Archive for May, 2013

To those of us who have been working with the legislature for years, this is not the least bit surprising, but for the general public at large, it may be new information. Just thought it might be worth sharing so you have easy access to proof of the issue:

Banks’ Lobbyists Help in Drafting Financial Bills

BY ERIC LIPTON AND BEN PROTESS
Kenneth E. Bentsen Jr., left, a Wall Street lobbyist, at a House financial services panel meeting.Christopher Gregory/The New York TimesKenneth E. Bentsen Jr., left, a Wall Street lobbyist, at a House financial services panel meeting.

WASHINGTON — Bank lobbyists are not leaving it to lawmakers to draft legislation that softens financial regulations. Instead, the lobbyists are helping to write it themselves.

One bill that sailed through the House Financial Services Committee this month — over the objections of the Treasury Department — was essentially Citigroup’s, according to e-mails reviewed by The New York Times. The bill would exempt broad swathes of trades from new regulation.

In a sign of Wall Street’s resurgent influence in Washington, Citigroup’s recommendations were reflected in more than 70 lines of the House committee’s 85-line bill. Two crucial paragraphs, prepared by Citigroup in conjunction with other Wall Street banks, were copied nearly word for word. (Lawmakers changed two words to make them plural.)

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The lobbying campaign shows how, three years after Congress passed the most comprehensive overhaul of regulation since the Depression, Wall Street is finding Washington a friendlier place.

The cordial relations now include a growing number of Democrats in both the House and the Senate, whose support the banks need if they want to roll back parts of the 2010 financial overhaul, known as Dodd-Frank.

This legislative push is a second front, with Wall Street’s other battle being waged against regulators who are drafting detailed rules allowing them to enforce the law.

And as its lobbying campaign steps up, the financial industry has doubled its already considerable giving to political causes. The lawmakers who this month supported the bills championed by Wall Street received twice as much in contributions from financial institutions compared with those who opposed them, according to an analysis of campaign finance records performed by MapLight, a nonprofit group.

In recent weeks, Wall Street groups also held fund-raisers for lawmakers who co-sponsored the bills. At one dinner Wednesday night, corporate executives and lobbyists paid up to $2,500 to dine in a private room of a Greek restaurant just blocks from the Capitol with Representative Sean Patrick Maloney, Democrat of New York, a co-sponsor of the bill championed by Citigroup.

Industry officials acknowledged that they played a role in drafting the legislation, but argued that the practice was common in Washington. Some of the changes, they say, have gained wide support, including from Ben S. Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman. The changes, they added, were in an effort to reach a compromise over the bills, not to undermine Dodd-Frank.

“We will provide input if we see a bill and it is something we have interest in,” said Kenneth E. Bentsen Jr., a former lawmaker turned Wall Street lobbyist, who now serves as president of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, or Sifma.

The close ties hardly surprise Wall Street critics, who have long warned that the banks — whose small armies of lobbyists include dozens of former Capitol Hill aides — possess outsize influence in Washington.

“The huge machinery of Wall Street information and analysis skews the thinking of Congress,” said Jeff Connaughton, who has been both a lobbyist and Congressional staff member.

Lawmakers who supported the industry-backed bills said they did so because the effort was in the public interest. Yet some agreed that the relationship with corporate groups was at times uncomfortable.

“I won’t dispute for one second the problems of a system that demands immense amount of fund-raisers by its legislators,” said Representative Jim Himes, a third-term Democrat of Connecticut, who supported the recent industry-backed bills and leads the party’s fund-raising effort in the House. A member of the Financial Services Committee and a former banker at Goldman Sachs, he is one of the top recipients of Wall Street donations. “It’s appalling, it’s disgusting, it’s wasteful and it opens the possibility of conflicts of interest and corruption. It’s unfortunately the world we live in.”

The passage of the Dodd-Frank Act, which took aim at culprits of the financial crisis like lax mortgage lending and the $700 trillion derivatives market, ushered in a new phase of Wall Street lobbying. Over the last three years, bank lobbyists have blitzed the regulatory agencies writing rules under Dodd-Frank, chipping away at some regulations.

But the industry lobbyists also realized that Congress can play a critical role in the campaign to mute Dodd-Frank.

The House Financial Services Committee has been a natural target. Not only is it controlled by Republicans, who had opposed Dodd-Frank, but freshmen lawmakers are often appointed to the unusually large committee because it is seen as a helpful base from which they can raise campaign funds.

For Wall Street, the committee is a place to push back against Dodd-Frank. When banks and other corporations, for example, feared that regulators would demand new scrutiny of derivatives trades, they appealed to the committee. At the time, regulators were completing Dodd-Frank’s overhaul of derivatives, contracts that allow companies to either speculate in the markets or protect against risk. Derivatives had pushed the insurance giant American International Group to the brink of collapse in 2008. The question was whether regulators would exempt certain in-house derivatives trades between affiliates of big banks.

As the House committee was drafting a bill that would force regulators to exempt many such trades, corporate lawyers like Michael Bopp weighed in with their suggested changes, according to e-mails reviewed by The Times. At one point, when a House aide sent a potential compromise to Mr. Bopp, he replied with additional tweaks.

In an interview, Mr. Bopp explained that he drafted the proposal at the request of Congressional aides, who expressed broad support for the change. The proposal, he explained, was a “compromise” that was actually designed to “limit the scope” of the exemption.

“Everyone on the Hill wanted this bill, but they wanted to make sure it wasn’t subject to abuse,” said Mr. Bopp, a partner at the law firm Gibson, Dunn who was representing a coalition of nonfinancial corporations that use derivatives to hedge their risk.

