Greetings! You are reading an article from The Mudville Gazette. To reach the front page, with all the latest news and views, click the logo above or "main" below. Thanks for stopping by!
June 29, 2009
Who has time to read these days?By Greyhawk
Legislature: We can't loan money to Governments that support terrorism.
President: Yes we can.
Oh, by the way...
Charlie Savage at the New York Times blog The Caucus:
John Elwood (author of the Volokh Conspiracy link/quote at the beginning of this piece) says of Savage's commentary, "one might say it lacks the "urgency" of some of his earlier Pulitzer-Prize-winning reporting on the subject" and provides links to same that upon review indicate that's a fair observation. But perhaps he's just getting warmed up...
Given recent news of Congress passing Bills that no one has read (or in some cases are only "almost" written), one's immediate concern might be whether whoever does read the multitude of voluminous documents they churn out prior to Presidential approval (a very large team, I assume) might be having a tough go at keeping up. And while a two day delay on an addendum to a signing statement might be reasonable under the workload, is there a definition on what might be excessive? (Or is that a "no, but we'll know it when we see it" sort of thing?*)
At this point I'd like to congratulate those still reading for having an attention span greater than most elected officials. You'll find I've appended the fairly long text of the disputed portions of the
Other challenged sections deal with "promotion of policy goals at the world bank group", "climate change mitigation and greenhouse gas accounting", ("The Secretary of the Treasury shall seek to ensure that multilateral development banks... adopt and implement greenhouse gas accounting in analyzing the benefits and costs of individual projects (excluding those with de minimus greenhouse gas emissions) for which funding is sought from the bank.") and "multilateral development bank reform".
You may be asking, "what does any of that have to do with paying for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? The answer: every bit as much as Cash for Clunkers does - it too was a part of the "Defense Supplemental". (It's law now, suckers - at least, except for the parts President Obama has or will in the future red line.)
(And one final caveat - I pulled the text that follows from the Government Printing Office web site, where it is claimed to be the version that passed both the House and Senate. There is no way that statement can ever be verified as truth, nor should anyone assume that there is such a version, or if so that that version is also the one the President signed - examples of such failures can be found here.)
*Footnote/added thought: If Congress passed a Bill limiting the time between signing and a "statement", would the President veto it?
Promotion of policy goals at the world bank group
Sec. 1110. Title XVI of the International Financial Institutions Act (22 U.S.C. 262p et seq.) is amended by adding at the end thereof the following:
`SEC. 1626. REFORM OF THE `DOING BUSINESS' REPORT OF THE WORLD BANK.
`(a) The Secretary of the Treasury shall instruct the United States Executive Directors at the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the International Development Association, and the International Finance Corporation of the following United States policy goals, and to use the voice and vote of the United States to actively promote and work to achieve these goals:
`(1) Suspension of the use of the `Employing Workers' Indicator for the purpose of ranking or scoring country performance in the annual Doing Business Report of the World Bank until a set of indicators can be devised that fairly represent the value of internationally recognized workers' rights, including core labor standards, in creating a stable and favorable environment for attracting private investment. The indicators shall bring to bear the experiences of the member governments in dealing with the economic, social and political complexity of labor market issues. The indicators should be developed through collaborative discussions with and between the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation, the International Labor Organization, private companies, and labor unions.
`(2) Elimination of the `Labor Tax and Social Contributions' Subindicator from the annual Doing Business Report of the World Bank.
`(3) Removal of the `Employing Workers' Indicator as a `guidepost' for calculating the annual Country Policy and Institutional Assessment score for each recipient country.
`(b) Within 60 days after the date of the enactment of this section, the Secretary of the Treasury shall provide an instruction to the United States Executive Directors referred to in subsection (a) to take appropriate actions with respect to implementing the policy goals of the United States set forth in subsection (a), and such instruction shall be posted on the website of the Department of the Treasury.
`SEC. 1627. ENHANCING THE TRANSPARENCY AND EFFECTIVENESS OF THE INSPECTION PANEL PROCESS OF THE WORLD BANK.
`(a) Enhancing Transparency in Implementation of Management Action Plans- The Secretary of the Treasury shall direct the United States Executive Directors at the World Bank to seek to ensure that World Bank Procedure 17.55, which establishes the operating procedures of Management with regard to the Inspection Panel, provides that Management prepare and make available to the public semiannual progress reports describing implementation of Action Plans considered by the Board; allow and receive comments from Requesters and other Affected Parties for two months after the date of disclosure of the progress reports; post these comments on World Bank and Inspection Panel websites (after receiving permission from the requestors to post with or without attribution); submit the reports to the Board with any comments received; and make public the substance of any actions taken by the Board after Board consideration of the reports.
`(b) Safeguarding the Independence and Effectiveness of the Inspection Panel- The Secretary of the Treasury shall direct the United States Executive Directors at the World Bank to continue to promote the independence and effectiveness of the Inspection Panel, including by seeking to ensure the availability of, and access by claimants to, the Inspection Panel for projects supported by World Bank resources.
