall from the Oval Office. Miss Hutchinson spoke daily with members of Congress, with high ranking officials in the administration, with senior White House staff, including Mr. Meadows, with White House Counsel lawyers, and with Mr. Tony Ornato, who served as the White House Deputy Chief of Staff. She also worked on a daily basis with members of the Secret Service who were posted in the White House. In short, Miss Hutchinson was in a position to know a great deal about the happenings in the Trump White House. 24:20 Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY): On January 3, the Capitol Police issued a special event assessment. In that document, the Capitol Police noted that the Proud Boys and other groups planned to be in Washington DC on January 6, and indicated that quote, "unlike previous post election protests, the targets of the pro-Trump supporters are not necessarily the counter protesters, as they were previously, but rather, Congress itself is the target on the Sixth. 27:45 Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY): Of course the world now knows that the people who attacked the Capitol on January 6 had many different types of weapons. When a President speaks, the Secret Service typically requires those attending to pass through metal detectors known as magnetometers, or mags for short. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY): The Select Committee has learned about reports from outside the magnetometers and has obtained police radio transmissions identifying individuals with firearms, including AR-15s near the Ellipse on the morning of January 6. Let's listen. Police Officer #1: Blue jeans and a blue jean jacket and underneath the blue jacket complaintants both saw the top of an AR 15. Police Officer #2: Any white males brown cowboy boots, they had Glock-style pistols in their waistbands. Police Officer #3: 8736 with the message that subject weapon on his right hip. Police Officer #4: Motor one, make sure PPD knows they have an elevated threat in the tree South side of Constitution Avenue. Look for the "Don't tread on me" flag, American flag facemask cowboy boots, weapon on the right side hip. Police Officer #5: I got three men walking down the street in fatigues and carrying AR-15s. Copy at Fourteenth and Independence. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY): We're going to show now an exchange of texts between you and Deputy Chief of Staff Ornato, and these text messages were exchanged while you were at the Ellipse. In one text, you write, "but the crowd looks good from this vantage point, as long as we get the shot. He was f---ing furious." But could you tell us, first of all, who it is in the text who was furious? Cassidy Hutchinson: The he in that text that I was referring to was the President. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY): And why was he furious, Miss Hutchinson? Cassidy Hutchinson: He was furious because he wanted the arena that we had on the Ellipse to be maxed out at capacity for all attendees. The advanced team had relayed to him that the mags were free flowing. Everybody who wanted to come in had already come in, but he still was angry about the extra space and wanted more people to come in. Cassidy Hutchinson: And that's what Tony [Ornato] had been trying to relate to him [President Trump] that morning. You know, it's not the issue that we encountered on the campaign. We have enough space. They don't want to come in right now, they have weapons they don't want confiscated by the Secret Service. They're fine on the Mall, they can see you on the Mall and they want to march straight to the Capitol from the Mall. But when we were in the off stage announced tent, I was part of a conversation -- I was in the, I was in the vicinity of a conversation -- where I overheard the President say something to the effect of you know, "I don't think that they have weapons. They're not here to hurt me take the effing mags away. Let my people in, they can march to the Capitol from here. Let the people in, take the effing mags away." Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY): On December 1, 2020, Attorney General Barr said in an interview that the Department of Justice had now not found evidence of widespread election fraud, sufficient to change the outcome of the election. Ms. Hutchinson, how did the President react to hearing that news? Cassidy Hutchinson: I left the office and went down to the dining room, and I noticed that the door was propped open in the valet was inside the dining room changing the tablecloth off of the dining room table. The valet had articulated that the President was extremely angry at the Attorney General's AP interview and had thrown his lunch against the wall. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY): Miss Hutchinson, Attorney General Barr described to the Committee the President's angry reaction when he finally met with President Trump. Let's listen. Former Attorney General Bill Barr: And I said, "Look, I I know that you're dissatisfied with me and I'm glad to offer my resignation" and then he pounded the table very hard. Everyone sort of jumped and he said "Accepted." Reporter: Leader McCarthy, Do you condemn this violence? Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA): I completely condemn the violence in the Capitol. What we're currently watching unfold is un-American. I'm disappointed, I'm sad. This is not what our country should look like. This is not who we are. This is not the First Amendment. This has to stop and this has to stop now. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY): Did White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows ever indicate that he was interested in receiving a Presidential Pardon related to January 6? Cassidy Hutchinson: Mr. Meadows did seek that pardon. Yes, ma'am. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY): While our committee has seen many witnesses, including many Republicans, testify fully and forthrightly, this has not been true of every witness. And we have received evidence of one particular practice that raises significant concern. Our committee commonly asks witnesses connected to Mr. Trump's administration or campaign whether they'd been contacted by any of their former colleagues, or anyone else who attempted to influence or impact their testimony, without identifying any of the individuals involved. Let me show you a couple of samples of answers we received to this question. First, here's how one witness described phone calls from people interested in that witness's testimony. "What they said to me is, as long as I continue to be a team player, they know I'm on the right team, I'm doing the right thing, I'm protecting who I need to protect, you know, I'll continue to stay in good graces in Trump World. And they have reminded me a couple of times that Trump does read transcripts and just keep that in mind as I proceed through my interviews with the committee." Here's another sample in a different context. This is a call received by one of our witnesses. "A person let me know you have your deposition tomorrow. He wants me to let you know that he's thinking about you. He knows you're loyal, and you're going to do the right thing when you go in for your deposition." I think most Americans know that attempting to influence witnesses to testify untruthfully presents very serious concerns. June 23, 2022 House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol Witnesses: Jeffrey A. Rosen, Former Acting Attorney General Richard Donoghue, Former Acting Deputy Attorney General Steven Engel, Former Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel Eric Herschmann, Former White House Senior Advisor Clips Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS): From the time you took over from Attorney General Barr until January 3, how often did President Trump contact you or the Department to push allegations of election fraud? Former Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen: So between December 23 and January 3, the president either called me or met with me virtually every day, with one or two exceptions like Christmas Day Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ): Again, I join my colleagues in calling on Attorney General Barr to immediately let us know what he's doing. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ): We're already working on challenging the certified electors. And what about the court? How pathetic are the courts? Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL): January 6, I'm joining with the fighters in the Congress, and we are going to object to electors from states that didn't run clean elections. Democracy is left undefended if we accept the result of a stolen election without fighting with every bit of vigor we can muster. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH): The ultimate date of significance is January 6. This is how the process works. The ultimate arbiter here, the ultimate check and balance, is the United States Congress. And when something is done in an unconstitutional fashion, which happened in several of these states, we have a duty to step forward and have this debate and have this vote on the 6th of January. Former Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue: So both the Acting Attorney General [Rosen] and I tried to explain to the President on this occasion, and on several other occasions that the Justice Department has a very important, very specific, but very limited role in these elections. States run their elections. We are not quality control for the states. We are obviously interested in and have a mission that relates to criminal conduct in relation to federal elections. We also have related civil rights responsibilities. So we do have an important role, but the bottom line was if a state ran their election in such a way that it was defective, that is to the state or Congress to correct. It is not for the Justice Department to step in. And I certainly understood the President, as a layman, not understanding why the Justice Department didn't have at least a civil role to step in and bring suit on behalf of the American people. We tried to explain that to him. The American people do not constitute the client for the United States Justice Department. The one and only client of the United States Justice Department is the United States government. And the United States government does not have standing, as we were repeatedly told by our internal teams. Office of Legal Counsel, led by Steve Engel, as well as the Office of the Solicitor General researched it and gave us thorough clear opinions that we simply did not have standing and we tried to explain that to the President on numerous occasions. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL): Let's take a look at another one of your notes. You also noted that Mr. Rosen said to Mr. Trump, quote, "DOJ can't and won't snap its fingers and change the outcome of the election." How did the President respond to that, sir? Former Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue: He responded very quickly and said, essentially, that's not what I'm asking you to do. What I'm just asking you to do is just say it was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican Congressmen. Former Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue: There were isolated instances of fraud. None of them came close to calling into question the outcome of the election in any individual State. January 6 Committee Lawyer: And was representative Gaetz requesting a pardon? Eric Herschmann: Believe so. The general tone was, we may get prosecuted because we were defensive of, you know, the President's positions on these things. A pardon that he was discussing, requesting, was as broad as you could describe, from the beginning of time up until today, for any and all things. He had mentioned Nixon and I said Nixon's pardon was never nearly that...