Ultimately, the committee inserted every word of Mr. Bopp’s suggestion into a 2012 version of the bill that passed the House, save for a slight change in phrasing.A later iteration of the bill, passed by the House committee earlier this month, also included some of the same wording.

And when federal regulators in April released a rule governing such trades, it was significantly less demanding than the industry had feared, a decision that the industry partly attributed to pressure stemming from Capitol Hill.

Citigroup and other major banks used a similar approach on another derivatives bill. Under Dodd-Frank, banks must push some derivatives trading into separate units that are not backed by the government’s insurance fund. The goal was to isolate this risky trading.

The provision exempted many derivatives from the requirement, but some Republicans proposed striking the so-called push out provision altogether. After objections were raised about the Republican plan, Citigroup lobbyists sent around the bank’s own compromise proposal that simply exempted a wider array of derivatives. That recommendation, put forth in late 2011, was largely part of the bill approved by the House committee on May 7 and is now pending before both the Senate and the House.

Citigroup executives said the change they advocated was good for the financial system, not just the bank.

“This view is shared not just by the industry but from leaders such as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke,” said Molly Millerwise Meiners, a Citigroup spokeswoman.

Industry executives said that the changes — which were drafted in consultation with other major industry banks — will make the financial system more secure, as the derivatives trading that takes place inside the bank is subject to much greater scrutiny.

Representative Maxine Waters, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee, was among the few Democrats opposing the change, echoing the concerns of consumer groups.

“The bill restores the public subsidy to exotic Wall Street activities,” said Marcus Stanley, the policy director of Americans for Financial Reform, a nonprofit group.

But most of the Democrats on the committee, along with 31 Republicans, came to the industry’s defense, including the seven freshmen Democrats — most of whom have started to receive donations this year from political action committees of Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo and other financial institutions, records show.

Six days after the vote, several freshmen Democrats were in New York to meet with bank executives, a tour organized by Representative Joe Crowley, who helps lead the House Democrats’ fund-raising committee. The trip was planned before the votes, and was not a fund-raiser, but it gave the lawmakers a chance to meet with Wall Street’s elite.

In addition to a tour of Goldman’s Lower Manhattan headquarters, and a meeting with Lloyd C. Blankfein, the bank’s chief executive, the lawmakers went toJPMorgan’s Park Avenue office. There, they chatted with Jamie Dimon, the bank’s chief, about Dodd-Frank and immigration reform.

The bank chief also delivered something of a pep talk.

“America has the widest, deepest and most transparent capital markets in the world,” he said. “Washington has been dealt a good hand.”

Eric Lipton reported from Washington, and Ben Protess from New York.

This wasn’t super easy to find, but I finally found it! Here is the “Secretarial Fiat” used by Salazar to give proper weight to the Blueways:

 

Secretarial Order 3312, May 24th, 2012

THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR
WASHINGTON

ORDER NO. 3321

SIGNATURE DATE: May 24, 2012

Subject: Establishment of a National Blueways System

Purpose
Sec. 1 . This Order establishes a program to recognize river systems conserved through
diverse stakeholder partnerships that use a comprehensive watershed approach to resource
stewardship. River systems designated as a National Blueway shall collectively constitute a
National Blueways System. The National Blueways System will provide a new national
emphasis on the unique value and significance of a “headwaters to mouth” approach to river
management and create a mechanism to encourage stakeholders to integrate their land and water
stewardship efforts by adopting a watershed approach. This Order also establishes an intra-
agency National Blueways Committee to provide leadership, direction, and coordination to the
National Blueways System. It further directs the bureaus of the Department of the Interior
(Interior) to collaborate in supporting the National Blueways System, to the extent permitted by
law and consistent with their missions and resources.

Background
Sec. 2 . Rivers play a vital role in connecting Americans with the lands and waters
that provide economic, recreational, social, cultural, and ecological value to their communities.
Healthy rivers are integral to the quality of life for all Americans and their communities.
Resilient rivers and watersheds are essential sources of clean water supplies for rural,
agricultural, and urban communities alike. Rivers provide important habitat for fish and wildlife
species and act as corridors for their migration and dispersal, providing ecosystem connectivity
that supports resilience to environmental change. Rivers support our recreation and tourism
economy by providing opportunities for boating, fishing, hiking, camping, swimming, and
numerous other activities. Rivers offer a focal point for environmental education and outreach
that helps communities understand and connect with the great outdoors.

Across the Nation, communities of stakeholders have formed partnerships focused on
stewardship and sustainability of rivers and their watersheds. When these partnerships work
successfully across Federal agencies, with state, local, and tribal governments, and with non-
profit organizations, private landowners, and businesses, they are able to accomplish their shared
stewardship and conservation objectives. National recognition and Federal agency coordination
in support of river systems will inspire and help stakeholders to plan and manage for the
resiliency and connectivity of their rivers, to seek cooperation and collaboration among
communities and across jurisdictions, and to strive for an integrative, adaptive approach for
sustaining the whole river system.

National Blueways will be nationally and regionally significant rivers and their watersheds that
are highly valued recreational, social, economic, cultural, and ecological assets for the
communities that depend on them. National Blueways encourage a landscape-scale approach to
river conservation that involves a river from its headwaters to its mouth and across its watershed,
rather than individual segments of the channel and riparian area alone. Establishment of a
National Blueways System will help promote best practices, share information and resources,
and encourage active and collaborative stewardship of rivers across the country.

