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RiverLover

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Gender: Female
Home country: USA
Member since: Thu Dec 1, 2011, 12:59 PM
Number of posts: 7,830

About Me

FDR Populist Progressive who believes the environment trumps all. We\'re sinking the only ship we\'ve got, and govt leaders are ignoring it.

Journal Archives

The Single Worst Idea From 1990s Welfare Reform Is Finally Dying

The Single Worst Idea From 1990s Welfare Reform Is Finally Dying
7/7/15



Nineteen years after President Bill Clinton endorsed conservative ideas about fighting poverty and signed sweeping welfare reform into law, one of the most poorly thought out elements of that political pact is on the verge of crumbling.

Committing a drug crime was supposed to permanently ban a person from food stamps and welfare benefits under a little-discussed provision of the Clinton-Gingrich reforms. But with Alabama and Texas creating exceptions to those bans as part of broader criminal justice reforms this legislative season, barely 10 percent of the states will actually maintain such a lifetime ban for drug crimes come autumn.

The War on Drugs and the War on Poverty aren’t easily mixed. Making it harder to eat and pay rent won’t help someone busted for pot possession or small-time cocaine sales to recover economically and socially from years in prison. The bans ensure that every discriminatory effect of the drug war gets amplified economically even after the criminal justice system is done with a person. Because women are the primary recipients of both assistance programs, and women of color are more likely to get caught up in the racial disparities of the criminal justice system, the bans have ended up disproportionately affecting women of color and their children — and doing next to nothing to combat either drugs or poverty.

The bans were masterminded by then-Sen. Phil Gramm (R-TX), who designed the legislation to kick in automatically nationwide unless state legislatures actively opted out. Many did immediately, but for well over a decade the majority of the country’s public assistance jurisdictions maintained Gramm’s bans in full....

....Imperfect though the new Texas policy may be, it still shrinks the number of states with full-fledged lifetime SNAP bans for drug felonies to six. Together with similar-in-spirit compromises in Missouri and Alabama, the law means there are 33 percent fewer states that maintain the SNAP ban than there were just two years ago.....

Read full story here~
http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2015/07/07/3677408/drug-felony-lifetime-ban-food-stamps/


There was a lot of damage done during that era. At least this irrational, extremely harmful rule is only sparsely used throughout the country now.

Enormous, Humongous May Trade Deficit Slows Economy (again, 1 month, $40.9 BILLION)

May $40.9 Billion

April $40.7 Billion

Importing that much more for American consumption than exporting to sell to the world.

Imagine if we made just half of 2 month's worth of those products for Americans in the US. $40 billion circulating in our economy, Americans getting paid, Americans spending more here, creating more jobs, more taxes for infrastructure & schools, & safe water...That's over a trillion bucks in a year we give away...

BECAUSE OF BAD TRADE POLICIES that favor the top 1 % and screw the rest of US.

Anyways, here's what Dave Johnson has to say about it in another article warning US its about to get worse...

Enormous, Humongous May Trade Deficit Slows Economy
7/9/15

The U.S. Census Bureau reported Tuesday that the May goods and services trade deficit was an enormous, humongous $40.9 billion, up a bit from an enormous, humongous $40.7 billion in April.

Our enormous, humongous trade deficit is a measure of how many jobs, factories, companies and industries we are losing to our pro-Wall Street trade policies. A trade deficit drains our economy of wealth, jobs and future economic opportunity.

Here’s the AP via The New York Times, “U.S. Trade Deficit Widens in May as Exports Struggle“:

"Trade slashed nearly 2 percentage points off growth during the first three months of the year. The big drag from trade combined with an unusually severe winter sent the economy into reverse, contracting at an annual rate of 0.2 percent in the January-March period."

The May goods deficit (factory jobs) was $61.5 billion.

The monthly U.S. goods deficit (factory jobs) with China increased in May to $30.6 billion, from $26.5 billion in April.

The U.S. goods deficit (factory jobs) with Japan was $6.4 billion in May.

The U.S. goods deficit (factory jobs) with South Korea was $2.4 billion in May.

....

When you close a factory in the U.S., move the jobs and production to a low-wage, low-democracy country, and bring the same goods back to the U.S. to sell in the same stores this “increases cross-border trade.” But since this trade is going in one direction, it also increases our trade deficit, which hurts our economy. Moving the jobs to places where the workers are exploited means that a few investors and executives can pocket the difference in what is paid in wages and environmental protection costs, while impoverishing the workers and communities on all sides of the trade borders.

And to top it off, the U.S. doesn’t even make these companies pay their taxes, so we literally get nothing back for the lost jobs and wages.

Our trade policies encourage companies to make things outside of the U.S. We have dropped tariffs on goods from countries that exploit workers, which encourages companies to move production to these countries so investors and executives can pocket the resulting wage differential. This makes our democracy into a competitive disadvantage in world markets.

