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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

This *might* make you feel better about the TPP (& thank you Sen Sherrod Bown!)

TPA is an arrow through the heart of Democracy, there is no way to sugar coat it into a "good" thing. However, I really love that Sen Brown introduced a Leveling the Playing Field Act to be included in future trade deals passing through the TPA process.

If we have to swallow the TPP & TTIP, this doesn't fix all the many problems with it, but it makes it go down easier. At least for me.

From a Sherrod Brown email today~

How Trade Changes Today

Today, President Barack Obama will sign into law two pieces of legislation that will change international trade and US jobs forever.

First will be a renewal of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), allowing the President to expedite large trade deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and bring them to Congress for a simple yes-or-no vote.

Second is an extension of tariff preferences for developing countries. It includes renewal of the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program and U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown’s (D-OH) Leveling the Playing Field Act, which will help American manufacturers fight back against foreign suppliers who break international trade rules.

During the past several months, Sen. Brown led the fight against TPA legislation, urging his Senate colleagues to put American workers and manufacturers first in any trade agreement. Supporters of TPA have been making all the same promises we heard in the past.

While trade is essential for American manufacturers and jobs, past American trade policies have amounted to bad trade deals that put corporate interests ahead of working families. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) supporters claimed it would create 200,000 jobs in just two years, but it actually cost the U.S. more than 680,000 net jobs. The last thing America needs is another NAFTA.


Sen. Brown before TPA vote.

Trade policy should support American workers. Sen. Brown was pleased that Congress renewed TAA, which is a critical lifeline for workers who lose their job because of these bad trade deals. Sen. Brown was also proud to see his legislation, the Leveling the Playing Field Act, make it to the President’s desk. This bill will be crucial in fighting back against foreign companies who receive illegal subsidies from their government or dump their products in the American market at below market-price.

Sen. Brown doesn’t believe, however, that Congress should rubber stamp another trade deal that sends U.S. jobs overseas. That’s why Sen. Brown voted against TPA, and why last week he took to the Senate floor to urge his colleagues to put working families first in any trade legislation. Now that Congress is limited to a simple yes-or-no vote on trade agreements, Sen. Brown will continue to monitor TPP negotiations and push the Administration to protect the livelihoods of American workers.


Thanks Sherrod! (That's my Senator!! woot!)

Why aren't you running for president???

New Trade Agreements Will Offshore Even More American Jobs While Unemployed Continue to Suffer

New Trade Agreements Will Offshore Even More American Jobs While Unemployed Continue to Suffer
6/23/15

Millions are still shut out of the labor market.

Over the course of the past year, the unemployment rate has fallen from 6.1 percent to 5.5 percent. This is great news, but more than five years after the recession officially ended, 2.5 million workers have still been unemployed for 6 months or more. There are another 6.5 million workers, who are without work but not counted as unemployed because they have either have become so discouraged they have stopped looking or not searched in the last month.



With millions of Americans out of work, there is “slack” in the labor market, and this means there is little pressure on employer’s to increase wages. Many skilled workers are looking for a paycheck with not enough positions available, so employers do not need to increase wages to attract and retain employees. If the labor market was tighter, wages would grow as employers look to compete in order to attract talent and skills.

As we have reported before, unemployed workers are having a harder time getting back into the workforce than before the recession. The average unemployed person today will spend more than 30 weeks without a job—more than double the average length of unemployment before the Great Recession began....

...For the vast majority of Americans, 30 weeks of unemployment is enough to leave them in financial ruin....

Americans are right to be skeptical of trade agreements. Past trade agreements have cost the United States thousands of jobs. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was supposed to create 200,000 American jobs, instead it displaced more than 850,000 jobs. Similarly, the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) was supposed to create 70,000 jobs, instead 75,000 jobs were destroyed.

