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Texas Brings Back Anti-TSA Groping Bill – Pakistan Orders Probe of Purported bin Laden Hideout – Ron Paul to the Fed: Tell Us Everything or Else

June 1, 2011

Comment: Many Americans think there’s nothing we can do to impede encroaching tyranny, but we see here that aggressive activism with numbers of people expressing their voices can bring a turnaround to government, even when there is evidence of dirty dealings.  Resistance is victory!

Texas Moves to Bring Back Anti-TSA Groping Bill

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Kurt Nimmo
May 31, 2011

Image: Wikipedia.

Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who played a pivotal role in sabotaging a bill that would have criminalized TSA groping in the state’s airports, has written a letter to Gov. Rick Perry asking for a special session.

Only the Governor may call the Legislature into special sessions, unlike other states where the legislature may call itself into session.

Dewhurst wants a number of legislative issues taken up in the special session, most notably redistricting and Rep. David Simpson’s bill making groping without probable cause a felony.

After federal intimidation – threatening to shut down air traffic in Texas – Simpson’s bill failed to get the two thirds vote necessary. The Western Texas Division U.S. District Attorney’s office sent the threatening letter prior to a vote on HB 1937.

“The Texas Sam Houston fought for and governed apparently is learning submission,” Simpson said after the bill went down in flames.

In response to federal intimidation and meddling in state politics, Alex Jones spearheaded a rally at the capitol in Austin. See his video covering the event below.

For more on Dewhurst’s effort to sink the bill, see Paul Joseph Watson’s Republican Lt. Governor Killed TSA Bill For Obama.

It looks like the Lt. Gov. is attempting an about-face on his effort to sink the bill.

Dewhurst spokesman Mike Walz told the Houston Chronicle Dewhurst “always supported the goals of the legislation which is why he brought it up twice for a vote.” He said he thought it was worthy of attention during a special session since it would no longer need two-thirds support for passage in the Senate.

Dewhurst’s letter to Perry follows.

Dear Governor Perry,

Unfortunately, despite the very hard work and determination of the majority of Members of both the House and Senate, the Legislature was unable to pass a number of important bills, including SB 1811 needed to fund the budget, before the deadline of midnight last night.

Still, there is still an outside possibility that SB 1811 could pass the Texas Senate today with the bipartisan support of four-fifths of the Members. However, if this vote should fail − forcing us into Special Session − I believe that it would be in the best interest of all Texans to start tomorrow and ask you to consider including the following bills in your call:

SB 1811 – Relating to certain state fiscal matters and making necessary appropriations; providing penalties;

SB 8 – Relating to improving the quality and efficiency of health care;

SB 23 – Relating to the administration of reforms, efficiency, cost-saving, fraud prevention, and funding measures for certain health and human services and health benefits programs;

HB 5 – Relating to establishing an Interstate Health Care Compact;

HB 12 – Relating to the enforcement of state and federal laws governing immigration by certain governmental entities;

HB 272 – Relating to the operation of the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association and to the resolution of certain disputes concerning claims made to that association;

SB 12/HB400 – Relating to the flexibility of the Board of Trustees of a school district in the management and operation of public schools in the district and theflexibility for public schools to administer primary and secondary education efficiently;

HB 1937 – Relating to prosecution and punishment for the offense of official oppression by the intrusive touching of persons seeking access to public buildings and transportation; and

HB 900/SB 308 – Relating to the composition of the congressional districts for the State of Texas.

As you know, certain Senate procedures – such as the two-thirds tradition – exist to bring Democrats and Republicans together, encouraging Members to work in good faith in order to achieve positive outcomes for the people of Texas. Given that a small number of Senate Democrats have demonstrated their unwillingness to find consensus on these important legislative items, I can see no other alternative than to operate under a simple majority vote in the Special Session.

I look forward to working with you and Speaker Straus to finish the important business Texans elected us to accomplish.


Pakistan orders probe of Osama bin Laden’s hideout

By Agence France-Presse
Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 — 6:37 pm

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan on Tuesday ordered an investigation to discover “the full facts” of how Osama bin Laden lived undetected, likely for years, on its soil until being killed in a US commando raid on May 2.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani announced that an independent commission would probe the circumstances of the Al-Qaeda chief’s presence in Abbottabad, a garrison town north of Islamabad, where he was gunned down by US Navy SEALs.

The unveiling of an investigation into the episode, which threw ties between allies Pakistan and the United States into turmoil, follows demands from lawmakers in Washington and Islamabad for disclosure on the bin Laden affair.

The commission will comprise a five member panel headed by Justice Javed Iqbal, a senior judge of the Supreme Court, and is mandated “to ascertain the full facts regarding the presence of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.”

Gilani’s office said the probe would also “investigate circumstances and facts regarding the US operation in Abbottabad,” where bin Laden is said to have lived with wives and aides for years until his discovery and killing.

The revelation that the world’s most-wanted man was living just a stone’s throw from a top military academy raised new questions about complicity or incompetence within the Pakistani military and security services.

“The commission shall determine the nature, background and causes of lapses of the concerned authorities… and shall make consequential recommendations,” Gilani’s office said.

Pakistan has suffered a wave of fresh attacks this month, with the country’s main Taliban faction claiming hits on domestic and American targets to avenge bin Laden’s killing.

Lawmakers in Islamabad earlier this month urged the government to appoint an independent group to probe how bin Laden had been able to hide out so close to the capital and whether government or military collusion had played a part.

They said any such investigation must also find out how US forces entered and then left Pakistani airspace apparently undetected in an incursion that caused outrage among the civilian population.

Members of parliament threatened to withdraw logistical cooperation for US troops based in Afghanistan and condemned CIA-operated drone strikes in the wake of the helicopter-borne assault that culminated in bin Laden’s death.