Our tax policies also encourage production to move out of the country. Companies that make profits outside the U.S. can dodge taxes by keeping the profits out of the U.S. This encourages companies to transfer production out of the U.S. and import in ways that make it appear the profit is made elsewhere....

Read more here~

http://www.nationofchange.org/2015/07/09/enormous-humongous-may-trade-deficit-slows-economy/


Our complacency on this is our undoing. These are bad policies that can be changed to good policies, and we'd still have our precious trade.

....The upcoming Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a huge trade and corporate-rights agreement being negotiated between the U.S. and 11 other countries. One example of the trade effect of this agreement (which is mostly not a trade agreement) is the competition between athletic shoe companies Nike and New Balance. Nike makes shoes outside the U.S. in countries like Vietnam. New Balance is still trying to make some of its shoes in the U.S. If TPP drops a tariff on shoes from countries like Vietnam, Nike’s profits from making things outside the U.S. will increase, putting New Balance at a competitive disadvantage that could force it to stop making shoes in the U.S.

TPP and other upcoming corporate-rights agreements were recently “fast-tracked” by the Congress – even though TPP is still secret. By fast-tracking, Congress agrees in advance not to “meddle” with the corporate-negotiated agreements, meaning that anything called a trade agreement is essentially preapproved, no matter what is in them. Congress cannot amend the agreement, can’t filibuster it, has to abide by limits to the floor debate and must pass the agreements in a limited time, which keeps the public from getting involved.

Word is that TPP negotiations will be completed at the end of July....


TIME, she's on the cover! (oh, & she's remaking Democratic Politics)

& oh, SHE'S NOT RUNNING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But she's there. In the room. There but not there....



This week’s Time cover.
Time

How Elizabeth Warren’s Populist Fury is Remaking Democratic Politics
TIME
7/9/15

And what it means for Hillary Clinton's campaign

Begin with the anonymous pamphlets left scattered amid the ketchup and mustard packets at Hillary Clinton’s Fourth of July weekend rally in Hanover, N.H. “As Secretary of State, I saw how extreme economic inequality has corrupted other societies,” the sheet read, quoting Clinton from a speech. Those words appeared just above the corporate logos of companies whose employees gave the most to Clinton’s campaigns—JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, among others. A punch line followed: “Do you believe her?”

Now travel cross-country to Madison, Wis., where Bernie Sanders, a self-described revolutionary and socialist, attracted more than 10,000 people, or nearly twice as many as any other candidate so far in the 2016 cycle, to hear him denounce concentrated wealth...

(Boom - - Paywall)...

http://time.com/3951176/up-with-people/?iid=toc_070915


(xposted in the EWG forum)

Anyone else attending a progressive "Teach-In To Save The Economy" July 18 or 19?

I just signed up for this one. Mainly because I've been in Ohio for over a year now & haven't been able to connect with any fellow progressives. This should be interesting, and hopefully meaningful~



We've teamed up with MoveOn.org Civic Action, Ohio Voice, The Ohio Voter Rights Coalition and Common Cause Ohio to host a Teach-In to Save the Economy on Saturday, July 18th at 3 PM in Columbus.

Over the past few months, MoveOn and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich have released a series of "Big Picture" videos featuring commonsense, game-changing ideas to save our economy.

They cover a wide range of issues, from making polluters pay for poisoning our air and water to ending mass incarceration to busting up the big banks to enacting a host of educational reforms.

Millions of people have viewed them, and they've been shared tens of thousands of times, but that's not enough! We need to extend the reach of these videos and make sure folks across the nation have access to their big, economy-saving ideas.

That's why, on July 18 and 19, MoveOn members around the country will gather in homes, libraries, and community centers to host Teach-ins to Save the Economy.These teach-ins will be a great way to connect with local friends and neighbors.

...Get ready for Saturday's teach in. Watch this short video where Robert Reich lays out the threat that organized money poses to our democracy, and how organized people can fix it.



We hope you'll join us next Saturday!


This is that 'start at the local level' thing in action. I'm so excited, and grateful for these organizations!

Anyone else doing this in your local area??

America’s Endless Air Wars ("dangerous, irrational, a crime")

America’s Endless Air Wars
7/6/2015



U.S. Central Command’s latest figures on its aerial bombardment of Iraq and Syria reveal that this is the heaviest U.S. bombing campaign since President George W. Bush’s “Shock and Awe” campaign against Iraq in 2003. In the campaign’s first ten months from August 2014 to May 2015, the U.S. and its allies conducted 15,245 air strikes, or an average of 51 air strikes per day.

This is only the latest campaign in a 15-year global air war, largely ignored by U.S. media, in which the United States and its allies have conducted at least 118,000 air strikes against other countries since 2000. The 47,000 air strikes conducted in the 6 ½ years since President Barack Obama took office are only a small reduction from the 70,000 in eight years of the Bush administration, and the current campaign will easily make up that deficit if it continues at this intensity until Obama leaves office.