The Obama Administration is currently pushing for the additional authority to negotiate a new trade agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). So called “fast track” authority would weaken Congress’ ability to shape the details of the trade deal, which would encourage trade with 11 other countries bordering the Pacific including Vietnam and Malaysia.

In addition to rolling back public health and safety protections (i.e. food standards), the TPP is unlikely to create any jobs on net. Trade impacts sectors differently. U.S. manufacturing will almost definitely take a hit from the trade deal, eliminating good-paying, stable union jobs. According to the Economic Policy Institute, “More than 5 million U.S. manufacturing jobs were lost between 1997 and 2014, and most of those job losses were due to growing trade deficits with countries that have negotiated trade and investment deals with the United States.”...

Read more~
http://www.foreffectivegov.org/node/13470

Why are acting as if its just us here at DU when its also our Democratic leaders saying the same?

Are you going to say they don't know what they're talking about?

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio):
“This is a day of celebration in the corporate suites to be sure, because they have another corporate-sponsored trade agreement that will mean more money in some investors’ pockets, that will mean more plant closings in Ohio and Arizona and Delaware and Rhode Island and West Virginia and Maine and all over this country.

"How shameful," Brown said. "We’re making this decision knowing that people will lose their jobs because of our action."


Sen Sheldon Whitehouse(D-RI):
"I’m disappointed that my colleagues voted to prohibit Congress from improving future trade agreements. Past trade pacts have hurt Rhode Island workers, and I believe we need a new trade policy that puts jobs, our environment, and worker safety ahead of the interests of international corporations.’’


Sen Al Franken(D-MN):
“I believe the fast track authority legislation advanced in the Senate today falls far short of ensuring that trade agreements will truly benefit Minnesota workers, communities, and businesses,” Franken said in a statement after the vote. “At home, we’ve seen what happens when we don’t have — and just as importantly, can’t — enforce strong trade protections: countries like China unfairly dump their goods into our country, and as a result, 1,000 Minnesotan jobs are on the chopping block.”


Sen Harry Reid(D-NV):
"Every day in this chamber, we make a choice about whether we will serve large business interests or America's middle class. Today, I believe we made the wrong choice."

Asked by a reporter Tuesday what was next for the trade package, Reid said: "I am the wrong person to talk to. I hate the whole program. So, talk to somebody that likes it. I hate it."


http://www.democraticunderground.com/10026892404

Are you saying they're armchair economists? Or are they people who actually care about keeping & creating jobs for Americans?

Wall Street and Big Corporations Got What They Wanted—This Time

Wall Street and Big Corporations Got What They Wanted—This Time
6/24/15



Fast track passes. Our Congress – the supposed representatives of We the People – voted to cut themselves and us out of the process of deciding what “the rules” for doing business “in the 21st Century” will be.

How do the plutocrats and oligarchs and their giant multinational corporations get what they want when a pesky democracy is in their way? They push that pesky democracy out of their way.

Because of fast track, when the secret Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and any other secretly negotiated “trade” agreements are completed Congress must vote in a hurry with only limited debate, cannot make any amendments no matter what is in the agreement, and they can’t be filibustered.

Nothing else coming before our Congress gets that kind of skid-greasing, only corporate-written “trade” agreements – and it doesn’t matter how far the contents go beyond actual “trade.”

Fast track takes Congress out of the picture, just in case the checks arrive late and our Congress decides to act like it is supposed to. Fast track means that representatives of Wall Street and giant corporations and our plutocrats negotiate with the plutocrats and corporate interests of other countries to divide up the economic pie, and Congress agrees not to “meddle” with the result, only to rubber-stamp it.

Public Rising Up

In spite of a near-blackout of information in the major media, majorities of the public opposed fast track. Word got out anyway and “left” and “right” activists and grassroots and media were against it. Calls and letters to the offices of representatives and senators were running heavily, heavily against it. People were appealing to representatives and senators with petition after petition containing hundreds of thousands of names each. People were even showing up and protesting at the offices of representatives and senators all around the country....