Authority
Sec. 3 . This Order is issued in accordance with authority provided under the Take
Pride in America Act, Public Law 101-628; the Outdoor Recreation Act, Public Law 87-714; and
the Cooperative Watershed Management Program of the Omnibus Public Land Management Act
of 2009, Public Law 111-11. The bureaus within Interior have a broad panoply of legal authority
to carry out their respective missions that support enhancing river recreation, undertaking river
restoration, and pursuing river protection initiatives to pass on healthy rivers to future
generations. These authorities include the Comprehensive Environmental Response,
Compensation, and Liability Act, 42 U.S.C. 9601 et seq.; the Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956,
16 U.S.C. 742 et seq.; the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act, 16 U.S.C. 661 et seq.; the Land
and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965, 16 U.S.C. 4601-4 et seq.; the National Wild and
Scenic Rivers Act of 1968, 16 U.S.C. 1271-1287; the Federal Land Policy and Management Act,
43 U.S.C 1702 et seq.; the Reclamation Act, Public Law 57-161; the Omnibus Public Land
Management Act of 2009, Public Law 111-11; and the National Trails System Act of 1968,
16 U.S.C. 1241 et seq.

Model National Blueway
Sec. 4 . I hereby designate the Connecticut River and Watershed as
the first National Blueway as a model for future designations. The Connecticut River Watershed
exemplifies the National Blueways System with diverse partnerships of interested communities
including over 40 partner organizations, protection of over 2 million acres of habitat,
environmental and educational efforts aimed at urban and rural populations, and recreational
access to the river, its tributaries, and public lands.

National Blueways Committee
Sec. 5 . This Order establishes a National Blueways Committee
(Committee), to be chaired by the Secretary or his or her designee.

a. Membership. Members of the Committee will include a representative designated
by the Directors of the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife
Service, U.S. Geological Survey, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs; the Commissioner of
Reclamation; and a representative designated by the Assistant Secretary – Policy, Management
and Budget. The Committee may also include representatives of other Federal agencies, whose
representatives shall participate through appropriate agreements.

b. Responsibilities. The Committee will:

(i) Oversee the process of National Blueways criteria development,
assessment, and designation;

(ii) Make recommendations to the Secretary for the designation of National
Blueways;

As mentioned before, I am going to continue to post lots of information on the White River Wathershed Blueway designation throughout the day. Very important distinctions must be made between this UN inspired designation and the other two serious attempts at taking in basically the same land under this non elected governance control method….Those previous attempts being the Ozark Highlands Heritage Area and Ozark Man and the Biosphere from 1996.

This particular designation doesn’t have any opportunity for public feedback! The previous two attempts did have some opportunity for feedback, and the Heritage Area required an Act of Congress to solidify the deal. In this case, the Department of Interior and their cohorts are acting with NO elected official input whatsoever.

However, when you drag the offending parties into the light and confront them with documents and facts, they usually run screaming back into the crevices they were pulled from and repent for a little while.

And that pulling into the light of day and exposing the NGO’s and PPP’s who would take your private property rights under their control without your permission, is YOUR mission, people.

In Missouri, every County, regardless of size, has three commissioners. There are 21 counties affected by the White River Watershed Blueway in whole or in part. That means that within Missouri, there are 63 County Commissioners that must be contacted IMMEDIATELY by residents of the county to let them know about this Blueway and offer the Commission the opportunity to stand for their rights and the rights of their citizens and pass a resolution against the Blueway, and inform the US Congress and Senate that they have no intention of working with the rogue Department of Interior or their cohorts to bring about their “vision”. Here is a link to a model Resolution Against White River Watershed –blueway resolution.

Also, to help you out in backgrounding the information, here are some Talking Points Blueway.

Please be aware that the specific Memorandum of Understanding is expected to be completed in early July, so we only have a little over one month to defeat this thing in it’s entirety.

I will be writing a comprehensive, but not exhaustive, article on this over the course of the next couple of days. Right now, I will be compiling information for you to use, and asking that you activate all of your friends in preparing to bring this land grab into focus. When I get the article done it should be a big help for those who don’t find too much pleasure in reading bureaucratic double speak.

For now, download the Talking points and the model Resolution and read the posts from earlier today.

 

I am digging through information on the designation of 60 counties in Arkansas and Missouri into a National Blueway and found this post with links to some excellent and important documents regarding this issue. A heads up to everyone out there is necessary. While you may not be in a presently targeted area, if you live in the watershed of any river, you will be! And you will have no opportunity for public input or comment.

Check this out:

Wow…  this whole National Blueways designation has more gummint’ tentacles than an octopus…  more information for you to read.  We’ll be watchin’ this…

One of my downriver neighbors has been doing a lot of reading, and provided the following links (and a bit of his commentary…) to me to spread the word…  a little bit of what they passed on to me is printed below:

<begin>

What is the White River National Blueways?………………..
It is part of Obama’s “America’s Great Outdoors” initiative (two links below). The White River Blueway Coalition will be a “group” that will be in charge of doing “something”. You need to read the Nomination (link below) to try to see what “something” means. It is NOT just an honorary award sort of thing.
<snip>
The “group” is a “Public Private Partnership” (PPP) consisting of conservation oriented “Non Government Organizations” (NGOs) and Government Departments. Some of the NGOs get some funding from the Feds one way or another. In my opinion, the “group” IS the Federal Government.