Afghanistan has been the most heavily bombed country, with at least 61,000 air strikes since 2001. That includes 24,000 bombs and missiles in the first year of the war and a relentless bombing campaign that struck Afghanistan with another 29,000 bombs and missiles between 2007 and 2012, a slow motion version of “Shock and Awe.” That was an average of 13 air strikes per day for six full years, two years under Bush and four under Obama. The heaviest bombardment was in October 2010, with 1,043 air strikes that month, but that total is now eclipsed every month by the new campaign in Iraq and Syria....

....Big SNIP of relevant & disturbing facts....

Apologists claim that U.S. bombing is morally superior to the “terrorism” of America’s enemies, because the U.S. killing and beheading of civilians is “unintentional” rather than “deliberate.” The late Howard Zinn, a former U.S. Air Force bombardier and later a history professor, responded to this claim in a letter to the New York Times in 2007:

“These words are misleading because they assume that an action is either ‘deliberate’ or ‘’unintentional.’ There is something in between, for which the word is ‘inevitable.’ If you engage in an action, like aerial bombing, in which you cannot possibly distinguish between combatants and civilians (as a former Air Force bombardier, I will attest to that), the deaths of civilians are inevitable, even if not ‘intentional.’...

....another huge SNIP....

U.S. leaders of all stripes, military or civilian, Democrat or Republican, still fail to grasp what Richard Barnet concluded in 1973 as he studied the U.S. defeat in Vietnam, “at the very moment the number one nation has perfected the science of killing, it has become an impractical instrument of political domination.”

The last 15 years of war have served to confirm Barnet’s conclusion.

After 118,000 air strikes, millions of casualties, trillions of dollars squandered, and country after country plunged into chaos, the U.S. has failed to gain political control over any of them.

But our complacent leaders and their self-satisfied advisers blunder on, debating who to threaten or attack next: Russia? China? Iran? Which “threat” provides the best pretext for further U.S. military expansion?

As Gabriel Kolko observed, because of “inherent, even unavoidable institutional myopia, … options and decisions that are intrinsically dangerous and irrational become not merely plausible but the only form of reasoning about war and diplomacy that is possible in official circles.”

But U.S. war-making is not just dangerous and irrational. It is also a crime. The judges at Nuremberg defined aggression, attacking or invading other countries, as the “supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” The UN Charter goes one step further and prohibits the threat as well as the use of force....

http://www.commondreams.org/views/2015/07/06/americas-endless-air-wars


'Bernie Sanders Speaks' In his most revealing interview...

Bernie Sanders Speaks
In his most revealing interview, the socialist presidential candidate sets out his vision for America.

By
John Nichols
The Nation
Yesterday 6:00 am



....Big SNIP....rec clicking & reading full interview....

The Nation: Obviously, for a lot of those who have followed you, the economic issues, the populist message, is at the heart of your campaign. But when you talk about the crisis, you always include a discussion of climate change.


Sanders: Look, for those of us who believe in science, you simply cannot ignore what the scientific community is saying almost unanimously. And that is that climate change is real; it’s caused by human activity; it’s already causing devastating problems; and it will only get worse in years to come if we don’t transform our energy system. You cannot ignore what is happening every day in terms of the climate and what it will mean—what it’s meaning today to the folks in California and elsewhere—for your kids and my kids. There is a moral responsibility that we must accept to transform our energy system. It cannot be ignored.

The Nation: As a candidate for president, would you refuse money from fossil-fuel companies?


Sanders
: (laughing and speaking sarcastically) Well, let me see—it’s true the Koch brothers did send us a large check, and we’ve been debating whether to accept it or not. Of course, for us, it’s rather an unrealistic issue: a) I don’t take corporate PAC money, and b) if, by some accident, some company sent us money, we would send it back—absolutely.

The Nation: A criticism directed toward you early in the campaign was that you were very focused on economics, but not sufficiently focused on critical issues such as police brutality and mass incarceration. Isn’t this something you have to address?


Sanders: Clearly, police brutality and what goes on in African-American communities and other communities is a huge issue…. The question is: How do you have police departments in this country that are part of their communities, not oppressors in their communities? How do you have police officers who, when they commit acts of crime, are held accountable and are indicted? How do you have police officers receiving the proper training that they need? How do we demilitarize our police departments? All of these are important issues. The good news is that, as a country, we are paying far more attention to this issue than we previously did. If anyone thinks that the kind of police brutality that we’re seeing now is something new, they are sorely mistaken. The good news, in a sense, is that it’s now becoming public and we’re seeing it and talking about it.

There has to be, I think, a significant change in police culture in terms of [the use of force]. That is a major issue that has to be dealt with. And we will deal with it, period.

