We have previously discussed how there appears to an ever-expanding list of words deemed inappropriate or biased. It appears “taxpayer” may be the next suspect noun. While Republicans and Democrats alike have made pitches to protecting taxpayers, New Republic’s Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig wrote an article objecting that the use of the word in the 2016 budget is problematic and that we should start to view the noun as yet another loaded and coded word.
This morning I will be testifying in the House of Representatives before the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security of the Committee on the Judiciary. The hearing is entitled “Child Exploitation Restitution Following the Paroline Decision” and addresses a long-standing controversy over the limits on restitution in such cases. My testimony is below.
It has been years before anyone seriously in the Administration has claimed that it is “the most transparent Administration” ever — as President Barack Obama once pledged. The Obama Administration instead has set new lows for its pursuit and prosecution of whistleblowers and reporters as well as classifying and withholding information on potentially embarrassing actions or programs. For that reason, there was not much surprise that the White House chose this week — with the National Freedom of Information Day and the Sunshine Week — to remove a federal regulation that subjects its Office of Administration to the Freedom of Information Act.
Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw) Weekend Contributor
The Obama Administration has been pressuring members of Congress to pass the bill that will give President Obama the “fast track” authority to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership(TPP) agreement without any debate in Congress. Fast track authority would not allow for any amendments and the bill would remain secret until just before it is voted on.
“President Obama is currently pressing members of Congress to pass Fast-Track authority for a trade and investment agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). If Fast Track passes, it means that Congress must approve or deny the TPP with minimal debate and no amendments. Astonishingly, our lawmakers have not seen the agreement they are being asked to expedite.” Nation of Change Continue reading
As expected, the Justice Department announced Wednesday that it will not prosecute former Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown. The case followed the same pattern that we saw him the Zimmerman investigation: a premature entry into the case, Attorney General Eric Holder making public comments assuring a federal response, a long investigation, and a leak from the Justice Department preparing people for the rejection of any charges. In both cases, some of us questioned the timing of the entry of the federal investigators and the weak basis for a civil rights investigation. (For a prior column, click here) In the end, the Justice Department found much of the same inconsistencies detailed by the grand jury and the police in the Ferguson case.
by Charlton (Chuck) Stanley, weekend writer
Last August, I wrote a blog post entitled The FAA and NTSB vs. Common Sense. The reader can save time by going back and reading that post at the link, because it sets out the main premises of this article.
The FAA has been under growing pressure from all segments of the aviation community to relax the standards for a Third Class medical certificate. This pressure has come from recreational pilots, manufacturers of aircraft and aircraft components, small airport operators, and small businesses. Part of the reason for this pressure is that general aviation is slowly dying.
When the FAA was created, their primary mission was to promote aviation. That includes making it safe and affordable for the flying public. However, the FAA, being bureaucrats who hate to give up power and control once it is in their grasp, asked for comments on a proposed rule change.
That was back in 2009. The initial proposal was denied in 2010. The proposed rule was resurrected, but the FAA has been slow-walking the changes–for more than five years. There has been virtually no progress toward doing away with the Third Class Medical certificate.
Last year, while being questioned, FAA officials made some vague concessions, but would not be specific.
Instead of promoting aviation, I have come to the conclusion that some segments of the FAA resemble a certain character in the Dilbert comic strip; Mordac, the Preventer of Information Services, also known as Mordac the Refuser.
Exasperated, several members of the bipartisan House and Senate Aviation Caucus introduced H.R. 3708: The General Aviation Pilot Protection Act of 2013 (GAPPA). S2103, an identical measure, was introduced in the Senate.
This year, we have a new Congress, and the General Aviation Pilot Protection Act 2 was introduced in the House (H.R. 1062) and the Senate (S.571) last Thursday, Feb. 25, 2015. GAPPA-2 will protect general aviation pilots from liability on charitable flights, extend legal protections to FAA representatives, and require FAA contractors to provide information under Freedom of Information Act requests.
A group of aviation industry leaders sent identical letters to the Senators and Representatives who introduced the GAPPA-2 bills in Congress this week.
The Obama Administration previously filed its Motion to Dismiss in the challenge by the United States House of Representatives v. Burwell. As many of you know, I am lead counsel in the action. The Obama Administration is seeking to block the court from hearing the merits of our Complaint and below is our filing today in defense of the right of the House of Representatives to be heard in the federal court. The case is before Judge Rosemary M. Collyer of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.