Working together, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, and the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council have designated a large offshore area in the Mid-Atlantic Ocean for the protection of deep-sea corals.
The new coral-protection zone encompasses more than 38,000 square miles of federal waters off the Mid-Atlantic coast, an area roughly the size of the state of Virginia.
The Council approved the Deep Sea Corals Amendment to the Mackerel, Squid, Butterfish Fishery Management Plan in 2015 in order to protect deep sea corals from the impacts of bottom-tending fishing gear in the new Frank R. Lautenberg Deep-Sea Coral Protection Area.
Most deep sea corals are slow-growing and fragile, making them vulnerable to damage from fishing gear that contacts the sea floor. This final rule designates a large “deep sea coral zone” in areas where corals have been observed or where they are likely to occur.
Under the Magnuson-Stevens Act, regional fishery management councils have the authority to designate zones where fishing may be restricted to protect deep sea corals.
Although corals have been protected as essential fish habitat, the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council is the first of the eight U.S. regional fishery management councils to use this new discretionary authority.
The Council named the protected area in honor of the late Senator Frank Lautenberg, a five-term U.S. senator from New Jersey, who was responsible for several pieces of ocean conservation legislation, including the MSA provisions allowing for deep sea coral protections.
The Frank R. Lautenberg Deep Sea Coral Protection Area encompasses areas of known or highly likely coral presence in underwater canyons or slope areas along the continental shelf edge, as well as deeper areas where the presence of corals is uncertain, but where little or no fishing effort currently occurs.
Because deep-sea corals live in very deep, hard-to-reach places, finding and studying them is very expensive, says David Stevenson of NOAA’s Greater Atlantic Region, Habitat Conservation Division.
Still, on the U.S. Atlantic coast, deep-sea corals have been the subject of a recent and intensive NOAA-funded research program.
Based on the results of a model that predicts the locations of the most suitable coral habitats, NOAA conducted a series of research surveys during 2012-2015 to map coral habitats and assess their distribution and abundance, said Stevenson.
The data provided by these surveys and by the predictive model were used to determine what areas should be closed to bottom trawling and where the boundaries for those areas should be.
Habitat staff from the Greater Atlantic Region worked closely with staff from the Council and the Northeast Fisheries Science Center to select candidate deep-sea protection zones.
The success of the Council’s effort to protect deep-sea corals was due to collaboration between the fishing industry and environmental organizations that championed the cause of deep-sea coral conservation, Stevenson said.
Faced with concerns from fishermen, who agreed that corals deserve protection from fishing, but did not want to give up important fishing grounds on the outer shelf, the Council organized a workshop to try and resolve their differences.
After negotiation and compromise, with some help from scientists and habitat managers, industry spokespeople and representatives of the environmental groups agreed to a new set of area boundaries that were approved by the Council two months later.
Within the protected area, commercial fishermen are prohibited from using most types of bottom-tending fishing gear such as trawls, dredges, bottom longlines, and traps.
The rule does not apply to recreational fishing, commercial gear types that do not contact the sea floor, or the American lobster trap fishery. An exemption is also provided for the deep sea red crab commercial trap fishery.
Vessels may transit through the area if fishing gear is stowed and not available for immediate use.
“The Mid-Atlantic Council is extremely pleased that NOAA Fisheries has approved the Council’s recommended protection of deep sea corals in the Mid-Atlantic,” said Council chairman Michael Luisi. “We are proud of this achievement and want to thank and congratulate all those who contributed to this ground-breaking effort in the Atlantic.”
Officials praised former Council Chair Rick Robins, who led the effort to establish the large protected area, and the Council’s current Vice Chairman Warren Elliott, who chaired the two-day workshop where all stakeholders negotiated to agree on the boundaries of the area to protect.
John Bullard, regional administrator for NOAA’s Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office, said, “This is a great story of regional collaboration among the fishing industry, the Mid-Atlantic Council, the research community, and environmental organizations to protect what we all agree is a valuable ecological resource.”
© Environment News Service (ENS) 2016. All rights reserved.
Donald Trump once called the Rev. Al Sharpton "a con man," meaning that Sharpton plays the race card less out of sincerity and more as a method to make demands and extract concessions.
But has there ever been a bigger legislative con man than the soon-to-be-retired Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., currently the second-longest serving member of the House? His glossary of race-baiting is exhaustive. Just a few examples:
In criticizing the Republican-run house, Rangel said, "It's not 'spic' or 'n-----' anymore. (Instead) they say, 'Let's cut taxes.'"
In accusing the then-President of racism, Rangel said "George (W.) Bush is our Bull Connor" (referring to the racist Southern lawman who sicced dogs and turned water hoses on civil rights marchers).