The other thing, to be frank, that does trouble me is that there is so little discussion about African-American youth unemployment. How do you discuss Ferguson and not know that, in that particular community, unemployment is off the charts? How do you discuss Baltimore and not know that, in that particular community, unemployment is off the charts? African-American youth unemployment in this country is 50 percent, and one out of three African-American males born today stands the possibility of ending up in jail if present trends continue. This is a disaster. So, of course, we’ve got to talk about police brutality; of course, we’ve got to talk about reforming our criminal-justice system; of course, we’ve got to make sure that we are educating our kids and giving them job training and not sending them to jail. But I get a little distressed that people are not talking about what I consider to be a huge problem: How do you not talk about African-American youth unemployment at 50 percent?

The Nation: That focus on employment goes back to the historic message of the civil-rights movement. Civil-rights organizing was one of the ways into political activism for you, wasn’t it?


Sanders: Civil rights was a very important part of it. I was very active in the Congress of Racial Equality at the University of Chicago. I got arrested in trying to desegregate Chicago’s school system. I was very active in demanding that the University of Chicago not run segregated housing, which it was doing at that time. We were active in working with our brothers and sisters in SNCC [the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee]… at that point helping them with some very modest financial help. So, yes, I was active. And I do not separate the civil-rights issue from the fact that 50 percent of African-American young people are either unemployed or underemployed. Remember the March on Washington—what was it about? “Jobs and Freedom.” The issue that Dr. King raised all the time was: This is great if we want to desegregate restaurants or hotels, but what does it matter if people can’t afford to go to them? That’s still the issue today.

...SNIP...

Full interview here~
http://www.thenation.com/article/bernie-sanders-speaks/




...Bill Clinton can also say he was active in racial inequality back in the day, just not in the PRO-active way Bernie was. Quite the opposite. Makes me wonder if the Hill Camp is putting Bernie on the defensive to subvert attention from that & of course the "hard working Americans...ahem...white Americans..." comment from Hillary in 2008.

Connecting the Dots
How Bill Clinton’s Welfare “Reform” Created a System Rife With Racial Biases

May 12, 2014
by Joshua Holland

http://billmoyers.com/2014/05/12/how-bill-clintons-welfare-reform-created-a-system-rife-with-racial-biases/



Hillary Has The Money – Bernie Has The Credibility – History Not On Hillary’s Side

Hillary Has The Money – Bernie Has The Credibility – History Not On Hillary’s Side
7/4/2015

Hillary Clinton will far outpace Bernie Sanders, and likely all Republican candidates, in money raised for her Presidential campaign. The question is whether money can buy an election.

You would think the answer would be a clear Yes. However, recent history tells us otherwise. In US politics money by itself has very little power to determine who winds up winning office. The first test of this came in 2012, which broke all previous records for campaign fundraising and spending. Of the $2 billion raised by both candidates, $1.31 billion came from Romney’s corporate and billionaire base. A whopping $406.8 million of the $609.4 million raised by Super PACs – over 66% – went to Romney. By way of comparison, President Obama raised a mere $690 million from his grassroots supporters over the World Wide Web.

We all know who won that election.

...What has become apparent since Citizens United is that money in fact cannot buy elections. It can buy influence over politicians once they are elected. But what we are finding out is that once a candidate has enough money to make his or her voice heard, more is not necessarily better. A 2011 study by Stephen Dubner and Steve Levitt of Freakonomics demonstrated that doubling the amount of money spent on a campaign results in no more than a 1% increase in votes for the candidate. Compared to the numerous other factors that can determine an election, this is proverbial peanuts.

Consider the effects of where the candidate stands on the issues. After eight years of George W. Bush and his Reign of Error, Obama’s message of “Hope and Change” resonated with the public – and continued to resonate four years later. There wasn’t much that McCain’s or Romney’s money could do to change that.

Today, Hillary Clinton could be about to learn the same lesson.

Only a few weeks ago, virtually everyone said that Bernie Sanders – a self-professed socialist – could not possibly win the White House. At best, we thought that he would influence the debate. Today, poll numbers are showing that Sanders is closing in on Clinton fast. Despite every attempt by mainstream corporate media to marginalize him, Sanders is attracting record crowds wherever he speaks. Only yesterday, Bernie Sanders was endorsed by no less than Larry Cohen, the most powerful and influential labor leader in the country. He now has the backing of veterans as well. Progressive Senate colleague Elizabeth Warren is on the verge of joining the Sanders campaign....

https://www.ringoffireradio.com/2015/07/hillary-has-the-money-bernie-has-the-credibility-history-not-on-hillarys-side/


...These huge crowds not only show an enormous grassroots support, they keep Bernie in the news. And his message and authenticity resonates. This is PRICELESS!! No Goldman Sach$ required.

Go Bernie! President Sanders!!
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