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RiverLover

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Gender: Female
Home country: USA
Member since: Thu Dec 1, 2011, 11:59 AM
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

So That Happened - Elizabeth Warren Made Washington Angry Again

Elizabeth Warren Made Washington Angry Again

It's been a tough week for Beltway insiders.

Posted: 10/02/2015 12:03 PM EDT | Edited: 10/02/2015 12:35 PM EDT

WASHINGTON -- The American political elite have never really been riled up over Elizabeth Warren's policy positions. They're just frightened by the culture war she's waging against the soft corruption of Beltway careerism.

Sure, Warren is tough on Wall Street. But such left-wing radicals as Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and former Citigroup CEO Sandy Weill support reinstating Glass-Steagall and its restrictions on risky securities trading. On most issues outside economic policy, Warren is a conventional Democrat. She doesn't talk about foreign policy much, and when she does, she gives progressives little to cheer.

But when she takes on the revolving door between Washington policymaking and corporate cash-outs, tempers flare all over the city.

Her campaign against Wall Street tax-inversion guru Antonio Weiss? "Political grandstanding" and "fratricide" from a know-nothing eager for a "scapegoat," they say. Her letter highlighting corporate conflicts of interest in the research of (now former) Brookings Institution scholar Robert Litan? That's "bullying" and "McCarthyism," a "crusade" born of a "power rush," they claim.

***********************

Podcast, listen here~

https://soundcloud.com/so-that-happened-1/elizabeth-warren-vs-thistown-trump-has-a-tax-plan-and-congress-vents-near-cecile-richards

***********************

....big snip....

The Beltway outrage directed at Warren for sending the letter, of course, has nothing to do with the quality of Litan's research or his ability to publish it. The First Amendment has not been repealed. Nothing prevents Litan from doing all the industry-funded research he wants and letting the public evaluate its merits.

What Litan can no longer do, however, is capitalize on Brookings' centrist, scholarly reputation when performing favors for flush corporate clients. This is a scary thing in the nation's capital, where this sort of thing happens all the time. Corporate interests pay for a lot of economic studies that end up being used as lobbying cudgels.

People in Washington are accustomed to cashing in on their reputations and those of prestigious institutions.


....big snip....

One could be forgiven for concluding that work of this caliber had been corrupted by the corporate interests who paid for it. Indeed, a blog post from Brookings fellow Jane Dokkow titled "Caveat Emptor: Watch where research on the fiduciary rule comes from" is one long, implicit dig at Litan's study. (Warren cited the post in her letter to Brookings.) Dokkow says low-income savers can already get good, unbiased and unconflicted investment advice from both people and software, and that these sources won't dry up with the DOL rule. At a Brookings forum this week, Harvard behavior economist David Laibson and MIT economist Antoinette Schoar also backed the DOL rule.

These are not wild visions of egalitarian utopia or issues of intellectual freedom or thought-policing.

In a way, Warren's critics are selling themselves short by accusing her of waging an ultraliberal witch hunt.

Cheating your investment clients and peddling corrupt research aren't conservative values -- they're Washington values.




The "So, That Happened" podcast is produced and edited by Adriana Usero and Peter James Callahan, and engineered by Brad Shannon, with assistance from Christine Conetta. To listen to the podcast later, download it on iTunes, where you can rate, review and subscribe to the show.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/elizabeth-warren-corruption_560e7ef1e4b0768127019278





Ohio is considered a swing state, but it was glowing RED in the last election.

And it will be again in this presidential election year 2016 if there is no Democratic choice who truly seems different than a rethug & inspires people to GOTV. I've already decided if Hill is our nom, I'm going with Jill and then straight Democratic for the rest.

We need Democrats to be Democrats or what is the point?

Fed-Ex helps fund Brookings Instit think tank & they're attacking our US Postal Service

Warning: Another Attack On Our Postal Service
by Dave Johnson
Campaign for America's Future
September 30, 2015

Should we run our country for the benefit of We the People, or so that a few people can profit off of We the People? This is a question that is rising to the surface in a battle between those who want the United States Postal Service (USPS) maintained and expanded, and those who want it privatized.

There are some conservative ideologues who just can’t stand that the USPS demonstrates government doing its job of helping make our lives better. As with Social Security, they attack it relentlessly and endlessly.