So what you are joining, again just my opinion, IS the Federal Government expanding control or at least increased influence over private property outside of Federally owned lands. I like a little teeny Federal Government myself, so I am a little biased at the whole approach. NGOs and PPPs are also being used for the stealth implementation in America of United Nations Agenda 21 (aka, “sustainability everything”) in the same manner as Blueways. If you want more info on Agenda 21, let me know.

However, it is hard to find fault with increased conservation funding and it could be a great thing.

When you get to reading the whole thing it seems there is a lot of “conservation easements” (can be very dangerous for gullible landowners) and “land acquisition” going on somewhere along with such things as …………….
“Initiate discussions between Coalition partners, Southwest Power Administration and the Corps of Engineers aimed at designing and implementing scientifically-based release guidelines for impoundments in the upper Watershed.”
There is awareness of pollution from farm runoff above Bull Shoals (I think) mentioned in the nomination so maybe some help there.

For “America’s Great Outdoors” initiative see………..
http://americasgreatoutdoors.gov/files/2011/02/AGO-Report-Conserving-2-7-11.pdf
and
http://www.doi.gov/americasgreatoutdoors/loader.cfm?csModule=security/getfile&pageid=278431

The White River was “nominated” for Blueways designation by a coalition of Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and government departments. The nominating partnership is currently comprised of twelve organizations and agencies informally organized as the White River Blueway Coalition (the “Coalition”). It appears one of the main organizations is the National Wildlife Refuge Association.
Here is the nomination (very large file)………………….
http://www.ozarkswaterwatch.org/documents/Nomination.pdf
On page 2 of the nomination……………………
“The National Wildlife Refuge Association (“NWRA”) is pleased to nominate the White Water Watershed (the “Watershed”) in Arkansas and Missouri for designation as a National Blueway. NWRA makes this nomination on behalf of a capable and accomplished sponsoring partnership that includes four national non-profit conservation organizations, three federal environmental agencies, the Lower Mississippi Valley Joint Venture, three state wildlife and environmental agencies and two Watershed communities, all of which are committed to the goals and objectives for the proposed National Blueway as articulated in the nomination.”
On page 21 of the nomination……………………….
“If the White River Watershed is designated a National Blueway, the Coalition will institute a formal membership, management and reporting structure, and recruit additional membership from all regions of the Watershed that can help the new Blueway’s governing body meet the land and water management integration, conservation and restoration, recreation, environmental education and economic sustainability goals for the Watershed.”

Source

Could this be why there is talk of Bernanke leaving his post? Another ceremonial step-down to keep us focused where they want us to focus? This story is excellent, and it needs to be shared with everyone so that people can understand the scope of the control paradigm of the economy:

World Bank Insider Blows Whistle on Corruption, Federal Reserve

Written by 

 World Bank Insider Blows Whistle on Corruption, Federal Reserve

A former insider at the World Bank, ex-Senior Counsel Karen Hudes, says the global financial system is dominated by a small group of corrupt, power-hungry figures centered around the privately owned U.S. Federal Reserve. The network has seized control of the media to cover up its crimes, too, she explained. In an interview with The New American, Hudes said that when she tried to blow the whistle on multiple problems at the World Bank, she was fired for her efforts. Now, along with a network of fellow whistleblowers, Hudes is determined to expose and end the corruption. And she is confident of success.

Citing an explosive 2011 Swiss study published in the PLOS ONE journal on the “network of global corporate control,” Hudes pointed out that a small group of entities — mostly financial institutions and especially central banks — exert a massive amount of influence over the international economy from behind the scenes. “What is really going on is that the world’s resources are being dominated by this group,” she explained, adding that the “corrupt power grabbers” have managed to dominate the media as well. “They’re being allowed to do it.”

According to the peer-reviewed paper, which presented the first global investigation of ownership architecture in the international economy, transnational corporations form a “giant bow-tie structure.” A large portion of control, meanwhile, “flows to a small tightly-knit core of financial institutions.” The researchers described the core as an “economic ‘super-entity’” that raises important issues for policymakers and researchers. Of course, the implications are enormous for citizens as well.

Hudes, an attorney who spent some two decades working in the World Bank’s legal department, has observed the machinations of the network up close. “I realized we were now dealing with something known as state capture, which is where the institutions of government are co-opted by the group that’s corrupt,” she told The New American in a phone interview. “The pillars of the U.S. government — some of them — are dysfunctional because of state capture; this is a big story, this is a big cover up.”

At the heart of the network, Hudes said, are 147 financial institutions and central banks — especially the Federal Reserve, which was created by Congress but is owned by essentially a cartel of private banks. “This is a story about how the international financial system was secretly gamed, mostly by central banks — they’re the ones we are talking about,” she explained. “The central bankers have been gaming the system. I would say that this is a power grab.”

The Fed in particular is at the very center of the network and the coverup, Hudes continued, citing a policy and oversight body that includes top government and Fed officials. Central bankers have also been manipulating gold prices, she added, echoing widespread concerns that The New American has documented extensively. Indeed, even the inaccurate World Bank financial statements that Hudes has been trying to expose are linked to the U.S. central bank, she said.

“The group that we’re talking about from the Zurich study — that’s the Federal Reserve; it has some other pieces to it, but that’s the Federal Reserve,” Hudes explained. “So the Federal Reserve secretly dominated the world economy using secret, interlocking corporate directorates, and terrorizing anybody who managed to figure out that they were having any kind of role, and putting people in very important positions so that they could get a free pass.”