info_outline CD265: Policing FTX 12/23/2022
CD265: Policing FTX FTX, at one point the world’s third largest cryptocurrency exchange, went bankrupt, causing the entire cryptocurrency industry to crash. In this episode, hear highlights from Congressional testimony that will explain how FTX was able to grow so large while committing blatant fraud, how it’s possible that the government didn’t know and didn’t do anything to stop it, and hear about a Senate bill that’s branded as a solution but has concerning flaws of it’s own. Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via Support Congressional Dish via (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: [email protected] Send Venmo payments to: @Jennifer-Briney Send Cash App payments to: $CongressionalDish or [email protected] Use your bank’s online bill pay function to mail contributions to: Please make checks payable to Congressional Dish Thank you for supporting truly independent media! Background Sources Recommended Congressional Dish Episodes What is FTX? Timothy Smith. Dec 22, 2022. Investopedia. Crypto Regulation Kyle Barr. Dec 1, 2022. Gizmodo. David Dayen. Nov 23, 2022. The American Prospect. David Dayen. Nov 17, 2022. The American Prospect. David Dayen. Nov 10, 2022. The American Prospect. Tom Emmer et al. Mar 16, 2022. emmer.house.gov. Lead-up to FTX Collapse Elizabeth Napolitano. Nov 9, 2022. NBC News. Tom Wilson and Angus Berwick. Nov 8, 2022. Reuters. Tracy Wang and Oliver Knight. Nov 6, 2022. Tracy Wang and Oliver Knight. Nov 6, 2022. CoinDesk. Ian Allison. Nov 2, 2022. CoinDesk. Seth. P Rosebrock, Assistant General Counsel, Enforcement, FDIC. Aug 18, 2022. FDIC. Tom Emmer André Beganski. Dec 11, 2022. Decrypt. Tony Romm. Dec 8, 2022. The Washington Post. Emily Brooks and Mychael Schnell. Nov 15, 2022. The Hill. FTX Collapse Shane Shifflett, Rob Barry, and Coulter Jones. Dec 5, 2022. The Wall Street Journal. Alexander Osipovich. Dec 3, 2022. The Wall Street Journal. David Gura. Nov 23, 2022. NPR. Steven Zeitchik. Nov 20, 2022. The Washington Post. Nov 17, 2022. PACER. Angus Berwick. Nov 11, 2022. Reuters. Jacob Bogage and Tory Newmyer. Nov 11, 2022. The Washington Post. Vicky Ge Huang, Alexander Osipovich, and Patricia Kowsmann. Nov 11, 2022. The Wall Street Journal. Lobbying and Campaign Donations Tory Newmyer and Steven Zeitchik. Dec 1, 2022. The Washington Post. Tory Newmyer and Peter Whoriskey. Nov 28, 2022. The Washington Post. Tony Romm. Nov 17, 2022. The Washington Post. Paul Kiernan. Nov 14, 2022. The Wall Street Journal. Brian Schwartz. Nov 14, 2022. CNBC. Tory Newmyer. Nov 12, 2022. The Washington Post. Luis Melgar et al. Oct 24, 2022. The Washington Post. Freddy Brewster. Aug 12, 2022. Los Angeles Times. Aftermath of the FTX Collapse Dec 12, 2022. Reuters. Emily Flitter, David Yaffe-Bellany and Matthew Goldstein. Dec 7, 2022. The New York Times. Alexander Osipovich, Alexander Saeedy and Alexander Gladstone. Dec 4, 2022. Mar 10, 2022. Cryptopedia. December 13 Hearing Dec 8, 2022. House Financial Services Committee. House Financial Services Committee. Sam Bankman-Fried Indictment Dec 13, 2022. The New York Times. Bills Audio Sources December 13, 2022 House Committee on Financial Services Witness: John J. Ray III, CEO, FTX Group Clip Transcripts Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO): Have you read the full testimony that was planned by our missing guest [Sam Bankman-Fried]? John Ray I have not read his full testimony. Some pieces of it been relayed to me, but I've not read it. I've not read one word of it actually. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO): Yeah, I don't know him personally and probably don't want to. But this testimony is so disrespectful. I mean, there's not a person up here would like to show this to their children. In line two of this message, he says, and I quote, "I would like to start out by firmly stating under oath...* And yeah, I can't even say it publicly. The next two words, absolutely insulting. This is the Congress of the United States. Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH): So when when customers deposited funds into their FTX accounts, where did the cash go? John Ray: Well, sometimes the money wasn't deposited in the FTX account it was sent to Alameda to begin with. Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH): It was misdirected from from the start straight to Alameda. John Ray: There was certainly some time period where there's no bank account at .com and then ultimately, if you look at the structure of this, Alameda is essentially a customer on that .com exchange, and effectively, you know, borrowed money from or just transferred money from FTX customers to take its own positions on the Alameda hedge fund. Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC): So Alameda research and the venture capital business, what did Alameda research do? John Ray: Essentially made crypto investments, engaged in margin trading, took long and short positions in crypto, essentially invested in crypto. But of course, we now know also invested in over $5 billion of other assets which are in a variety of sectors. Patrick McHenry (R-NC): Can you describe the differences between the FTX.com and FTX.us silos? John Ray: Yes. Very simply FTX.us was for US citizens who wanted to trade crypto; FTX.com, US citizens were not allowed to trade on that exchange. That's very simple. And I would make one other comment, which is separate apart from any of those two silos. It was ledger x, which is a regulated entity regulated by the CFTC, solvent and separate from the FTX.us silo. Patrick McHenry (R-NC): Okay, and that is a distinct silo, that's a distinct company? John Ray: That is a distinct company within the US silo, yes. Patrick McHenry (R-NC): Okay. Patrick McHenry (R-NC):: What was the relationship between FTX.com and FTX.us? Was is there a distinction between the two? John Ray: There was a public distinction between the two. What we're seeing now is that the crypto assets for both ftx.com and for FTX.us were housed in the same database. It's called the AWS system, which is just an acronym for Amazon Web Services. It was all housed in the same web format. Patrick McHenry (R-NC):: And is that distinct from Alameda's assets? John Ray: Yes, it is. John Ray: In essence you know, Alameda was a user, effectively a customer, of FTX.com. That's how it was essentially structured. John Ray: There was no audit at Alameda, no audit at the venture silo. There was audit at the US silo and also audit at the the .com silo. I can't speak to the integrity or quality of those audits. We're reviewing, obviously, the books and records. And as I've said earlier, you know, much of those books and records were maintained on a fairly unsophisticated ledger ledger which works workbooks. John Ray: It's an extensive list, it really crosses the entire spectrum of the company, from lack of lists of bank accounts, hundreds of bank accounts dispersed all over the world, lack of a complete list of employees and their functions by group or name, extensive use of independent contractors as opposed to employees, lack of insurance that you'd normally would see in certain businesses, either inadequate insurance or complete gaps in insurance. For example, the Alameda silo had no insurance whatsoever. So those are I mean, there's, the list goes on and on. You know, we could spend all day on them. John Ray: While many things are unknown at this stage, we're at a very preliminary stage, many questions remain, we know the following. First customer assets at ftx.com were commingled with assets from the Alameda trading platform. That much is clear. Second, Alameda used client funds to engage in margin trading, which exposed customer funds to massive losses. Third, the FTX group went on a spending binge in 2021 and 2022, during which $5 billion was spent on a myriad of businesses and investments, many of which may only be worth a fraction of what was paid for them. Fourth, loans and other payments were made to insiders in excess of $1.5 billion. Fifth, Alameda's business model as a market maker required funds to be deployed to various third party exchanges, which were inherently unsafe and further exacerbated by the limited protections offered in certain of those foreign jurisdictions. John Ray: I accepted the position of Chief Executive Officer of FTX in the early morning hours of November 11 . It immediately became clear to me that chapter 11 was the best course available to preserve any remaining value of FTX. Therefore, my first act as CEO was authorized the chapter 11 filings. John Ray: It's virtually unlimited in terms of the lack of controls: no centralized records on banking, no daily reconciliations of crypto assets, silos where there's no insurance, inadequate insurance, no independent board, no safeguards that limit, who controls and asset. So senior management literally could get access to any of the accounts in any of the silos. No separateness between customer money and other customer money or other other assets. It's virtually unlimited in terms of the lack of controls. And that's really the point of the unprecedent comment. I've just never seen anything like it in 40 years of doing restructuring work and corporate corporate legal work. It's just a dearth of of information. John Ray: But again, users had multiple accounts. For example, if they had a different trading position, they may have opened multiple accounts. We know it's a big number. It's in the millions on the customer accounts, and we know it's several billion dollars in losses. Assigning those losses to customer accounts will be our next challenge. John Ray: The FTX group's collapse appears to stem from absolute concentration of control in the hands of a small group of grossly inexperienced and unsophisticated individuals who failed to implement virtually any of the systems or controls that are necessary for a company entrusted with other people's money or assets. Some of the unacceptable management practices identified so far include the use of computer infrastructure that gave individuals and senior management access to systems that stored customers' assets without security controls to prevent them from redirecting those assets; the storing of certain private keys to access hundreds of millions of dollars in crypto assets without effective security controls or encryption; the ability of Alameda to borrow funds held at FTX.com to be utilized for its own trading or investments without any effective limits whatsoever; the commingling of assets; the lack of complete documentation for transactions involving nearly 500 separate investments made with FTX group funds and assets. In the absence of audited or reliable financial statements, the lack of personnel and financial and risk management functions, and the absence of independent governance throughout the FTX group, a fundamental challenge we face is there in many respects we are starting from near zero in terms of the corporate infrastructure and record keeping that one would expect in a multibillion dollar corporation. John Ray: The FTX group is unusual in the sense that, you know, I've done probably a dozen large scale bankruptcies over my career, including Enron, of course. Every one of those entities had some financial problem or another, they have some characteristics that are in common. This one is unusual. And it's unusual in the sense that literally, you know, there's no record keeping whatsoever. It's the absence of record keeping. Employees would communicate, you know, invoicing and expenses on on Slack, which is essentially a way of communicating for chat rooms. They use QuickBooks, a multibillion dollar company using QuickBooks. Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO): QuickBooks? John Ray: QuickBooks. Nothing against QuickBooks, it's very nice tool, just not for a multibillion dollar company. There's no independent board, right? We had one person really controlling this. No independent board. That's highly unusual in the size company this is. And it's made all the more complex because we're not dealing with, you know, widgets or, you know, something that's tangible. We're dealing with with with crypto, and the technological issues are made worse when you're dealing with an asset such as crypto. John Ray: I've just never seen an utter lack of record keeping. Absolutely no internal controls whatsoever. John Ray: The operation of Alameda really depended based on the way it was operated for the use of customer funds. That's the major breakdown here of funds from ftx.com, which was the exchange for non US citizens, those funds were used at Alameda to make investments and other disbursements. John Ray: There's no distinction whatsoever. The owners of the company could really run free reign across all four silos. John Ray: The loans that were given to Mr. Bankman-Fried, not just one loan it was numerous loans, some of which were documented by individual promissory notes. There's no description of what the purpose of the loan was. In one instance, he signed both as the issuer of the loan, as well as the recipient of the loan. But we have no information at this time as to what the purpose or the use of those funds were. And that is part of our investigation. John Ray: At the end of the day, we're not going to be able to recover all the losses here. Money was spent that we'll never get back. There will be losses on the international side. We're hopeful on the US side. He'll answer to others related to what happened here. Our job is just to find the assets and try to get customers their money back as quickly as possible. John Ray: Essentially, they had two exchanges that allowed users to trade crypto, and then there was the hedge fund. It's as simple as that. The users were allowed to make a variety of investments. They had a more expansive ability to trade crypto if you are a non-U.S. citizen on the .com exchange, but I know what's been described publicly is very complex. It is to some extent, but essentially, you had two exchanges, and you had a hedge fund. Inside both the US silos I've mentioned and inside the silos for .com there were regulated entities. We have regulated entities that are, for example, in Japan that are solvent, we had a regulated entity, ledger X, that was solvent. Those are sort of distinct from the other basic operations that we had, which are the two exchanges. John Ray: The principal issue that the company is facing in the crypto area, and from a technology perspective, it is different from the other bankruptcies because it's not a plane, not a boat. It's this crypto asset and it has inherently some difficulties. You know, the assets can be taken or lost. We have assets there in what are called Hot wallets, and those are in cold wallets. Hot wallets are very vulnerable to to hacking. If you've done any looking on the internet, you'll find that hacking is almost ordinary course in this business sector. They're very, lots of vulnerability to the wallets. So that's this company, unfortunately had a very, very challenging record here. You know, for some transfers there was no pathway for it. Our keys aren't stored in a centralized location. We don't know where all of our wallets are. Passwords were sometimes kept in just plain text format. So this company was sort of uniquely positioned to fail. John Ray: So funds were taken from customers, funds were invested, trading losses incurred in Alameda and then funds were deployed, that will never be valued at the same dollar amount. There was over $5 billion of investments made. Certainly, there's some value there and we'll try to get that value and sell those assets. But oftentimes, even when he made those sorts of investments, whether it was directly or through others in management, sometimes he would do that really without any pro forma or any valuation. Not really quite sure how some of the purchase price numbers were derived. So it gives you a sort of worry obviously, that the purchases were overvalued so there's a concern there as well. John Ray: Alameda was a customer, if you will, of the exchange and it's through that customer relationship, plus other arrangements, that allowed Alameda to borrow those funds, and then pick positions on the exchange like anyone, you know, who would hedge an asset in the market. He had unusually large positions, of course, and sometimes they were wrong in those positions, and they resulted in big losses. But ultimately, the commingling issue is the same in a different issue. He took the money from FTX to cover those positions and ultimately, when customers went to get their money back from .com there was a run on the bank. John Ray: The Alameda fund, well that's just the fund that drew resources from the exchanges, so it's really separate, it was not for customers per se, it was just simply a hedge fund. John Ray: For structural purposes and just for ease of presentation, we tried to take the over 100 entities and we put those in four silos. To demystify that, it's very simple. There was a U.S. silo, which was the FTX.us exchange for US investors. There was an international exchange called FTX.com. Again, for non-U.S. persons that invested in crypto. There was Alameda, which is purely a crypto hedge fund, which made other investments, venture capital type investments. Then there's a fourth entity which was purely investments. And although our investigation is not complete, those investments were most likely made with either Alameda money or money that originally came from ftx.com. But that fourth silo is just purely investments Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC): And who owned those four silos? John Ray: All those entities are owned or controlled by Sam Bankman-Fried. Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA): Now I've heard from some on the other side criticizing the SEC and in July in this room I criticized the Head of Enforcement at the SEC for not going after crypto exchanges. But the fact is that without objection I'd like to put on the record a letter signed by 19 Republican members designed to push back on the SEC, a brushback pitch if you're familiar with baseball, attacking the SEC for paying attention to and I quote, "the purported risks of digital assets." And I'd like to put on the record without objection comments from eight members made in this room that were designed to attack the SEC as being Luddite and anti-innovation for their efforts. Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY): Mr. Ray, a number of their debtors in the FTX group are located in offshore jurisdictions. Will this complicate the efforts to retrieve the assets of those there? If so why? John Ray: No, I don't think it will complicate it at all. The various jurisdictions, historically in bankruptcy, and I've been in a number of cross border situations, the jurisdictions will cooperate with each other. The regulators in all these jurisdictions, I think, realize that everyone's there for a common purpose, to protect the victims and recover assets for the victims of these situations. Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY): How much have you been able to secure and where are most of these assets located? John Ray: We've been able to secure over a billion dollars of assets. We've secured those two cold wallets in a secure location. It's an ongoing process, though, which will take weeks and perhaps months to secure all the assets. Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY): Are most creditors located in the US or foreign jurisdictions. John Ray: The majority of the creditors trade through the .com silo and are outside of this jurisdiction, although there are some foreign customers that are on the US silo, and vice versa. Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO): Reports suggest that ftx.com transferred more than half of its customer funds, roughly $10 billion, to Alameda research. Is that accurate, sir? John Ray: Our work is not done, we don't have exact numbers for you today, but I will say it's several billion dollars, in that range, so we know that the size of the harm...
info_outline CD264: Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain 12/11/2022
CD264: Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain FTX, a large cryptocurrency exchange, recently went bankrupt, leading to calls for government regulation of cryptocurrencies. But you might be wondering, what are cryptocurrencies? In part one of this two-part series, listen to expert testimony provided over a four-year period informing Congress about the cryptocurrency industry, the promise of blockchain, problems - both real and overblown - with this new technology, and how best to regulate this complicated industry. Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via Support Congressional Dish via (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: [email protected] Send Venmo payments to: @Jennifer-Briney Send Cash App payments to: $CongressionalDish or [email protected] Use your bank’s online bill pay function to mail contributions to: Please make checks payable to Congressional Dish Thank you for supporting truly independent media! Background Sources Recommended Congressional Dish Episodes Proof of Work Jake Frankenfield. May 2, 2022. Investopedia. Initial Coin Offering (ICO) Jake Frankenfield. Aug 18, 2022. Investopedia. Sherwin Dowlat. Jul 11, 2018. Satis Group. Madison Cawthorn The Associated Press. Dec 7, 2022. NPR. Regulations Cheyenne Ligon. Dec 5, 2022. CoinDesk. Bills Sponsor: Sen. Debbie Stabenow Audio Sources January 20, 2022 House Committee on Energy & Commerce, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Witnesses: , Weill Family Foundation and Joan and Sanford I. Weill Professor, Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute, Cornell Tech , Chief Executive Officer, Soluna Computing, Inc. , Chief Executive Officer, BitFury , Former Chief Executive Officer, Chelan County Public Utility District and Bonneville Power Administration , Shareholder Jordan Ramis P.C. June 16, 2021 House Committee on Financial Services, Subcommittee on National Security, International Development and Monetary Policy Witnesses: , Global Head of Policy & Regulatory Affairs, Chainalysis , Senior Director, Center on Economic and Financial Power, Foundation for Defense of Democracies February 25, 2021 House Financial Services Committee, Subcommittee on National Security, International Development and Monetary Policy Witness , Former Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes, U.S. Department of the Treasury July 30, 2019 Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee concluded a hearing to examine regulatory frameworks for digital currencies and blockchain, including S. 2243, to amend the Expedited Funds Availability Act to require that funds deposited be available for withdrawal in real-time. Witnesses: , Co-Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Circle, on behalf of The Blockchain Association , Specialist in International Trade and Finance, Congressional Research Service , Professor of Law, University of California, Irvine School of Law October 11, 2018 Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee concluded a hearing to examine the cryptocurrency and blockchain ecosystem, including S. 3179, to require the Comptroller General of the United States to carry out a study on how virtual currencies and online marketplaces are used to buy, sell, or facilitate the financing of goods or services associated with sex trafficking or drug trafficking. Witnesses: , Professor of Economics and International Business, New York University Stern School of Business , Director of Research, Coin Center Cover Art Design by Only Child Imaginations Music Presented in This Episode by
info_outline CD263: Republicans Take the House 11/28/2022
CD263: Republicans Take the House The results are in: The Democrats will keep the Senate, the Republican will take the House. In this episode, in preparation for the 118th Congress, Jen analyzes the detailed policy documents released by the House Republicans to see what they could reasonably accomplish, who their policies would help or hurt, and how they will likely wield their power in a politically divided Congress. Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via Support Congressional Dish via (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: [email protected] Send Venmo payments to: @Jennifer-Briney Send Cash App payments to: $CongressionalDish or [email protected] Use your bank’s online bill pay function to mail contributions to: Please make checks payable to Congressional Dish Thank you for supporting truly independent media! Background Sources Recommended Congressional Dish Episodes The Southern Border David J. Bier. Sep 14, 2022. Cato Institute. May 2022. The Healthy Future Task Force. Jul 2022. American Security Task Force. American Federation of Teachers. Sean Altekruse et al. January 17, 2020. PLOS One 15(1). Tiffany Stecker. Feb 20, 2019. Bloomberg Law. Censorship Sep 2022. China Sep 2022. China Task Force. Commitment to America Megan Loe. Oct 25, 2022. Verify. House Republicans. House Republicans. Sep 20, 2022. House Republicans. Sep 2022. Jobs and the Economy Task Force. Energy and the Environment August 9, 2022. The Energy, Climate, & Conservation Task Force. Mining Sep 2022. The Energy, Climate, & Conservation Task Force. John Emeigh. Jun 2, 2022. KXLF Butte. Betsy Smidinger. August 30, 2021. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Ryan DeMars. 2012. Teach the Earth. Clark Fork Watershed Education Program. Dams Mar 2, 2021. MIT Climate Portal. Fossil Fuels Jun 17, 2022. The Energy, Climate, & Conservation Task Force. Jun 10, 2022. The Energy, Climate, & Conservation Task Force. Jeff Brady and Neela Banerjee. Jun 9, 2021. Gutting Environmental Law Jun 10, 2022. The Energy, Climate, & Conservation Task Force. Pesticides Jul 15, 2022. The Energy, Climate, & Conservation Task Force. Jul 8, 2021. Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Emily Dixon. Feb 15, 2019. CNN. Water May 11, 2015. NPR. Seth Siegel with Naty Barak. Jun 1, 2017. Real Assets Adviser 4(6). Healthcare Aug 2022. The Healthy Future Task Force. Jul 2022. The Healthy Future Task Force. Jun 2022. The Healthy Future Task Force. Jun 2022. The Healthy Future Task Force. Financial Regulations Sep 2022. Jobs & the Economy Task Force. Sep 2022. Jobs & the Economy Task Force. Jun 2022. The Energy, Climate, & Conservation Task Force. Parents Bill of Rights Committee on Education & Labor Republicans. Committee on Education & Labor Republicans. 2014 Government Funding 113th Congresss. 113th Congress. Oct 16, 2013. Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives. Workforce Education Jul 2022. Jobs & the Economy Task Force. Speak Out Act 117th Congress. Emilie Shumway. Nov 16, 2022. Legal Dive. Respect for Marriage Act 117th Congress. Annie Karni. Nov 16, 2022. The New York Times. Maggie Astor. Nov 16, 2022. The New York Times. Al Weaver. Nov 16, 2022. The Hill. Soon-to-be Laws Audio Sources Sep 23, 2022 Kevin McCarthy on YouTube Clips Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH): They told us so many things that turned out not to be accurate. I mean, just think about it, they told us this thing didn't come from a lab. Sure looks like it did. But they want us to believe it was a bat to a penguin to Joe Rogan. And then we all got, it right? I'm just a country boy from Ohio. But I kind of think it probably came from a lab. I asked Dr. Burks a question three months ago in a hearing. I said Dr. Burks, when the Biden administration told us that the vaccinated couldn't get it, were they guessing or lying? Interesting. She paused and said, Well, Congressman, I like to think they hoped. I said, so it was a guess, a lie, or a hope. I'm not against the vaccine. I'm just saying that we're big boys and girls, we can handle the truth. Give us the facts. We are committed to doing the investigations that need to be done. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA): On our very first bill we're going to repeal 87,000 IRS agents. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA): We believe in fairness. We should ensure women only compete in women's sports. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA): We will have oversight hearings on what happened. Who was responsible for opening up America's southern border? How many have come in? How many are on the terrorist watch list that we know of, and when will we start doing something about it? In our commitment to America, we talk about securing America's border and holding them accountable. We will give Secretary Mayorkas a reserved parking spot, he will be testifying so much about this. So that's the kind of oversight we're going to be doing. February 5, 2014 “Little fish” montage featuring Former Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA), Former Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), and Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). October 8, 2013 Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX): I am very proud of not only what our Speaker is doing but of our majority leader, ERIC CANTOR, and our whip, KEVIN MC CARTHY. October 1, 2013 Former Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA): In fact, House Republicans have passed three continuing resolutions, or temporary spending bills, to keep this government open and to either defund or to delay ObamaCare—which the majority of Americans support. They were against it 31⁄2 years ago; they are against it today; and they support what we are doing in the Republican House of Representatives. I praise and commend Speaker JOHN BOEHNER and the leadership of ERIC CANTOR and KEVIN MCCARTHY for the strength that they have had in regard to this and for being so inclusive for every single member of our caucus. 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info_outline CD262: Inside C-SPAN with Howard Mortman 11/12/2022
CD262: Inside C-SPAN with Howard Mortman As we wait for the final results of the midterm elections to determine which party will control the House, enjoy Jen's interview with C-SPAN Communications Director, Howard Mortman. Jen and Howard discuss all things C-SPAN, including what C-SPAN crews are and are not allowed to film and the network's funding sources and distribution, as well has Howard's podcast, the Weekly, and his book, When Rabbis Bless Congress. Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via Support Congressional Dish via (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: [email protected] Send Venmo payments to: @Jennifer-Briney Send Cash App payments to: $CongressionalDish or [email protected] Use your bank’s online bill pay function to mail contributions to: Please make checks payable to Congressional Dish Thank you for supporting truly independent media! Executive Producer Recommended Sources Background Sources Howard Mortman Jen on C-SPAN Alzheimer’s Testimony Seth Rogan's and Charity February 26, 2014. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, and Human Services. Origins of COVID-19 Katherine Eban and Jeff Kao. October 28, 2022. ProPublica. Cover Art Design by Only Child Imaginations Music Presented in This Episode by
info_outline CD261: Inflation Reduction Act 10/30/2022
CD261: Inflation Reduction Act The Inflation Reduction Act is a new law designed to hasten the United States’ energy transition (and do nothing about inflation). In the last episode before the midterm election, learn about the energy path the Democratic Party has plotted for us and learn how this new law can possibly save you tens of thousands of dollars. Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via Support Congressional Dish via (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: [email protected] Send Venmo payments to: @Jennifer-Briney Send Cash App payments to: $CongressionalDish or [email protected] Use your bank’s online bill pay function to mail contributions to: Please make checks payable to Congressional Dish Thank you for supporting truly independent media! Jen Podcast Appearances The Living Numbers Podcast with Tony Rambles. A Word with Tom Merritt. Background Sources Recommended Congressional Dish Episodes Tax Credits and Refunds Home Energy Efficiency Tax Credits eFile. Rocky Mengle. Sept 16, 2022. Kiplinger. Updated Aug 18, 2022. Energy Star. Electric Appliance Rebates U.S. Census Bureau. Electric Car Tax Credit Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute. Alternative Fuels Data Center. U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Kelley R. Taylor. Oct 18, 2022. Kiplinger. Greg Iacurci. Oct 15, 2022. CNBC. John Bozzella. Aug 5, 2022. Alliance for Automotive Innovation. John Bogna. Jun 22, 2022. PCMag. U.S. Geological Survey. U.S. Department of the Interior. Princeton University Research & Project Administration. Alternative Fuel vehicle refueling property credit Kelley R. Taylor. Sept 14, 2022. Kiplinger. Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute. Hydrogen Catherine Clifford. Sep 8, 2022. CNBC. Emma Ochu et al. Jun 17, 2021. Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, Center on Global Energy Policy. Open Secrets. Jay Bartlett and Alan Krupnick. December 2020. Resources for the Future. 24/7 Wall St. Feb 16, 2020. Market Watch. Health Care Oct 5, 2022. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. 2022. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Carbon Capture Angela C. Jones and Ashley J. Lawson. Oct 5, 2022. Congressional Research Service. Emily Pontecorvo. Aug 22, 2022. Grist. 2021. Global CCS Institute. Nov 17, 2011. European Environment Agency. Offshore Wind Leases Abby Husselbee and Hannah Oakes. Aug 25, 2022. Harvard University Environmental & Energy Law Program. Sept 8, 2020. The White House. Fossil Fuels David Jordan. Oct 6, 2022. Roll Call. Aug 18, 2022. Enersection. Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute. The Associated Press. Apr 16, 2022. NPR. Taxes Kelley R. Taylor. Oct 10, 2022. Kiplinger. August 16, 2022. EY. Jacob Bogage. Aug 12, 2022. The Washington Post. Peter Warren. Aug 11, 2022. Empire Center. Open Secrets. November 13, 2017. Congressional Budget Office. The Law Revised August 5, 2022. Congressional Budget Office. Audio Sources September 22, 2022 Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Witnesses: Tim Hemstreet, Managing Director for Renewable Energy Development, PacifiCorp Spencer Nelson, Managing Director, Research and New Initiatives, ClearPath Ted Wiley, President and Chief Operating Officer, Form Energy 19:19 Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV): When it comes to storage, there has rightly been a focus on the supply chain, particularly for lithium ion batteries that power electric vehicles and phones in our pockets and many other modern technologies. While we have benefited from the use of this important battery chemistry, the fact that China is responsible for 75% of global lithium ion battery production, including 60% of the world's cathode production and 80% of the world's anode production, should give everyone pause. That is why I was proud to champion Inflation Reduction Act which incentivized the onshoring of the entire battery supply chain, from the production and processing of raw materials, to the battery pack assembly and everything in between. March 31, 2022 Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Witnesses: Dr. Steve Fortier, Director, USGS National Minerals Information Center, U.S. Department of the Interior Scott Melbye, President, Uranium Producers of America Julie Padilla, Chief Regulatory Officer, Twin Metals Minnesota Abigail Wulf, Vice President, Critical Minerals Strategy and Director of the Center for Critical Minerals Strategy, Securing America's Future Energy Dr. Paul Ziemkiewicz, Director, West Virginia Water Research Institute, West Virginia University 24:14 Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV): It makes no sense to remain beholden to bad actors when we have abundant resources in manufacturing know-how here in the United States. And make no mistake, we are beholden, particularly when it comes to many of the minerals that go into clean energy technologies. That is why I've sounded the alarm about going down the path of EVs alone and advocated for equal treatment for hydrogen 45:08 Abigail Wulf: As things stand, without some significant course corrections on America's critical minerals enterprise, the leading automobile power won't be the United States. It will be China. Not because of superior design or technology, but because of their massive head start and established market power, if not utter dominance, in all aspects of the supply chain that powers these [electric] vehicles. But simply mining alone does not begin to address the fundamentals of America's mineral supply chain challenge. Where we are most lacking and where China is most dominant is in that crucial but largely hidden processing phase and midstream component production. We simply can't dig up a rock and stick it in a Tesla. You have to crush it, smelt it, and refine it into precursor material that has been sold to somebody else to turn it into battery guts, namely cathodes, anodes and electrolytes. Today, the United States has less than 4% of all minerals processing capacity and makes 0% of the world's cathodes and anodes. By contrast, China is the world's largest processor of copper, nickel, cobalt, lithium and rare earth elements, and they control 60% of anode production and 40% of global cathode production. Consider that in 2019, about 70% of the world's cobalt supply was mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but more than 70% of that cobalt was refined in or controlled by China. February 2, 2022 Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Witnesses Dr. Sunita Satyapal, Director, Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office, Hydrogen Program Coordinator, U.S. Department of Energy Dr. Glen Richard Murrell, Executive Director, Wyoming Energy Authority Jonathan Lewis, Senior Counsel and Director of Transportation Decarbonization, Clean Air Task Force Michael J. Graff, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, American Air Liquide Holdings, Inc. Brian Hlavinka, Vice President, New Energy Ventures, Corporate Strategic Development, Williams 21:07 Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV): However, we have some challenges to tackle in order to build a clean hydrogen economy. Producing hydrogen without emissions is two to six times the cost of current production methods. Also, retrofitting end-use applications to use hydrogen as a feedstock, from chemical plants to cars and trucks, will take huge investments from both public and private sectors. This is the demand that we need to develop hydrogen markets that can sustain themselves. The other big challenge is the safe and efficient transport and storage of large volumes of hydrogen, given its physical properties. There's a lot of promising work being done in this space and will allow us to leverage our vast natural gas pipeline network to transport hydrogen to market. 22:00 Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV): That is why I made research, development, and demonstration of these technologies a central part of the Energy Infrastructure Act, which this committee reported with bipartisan support last year, and which was subsequently included in the recently enacted Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. In that bill, we fund $9.5 billion in research, development and demonstration of clean hydrogen, and we tasked the Department of Energy to develop a national strategy and a roadmap to get us to a clean hydrogen economy. 