....

This time it is The Money telling Congress to set aside our democratic deliberative process, to pass something that says they – the bodies that represent the people – can’t amend, can’t have extended debate. They are doing this for a secretly negotiated agreement, the result of a rigged corporate-dominated process. They are afraid of We the people so they are trying to find ways to get us out of their way.

Fast Track is The Money directing Congress to go utterly against what vast majorities of people actively say, going utterly against what movements of people are fighting for.

This goes beyond the Iraq War vote because there were blocks of the public on both sides of that fight – even if the “pro” block was largely manufactured by propaganda.

This goes beyond the public bailout of Wall Street (but not the rest of us) because there was no time for opposition to rally, and there was no crisis or panic to manipulate.

This time they just went ahead and did it and didn’t care how it looked.
...

http://www.nationofchange.org/2015/06/24/wall-street-and-big-corporations-got-what-they-wanted-this-time/

Elizabeth Warren: "Trade agreements should not benefit industry only"

Trade agreements should not benefit industry only
by Elizabeth Warren
June 23, 2015

...We live in a largely free trade world. Over the past 50 years, we’ve opened up countless markets, so that tariffs today are generally low. As a result, modern trade agreements are less about reducing tariffs and more about writing new rules for everything from labor, health, and environmental standards to food safety, prescription drug access, and copyright protections.

Even if those rules strike the right balance among competing interests, the true impact of a trade deal will turn on how well those rules are enforced. And that is the fundamental problem: America’s current trade policy makes it nearly impossible to enforce rules that protect hard-working families, but very easy to enforce rules that favor multinational corporations.

For example, anyone who wishes to enforce rules that impose labor or environmental standards must plead with our government to bring a claim on their behalf.

Reports from the Government Accountability Office, the Labor Department, and the State Department have shown that the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations have rarely brought such claims, even in the face of overwhelming evidence of violations.

Without strong enforcement, promises that American workers won’t have to compete against 50-cent-an-hour foreign laborers or promises that countries with terrible environmental records will raise their standards are meaningless.

But multinational corporations don’t have to plead with the government to enforce their claims. Instead, modern trade deals give corporations the right to go straight to an arbitration panel when a country passes new laws or applies existing laws in ways that the corporations believe will cost them money. Known as investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), these international arbitration panels can force countries to pony up billions of dollars in compensation. And these awards stick: No matter how crazy or outrageous the decision, no appeals are permitted. Once the arbitration panel rules, taxpayers must pay....

https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2015/06/23/warren/CJluXWm4B5VDTdUDsCkwEL/story.html


Quotes from the BLUE TEAM regarding today's TPA passage in congress

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.):
“I’ve said this –if I can’t explain it back home, I can’t vote for it. This is one, Mr. President, I could not explain back home. I could not make the people feel comfortable this was going to improve the quality of life and opportunities for them and their families.”

Manchin explained that the Trans-Pacific Partnership would lower trade barriers with countries such as Vietnam, where workers make as little as 50 cents an hour and “are not going to be as tough as we are in human rights [and] on environmental quality.”


Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio):
“This is a day of celebration in the corporate suites to be sure, because they have another corporate-sponsored trade agreement that will mean more money in some investors’ pockets, that will mean more plant closings in Ohio and Arizona and Delaware and Rhode Island and West Virginia and Maine and all over this country.

"How shameful," Brown said. "We’re making this decision knowing that people will lose their jobs because of our action."


National People’s Action executive director George Goehl:
“Coming out of this vote, we double our resolve to build an independent political movement to replace Wall Street Democrats with politicians who put everyday people before corporate profits.”

"The virtual silence of the leading Democratic candidate for president shows the stranglehold corporations have over both political parties."


