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Jefferson23

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Hometown: Connecticut
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Member since: Thu May 15, 2008, 04:37 PM
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As NRA Hides from Public After Newtown, ALEC Ties Reveal Extensive Lobbying Behind U.S. Gun Laws

From Democracy Now

Since Friday’s mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, that left 27 dead — 20 children and seven adults — the National Rifle Association has been silent. The powerful lobbying organization has long pressured lawmakers to maintain easy access to firearms in the United States, prompting many to say the NRA is standing in the way of reform. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the NRA has spent more than $2.2 million lobbying Congress this year alone. By comparison, the gun control lobby spent just $180,000. We’re joined by Lisa Graves, who has extensively tracked how the NRA’s power and wealth has long thwarted gun control proposals. Graves documents how one of the key avenues used to exert its influence is the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the secretive group that helps corporate America propose and draft legislation for states across the country. Graves formerly served as deputy assistant attorney general in the Clinton administration’s Justice Department, where she handled national gun policy.


Guest:

Lisa Graves, executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy. She formerly served as deputy assistant attorney general in the Clinton administration’s Justice Department, where she handled national gun policy, and was the managing editor of the National Integrated Firearms Violence Reduction Strategy. Her most recent article for PR Watch is called "Backgrounder: The History of the NRA/ALEC Gun Agenda."


Transcript

AMY GOODMAN: Since Friday’s mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, that left 27 dead—20 children, six women who tried to protect them, the principal, the psychologist, the teachers, as well as the shooter’s mother, and seven adults—the National Rifle Association has been silent. Its Facebook page has gone dark. The NRA has refused to give interviews. On Monday, more than 150 gun control advocates marched to the NRA’s Capitol Hill headquarters to call on the group to support enacting laws they say could save lives. Among them were people directly impacted by gun violence.

SNIP* AMY GOODMAN: According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the NRA spent more than $2.2 million lobbying Congress this year alone. By comparison, the gun control lobby spent just $180,000.

in full: http://www.democracynow.org/2012/12/18/as_nra_hides_from_public_after

Gun Control Legislation ( Congressional Research Service )

** Posted as a source of information. This was presented to our Congress
and gives specific information which too often seems to be misrepresented by
those who do not support efforts to address regulation of guns.



Contents
Developments in the 112th Congress ................................................................................................ 1
Background and Analysis ................................................................................................................ 6
Pro/Con Debate ......................................................................................................................... 6
Gun-Related Statistics ............................................................................................................... 7
How Many Guns Are in the United States?......................................................................... 8
How Often Are Guns Used in Homicides? ......................................................................... 9
How Prevalent Are Gun-Related Fatalities? ..................................................................... 11
How Often Are Guns Used in Non-Lethal Crimes? .......................................................... 13
How Often Are Firearms Used in Self-Defense? .............................................................. 13
What About the Recreational Use of Guns? ...................................................................... 14
Federal Regulation of Firearms ..................................................................................................... 14
The National Firearms Act (NFA) ........................................................................................... 14
The Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA) ...................................................................................... 14



http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL32842.pdf

Mr President, tear down this wall

A newly re-elected Obama must rethink his strategy with Iran if he ever hopes to break down the wall of mistrust.

In Election 2012's theatre-of-the-absurd "foreign policy" debate, Iran came up no less than 47 times. Despite all the fear, loathing, threats and lies in that billionaire's circus of a campaign season, Americans were nonetheless offered virtually nothing substantial about Iran, although its (non-existent) WMDs were relentlessly hawked as the top US national security issue (the world was, however, astonished to learn from candidate Romney that Syria, not the Persian Gulf, was that country's "route to the sea").

Now, with the campaign Sturm und Drang behind us but the threats still around, the question is: Can Obama 2.0 bridge the gap between current US policy (we don't want war, but there will be war if you try to build a bomb) and Persian optics (we don't want a bomb - the Supreme Leader said so - and we want a deal, but only if you grant us some measure of respect)? Don't forget that a soon-to-be-re-elected President Obama signalled in October the tiniest of possible openings toward reconciliation while talking about the "pressure" he was applying to that country, when he spoke of "our policy of... potentially having bilateral discussions with the Iranians to end their nuclear programme".

Tehran won't, of course, "end" its (legal) nuclear programme. As for that "potentially", it should be a graphic reminder of how the establishment in Washington loathes even the possibility of bilateral negotiations.

Mr President, tear down this wall

Let's start with the obvious but important: On entering the Oval Office in January 2009, President Obama inherited a seemingly impregnable three-decade-long "Wall of Mistrust" in Iran-US relations. To his credit, that March he directly addressed all Iranians in a message for Nowruz, the Iranian New Year, calling for an "engagement that is honed and grounded in mutual respect". He even quoted the 13th century Persian poet Sa'adi: "The children of Adam are limbs of one body, which God created from one essence".

remainder: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/12/2012127112548497972.html

'This Time, Israel Has Defied the Whole World'

December 4, 2012

Europe is furious with Israel for its plan to build 3,000 new settler units to punish the Palestinians, following their elevation to "non-member observer status" in the UN last week. While sanctions appear not to be on the table, German commentators say it is time to get tough with Israeli premier Netanyahu.

