Jan 152015
 

There are currently about 18 million alcoholics in the U.S. and more than 88,000 Americans drink themselves to death each year. About 480,000 Americans also die from tobacco related products each year. Health advocates claim the makers of these harmful products routinely market cigarettes and alcohol to our young. These products are often advertised on billboards, television, radio and other mediums which are unavoidably seen and heard by minors. However, our Federal Trade Commission claims it has not found overt evidence of such targeting. Our tobacco and alcohol industries currently regulate themselves by creating standards for the ethical advertising of their products. These standards discourage irresponsible drinking and prohibit the promotion of a beverage’s alcohol content or the effects of alcohol. These standards also call for alcohol ads to be placed only in media where 70% of the audience is over 21. However, critics say these harmful products should not be advertised on any medium that is viewed by minors. They say a precedent exists for banning these types of ads without running afoul of our First Amendment. Tobacco advertising was banned from television once the dangers of smoking were acknowledged.

Pending Legislation: None

I oppose reforming current alcohol and tobacco advertising policy

I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill to ban alcohol advertisements on media that is viewed by children

I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill to ban all tobacco advertisements on media that is viewed by children

I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill to ban all alcohol and tobacco advertisements on media that is viewed by children

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is now considering reversing an 80-year ban which prohibits one company from owning a newspaper and television station in the same market. Its resulting report could allow one media company in a single city to acquire as many as two television stations, eight radio stations and a major newspaper. Currently, there are 10 media companies which own about 700 local television stations across the country. Opponents say that a truthful, objective and inclusive media is indispensable to our democracy. They worry more consolidation would limit diversity and ideas in the marketplace, giving a small number of media giants too much influence in shaping our public debate. They claim these new rule changes will spur a wave of mergers that will crowd out independent stations and stifle local coverage and dissenting viewpoints. Critics say this is exactly what occurred in 1996 after the FCC revised ownership rules for radio stations. These changes reduced the number of radio station owners by 25%, from 5,100 in 1996 to 3,800 by 2001. The FCC claims its media ownership rule changes will give consumers better access to a wider range of cable channels and other news and entertainment sources. Many conventional media companies say current FCC rules hinder their ability to compete with emerging digital platforms. As evidence of the need to compete with broadcast and online media, they point to the difficulties our newspaper industry has suffered for several years. Overall, media industry representatives claim they could increase efficiency and offer residents better and more comprehensive news coverage by combining newspaper and TV operations. They also claim any restrictions on media ownership and viewer reach is contrary to the free speech protections of our First Amendment. The FCC is planning to complete its report in 2016.

Pending Legislation: None

I oppose reforming current media ownership policy

I support invalidating the actions of the FCC in repealing the media ownership limitations under the Communications Act of 1934, and wish to identify a legislator who will reintroduce a version of H.R.2462 Protect Diversity in Media Act (108th Congress 2003-2004)

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

A derivative has no intrinsic value in itself. Derivatives are financial instruments whose value is derived from the value of something else. They usually take the form of contracts under which the parties agree to payments between themselves based upon the value of an underlying asset, index, interest rate, or other data at a particular point in time. Derivative transactions include a variety of financial contracts, including structured debt obligations and deposits, swaps, futures, options, caps, floors, collars, forwards, and various combinations of these. For example: Choose something valuable such as soy beans, petroleum or government bonds, make bets on its future worth, add a contract, and you have a derivative. Derivatives have been called the unregulated global casino for banks. The financial crisis showed that derivatives make the system much more dangerous by encouraging banks and investors to pile up more and more risk. A derivative contract loses or gains value as the price it tracks changes. When it loses enough value, the bank will demand that the owner pays it some money, the dreaded ‘margin call.’ This was exactly what brought down AIG and nearly did the same to our global economy. Advocates say that a small tax on financial transactions would discourage rampant speculation by our financial institutions and help reduce our budget deficit.