Robert Borosage, codirector of the Campaign for America’s Future:
“Today's vote is a vote to continue the ruinous trade policies of the last decades that have racked up 11 trillion in trade deficits, shuttered tens of thousands of factories, and had direct and dramatic effect on undermining the middle class, and lowering wages and security for working people. Those who voted for it voted for more of the same. And they did so to serve the interests of special interests, not the common good; of contributors, not voters.”


Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.):
"This legislation was supported by virtually every major corporation in the country” while it was opposed by “every union in this country working for the best interests of working families, by almost every environmental group and many religious groups.

In my view, this trade agreement will continue the policies of NAFTA, CAFTA (the North American and Central American free trade agreements), permanent normal trade relations with China, agreements that have cost us millions of decent-paying jobs.”


Sen Sheldon Whitehouse(D-RI):
"I’m disappointed that my colleagues voted to prohibit Congress from improving future trade agreements. Past trade pacts have hurt Rhode Island workers, and I believe we need a new trade policy that puts jobs, our environment, and worker safety ahead of the interests of international corporations.’’


Sen Elizabeth Warren(D-MA):
“This battle is not over, and I will continue to fight against efforts to use fast-track to jam through trade deals that are big giveaways to multinational corporations.”


Sen Al Franken(D-MN):
“I believe the fast track authority legislation advanced in the Senate today falls far short of ensuring that trade agreements will truly benefit Minnesota workers, communities, and businesses,” Franken said in a statement after the vote. “At home, we’ve seen what happens when we don’t have — and just as importantly, can’t — enforce strong trade protections: countries like China unfairly dump their goods into our country, and as a result, 1,000 Minnesotan jobs are on the chopping block.”


Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch:
"The vote only came about via elaborate legislative contortions and gimmicks designed to hand multinational corporations their top priority.

Such contortions were necessary because the American people overwhelmingly oppose these deals, notwithstanding an endless barrage of propaganda."


May Boeve, executive director of 350.org:
"We’re outraged that Congress today voted to fast track pollution, rather than the job-creating clean energy we need to address climate change. It's clear this deal would extend the world’s dependence on fracked gas, forbid our negotiators from ever using trade agreements in the fight against global warming, and make it easier for big polluters to burn carbon while suing anyone who gets in the way. That’s why we’re so disappointed President Obama has taken up the banner for ramming this legislative pollution through the halls of Congress, in a way he never pushed for a climate bill."


Sen Harry Reid(D-NV):
"My colleagues who support this legislation are acting in good faith based on what they believe is right," said Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid in a statement. "I simply disagree with them. Every day in this chamber, we make a choice about whether we will serve large business interests or America's middle class. Today, I believe we made the wrong choice."

Asked by a reporter Tuesday what was next for the trade package, Reid said: "I am the wrong person to talk to. I hate the whole program. So, talk to somebody that likes it. I hate it."



http://ourfuture.org/20150623/senate-votes-to-fast-track-jobs-out-more-corporate-power-in
http://ripr.org/post/reed-whitehouse-oppose-obama-fast-track-trade-deal
https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2015/06/23/obama-trade-agenda-clears-key-procedural-hurdle-senate/OjPAOVAROSo68PNPQr49SK/story.html#
http://www.startribune.com/senate-reverses-course-and-allows-fast-track-trade-debate/303797731/
http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/06/23/great-day-corporate-america-us-senate-passes-fast-track
http://www.nationaljournal.com/congress/obama-s-fast-track-bill-inches-another-step-forward-20150623

15 Ways Bill Clinton’s White House Failed America and the World

...Just as a preface, I want to say no one was a bigger Bill Clinton fan than me back in the day. He and Al Gore both walked on water. Clinton was my first vote, my very proud first vote...

It wasn't until Jan 2009 when a casual comment by a very smart lady starting a small bank mentioned that it was Bill Clinton who caused the 2007/2008 banking crisis by ending Glass-Steagall woke me up & forever ended my low information days. I went home & started googling away. One thing led to another (& another) thing he did under the cover of clever rhetoric & media cover which I had no idea.