In accusing the Republican Party in general of racism, Rangel said, "Everything we believe in, everything we believe in, (Republicans) hate. They don't disagree -- they hate. ... Some of them believe that slavery isn't over and that they won the Civil War."
On the tea party, Rangel said: "(Obama) really thought -- and maybe it was the water they drink at Harvard -- that he could deal with the tea party. They are mean, racist people. Now why do I say that? Because in those red states, they're the same slaveholding states -- they had the Confederate flag. They became Dixiecrats -- they had the Confederate flag. They're now the tea party."
And: "(The tea party) is the same group we faced in the South with those white crackers and the dogs and the police. They didn't care about how they looked. It was just fierce indifference to human life that caused America to say enough is enough. 'I don't want to see it and I am not a part of it.' What the hell?! If you have to bomb little kids and send dogs out against human beings, give me a break."
Yet now as the clock winds down on his career, Rangel is free -- free to tell the truth about "race." Rangel, in assessing why Hillary Clinton lost the race to Donald Trump, rejects the analysis advanced by the losing Clinton camp. At the Harvard post-election symposium, top Clinton aides accused Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway of blatantly courting America's white racists. But Rangel argues that root cause is middle-class economic anxiety.
His takeaway? It's the economy, stupid.
In an interview with Roll Call, Rangel said, "Hard workers, for a variety of reasons, have seen economic and social advancement ceilings put on their ambitions." He continued: "The old thing, if you work hard in this country, you can get ahead. Well, the misconduct of Wall Street, the recession, globalization, inventions, science, technology, have really put a damper on middle-class people to advance as rapidly as they have in the past."
Rangel added: "It's the middle class that the jobs come from. If people don't have disposable income, if they're not able to purchase the basics, if small businesses can't hire people, then you have a problem. And we did have a problem during the election, and we still have it."
What?! Even "race card" Rangel sized up his party's election loss as one in which the middle class felt economically beleaguered? He didn't say "whitelash," as CNN's Van Jones did. He didn't blame it on adverse reactions to "a black president" as Jones did. He didn't rant about how Trump pitched his message as an attaboy to rednecks, Klansmen and the Aryan Brotherhood.
Years ago, Rep. David Dreier, R-Calif., invited me for lunch in the House cafeteria at the U.S. Capitol. Shortly after we sat down, Rangel, with his trademark flashy pocket square, came in. Dreier leaped up and walked over to him, and the two greeted each other like fraternity brothers who had taken a blood oath.
I asked Dreier to explain the affection, given the race-card rhetoric Rangel uses against Republicans. I gave examples. Dreier rolled his eyes and said: "Oh, that's just Charlie being Charlie. Nobody takes that stuff seriously." "Yeah," I said, "nobody except the voters in his district."
As to Clinton vs. Trump, Rangel, at one time, would have whipped out the race card and, with a straight face, shouted, "White supremacy!" He would have pounced on Trump's comment that Mexicans are "rapists"; that he called an Indiana-born federal judge of Mexican descent "a Mexican"; that Trump allegedly "mocked" a handicapped reporter; and on and on. No matter that such a characterization of Trump's statements would have been either the worst possible interpretation, taken out of context or flat-out untrue. That's how Rangel rolled.
But free from the pressures of getting reelected, Rangel told the truth. The charge that Trump is racist, sexist, homophobic and Islamophobic is bogus -- and the voters saw through it. Rangel knows this and said so. His implicit message: Race is no longer a major factor in America. Now we know. Rangel, throughout his career, cynically played the race card to stoke anger to retain his Harlem seat.
It is the very definition of a con man. The real question is why it worked for so long.
“…visiting the iniquity of the
fathers upon the children…”
Many people are unhappy with the immigration phenomenon today--- people crossing our borders illegally and also being allowed in by Presidential directive.
Where these issues present actual constitutional concerns they need to be FACTUALLY addressed, and not simply emotionally reacted to. People here need to remain diligent and deny the fear-mongering intended by those whom are ultimately behind these events.
We need to determine who is engineering these events and why.
Why are they being allowed to happen, and who is benefitting? Nothing happens in this world any more that does not benefit somebody.
While some trouble may indeed come from any of these immigrants, more trouble may come from those who will stir up fear here for allowing their entry.
On the subject of an “official” language? I’ve read our Constitution and as far as I can tell it did not mandate one, and for good reason--- we do not need one. We are a free country, and people are free to speak any language they like (well, earlier Native Americans were punished for doing so). This being said, English is easily our established and dominant language, and if you can’t speak it your life will be more difficult.