Pending Legislation:

H.R.880 – Wall Street Trading and Speculators Tax Act

I oppose reforming current derivatives policy and wish to defeat H.R.880

I support imposing a .03% excise tax on the purchase of a security, including derivatives, stocks, partnership interests, notes, bonds, debentures, or other evidences of indebtedness, if such purchase occurs or is cleared on a trading facility located in the United States, or the purchaser or seller is a U.S. person, and wish to pass H.R.880

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Partly due to shrinking budgets caused by the Great Recession, some of our 100,000 public schools have rented out space for the placement of commercial advertisements on school property. These ads, often plastered in cafeterias or on lockers or busses, are seen by a portion of our 50 million school children each day. Corporate-sponsored TV programs are also shown in classrooms and commercialized radio plays on school buses. School notifications to parents sometimes include ads for local products or services. Parents complain they cannot control their children’s exposure to school ads as they can with other ads –by merely turning off the TV or computer. Advocates say our children see enough ads on TV, the Internet and on cereal boxes. They claim it is unethical to subject a young captive audience to such commercialization. They say Los Angeles advertisers have been touting a “unique form of advertising” in elementary schools, one that “caters to a captive audience where viewers can’t change the channel or turn the page.” School administrators defend their actions out of necessity, saying they can save art, music and sports programs with advertising revenue.

Pending Legislation: None

I oppose reforming current school commercialization policy

I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill to prohibit commercial advertising in public schools including television, radio and print ads

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

It has become known that several of our largest banks are trading physical commodities. These big financial institutions own oil tankers and warehouses and have been trading everything from petroleum to metals. It appears they have been using these warehouses and tankers to store, and intentionally delay, the delivery of materials that are critical to industry, producing artificial shortages to drive up prices. Critics say banks should not be engaged in commodity speculation, to say nothing of rigging our markets. Not long ago, metal users such as beer can manufacturers testified that banks had delayed the shipment of copper and aluminum to end users, intentionally causing prices to rise. They say that metal warehouses owned by banks drove brewer’s prices up $3 billion in 2012. After several government agencies began investigating charges of insider trading, JP Morgan promised it would exit the commodities business. In 2013, this firm was sanctioned by the Federal Energy regulatory Commission for manipulating energy prices. Consumer advocates say this shows how far banks will now go to increase revenue, without regard for our economy. They warn of the possibility of other financial institutions manipulating prices of essential consumer commodities.

Pending Legislation: None

I oppose reforming current bank commodity trading policy

I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill to prohibit financial institutions from trading physical commodities

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

The Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) was created during the Great Depression to protect the interests of investors. Its’ 4,000 employees oversee nearly 12,000 investment counselors, 10,000 mutual funds, and 4,500 brokerage firms. Most people think our SEC has not been very effective in doing its job of making rules, preventing fraud and maintaining fair and orderly markets. The SEC has been plagued by problems and mistakes such as conflict-of-interest questions in its general counsel’s office, and its record of almost never taking violators to court. Many believe its problems originate from the ‘revolving door’ policy between government employees and those in the financial institutions the SEC is assigned to police. Currently, former members of Congress must wait one year from the time they leave office until they can personally make lobbying contacts with former colleagues. In defense of its record, the SEC says it annually reviews many thousands of financial statements and corporate disclosures each year, and claims its lawyers go up against corporations that spend more on lawyers’ fees than the SEC’s entire annual budget. Aside from the SEC, there has also been much discussion and disagreement regarding the role that the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act had on the financial crisis. This depression-era regulation separated the actions of Main Street banks from Wall Street investment firms. Consumer advocates say this patrician needs to be rebuilt.

Pending Legislations:

S.286 – Stronger Enforcement of Civil Penalties Act of 2013

S.985 & H.R.129 – Return to Prudent Banking Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current Securities and Exchange Commission policy

I support stronger SEC enforcement measures including increasing the money penalties in administrative and civil actions involving securities laws violations; prescribing a fourth tier penalty of triple monetary penalties for noncompliance with certain enforcement actions if the violator, within the five-year period preceding the prohibited act, was criminally convicted for securities fraud or became subject to a judgment or order imposing monetary, equitable, or administrative relief in any SEC action alleging fraud by such violator, and wish to identify a legislator who will either reintroduce S.286 Stronger Enforcement of Civil Penalties Act of 2013 (113th Congress 2013-2014), or a similar version thereof