The latest push to privatize the USPS came from the Elaine Kamarck at Brookings, in “Delaying the Inevitable: Political Stalemate and the U.S. Postal Service.” Kamarck writes:

The USPS exists right now in never-never land. It is not fully public and it is not fully private. It is supposed to compete and innovate but it is stifled by law and saddled with a governance structure that impedes innovation. It is time to decide its future.

Using the old “buggy-whip” analogy, Kamarck claims that much of what the USPS does is obsolete. Paper mail is “fading away” because of the Internet (“only” 23 billion pieces of first-class mail were sent last year).

UPS and FedEx compete in parcel delivery.

Kamarck’s defines USPS’ dilemma as a “stalemate” in Congress that prevents lawmakers from passing legislation that would address the postal service’s challenges. (This stalemate is really between anti-government privatizers who want FedEx and UPS to take over all mail and package delivery, and the public who rely on the USPS and want it maintained and even expanded into new services like public banking.)

The “solution” Kamarck recommends is splitting the USPS in two. One part would be a public institution that delivers mail, and only mail, to everyone nationally. (This part is a reluctant nod to the pesky fact that a Post Office is mandated in our Constitution and popular with the public.)

The other would be a privatized organization for parcel delivery, a business that would compete with (or, more likely, immediately dismantled and sold to) FedEx and UPS
....

http://ourfuture.org/20150930/warnng-another-attack-on-our-postal-service

FYI, Elaine Kamarck is a member of the Democratic Party and Third Way.

PBS: Think Tank transcript~
.....WATTENBERG: -- How did you come to become fascinated and entranced with government? It can be a pretty dry thing.
KAMARCK: Well, there was the -- there was the political genesis of it and the intellectual genesis. So, the political genesis was when I was working with the Democratic Leadership Council in the 19 -- late 1980’s, early 1990’s and the Democratic Party had a problem. The problem was that it was the party of government and everybody hated the government.
WATTENBERG: And the party of pessimism, they had turned into --
KAMARCK: Right.
WATTENBERG: They used to be so optimistic --
KAMARCK: That’s right
WATTENBERG: -- and they turned into - -
KAMARCK: And the two were -- and look the two were kind of related, ok, because they were the party of government when the government was pulling the country out of depression and the country was winning the second world war, et cetera.
And then government started to not be able to do what it had done for people. People lost faith in government. Democrats got pessimistic and at the -- the group I was working with at the time -- we wanted to breathe some new life --
WATTENBERG: The Democratic Leadership Council.
KAMARCK: Right.
WATTENBERG: Which was and is one of the motive forces of keeping the Democratic Party from going too far to the left.
KAMARCK: Yes, that’s exactly --
WATTENBERG: And among your Chairmen was -- were Bill Clinton.
KAMARCK: Bill Clinton.
WATTENBERG: Joe Lieberman.
KAMARCK: Sam Nunn.
WATTENBERG: Sam Nunn.
KAMARCK: Chuck Robb.
WATTENBERG: Chuck Robb.
KAMARCK: And, today, Harold Ford.
WATTENBERG: My heroes. [Laughter]
Now, you were recruited to serve in the Clinton Administration. And your title was?
KAMARCK: I was senior policy adviser to the Vice President......
http://www.pbs.org/thinktank/transcript1266.html


Also see~

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_Way_%28think_tank%29

How Elizabeth Warren picked a fight with Brookings — and won

How Elizabeth Warren picked a fight with Brookings — and won
WaPo
9/28/2015

The hero of the country’s liberal movement launched a surprise attack Tuesday against Washington’s most revered Democratic-leaning think tanks — and drew blood.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, stepping up her crusade against the power of wealthy interests, accused a Brookings Institution scholar of writing a research paper to benefit his corporate patrons.



....Warren leveled her criticisms in letters sent Tuesday to Brookings leaders and the Obama administration, citing the $85,000 combined fee that Litan and a co-author received from the investment firm.

...Litan rejected Warren’s criticism, saying that the company that sponsored his research, the Capital Group, a leading mutual fund manager, had no influence over his findings. But Litan, an unpaid “resident scholar,” acknowledged that he had violated a new think tank rule prohibiting researchers with such status from citing their Brookings affiliation when testifying before Congress.

....Warren’s charge prompted a swift response, with Brookings seeking and receiving the resignation of the economist, Robert Litan, whose report criticized a Warren-backed consumer protection rule targeting the financial services industry.....

