Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Massive trade deals like pending TPP put constant downward pressure on American wages-Wessel, Oct. 2015 UK Guardian

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Massive trade deals like pending TPP result "in constant downward pressure on American wages."... 

Oct. 2015 UK Guardian article:

10/9/2015, "Wikileaks release of TPP deal text stokes 'freedom of expression' fears," UK Guardian, Sam Thielman in NY  


"Intellectual property rights chapter appears to give Trans-Pacific Partnership countries greater power to stop information from going public"

"Michael Wessel was one of the advisers who was asked by the US government to review what he said were woefully inadequate portions of the document. Wessel said the thrust of the TPP does nothing for Americans. “This is about increasing the ability of global corporations to source wherever they can at the lowest cost,” he said.

“It is not about enhancing or promoting production in the United States,” Wessel said. “We aren’t enforcing today’s trade agreements adequately. Look at China and Korea. Now we’re not only expanding trade to a far larger set of countries under a new set of rules that have yet to be tested but we’re preparing to expand that to many more countries. It would be easier to accept if we were enforcing today’s rules.” 

Wessel said that ultimately, the countries currently benefiting from increased outsourcing of jobs by American firms aren’t likely to see wages rise above a certain level. “If you look in other countries, Mexico and India and others – there’s been a rise in the middle class but there’s been stagnation for those we’re hoping to get into the middle class,” Wessel said. Companies are scouring the globe for countries they can get to produce most cheaply.”

That, he said, results in constant downward pressure on American wages. “Companies are not invested here the way we’d like them to; they’re doing stock buybacks and higher dividends,” Wessel continued. “They may yield support for the stock-holding class but it’s not creating jobs.”...

“The text of the TPP’s intellectual property chapter confirms advocates warnings that this deal poses a grave threat to global freedom of expression and basic access to things like medicine and information,” said Evan Greer, campaign director of internet activist group Fight for the Future. “But the sad part is that no one should be surprised by this. It should have been obvious to anyone observing the process, where appointed government bureaucrats and monopolistic companies were given more access to the text than elected officials and journalists, that this would be the result.”"... 



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Monday, June 27, 2016

Armed Mainers stop gun-wielding heroin traffickers from New York State. Result: No one injured-Howie Carr Show, CentralMaine.com

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"Rochester and Buffalo rank third and fourth, respectively, in the U.S. for poverty, a report in 2014 found."... 

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6/27/16, "Armed Mainers stop gun-wielding heroin traffickers from New York," HowieCarrShow.com, Steve Robinson

"Armed bystanders came to the rescue over the weekend at an Augusta, Maine, Wal-Mart when shooting broke out in the parking lot. Augusta police said shooting broke out between two people in two cars Sunday evening. 

Police said the gun fight was interrupted when two armed bystanders intervened. Maine became a constitutional carry state in 2015— meaning no permit is required to carry a concealed firearm. 

According to CentralMaine.com, the following individuals were charged in connection to what cops say is a heroin-related incident:

Kwiesha “Reggie” McBride of Harlem, New York, charged with reckless conduct with a firearm, Class C, and aggravated trafficking in drugs (heroin), Class B. His bail was set at $50,000.

Frankie Dejesus of Rochester, New York, charged with reckless conduct with a firearm, Class C, and aggravated assault, Class B. His bail was set at $25,000.

Diana Davis of Rochester, New York, charged with aggravated assault, Class B. Her bail was set at $5,000.

Samantha Tupper, of Augusta (Maine), charged with probation violation and furnishing drugs (heroin), Class B. She was held without bail.


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Added: Two above were from Rochester, NY, which ranks 3rd in US for poverty
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4/16/16, "In NY, voters adjust to something new: attention," Poughkeepsie Journal, Joseph Spector, Albany Bureau Chief

subhead, "Tale of two cities" 

"Rochester and Buffalo rank third and fourth, respectively, in the U.S. for poverty, a report in 2014 found.

Only Detroit and Cleveland were worse."...