Now, today, I believe he is responsible for a majority of what is wrong with America today. He's the reason I wanted so badly for Elizabeth Warren to run for president & to be our president....& for Hillary not to be.

Here's the article~

15 Ways Bill Clinton’s White House Failed America and the World

Many Americans do not associate Clinton with his dark legacy.

By AlterNet Staff / AlterNet
June 22, 2015

Bill Clinton remains one of America’s most popular presidents. A national poll last March by NBC and the Wall Street Journal found 56 percent of Americans had a clearly favorable view of Clinton. That’s long been true for African Americans—from novelist Toni Morrison famously calling him the “first black president” while in office, to books explaining his appeal after his presidency ended.

Clinton has used this popularity to build his enormously ambitious global foundation, collecting $2 billion in assets for many anti-poverty and health initiatives, as well as building a personal fortune from speechmaking estimated at $30 million or more. In recent years, most of the public has forgotten what Clinton did as president, even as he has steadily been in the news.

But for more than a year before Hillary Clinton launched her latest presidential campaign, Bill Clinton has been selectively telling media outlets that he made some mistakes as president and might have acted otherwise. He's even tried to recast actual events and been taken to task by fact-checkers who recall his leading role in what became major crises, such as the 2008 global financial implosion....

What follows are 15 ways Bill Clinton’s presidency did not serve America or the world, and in many ways deepened and perpetuated the problems we face today. This article was prepared by AlterNet staff members Janet Allon, Michael Arria, Jan Frel, Tana Ganeva, Kali Holloway, Zaid Jilani, Adam Johnson, Steven Rosenfeld, Phillip Smith, Terrell Jermaine Starr and Carrie Weissman.

1. Prison-loving president.....SNIP'd a lot of good, referenced info, please read if you have time...

2. Punitive welfare reform....SNIP'd a lot of good, referenced info, please read if you have time...

3. Wall Street’s Deregulator-in-Chief....SNIP'd a lot of good, referenced info, please read if you have time...

4. Gutted manufacturing via trade agreements....SNIP'd a lot of good, referenced info, please read if you have time...

5. No LGBT equality: Defense of Marriage Act....SNIP'd a lot of good, referenced info, please read if you have time...

6. Expanded the war on drugs....SNIP'd a lot of good, referenced info, please read if you have time...

7. Expanded the death penalty....SNIP'd a lot of good, referenced info, please read if you have time...

8-15~

http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/15-ways-bill-clintons-white-house-failed-america-and-world


They missed The Telecommunications Act which allows Cable & Cellular monopolies to merge & end competition & fair pricing from small competitors. Just another way he pissed on FDR's legacy to make America a more republican place to live, while calling himself a "Democrat"~

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 was the first significant overhaul of United States telecommunications law in more than sixty years, amending the Communications Act of 1934. The Act, signed by President Bill Clinton, represented a major change in American telecommunication law, since it was the first time that the Internet was included in broadcasting and spectrum allotment.[1] One of the most controversial titles was Title 3 ("Cable Services", which allowed for media cross-ownership.[1] According to the FCC, the goal of the law was to "let anyone enter any communications business—to let any communications business compete in any market against any other".[2] The legislation's primary goal was deregulation of the converging broadcasting and telecommunications markets.[3] However, the law's regulatory policies have been questioned, including the effects of dualistic re-regulation of the communications market [4] [5]

wiki


And another (my #17) missed~ He made it so Corporations could tie CEO pay to stock prices for writing off executive pay for lowering their taxes~

...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/


Can't believe that, like Alternet, I forgot this doozy,...#18~

China's Entry Into The WTO 10 Years Later Is Not What President Clinton Promised
Manufacturing & Technology News
June 15, 2010

It has been 10 years since the U.S. Congress and President Bill Clinton paved the way for China to enter the World Trade Organization (WTO). Most all of the predictions from those pushing the deal at the time have proven to be wrong, according to an analysis done by Robert Lighthizer, former deputy United States Trade Representative during the Reagan administration and head of the international trade department of the Washington firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & From LLP.