27:25 Sen. James Lankford (R-OK): I'm concerned that the conversation around green versus blue hydrogen will pit technologies against each other rather than working together to establish a robust hydrogen marketplace. The simple truth right now is that 95% of hydrogen produced in the United States is made from natural gas. 1:42:00 Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK): Can you share what the administration's policy is with regards to converting natural gas to hydrogen? We recognize that there are some within the [Biden] administration, certainly some groups that may have influence on the administration, who are very firm about not using fuel sources like natural gas. So the question is, is there a role for conversion to play? And what might we anticipate with regards to support and funding that might come with it? Dr. Sunita Satyapal: Thank you again for the question. And as mentioned, with hydrogen shot, we're really looking at all of the pathways. It's really about clean hydrogen. So whether it's natural gas, carbon feedstocks, nuclear renewables, you know, any pathway to get to the low carbon intensity, we're really pivoting away from the colors. There's a lot of complexity: green, blue, purple, turquoise….Pyrolysis is another approach. In fact, our loan program office just announced financing of $1 billion solid carbon, which is another value added product, no need for the CCS portion. So definitely an all-of-the-above strategy needed to meet all of our goals. July 28, 2020 Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Witnesses: Steven Winberg, (Former) Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy at the US Department of Energy Shannon Angielski, Executive Director of the Carbon Utilization Research Council Dr. Julio Friedmann, Center on Global Energy Policy, Columbia University 25:06 Dr. Julio Friedmann: Net zero means that any residual emissions must be balanced by removal, as Secretary Moniz said. It means that reduction of co2 emissions and removal of co2 emissions are complementary but distinct actions and that both are necessary. The National Academies and the IPCC find that this must be done at enormous scale exceeding the size of the global oil and gas industry today. We are not where we need to be to make this real. 48:35 Shannon Angielski: In addition, the International Energy Agency modelled the contributions of different technologies to meet that mid-century 2 degree scenario. And it shows that CCUS accounts for approximately 100 Giga tons of needed global co2 emissions reductions by 2060. To put this into perspective, this would be achieved by the operation of 1100 carbon capture systems on the equivalent of 500 megawatt coal fired units, or 3200 natural gas combined cycle units, which would need to be operating for the next 30 years. 1:59:00 Steven Winberg: The rest of the world is going to continue using fossil energy, whether it's coal or oil or natural gas. And that's why we have moved forward quickly on the coal first program, because it offers the opportunity for what I think of as 21st century coal. Right now the Chinese own the space in power generation — coal fired power generation. We have an opportunity to take technology and springboard over what the Chinese are building, which is basically 1970s vintage technology that we built, and they now have improved slightly, but they're selling it around the world, to countries that have coal under their feet, and they're going to continue using that coal. But with the coal first program, we can move into power generation, and we can move into hydrogen production, because these countries also, as they build out their transport sector, may not do it the same way that developed countries, they may move more swiftly into hydrogen. And so there's an opportunity there to take our technology using their natural resources that are under their feet, and produce zero emitting power generation and zero emitting hydrogen and perhaps even net negative hydrogen and net negative electricity and they can use that hydrogen in the transportation sector as well as the industrial sector. Cover Art Design by Only Child Imaginations Music Presented in This Episode by
info_outline CD260: Failure to Fund with Graham Elwood 10/10/2022
CD260: Failure to Fund with Graham Elwood Congress has failed to fund the government on time again. In this episode, Graham Elwood joins Jen as she geeks out on all the dingleberries attached to the new law extending Congress’s funding deadline until December 16th. Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via Support Congressional Dish via (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: [email protected] Send Venmo payments to: @Jennifer-Briney Send Cash App payments to: $CongressionalDish or [email protected] Use your bank’s online bill pay function to mail contributions to: Please make checks payable to Congressional Dish Thank you for supporting truly independent media! Executive Producer Recommended Sources August 8, 2022. The Peter Collins Show. Background Sources Recommended Congressional Dish Episodes FDA User Fees Katie Hobbins. Oct 3, 2022. Medical Device + Diagnostic Industry (MD+DI). New Mexico Fire Ryan Boetel. Sept 29, 2022. Albuquerque Journal. Associated Press. Jun 21, 2022. The Guardian. Elizabeth Miller and Jason Samenow. May 5, 2022. The Washington Post. Republicans and Disaster Relief Funding Sharon Zhang. Oct 3, 2022. Truthout. Zach Schonfeld. Oct 3, 2022. Lauren Book. Oct 3, 2022. Sanjana Karanth. Oct 2, 2022. HuffPost. Anna Skinner. Sept 30, 2022. Newsweek. Sergio Bustos. Sept 30, 2022. Tallahassee Democrat. Patrick Leahy. Sept 9, 2022. Vermont Biz. Jackson Water Crisis Anthony Warren. Sept 30, 2022. Jackson WLBT. Michael Goldberg. Sept 27, 2022. Yahoo News. Annie Snider and Lara Priluck. Sept 21, 2022. Politico. James Brasuell. Aug 20, 2022. Planetizen. Continuing Resolution Aidan Quigley. Sept 30, 2022. Roll Call. David Hawkings. Sept 7, 2016. Roll Call. Ukraine James Bradley. Oct 4, 2022. Emily Cochrane. Sept 29, 2022. The New York Times. Chelsey Cox. Sept 29, 2022. CNBC. Jackie Walorski Crash Marek Mazurek. Sept 16, 2022. Appropriations Congressional Research Service. Jeff Sachs Jeff Sachs on Bloomberg Global Financial News LIVE. Oct 3, 2022. Bono. Apr 18, 2005. TIME. Peter Passell. Jun 27, 1993. The New York Times. Campaign Contributions from the Defense Industry Open Secrets. Afghanistan Craig Whitlock. The Afghanistan Papers: A Secret History of the War. Simon & Schuster: 2021. Spencer Ackerman. Apr 29, 2013. U.S. Infrastructure and Global Rankings Contaminated Water in the United States Gloria Oladipo. Sep 6, 2022. The Guardian. Emily Holden et. al. Feb 26, 2021. The Guardian. Maura Allaire. Feb 12, 2018. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) 115(9). Paul Pelosi Chip Stock Caroline Vakil. Jul 27, 2022. The Hill. Starbucks Unionization Union Election Data. Laws and Treaties Audio Sources Oct 3, 2022 Jeff Sachs: The main fact is that the European economy is getting hammered by this by the sudden cut off of energy. And now to make it definitive the destruction of the Nord Stream pipeline, which I would bet was a US action, perhaps the US and Poland. This is a speculation — Bloomberg Host: That's quite a statement. Why do you feel that that was a US action? What evidence do you have of that? Jeff Sachs: Well, first of all, there's direct radar evidence that US helicopters, military helicopters that are normally based in Gdansk, we're circling over this area. We also had the threats from the United States earlier in this year that one way or another, we are going to end Nord Stream. We also have a remarkable statement by Secretary Blinken, last Friday in a press conference, he says this is also a tremendous opportunity. It's a strange way to talk if you're worried about piracy on international infrastructure of vital significance. I know this runs counter to our narrative, that you're not allowed to say these things in the West, but the fact of the matter is, all over the world, when I talk to people, they think the US did it. And by the way, even reporters on our papers that are involved tell me privately, “Well, of course,” but it doesn't show up in our media. September 30, 2022 September 29, 2022 April 30, 1998 Cover Art Design by Only Child Imaginations Music Presented in This Episode by
info_outline CD259: CHIPS: A State Subsidization of Industry 09/23/2022
CD259: CHIPS: A State Subsidization of Industry A new law, known as the CHIPS Act, provides over $50 billion to existing, profitable companies to fund new semiconductor production facilities in the United States. In this episode, we examine why Congress decided to gift these companies our tax money now and explore the geopolitical implications of this funding decision. Beyond semiconductors, the law provides further corporate welfare for the creation of things that many of us tax payers likely support. This law is complicated; let's get nuanced. Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via Support Congressional Dish via (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: [email protected] Send Venmo payments to: @Jennifer-Briney Send Cash App payments to: $CongressionalDish or [email protected] Use your bank’s online bill pay function to mail contributions to: Please make checks payable to Congressional Dish Thank you for supporting truly independent media! Background Sources Recommended Congressional Dish Episodes Semiconductor Industry July 2022. Semiconductor Industry Association. February 2022. Semiconductor Industry Association. September 2021. Semiconductor Industry Association. Taiwan Bansari Mayur Kamdar and Medha Singh. Aug 2, 2022. Reuters. Karen M. Sutter. Mar 7, 2022. Congressional Research Service. Yimou Lee, Norihiko Shirouzu and David Lague. Dec 27, 2021. Reuters. PRISM Program Derek B. Johnson. Aug 27, 2018. FCW. Wealthy Shareholders Juliana Kaplan and Andy Kiersz. Oct 19, 2021. Insider. National Endowment for Democracy National Endowment for Democracy. National Science Foundation Directorate Mitch Ambrose. Mar 17, 2022. American Institute of Physics. Mar 17, 2022. House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. Fusion Research Diffen. Open Secrets. Open Secrets. K&L Gates. American Exception Book Aaron Good. 2022. Skyhorse Publishing. The Law Bills Later Added to the CHIPS Act Audio Sources Sept 18, 2022 60 Minutes Scott Pelley: What should Chinese President Xi know about your commitment to Taiwan? President Joe Biden: We agree with what we signed on to a long time ago, that there's a One China policy and Taiwan makes their own judgments about their independence. We are not moving, we're not encouraging their being independent. That's their decision. Scott Pelley: But would US forces defend the island? President Joe Biden: Yes, if in fact, there was an unprecedented attack. Scott Pelley: [overdub] After our interview, a White House official told us US policy has not changed. Officially, the US will not say whether American forces would defend Taiwan. But the Commander in Chief had a view of his own. [interview] So unlike Ukraine, to be clear, sir, US forces, US men and women would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion? President Joe Biden: Yes. Jul 27, 2022 Dec 8, 2021 Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs 30:45 Sen. James Risch (R-ID): A unilateral change in the status quo regarding Taiwan would not only threaten the security and liberty of 23 million Taiwanese, but also significantly damage vital US interests and alliances in the Indo Pacific. We would lose a model of democracy at a time of creeping authoritarianism. It would give China a platform in the first island chain to dominate the Western Pacific and threaten, indeed, US homeland. The consequences for Japan security, and therefore, the US-Japan alliance, are hard to overstate. Semiconductor supply chains would fall into China's hands, and it would emboldened China in other territorial disputes, including with India, and in the South China Sea. November 17, 2021 House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, Subcommittee on Energy Witnesses: Dr. Troy Carter, Director, Plasma Science and Technology Institute, University of California, Los Angeles and Chair, Fusion Energy Sciences Advisory Committee Long Range Planning Subcommittee Dr. Tammy Ma, Program Element Leader for High Energy Density Science, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Dr. Robert Mumgaard, CEO, Commonwealth Fusion Systems Dr. Kathryn McCarthy, Director, U.S. ITER Project Office Dr. Steven Cowley, Director, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory Clips Robert Mumgaard: However, from where I sit, I see three reasons why I'm very optimistic the US can create a definitive lead in this new industry. First, the growth of the private sector. Over $2.4 billion in private capital has been invested in the fusion companies that now number nearly 30. This is a similar amount of capital as in all the nuclear fission small modular reactor companies. This is coming from a large range of investors across venture capitalists, to university endowments, to large energy companies. And they're putting capital at risk in fusion because they understand that the world needs a fundamentally new source of clean energy if we are going to meet our decarbonization goals. And these companies are highly ambitious, with a recent survey stating that 84% of them believe that fusion will be on the grid in the 2030s or earlier. Robert Mumgaard: We will proceed with the commercialization of our first fusion pilot plant called ARC. We hope to have that online in the early 2030s. Robert Mumgaard: The second reason I'm optimistic is that the public program has produced a consensus plan. Detailed in the