....Tom Joyce, a spokesman for the Capital Group, said his company was following standard practice. “It is typical for organizations to sponsor academic studies,” Joyce said, noting that in this case, “no preconditions or predetermined conclusions were imposed.”

The proposed rule, written by the Labor Department, would prohibit retirement plan brokers from receiving enticements from big investment houses that can distract them from the best interests of consumers.

Litan concluded that the rule, while well-intentioned, would be too costly.

“Some advisers and brokers recommend investments based on the free vacations, cars, bonuses, fees and other kickbacks that the adviser can earn from selling a lousy product,” Warren wrote.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/how-elizabeth-warren-picked-a-fight-with-brookings--and-won/2015/09/29/bfe45276-66c7-11e5-9ef3-fde182507eac_story.html


Litan is a former Bill Clinton Administration Official and has been a Brookings "scholar" for some 40 years.

Now he's just fired.

Thank you Elizabeth Warren!! Cleaning up DC one crooked crony at a time!!

"Elizabeth Warren just delivered the realest talk on race by any American politician"

Elizabeth Warren just delivered the realest talk on race by any American politician
by Sophia Tesfaye
SALON
9/29/15

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren just further burnished her progressive credentials with a thorough and explicit telling of racial injustice in America, focusing on what she called three tools of oppression historically and currently used against African-Americans and concluding with a full-throated endorsement of the Black Lives Matter movement.



“Violence, voting, economic justice,” Warren told the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate on Sunday, were and are state-sanctioned “tools of oppression” used against African-Americans. Warren detailed what she described as the “dark underbelly” of “how America built a great middle class”:

.....Turning to today’s racial struggle, Warren credited the civil rights legislation of the 1960s with widely establishing the founding principle of the current protest movement. “The first civil rights battles were hard fought. But they established that Black Lives Matter,” Warren said. “These laws made three powerful declarations: Black lives matter. Black citizens matter. Black families matter,” she argued, crediting her predecessor, the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, with helping to shepherd the landmark legislation through Congress.


....snip...The reaction to Warren’s speech by Black Lives Matter activists has been positive. Prominent activist DeRay McKesson praised Warren as better than any other politician on her understanding “that the American dream has been sustained by an intentional violence and that the uprisings have been the result of years of lived trauma.”

“Senator Warren’s speech clearly and powerfully calls into question America’s commitment to black lives by highlighting the role that structural racism has played and continues to play with regard to housing discrimination and voting rights,” Mckesson told the Washington Post.

Full article~
http://www.salon.com/2015/09/28/elizabeth_warren_just_delivered_the_realest_talk_on_race_by_any_american_politician/



Speech transcript~

Senator Elizabeth Warren
Remarks at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate
September 27, 2015

***As Prepared for Delivery***

Thank you. I'm grateful to be here at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. This place is a fitting tribute to our champion, Ted Kennedy. A man of courage, compassion, and commitment, who taught us what public service is all about. Not a day goes by that we don't miss his passion, his enthusiasm, and - most of all - his dedication to all of our working families.

As the Senior Senator from Massachusetts, I have the great honor of sitting at Senator Kennedy's desk - right over there. The original, back in Washington, is a little more dented and scratched, but it has something very special in the drawer. Ted Kennedy carved his name in it. When I sit at my desk, sometimes when I'm waiting to speak or to vote, I open the drawer and run my thumb across his name. It reminds me of the high expectations of the people of Massachusetts, and I try, every day, to live up to the legacy he left behind.

Senator Kennedy took office just over fifty years ago, in the midst of one of the great moral and political debates in American history - the debate over the Civil Rights Act. In his first speech on the floor of the Senate, just four months after his brother's assassination, he stood up to support equal rights for all Americans.

He ended that speech with a powerful personal message about what the civil rights struggle meant to the late President Kennedy:

His heart and soul are in this bill. If his life and death had a meaning, it was that we should not hate but love one another; we should use our powers not to create conditions of oppression that lead to violence, but conditions of freedom that lead to peace.

"We should use our powers not to create conditions of oppression that lead to violence, but conditions of freedom that lead to peace." That's what I'd like to talk about today.

A half-century ago, when Senator Kennedy spoke of the Civil Rights Act, entrenched, racist power did everything it could to sustain oppression of African-Americans, and violence was its first tool. Lynchings, terrorism, intimidation. The 16th Street Baptist Church. Medgar Evers. Emmett Till. When Alabama Governor George Wallace stood before the nation and declared during his 1963 inaugural address that he would defend "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever," he made clear that the state would stand with those who used violence.