To legislate its primacy is needless. There is also something of a cultural laziness and even arrogance that should be addressed, we are one of the very few first-world countries that does not encourage its people to learn a second language. Why is this?
Do you want to know one reason this country is less respected now than in years past? It is not because we are not tough enough--- I believe it is because we are not smart enough. We cannot see that we are being played, though people around the world are watching it happen.
Important as these matters appear to be, we are a nation that holds to an image of itself: one of being moral, fair and honest, however, this image is built upon an unavoidable lie, like a house of cards.
What about Native America? We are pleased to see that the people of Standing Rock have fended off the cowboys once more. (corporate/governmental)
Standing Rock: 1, Cowboys: 0.
For the minority of Americans who happen to be aware of the life of people in Native Nations anymore--- and yes, they are actual nations, as real as ours! But we do not want to think about their conditions any further, because in truth, we, as a nation, are not actually as strong, as moral, as honest and fair that we’d like to imagine. This is our shame and our disgrace. The American people are by and large good, but we need to insist that our government reflect who we are.
When issues of immigration and language come up, and they should be thoughtfully discussed, if one wishes to bring up the related issues of Native conditions and recognition--- we, the original uninvited immigrants, typically respond by saying that “I am not responsible”, or “there is nothing I can do.” Wrong on both counts.
Maybe this is just what we are encouraged to believe, for this means that the government has to change nothing. There is indeed something we can do--- not the easy thing, but the right thing.
Believing ourselves to be a moral, fair and honest people, we should show leadership in this world and take responsibility for our obligations, by insisting that our elected government now do what it should have done from the start: HONOR EVERY TREATY our Nation has made with any Native Nation within our boundaries, like we would do with any Nation outside our boundaries.
If this had been done from the start it would have entailed far less sacrifice than it will now.
Until it is done, though, we cannot speak as a nation of immigration and language issues without being hypocrites.
As his tenure as Defense Secretary comes to a close, Ash Carter was in Israel last week, underscoring the increasing strength of the United States-Israel relationship.
Since Israel’s founding, the United States has maintained an unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security. The deep bond between the two countries dates back decades and has spanned collaboration on joint exercises, technology transfers, a tiered missile defense system that includes the Iron Dome and Arrow, research and development of tunnel detection and mapping technologies, and development of new technologies for GPS-guided weapons. Combined, these efforts total more than $120 billion in bilateral assistance, and underscore the unparalleled U.S. commitment to Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge in the region.
F-35 comes to Israel
Carter’s trip to Israel marks another milestone in the U.S. commitment to Israel’s security by making available the most current technology. During his visit, Carter attended the arrival ceremony for Israel’s first two F-35 Lightning II fighter jets from the United States. Israel will be the first U.S. partner in the region and the only one in the Middle East with the fifth-generation F-35 aircraft. Over the next several years, Israel has requested to receive up to fifty fighter jets, modernizing their air fleet with this single-seat, single-engine fighter aircraft that can execute a variety of missions ranging from intelligence, surveillance and electronic attack missions.
The U.S. Air Force worked with Israel’s air force to provide training in F-35 simulators and to familiarize their maintainers with the aircraft ahead of its arrival at Israel’s Nevatim Air Base, ensuring a smooth transfer of aircraft to the Israeli air force.
In September, Israel and the United States concluded a new ten-year Memorandum of Understanding, where the United States pledged $38 billion in security assistance. This MOU will ensure Israel has continued access to the most advanced technology and that Israel’s military edge remains paramount in the region. Together, the United States and Israel continue to develop, coordinate and collaborate together on an impressive array of security and defense capabilities, challenges and opportunities. This F-35 delivery is just one piece in a strong and critical defense relationship for the United States.
Yolanda R. Arrington
Defense Media Activity
Conservative Twitter wit Stephen Miller unleashed his latest "President Ash Carter" joke recently with regard to the lack of seriousness of the outgoing president. He said: "President Ash Carter has made an unannounced visit to troops in Afghanistan. Barack Obama announced he's going on 'The Daily Show.'"
While liberals complain that President-elect Donald Trump will never be serious enough to be president, or insist that Trump must grant a press conference, Obama is keeping up with his round of adoring interviews with liberal late-night comedians, from Stephen Colbert to Samantha Bee.
The show began with host Trevor Noah apologizing profusely for delaying the president's appearance on his platform. Obama joked: "You guys wouldn't book us. I kept on calling." Noah first asked -- as surrogate for a gobsmacked liberal audience -- about Obama's reaction to the CIA declaring that Russia hacked the election "to sway the election for Donald Trump."