National Academies and FESAC (Fusion Energy Sciences Advisory Committee) Recommendations is a transition of the public funded program towards the US developing commercial energy. We need to stop some activities and transition to others. But the researchers are enthusiastic and they are ready. We have a new generation of leaders at national laboratories and universities hungry to develop that technology. And that plan has been authorized but has not yet been implemented. Robert Mumgaard: And we're not alone. The other companies like TAE and General Fusion, Helion, Tokamak Energy, are looking at similar timeframes and experiencing similar growth. All these companies are looking to see which governments are going to be the best partners. And unfortunately, we are already seeing defections, with a major facility that could have been built in the US, instead being built in the UK. It'd be much better if the US public program leveraged the private sector, aligning with the technical goals and timelines to keep it happening here. Robert Mumgaard: The third reason I'm hopeful is the movement towards public private partnerships and we know that when the public and private sectors work together and recognize what each side is good at, we create vibrant ecosystems. We saw this in commercial space, with NASA and SpaceX. We saw it even more recently with the COVID-19 vaccine October 1, 2020 Senate Committee on Armed Services, Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support Witness: Ellen M. Lord, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment 1:22:10 Ellen Lord: I believe there may well be a lot of this, frankly: not continuing to engage with these Chinese companies on sensitive issues, but in turn, developing industrial bases here that makes us not reliant on that back and forth. There's quite a bit of discussion within the inner agency right now about constraining Chinese involvement from everything from investments to specific commodities. But again, I think one of the areas where we could have the most impact on China broadly, is reshoring microelectronics. And right now, my team is working very closely across DOD, as well as the inner agency to come up with a very specific recommendation for some public-private partnerships in order to develop the capability here domestically. We at DOD are only about 1% of the overall microelectronics market, however, we have some critical needs. July 16, 2020 15:20 Attorney General Bill Barr: “Made in China 2025” is the latest iteration of the PRC’s state-led, mercantilist economic model. For American companies in the global marketplace, free and fair competition with China has long been a fantasy. To tilt the playing field to its advantage, China’s communist government has perfected a wide array of predatory and often unlawful tactics: currency manipulation, tariffs, quotas, state-led strategic investment and acquisitions, theft and forced transfer of intellectual property, state subsidies, dumping, cyberattacks, and industrial espionage. Cover Art Design by Only Child Imaginations Music Presented in This Episode by
info_outline CD258: Gain of Function Research 09/18/2022
CD258: Gain of Function Research On August 3rd, Senate Republicans held a hearing examining gain of function research: its possible role in creating the COVID-19 pandemic; the problems with oversight of this dangerous research; and recommendations to Congress for how to fix those problems. Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via Support Congressional Dish via (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: [email protected] Send Venmo payments to: @Jennifer-Briney Send Cash App payments to: $CongressionalDish or [email protected] Use your bank’s online bill pay function to mail contributions to: Please make checks payable to Congressional Dish Thank you for supporting truly independent media! Background Sources Gain-of-function Research Talha Burki. Feb 1, 2018. The Lancet Infectious Diseases 18(2): pp 148-149. 2017. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Michael J. Selgelid. Aug 8, 2016. Science and Engineering Ethics 22(4): pp 923-964. Sara Reardon. October 22, 2014. Nature 514: pp 411-412. Oct 17, 2014. The White House Blog. Board on Life Sciences; Division on Earth and Life Studies; Committee on Science, Technology, and Law; Policy and Global Affairs; Board on Health Sciences Policy; National Research Council; Institute of Medicine. April 13, 2015. National Academies Press. Marc Lipsitch. Jun 29, 2014. The New York Times. COVID-19 Origin Theories Gary Ruskin. Sep 14, 2022. U.S. Right to Know. Alina Chan. Jul 30, 2022. Medium. Maria Cheng and Janey Keaten. Jun 9, 2022. AP News. Jun 9, 2022. World Health Organization. Carl Zimmer and James Gorman. Updated Oct 13, 2021. The New York Times. Richard Muller and Steven Quay. Oct 5, 2021. The Wall Street Journal. Steven Quay and Richard Muller. Jun 6, 2021. The Wall Street Journal. May 30, 2021. This Week in Virology [Podcast]. Glenn Kessler. May 25, 2021. The Washington Post. Jorge Casesmeiro Roger. Mar 24, 2021. Independent Science News. Josh Rogin. Mar 8, 2021. Politico. Jane Qiu. Jun 1, 2020. Scientific American. EcoHealth Alliance and Funding for Coronavirus Research Katherine Eban. March 31, 2022. Vanity Fair. Sharon Lerner and Maia Hibbett. Sep, 23 2021. The Intercept. Glenn Kessler. May 18, 2021. The Washington Post. Meredith Wadman and Jon Cohen. Apr 30, 2020. Science. National Institutes of Health. May 27, 2014. NIH RePORTER. NIH Database Data Removal Amy Dockser Marcus. Jun 23, 2021. The Hearing August 3, 2022 Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs: Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Spending Oversight Witnesses: Richard H. Ebright, Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology and Laboratory Director, Rutgers University Waksman Institute of Microbiology Steven Quay, CEO and Founder, Atossa Therapeutics, Inc. Kevin M. Esvelt, Associate Professor of Media Arts and Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cover Art Design by Only Child Imaginations Music Presented in This Episode by
info_outline CD257: PACT Act - Health Care for Poisoned Veterans 08/21/2022
CD257: PACT Act - Health Care for Poisoned Veterans After decades of our government denying healthcare to veterans they exposed to poisonous toxins, the PACT Act - which will eventually provide this hard-fought-for care - is now law. In this episode, learn exactly who qualifies for these new benefits and when, discover the shocking but little-known events that led to their poisonings, and find out what exactly happened during those 6 days when Senate Republicans delayed the passage of the PACT Act. Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via Support Congressional Dish via (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: [email protected] Send Venmo payments to: @Jennifer-Briney Send Cash App payments to: $CongressionalDish or [email protected] Use your bank’s online bill pay function to mail contributions to: Please make checks payable to Congressional Dish Thank you for supporting truly independent media! Background Sources Recommended Congressional Dish Episodes What the PACT Does and Doesn’t Do Aug 10, 2022. VA Claims Insider. Abraham Mahshie. Aug 10, 2022. Air Force Magazine. Leo Shane III. Aug 4, 2022. Military Times. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The VA Sidath Viranga Panangal, Jared S. Sussma, and Heather M. Salaza. Jun 28, 2022. Congressional Research Service. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Toxic Exposures Burn Pits November 20th, 2014. VAntage Point. Feb 8, 2010. Military Times. U.S. Army Center of Military History. U.S. Army Center of Military History. Agent Orange Donnie La Curan. April 1, 2021. Veterans Resources. Charles Dunst. Jul 20, 2019. The Atlantic. Patricia Kime. May 11, 2020. Military.com. May 11, 2020. Yale Law School. Vietnam Security Police Association. Susan E. Davis. Apr 9, 1991. The Washington Post. Enewetak Atoll Chris Shearer. Dec 28, 2020. Vice. March 2018. U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency. Dave Philipps. Jan 28, 2017. The New York Times. Palomares, Spain Nuclear Accident November 1, 2021. Yale Law School Today. Dave Philipps. June 19, 2016. The New York Times. April 2001. United States Air Force. U.S. Department of Energy. February 1966 U.S. Department of Energy Archives. Thule, Greenland Nuclear Accident Robert Mitchell. Jan 21, 2018. The Washington Post. 897 F.Supp. 1098 (1995). United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division. June 1982. History and Research Division, Headquarters, Strategic Air Command. Captain Robert E. McElwee. U.S. Defense Technical Information Center. South Carolina Nuclear “Storage” Doug Pardue. May 21, 2017 (Updated Jun 28, 2021). The Post & Courier. Gulf War Illness Johns Hopkins Medicine. May 11, 2022. UT Southwestern Medical Center Newsroom. Camp Lejeune Water Contamination The Carlson Law Firm on YouTube. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Oct 18, 2009. St. Lawrence County Government. St. Louis Area Nuclear Contamination Chris Hayes. Jul 27, 2022. Fox 2 Now - St. Louis. Jim Salter. Mar 19, 2022. St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Jesse Bogan. Dec 20, 2021. St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Apr 30, 2019. U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Robert Alvarez. February 11, 2016. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. HBO Documentaries. Hanford Waste Management Site Jul 26, 2019. The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. Biden Drone Bombing Aug 7, 2022. The Express Tribune. Jon Stewart People Staff. August 11, 2022. People. Republican F*ckery Ryan Cooper. Aug 3, 2022. The American Prospect. Jordain Carney and Anthony Adragna. August 1, 2022. Politico. Oct 10, 2022. Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives. U.S. Foreign Wars No One Talks About Ellen Knickmeyer. Jun, 16 2022. Military.com. Joseph R. Biden. June 08, 2022. The White House. Muhammad Fraser-Rahim. Oct 16, 2017. Newsweek. Overseas Contingency Operations Emily M. Morgenstern. Updated August 13, 2021. Congressional Research Service. Todd Harrison. Jan 11, 2017. Center for Strategic and International Studies The Law Timeline of Votes and Changes July 12, 2022. U.S. House of Representatives. August 1, 2022. Congressional Record -- Senate. Audio Sources August 10, 2022 PBS NewsHour on YouTube August 1, 2022 Global News on YouTube The Carlson Law Firm on YouTube July 31, 2022 CNN Clips 7:00 Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA): Here's what you need to keep in mind, Jake. First of all, this is the oldest trick in Washington. People take a sympathetic group of Americans — it could be children with an illness, it could be victims of crime, it could be veterans who have been exposed to toxic chemicals — craft a bill to address their problems, and then sneak in something completely unrelated that they know could never pass on its own and dare Republicans to do anything about it because they know they'll unleash their allies in the media and maybe a pseudo-celebrity to make up false accusations to try to get us to just swallow what shouldn't be there. That's what's happening here, Jake. 10:40 Jake Tapper: So one of the questions that I think people have about what you're claiming is a budgetary gimmick is, the VA budgets will always remain subject to congressional oversight, they can't just spend this money any way they want. And from how I read this legislation, it says that this money has to be spent on health care for veterans who suffered exposure from toxic burned pits. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA): This is why they do this sort of thing, Jake, because it gets very deep in the weeds and very confusing for people very quickly. It's not really about veteran spending. It's about what category of government bookkeeping, they put the veterans spending in. My change, the honest people acknowledge it will have no effect on the amount of money or the circumstances under which the money for veterans is being spent. But what I want to do is treat it, for government accounting purposes, the way we've always treated it for government accounting purposes. Because if we change it to the way that the Democrats want, it creates room in future budgets for $400 billion of totally unrelated, extraneous spending on other matters. July 31, 2022 CBS News Clips 4:10 John Dickerson: 123 Republicans in the House voted for this, 34 Senate Republicans voted for it. Same bill. This week, the bill didn't change but the Republican votes did. Why? Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA): Now, the Republican votes didn't change on the substance of the bill. Republicans have said we want an amendment to change a provision that has nothing to do with veterans health care. The Republicans support this. The Democrats added a provision that has nothing to do with veterans health care, and it's designed to change government accounting rules so that they can have a $400 billion spending spree. 