The shadowy but immensely powerful Bank for International Settlements serves as “the club of these private central bankers,” Hudes continued. “Now, are people going to want interest on their country’s debts to continue to be paid to that group when they find out the secret tricks that that group has been doing? Don’t forget how they’ve enriched themselves extraordinarily and how they’ve taken taxpayer money for the bailout.”

As far as intervening in the gold price, Hudes said it was an effort by the powerful network and its central banks to “hold onto its paper currency” — a suspicion shared by many analysts and even senior government officials. The World Bank whistleblower also said that contrary to official claims, she did not believe there was any gold being held in Fort Knox. Even congressmen and foreign governments have tried to find out if the precious metals were still there, but they met with little success. Hudes, however, believes the scam will eventually come undone.

“This is like crooks trying to figure out where they can go hide. It’s a mafia,” she said. “These culprits that have grabbed all this economic power have succeeded in infiltrating both sides of the issue, so you will find people who are supposedly trying to fight corruption who are just there to spread disinformation and as a placeholder to trip up anybody who manages to get their act together.… Those thugs think that if they can keep the world ignorant, they can bleed it longer.”

Of course, the major corruption at the highest levels of government and business is not a new phenomenon. Georgetown University historian and Professor Carroll Quigley, who served as President Bill Clinton’s mentor, for example, wrote about the scheme in his 1966 book Tragedy And Hope: A History Of The World In Our Time. The heavyweight academic, who was allowed to review documents belonging to the top echelons of the global establishment, even explained how the corrupt system would work — remarkably similar to what Hudes describes.

“The powers of financial capitalism had a far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole,” wrote Prof. Quigley, who agreed with the goals but not the secrecy. “This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences. The apex of the system was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world’s central banks which were themselves private corporations.”

But it is not going to happen, Hudes said — at least not if she has something do to with it. While the media are dominated by the “power grabber” network, Hudes has been working with foreign governments, reporters, U.S. officials, state governments, and a broad coalition of fellow whistleblowers to blow the entire scam wide open. There has been quite a bit of interest, too, particularly among foreign governments and state officials in the United States.

Citing the wisdom of America’s Founding Fathers in creating a federal system of government with multiple layers of checks and balances, Hudes said she was confident that the network would eventually be exposed and subjected to the rule of law, stopping the secret corruption. If and when that happens — even if it may be disorderly — Hudes says precious metals will once again play a role in imposing discipline on the monetary system. The rule of law would also be restored, she said, and the public will demand a proper press to stay informed.

“We’re going to have a cleaned-up financial system, that’s where it is going, but in the meantime, people who didn’t know how the system was gamed are going to find out,” she said. “We’re going to have a different kind of international financial system…. It’ll be a new kind of world where people know what’s going on — no more backroom deals; that’s not going to keep happening. We’re going to have a different kind of media if people don’t want to be dominated and controlled, which I don’t think they do.”

While Hudes sounded upbeat, she recognizes that the world is facing serious danger right now — there are even plans in place to impose martial law in the United States, she said. The next steps will be critical for humanity. As such, Hudes argues, it is crucial that the people of the world find out about the lawlessness, corruption, and thievery that are going on at the highest levels — and put a stop to it once and for all. The consequences of inaction would be disastrous.

Photo of World Bank headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Alex Newman, a foreign correspondent for The New American, is currently based in Europe. He can be reached at anewman@thenewamerican.com.

There are going to be a lot of posts going up about this issue in the next couple of days. While we’ve been busy dealing with State legislative efforts, the Department of Interior and 26 “stakeholder” organizations have designated 60 counties in Missouri and Arkansas as a National Blueway.

What is it? In a nutshell, it is Ozark Man and the Biosphere and the Ozark Highlands National Heritage Area all over again. We have until July to stop the finalizing Memorandum of Understanding from being signed. Here is a primer on the current Federal grabs in progress from ALRA:

Private Property Assault:  New Blueways and Wildlands Programs Could End Up In Omnibus

Below is a critically important Letter to the Secretary of Interior from The House Western Caucus. They are complaining about how the Obama  Administration and the Secretary of Interior are Bypassing Congress to make new land use designations. This letter has huge ramifications for you. You must read it carefully. For understanding the threat to your private property rights, see videos below. (click map to enlarge)

The letter talks about two new Interior Department programs. 

  1. The Wildlands Secretarial Order (3310) (PDF DOC 229.01 KB)that the House Natural Resources Committee tried to stop three years ago but it is not stopped. This is where the Interior Secretary is secretly creating Wilderness bypassing Congress.
  2. The second is the new National Blueways System created by a new Secretarial Order (3321)(PDF Doc 229.01 KB). You are headed for a train wreck if you fail to contact both your Senators and your Congressman about these Secretarial Orders because they may secretly be added to one of the coming Omnibus Federal Lands Bills.

Here is the letter from the House Western Caucus:

The Honorable Ken Salazar
Secretary of the Interior
Department of Interior
1849 C St NW
Washington, DC 20240

Dear Secretary Salazar:

We are contacting you regarding our serious concerns surrounding the disturbing trend by which the Department of the Interior (DOI) continues to bypass Congress, and the public, in establishing new federal designations and policies.

As you know, Congress expressed its serious reservations of the Wildlands designation through a Secretarial Order. The creation of that new federal designation was highly controversial, lacked transparency, and was legally questionable. Congress subsequently blocked funding for the Order. *However, you have never rescinded the controversial Order.*

On August 2, 2012 members of the Senate and House Western Caucuses sent you a letter expressing concerns regarding Bureau of Land Management Manuals 6310 and 6320, which mirrored the same rejected policies of Wildlands Secretarial Order 3310.