I support separating banking activities from investment firm activities; prohibiting an insured depository institution from being an affiliate of any broker or dealer, investment adviser, investment company, or any other person or entity engaged in the issue or distribution of stocks, bonds, debentures, notes, or other securities, and wish to identify a legislator who will either reintroduce H.R.129 – Return to Prudent Banking Act of 2013 (113th Congress 2013-2014), or a similar version thereof

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) is a 19 million acre wildlife refuge located on the coastal plain of Alaska’s North Slope. Environmentalists say that ANWR is one of the last pristine wilderness areas remaining on Earth and claim this extraordinary and untouched ecosystem must be protected forever. Wildlife such as polar, black and grizzly bears, caribou, Dall sheep, seabirds and golden eagles all call ANWR home. Advocates say that ANWR is our only conservation area with a complete range of arctic ecosystems including coast, tundra, mountains and taiga and boreal forests. It also boasts a network of 18 major rivers, two of our largest lakes and warm springs that support a variety of plant species unique to the Arctic region. The question of whether to drill for oil in this preserve has been an ongoing controversy for over 30 years. What is not controversial is the amount of oil that lies beneath this refuge. Estimates show that ANWWR contains about 10 billion barrels of recoverable oil and could yield more than 800 million barrels of oil per year. This amount is about 40% of our 2008 domestic oil production and easily exceeds the amount of oil we import from Saudi Arabia. Environmentalists say this must be weighed against the potential harm oil extraction might have upon ANWR’s environment and wildlife. Of particular concern are the calving grounds of the Porcupine caribou where 40,000 caribou calves are birthed and nursed each year. Advocates claim environmental damage will occur not only during drilling operations, but when storing and transporting oil, disposing of wastes, and by constructing roads, buildings, airstrips and ports – to say nothing of the potential for oil spills. Drilling proponents say that great precautions were taken to protect the environment and wildlife during the construction of the Trans-Alaska pipeline. They claim most environmentalists thought caribou populations would greatly suffer by building this mammoth project. However, studies show the opposite occurred as caribou thrived in the heat radiating from the pipeline. Environmentalists disagree with industry representatives who say that oil can be safely extracted from ANWR in a way that does not destroy its beauty.

Pending Legislations:

H.R.139 – Udall-Eisenhower Arctic Wilderness Act

H.R.49 – American Energy Independence and Price Reduction Act

I oppose reforming current Artic National Wildlife Refuge policy and wish to defeat H.R. 139 and H.R.49

I support declaring the policy of the United States concerning protection and preservation of the wilderness ecosystem of the Arctic coastal plain; designating specified lands within Alaska in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) as wilderness and components of the National Wilderness Preservation System, and wish to pass H.R.139

I support implementing a competitive leasing program for the exploration, development, and production of the oil and gas resources on the Coastal Plain of Alaska; repealing the prohibition against leasing or other development leading to production of oil and gas from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR); authorizing the Secretary of the Interior to designate up to 45,000 acres of the Coastal Plain as an area designated for directional drilling, and wish to pass H.R.49

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Emissions trading, or cap and trade, is a market-based approach that uses economic incentives to reduce carbon emissions. California has recently enacted such a program. Factories, power plants and other large polluters receive permits that limit, or cap, the amount of greenhouse gases they are allowed to emit without penalty. These caps become more stringent over time, allowing less and less pollution, until the ultimate emissions reduction goal is met. The companies that are able to reduce their emissions below allowable limits can sell, or trade, their extra permits to companies that are unable to reduce emissions as easily. Opponents claim emissions trading will likely increase costs to industry and consumers. Supporters claim cap and trade systems guarantee a set level of overall reductions, reward the most efficient companies, and ensure the cap can be met at the lowest cost to the economy. Cap and trade would also create a substantial revenue stream if the government decides to auction emission permits to companies required to reduce emissions. Advocates suggest this revenue could be used to mitigate problems caused by climate change. They also say this cap and trade program is similar to the emissions trading program enacted by the 1990 Clean Air Act to reduce sulfur emissions and reverse the effects of acid rain. This goal was met at a much lower cost than either industry or government had predicted.