Bill Clinton, the country's most ardent booster of opening trade with China, looks especially imprudent 10 years later. During a press conference on March 29, 2000, Clinton said that granting China permanent normal trade relations (PNTR), which allowed China to gain entry into the WTO, would be a great deal for America. "We do nothing," Clinton said. "They have to lower tariffs. They open up telecommunications for investment. They allow us to sell cars made in America in China at much lower tariffs. They allow us to put our own distributorships there. They allow us to put our own parts there. We don't have to transfer technology or do joint manufacturing in China any more. This a hundred-to-nothing deal for America when it comes to the economic consequences."

It didn't quite work out that way. Since 2000, the trade deficit with China has surged by 173 percent, from $83 billion in 2000 to $227 billion in 2009. The United States has lost more than one-third of all its manufacturing jobs -- 5.6 million; U.S. wages have declined; the country has suffered a financial meltdown; it has spent $14 trillion on economic stimulus, only to experience the highest unemployment rates in generations and annual federal budget deficits of more than $1 trillion. These trends are not "likely to end," says Lighthizer.

Granting PNTR to China would "increase U.S. jobs and reduce our trade deficit," Clinton promised....

http://www.manufacturingnews.com/news/10/0615/WTO.html




WONDERFUL! This is what happened when Australia introduced tight gun controls

This is what happened when Australia introduced tight gun controls
6/19/15

...But can something be done? Australia, a country that in some ways shares the United States' frontier mentality and history as part of the British empire, implemented sweeping gun-control measures that have been successful for nearly two decades. So, theoretically it's possible, but "the power to do something about it" in the U.S. is limited by factors that are deeply rooted in its culture and baked into its founding document.

...What happened in Australia? Gun violence was bad. A decade of gun massacres had seen more than 100 people shot dead. The last straw was an incident at a popular tourist spot at Port Arthur, Tasmania, in April 1996, when a lone gunman killed 20 people with his first 29 bullets, all in the space of 90 seconds. This "pathetic social misfit," to quote the judge in the case, achieved his final toll of 35 people dead and 18 seriously wounded by firing a military-style semiautomatic rifle.

What happened next? Only 12 days after the shootings, in John Howard's first major act of leadership and by far the most popular in his first year as Prime Minister, his government announced nationwide gun law reform.

Uniform legislation agreed to by all states and territories -- the national government has no control over gun ownership or use -- specifically addressed mass shootings: Rapid-fire rifles and shotguns were banned, gun owner licensing was tightened and remaining firearms were registered to uniform national standards.

How did Australia do it? In two nationwide, federally funded gun buybacks, plus large-scale voluntary surrenders and state gun amnesties both before and after Port Arthur, Australia collected and destroyed more than a million firearms, perhaps a third of the national stock, according to Professor Philip Alpers of the University of Sydney, who is editor of gunpolicy.org. No other nation had attempted anything on this scale. The national government also banned the importation of new automatic and semiautomatic weapons. And the buyback was paid for by a special one-off tax on all Australians.

What was the political fallout? It wasn't without cost to John Howard. Political interest groups among his conservative base raised hell, and the move met strong resistance from some in rural areas. His party's coalition partner in those areas suffered in subsequent elections. But the majority of Australians, shocked by the mass killing, backed action. And it worked...

http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/19/world/us-australia-gun-control/


^^^^ This is what we should have done after Newtown/Sandy Hook. It BLOWS MY MIND nothing changed after those sweet, precious toddlers were gunned down in a closet.

(Repost from a reply on another thread. I think its extremely relevant & should be read by as many of us Americans as possible. Please spread the word. It's possible!!!!)

PS~
What exactly happened to murder and mass killing?

