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TomCADem's Journal
TomCADem's Journal
March 25, 2018

Why shouldn't the gun industry be liable for damage done by its products? Calling All Progressives!

On the day of the March for Life it is important to note a key moment when members of Congress did not merely fail to take action to pass gun control laws, but when they actively conspired with gun makers to immunize them from damages and suits that result from their products. The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) is a United States law which protects firearms manufacturers and dealers from being held liable when crimes have been committed with their products. Gun makers are making a killing when it comes to profits and the promotion of gun culture. Shouldn't they be held responsible for the damages that flow from their efforts to market and distribute such dangerous products?

Right wingers always talk about responsibility. Well, lets start holding politicians accountable for holding gun makers responsible, rather than coddling them. Here is a great article by noted legal scholar Erwin Cherminsky, the Dean of UC Berkeley Law School:


It is time to stop giving the gun industry special protections that are not accorded to other businesses. In 2005, Congress passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act which prevents gun companies from being sued by the victims of gun violence.

The NRA got it right when it called this “the most significant piece of pro-gun legislation in twenty years.” No other industry enjoys this special treatment.

The massacre in Las Vegas occurred because gun companies make semi-automatic weapons that are easily converted into automatic weapons that can kill large numbers of people in a short amount of time. Gun manufacturers take automatic military weapons like the M-16 and modify them into legal, semi-automatic weapons, like the AR-15. They can be turned back into automatic weapons, through bump stocks or other techniques that are described on many websites. Ammunition magazines with large capacity are manufactured that serve no purpose for hunting or sport.

If gun companies could be held liable the way all other manufacturers can be sued, they would not make such products or they would do far more to ensure the weapons could not be used for mass killings. But the 2005 Act dismissed all pending claims against gun manufacturers in both federal and state courts and preempted all future claims.


Sandy Hook Families Are Still Fighting

As survivors of the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High demand answers from pro-gun politicians across Florida and the country, the families forever connected to a similarly infamous school up North are still waiting for a chance at justice. A little over three years ago, several relatives of victims in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, filed a lawsuit against AR-15 manufacturer Bushmaster—the parent company of which is Remington—seeking both monetary and punitive damages, as well attorney's fees and injunctive relief. At at the time, the suit seemed extremely unlikely to go forward because of a federal law protecting dealers and manufacturers from liability over gun deaths. But in a remarkable move, a judge said more than a year later that discovery could proceed, and even set a tentative trial date of April 3, 2018.

The families hit another roadblock when the same judge dismissed the suit in the fall of 2016. But the plaintiffs kicked the case up to the Connecticut Supreme Court on appeal, where a panel of judges are still waiting to decide if a creative legal argument might get the claim around the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA.)

Basically, the lawyers for the families have tried to claim two exceptions to that law. One is that the sale of the AR-15 to shooter Adam Lanza's mom violated a state law; the second has to do with how the gun has been advertised. Although the judges could decide whether the exceptions are valid at any time, Remington recently announced it was planning to file for bankruptcy, adding another wrinkle to an already-strange legal saga.

March 18, 2018

One Week of Trump Scandals Puts 8 Years of Obama/Clinton "Scandals" to Shame

What were the four biggest "scandals" that Republicans complained about during the 8 years of President Obama's presidency?

1. Fast and Furious - A Justice Department sting operation that allowed illegal gun sales in order to track the sellers and purchasers, who were believed to be connected to Mexican drug cartels. Some guns were subsequently used in crimes.
2. Bengazi - Following protests due to an anti-Muslim video, an attack on a US diplomatic compound in Bengazi Libya lead to the death of U.S. personnel.
3. Clinton's E-mail Server - Hillary Clinton was discovered to have conducted official State Department business on a private e-mail server.
4. Clinton Foundation - Hillary Clinton's charitable foundation received donations from foreign donors, which Republicans alleged was tied to diplomatic favors.

Now, each week, the Trump administration officials engage in public business using private Trump assets and e-mail accounts. Trump's twitter account is treated as both an expression of federal policy, yet Trump frequently blocks critical comments. Members of the Trump family such as Kushner still use private e-mails accounts when conducting diplomatic business with impunity.


The Trump foundation has been used to launder political donations and bribes to Republican candidates. Likewise, Trump campaign contributions are often paid toward private Trump businesses.