6:25 Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA): Honest Democrats evaluating this will tell you: if my amendment passes, not a dime change in spending on veterans programs. What changes is how the government accounts for it. John Dickerson: I understand, but the accounting change, as you know, is a result — the reason they put it in that other bucket is that it doesn't subject it to the normal triage of budgeting. And the argument is that the values at stake here are more important than leaving it to the normal cut and thrust of budgeting. July 29, 2022 The Problem with Jon Stewart on Youtube Clips 00:20 Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX): What the dispute is about is the Democrats played a budgetary trick, which is they took $400 billion in discretionary spending and they shifted it to a mandatory one. Jon Stewart: What Ted Cruz is describing is inaccurate, not true, bulls ** t. This is no trick. Everything in the government is either mandatory or discretionary spending depending on which bucket they feel like putting it in. The whole place is basically a f * ing shell game. And he's pretending that this is some new thing that the Democrats pulled out, stuck into the bill, and snuck it past one Ted Cruz. Now I'm not a big-city Harvard educated lawyer, but I can read. It's always been mandatory spending so that the government can't just cut off their funding at any point. No trick, no gimmick, [it’s] been there the whole f**king time. 1:50 Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX): What's the Republicans made clear is, if we leave that spending as discretionary — don't play the budgetary trick — the bill will pass with 80 or 90 votes. Jon Stewart: I don't know how many other ways to say this, but there was no budgetary trick and it was always mandatory. And when they voted in the Senate on June 16, they actually got 84 votes. And you know who voted for that? Ted f*cking Cruz and every other one of those Republicans that switched their votes. There was no reason for them to switch the votes. The bill that passed the Senate 84 to 14 on June 16 has not had one word added to it by Democrats, or spending fairies, or anybody else. It's the same f*cking bill. July 28, 2022 The Problem with John Stewart on YouTube Clips 3:20 Jon Stewart: June 16, they passed the PACT Act 84 to 14. You don't even see those scores in the Senate anymore. They passed it. Every one of these individuals that has been fighting for years, standing on the shoulders of Vietnam veterans who have been fighting for years, standing on the shoulders of Persian Gulf War veterans fighting for years, Desert Storm veterans, to just get the health care and benefits that they earn from their service. And I don't care if they were fighting for our freedom. I don't care if they were fighting for the flag. I don't care if they were fighting because they wanted to get out of a drug treatment center, or it was jail or the army. I don't give a shit. They lived up to their oath. And yesterday, they spit on it in abject cruelty. These people thought they could finally breathe. You think their struggles end because the PACT Act passes? All it means is they don't have to decide between their cancer drugs and their house. Their struggle continues. From the crowd: This bill does a lot more than just give us health care. Jon Stewart: It gives them health care, gives them benefits, lets them live. From the crowd: Keeps veterans from going homeless keeps veterans from become an addict, keeps veterans from committing suicide. Jon Stewart: Senator Toomey is not going to hear that because he won't sit down with this man. Because he is a fucking coward. You hear me? A coward. 5:15 Jon Stewart: Pat Toomey stood up there — Patriot Pat Toomey, excuse me, I'm sorry. I want to give him his propers, I want to make sure that I give him his propers. Patriot Pat Toomey stood on the floor and said “this is a slush fund, they're gonna use $400 billion to spend on whatever they want.” That's nonsense. I call bullshit. This isn't a slush fund. You know, what's a slush fund? The OSO, the Overseas Contingency Operations Fund. $60 billion, $70 billion every year on top of $500 billion, $600 billion, $700 billion of a defense budget. That's a slush fund, unaccountable. No guardrails? Did Pat Toomey stand up and say, this is irresponsible. The guard rails? No, not one of them. Did they vote for it year after year after year? You don't support the troops. You support the war machine. 7:10 Jon Stewart: And now they say, “Well, this will get done. Maybe after we get back from our summer recess, maybe during the lame duck…” because they're on Senate time. Do you understand? You live around here. Senate time is ridiculous. These motherfuckers live to 200 — they’re tortoises. They live forever and they never lose their jobs and they never lose their benefits and they never lose all those things. Well, [sick veterans are] not on Senate time. They're on human time. Cancer time. 8:20 Jon Stewart: I honestly don't even know what to say anymore. But we need your help, because we're not leaving. These people cannot go away. I don't know if you know this, you know, obviously, I'm not a military expert. I didn't serve in the military, but from what I understand, you're not allowed to just leave your post when the mission isn't completed. Apparently you take an oath, you swear an oath, and you can't leave, that these folks can leave because they're on Senate time. Go ahead, go home, spend time with your families, because these people can't do it anymore. So they can't leave until this gets done. July 26, 2022 Senate Session July 13, 2022 House Session 3:38:20 **Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA): The way this country has dealt with toxic exposure has been piecemeal and inadequate. President Biden recognizes this, too. Shortly after he was sworn in, I met with the President about our shared priorities for veterans. Upon learning of my goal to pass comprehensive legislation to help toxic-exposed veterans, the President leaned over to me and talked about his son, Beau, who served near burn pits in Iraq and Kosovo. It might be hard for most Americans to imagine what a burn pit looks like because they are illegal in the United States. Picture walking next to and breathing fumes from a burning pit the size of a football field. This pit contained everything from household trash, plastics, and human waste to jet fuel and discarded equipment burning day and night. Beau Biden lived near these burn pits and breathed the fumes that emanated from them. President Biden believes that con- stant exposure to these burn pits, and the toxic fumes they emitted, led to Beau’s cancer and early death. It was during that meeting when I knew I had a partner in President Biden. 2017 HBO Documentaries November 27, 2017 Australian Broadcasting Corporation - Foreign Correspondent Cover Art Design by Only Child Imaginations Music Presented in This Episode by
info_outline CD256: Poisonous Pet Collars 07/30/2022
CD256: Poisonous Pet Collars Seresto Flea and Tick Collars for dogs and cats have been sold to Americans since 2013. During that time, the EPA has received approximately 100,000 reports of illnesses and 2,500 reports of deaths of animals that wore a Seresto Flea and Tick collar, by far the most reports received about any flea and tick treatment on the market. In this episode, hear testimony from scientists about the Environmental Protection Agency’s disturbingly lax review processes for pesticides in pet products and learn why your vote in November is likely to determine if these popular but dangerous products will stay on American shelves. Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via Support Congressional Dish via (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: [email protected] Send Venmo payments to: @Jennifer-Briney Send Cash App payments to: $CongressionalDish or [email protected] Use your bank’s online bill pay function to mail contributions to: Please make checks payable to Congressional Dish Thank you for supporting truly independent media! Listen to the latest episode of Jen's new podcast with Andrew Heaton and Justin Robert Young — We're Not Wrong Episode 12: To report an incident directly to the EPA via email [email protected] Executive Producer Recommended Sources Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith. Public Affairs: 2011. Background Sources Recommended Congressional Dish Episodes Reports on Seresto and Pesticides Jun 15, 2022. House Committee on Oversight and Reform. House Committee on Oversight and Reform, Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy. June 2022. Lauretta Joseph. May 19, 2022. Johnathan Hettinger. Sept. 24, 2021. USA Today. Jordan Liles. Mar 8, 2021. Snopes. Johnathan Hettinger. Mar 2, 2021. USA Today. Lawrence J. Dyckman et al. July 1995. U.S. Government Accountability Office. Lobbying 2022. Open Secrets. Open Secrets. Open Secrets. The Hearing June 15, 2022 Witnesses: Faye Hemsley & Omarion Hemsley, Owners of Deceased Pet Thomas Maiorino, Owner of Deceased Pet Jeffrey Simmons, President and Chief Executive Officer, Elanco Animal Health Incorporated Nathan Donley, Ph.D, Environmental Health Science Director, Center for Biological Diversity Karen McCormack, Former Scientist, Policy Analyst, and Communications Officer (ret.), Office of Pesticide Programs, Environmental Protection Agency Carrie Sheffield (minority witness), Senior Policy Analyst, Independent Women’s Voice Clips 1:20 Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL): As early as 2015, just a few years after the collar entered the US market, an EPA investigation found that among similar products, the Seresto collar “ranked number one” by a wide margin in terms of total incidents, major incidents and deaths, even after factoring in companies’ relative sales. Those findings weren't enough to drive the makers of Seresto collar or the EPA to act. 1:50 Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL): In 2016, Canada's equivalent of the EPA known as the PMRA, concluded based on a review of the same American data available to the EPA that the collar posed too great a risk to pets and their owners to be ever sold in Canada. 2:10 Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL): Even as the death count rose, the EPA allowed Seresto to remain on the market here without even so much as requiring additional warning labels that regulators mandated in places ranging from Australia to Colombia to the European Union. 2:30 Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL): The companies that manufactured the Seresto collar first Bayer animal health and then later Elanco were also aware of the risks, the incidents and the deaths, but they too failed to act. Instead, they hired third party industry insiders to conduct so-called independent reviews of the incident data, which ended up protecting their $300 million a year market but ended up endangering pets. So the Seresto collar stayed the same and so did the consequences. 4:15 Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL): This particular collar has caused 100,000 incidents reported to the EPA and over 2500 pet deaths reported to the EPA. 4:30 Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL): The steps that we are asking for today are crucial, because it's important to protect our pets and our families, too. I now call upon my distinguished colleague, Mr. Cloud for his opening statement. Rep. Michael Cloud (R-TX): Thank you, Chairman. This is the first hearing of the Economic and Consumer Policy Subcommittee this year, and we've been in session for 52 days this year. And our first hearing is on pet collars. And I do realize that our pets are a huge part of our lives, they enrich our families, they provide companionship for my kids, they've helped foster responsibility and compassion and care, important ethics we need in our society. Just recently, our family mourned the loss of our guinea pig, biscuit. And so pets are a huge part of our family lives. But I have to admit that when I saw that this was going to be on the agenda for this week, I cannot help but be concerned, especially coming from South Texas about the 1000s 10s of 1000s of human lives that have passed away due to fentanyl and due to an open border and due to the policies of this administration to continue to aid and abet cartels. And I realized that this is the economic and Consumer Policy Subcommittee. And so I think about economic policy happening right now and where the minds of the American people are. Gas is now averaging $5 A gallon nationwide. For the first time in history. We have not had a hearing. Inflation is at a 40 year high. We have not had a hearing, the American people cannot find baby formula. We still haven't had a hearing. I've mentioned fentanyl is killing Americans, especially our teens at unprecedented rates. We have not had a hearing. Biden's systemic elimination of the safe and secure border he inherited has led to the worst humanitarian and national security crisis in this country's history. We have not had a hearing this term, we could talk about how inflation is affecting the cost of owning a pet, including the increased cost of food, toys, accessories, but we're not talking about that either. Instead, we're holding a hearing on the pet collar, which fights fleas and ticks. And as any pet owner knows fleas and tick management is an essential part of pet care. But I'm not sure it's an essential part of congressional oversight, especially when we take in mind where the American people are at. And frankly, I've talked to a number of people in my district and others who live in other parts of the country and they are really surprised that this has risen to one of the top priorities of commerce at this time in juncture. The subcommittee Republicans would rather explore efforts to help American consumers during these trying times, we would gladly have joined the chairman in holding a hearing on the shortage of baby formula. Moreover, we have welcomed the chance to explore TikTok’s troubling practice of showing dangerous content to minors, an investigation you all started last year. In fact, it's now come to light that teenagers are using tick tock and other social media platforms to purchase illicit drugs including unknowingly in many cases, in most cases, fentanyl. Social media platforms are also using it to recruit young people into the gig economy of human trafficking. A hearing on that crisis could be incredibly important. And on the subject of our nation's youth, CDC bureaucrats have actively pursued an agenda to close schools during the pandemic instead of following the science damaging our children's financial, mental, physical, emotional, and also their learning for years to come. But we still have not had a hearing. Americans are facing incredible economic issues which require us as elected officials to listen and to respond. I do appreciate the fact that our pets play an important part of our lives. We should be kind to animals and we should teach our children to do the same. But I do care immensely more about the human lives that we were elected to serve. 