But violence was not the only tool. African Americans were effectively stripped of citizenship when they were denied the right to vote. The tools varied-literacy tests, poll taxes, moral character tests, grandfather clauses-but the results were the same. They were denied basic rights of citizenship and the chance to participate in self-government.

The third tool of oppression was to deliberately deny millions of African Americans economic opportunities solely because of the color of their skin.

I have often spoken about how America built a great middle class. Coming out of the Great Depression, from the 1930s to the late 1970s, as GDP went up, wages went up for most Americans. But there's a dark underbelly to that story. While median family income in America was growing - for both white and African-American families - African-American incomes were only a fraction of white incomes. In the mid-1950s, the median income for African-American families was just a little more than half the income of white families.

And the problem went beyond just income. Look at housing: For most middle class families in America, buying a home is the number one way to build wealth. It's a retirement plan-pay off the house and live on Social Security. An investment option-mortgage the house to start a business. It's a way to help the kids get through college, a safety net if someone gets really sick, and, if all goes well and Grandma and Grandpa can hang on to the house until they die, it's a way to give the next generation a boost-extra money to move the family up the ladder.

For much of the 20th Century, that's how it worked for generation after generation of white Americans - but not black Americans.
Entire legal structures were created to prevent African Americans from building economic security through home ownership. Legally-enforced segregation. Restrictive deeds. Redlining. Land contracts. Coming out of the Great Depression, America built a middle class, but systematic discrimination kept most African-American families from being part of it.

State-sanctioned discrimination wasn't limited to homeownership. The government enforced discrimination in public accommodations, discrimination in schools, discrimination in credit-it was a long and spiteful list.

Economic justice is not - and has never been - sufficient to ensure racial justice. Owning a home won't stop someone from burning a cross on the front lawn. Admission to a school won't prevent a beating on the sidewalk outside.

But when Dr. King led hundreds of thousands of people to march on Washington, he talked about an end to violence, access to voting AND economic opportunity. As Dr. King once wrote, "the inseparable twin of racial injustice was economic injustice."

The tools of oppression were woven together, and the civil rights struggle was fought against that oppression wherever it was found - against violence, against the denial of voting rights, and against economic injustice.



The battles were bitter and sometimes deadly. Firehoses turned on peaceful protestors. Police officers setting their dogs to attack black students. Bloody Sunday at the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

But the civil rights movement pushed this country in a new direction.

• The federal government cracked down on state-sponsored violence. Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson all called out the National Guard, and, in doing so, declared that everyone had a right to equal protection under the law, guaranteed by the Constitution. Congress protected the rights of all citizens to vote with the Voting Rights Act.

• And economic opportunities opened up when Congress passed civil rights laws that protected equal access to employment, public accommodations, and housing.

In the same way that the tools of oppression were woven together, a package of civil rights laws came together to protect black people from violence, to ensure access to the ballot box, and to build economic opportunity. Or to say it another way, these laws made three powerful declarations:

Black lives matter. Black citizens matter. Black families matter.


Fifty years later, we have made real progress toward creating the conditions of freedom-but we have not made ENOUGH progress.

Fifty years later, violence against African Americans has not disappeared. Consider law enforcement. The vast majority of police officers sign up so they can protect their communities. They are part of an honorable profession that takes risks every day to keep us safe. We know that. But we also know - and say - the names of those whose lives have been treated with callous indifference. Sandra Bland. Freddie Gray. Michael Brown. We've seen sickening videos of unarmed, black Americans cut down by bullets, choked to death while gasping for air - their lives ended by those who are sworn to protect them. Peaceful, unarmed protestors have been beaten. Journalists have been jailed. And, in some cities, white vigilantes with weapons freely walk the streets. And it's not just about law enforcement either. Just look to the terrorism this summer at Emanuel AME Church. We must be honest: Fifty years after John Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke out, violence against African Americans has not disappeared.

And what about voting rights? Two years ago, five conservative justices on the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act, opening the floodgates ever wider for measures designed to suppress minority voting. Today, the specific tools of oppression have changed-voter ID laws, racial gerrymandering, and mass disfranchisement through a criminal justice system that disproportionately incarcerates black citizens. The tools have changed, but black voters are still deliberately cut out of the political process.