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Globalist Hank Paulson hasn't checked himself into prison or even retired from the public stage in disgrace. The Goldman Sachs alum and George Bush pal doubles down and endorses Hillary-Julia Hahn


6/26/16, "Hank ‘Meltdown’ Paulson Cites Hillary’s Globalist Platform as Reason for Endorsement," Julia Hahn, Breitbart

The truly vile Paulson, ap
"Hank Paulson, George W. Bush’s treasury secretary, who presided over both the meltdown of the U.S. economy and the subsequent bailout of his close friends and associates, has endorsed Hillary Clinton — citing his belief that she’d be more likely to enact globalist policies on trade and immigration as part of the reason for his endorsement.

Paulson also posits that Clinton would be more likely to cut Americans’ medicare and social security, which Paulson cites as a top priority following the financial collapse he helped to create.

Paulson is also the former CEO of Goldman Sachs, which has given Hillary Clinton hundreds of thousands of dollars for speeches. According to Politico, Goldman Sachs rewarded Clinton with a total of $675,000 for three paid speeches....

Since Ted Kennedy’s 1965 immigration rewrite was passed into law, the U.S. has added 59 million immigrants. Since mass migration began in the 1970s, U.S middle class has shrunk ten percentage points, and real average wages are lower today than they were in 1973.

(Henry) Paulson does not make clear why Americans should trust his economic judgement, considering that he failed completely to predict the housing crash over which he presided."
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Added: They said the Great Recession would be fixed by more government, folding private businesses who'd play ball into government. The definition of Soviet style Communism. Since this didn't exactly help the US middle class (which was at one time unthinkable) Pew says, forget about that--the middle "holds its ground!"

2/4/2015, "America’s ‘middle’ holds its ground after the Great Recession," Pew Research

1970-2013, middle class shrinks by 10%:

"The share of adults who live in middle-income households has eroded over time, from 61% in 1970 to 51% in 2013."...

1970-2013, lower income HHs up by 4%:

"The share of adults living in lower-income households has increased, up from 25% in 1970 to 29% in 2013."...

Globalist Pew says hey, great news! The rich got richer:

1970-2013:

"But more adults now live in upper-income households, up from 14% in 1970 to 20% in 2013."...

From 1990-2013:

"From 1990 to 2013, the share of adult whites and Asians living in middle-income households decreased the most, from 58% to 53% and from 56% to 50%, respectively. The decline was less pronounced among Hispanics (from 48% to 47%) and blacks (47% to 45%)."...

"If past trends continue to hold, there is little reason to believe the recovery from the Great Recession will eventually lead to a rebound in the share of adults in middle-income households."...

"Incomes of all households are higher today than they were in 1970....However, the overall gains mask a lengthy period – a lost decade, and then some – of losses from 2000 to 2013. During this time, the median incomes of lower-, middle- and upper-income households have fallen by 9%, 6% and 6%, respectively. Currently, the incomes of these households are comparable to what they were in 1997."

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Added: I was unable to find a citation in the Pew article for Ms. Hahn's statement that "real average wages are lower today than they were in 1973." Perhaps it was there and I missed it.

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PS. Hank Paulson and his pal George Bush should be in prison for the rest of their lives given only bread and water.



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Widows of two Americans killed in Middle East sue Twitter alleging it knowingly permitted Islamic State to use its platform to spread its violent message, recruit, and raise funds-NY Times

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"This year (2016), the widows of the [two] Americans killed in the attack (in Jordan) sued Twitter, alleging that it knowingly permitted the Islamic State to use its social media platform to spread the militant group’s violent message, recruiting and raising funds."... [paragraph #37 in NY Times article]...

6/26/16, "C.I.A. Arms for Syrian Rebels Supplied Black Market, Officials Say," NY Times,

"Weapons shipped into Jordan by the Central Intelligence Agency and Saudi Arabia intended for Syrian rebels have been systematically stolen by Jordanian intelligence operatives and sold to arms merchants on the black market, according to American and Jordanian officials. 

