Monday, August 10, 2009

The Folly of Hate-Crime Laws

James von Brunn, who is alleged to have opened fire and killed a guard at the Holocaust Memorial Museum, is apparently a consummate bigot. His former wife said that his hatred of blacks and Jews "ate him alive like a cancer," so it might seem appropriate that in addition to having been indicted last week for murder and gun-law violations, he was also charged with hate crimes. At age 89, he proves that you are never too old to hate.

He also proves the stupidity of hate-crime laws. A prime justification for such laws is that some crimes really affect a class of people. The hate-crimes bill recently passed by the Senate puts it this way: "A prominent characteristic of a violent crime motivated by bias is that it devastates not just the actual victim . . . but frequently savages the community sharing the traits that caused the victim to be selected." No doubt. But how is this crime different from most other crimes?

First, let us consider the question of which "community" von Brunn was allegedly attempting to devastate. He rushed the Holocaust museum, which memorializes the 6 million Jews killed by the Nazis and their enablers. There could be no more poignant symbol for the Jewish community. Yet von Brunn killed not a Jew but an African American -- security guard Stephen Tyrone Johns.

So which community was affected by this weird, virtually suicidal act? Was it the Jewish community or the black community? Since von Brunn hated both, you could argue that it does not matter. But since I would guess that neither community now gives the incident much thought, the answer might well be "neither one." So what is the point of piling on hate crimes to what von Brunn has allegedly done? Beats me. He already faces -- at age 89, remember -- a life sentence and, possibly, the death penalty.

The real purpose of hate-crime laws is to reassure politically significant groups -- blacks, Hispanics, Jews, gays, etc. -- that someone cares about them and takes their fears seriously. That's nice. It does not change the fact, though, that what's being punished is thought or speech. Johns is dead no matter what von Brunn believes. The penalty for murder is severe, so it's not as if the crime is not being punished. The added "late hit" of a hate crime is without any real consequence, except as a precedent for the punishment of belief or speech. Slippery slopes are supposedly all around us, I know, but this one is the real McCoy.

Let us assume that the "community" is really affected by what we call a hate crime. I am Jewish. But even with von Brunn's attack, I am more affected by a mugging in my neighborhood that might keep me from taking a walk at night than I am by a shooting at the Holocaust museum. If there's a murder in a park, I'll stay out of it for months. If there's a rape, women will stay out of the park. If there's another and another, women will know that a real hater is loose. Rape, though, is not a hate crime. Why not?

I doubt that any group of drunken toughs is going to hesitate in their pummeling of a gay individual or an African American or a Jew on account of it being a hate crime. If they are not already deterred by the conventional penalties -- prison, etc. -- then why would additional penalties deter them? And if, in fact, they kept their mouths shut, refrained from the N-word or the F-word or the K-word, and simply made the beating or the killing seem one triggered by dissing or some other reason, then they would not be accused of hate -- merely of murder or some such trifle. If, though, they gave vent to their thoughts, they would be in for real trouble.

For the most part, hate-crime legislation is just a sop for politically influential interest groups -- yet another area in which liberals, traditionally sensitive to civil liberties issues, have chosen to mollify an entire population at the expense of the individual and endorse discredited reasoning about deterrence.

In von Brunn's case, the hate-crime counts are an obscenity. To suggest that the effects of this attack were felt only by the Jewish or the black communities -- and not, for instance, by your average Washington tourist -- ghettoizes both its real and purported victims. It's a consequence that von Brunn himself might applaud.

Source: The Washington Post

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Beat Reporting, Fair Use, Twitter And Free Expression: Mashing Up Some Thoughts

There are a few stories that have been getting some buzz this week for separate reasons, that when combined, paint an interesting picture of our current media landscape. The first was that some baseball reporters picked up on the current debate over fair use when it comes to reporting, aggregating and sharing the news. I think the focus on "fair use" in these stories is a bit misleading. Most people view web-based communications as a part of a conversation. And if you're talking about an interesting story you see, you don't tell that person I can only read you some of it because more would be illegal. You discuss what you think is relevant. That's just a part of the conversation. Holding back the natural flow of dialogue by way of copyright law seems like a clear limit on free expression and free speech.

One of my favorite beat writers, Pete Abraham for the Journal News, picked up on this story and encapsulated what I believe is the love-hate notion that many newspaper journalists have in these situations:

I'm usually flattered if some other blog links to my work. I figure anything that brings more readers here has to be good. But for every responsible blogger out there, there are other who cut and paste the work of others and either pass it off as their own or barely credit the author.