One might think that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Wednesday visit to Berlin could provide for some fireworks. He has come under significant criticism from the European Union for Israel's announcement last Friday that it would build 3,000 new settler homes in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. Britain and France denied reports on Monday that they were considering recalling their ambassadors from Israel, though both nations, in addition to Sweden, did vent their anger by summoning the Israeli ambassadors to voice their concerns.


On Tuesday, cooler heads seem to be prevailing. British Foreign Secretary William Hague ruled out the possibility of European sanctions on Israel. "I don't think there is enthusiasm around the European Union … about economic sanctions in Europe on Israel," he said. "I don't believe there would be anywhere near a consensus nor is that our approach." France too has indicated that it would not pursue sanctions.

Furthermore, despite Merkel's own warning on the settlement construction plan -- her spokesman said on Monday that the chancellor was "extremely concerned" -- it seems more likely that the experienced stateswoman would chide Netanyahu in private rather than openly.

remainder: http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/german-commentators-blast-israel-for-settlement-building-plan-a-870924.html

Study: Wealthy Nations’ Fossil Fuel Subsidies 5 Times Greater Than Climate Aid to Countries in Need

From Democracy Now:

A new report by Oil Change International has found wealthy nations are spending five times more money on fossil fuel subsidies than climate aid. In 2011, rich nations spent $58 billion on subsidies and just $11 billion for climate adaptation and mitigation in developing countries. According to the study, the United States spent $13 billion on fossil fuel subsidies in 2011 and just $2.5 billion in climate aid. We’re joined by David Turnbull, campaigns director of Oil Change International.

snip* Today we’re joined by David Turnbull, campaigns director of Oil Change International, the former director at Climate Action Network.

Welcome to Democracy Now! Talk about this report. And what exactly does "climate aid" mean?

DAVID TURNBULL: Well, so, you know, in the halls here in Doha, where the negotiators are talking about how they can help to support developing countries adapt and act on climate change—and what we found is that that support is really lacking. Developing countries are in need of at least $100 billion per year in 2020. And what we’re seeing is that fossil fuel subsidies from the rich countries that could help support that need for adaptation and mitigation efforts, the developed countries are supporting fossil fuel subsidies at five times the rate of the climate finance.

in full: http://www.democracynow.org/2012/12/4/study_wealthy_nations_fossil_fuel_subsidies

A Tribute to Blacklisted Lyricist Yip Harburg: The Man Who Put the Rainbow in The Wizard of Oz

November 22, 2012

From Democracy Now:


His name might not be familiar to many, but his songs are sung by millions around the world. Today, we take a journey through the life and work of Yip Harburg, the Broadway lyricist who wrote such hits as "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" and who put the music into The Wizard of Oz. Born into poverty on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Harburg always included a strong social and political component to his work, fighting racism and poverty. A lifelong socialist, Harburg was blacklisted and hounded throughout much of his life. We speak with Harburg’s son, Ernie Harburg, about the music and politics of his father. Then we take an in-depth look at The Wizard of Oz, and hear a medley of Harburg’s Broadway songs and the politics of the times in which they were created.



http://www.democracynow.org/2012/11/22/a_tribute_to_blacklisted_lyricist_yip

Joseph Stiglitz (Full Lecture) - Restoring Growth and Stability in a World of Crisis and Contagion

Stiglitz begins at 8:47 into the lecture.



Published on Nov 9, 2012 by Barcelona GSE

Joseph Stiglitz - Restoring Growth and Stability in a World of Crisis and Contagion: Lessons from Economic Theory and History - Barcelona GSE Lecture

Nobel laureate in Economics, Professor at Columbia University, and member of the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics Scientific Council Joseph Stiglitz delivered the 25th Barcelona GSE Lecture on November 5, 2012 at Banc Sabadell Auditorium.

Lecture summary and slides: http://www.barcelonagse.eu/news-joseph-stiglitz-gse-lecture.html

Yoo, Latif, and the Rise of Secret Justice

By Scott Horton

One of the lasting challenges to America’s federal judiciary will be addressing American complicity in the tortures and disappearances of the past ten years. Two recent appeals-court decisions show us how judicial panels are tackling these issues: by shielding federal officials and their contractors from liability, and even by glorifying the fruits of their dark arts. In the process, legal prohibitions on torture are being destroyed through secrecy and legal sleight of hand, and our justice system is being distorted and undermined.

Last week, the Ninth Circuit reversed a district-court decision allowing a suit against torture-memo author John Yoo to go forward. The suit had been brought on behalf of José Padilla by his mother, who argued that Padilla was tortured while in U.S. custody as a result of Yoo’s advice—a claim that seems pretty much unassailable, and that had to be accepted as true for purposes of the preliminary rulings. In a decision that has left international-law scholars dumbstruck, the Ninth Circuit granted Yoo immunity, concluding that the law surrounding torture was so muddled when he dispensed his advice that he should be given the benefit of the doubt. The best authority the judges could muster for this outlandish perspective was a European Court of Human Rights decision from 1978, which found that a series of grim techniques used by Britain against Irish internees was not torture—rather it was “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.”