Some of the stolen weapons were used in a shooting in November that killed two Americans and three others at a police training facility in Amman, F.B.I. officials believe after months of investigating the attack, according to reported for the first time people familiar with the investigation....

The specific motives behind the November shooting at the Amman police training facility remain uncertain, and it is unclear when the F.B.I. will officially conclude its investigation.
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This year, the widows of the Americans killed in the attack sued Twitter, alleging that it knowingly permitted the Islamic State to use its social media platform to spread the militant group’s violent message, recruiting and raising funds."... [paragraph #37 in NY Times article]...

  
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Sunday, June 26, 2016

In honor of England whose citizens peacefully broke the chains of neocons and globalists: Song, 'LET ME BE,' 1965 by the Turtles: 'Don't try to change me or rearrange me to satisfy the selfishness in you. I'm not a piece of clay to mold to your moves each day. I'm sorry, I'm not the fool you thought would play by your rules'

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"Let Me Be," by The Turtles released in 1965. Let Me Be, You Tube, featuring lyrics
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"Let me be," lyrics
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"Please don't mistake me or try to make me
The shadow of anybody else

I ain't the him or her you think I am
I'm just trying hard to be myself
Though society's goal is to be part of the whole
That may sound good to you, not to me
 
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Let me be, let me be
To think like I want to
Let me be, let me be
That's all I ask of you
I am what I am and that's all I ever can be
 
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Don't try to plan me or understand me
I can't stand to be understood
I could never give in to or ever live up to
Being like you think I should
 
I've got some inner need that I'm tryin' to heed  



Let me be, let me be
To think like I want to
Let me be, let me be
That's all I ask of you
I am what I am and that's all I ever can be
 
...............
Don't try to change me or rearrange me
To satisfy the selfishness in you

I'm not a piece of clay to mold to your moves each day  
And I'm not a pawn to be told how to move
I'm sorry I'm not the fool you thought would play by your rules
 
A 'To each is own' philosophy

Let me be, let me be
To think like I want to

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Let me be, let me be
That's all I ask of you

I am what I am and that's all I ever can be 

...............
I said that's all I ever can be
I said that's all I ever can be
I said that's all I ever can be"
...
About The Turtles 


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Added: Thanks so much to England's voters! You give us hope. Please excuse tiny text here and in spots above. It's one of google's ways of throwing a fit. They hate free speech.
 


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Saturday, June 25, 2016

Citizens of the World? Nice thought, but...Emotional meltdown over Brexit by US journalists who identify more with each other than fellow citizens of their country-Megan McArdle, Bloomberg

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6/25/16, "'Citizens of the World'? Nice Thought, But...," Bloomberg, Megan McArdle, opinion

"I didn't think it would actually happen. Sitting in an airport with middle-class Britons last week, I heard far more support for leaving the European Union than for staying in. But heading into Thursday's voting, I couldn’t quite believe it.

I didn’t think it would happen simply because things like this usually don’t. The status quo is a powerful totem. People don’t like jumping off into the unknown. As polls moved toward Remain in the waning days of the campaign, I assumed that we were seeing the usual pattern: People flirt with the new, dangerous outsider, then come home and marry the familiar boy next door.

It turned out my anecdata from the airport did better than the polls. And way, way better than the betting markets, which as late as 7 p.m. in the Eastern U.S. gave “Remain” a 96 percent chance of winning. Betting markets failed worse than polls, worse than a casual survey in an airport. They failed, because as the blogger Epicurean Dealmaker pointed out on Twitter, “Markets distill the biases, opinions, and convictions of elites,” which makes them “Structurally less able to predict populist movements.”