Violence. Voting. And what about economic injustice? Research shows that the legal changes in the civil rights era created new employment and housing opportunities. In the 1960s and the 1970s, African-American men and women began to close the wage gap with white workers, giving millions of black families hope that they might build real wealth.

But then, Republicans' trickle-down economic theory arrived. Just as this country was taking the first steps toward economic justice, the Republicans pushed a theory that meant helping the richest people and the most powerful corporations get richer and more powerful.

I'll just do one statistic on this: From 1980 to 2012, GDP continued to rise, but how much of the income growth went to the 90% of America - everyone outside the top 10% - black, white, Latino? None. Zero. Nothing. 100% of all the new income produced in this country over the past 30 years has gone to the top ten percent.

Today, 90% of Americans see no real wage growth. For African-Americans, who were so far behind earlier in the 20th Century, this means that since the 1980s they have been hit particularly hard. In January of this year, African-American unemployment was 10.3% - more than twice the rate of white unemployment. And, after beginning to make progress during the civil rights era to close the wealth gap between black and white families, in the 1980s the wealth gap exploded, so that from 1984 to 2009, the wealth gap between black and white families tripled.

The 2008 housing collapse destroyed trillions in family wealth across the country, but the crash hit African-Americans like a punch in the gut.

Because middle class black families' wealth was disproportionately tied up in homeownership and not other forms of savings, these families were hit harder by the housing collapse. But they also got hit harder because of discriminatory lending practices-yes, discriminatory lending practices in the 21st Century. Recently several big banks and other mortgage lenders paid hundreds of millions in fines, admitting that they illegally steered black and Latino borrowers into more expensive mortgages than white borrowers who had similar credit. Tom Perez, who at the time was the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, called it a "racial surtax." And it's still happening - earlier this month, the National Fair Housing alliance filed a discrimination complaint against real estate agents in Mississippi after an investigation showed those agents consistently steering white buyers away from interracial neighborhoods and black buyers away from affluent ones. Another investigation showed similar results across our nation's cities. Housing discrimination alive and well in 2015.

Violence, voting, economic justice.

We have made important strides forward. But we are not done yet. And now, it is our time.

I speak today with the full knowledge that I have not personally experienced and can never truly understand the fear, the oppression, and the pain that confronts African Americans every day. But none of us can ignore what is happening in this country. Not when our black friends, family, neighbors literally fear dying in the streets.

Listen to the brave, powerful voices of today's new generation of civil rights leaders. Incredible voices. Listen to them say: "If I die in police custody, know that I did not commit suicide." Watch them march through the streets, "hands up don't shoot" - not to incite a riot, but to fight for their lives. To fight for their lives.

This is the reality all of us must confront, as uncomfortable and ugly as that reality may be. It comes to us to once again affirm that black lives matter, that black citizens matter, that black families matter.

Once again, the task begins with safeguarding our communities from violence. We have made progress, but it is a tragedy when any American cannot trust those who have sworn to protect and serve.
This pervasive and persistent distrust isn't based on myths.

It is grounded in the reality of unjustified violence.

Policing must become a truly community endeavor-not in just a few cities, but everywhere.
Police forces should look like, and come from, the neighborhoods they serve. They should reach out to support and defend the community - working with people in neighborhoods before problems arise. All police forces-not just some-must be trained to de-escalate and to avoid the likelihood of violence. Body cameras can help us know what happens when someone is hurt.

We honor the bravery and sacrifice that our law enforcement officers show every day on the job - and the noble intentions of the vast majority of those who take up the difficult job of keeping us safe. But police are not occupying armies. This is America, not a war zone-and policing practices in all cities-not just some-need to reflect that.

Next, voting.

It's time to call out the recent flurry of new state law restrictions for what they are: an all-out campaign by Republicans to take away the right to vote from poor and black and Latino American citizens who probably won't vote for them. The push to restrict voting is nothing more than a naked grab to win elections that they can't win if every citizen votes.

Two years ago the Supreme Court eviscerated critical parts of the Voting Rights Act. Congress could easily fix this, and Democrats in the Senate have called for restoration of voting rights. Now it is time for Republicans to step up to support a restoration of the Voting Rights Act-or to stand before the American people and explain why they have abandoned America's most cherished liberty, the right to vote.