The softball session wrapped up with Noah's tender question on race, since both men are biracial. He said: "It is often difficult to navigate and skirt that line between speaking your mind and sharing your true opinions on race whilst, at the same time, not being seen to alienate some of the people you are talking to. ... You know, because if you are a white person who's speaking about race, then you are just a person who's interested in race. If you are a person of color who's speaking about it, it's like 'Oh, the black thing's starting again.' So the question I've always wanted to know is, how did you navigate that?"
That's a roundabout way of saying: "Talk about race. Go."
Time magazine's Daniel D'Addario actually scorned Noah for going so easy on Obama, saying that it was just a series of Obama speeches. Rambling answers during this pre-taped interview stretched out to be 500 words, with no effort to edit for purposes of trying to make it interesting.
D'Addario remarked: "While the interview didn't need to be an interrogation to be successful, it seemed apparent that Noah had long since ceded control of the proceedings to the President, and was serving him nice juicy pitches over the plate with clear signals that it wasn't going to get any tougher." He concluded that Noah bungled it, saying, "It's a missed opportunity that Noah, as the audience surrogate, seemed quite so intimidated by his job."
There's reason to be intimidated. Liberals have seriously asserted that if Jon Stewart hadn't selfishly retired from his fake-anchorman gig, Hillary Clinton would be the President-elect. In some quarters, Noah is resented for being too unfunny to help destroy Trump.
Critics should have set their expectations low for a "Daily Show" interview with Obama. It's not like Stewart ever grilled Obama. Genuflection was the order of the day during the Stewart era, and it is expected now.
TV critic Daniel Fienberg at the Hollywood Reporter actually praised Noah for barely being present, saying that he "stayed out of his own way," and for helping the president along. "'The Daily Show' gave President Obama one of his best forums since the election and Noah wisely sensed that he was only occasionally needed to progress the conversation," he stated, "and let 'the soon to be former tenant of the White House' steer things."
Obama's insistent request to appear and be honored for a half-hour might have seemed like a gift to Trevor Noah. But it wasn't. It was further proof his tenure at Comedy Central is doomed, just as doomed as the cancelled "Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore." For liberals, Stewart looms over "The Daily Show" like a legend -- the way Obama will loom over the Democratic Party he dismantled.
L. Brent Bozell III
and Tim Graham
Donald J. Trump did America a huge favor by winning the White House in November. If Hillary Clinton had won, there would have been little stopping America from turning into a one-party country, a national political equivalent of California. As it is, California is turning into San Francisco, where outsiders stand zero chance of penetrating the liberal-only wall that surrounds City Hall.
What does it mean to live in a one-party state? Donors and insiders decide elections and stack the decks.
Consider the only statewide office for which Californians voted this year -- the U.S. Senate seat won by state Attorney General Kamala Harris. That race was decided in January 2015 when Sen. Barbara Boxer announced her retirement and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom phoned Harris to inform her he would not run for Boxer's seat because he plans to run for governor in 2018. Harris enlisted a crack team of political consultants (who also have worked for Newsom and Gov. Jerry Brown) and she owned the field.
Harris now likely owns that seat for life. Many tried to unseat Boxer and Sen. Dianne Feinstein since they first won their seats in 1992, but no rival came close.
In a one-party state, elections are boring and fewer people vote. In 2014, with Democrats only running for top state offices, California saw a record low electorate turnout of 42 percent. Mindy Romero, director of the California Civic Engagement Project at UC Davis, crunched the numbers and found that only 8.2 percent of Californians age 18-24 cast a ballot in November 2014.
In a one-party state, there is no such thing as a "temporary" tax hike. In 2012, Brown brought before voters a ballot measure to raise income and sales taxes designed to balance a state budget burdened with a $25 billion shortfall. He promised the measure would not be permanent. This year the usual big government groups put Proposition 55 on the ballot to extend the 2012 tax hike for the state's 1.5 percent highest income earners. Because only a sliver of Californians make enough to feel that squeeze, it was no surprise that 63 percent of voters approved the measure.
In a one-party state, the party in power stacks the deck in its favor. In 2011, the Legislature and the governor determined that ballot measures would no longer go before voters in June, but in November only. Voters have to wade through the ballot measures all at once because crammed voting benefits Democrats in the Capitol.
The air of unaccountability permeates everything. For example, this year Brown signed a bill that allowed felons to vote from jail while serving their felony sentence. Hmm. I wonder which party expects to benefit.
On paper, a Trump presidency with a GOP Senate and House may look like one-party rule -- except that Trump has no problem messing with his party's leaders or cozying up across the aisle. He has written checks for the campaigns of Harris, Newsom and Brown. Before he is a Republican, you see, the showman is a party of one. And that's not all bad.