If you know the solution, contact the newspaper industry because you will be a well-paid consultant. The problem will soon be this: If newspapers decide they can't afford beat writers, where will that information come from? Somebody has to get on the plane, go to Toronto and ask the questions.
There are two separate issues Pete raises here, and I'd like to address both. The first is the question of "bad actors" in the space. These are the so-called "parasites" that the Marburgers discuss. The problem is that there's really no problem at all here. No one seems able to point out any such real "parasite" site that actually gets any significant traffic. Most readers who actually follow these issues figure out pretty quickly to go straight to the source itself. In fact, that's how I first discovered Pete's own blog many years ago. I saw him quoted in three separate places within a week, and thought "hmm, this is someone I need to follow." And even though I grew up in NY, I'd never even heard of The Journal News (apparently it publishes north of NY City in Westchester). But these days, I trust Pete's reporting over anyone else's and go to his site first for any news about the Yankees -- because he's built up that reputation, works hard to increase value and (most important of all) has done an amazing job cultivating community, mostly via his amazing blog.

This is a point that we've tried to bring up multiple times before. Many old schoolers view the newspaper business as being in the business of delivering content to the masses. But that's never actually been true. The newspaper business has always been in the community building business. It would bring together a community around local news and then sell their attention to advertisers. The problem today is that there are so many different places to get a community, that the newspapers have competition.

And, in NY, when it comes to the Yankees, there's a lot of competition. But by really building a community and cultivating it, Pete stands out above everyone else. The NY Times beat writer for the Yankees is a guy named Tyler Kepner. He's great as well, and you can get much of the same information that Pete posts on Kepner's blog (or Twitter feeds), but for some reason, Pete's blog feels more comfortable. The NY Times' blog feels... sterile. You can see it as you start to dig into the comments on both blogs. Sure, there are some crazy folks and some classic trolls (and, you know, Red Sox fans), but there's real community building going on in the comments on Pete's blog posts (and Pete participates at times as well). Plus, they've held real world get-togethers (such as at the Yankee's AAA minor league games).

And while I'm obviously not privy to the traffic numbers, I would guess that from the comments alone, it's pretty clear that Pete's Yankee blog for The Journal News of Westchester gets a lot more traffic than Kepner's Yankee blog for the gold standard NY Times. The content is often frighteningly similar, but the community makes a huge difference. Building up a community is a skill that journalists (and newspapers) need to learn. Whether on purpose or not, Pete's been quite good at it.

And, from that we get to Pete's second point: questioning how newspapers, such as his own, can continue paying for the expense of beat writers. Here there are a few different potential answers. Pete has attracted a large enough community, that if the Journal News hasn't figured out how to profit from him and the "expense" of having him on payroll as a beat writer, then they're doing something wrong. But even if a newspaper couldn't afford him, with the community that Pete has built up, if the Yankees would allow him to be an independent beat writer, I'd bet he could bring in a fair amount of money that way. Team Pete up with a business guy and a tech guy, and go to town. Everyone would benefit. The Yankees would get more awesome coverage and a huge community of vocal, loyal Yankee fans. Pete would still have a job. And us fans would still have a great place to gather virtually.

But there's a separate issue as well. I've already mentioned some of the overlap between Pete and Tyler. But those are only two of the beat writers. There are also Yankee beat writers from the NY Post, the NY Daily News, Newsday, the New Jersey Record, WFAN, and perhaps some others as well. I follow a bunch of their blogs and Twitter accounts, and there's a tremendous amount of overlap. I am not saying to just dump them all and have a single beat writer. But at some point you do have to wonder about why it makes sense to have so many reporters effectively reporting the exact same thing.

Also, there are other models that are coming out for paying for reporters. Mark Cuban has talked about actually having the sports teams pay the newspaper for coverage -- which certainly horrifies some reporters, but is yet another potential model, since the teams themselves benefit from the coverage. On top of that, we're seeing nationally focused publications -- such as ESPN and Sports Illustrated -- snap up lots of top reporters. Hell, just this week Sports Illusrated hired away another favorite of mine, Joe Posnanski. And while they don't do so yet, you could see national media like that add beat reporters as well.

Of course, if they're going to do that, they shouldn't do silly things like tell their reporters they have to limit their Twitter usage, as ESPN recently did.