And while we're at it, we need to update the rules around voting. Voting should be simple. Voter registration should be automatic. Get a driver's license, get registered automatically. Nonviolent, law-abiding citizens should not lose the right to vote because of a prior conviction. Election Day should be a holiday, so no one has to choose between a paycheck and a vote. Early voting and vote by mail would give fast food and retail workers who don't get holidays day off a chance to proudly cast their votes. The hidden discrimination that comes with purging voter rolls and short-staffing polling places must stop. The right to vote remains essential to protect all other rights, and no candidate for president or for any other elected office - Republican or Democrat - should be elected if they will not pledge to support full, meaningful voting rights.

Finally, economic justice. Our task will not be complete until we ensure that every family-regardless of race-has a fighting chance to build an economic future for themselves and their families. We need less talk and more action about reducing unemployment, ending wage stagnation and closing the income gap between white and nonwhite workers.

And one more issue, dear to my heart: It's time to come down hard on predatory practices that allow financial institutions to systematically strip wealth out of communities of color. One of the ugly consequences of bank deregulation was that there was no cop on the beat when too many financial institutions figured out that they could make great money by tricking, trapping, and defrauding targeted families. Now we have a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and we need to make sure it stays strong and independent so that it can do its job and make credit markets work for black families, Latino families, white families - all families.

Yes, there's work to do.

Back in March, I met an elderly man at the First Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. We were having coffee and donuts in the church basement before the service started. He told me that more than 50 years earlier -- in May of 1961 -- he had spent 11 hours in that same basement, along with hundreds of people, while a mob outside threatened to burn down the church because it was a sanctuary for civil rights workers. Dr. King called Attorney General Bobby Kennedy, desperately asking for help. The Attorney General promised to send the Army, but the closest military base was several hours away. So the members of the church and the civil rights workers waited in the sweltering basement, crowded together, listening to the mob outside and hoping the U.S. Army would arrive in time.

After the church service, I asked Congressman John Lewis about that night. He had been right there in that church back in 1961 while the mob gathered outside. He had been in the room during the calls to the Attorney General. I asked if he had been afraid that the Army wouldn't make it in time. He said that he was "never, ever afraid. You come to that point where you lose all sense of fear." And then he said something I'll never forget. He said that his parents didn't want him to get involved in civil rights. They didn't want him to "cause trouble." But he had done it anyway. He told me: "Sometimes it is important to cause necessary trouble."

The first civil rights battles were hard fought. But they established that Black Lives Matter. That Black Citizens Matter. That Black Families Matter. Half a century later, we have made real progress, but we have not made ENOUGH progress. As Senator Kennedy said in his first floor speech, "This is not a political issue. It is a moral issue, to be resolved through political means." So it comes to us to continue the fight, to make, as John Lewis said, the "necessary trouble" until we can truly say that in America, every citizen enjoys the conditions of freedom.

Thank you.


Watch here, she comes on at about 12 min, 30 sec




(xposted in the EWG forum)

Hillary’s Weapon of Mass Distraction

Hillary’s Weapon of Mass Distraction
by Jack Shafer
Politico
9/27/2015

....Was the pipeline the distraction? Or was the distraction the press corps’ insistence, after five years of Clinton waffling, that Clinton express a conclusive position on the pipeline’s future? Either way, by invoking the D-word, Madame Secretary swept the entire issue from the agenda. It’s time now to move forward! Declaring a subject or a question a distraction has become Clinton’s favorite way of dodging questions.

Those persistent questions about the private email server and the private emails she sent as secretary of state? Those are “distractions,” she said earlier this month. What do they distract from? Her campaign, she said. But the questions, while being distracting, aren’t actually distracting her, as she also said, “It hasn’t in any way affected the plan for our campaign, the efforts we’re making to organize here in Iowa and elsewhere in the country.”

While touring New Hampshire on April, Clinton was asked twice in one day about Clinton Cash, Peter Schweizer’s muckraking book about foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation. “You know, those issues are, in my view, distractions from what this campaign should be about, what I’m going to make this campaign about and I’ll let other people decide what they want to talk about," Clinton told WMUR-TV. An ABC News correspondent served a similar query, to which Clinton said, “Well, we’re back into the political season, and therefore we will be subjected to all kinds of distractions and attacks.” (Clinton considers any critical story about her an “attack.” But that’s another column.) She then voiced her hope that the race would soon progress to questions about the “issues.”