Pending Legislation: None

I oppose reforming current cap and trade policy

I support a cap and trade program to reduce industrial carbon emissions and wish to identify a legislator who will reintroduce H.R.2454 – American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (111th Congress 2009-2010)

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

By a wide margin, 2012 was our hottest year on record. Over the past 150 years worldwide, 9 of the 10 hottest years have occurred in the past decade. The top 20 warmest years have all occurred during the last 25 years. The adverse effects of global warming are well documented. The relationship between man’s hydrocarbon emissions and climate change is unchallenged by nearly every scientist. Although this relationship has been known for decades, critics say that not enough has been done at our national level to mitigate the effects of excessive carbon in our air. However, some carbon reduction efforts have occurred at other levels. In 1997, representatives from 38 industrialized nations met in Japan to attempt to tackle our global warming problem. The results of these negotiations were the Kyoto Protocol Accords, an international agreement to reduce emissions 5% below 1990 levels by 2012. Our Senate chose not to participate in this accord and since its expiration last year nations have been unable to agree on a plan to reduce carbon emissions. Some say our focus seems to be shifting from preventing climate change to adapting to it. Many scientists believe that our carbon emissions must be cut in half by 2050 in order to prevent global temperatures from increasing by more than four degrees Fahrenheit. Such an increase could be catastrophic to many parts of the world. Environmentalists claim most industries have resisted reducing their emissions. Industry representatives say that carbon reduction can only be accomplished with significant costs to consumers. Advocates say the combined acts of individuals can greatly reduce carbon emissions by increasing the use of insulation materials and energy-efficient lights and appliances, and reducing the use of vehicles, heated water and climate control systems.

Pending Legislation:

S.570 – Clean Energy Race to the Top Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current carbon reduction policy and wish to defeat S.570

I support providing grants to develop and carry out clean energy and carbon reduction measures, such as renewable electricity standards, regional or statewide climate action plans, and participation in a regional greenhouse gas reduction program; establishing criteria for grants, to take into account regional disparities in the ways in which energy is produced and used, and the clean energy resource potential of the measures; modifying oil company tax loopholes to pay for this program, and wish to pass S.570

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Euthanasia is the act of killing or allowing a hopelessly sick or injured individual to die, in a relatively painless way, for reasons of mercy. Euthanasia, a Greek term meaning good death, can be accomplished either by passive, active or involuntary means. An example of passive euthanasia is when a person is removed from life support equipment such as a respirator and is allowed to die, or not, naturally. Mercy killings and physician-assisted suicides are examples of active, or consensual, euthanasia. This is when one person assists another person who wishes to die. Involuntary euthanasia occurs when a person’s life is ended without that person’s request. This occurs when life support is removed from a comatose person, or one who is in a vegetative state, knowing this action will likely end a life.

The fear of experiencing uncontrolled pain is cited as the most important reason people support legalizing euthanasia and physician assisted suicide. Euthanasia opponents say that when pain is controlled, dying people seem more concerned about living their final days rather than having control over the time and place of their death. Right-to-die advocates claim people have a constitutional right to choose to end their own life when it has lost all quality. They say it is more preferable to end one’s suffering with a quick, dignified and compassionate death than it is to endure a debilitating terminal illness or arduous cancer treatments. Euthanasia opponents say the Hippocratic Oath makes doctors morally responsible for preserving the lives of their patients, and that legalized euthanasia could blur the distinction between mercy killing and murder. They worry insurance companies could use legalized euthanasia to save money by encouraging this option -particularly for those who are poor or disabled.

Euthanasia, administered by a physician or another third party, is illegal in all states. Physician assisted suicide, facilitated by a doctor but self-administered by the patient, is legal Washington, Oregon, Montana, Vermont and New Mexico. Among others, Hawaii and Pennsylvania are currently considering legalizing assisted suicide.

Pending Legislation: None

I oppose reforming current euthanasia policy

I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill to legalize consensual euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide

 Posted by at 12:00 am