`(c) Evaluation of Country Systems- The Secretary of the Treasury shall direct the United States Executive Directors at the World Bank to request an evaluation by the Independent Evaluation Group on the use of country environmental and social safeguard systems to determine the degree to which, in practice, the use of such systems provides the same level of protection at the project level as do the policies and procedures of the World Bank.
`(d) World Bank Defined- In this section, the term `World Bank' means the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Development Association.'.
Climate change mitigation and greenhouse gas accounting
Sec. 1111. Title XIII of the International Financial Institutions Act (22 U.S.C. 262m et seq.) is amended by adding at the end thereof the following:
`SEC. 1308. CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION AND GREENHOUSE GAS ACCOUNTING.
`(a) Use of Greenhouse Gas Accounting- The Secretary of the Treasury shall seek to ensure that multilateral development banks (as defined in section 1701(c)(4) of this Act) adopt and implement greenhouse gas accounting in analyzing the benefits and costs of individual projects (excluding those with de minimus greenhouse gas emissions) for which funding is sought from the bank.
`(b) Expansion of Climate Change Mitigation Activities- The Secretary of the Treasury shall work to ensure that the multilateral development banks (as defined in section 1701(c)(4)) expand their activities supporting climate change mitigation by--
`(1) significantly expanding support for investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy, including zero carbon technologies;
`(2) reviewing all proposed infrastructure investments to ensure that all opportunities for integrating energy efficiency measures have been considered;
`(3) increasing the dialogue with the governments of developing countries regarding--
`(A) analysis and policy measures needed for low carbon emission economic development; and
`(B) reforms needed to promote private sector investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy, including zero carbon technologies; and
`(4) integrate low carbon emission economic development objectives into multilateral development bank country strategies.
`(c) Report to Congress- Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this section, and annually thereafter, the Secretary of the Treasury shall submit a report on the status of efforts to implement this section to the Committee on Foreign Relations and the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate and the Committee on Financial Services and the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives.'.
Multilateral development bank reform
Sec. 1112. (a) Budget Disclosure- The Secretary of the Treasury shall seek to ensure that the multilateral development banks make timely, public disclosure of their operating budgets including expenses for staff, consultants, travel and facilities.
(b) Evaluation- The Secretary of the Treasury shall seek to ensure that multilateral development banks rigorously evaluate the development impact of selected bank projects, programs, and financing operations, and emphasize use of random assignment in conducting such evaluations, where appropriate and to the extent feasible.
(c) Extractive Industries- The Secretary of the Treasury shall direct the United States Executive Directors at the multilateral development banks to promote the endorsement of the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) by these institutions and the integration of the principles of the EITI into extractive industry-related projects that are funded by the multilateral development banks.
(d) Report- Not later than September 30, 2009, the Secretary of the Treasury shall submit a report to the Committee on Appropriations and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate, and the Committee on Appropriations and the Committee on Financial Services of the House of Representatives, detailing actions taken by the multilateral development banks to achieve the objectives of this section.
(e) Coordination of Development Policy- The Secretary of the Treasury shall consult with the Secretary of State, the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, and other Federal agencies, as appropriate, in the formulation and implementation of United States policy relating to the development activities of the World Bank Group.
Sec. 1403. (a) Not later than 30 days after enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Executive Director of the World Bank and the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (the Fund), shall submit a report to the appropriate congressional committees detailing the steps taken to coordinate the activities of the World Bank and the Fund to avoid duplication of missions and programs, and steps taken by the Department of the Treasury and the Fund to increase the oversight and accountability of the Fund's activities.
(b) For the purposes of this title, `appropriate congressional committees' means the Committees on Appropriations, Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, and Foreign Relations of the Senate, and the Committees on Appropriations, Foreign Affairs, and Financial Services of the House of Representatives.
(c) In the next report to Congress on international economic and exchange rate policies, the Secretary of the Treasury shall: (1) report on ways in which the Fund's surveillance function under Article IV could be enhanced and made more effective in terms of avoiding currency manipulation; (2) report on the feasibility and usefulness of publishing the Fund's internal calculations of indicative exchange rates; and (3) provide recommendations on the steps that the Fund can take to promote global financial stability and conduct effective multilateral surveillance.
(d) The Secretary of the Treasury shall instruct the United States Executive Director of the International Monetary Fund to use the voice and vote of the United States to oppose any loan, project, agreement, memorandum, instrument, plan, or other program of the Fund to a Heavily Indebted Poor Country that imposes budget caps or restraints that do not allow the maintenance of or an increase in governmental spending on health care or education; and to promote government spending on health care, education, food aid, or other critical safety net programs in all of the Fund's activities with respect to Heavily Indebted Poor Countries.
Sec. 1404. Title XVI of the International Financial Institutions Act (22 U.S.C. 262p-262p-8) is amended by adding at the end the following: `The Secretary of the Treasury shall instruct the United States Executive Director at each of the International Financial Institutions (as defined in section 1701(c)(2) of this Act) to use the voice and vote of the United States to oppose the provision of loans or other use of the funds of the respective institution to any country the government of which the Secretary of State has determined, for purposes of section 6(j) of the Export Administration Act of 1979, section 620A of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, or section 40 of the Arms Export Control Act, to be a government that has repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism.'.