Trump Foundation admits to violating ban on ‘self-dealing,’ new filing to IRS shows


As to Fast and Furious and Bengazi, Trump has already repeatedly thrown his military under the bus for botched operations. Likewise, Syria is an ongoing fiasco.



Finally, the above ignores the daily efforts to obstruct justice and subvert the DOJ and ICE into Trump's personal security force to pursue political vendettas, as well as the rampant use of taxpayer dollars for private and personal luxuries by his cabinet secretaries.

In short, in almost every week during the Trump presidency, he manages to exceed 8 years of so-called "scandals" under the Obama administration with Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.

March 13, 2018

WaPo - At Yale, we conducted an experiment to turn conservatives into liberals.

This is a fascinating article and study that sheds some light on why Republicans run campaigns heavily based on fear and scapegoating.


When my daughter was growing up, she often wanted to rush off to do fun things with her friends — get into the water at the beach, ride off on her bike — without taking the proper safety precautions first. I’d have to stop her in her tracks to first put on the sunscreen, or her bike helmet and knee pads, with her standing there impatiently. “Safety first, fun second,” was my mantra.

Keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe from harm is perhaps our strongest human motivation, deeply embedded in our very DNA. It is so deep and important that it influences much of what we think and do, maybe more than we might expect. For example, over a decade now of research in political psychology consistently shows that how physically threatened or fearful a person feels is a key factor — although clearly not the only one — in whether he or she holds conservative or liberal attitudes.

Conservatives, it turns out, react more strongly to physical threat than liberals do. In fact, their greater concern with physical safety seems to be determined early in life: In one University of California study, the more fear a 4-year-old showed in a laboratory situation, the more conservative his or her political attitudes were found to be 20 years later. Brain imaging studies have even shown that the fear center of the brain, the amygdala, is actually larger in conservatives than in liberals. And many other laboratory studies have found that when adult liberals experienced physical threat, their political and social attitudes became more conservative (temporarily, of course). But no one had ever turned conservatives into liberals.

Until we did.

In a new study to appear in a forthcoming issue of the European Journal of Social Psychology, my colleagues Jaime Napier, Julie Huang and Andy Vonasch and I asked 300 U.S. residents in an online survey their opinions on several contemporary issues such as gay rights, abortion, feminism and immigration, as well as social change in general. The group was two-thirds female, about three-quarters white, with an average age of 35. Thirty-percent of the participants self-identified as Republican, and the rest as Democrat.
March 2, 2018

Trump Imposed Tariffs In Response to Pressure From Bernie Sanders and His Army of Supporters

Today, Trump announced the imposition of tariffs on steel imports, which is a move that Bernie Sanders has long championed.


Along with NAFTA, Sanders said he also would rewrite CAFTA, permanent normal trade relations with China, and the Korean Free Trade Agreement.

He didn’t specify what changes he would make but said U.S. workers shouldn't be forced to compete against people making “pennies an hour.” He also criticized deals that lead corporations to move to countries such as China where there are “virtually no environmental standards” compared to the U.S.

“That is not fair competition,” he said.

His campaign says Sanders also would impose countervailing tariffs on imports from China and Japan “until they stop dumping steel into the United States and stop manipulating their currencies.”

In addition, Bernie has been keeping pressure on Trump to not stop with tearing up TPP, but to also tear up NAFTA, which Trump still has yet to do. Bernie Sanders should call attention to this that Trump is simply stealing from Bernie's playbook, so that when economic exceeds 3% as Bernie predicted under his policies, Bernie gets the credit.


Bernie Sanders Tells Trump to Keep His Promise on Nafta

President Donald Trump is finding an unlikely ally in his efforts to overhaul the North American Free Trade Agreement: the political left.

Civil-society groups, union leaders and left-wing politicians have opposed almost everything Trump has done. But they’re urging him to stand firm in his attempt to overhaul Nafta -- and face down opposition from business groups, who complain that U.S. companies will be hurt by the proposed changes. Mexico and Canada have called U.S. demands unworkable, including on regional-content requirements for cars and investor-state dispute systems.

Senator Bernie Sanders, an outspoken critic of trade deals in his campaign for president last year, called on Trump to deliver. “When Donald Trump campaigned for president, he promised that he was going to stop corporations from shifting American jobs to Mexico,” Sanders said Wednesday at a rally for the #ReplaceNafta movement in Washington. “For once in your life, keep your promises.”

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