Then, you have the fact that there are many impressive fan-driven blogs adding to the ecosystem as well. I'm certainly not suggesting that the fan-driven blogs replace the beat reporters, but it is an addition that fills in a lot more information and insight. I get a ton of insightful analysis about the Yankees via River Avenue Blues, a blog run by three fans, who are knowledgeable, thoughtful and insightful when it comes to the state of the Yankees. And, sometimes they get or break news as well. While these fanblogs and the beat reporters mostly have a pretty good relationship, you'd think that those could be leveraged even more, to enable the creation of more great content that drives more community. Teams should allow more access to the top fan blogs, and the news publications should be teaming up with some of the best fanblogs as well to leverage their insight and traffic for their own business models.

And, finally, let's not forget the fact that the athletes themselves suddenly have the ability to go direct as well. While the NFL is trying to crack down on players using Twitter, the fact is players have more direct channels to reach fans and provide information as well. Again, this is not a replacement for beat reporters, but does add to the ecosystem as well. And, at times, those players are breaking news themselves.

So you have a situation where there is more information than ever before out there about sports teams. There are more ways for fans to convene and converse with each other, with professional reporters and with the athletes themselves. Technology has made it cheaper and easier to do all of this -- and the ability to bring together a community of folks has not diminished even slightly. If you can't make money with all of that, then you've got bigger problems.

However, since Pete insists that anyone who has an answer to how to keep funding beat reporters employed can make a living as a well-paid consultant, he should tell his bosses at Gannett to contact us. We're more than happy to help put together a strategic plan for how to keep Pete and others gainfully employed.

Source: Tech Dirty

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Netanyahu’s attempts to silence Breaking the Silence

Netanyahu has asked Spain, Britain and The Netherlands to stop directly funding the Israeli human rights group Breaking the Silence (BTS). BTS has been releasing IDF soldier testimony on the invasion/massacre in Gaza. The accounts by the soldiers are harrowing and document war crimes. The Israeli government claims that governmental support of “politicized” NGOs undermines democracy in the Jewish state. Netanyahu is “contemplating legislation that would ban foreign government funding for groups such as Breaking the Silence.” The main argument is that foreign governmental funding of non-governmental institutions that are ostensibly working “against” the interests of the duly elected government are undemocratic. Ron Dermer, Netanyahu’s senior political adviser, was quoted as saying that funding from foreign embassies for the group amounted to “blatant and unacceptable” intervention in Israel’s internal affairs.

But Don Futterman (program director, Israel, of the Moriah Fund, a private American foundation working in Israel to support civil society and democracy, immigrant absorption and education.) has a different take,

“If our defense minister (Avigor Lieberman) wants us to live up to the claim that the IDF is “the most moral army on earth,” he should welcome soldiers who speak out about illegal acts that they have witnessed or were asked to perform. In our post-war rush to elections, we unfortunately - and perhaps, conveniently - skipped over any discussion concerning the morality of what the army has done. But even our fears of one-sided international condemnation of our actions in Gaza cannot justify official attempts to silence the messenger, especially when that messenger is us.”

He also argues that:

BTS is not an advocacy organization, It is made up of IDF reservists who have served in the territories during their regular military service over the last nine years. In addition to recognizing the harm we are doing to our Palestinian neighbors, the organization urges us to look closely at the damage we are doing to our own soldiers when they are asked to engage in acts of questionable morality or legality. BTS gathers and then publicizes testimony in both words and pictures from soldiers who are willing to come forward. The organization makes every effort to check the veracity of these testimonies, and will not publish any soldier’s comments unless it has corroborating testimony from at least one other reliable source.”

Indeed, a senior Israeli official objected to friendly nations funding “opposition bodies” inside Israel. IDF soldiers are now considered “in opposition” who do not go along with the government line on Gaza. Futterman, in my opinion gets to the heart of this matter:

“Presumably, what the official meant is that the government and the IDF find intolerable opposition to their attempts to control the discourse concerning Israel’s behavior in the territories”

Democracy is not just the process of voting, selecting representation etc, it is also about discourse freely exchanged.

Some Jewish organizational officials counter that a ban on foreign government support of NGOs is more characteristic of a dictatorship, and would undermine U.S. efforts to support NGOs in Iran and other countries with poor human rights records.

One senior official at a centrist Jewish organization said such an initiative was profoundly counterintuitive, considering how much the Israeli and Jewish establishments had reaped from Western government backing for NGOs assisting Jews in the Soviet Union during the Cold War — and how such support continues today in Iran and the former Soviet Union.

