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RiverLover

Profile Information

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

2009. When a lady starting a small local bank in rural GA told me casually that it was Bill Clinton

who repealed Glass-Steagall allowing the big banks to deregulate & take over & ultimately crash the economy.

I was so shocked by that. You know how everyone always remembers where they were when they learned something horrible, like an assassination or 9/11? I remember vividly the moment she said that. The entire conversation is etched in my mind forever. I knew she knew what she was talking about, but I couldn't believe it. I went home, got online & started researching. My low-information but very strong belief that Bill Clinton had been a great president for US changed. I learned he may have presided over a very good economic time for us, but ultimately set up MANY MANY policies that have led to MANY of our problems today.

Not just ending Glass-Steagall, NAFTA, & bringing China into the WTO...

So yes, my beliefs have been changed before. And now more than ever, I know the importance of Democrats being Democrats once elected, not just when running for office.

A start would be repealing Bill Clinton's act incentivizing basing CEO pay on stock performance.

...The story begins during Bill Clinton's earliest days in the White House. Soon after his election, he worked with Congress to limit corporations' ability to deduct executive compensation from their taxes, as they do for ordinary workers' wages and other expenses of doing business. A limit of $1 million was set for deductions for executive compensation. There was a big exception, though. Compensation that was dependent on the firm's performance was exempt from the threshold.

...As a result, the new limit didn't prevent executives from receiving ever fatter paychecks -- but they got the money in stock and options, rather than in cash. Clinton and Congress had failed to solve the problem.

"My cynical opinion is that they were trying to look like they were doing something," said Steven Balsam, a professor at Temple University.

Some, like Warren, say the provision was worse than useless. In a speech last week, she called on her colleagues in Congress to change the rules, although without discussing how they'd come about.

"This tax incentive has encouraged financial firms to compensate executives with massive bonuses – bonuses that too often reward short-term risk-taking instead of sustained, long-term growth," she said. "We can close that loophole and stop pushing companies to reward short-term thinking."


Lynn Stout, a law professor at Cornell University and an outspoken skeptic of today's corporate governance, says the Clinton-era shift led executives to try to boost stock prices in the near term by laying off employees and spending less on research and development. These measures, according to this line of thinking, made firms more profitable in the short term because their costs were lower, which resulted in high stock prices, but less able to generate value in the long term for investors and the economy....

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/04/27/bill-clinton-tried-to-limit-ceo-pay-but-elizabeth-warren-thinks-he-made-it-worse/

LOVE this!

Thank you for posting this LiberalArkie!

..."We can Love from the moment we wake up...be more present in every interaction...we can change ourselves instead of trying to change others...like planting seeds of goodness...we've been sold lies, brainwashed by our leaders, by those we've trusted...

Once we truly love we can meet anger with sympathy, hatred with compassion, cruelty with kindness..."

I especially loved the Robert Kennedy quote~

Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total; of all those acts will be written the history of this generation.



"Now that you know, what will you do?"


After Lifetime of Discoveries, Climatologist Asks: 'Now That You Know, What Will You Do?'
Published on
Monday, May 25, 2015

New documentary exploring life and work of key scientist premieres at Cannes and challenges humanity to respond to perils of dangerously warming planet
by Jon Queally, staff writer


A shot from the film La Glace et le Ciel (trans. The Ice and the Sky), which premiered at Cannes on Sunday night and chronicles the life and scientific discoveries of French climatologist Claude Lorius. (Image: La Glace et le Ciel)

Though all the awards had been announced and a week of celebrity sightings and red carpet fanfare was nearly complete, the final word at the Cannes Film Festival on Sunday night was not from a famous actor, producer or director but from an octogenarian French glaciologist who in a documentary film about his life exploring the icy depths of the Antarctica issued a stark—yet hopeful—plea to humanity over the perils of planetary climate change.

Offered the closing spot at the festival, the film La Glace et le Ciel (The Ice and the Sky) chronicles the life and scientific discoveries of Claude Lorius, one of the pioneers of climate science who realized that locked with the ancient ice below the frozen landscapes of Antarctica, was the Earth's atmospheric climate record dating back hundreds of thousands of years. Directed by Luc Jacquet, maker of the 2005 Oscar-winner March of the Penguins, the film follows Lorius from his first expeditions in the late 1950s to his most recent revelations concerning the fate of the planet and its people.

According to Reuters' review, the film makes clear "that the earth is warming up faster than it has in hundreds of millennia," and Lorius himself ends the film by challenging its viewers, "Now that you know, what will you do?"