Debra J. Saunders
From the get-go, Google was never intended to be some simple internet research tool, just a search engine. Its creators, and there were many, had much bigger fish to fry. Research was begun by the two fellows publicly credited with being its founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, but like so many entities these days that somehow just seem to come out of nowhere fully blown, they had serious backing. In their case, government backing.
They were “assisted” by no less than DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the secret tech development and testing arm of the Dept. of Defense). Now, to this day, Google’s close relation to diplomatic, military and intelligence branches of the government go intentionally unnoticed by its users and the media.
Point: Many reports in 2015, ahead of our own election, warned that Google’s algorithms could affect the results of not only our election but elections around the globe:
Robert Epstein, a psychologist with the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, an author of one of the studies, said, “We estimate, based on margins in national elections around the world, that Google could determine the outcome of upwards of 25 percent of all national elections.”
Made known by a Freedom of Information Act request by Wikileaks’ Assange, Brin, along with Google’s then-CEO Eric Schmidt, had frequent and casual email correspondence with National Security Agency chief Gen. Keith Alexander during 2012, regarding a program dubbed “Enduring Society Framework.” Alexander at one point wrote to Brin, “Your insights as a key member of the Defense Industrial Base are valuable to ensure ESF’s efforts have measurable impact.” Sounds just like the kind of activity you would expect your internet search engine to be involved in, right?????
Schmidt comes with his own pedigree, not surprisingly. No one becomes involved in operations of this sort and scale by accident. According to Forbes, Schmidt’s personal wealth exceeds $11 billion. Schmidt worked with CFR and State Dept. member Jared Cohen to author a book originally called “The Empire of the Mind” (which was later more benignly renamed “The New Digital Age: Reshaping The Future of People, Nations and Business”). They both arranged to “interview” Assange outside of London, purportedly in support of their upcoming book, a meeting Assange later called “naïve” after realizing just how interwoven with US government agenda Google was. Most problematic with Google’s activities was that they intentionally promoted American imperialism, believing that “our way is best, you must follow.”
Assange wrote in “When Google Met Wikileaks”, “They will tell you that open-mindedness is a virtue, but all perspectives that challenge the exceptionalist drive at the heart of American foreign policy will remain invisible to them… they believe they are doing good. And that is a problem.”
Schmidt made a position in 2009 for Cohen, which was at first called “Google Ideas”, but later became “Jigsaw”, which the two used to further increase the company’s interconnection with the government through articles, political funding and Cohen’s connections at the State Dept. That year the two also paired for an article in the CFR journal “Foreign Affairs” entitled “Coalitions of the Connected”, which stated, among many things, “In an era when the power of the individual and the group grows daily, those governments that ride the technological wave will clearly be best positioned to assert their influence and bring others into their orbits….. Democratic states that have built coalitions of their militaries have the capacity to do the same with their connection technologies.”
Assange later wrote three years later when publishing the “Global Intelligence Files”, containing internal files for Stratfor, a private security firm:
“Cohen’s directorate appeared to cross over from public relations and ‘corporate responsibility’ work into active corporate intervention in foreign affairs at a level that is normally reserved for states. Jared Cohen could wryly be named Google’s ‘director of regime change’. According to the emails, he was trying to plant his fingerprints of some of the major historical events in the contemporary Middle East. He could be placed in Egypt during the revolution, meeting with Wael Ghonim, the Google employee whose arrest and imprisonment hours later would make him a PR-friendly symbol of the uprising of the Western press. Meetings had been planned in Palestine and Turkey--- both of which, claimed Stratfor emails--- were killed by the senior Google leadership as too risky. Only a few months before he met with me, Cohen was planning a trip to the edge of Iran in Azerbaijan to ‘engage the Iranian communities closer to the border,’ as part of Google Ideas’ project on repressive societies.”
Moreover, and even more significantly, Fred Burton, Stratfor VP for Intelligence, who was a one-time official with the State Dept. (surprise, surprise), wrote in one of the released emails:
“Google is getting WH (White House) and State Dept support and air cover. In reality they are doing things the CIA cannot do… (Cohen) is going to get himself kidnapped or killed. Might be the best thing to happen to expose Google’s covert role in foaming up-risings to be blunt. The US Gov’t can then disavow knowledge and Google is left holding the bag.”
Thank you, Julian Assange, for trying, at your own risk, to give us a little more information about the world we live in, unlike our search engine Google.
North Fort Myers
By the end of 2016, our national debt will be more than $19.5 trillion, and on our current path, it will probably reach $22 trillion by the end of the decade. Last year our federal government spent $223 billion, or 8 percent of all discretionary spending, on interest payments alone. By the start of the next decade, we will spend more on interest than we do on our national defense. For many Americans the dollar figures are so large that it is hard to actually fathom how massive they really are.