It’s a little surprising,” said the official, who spoke anonymously to avoid embarrassing Israel’s government. “All over the world, NGOs are accused of taking other governments’ dollars and being tainted by that — the National Endowment for Democracy, the National Democratic Institute, the National Republican Institute. If the Israeli government says we’re going to only let certain human rights groups operate, it makes it harder to make our case” elsewhere.”

The good news is that the government’s heavy handed attempts to silence BTS has only emboldened soldiers to come forward.

Futterman continues:

our government (Israel) should welcome other expressions of foreign support for our civil society, not attempt to control it. If the United Kingdom or Spain or any other state wants to be a true friend to Israeli democracy, it will renew its commitment to BTS.

Akiva Elder also brings up the point from Gush Shalom that:

“the discriminatory blocking of European government funding to a specific group of legal and legitimate NGOs may well result in a public backlash in the EU, which would force your government to cut all funding to Israeli NGOs, including to universities and hospitals.”

Further, such NGO mettling could effect Chrisian Zionist organizations in the EU supporting settlement activity in the West Bank.

Presently, partially as a result of this effort to stop the funding of BTS there is a move by EU based human rights groups to pressure EU governments and the European commission to stop all funding to Israeli NGO’s. This is a definite “shoot yourself in the foot moment.” Not that surprising for the Netanyahu/Lieberman government, but certainly something that would have real effects on Israeli civil society.

Some of the arguments in support of such a ban are either manifest-destiny-loony or racist. For example, one “pro Israel” critic of such NGO support said that “the difference is that Israel is a first world democracy — democracies meddling in the business of other democracies is inappropriate.” By implication, those places
defined, by whatever arbitrary process, as not being first world can be meddled with because they are not democratic so its okay for first world democracies to act undemocratically as long as they are doing so in undemocratic/non-first world counties.

Its really the cliché about who’s ox is being gored, trying to limit such support in a supposedly democratic system in order to limit the free speech rights of a specific group will almost always end badly and undermines the core tenants of any functioning democratic system.

Robert Lipton

Source: Muzzle Watch

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Rein In the Human Rights Bureaucracy

In a column in the National Post Ezra Levant, who has been battling Alberta human rights zealots, identified seven individuals who work for the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) who also joined neo-Nazi, anti-Semitic, or white hate groups.

It's not that these individuals are Nazi sympathizers or racists who've infiltrated the hallowed halls of human rights activists. They aren't. What they are, are provocateurs, using the Internet to join suspect hate groups in order to collect evidence against them.

In other words, it's a form of entrapment.

Intelligence agents joining (penetrating) a group to assess possible treason or subversion, is vastly different from enticing, provoking or encouraging a racist reaction by pretending to be more extreme than the extremists -- which is what CHRC provocateurs do.

Levant, has been summoned before human rights tribunals (accused of "hate" for publishing Danish cartoons mocking Islamic terrorism), as has Mark Steyn, for exercising free speech, in a book in which he contends the high birthrate among Muslims will change the demographics of western countries.

In both the above cases human rights bureaucrats have looked foolish to despicable -- and have lost credibility among Canadians. At least, one hopes this is the case. The CHRC is, arguably, an often bigoted and unnecessary institution in our country.

As Levant says, "CHRC employees have been active members of neo-Nazi organizations for years, and have published countless anti-Semitic, anti-gay and anti-black comments online." Such as referring to Jews, gays or Muslims as "scum," etc.

Jennifer Lynch heads the CHRC. I took a swipe at her views a while back when she advocated "tolerance and open-mindedness," and then proceeded to show her own intolerance and closed-minded approach, in my view, towards issues she disagrees with.

"Tolerating" views you agree with is not tolerance at all. It's "echoing."

Levant depicts Lynch as cowardly for refusing to appear before a Parliamentary committee.

To many (including me) the CHRC is unnecessary and a direct threat to free speech -- a kangaroo court more intent on lynching (no pun intended) than seeking truth or justice.

CHRC investigators likely see themselves as crusaders, exposing suspect or dangerous organizations and gathering evidence to protect society. Hardly.

Canadian democracy is not threatened by white supremacists or anti-Semites.

Democratic countries generally show repugnance toward extremism.

One gets the feeling the CRHC sets up targets to knock down, thereby justifying its existence. For more details on CRHC mischief, try going to the blog, or other sites giving details about provocateurs pretending to be racists in hopes of catching racists. Try or Google Dean Steacy, and see for yourself.