Pakistan’s opposition leader Nawaz Sharif recently demanded that the government establish a judicial commission into bin Laden, rejecting an internal military probe earlier ordered by the state.

“This commission should ascertain the full facts of Osama bin Laden’s presence and the American operation in Pakistan,” Sharif, a two-time former prime minister, told a press conference in Islamabad on May 11.

Premier Gilani earlier announced that a lieutenant general would head an inquiry “to get to the bottom of how, when and why” bin Laden had been hiding in Abbottabad, barely two hours’ drive from Islamabad.

Pakistanis have been furious at the perceived impunity of the US raid, while asking whether their military was too incompetent to know bin Laden was living close to a large military academy, or, worse, conspired to protect him.

US President Barack Obama has also pressed Pakistan to probe how bin Laden managed to survive for years under the noses of Islamabad’s military, saying that the terror chief must have had some kind of local support network.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, visiting Pakistan on Friday, said the United States had “absolutely no evidence” that anyone at the highest level of government knew where bin Laden had been hiding and that she would return to Washington “ever more committed” to the relationship.


Rep. Paul to Fed: Tell Us Everything, or Else

By Peter Barnes

Published June 01, 2011

| FOXBusiness


The chairman of the House subcommittee that oversees the Federal Reserve demanded Tuesday that the Fed fully disclose details of billions — perhaps trillions — in secret emergency loans it made to almost every major bank in the U.S. and overseas during the financial crisis or face a congressional subpoena for the information.

In an interview with Fox Business, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), chairman of the House Financial Services subcommittee on domestic monetary policy, said he wants to know “how much, when, where and why” from Fed officials when they testify about the loans at a subcommittee hearing Wednesday.

“We’re going to get to the bottom of what the Fed did during the big bailout a couple of years ago,” Paul said. “We have some precise questions. I imagine we won’t get all of them answered tomorrow because they’ll do a little bit of stonewalling, I’m sure.”

“If they don’t answer, they’ll hear from us,” he said. “We can use the subpoena power and say, ‘Look, you have to bring us the records.’ ”

The big loans started in 2007 and were disclosed in April under Freedom of Information Act requests by FOX Business and Bloomberg News after a two-year legal battle with the Fed and banks by the news organizations.

The loans came through the Fed’s nearly 100-year-old confidential emergency lending program called the “discount window,” in which the central bank provides funds to banks as the financial system’s “lender of last resort” when firms can’t borrow from each other or elsewhere.

More than 25,000 pages of previously-secret Fed discount window reports indicated most of the loans went to help many large U.S. banks, including Citigroup, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase (JPM: 42.50, -0.74, -1.71%), as well as many regional and community banks. They were short-term loans of one to 90 days.

But the day such loans peaked in October 2008 at $111 billion, records show about half the total went to two big European banks — Belgium’s Dexia and Ireland’s Depfa — as one-day overnight loans. Many more familiar foreign banks, from Barclays in Great Britain to Deutsche Bank (DB: 41.17, -0.24, -0.59%) in Germany, borrowed as well.

“The most astounding thing we see in these documents is so much of it went to foreign banks—the whole system was bailing out foreign banks,” Paul said. “It’s a bit shocking on how big a deal this is and how much money was involved…The shenanigans are very international.”

Paul, a longtime Fed critic and a 2012 Republican presidential candidate, said he would wait until he knows more about the loans before he considers proposing any new legislation to expand audits of Fed operations or to force greater Fed disclosure about such lending–or even future limits on it.

“It’s ripe for reform, but I think transparency is the first step,” he said. “The (Fed’s responses to) written questions are going to be very important, the follow up’s going to be very important, so this is really just the beginning.”

Fed loans to foreign bank loans through the discount window are legal under U.S. law because the banks operate U.S. branches regulated by the Fed and make U.S. loans.

In April, the Fed declined to comment on the documents it released. But its records show the emergency loans were collateralized in full and have since been repaid.

Until April, details of discount window lending for all banks, foreign and domestic, had been private because the Fed and banks worried that naming firms that borrow for emergencies could scare customers, stigmatize banks, cause bank “runs” and hurt the financial system.

Under financial reform legislation Congress approved in 2009, the Fed disclosed details of $3.3 trillion in emergency lending through more than half-a-dozen temporary rescue programs it has since ended. The legislation also requires the Fed to now disclose discount window loans after two years.

It was unclear from the FOIA documents how much discount window lending totaled during the financial crisis. The Fed released copies of largely-unedited reports listing tens of thousands of individual transactions. Paul said the staff of his subcommittee had not totaled the loans itself in part because of the “complexity of it all.”

A Fed spokesperson said that the central bank welcomed the opportunity to discuss how the Fed informs lawmakers and the public about its policies and actions and that it releases “significant, detailed” information about its operations on a regular basis. The spokesperson said the Fed wants to promote understanding of how it fosters financial and economic stability and to facilitate an evaluation of its actions while also preserving the ability to fulfill its Congressionally-mandated responsibilities.

Scott Alvarez, the Fed’s general counsel, and Thomas Baxter, general counsel of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, are scheduled to testify at Wednesday’s hearing, which is titled “Federal Reserve Lending Disclosure: FOIA, Dodd-Frank, and the Data Dump.”

In a May 25th statement announcing the hearing, the chairman of the Financial Services Committee, Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), said, “Many of the actions taken by the government in response to the financial crisis took place behind closed doors with little, if any, information provided to the public.  These actions demonstrated to many of us that the Federal Reserve was in need of transparency and accountability. Now that the Fed has released information on its actions during the financial crisis, it is important for the Committee to examine the disclosures by the Federal Reserve and ensure taxpayers are protected. This subcommittee hearing is a step towards ensuring transparency and accountability at the Federal Reserve.”

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