So here is another way to look at it, in the last fiscal year, 2015 the federal government spent $439 billion more than it took it in. Sadly, this year the feds have already spent over $590 billion more than we took in and we have 10 more days left in the year as of our going to press, overspending now is almost routine. However, if Congress were able to balance the budget, keep it balanced, and create a yearly surplus of $50 billion per year, it would still take 460 years to pay off our national debt. Let me give you a moment to let that sink in.
Our current spending habits are unsustainable and irresponsible. Members of Congress from both parties--with cooperation from the President have a moral obligation to our children and grandchildren to leave them a country on a path to eliminate its overwhelming national debt.
Here are just some examples from "Federal Fumbles: 100 ways the Government has dropped the ball" By James Lankford US Senator from Oklahoma
1) Kids prefer food that has not been sneezed on!
National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently invested almost $2 million in a grant to study what influences a child’s views on food.
For instance, the grantees intended to study whether a person’s gender, race, or accent influenced which food a child will select. For the one-year-olds, the grantee planned to test whether the emotion of the person providing food influenced the child’s eating habits.
NIH has funded this grant since 2012, and the grantees have published 7 papers discussing their results.
In April 2015 the grantees published a paper slating that when children aged 5-8 were given the choice between allegedly sneezed-on food and clean food, they chose the clean food.
In 2014 the grantees published a report stating that when given the option. children prefer being wealthy as opposed to poor. Finally, earlier this year the grantees published a report that children who learn more than one language tend to have better communication skills. This is all Clearly ground braking research.
2) Exempt from effective
government oversight, CFPB has questionable spending practices that cannot be reformed through
Created in 2010 by the Dodd-Frank Act, The Consumer Financial Protection Board was formed to implement, supervise for compliance, and enforce federal consumer financial laws. Dodd-Frank intentionally made CFPB super-independent and put all of its powers in the hands of a single director whose only oversight constitutes semi-annual meetings before Congress. Evan though its still in its infant stages, CFPB's regulatory agenda has already imposed 49 final rules at a price of $2.8 billion.
The rules adversely impact critical consumer credit products. such as mortgages, auto loans, and payday loans. 'While CFPB often bypasses standard rulemaking procedures by simply suing and setting precedent, when they do follow standard procedures, they roll out rules at an astounding pace. One report found that on average, the CFPB rulemaking process is 3.5 times faster than other agencies.
Unlike most federal agencies, CFPB receives its fundin directly from the Federal Reserve Bank, rather than through the regular Congressional Appropriations process. Each year CFPB is authorized by law to draw up to 12% of the yearly earnings of the Federal Reserve System. In fiscal year 16 CFPB was allocated 605.9 million dollars and is slated to receive it 630 million dollars in fiscal year 17. The Federal Reserve is required to turn over the money to CFPB and cannot provide oversight into how the funds are utilized, where the spending is appropriate, and where the money is used efficiently. That means neither Congress nor the Federal reserve has oversight capabilities of CFPB spending. Recently the federal courts have even ruled that the current structure of CFPB is unconstitutional.
CFPB’s freedom from congressional budgetary oversight has created questionable spending decisions by The Bureau. A report from The Wall Street Journal found that in just the first half of 2016, the bureau spent more than 15 million on internet just to direct browsers to its website. The cost included a 12.5 million contract for the same advertizing firm used by the presidential campaigns of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. The CFPB spends more than twice as much of its Budget on advertising than most agencies spend: where most federal agencies use less than 1% of their budget on Advertising, the CFPB has used 2.5% of its budget.
In 2013 chairman and Jeb Hensarling of the US House of Representatives finance committee estimated that CFPB spent almost 12 million on employees travel when the bureau employed 1,168 people. That represents more than $10,000 per employee in one year. It is not surprising that CFPB is outside the authority of OMB guidelines and rules, which helped ensure effective and efficient use of federal dollars.
While there is merit to laws that protect consumers from unscrupulous financial practices, the creation of a $600 million per year federal agency empowered to create and enforce regulations impacting millions of Americans and companies and that it is completely immune from any oversight or accountability is anathema to our nation's Democratic principles.
Almost everything the CFPB does is redundant to another Federal agency; it should never have been created. The best use of funds would be to abolish the CFPB and spend the available dollars to reform and appropriately staff the other regulatory entities.