Hovering in the background of the Ninth Circuit’s opinion is a troubling fact: John Yoo had a co-author when he crafted his torture memoranda, Jay Bybee. And Bybee is now a judge on the Ninth Circuit. Had the court handed down any other ruling, it would have been exposing one of its own. The court’s twisted reasoning and distortions of legal precedent otherwise make very little sense. Indeed, the Ninth Circuit judges seemed to be uncomfortable with torture, issuing an opinion that was comparable to a surgical excision: do what is essential to shelter Yoo and Bybee, and not an iota more.

The D.C. Circuit, conversely, has developed a real hankering for torture. Exhibit A in its judicial immorality tale is the astonishing 2–1 decision handed down in October in the Latif case, in which two movement-conservative judges overruled a district court that had concluded that Latif—a thirty-six-year-old Yemeni who has spent the past ten years of his life in prison in Guantánamo without being charged and with only vague suspicions connecting him to terrorist groups—should be released because the record did not contain sufficient evidence to warrant a life sentence in the absence of charges. Judge Janice Rogers Brown, a George W. Bush appointee, wrote that the usual presumptions had to be reversed in cases involving Guantánamo detainees: the government’s secret conclusions had to be presumed correct unless they were contradicted by compelling evidence to the contrary. In Brown’s perspective, the analytical report on Latif prepared by CIA officers—who were under immense pressure to justify detentions even when the evidence plainly indicated very little to no basis for them, as Glenn Carle and other CIA case officers have openly acknowledged—was entitled to a “presumption of regularity.” Because key parts of this report were classified, it was not entirely accessible by the petitioner, denying him the ability to effectively rebut it.

remainder: http://www.harpers.org/archive/2012/05/hbc-90008612

Every Nation for Itself: Six Questions for Ian Bremmer ( Harper's - Scott Horton )

The world is quickly being reshaped, writes political economist Ian Bremmer. America established itself as the paramount power following the collapse of Communism, but the emerging system is one in which no nation or group of nations stands out as its leader. What will this mean for the global economy and for conflict in the near future? In Every Nation for Itself, Bremmer looks at the world forming now and sees glimmers of hope, but a somber future. I put six questions to him about his new book.

1. We have the G–7, the G–8, and the G–20—explain how you came up with the idea of the G-Zero?

Simply put, the G–7 and the G–20 no longer reflect the world we live in—each for their own reasons. After the financial crisis of 2008, it was clear that the G–7 was too narrow to solve the problem—the United States and its allies alone could not stem a crisis that was impacting so much of the world. The result was an empowered G–20, in which a lot more players with a lot more voices briefly came together to provide global leadership. This moment of coordination proved to be fleeting—the G–20’s component nations only worked together as long as there was a looming crisis that affected them to a similar degree, and for a similar duration.

When the dust settled, we saw the fundamental shift occurring today: the West is riddled with debt and less capable of providing global leadership, while emerging markets like China have proven resilient and increasingly important on a global scale. Yet those markets remain unwilling to set an international agenda as they focus, first and foremost, on the domestic growing pains that come with development.

So if the G–7 can function but doesn’t reflect the global balance of power, and the G–20 is representative but cannot function, what do we have left? I call it the G–Zero: a volatile period during which no country or group of countries can set the global agenda and solve the world’s most pressing problems. We need answers on global concerns like climate change, the availability of food and water, nuclear proliferation, and international security. In the G–Zero, we’re not going to get them.

in full: http://www.harpers.org/archive/2012/05/hbc-90008577

Army closes investigation into the killing of 21 members of the a-Samuni family in Gaza

Published:
1 May 2012

The MAG (Military Advocate's General) Corps informed B'Tselem today that it has closed the Military Police investigation file in the complaint submitted by B'Tselem into the killing of 21 members of the a-Samuni family in the Gaza Strip. The file was closed without taking any measures against those responsible. In a letter sent to B'Tselem and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza (PCHR) that filed a complaint into the matter as well, major Dorit Tuval, from the MAG Corps for operational matters wrote that the investigation completely disproved any claim about deliberate harm to civilians, as well as haste and recklessness regarding possible harm to civilians, or criminal negligence. The military's response does not detail the findings of the investigation, nor does it provide the reasons behind the decision to close the file or any new information about the circumstances.

In response, Adv. Yael Stein, B'Tselem's head of research, said: it is unacceptable that no one is found responsible for an action of the army that led to the killing of 21 uninvolved civilians, inside the building they entered under soldiers' orders, even if this was not done deliberately. The way the army has exempted itself of responsibility for this event, even if only to acknowledge its severity and clarify its circumstances, is intolerable. Shirking the responsibility for the deaths of hundreds of other civilians and the immense damage caused by operation Cast Lead demonstrates yet again the need for an Israeli investigation mechanism that is external to the army.

in full: http://www.btselem.org/press_releases/20120501_samuni_investigation_closed
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