Short of disbanding the CRHC, Section 13 of the Human Rights Act must be scotched. It "empowers the Commission to deal with complaints regarding the communication of hate messages by telephone or on the Internet ... any matter that is likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt by reason of the fact that person or those persons are identifiable on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination."

That's pretty broad, especially when the Criminal Code already allows for legal action in many cases where human rights vigilantes seem intent on waging vendettas.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper should rein in the human rights bureaucracy that too often offends the very essence of due process and democracy.

Source: The Toronto Sun

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How the Israeli Lobby Works to Subvert Democracy

In the early 1960s, the late Sen. William J. Fulbright (D-Ark.) fought to force the American Zionist Council to register as agents of a foreign government. The council eluded registration by reorganizing as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. AIPAC has since become what Fulbright most feared: a foreign agent dominating American foreign policy while disguised as a domestic lobby.

Israelis and pro-Israelis object when they hear that charge. How, they ask, can we so few wield such influence over so many? Answer: it’s all in the math and in the single-issue advocacy brought to bear on U.S. policy- making by dozens of “domestic” organizations that compose the Israel lobby, with AIPAC its most visible force.

Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) enthusiasm for all things Israeli ensured him the GOP nomination to succeed Christian-Zionist G.W. Bush. McCain’s style of campaign finance reform proved a perfect fit for the diaspora-based fundraising on which the lobby relies. (“Diaspora” refers to Jews living outside Israel.—Ed.)

Co-sponsored by Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), this change in federal election law typifies how Israeli influence became systemic.

“McCain-Feingold” raised the amount (from $1,000 to $2,300) that candidates can receive from individuals in primary and general elections. A couple can now contribute a combined $9,200 to federal candidates: $4,600 in each of the primary and in general elections. Primary elections, usually low budget, are particularly easy to sway.

Importantly for the diaspora, this change also doubled the funds candidates can receive without regard to where those contributors reside. A candidate in Iowa, say, may have only a few pro-Israel constituents.When campaign support is provided by a nationwide network of pro-Israelis, that candidate can more easily be persuaded to support policies sought by Tel Aviv.

Diaspora-based fundraising has long been used by the lobby with force-multiplying success to shape U.S. foreign policy. Under the guise of reform, McCain doubled the financial resources that the lobby can deploy to elect and retain its supporters.

The influence-peddling process works like this. Candidates are summoned for in-depth AIPAC interviews. Those found sufficiently committed to Israel’s agenda are provided a list of donors likely to “max out” their campaign contributions. Or the process can be made even easier when AIPAC-approved candidates are given the name of a “bundler.”

Bundlers raise funds from the diaspora and bundle those contributions to present them to the candidate. No quid pro quo need be mentioned. After McCain-Feingold became law in 2003, AIPAC-identified bundlers could raise $1 million-plus for AIPAC-approved candidates simply by contacting 10 like-minded supporters. Here’s the math:

The bundler and spouse “max out” for $9,200 and call 10 others, say in Manhattan, Miami, and Beverly Hills. Each of them maxes out ($10 x $9,200) and calls 10 others for a total of 111. [111 x $9,200 = $1,021,200.]

Imagine the incentive a candidate has to do well in the AIPAC interview. One call from the lobby and a candidate can collect enough cash to mount a credible campaign in most congressional districts. From Tel Aviv’s perspective, that political leverage is leveraged yet again because only about 10 percent of the 435 House races are competitive in any election cycle (typically 35 to 50).

Additional force-multipliers come from: (a) sustaining this financial focus over multiple cycles, (b) using funds to gain and retain seniority for those serving on congressional committees key to promoting Israeli goals, and (c) opposing candidates who question those goals.

Jewish Achievement reports that 42 percent of the largest political donors to the 2000 election cycle were Jewish, including four of the top five. That compares to less than 2 percent of Americans who are Jewish. Of the Forbes 400 richest Americans, 25 percent are Jewish according to Michael Steinhardt, a key founder of the Democratic Leadership Council. The DLC was led by Jewish Zionist Sen. Joe Lieberman ( I-Conn.) when he resigned in 2000 to run for vice president with pro-Israeli presidential candidate Al Gore.

Money was never a constraint. Pro-Israel donors were limited only by how much they could lawfully contribute to AIPAC-screened candidates. McCain- Feingold raised a key limit. The full impact of this foreign influence has yet to be tallied. What’s known, however, is sufficient to apply the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Of the top 50 neo-conservatives who advocated the attack on Iraq, 26 were Jewish.