At a minimum, the CFPB authority should be reined in by making it accountable to Congress through the appropriations and authorizing process. In October 2016 the US court of appeals for the District of Columbia ruled some of the CFPB broad power is unconstitutional because there are few executive of congressional oversight authorities written into law. The Obama Administration has vowed to appeal the ruling making the certainty of congressional reform legislation essential. In May 2015 Senator Purdue and 17 other Senators introduce the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau accountability act. The simple legislation brings additional oversight and accountability to the CFPB by requiring it to seek appropriations from Congress through the normal budget process instead of receiving funding from the Federal Reserve.
3) National Science Foundation funded multiple grants,
totaling nearly $500,000
to find the connection between
religion, politics and cemeteries in 12th century Iceland
Norwegians and Celts first settled Iceland in the 9th and 10th centuries. A Danish colony for centuries, Iceland gained full independence in 1944. Its economy is primarily based on fishing, and although not a member of the European Union, Iceland is part of the European Economic Area, which allows free trade and travel with Europe. Iceland has also been the focus of countless American federal grants over the years.
Some of the grants NSF authorized for studies in Iceland this year include $61,000 to study volcanoes, $375,000 to look at the “calcium and strontium isotope geochemistry of weathering,” $1.1 million to look at the flow of water from Denmark to Iceland (and Greenland), and $102,531 (so far) to study the spread of flies at a lake in Iceland.
Over the last several years, NSF also provided more than
$500,000 to study the impact of religion in Iceland, focusing on locating church cemeteries from centuries past for excavation. One grant, totaling more than $400,000,
looked at how religion impacted “the development of political
power in Iceland between AD 870 and 1300.” The researchers recognize that in the 12th century a transition occurred from family churches to communal churches.
The grantees would like to know whether community churches were originally placed on prominent farms or located on farms that later “became important political and economic centers.” The other grants, one for $46,68836 and the other for $26,680,37 attempt to determine the best method to scan the ground for churchyards and cemeteries so archeologists know exactly where to dig during excavations.
Iceland is certainly an important NATO ally and friend to the US. But that friendship does not require adding to our national debt to study the county's 12th-century cemeteries. It is difficult to justify to many hard-working American families spending more than they make in a year to fund one grant to study how to locate cemeteries in Iceland. If the Icelandic people, who already have an extremely high tax rate, view this project as important, it is one in which they should invest their own money. NSF should fund important research projects in the US or in places where it will provide a benefit to the American people to invest our hard earned tax dollars. While our families continue to struggle to make ends meet" and our national debt continues to skyrocket, we should not spend money on archeological work in other countries.
Even though the federal government spends $80 billion a year on IT, much of that money goes to support legacy technology that
could be more than 50 years old
It is perhaps the greatest understatement that technology has changed a lot over the last few decades. Our cell phones can do more than any computer could manage just 10 years ago. It is now cheaper to talk to someone on
the other side of the planet than it is to drive to the next state. As technology advances, so does the type of technology Americans use. Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 who own computers decreased by 10 percent
from 2010 to 2015, while the number of Americans using smart phones almost doubled.
The federal government spends $80 billion on technology-
related expenses each year. Approximately 75 percent of that goes solely to the cost of operating and maintaining existing technology, and that percentage has continued
to increase over the last few years. As a result, the government invested less and less in new technology, which would provide enhanced capabilities and potentially decrease the cost of operation and maintenance.
In fact, Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that in Fiscal Year15, federal agencies and departments planned to spend $55 billion of their $80 billion technology budgets on “services that do not use solutions
often viewed as more efficient.” That is to say, the agencies spend money on older technology instead of utilizing cheaper and more efficient options like cloud-based computing and storage. According to GAO,the Dept of Defense still utilizes 8-inch floppy disks for a computer system that controls our nation’s nuclear weapons. Treasury
utilizes a computer code from the early 1960s to catalogue taxpayers, and the VA utilizes programing code written in the 1950s to track veteran claims for benefits and employee timecards and payroll.
In 2014 Congress passed the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act, which required OMB to develop a method—with metrics—to ensure agencies updated their technology, but unfortunately agencies
have not yet universally adopted the rules. GAO reports that while Office of Management and Budget has put out a metric for agencies to follow, It has not fully developed the goals to go with the metrics, and "agencies may be limited In their ability to evaluate progress" in updating their technology. In fact, GAO states that DOD, Treasury, and the VA have not yet even set a plan to update much of their oldest technology."
If an agency believes the technology it currently has is the absolute best to complete a task, the agency should retain it. However, spending on operation and maintenance for technology continues to expand, and investment in new technology continues to decrease. Mix that with the fact that some agencies use computer systems older than the average American, and it is mostly likely time to look for something new.