...snip....Clinton has been going on about the “politics of distraction” since the 1992 presidential campaign, when she used the phrase to describe the Republicans attention on Bill Clinton’s sex life. As did Bill. He went to decry the “failed policies of distraction” on the stump. When the womanizing stories returned in 1993, senior adviser George Stephanopoulos told USA Today (12/22/1993), “People can make up their own mind; the president is not going to be distracted by this stuff.” In August 1993, an unnamed Clinton aide told the Boston Globe that a Clinton weekend trip had been a success because no news had broken. “No stories means no distractions,” the aide said. “Distraction” became such a Bill Clinton byword that in 1997, he told USA Today he had learned to compartmentalize such “distractions” as Whitewater. While covering up his sex scandal in January 1998, Clinton denied having had an affair and expressed his fury about all the questions. “Anything that’s a distraction, I dislike,” Clinton said.

Read full story here~
http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/09/hillary-clinton-distraction-keystone-pipeline-213195



*Jack Shafer is POLITICO's senior media writer. Previously, Jack wrote a column about the press and politics for Reuters and before that worked at Slate as a columnist and as the site's deputy editor. He also edited two alternative weeklies, SF Weekly and Washington City Paper. His work has been published in The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, the Columbia Journalism Review, Foreign Affairs, The New Republic, BookForum and the op-ed page of The Wall Street Journal.

Sweden to Become One of World’s First Fossil Fuel-Free Nations

Sweden to Become One of World’s First Fossil Fuel-Free Nations​
Published: September 27, 2015 | Authors: Lorraine Chow | EcoWatch | News Report

...“Sweden will become one of the first fossil-free welfare states in the world,” Prime Minister Stefan Löfven told the press. “When European regulations do not go far enough Sweden will lead the way.”

As broken down by Bloomberg, here’s how Sweden plans to completely abandon fossil fuels (no deadline has been set):

390 million kronor per year between 2017 and 2019 in photovoltaics, with a plan to spend 1.4 billion kronor in total
50 million kronor annually on electricity storage research
10 million kronor on smart grids
1 billion kronor to renovate residential buildings and make them more energy efficient
Subsidies and investment in green transportation such as electric cars and buses
Increase funding of climate-related projects in developing countries, raising its budget to 500 million kronor

Science Alert also pointed out that most of the budget increase will be financed through tax increases on petrol and diesel fuel.

According to Science Alert, “The move comes after Sweden suffered extreme heatwaves last summer, and one of the worst bushfires in the country’s history. The government has committed to taking action to protect its citizens from the effects of climate change in the future.”


Also see~
Five developing countries ditching fossil fuels
Costa Rica, Afghanistan, China, India and Albania are all embracing renewable energy sources – five experts give their opinion on what the future holds

Elsewhere in the world...

Underlying Reasons for the Raging Syrian War: Competing Natural Gas Pipelines



President Obama says we must get involved with the conflict in Syria to help destroy ISIS, but what if that is not entirely the case? Could a pipeline issue in Syria be the true reason the U.S. has gotten involved? As this crisis deepens we will find out.
Published: September 27, 2015 | Authors: Michael Payne | NationofChange | Op-Ed




Probably so.

I appreciate your technical grasp & research on this. Will have to bookmark it.

Industrial farming is perhaps one of the worst crimes in history

The fate of industrially farmed animals is one of the most pressing ethical questions of our time. Tens of billions of sentient beings, each with complex sensations and emotions, live and die on a production line
by Yuval Noah Harari
The Guardian
Sept 25, 2015

Animals are the main victims of history, and the treatment of domesticated animals in industrial farms is perhaps the worst crime in history. The march of human progress is strewn with dead animals. Even tens of thousands of years ago, our stone age ancestors were already responsible for a series of ecological disasters. When the first humans reached Australia about 45,000 years ago, they quickly drove to extinction 90% of its large animals. This was the first significant impact that Homo sapiens had on the planet’s ecosystem. It was not the last....



....What makes the existence of domesticated farm animals particularly cruel is not just the way in which they die but above all how they live. Two competing factors have shaped the living conditions of farm animals: on the one hand, humans want meat, milk, eggs, leather, animal muscle-power and amusement; on the other, humans have to ensure the long-term survival and reproduction of farm animals. Theoretically, this should protect animals from extreme cruelty. If a farmer milks his cow without providing her with food and water, milk production will dwindle, and the cow herself will quickly die. Unfortunately, humans can cause tremendous suffering to farm animals in other ways, even while ensuring their survival and reproduction. The root of the problem is that domesticated animals have inherited from their wild ancestors many physical, emotional and social needs that are redundant in farms. Farmers routinely ignore these needs without paying any economic price. They lock animals in tiny cages, mutilate their horns and tails, separate mothers from offspring, and selectively breed monstrosities. The animals suffer greatly, yet they live on and multiply.