Watch the official trailer [in French]:



As the Guardian's Adam Pulver writes:

Jacquet presents his film very much as a head-on challenge to climate change deniers: by simply talking us through Lorius’s career, and the progress of his work, we understand the methodical processes by which he came to his conclusions. Essentially, it’s a rebuttal to background-noise deniers’ complaints about flawed science: Lorius says what he found, and what it means, with calm, unflappable detachment. We are taken through the stages: Lorius’s first trip to Antarctica to study snow; the realisation that the ratio of “light” hydrogen atoms to “heavy” in each snowflake corresponds precisely to the ambient temperature of the day of the snowfall; then decision to take core samples to study the change in temperature over time. Jacquet decribes a rather entertaining eureka moment: when ancient ice is used for a celebratory whisky, Lorius realised the trapped air that escapes can be analysed too, for its gas content.

And the Hollywood Reporter adds:

The scientist’s biggest breakthrough was the fortunate discovery that the chemical composition of snow allowed him to calculate the exact temperature on the day it fell, which means that samples from thousands of years ago could be surveyed to get an idea of the rise and fall of temperatures over extended periods of time (the documentary shows samples up to 400,000 years old). He thus found proof for climatologists’ hypothesis that our planet went through hot and cold periods of about 100,000 years each, which in turn allowed him to prove that the rate of climate change over the last 100 years is not a normal variation in temperature, and must thus be caused by man.

Though a scientist first, Lorius is clearly a man who believes in peace between the nations, having led a Franco-U.S.-Soviet South Pole expedition at the height of the Cold War. With the help of Jacquet, the protagonist clearly hopes that this documentary will generate debate and, hopefully, change. Gorgeously choreographed shots, many of them filmed with the help of drones by outstanding cinematographer Stéphane Martin, show Lorius surveying the melting water of glaciers or the burning forests that are the result of climate change. Entirely wordless, they convey the idea that the beauty-filled natural world indeed seems to be slipping away from the old man who first suggested this would happen and who now worries about what kind of world his grandchildren will be living in.

This short offers additional footage of Lorius and includes English subtitles:



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/05/25/after-lifetime-discoveries-climatologist-asks-now-you-know-what-will-you-do


In the second video clip above, this amazing man, Claude Lorius offers optimism that human(s)will make a stand & lead humanity to a different type of behavior.

From his lips...

Despite the new task force to save bees, BigAg profit$ still trump actually saving bees

I find this incredibly disappointing, frustrating....
~


Pollinator Health Strategy fails to address pesticides as key driver of bee deaths

Faced with the growing crisis of declining bee populations, the White House on Tuesday released its strategy for improving pollinator health. Almost immediately, experts decried the plan, saying it "misses the mark" by refusing to acknowledge the overwhelming role that pesticides play in driving bee deaths.

Under the strategy (pdf) put forth by the Pollinator Health Task Force, which falls under the leadership of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the federal government aims to:

*Reduce honey bee colony losses to no more than 15% within 10 years, deemed "economically sustainable levels."
*Increase the Eastern population of the monarch butterfly to 225 million butterflies and protect its annual North American migration.
*"Restore or enhance 7 million acres of land" of pollinator habitat over the next 5 years through Federal actions and public-private partnerships.

To achieve these goals, the Task Force developed an action plan, which prioritizes the need to expand research on honeybees, native bees, butterflies and other pollinators, increase habitat acreage, increase outreach with other federal agencies, and expand public-private partnerships.

However, experts note that absent from the plan is any immediate action restricting the use of pesticides, particularly neonicotinoids, which studies have shown to be one of the leading causes of bee deaths. Nor does the plan outline restrictions for pesticide-coated seeds, which advocates say are "one of the largest uses of bee-harming pesticides."

"The plan focuses heavily on improving pollinator habitat, but is blind to the fact that new habitat will simply become contaminated by insecticides still heavily in use, ultimately harming pollinators," said Larissa Walker, pollinator campaign director at Center for Food Safety.

"We can’t just plant more wild flowers near crop land and expect insecticides to stop being a problem."

And Lisa Archer, Food and Technology Program director with Friends of the Earth, said the strategy "misses the mark by not adequately addressing the pesticides as a key driver of unsustainable losses of bees and other pollinators essential to our food system."....

http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/05/19/bees-cant-wait-white-house-plan-save-pollinators-falls-short-say-experts




I’ve Read Obama’s Secret Trade Deal. Elizabeth Warren Is Right to Be Concerned.