Since 2011 GAO has made 800 recommendations for agencies to update their technology. By the end of October 2015, 68 percent of those recommendations had not been implemented. With more than $80 billon spent each year on technology, American taxpayers have the right to know that money is spent responsibly and efficiently. As.of now, It does not appear that they receive the best return on their investment
Another year is about to turn the page on the calander and the busy season is upon us once more. While I have been in this area for the past 23 years, I have come to love this small community of Fort Myers Beach that I call home.
Many of you have called the paper office to tell us what a great job we are doing, and the letters to the Editor have been very supportive of all the changes we have implemented over the past three months.
We are slowly increasing our local writing staff of Al DiPasquale and Patsy Berliner, writer and Editor Jennifer VanderWest, recently bringing in Sarah Nicholson from Bonita, Alexandra Sargent from Kelley’s Treats at the Lani Kai, also getting regular submissions from William Wehunt from Fort Myers, Dave Bowman of Fort Myers, and Mark Stiggs from North Fort Myers.
We have also added some classic comic strips and syndicated with world class writers to bring more variety of topics to you.
Our Sunset Photo contest has been well received and we have over a dozen entries for this week’s contest.
We thank you for your support and look forward to improving with each new issue that hits the street.
The many changes you have notices are due to a change in ownership of the paper. The Sun Bay Paper was co-founded by Trent Townsend and Carl Conley last summer, I came on board as the production manager and have been putting it together since July, 2015.
The original plan was that Carl would be involved full time for the first year to a year and a half and then he would retain a small percentage of the paper but 90% ownership would be with Trent, well things changed and that didn’t happen.
This past April, Carl approached me about coming on as a partner with him and we came to an agreement.
When June/July came around Carl started talking about his original plan to get out after a year or so. We started negotiations on the subject of my buying the whole paper. As of October this year we came to a deal and I have been the sole 100% owner of “The Sun Bay Paper.”
Carl will probably submit some stories as he did submit the Editorial, just after the election when Trump won on Nov. 8th.
Many people don’t remember my working at the Sand Paper with Carl back in 2000-2002, I started there as a volunteer and worked my way up from selling ads, taking pictures of bands, writing articles, to doing the production work, the paper was getting busier in 2002 and Carl told me if I wanted to stay involved I would have to be full time but my other business -Armando’s Day Spa- was also getting busier and I could not do both so I stopped working at the Sand Paper and focused on my Spa.
Now my spa is well established, I only work on clients that specifically request me so my time is available to focus my attention with the paper.
My name is Robert Mimmo, most of you know me as Bobby, over the past 16 years, I have lived on the beach, I have tried to be a positive influence in our Community. I have supported every fundraiser that has presented themselves to me at Armando’s for donation or gift certificates, I have no axes to grind and only hope to bring you a good read.
We are not trying to be like the Sand Paper or the Observer, they have the beach politics and town hall covered. Having said that, we will be covering the beach, but also a much larger distribution area. Thus, we hope to bring a broader prospective and while we will be printing opposing views, we are trying to bring a much needed conservative voice to our area.
I waited until now to announce the change of ownership because I wanted to make some changes slowly while improving our content.
For those of you who are good friends with Carl, I hope you can see we are still putting out a good paper (since we took over in October) and still welcome your continued input, comments and submissions.
For those of you that do not consider yourselves friends of Carl, I hope you will take another look at us and know we welcome your comments, input and submissions.
Like President elect Trump,
I also believe that political correctness is out of hand, it has become a bane
to our society, Correct in it’s
original form, meaning lets not be mean to people who are not able to look after themselves, it has now arrived to a place where you can’t say anything
criticle about anything without it being labled as cruel or offensive to someone.
There are over 70% of
Americans that identify themselves
as Christian so I believe using the
traditional Merry Christmas greeting
To my Jewish friends
Happy Chanukah, and Happy Holidays
to everyone else!
“We hate because we're taught to hate. We hate because we're ignorant. We are the product of ignorant people, who have been taught an ignorant thing. Which is, that there are four or five different races. There are not four or five different races. There is only one race on the face of the earth! And we're all members of that race - the human race! But we have separated people into races, so that some of us can see ourselves as superior to the others. We thought, it would work. I guess it hasn't worked! That has been bad for everyone! It's time to get over this business!
There is no gene for racism. There's no gene for bigotry. You're not born a bigot! You have to learn to be a bigot. Anything you learn, you can unlearn. It is time to unlearn bigotry! It is time to get over this thing. And we best get over it pretty soon.
I'm an educator and as my business as an educator it is, to lead people out of ignorance. The ignorance of thinking, that you're better or worse than someone else, because of the amount of a pigment in your skin. Pigmentation in your skin has nothing to do with intelligence or with your worth as a human being. It is time to get over that!” --Jane Elliot