10:20 Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL): A recorded vote has been requested — we will pause while the we will get the clerk out. 12:00 Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL): Mr. Chairman, it's already been about what? A minute and a half. Where's the clerk? Is the clerk on lunch and not here today? Rep. Krishnamoorthi (D-IL): I think the clerk is on the way Mr. Donalds, thank you. Rep. Donalds: Is the clerk sitting in the side office just hanging out? I mean, come on, Mr. Chairman. 21:20 Clerk: Mr. Cloud? Rep. Michael Cloud (R-TX): Yes Clerk: Mr. Cloud votes yes. Mr. Keller? Rep. Fred Keller (R-PA): Yes Clerk: Mr. Keller votes yes. Mr. Franklin? Rep. C. Scott Franklin (R-FL): Yes Clerk: Mr. Franklin votes yes. Mr. Clyde? Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA): Yes. Clerk: Mr. Clyde votes yes. Mr. Donalds? Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL): Yes Clerk: Mr. Donalds votes yes. 26:31 Thomas Maiorino: My name is Thomas Maiorina. I reside in Mount Laurel, New Jersey with my wife Monica. I am the father of three boys. My youngest son, Robert turned 12 in 2011. After years of asking for a dog, he wore us down and we decided to rescue a dog from a southern shelter for my son's birthday. After researching online, we adopted a mixed breed mutt that Robbie and his two other brothers named Rooney. Rooney swiftly became a loved member of our family. A bit rambunctious, she was just what a 12 year old boy needed. She loved the run and chase anything the move in the yard. By all measures, we took great care to ensure Rooney had a healthy and happy life. We took her on daily walks, sometimes three a day, hikes on park trails. We monitor her diet and made sure she was seen by the veterinarian as needed, and she received all of her shots. Because she was a bit rambunctious and we lived in a wooded area where there's a lot of wildlife, we were constantly concerned about the problems of fleas and ticks. We consulted with a veterinarian after getting Rooney to determine the best way to protect her against this. We use a variety of prevention methods for the first few years and when we changed veterinarians in approximately 2013 or 14, the new veterinarian strongly recommended that we use the Seresto flea and tick collar, based on all of our options. We heeded that advice and purchased Seresto collars from our local PetSmart. The collars were intended to provide protection for up to eight months. We noticed that after fixing a collar to Rooney’s neck, she began to itch and first had that treated and tested for allergies. We took her to the vet several times during 2018 seeking to find the cause for the ever increasing itching. After several visits and multielement medications, they were unable to determine the cause and we switched to a specialist in 2019 to seek further assistance, where they provided allergy shots and other medications to address the worsening itching and related symptoms. Rooney's behavior then became more erratic as the months wore on she began linking her paws so feverishly they would bleed. She also developed bleeding patches on her stomach. Ultimately, in October 2020, Rooney suffered horrendous grand mal seizure in the presence of myself and my wife. The damage done by the seizure was irreversible. She was a shell of her former self and ultimately, the family decided the most humane thing would be to put Rooney to sleep at the age of nine. In early March 2021, I read an article online about Seresto pet collars resulting in the deaths of 1700 Pets without any warnings from the EPA or the manufacturer. I sought out legal representation not because I wanted financial compensation, but because I took great pains to care for Rooney. The final 18 months of her life were agonizing to watch if I could help prevent another family from going through what my family went through. I wanted to act. I'm here today in furtherance of that effort. I appreciate the committee taking the time to investigate this matter. And thank you for your time. 33:30 Jeffrey Simmons: There are a few points I'd like to emphasize upfront. First, the EPA approved Seresto following more than 80 safety and toxicity studies, all of which show that Seresto and its ingredients have a strong safety profile. Second, more than 80 regulatory bodies around the world have approved Seresto. Seresto is widely used and more than 80 million collars worn over the past decade to protect dogs and cats from fleas and ticks around the world. 34:00 Jeffrey Simmons: Third, adverse event reports are not intended to be, and in fact are absolutely not, proof of causation. Reports require further investigation and analysis to determine cause. And after years of review, our pharmacovigilance team made up of veterinarians and other experts who study adverse event reports has not identified a single death caused by the active ingredients in the collar. 36:45 Jeffrey Simmons: No product is without risk. What matters is whether those risks are reasonable. And in light of the benefits and numerous studies and the incident report data for Seresto demonstrate the product does not pose an unreasonable risk and has a strong safety profile, which is why the American Veterinary Medical Association opposed canceling Seresto’s EPA registration. 38:05 Nathan Donley: My name is Dr. Nathan Donley. I'm the science director for the Environmental Health Program at the Center for Biological Diversity. I have a PhD in Cell and Developmental Biology from Oregon Health and Sciences University. The last seven years of my professional life have been spent researching how pesticides impact people and the environment and the regulatory failures that can actually facilitate harm rather than prevent it. I published three peer reviewed scientific articles and five technical reports on this subject. I've authored over 100 technical scientific comments to the EPA on pesticide documents, including flumethrin and imidacloprid, the two active ingredients in the Seresto collar. I've read through 1000s of pages of FOIA documents I requested on matters related to the approval and continued use of Seresto. 39:40 Nathan Donley: While other agencies like the FDA have robust systems in place to surveil harms from products under their purview, EPA only requires minimal information be submitted four times a year and they delegate this responsibility to the pesticide industry itself. The limited information that is collected includes only the pesticide product name, where the incident occurred, and the severity of the incident. That's it. Oftentimes, the agency doesn't even know if the incident involves a dog or a cat. Even though the EPA determines what incident information it collects, it then turns around and laments that the incident data are insufficient to take regulatory action to protect public health, the environment and our pets. It's a system designed to achieve nothing other than maintaining the status quo. Worse yet, reported incidents significantly underestimate the true scope of harm. The EPA recently estimated that only one in 25 pesticide incidents involving another pesticide called Kamba was actually reported to the authorities. That's only a 4% reporting rate. Given that 100,000 people have reported their concerns about Seresto, this is very alarming because the true number of harmful incidents to pets could be potentially far higher. 41:05 Nathan Donley: The EPA’s counterpart in Canada was so concerned about Seresto incidents and harms of pets and humans that it denied Seresto approval in 2016. Canada analyzed U incident data and determined that Seresto collars had an incident rate 50 times greater than the average flea collar and 36 times greater than Canada's trigger for review. 41:25 Nathan Donley: EPA has no trigger for review of any pesticide product, no matter how much harm is being reported. And because the agency has no mandated trigger for reviewing pesticides like Seresto, rather than choosing to use incident reporting data to inform a robust regulatory process and take dangerous products off the market, EPA routinely chooses to do nothing at all. And that's especially troubling when you consider that Seresto is just one of 18,000 pesticide products currently approved by the EPA. 42:40 Karen McCormack: My name is Karen McCormack. At the present time I am a retired government employee after working over 40 years at the Environmental Protection Agency. During my career at EPA, I first worked in an EPA laboratory as a research coordinator. And in that capacity, I conducted research on numerous pesticides. Later I transferred to EPA headquarters in Washington DC, and worked in various positions in the pesticide program as a scientist, policy analyst, and a communications officer. I also worked in a number of offices at EPA including the Office of the Assistant Administrator for Pesticides and Toxins. Although I'm retired from EPA, I'm still closely following a number of environmental topics and one of those topics of interest to me has been the impact of flea and tick pet products on cats and dogs. 43:30 Karen McCormack: The US Environmental Protection Agency is charged with regulating products that contain pesticides and in ensuring that all pesticide products are safe to use. Before 1996, EPA did not consistently require manufacturers to conduct animal safety studies for pet products containing pesticides. Because pet products with pesticides were available readily in commercial stores, consumers thought they must be safe. This is not necessarily the case. Flea and tick products are designed to kill insects, and they often contain poisonous chemicals. When combined with pesticides that are used outside the home and in the water and food that people drink and eat, the aggregate risks from all these sources of pesticides can be high, especially for children who are vulnerable to toxic chemicals -- much more vulnerable than adults. And it wasn't until the passage of the 1996 Food Quality Protection Act that EPA began to examine the risks from sources other than food, including risks from pet products containing pesticides. After the passage of FQPA, pesticide manufacturers were required to submit to EPA animal safety studies and incident reports showing harm to animals and humans exposed to pesticides and pet products. Between 2012 and the present time the EPA received an increasing number of incident reports related to the use of flea and tick pet collars for dogs and cats. The toxic effects that were described in these many incident reports from the use of certain pet collars ranged from mild effects, such as skin irritation to more severe effects such as intense tremors, seizures, paralysis, organ failure and death. The largest number of incident rate counts that EPA received during this period were from the use of pet collar called Seresto. 45:35 Karen McCormack: Between January 2012 and the present time, EPA has received over 100,000 incident reports, and these incident reports include human incidents as well as pet incidents. These reports also include at least 2300 reports of pet deaths. The number is most likely a very low estimate of the actual number of incidents that are occurring since many pet owners do not know that they can report incidents to EPA and they may not know how to correlate the adverse effects in their pets with a particular pet product. 46:30 Karen McCormack: There are no independent organizations that rank the safety of pet products. And the sales data which is needed to rank the safety of pet products is considered confidential business information by the manufacturers. EPA’s risk assessments also do not tell the full story of what pet products are safe, as they rely heavily on industry generated studies that were conducted on mice and rats rather than dogs and cats. And EPA’s risk assessments also are...