....large Snip....

In 2009, there were 1.6 billion wild birds in Europe, counting all species together. That same year, the European meat and egg industry raised 1.9 billion chickens. Altogether, the domesticated animals of the world weigh about 700m tonnes, compared with 300m tonnes for humans, and fewer than 100m tonnes for large wild animals.

The scientific study of animals has played a dismal role in this tragedy. The scientific community has used its growing knowledge of animals mainly to manipulate their lives more efficiently in the service of human industry. Yet this same knowledge has demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that farm animals are sentient beings, with intricate social relations and sophisticated psychological patterns. They may not be as intelligent as us, but they certainly know pain, fear and loneliness. They too can suffer, and they too can be happy.

It is high time we take these scientific findings to heart, because as human power keeps growing, our ability to harm or benefit other animals grows with it. For 4bn years, life on Earth was governed by natural selection. Now it is governed increasingly by human intelligent design. Biotechnology, nanotechnology and artificial intelligence will soon enable humans to reshape living beings in radical new ways, which will redefine the very meaning of life. When we come to design this brave new world, we should take into account the welfare of all sentient beings, and not just of Homo sapiens.

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/sep/25/industrial-farming-one-worst-crimes-history-ethical-question


Its so hard to be reminded of this, but I felt the need to post this when I read the article. Mayb just I needed to be reminded. hahaha I buy free range eggs & meats that claim to be from animals raised humanely, but still. I eat out. No meat from happy animals in that....

ASPCA~Over 99% of farm animals in the U.S. are raised in factory farms, which focus on profit and efficiency at the expense of the animals’ welfare.

Factory farms pack animals into spaces so tight that most can barely move. Many have no access to the outdoors, spending their lives on open warehouse floors, or housed in cages or pens. Without the room to engage in natural behaviors, confined animals experience severe physical and mental distress.

...Daily life in a factory farm is one of pain, frustration and misery—and animals are not the only ones suffering. Human health and our environment are being hurt by factory farming, too.

Waste runoff from factory farms pollutes the water, land and air in neighboring communities, compromising both human health and quality of life. At the same time, these businesses consume massive quantities of precious, finite resources including water and fossil fuels.

Factory farms also endanger consumer health. Farms that are not properly maintained can be breeding grounds for salmonella and E. coli, which are passed to humans through meat, dairy and eggs. To combat these unsanitary conditions, animals are fed large doses of antibiotics—but bacteria is constantly adapting and evolving. Antibiotic abuse creates the potential for dangerous, new drug-resistant strains of bacteria to develop and spread among people.



Here's an interesting podcast from NPR~
'Tales' Of Pig Intelligence, Factory Farming And Humane Bacon
LISTEN


And to counter the sad pics above, here are some free range animals that look much happier





Its more expensive to buy free range, but its worth it, to me. I cut back on the amount of meat we eat to splurge on what is hopefully ethical meat. (Unless you know the farm, how can we really know for sure)

And I know most of us here know this already, but just in case, always buy free range eggs & pass on the "cage free". They can just shove them all in a room with no room to move & declare the chickens are "cage free". grrrrrrr

...One last thing & I'll get off my soapbox , when we buy the regular affordable (cheap) eggs from the store, not only are we risking supporting a business that is unethical towards animals, but they may also be unethical towards their workers.

Case in point, an Ohio egg producer lured 10 immigrants to the US with promises of a better life. They were held as slaves. Thank God this was discovered & now the greedy, evil business owners are going to jail.
September 17, 2015
Ohio Labor Traffickers Plead Guilty

(I thought that only happened in countries like Malaysia. I'm just horrified it goes on in the US)


...OK I lied, THIS is the last thing I'll post before leaving the soapbox~

America's Test Kitchen Podcast

Episode Info

This week, we speak to New York Times reporter Michael Moss about the Dead Pit, a USDA livestock research facility in Nebraska that has caused the deaths of thousands of animals in the name of higher profits.
LISTEN




A crock it is. A dirty, corrupt crock that is very very hard to continue watching.

R&K for posting, Catherina.

Unrec to dirty, corrupt, fixed, establishment politics.
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