I’ve Read Obama’s Secret Trade Deal. Elizabeth Warren Is Right to Be Concerned.
by Michael Wessel
5/19/2015



You need to tell me what’s wrong with this trade agreement, not one that was passed 25 years ago,” a frustrated President Barack Obama recently complained about criticisms of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). He’s right. The public criticisms of the TPP have been vague. That’s by design—anyone who has read the text of the agreement could be jailed for disclosing its contents. I’ve actually read the TPP text provided to the government’s own advisors, and I’ve given the president an earful about how this trade deal will damage this nation. But I can’t share my criticisms with you.

I can tell you that Elizabeth Warren is right about her criticism of the trade deal. We should be very concerned about what's hidden in this trade deal—and particularly how the Obama administration is keeping information secret even from those of us who are supposed to provide advice.

So-called “cleared advisors” like me are prohibited from sharing publicly the criticisms we’ve lodged about specific proposals and approaches. The government has created a perfect Catch 22: The law prohibits us from talking about the specifics of what we’ve seen, allowing the president to criticize us for not being specific. Instead of simply admitting that he disagrees with me—and with many other cleared advisors—about the merits of the TPP, the president instead pretends that our specific, pointed criticisms don’t exist.

What I can tell you is that the administration is being unfair to those who are raising proper questions about the harms the TPP would do. To the administration, everyone who questions their approach is branded as a protectionist—or worse—dishonest. They broadly criticize organized labor, despite the fact that unions have been the primary force in America pushing for strong rules to promote opportunity and jobs. And they dismiss individuals like me who believe that, first and foremost, a trade agreement should promote the interests of domestic producers and their employees.

....Snip....

...On this count, the current TPP doesn’t measure up. And nothing being considered by Congress right now would ensure that the TPP meets the goal of promoting domestic production and job creation.

Please read entire article(!)~
http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/05/tpp-elizabeth-warren-labor-118068.html



*Michael Wessel has been involved in trade policy for almost 40 years. He served as trade policy adviser to the Kerry-Edwards campaign & Obama's 2008 campaign.

How the Media Misrepresent Obama’s “Fast Track” “Secret” International Trade Deals

TPP, TTIP and TISA: How the Media Misrepresent Obama’s “Fast Track” “Secret” International Trade Deals
5/7/2015

Both conservative and liberal ‘news’ media misrepresent U.S. President Barack Obama’s proposed international trade-deals as if they were about only such things as lowering tariffs and reducing national trade-protectionism — which are relatively minor surface-features of these huge proposed treaties: TTIP with Europe, TPP with Asia, and TISA (Trade in Services Agreement). All of these proposed Obama trade-deals are actually about transferring to panels of international corporations the powers that currently reside in the various individual nations’ regulatory and legal authorities — i.e., that reside in the democratic governments that are accountable to the population that elected them instead of to the few global billionaires who control the international corporations.

...For example, if you will google-seach in one-and-the-same search the two phrases together “fast track was passed” “bill was defeated” you will get the following: “No results found for ‘fast track was passed’ ‘bill was defeated’.”

The reason why this is the case is laid out in the book by Public Citizen, The Rise and Fall of Fast Track Trade Authority. It explains that Fast Track Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) was created by President Nixon in order to get around something: to get around the U.S. Constitution’s having placed America’s treaty-making authority in a balance-of-powers framework with Congress, something that the Constitution did in order to prevent the emergence of dictatorship by excessive power in the hands of the federal Executive, the President (which dictatorship was Nixon’s goal to achieve.

Only 16 times since Nixon was in the White House has his Fast-Track TPA been applied, and yet hundreds of free-trade agreements have passed Congress without any need for (or application of) Fast Track Trade Promotion Authority during that time. How and why has this been so, and why does the public not know these crucially important things?

TPA, or “Fast Track,” is the device that is used only when a President wants to ram through Congress a trade-deal that would never be able to pass Congress under the traditional, and fully Constitutional, method,
because these are the few trade-deals that have provisions in them that, for the typical member of Congress, would cause him or her to lose the congressional seat if he or she didn’t at least try to get the bill amended before it was passed. In other words: only fascistic, or outrageously pro mega-corporate, trade deals, need TPA in order for them to pass Congress. That’s why Nixon initiated TPA. It works as he intended it would.