In the years after the Port Arthur massacre, the risk of dying by gunshot in Australia fell by more than 50% -- and stayed there. A 2012 study by Andrew Leigh of Australian National University and Christine Neill of Wilfrid Laurier University also found the buyback led to a drop in firearm suicide rates of almost 80% in the following decade.

In the 19 years since the announcement of legislation specifically designed to reduce gun massacres, Australia has seen no mass shootings. As Howard wrote in an opinion piece for the New York Times in 2013, "Today, there is a wide consensus that our 1996 reforms not only reduced the gun-related homicide rate, but also the suicide rate."

These graphics show just how much of an insane outlier the US is on guns

These graphics show just how much of an insane outlier the US is on guns
Vox
6/20/15



Despite signs of decline in gun ownership, the US still has a huge number of private guns. In 2012, Americans owned an estimated 270 million guns, almost 42 percent of the total number of civilian-owned guns on the entire planet...



In developed countries, there is a strong correlation between the number of guns and incidences of gun violence. In 2012, the US, which has the most guns per capita, also had the most firearm-related homicides of developed countries...



http://www.vox.com/2015/6/20/8544507/gun-murders-ownership-charts


USA! USA! USA!



" Americans are 20 times as likely to die from gun violence as citizens of other civilized countries." (source)

Neoliberals’ pity party: Why an emboldened liberalism has corporate Dems running scared

Neoliberals’ pity party: Why an emboldened liberalism has corporate Dems running scared
6/20/15


Steny Hoyer/Richard Trumka/Barack Obama

...But while the ultimate fate of the TPP is still unclear, there’s one element of this ongoing fight within the Democratic Party that you should expect to see more of in the years to come.

It’s not the rise of a more combative labor movement, though that’s certainly part of it. And it’s not the decline of the party’s neoliberal wing, though that’s happening, too. No, it’s something much less important, but much more amusing: the wails of outrage and self-pity from moderate Democrats who resent the party’s once docile, but now ascendant, liberal base.

True, as it became apparent that the House TPP vote was going to be closer than the moderates and the White House predicted, there were some murmurs of discontent. But it wasn’t until a Thursday report from Politico that we heard the pro-TPP crowd really using its outside voice. The article was analytically suspect — among other curiosities, Rep. Steny Hoyer, the decidedly moderate minority whip, seems to be presented as a liberal — but it was also well-reported. More importantly, it reflected the worldview, biases and delusions of corporate America’s friends in Washington, which is Politico’s stock-in-trade.

For example, despite the fact that, as Steven Greenhouse reported for the Guardian, the alliance against the TPP was basically comprised of the Democratic Party’s entire base, Politico focuses exclusively on organized labor. And once you read the rest of the article, you can see why: it’s the only framing pro-TPP Dems can use without sounding out of touch. Unions are easy to demonize as “special interests,” after all. If you’re talking about faith groups, civil liberties advocates, consumer protection organizations, liberal economists and more, on the other hand, it’s hard to use that talking point without sounding like a Republican.

....But times are changing, and it’s no longer so clear that unions and liberals can’t do better. Neoliberal, corporate-friendly Democrats no longer get an automatic pass.

For the kind of Democrat who worries more about the “business community” than workers, this is all terrible news. They already spend so much of their time trying to squeeze donations out of wealthy and corporate donors, who are naturally more inclined to support Republicans, the last thing they need is to have to simultaneously appease those on their left.

So they’ll kvetch to Politico and wring their hands about a “left-wing Tea Party.” But unions and liberals should ignore them or, if they must respond, laugh.

http://www.salon.com/2015/06/20/neoliberals_pity_party_why_an_emboldened_liberalism_has_corporate_dems_running_scared/


Love this article!! We may still be fighting an uphill battle, but our numbers, our collective voice, are making a huge impact that can no longer be relegated to the "far left" corner!! (And thank you Unions for talking their language & making them listen!)
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