The inability of those elites to grapple with the rich world’s populist moment was in full display on social media last night. Journalists and academics seemed to feel that they had not made it sufficiently clear that people who oppose open borders are a bunch of racist rubes who couldn’t count to 20 with their shoes on, and hence will believe any daft thing they’re told. Given how badly this strategy had just failed, this seemed a strange time to be doubling down. But perhaps, like the fellow I once saw lose a packet by betting on 17 for 20 straight turns of the roulette wheel, they reasoned that the recent loss actually makes a subsequent victory more likely, since the number has to come up sometime.

Or perhaps they were just unable to grasp what I noted in a column last week: that nationalism and place still matter, and that elites forget this at their peril. A lot people do not view their country the way some elites do: as though the nation were something like a rental apartment -- a nice place to live, but if there are problems, or you just fancy a change, you’ll happily swap it for a new one.

In many ways, members of the global professional class have started to identify more with each other than they have with the fellow residents of their own countries. Witness the emotional meltdown many American journalists have been having over Brexit.

Well, here's one journalist who is not having a meltdown. I think Brexit will be somewhat costly -- if you want to understand just how complicated the separation will be, take a gander at the primer that the law firm Dechert put up for its clients -- but it’s not going to destroy the country or start a war, so if Britain wants out, then … bon voyage. I can certainly understand why my British friends who supported Remain are upset, and why people in other countries who are actually going to experience long-term effects from this decision are unhappy—if I were a Pole, I’d be worried as heck. But I don’t take it personally.

A lot of my professional colleagues seemed to, and the dominant tone framed this as a blow against the enlightened “us” and the beautiful world we are building, struck by a plague of morlocks who had crawled out of their hellish subterranean world to attack our impending utopia. You could also, I’d argue, see this sentiment in the reaction of global markets, which was grossly out of proportion to the actual economic damage that is likely to be done by Brexit. I mean, yes, the British pound took a pounding, and no surprise. But why did this so roil markets for the Mexican peso? Did traders fear that the impact on the global marmite supply was going to unsettle economies everywhere?

Well, no. This was a reflection of sudden uncertainty, not a prediction about the global economic future. But the sheer extent of the carnage made me wonder if one of the uncertainties traders were newly contemplating was when the morlocks are going to be coming for us outward-looking professional types with pitchforks.

The answer to these uncertainties, I submit, is not to simply keep doing what we’re doing. There’s a lot of appeal to the internationalist idea that building superstates will tamp down on war. But there’s a reason that the 19th century architects of superstates (now known simply as “states”) spent so much time and effort nurturing national identity in the breasts of their populace. Surrendering traditional powers and liberties to a distant state is a lot easier if you think of that state as run by “people like me,” not “strangers from another place,” and particularly if that surrender is done in the name of empowering “people who are like me” in our collective dealings with other, farther “strangers who aren’t.”

The EU never did this work. When asked "Where are you from?" almost no one would answer "Europe," because after 50 years of assiduous labor by the eurocrats, Europe remains a continent, not an identity. As Matthew Yglesias points out, an EU-wide soccer team would be invincible -- but who would root for it? These sorts of tribal affiliations cause problems, obviously, which is why elites were so eager to tamp them down

Unfortunately, they are also what glues polities together, and makes people willing to sacrifice for them. Trying to build the state without the nation has led to the mess that is the current EU. And to Thursday's election results.

Elites missed this because they're the exception -- the one group that has a transnational identity. And in fact the arguments for the EU look a lot like the old arguments for national states: a project that will empower people like us against the scary people who aren’t.

Unhappily for the elites, there is no “Transnationalprofessionalistan” to which they can move. (And who would trim the hedges, make the widgets, and staff the nursing homes if there were?) They have to live in physical places, filled with other people whose loyalties are to a particular place and way of life, not an abstract ideal, or the joys of rootless cosmopolitanism.

Even simple self-interest suggests that it may be time for the elites in Britain and beyond to sue for peace, rather than letting their newborn transnational identity drive them into a war they can’t win -- as happened with so many new states in the 19th and 20th centuries. Try to reforge common identities with the neighbors they have to live with, and look for treaty rules that will let them live in peace. Unfortunately, it’s not clear that transnationalism is any more capable of tempering its own excesses than the nationalism that preceded it."