Harry Truman, a Christian Zionist, remains one of the more notable recipients of funds. In 1948, he was trailing badly in the polls and in fundraising. His prospects brightened dramatically in May after he recognized as a legitimate state an enclave of Jewish extremists who originally planned to settle in Argentina before putting their sights on Palestine.

That recognition was opposed by Secretary of State George C. Marshall, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the bulk of the diplomatic corps, the fledgling Central Intelligence Agency and numerous distinguished Americans, including moderate and secular Jews concerned at the troubles that were certain to follow. Not until 1984 was it revealed that a network of Jewish Zionists had funded Truman’s campaign by financially refueling his whistle-stop campaign train with $400,000 in cash ($3 million in 2009 dollars).

Until then, Truman was badly trailing Dewey. His election was a great upset. To buy time on the public’s airwaves, money raised from the Israel lobby’s network is paid to media outlets largely owned or managed by members of the same network. Presidents, senators and congressmen come and go but those who collect the checks rack up the favors that amass lasting political influence.

The U.S. system of government is meant to ensure that members of the House represent the concerns of Americans who reside in congressional districts—not a nationally dispersed network (a diaspora) committed to advancing the agenda of a foreign nation. Federal elections are meant to hold senators accountable to constituents who reside in the states they represent—not out-of-state residents or a foreign government.

In practical effect, McCain-Feingold hastened a retreat from representative government by granting a nationwide network of foreign agents disproportionate influence over elections in every state and congressional district. Campaign finance “reform” enabled this network to amass even more political clout—wielding influence disproportionate to their numbers, indifferent to their place of residence and often contrary to America’s interests.

This force-multiplier is now wielded in plain sight, with impunity and under cover of free speech, free elections, free press and even the freedom of religion. Therein lie the perils of an entangled alliance that induced the U.S. to invade Iraq and now to seek war against Iran—which will be the biggest no-win war ever if we attack Iran. By allowing foreign agents to operate as a domestic lobby, the U.S. has been induced to confuse Zionist interests with its own.

Source: American Free Press
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Americans Want Federal Reserve’s Secret Shenanigans Exposed

A recent survey by a major U.S. polling firm has found that an overwhelming majority of Americans support auditing the privately owned and controlled Federal Reserve.

According to the respected national polling company Rasmussen Reports, 75 percent of American respondents said they “favor auditing the Fed and making the results available to the public.”

In a press release issued in late July, Rasmussen did not specifically cite Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul’s Audit the Fed bill (H.R. 1207), instead vaguely referring to the fact that “half the members of the House now support a bill giving the Government Accounting Office, Congress’ investigative agency, the authorization to audit the books of the Federal Reserve Board.

Support for the bill has grown now that the Obama administration is proposing to give the Fed greater economic regulatory powers.”

It also noted that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, during a recent town hall meeting, tried to convince the gathering that the American public does not believe government should be involved in managing money.

“I don’t think the American people want Congress running monetary policy,” he said. Rasmussen’s pollsters certainly showed that the American people disagree with Bernanke and want the secret fiscal operations engaged in by the Federal Reserve Board exposed.

During a telephone survey of 1,000 adults conducted between July 27 and July 28, the polled found that only 9 percent of respondents opposed the plan, saying that they think it is a bad idea to scrutinize the country’s central bank. Another 15 percent said they were not sure. Other findings by Rasmussen include:

46 percent of Americans say the Fed chairman has too much power over the U.S. economy. Fifty-one percent of those taking the survey oppose expanding the Fed’s regulatory powers. 54 percent of Americans believe interest rates will continue to rise in the coming years by as much as 20 points.

“So much for the ongoing secrecy of the nation’s independent central banking system,” concluded Rasmussen. Since AFP’s last report on the Audit the Fed bill, six new congressmen have signed up to co-sponsor Paul’s landmark bill bringing the grand total to 282. They are:

Rep. Bob Filner (D-Calif), Rep. Laura Richardson (DCalif.), Rep. John A. Boccieri (D-Ohio), Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.), Rep. Donald M. Payne (D-N.J.) and Rep. James L. Oberstar (D-Minn.).

The Senate version of Paul’s legislation (S. 604), introduced by Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-Ver.) has 20 cosponsors. They include: Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Sen. Robert F. Bennett (R-Utah), Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.), Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Sen.Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), Sen. Russell D. Feingold (D-Wisc.), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Sen.Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.), Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Sen. Blanche L. Lincoln (D-Ark.), Sen. JohnMcCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. David Vitter (R-La.).

Source: American Free Press
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