In Congress, to vote for TPA is to vote for the trade-deal that’s about to be fast-tracked; and to vote against TPA is to vote against that trade-deal....


http://www.globalresearch.ca/obamas-tpp-and-ttip-how-the-media-misrepresent-fast-track-secret-international-trade-deals/5447839




"In the Hills & Hollows" Documentary to show how fracking has affected WV residents



About:

The boom and bust coal industry that has dominated the landscape of West Virginia for over a century is being replace by the natural gas industry. Rural West Virginian communities, steeped in history and heritage, are facing yet another uncertain future.

Background:

Due to a shift in market demand, and the development of technology to access the Marcellus Shale formation, a massive natural gas boom has swept through rural communities in the northern part of West Virginia. Much like the massive infrastructure built to support the coal industry, large new infrastructure systems are being built to produce and transport natural gas acquired through fracking. There are currently four pipelines proposed, each measuring over 3 feet in diameter, to transport natural gas from northern West Virginia to other states and ports for export. In the Hills and Hollows investigates the boom and bust impacts that mono-economies based on fossil fuel extraction have on local communities. It provides an intimate look inside the lives of several West Virginia residents living in the middle of the boom and how their quality of life has changed by this industry. The film also explores the lives of residents who have become refugees, forced to leave their home, and the place they love as a result.

Why should I care about what is happening in West Virginia?

West Virginia is ground zero for fossil fuel extraction and is intrinsically linked to the country and the world. As a nation we are at a crossroads in history. Are we ready to transition from fossil fuels to more environmentally and socially responsible forms of energy?

In the Hills and Hollows shows us the impact of today’s energy on people living at its source, and convinces us that we need another way. The objective of this film is to inspire an urgent conversation about what is at risk and what we can not afford to ignore. Because mainstream news and large media corporations are not giving residents a voice the urgency is at an all time high for independent filmmakers to ensure these stories are heard by mass audiences.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1800822293/in-the-hills-and-hollows?ref=video


When I first moved to Ohio last year, I was shocked by the amount of fracking, and the enormous amount of radioactive, toxic waste being disposed of in the state. I learned how Ohio EPA is basically shut out from oversight and most people are completely in the dark about the dangers of fracking. The industry has made it political and the media plays into that. It closes minds and prevents people from seeing the truth about fracking.

I fantasized about doing a documentary interviewing residents in rural eastern Ohio. But then I read about Ohio fracking activists being investigated and harassed. And where does one even start with something like that, especially with no time, few resources, and no film experience or contacts?

So much like Josh Fox did with "Gasland", Keely Kernan is living my dream. But she needs help with funding. I hope she gets it!!


Fire at a West Virginia frack site in 2010


Swath of destruction for a pipeline


Fracking is interfering with farming in WV

At California Democratic Convention today, Keynote Speaker Elizabeth Warren Rouses Dems

Elizabeth Warren rouses California Democrats: 'America is ready to stand with us'
5/16/15



Sen. Elizabeth Warren delivered a tub-thumping speech to delegates at the California Democratic Party convention in Anaheim on Saturday, touching on the policy themes that have made her the increasingly popular champion of her party's liberal wing and bestowing conspicuous praise on state Atty. Gen. and U.S. Senate candidate Kamala Harris.

Anyone hoping for Warren to call out President Obama by name over a controversial trade pact was disappointed. But she did make caustic remarks about the deal, saying it would benefit multinational corporations and "leave American workers in the dirt."

And she made abstract attacks on those who place politics above principle, comments that could be seen as indirect criticism of White House leadership on some core Democratic causes.

"When we stand together, when we make it clear what we believe in, America is ready to stand with us," Warren told the rapt crowd at the Anaheim Convention Center. "This isn't just about politics. It's about values."

....Today, Warren said, "This country isn't working for working people. It's working only for people at the top. That's not the American dream. That's the American nightmare."

When discussing unjust home foreclosures by banks, Warren made clear where her loyalties lie in the drama that is the convention's unofficial main event: the looming battle between Harris and U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove) in the race to succeed Sen. Barbara Boxer....

http://www.latimes.com/local/political/la-me-pc-elizabeth-warren-convention-20150516-story.html


Here's an amateur video of (most) of the speech. She of course rocks it out!! I wish all Democratic leaders felt like this, and not just when running for office~



(Xposted in the Elizabeth Warren Group)

Bill de Blasio- "There is a blindness in our party....moved away from our historic values"

Bill de Blasio on the Crisis of Inequality and the Blind Spots of the Democratic Party
Eric Alterman on May 14, 2015
The Nation



By almost any measure, Bill de Blasio enjoyed a remarkable year of accomplishment as New York City's first progressive mayor in twenty years. To the surprise of many, he was able to institute a universal pre-K program for 50,000-plus 4-year-olds in time for the September 2014 school year. Whether the issue was education, housing, criminal justice, immigrants' rights, or public welfare, de Blasio made important down payments on his promise to use the power of the nation's largest municipal government to address the inequality crisis that fueled his landslide 2013 election victory.