"This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners."
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US government has placed unaccompanied minor refugees with human and sex traffickers in the US where they're forced to work as slaves. It's not known how many of 125,000 kids were given to traffickers because US gov. doesn't keep track of such cases-Washington Post, NY Times, Jan. 28, 2016 ('It's Who We Are')

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Jan. 28, 2016 report

1/28/16, "Obama administration placed children with human traffickers, report says," Washington Post, Abbie Van Sickle

"The Obama administration failed to protect thousands of Central American children who have flooded across the U.S. border since 2011, leaving them vulnerable to traffickers and to abuses at the hands of government-approved caretakers, a Senate investigation has found. 

The Office of Refugee Resettlement, an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services, failed to do proper background checks of adults who claimed the children, allowed sponsors to take custody of multiple unrelated children, and regularly placed children in homes without visiting the locations, according to a 56-page investigative report released Thursday.
 
And once the children left federally funded shelters, the report said, the agency permitted their adult sponsors to prevent caseworkers from providing them post-release services.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) initiated the six-month investigation after several Guatemalan teens were found in a dilapidated trailer park near Marion, Ohio, where they were being held captive by traffickers and forced to work at a local egg farm. The boys were among more than 125,000 unaccompanied minors who have surged into the United States since 2011, fleeing violence and unrest in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador....

The report concluded that administration “policies and procedures were inadequate to protect the children in the agency’s care.”

HHS spokesman Mark Weber said in a statement that the agency would “review the committee’s findings carefully and continue to work to ensure the best care for the children we serve.”

The report was released ahead of a hearing Thursday before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which Portman co-chairs with Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.). It detailed nearly 30 cases where unaccompanied children had been trafficked after federal officials released them to sponsors or where there were “serious trafficking indicators.”

“HHS places children with individuals about whom it knows relatively little and without verifying the limited information provided by sponsors about their alleged relationship with the child,” the report said.

For example, one Guatemalan boy planned to live with his uncle in Virginia. But when the uncle refused to take the boy, he ended up with another sponsor, who forced him to work nearly 12 hours a day to repay a $6,500 smuggling debt, which the sponsor later increased to $10,900, the report said.

A boy from El Salvador was released to his father even though he told a caseworker that his father had a history of beating him, including hitting him with an electrical cord. In September, the boy alerted authorities that his father was forcing him to work for little or no pay, the report said; a post-release service worker later found the boy was being kept in a basement and given little food.

The Senate investigation began in July after federal prosecutors indicted six people in connection with the Marion labor-trafficking scheme, which involved at least eight minors and two adults from the Huehuetenango region of Guatemala.

One defendant, Aroldo Castillo-Serrano, 33, used associates to file false applications with the government agency tasked with caring for the children, and bring them to Ohio, where he kept them in squalid conditions in a trailer park and forced them to work 12-hour days, at least six days a week, for little pay. Castillo-Serrano has pleaded guilty to labor-trafficking charges and awaits sentencing in the Northern District of Ohio in Toledo.

The FBI raided the trailer park in December 2014, rescuing the boys, but the Senate investigation says federal officials could have discovered the scheme far sooner.

In August 2014, a child-welfare caseworker attempted to visit one of the children, who had been approved for post-release services because of reported mental-health problems, according to the report.

The caseworker went to the address listed for the child, but the person who answered the door said the child didn’t live there, the report added. When the caseworker finally found the child’s sponsor, the sponsor blocked the caseworker from talking to the child.

Instead of investigating further, the caseworker closed the child’s case file, the report said, citing “ORR policy which states that the Post Release Services are voluntary and sponsor refused services.”

That child was found months later, living 50 miles away from the sponsor’s home and working at the egg farm, according to the report. The child’s sponsor was later indicted."

"VanSickle is a reporter for the Investigative Reporting Program, a nonprofit news organization at the University of California at Berkeley."