These manuals were crafted without public input or notice. These members asked you to withdraw these manuals, and set up a briefing for them. The manuals were not withdrawn, nor was the briefing request even acknowledged by your department. We would like to request once again, a briefing by DOI for our offices on the status of these BLM manuals.

Now it has come to our attention that on May 24 of last year, you signed Secretarial Order 3321 establishing the “National Blueways System.”

This system, according to the Secretarial Order would – “provide a new national emphasis on the unique value and significance of a ‘headwaters to mouth’ approach to river management and create a mechanism to encourage stakeholders to integrate their land and water stewardship efforts by adopting a watershed approach.”

The Order goes on further to state that it authorizes the establishment of an “intraagency National Blueways Committee to provide leadership, direction, and coordination to the National Blueways System.”

Despite the Order stating that “Nothing in this Order is intended to be the basis for the exercise of any new regulatory authority,” given the lack of transparency by Interior to date, this disclaimer is of little comfort to communities that will be negatively impacted by a Blueways designation.

In fact, the Order specifically injects federal agency policies and programs into the management of the designated watersheds when the Order states that: “Bureaus within Interior, to the extent permitted by law and consistent with their missions, policies, and resources, shall endeavor to align the execution of agency plans and implementation of agency programs to protect, restore, and enhance the natural, cultural, and/or recreational resources associated with designated National Blueways.”

According to the Order, it appears that any watershed in the United States could be designated without any vote in Congress and without proper public notice. The Order states that: “Following consideration of recommendations made by the Committee, the Secretary may designate the river and its associated watershed as a National Blueway that will become part of the National Blueways System.”

Water is the lifeblood of our communities, and it should be managed for the benefit of the community in a transparent fashion. While water law varies by region, non-navigable water is managed by the states, not the federal government.

Any designation by a federal agency that directly or indirectly attempts to manage the non-navigable headwaters of many of our nation’s rivers, would be a usurpation of state authority.

We urge you to immediately withdraw Secretarial Order 3321. We also encourage you to bring proposals to Congress that are creating new land and water designations so that we may consider them through the normal committee process and with public transparency.

End of Western Caucus Letter.

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<VIDEO EMBED> SEE VIDEO LINKS BELOW

Stop the Wildlands Project from Destroying Private Property

What could happen is that the Interior Department works with allies in the Senate and House to add the Wildlands Program and the National Blueways System to one of the coming Omnibus Federal Lands Bills. That is exactly how Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid slipped the National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS) into law. Former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt set it up during the Clinton Administration as a Secretarial Order.

As a reminder, the National Landscape Conservation System put a National Park like overlay over all BLM special areas like National Monuments, Wild and Scenic Rivers and areas like the Steens Mountain in Oregon thereby ignoring all the laws and special requirements and agreements covering those areas when they were created. The NLCS did a lot of damage to grazing and mining while cutting off access to millions of acres. The NLCS sat, largely dormant, until the opportunity came to sneak it into law and Harry Reid did it. That is exactly what is likely to happen to the National Wildlands Program and the new National Blueways System just set up by former Interior Secretary Salazar.

Consider this about a National Blueways System: The National Blueways System is massive in scope. It covers rivers from their mouth to their source, the whole watershed. This isn’t just about river corridors. It’s about entire river watersheds. Consider this:

  1. The Columbia River Watershed is over 144 million acres and covers all of Eastern Washington, Eastern Oregon all of Idaho, Western Montana and small parts of California, Utah and Wyoming.
  2. The size of the Mississippi watershed is almost 300 million acres.

Video Educational Series

You must defeat the National Blueways System. You can stop the National Wildlands Program. To be sure Congress does not sneak a curve ball by you, you must stop any of the small or large Omnibus Federal Lands Bills coming your way.

*Read the Action Items below carefully. * 

  • To create a giant Omnibus Federal Lands Bill, Harry Reid goes to each Senator to ask what bills he or she want to get passed. They give most Senators one or two bills and sometimes more.*
  • Reid and other Senate Democrat leaders then combine these bills into one or more huge Omnibus Federal Lands Bills.
  • Each Senator then simply looks the other way on the overall bill or bills as they come forward and does not object to bills he or she would ordinarily be opposed to. This process hurts you and gets a lot of bad legislation passed.
  • This how these Secretarial Orders hurt you. First Obama or the Interior Secretary designate a program like Former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt did with the National Landscape Conservation (NLCS) the 1990s.
  • Then a later Congress comes along and turns that Executive Order or Secretarial Order into law, often using the Omnibus Federal Lands Bill of that year. This assembly line gradually undermines and takes away your rights and liberty as well as your private property and the use of Federal lands. This process must be stopped.

You can stop the Omnibus Federal Lands Bill. 

Reid and his running buddies are going to try to trick you. They are planning to put together several smaller Omnibus bills combining 5 or 10 bills each time that would ordinarily go into a full-blown Omnibus Federal Lands bill.

They likely will not use the word Omnibus but will try to trick you and your Senators using other names to pass a series of smaller bills containing a few bills each.

You need to discuss this strategy with your Senators and the key Senators listed below and make sure they are aware of this strategy and are prepared to head it off.

Don’t think that because you have called once or twice that you are done. You must keep up the pressure*.