But as de Blasio himself has repeatedly noted, city government can do only so much. So long as Washington remains crippled by the power of money—to say nothing of the capture of the Republican Party by reality-rejecting right-wing extremists—New York City's, and indeed, all municipalities' power to address the crisis will remain severely hamstrung....

...I sat down with the mayor on the year's first sunny spring afternoon at his official residence at Gracie Mansion to question him about the nuts and bolts of his effort and how he plans to try to institutionalize it over time. What follows is a transcript of our conversation, condensed and edited for clarity and space....

...EA: Speaking specifically about the Democrats, what's been the problem up until now? Surely, the midterms were not an encouraging sign.

BdB: Well, you can be smart and you can be blind at the same time. There is a blindness in our party. I've spoken about the problem of a money-heavy, consultant-heavy political culture that negates the reality that people are experiencing on the ground and undervalues vision and platform and message. That's one piece of what's going on here. In the Democratic Party, many people in the party have moved away from our historic values and have gotten lost in a different set of assumptions about how to go about the electoral process. But I think obviously there's great fear of donors—that pervades the process. I am always quick to point out that I have the blessing of running under a progressive campaign finance reform system. It helped immensely.

I think if you look under the hood of 2014, you see sort of the ghost of the DLC [Democratic Leadership Council], and you see the deep desire to homogenize rather than to be distinct. It surprised me given that from 2008 on we saw clear change in our country economically. It surprised me given that 2012, the president clearly thematically addressed the concerns people had about an unfair economy. So you sort of see a progression, and then the bottom fell out in 2014 and sent a lot of Democrats seeming to go in the wrong direction.

I think one of the things that I'm trying to address here is that that lesson can't be missed.

EA: Well, you bring up the DLC and I wonder if what is most needed today is a progressive DLC. One thing that always drove many progressives crazy about Jesse Jackson's presidential campaigns was that, as exciting as they may have been, he never left anything in his wake. There was no institution building. There rarely is on the left. So, I'm curious who you're thinking about, as a movement guy and as a guy who got elected with a 50-point spread, are you thinking about building institutions on the model of the DLC?

BdB: Well, I'll say it this way: I think your question is exactly right and I was actually a very active volunteer in the 1984 Jesse Jackson campaign and was disturbed for the same reason. We're building a coalition to begin and a coalition that will have substantial form, meaning, not just a group of names on paper but a coalition that can do real work. Where it goes from there is an open question, but what is certain to me is that we have to reshape the debate and that takes enough organization to drive a message and a demand.

That's why we're doing a progressive "Contract With America." We want to take the same bold, sharp, clear, simple vision that Republicans managed, at least the House Republicans managed in 1994 and put together something that speaks to the inequality crisis and gather a substantial number of leaders around it. We've also introduced today this notion of doing a presidential forum explicitly on income inequality. These are building blocks. Could a more lasting institution emerge out of that? Absolutely, it's a real possibility. We haven't gotten that far yet, but I think at minimum for this cycle, and what we are talking about transcends just electoral politics and it transcends just the next two years. But what we can certainly say is, the party is failing to respond to the issues that we're experiencing and this coalition I hope will be a real weight pushing for that kind of response....

http://m.thenation.com/article/207377-bill-de-blasio-crisis-inequality-and-blind-spots-democratic-party


It's a good interview. He finishes it with this~

I believe there's an emerging American majority for progressive economic change. The only way we're going to find out is to go down the road. We don't have the federal government to play with. That's what they had in the New Deal—we don't have that tool. We don't have the vast resources that the right wing and the Republicans have, but we have a political moment and we still have a lot of reach and firepower of different types. We've got to try and knit it together. I have no illusions of grandeur. I just know as the mayor of the biggest city in the country I have some license. And I know as I reach out to others, they're thinking the same stuff anyway. This is all occurring simultaneously with a lot of the same people. If we do this right, the first coalitional effort will bear some immediate fruit and start some ripples. If that's working, I think it well could lead to something more substantial and more permanent. But right now, especially in the name of urgency, I want to get something off the ground to grab the moment.

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