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NY Times version, Jan. 28, 2016: 

"The report also said that it was unclear how many of the approximately 90,000 children the agency had placed in the past two years fell prey to traffickers, including sex traffickers, because it does not keep track of such cases."...

1/28/2016, "U.S. Placed Immigrant Children With Traffickers, Report Says," NY Times,

The Department of Health and Human Services placed more than a dozen immigrant children in the custody of human traffickers after it failed to conduct background checks of caregivers, according to a Senate report released on Thursday.
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Examining how the federal agency processes minors who arrive at the border without a guardian, lawmakers said they found that it had not followed basic practices of child welfare agencies, like making home visits.
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The Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations opened its inquiry after law enforcement officials uncovered a human trafficking ring in Marion, Ohio, last year (2015). At least six children were lured to the United States from Guatemala with the promise of a better life, then were made to work on egg farms. The children, as young as 14, had been in federal custody before being entrusted to the traffickers....
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In addition to the Marion cases, the investigation found evidence that 13 other children had been trafficked after officials handed them over to adults who were supposed to care for them during their immigration proceedings. An additional 15 cases exhibited some signs of trafficking.

The report also said that it was unclear how many of the approximately 90,000 children the agency had placed in the past two years fell prey to traffickers, including sex traffickers, because it does not keep track of such cases....
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In the fall of 2013, thousands of unaccompanied children began showing up at the southern border. Most risked abuse by traffickers and detention by law enforcement to escape dire problems like gang violence and poverty in Central America.
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As detention centers struggled to keep up with the influx, the Department of Health and Human Services began placing children in the custody of sponsors who could help them while their immigration cases were reviewed. Many children who did not have relatives in the United States were placed in a system resembling foster care.
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But officials at times did not examine whether an adult who claimed to be a relative actually was, relying on the word of parents, who, in some cases, went along with the traffickers to pay off smuggling debts.
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Responding to the report, the Department of Health and Human Services said it had taken measures to strengthen its system, collecting information to subject potential sponsors and additional caregivers in a household to criminal background checks.
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Mark Greenberg, the agency’s acting assistant secretary of the Administration for Children and Families, said it had bolstered other screening procedures and increased resources for minors. “We are mindful of our responsibilities to these children and are continually looking for ways to strengthen our safeguards,” he said."





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Friday, June 24, 2016

Rampant criminality at Dept. of Interior no problem. US DOJ declined to prosecute 17 of 29 criminal cases at Interior between Oct. 2015 and March 2016 even though Inspector General said criminal conduct was present. Big bad House subcommittee says this "encourages bad behavior"-House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations

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6/21/16, "The House Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold an oversight hearing entitled, "The Administration's Response to Findings of Unethical and Criminal Conduct at the Department of the Interior," on Thursday, June 23rd at 10:30am," naturalresources.house.gov. Hearing memorandum from Subcommittee Chairman, Louie Gohmert

"Policy Overview"

* "The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) has recently released numerous reports detailing violations of ethics rules and federal law, including instances of potential criminal activity, by employees of the Department of the Interior (DOI). The failure of the Department to adequately hold employees accountable encourages bad behavior. 

* OIG refers cases involving criminal violations to the US Department of Justice (DOJ) for prosecution. In some cases DOJ even participates in OIG's investigative efforts, and its involvement can impact the pace of the investigation and limit the information that OIG can provide in its reports. 





(Tiny text by google: Between October 2015 and March 2016, DOJ declined to prosecute 17 of 29 criminal cases that had been referred by OIG, even though the OIG determined criminal conduct was present in the cases. 1....)
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Invited Witnesses:

Mr. Steve Guertin
Deputy Director of Policy
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
U.S. Department of the Interior
Washington, D.C.

Ms. Mary Kendall
Deputy Inspector General
Office of the Inspector General
U.S. Department of the Interior

Washington, D.C.

The Honorable Loretta Lynch (or her designee)
U.S. Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
Washington, D.C."...



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