Action Items:

  1. Please forward this to at least 10 other people. Your whole list if possible.
  2. Send a copy of this e-mail or just a copy of the Western Caucus letter to both your Senators and Congressman and their staff.
  3. Tape a copy of this e-mail to your refrigerator door so you can remember what you need to do to defeat any Omnibus Federal Lands bill.
  4. Call both your Senators at (202) 224-3121. That’s the Capitol Switchboard. Ask for your Senator by name. When the office answers, ask for the person who handles Federal Lands or Natural Resources.

Ask for a commitment from your Senator to oppose any Omnibus Federal Lands Bill or mini versions with several land use or environment bills combined.

Remind the staff that Wyden, Reid and others may try to pass bills a few at a time to sneak them by you. Each bill must be considered individually on its own merits and not combined into a Legislative Stew that no one reads and few have any idea what’s inside.

5. Call your Congressman also. He or she must vote on the Omnibus Federal Lands Bill so get a commitment from his or her staff to oppose any Omnibus Federal Lands or Omnibus Environment Bill or bills. You may call any Congressman at (202) 225-3121. Follow the same instructions as above for the Senators.

Your Senator can stop this bill or bills. All he or she must do is promise the Leadership that he or she will object or filibuster the bill. That will make the bill controversial. You must make the bill controversial.

These Senators are especially important to stop any Omnibus Federal Lands bill or bills. Be sure to send a copy of the Western Caucus letter about the Wildlands Secretarial Order and the National Blueways Secretarial Order.

Key Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee – Republicans – All Senators can be reached at (202) 224-3121. Note: When sending e-mail to these staff members below, they have an underscore between their first and last name. There is no underline in the e-mail address, just the underscore.

ALEXANDER, LAMAR (TN), Staff: ryan_loskarn@alexander.senate.gov — fax: 202-228-3398

BARRASSO JOHN (WY), Brian Clifford, brian_Clifford@barrasso.senate.gov— fax: -202-224-1724

COBURN, TOM (OK), Staff: brian_treat@coburn.senate.gov — fax: 202-224-6008

COLLINS, SUSAN (ME), staff: mary_dietrich@collins.senate.gov — fax: 202-224-2693

CORKER, BOB (TN), Staff: todd_womack@corker.senate.gov — fax: 202-228-0566

CRAPO, MICHAEL (ID), Staff: susan_wheeler@crapo.senate.gov — fax: 202-228-1375

ENZI, MICHAEL (WY), Staff:  flip_mcconnaughey@enzi.senate.gov fax: 202-228-0359

FLAKE, JEFF (AZ), Staff: steve_voeller@flake.senate.gov — fax: 202-228-0515

GRAHAM, LINDSEY (SC), Staff: richard_perry@lgraham.senate.gov — fax: 202-224-3808

HATCH, ORRIN (UT), Staff: michael_kennedy@hatch.senate.gov — fax: 202-224-6331

HELLER, DEAN (NV), Staff: mac_abrams@heller.senate.gov — fax: 202-224-6244

HOEVEN, JOHN (ND), Staff: ryan_bernstein@hoeven.senate.gov — fax: 202-224-7999

INHOFE, JAMES (OK), Staff: ryan_jackson@inhofe.senate.gov — fax: 202-228-0380

LEE, MIKE (UT), Staff: spencer_stokes@lee.senate.gov — fax: 202-228-1168

MCCAIN, JOHN (AZ), Staff: nick_matiella@mccain.senate.gov — fax: 202-228-2862

MURKOWSKI, LISA (AK), Staff: edward_hild@murkowski.senate.gov — fax: 202-224-5301

Karen_bilups@energy.senate.gov;

PORTMAN, ROB (OH), Staff: rob_lehman@portman.senate.gov — fax: 202-224-9558

RISCH, JAMES (ID), Staff: john_sandy@risch.senate.gov — fax: 202-224-2753

SCOTT, TIM (SC), Staff: rich_dunn@scott.senate.gov — fax: 202-228-1048

THUNE, JOHN (SD), Staff: ryan_nelson@thune.senate.gov — fax: 202-228-5429

VITTER, DAVID (LA), Staff: kyle_ruckert@vitter.senate.gov — fax: 202-228-5061

Background

Here’s a reminder list of some of the land grab threats the Obama Administration, Senator Harry Reid and other members of Congress have planned for you.

  • New Endangered Species Act Land Grab* based on habitat for the *Sage Grouse* that could take over millions of acres of like the Spotted Owl
  • New National Monuments;
  • New National Blueways program (More in later e-mail.)
  • National Wildlands land grab;
  • New Wilderness study areas:
  • Treasured Landscapes Initiative;
  • America’s Great Outdoors Campaign;
  • New BLM Land Use Planning/Wilderness expansion; and
  • Expansion of the use of Eminent domain and Condemnation.

This article brings a great number of points regarding Obama Care and the general slant of health care over the past 15 years or thereabouts. I found it very interesting, and hopefully you will too!

By Mac Salvo

Approved Drug Cocktails for Kids

“It’s not a stretch to suggest that Americans are over medicated. In 2011 doctors across the nation wrote an astounding four billion medical prescriptions, amounting to an average of 13 prescriptions for every  man, woman and child in the United States.

In the next few weeks the American Psychiatric Associations is releasing their updated fifth version their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5); the so-called ‘bible’ of psychiatric diagnoses. The new manual promises to take mental illness and the use of prescription drugs to a whole new level.

You may not be considered “crazy” or “mentally ill” today, but under the new guidelines experts say half of us will be diagnosed with a psychiatric condition in the future.

The odds will probably be greater than 50 percent, according to the new manual, that you’ll have a mental disorder in your lifetime.