Posted by Greyhawk / June 29, 2009 5:58 PM | Permalink
November 26, 2010
I think anyone who's ever pondered the "comment" option - once only available on blogs and bulletin boards, now ubiquitous on almost any web site - will appreciate this:
The so-called faculty of writing is not so much a faculty of writing as it is a faculty of thinking. When a man says, "I have an idea but I can't express it"; that man hasn't an idea but merely a vague feeling. If a man has a feeling of that kind, and will sit down for a half an hour and persistently try to put into writing what he feels, the probabilities are at least 90 percent that he will either be able to record it, or else realize that he has no idea at all. In either case, he will do himself a benefit.
That's wisdom from the past, captured for posterity at the US Naval Institute, shared via the web on the institute's 137th anniversary.
From their about page:
"The Naval Institute has three core activities," among them, History and Preservation:
The Naval Institute also has recently introduced Americans at War, a living history of Americans at war in their own words and from their own experiences. These 90-second vignettes convey powerful stories of inspiration, pride, and patriotism.
Take a look at the collection, and you'll see it's not limited to accounts from those who served on ships at sea, members of the other branches are well-represented.
I'm fortunate to have met USNI's Mary Ripley, she's responsible for the institute's oral history program (and she's the daughter of the late John Ripley, whose story is told here). She also deserves much credit for their blog. ("We're not the Navy nor any government agency. Blog and comment freely.") We met at a milblog conference - Mary knew (and I would come to realize) that milbloggers are the 21st-century version of exactly what the US Naval Institute is all about. Once that light bulb came on in my head, I mentioned a vague idea for a project to her - milblogs as the 21st century oral history that they are.
"Put that in writing," she said (of course - see first paragraph above!) - and here's part of the result.
Shortly after the first tent was pitched by the American military in Iraq a wire was connected to a computer therein, and the internet was available to a generation of Americans at war - many of whom had grown up online. From that point on, at any given moment, somewhere in Iraq a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine was at a keyboard sharing the events of his or her day with the folks back home. While most would simply fire off an email, others took advantage of the (then) relatively new online blogging platforms to post their thoughts and experiences for the entire world to see. The milblog was born - and from that moment to this stories detailing everything from the most mundane aspects of camp life to intense combat action (often described within hours of the event) have been available on the web...
And et cetera - but since you're reading this on a milblog, you probably knew that. And you know that milblogs aren't just blogs written by troops at war, that many friends, family members, and supporters likewise documented their story of America at war online in near-real time, as those stories developed.
The diversity in membership of that group is broad, the one thing we all have in common is the impulse to make sense of the seemingly senseless, and communicate the tale - for each of us that impulse was strong enough to overcome whatever barriers prevent the vast majority of people from doing the same. Everyone at some point has some vague idea they believe should be shared - we were the people who, from some combination of internal and external urging, found and spent those many half hours persistently trying to write it down.
But where will all that be in another 137 years? Or five or ten, for that matter. That's something I've asked myself since at least 2004 - when I wrote this:
Membership in the ghost battalion has grown in the years since, and an ever growing majority of those abandoned-but-still-standing sites are vanishing. Have you checked out Lt Smash's site lately? How about Sgt Hook's? If you're a long-time milblog reader you know the first widely-read milblog from Operation Iraq Freedom and the first widely-read milblog from Afghanistan are both gone from the web. If you're a relative newcomer to this world you may never even have heard of them - or the dozens upon dozens of others who carried forth the standard they set down.
If you have a vague notion that something should be done about that, (a notion I've heard expressed more than once...) then you and I and the good folks at the US Naval Institute are in agreement. Preserving the history documented by the milbloggers is just one of the goals of the milblog project, the once-vague idea that we're now making real.
And it's a big idea, if I say so myself - too big to explain in one simple blog post, so stand by for more. Likewise, it's too big a task to be accomplished by just one person. So if you're a milblogger (and exactly what is a milblogger? is a topic for much further discussion on its own) I'm asking for your help. All I'll really need is just a little bit (maybe just one or two of those half hours...) of your time, and your willingness to tell the tale.
We've already made history, it's time to save it.
(More to follow...)
The Mudville Gazette is the on-line voice of an American warrior and his wife who stands by him. They prefer to see peaceful change render force of arms unnecessary. Until that day they stand fast with those who struggle for freedom, strike for reason, and pray for a better tomorrow.
Furthermore, I will occasionally use satire or parody herein. The bottom line: it's my house.
I like having visitors to my house. I hope you are entertained. I fight for your right to free speech, and am thrilled when you exercise said rights here. Comments and e-mails are welcome, but all such communication is to be assumed to be 1)the original work of any who initiate said communication and 2)the property of the Mudville Gazette, with free use granted thereto for publication in electronic or written form. If you do NOT wish to have your message posted, write "CONFIDENTIAL" in the subject line of your email.
Original content copyright © 2003 - 2011 by Greyhawk. Fair, not-for-profit use of said material by others is encouraged, as long as acknowledgement and credit is given, to include the url of the original source post. Other arrangements can be made as needed.
Contact: greyhawk at mudvillegazette dot com