The increasing number of disorders comes about because some “problems” that were not previously considered to be mental illness were reclassified as such by their inclusion in the DSM—and it is the DSM that functionally defines mental illness in the United States.

You see, in the DSM-5 the definitions for mental illness have been expanded to include a whole host of new symptoms and conditions.

For example, under the new guidelines if your 6 to 18 year-old child throws a temper tantrum from time to time or has a mood swing, a psychiatrist could diagnose the condition as a “Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder” requiring professional treatment. Keep in mind that in psychiatry “professional treatment” almost always means prescription drugs.

Are you over the age of 55 and have “senior moments” like forgetting where you put your keys? If so, then in all likelihood you have a neurocognitive disorder.

Do you stockpile food, supplies or other items in anticipation of a disaster? If so, you may have what’s called an obsessive compulsive hoarding disorder.

“The reality shows have raised awareness, but they tend to sensationalize the patients, and they rarely talk about treatment.”

“The big change,” Dr. Saxena said, “will be an official recognition of hoarding as an important neuropsychic disorder that will increase screening, increase detection and diagnosis, and refer patients in for treatment.”

While the new hoarding guidelines don’t specifically target “preparedness,” the fact is that some ‘professionals’ have already suggested that if you have any level of anxiety about the possibility of a major catastrophe, or your motivation for preparing for unforeseen events includes a distrust of the government, then you’ve got psychological problems.

Now, with the DSM-5, they can officially diagnose you as crazy.

Dr. Allen Frances, the author of Saving Normal, says that the new requirements will, ”turn everyday anxiety, eccentricity, forgetting and bad eating habits into mental disorders.”

The changes being introduced by the DSM-5 are nothing short of a sweeping overhaul of our mental health care system, and they will have effects that many experts can’t even fathom. But those behind the DSM, who work very closely with government experts, know exactly what they’re doing.

Let’s connect the dots a little bit to get an idea of how this is going to have a direct impact on your life in the very near future.

Under the new regulations set forth by the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, certain groups of Americans like school children, seniors, those on government health plans, active-duty military personnel, and veterans will be required to submit to mental health screenings.

Page 1137 of the The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provides grants for the operation of school-based health centers required to include “mental health and substance abuse disorder assessments” for children and adolescents.

On page 1191 is found a section on Mental Health Screening that refers to a program called “Healthy Aging, Living Well”. Persons ages 55-64 are being targeted for screening activities that can include “mental health/behavioral health and substance use disorders.”

Obamacare requires mental health services for many other groups.

These include Medicaid recipients, addicts, mothers with postpartum depression, the elderly, and soldiers. There’s even has a section called “Mental Health in Small Businesses” which awards grants to small businesses willing to provide workplace wellness programs that encourage “healthy lifestyles, healthy eating, increased physical activity and improved mental health.”

Are you starting to see where this is going?

You’ll be forced by your child’s school, by the government, and even your private employer to be  involuntarily screened. And the psychiatrists who’ll be performing the diagnoses will be utilizing the criteria outlined in the DSM-5.

According to the afforementioned statistics, there’s a 50% chance that those being screened will be found to have some type of mental health condition.

But that’s just the beginning.

As we know, once diagnosed, failure to take the treatment (e.g. medication) prescribed could then be deemed unlawful behavior, especially in the case of children.

Not possible in America? Think again:

Earlier this year, administrators from the Berne-Knox-Westerlo school district called Albany County Child Protective Services, alleging child abuse when the Carrolls said they wanted to take Kyle off the drug.

As a result, the Carrolls are now on a statewide list of alleged child abusers, and they have been thrust into an Orwellian family court battle to clear their name and to ensure their child isn’t removed from their home.  “It’s beyond the point of whether he should be on it. Now it’s the point of them telling us what we’re going to do,” said Michael Carroll. “They’re telling me how to raise my child.”

The schools are now using child protective services to enforce their own desires and their own policies,” said David Lansner, a New York City lawyer who has seen cases similar to the Carrolls’. “The parents’ authority is being undermined when people have to do what some public official wants,” Lansner added. “This thing is so scary,”

It’s already happening, and with nearly 4 million children every year being (mis)diagnosed with ADHD, we can expect the numbers to rise significantly under the new DSM guidelines.

It’s important to understand, however, that they’re not just targeting our children. They’re coming after all of us.

The DSM-5, coupled with Obama Care legislation, will allow the government unprecedented control over lives.

One such example is the targeting of America’s gun owners. Legislation is in the works in many states, as well as the U.S. Congress, that would require mental health screenings for firearms ownership. Should these bills pass, then about half of America’s gun owners would immediately lose their right to bear arms for any manner of “disorders” that could include stress, anxiety, depressed mood or even poor eating habits!

And while gun control proponents would applaud the victory, what they fail to understand is that by green-lighting such a government intrusion, they are setting themselves up for future legislation that may restrict their own rights for activities that may include maintaining employment or caring for their children.

Once a diagnoses is made the government will then have the ability to enforce it at the barrel of a gun.

If your child is diagnosed with ADHD or separation anxiety disorder, and you refuse to feed them their prescription cocktail, then the government will step in and take your children under the guise of protecting them… from you!

Likewise, you may one day be forced to be screened by your employer and found to be mentally ill (remember, 50/50 shot!). If you refuse the professional treatment that’s recommended, you could lose your job as a result. And because the Department of Homeland Security has been busy creating a Domestic No-Work List all prospective employers will know of your condition and your refusal to seek professional treatment.

The possibilities, now that the door has been opened, are endless.

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