IVN.us http://ivn.us Independent Voter Network: Unfiltered News Tue, 26 May 2015 08:01:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Working Families Party: The Most Influential Third Party in the U.S.? http://ivn.us/2015/05/26/working-families-party-influential-third-party-u-s/ http://ivn.us/2015/05/26/working-families-party-influential-third-party-u-s/#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 08:00:59 +0000 http://ivn.us/?p=23295663483 Working Families Party: The Most Influential Third Party in the U.S.?

In February 2015, Edwin Gomes became the first candidate running solely on the Working Families Party (WFP) line to win a seat in a state legislature. Gomes beat out four other candidates in a special election to represent Connecticut’s 23rd senate district.

Andrew GrippIVN.us - Independent Voter Network: Unfiltered News

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Working Families Party: The Most Influential Third Party in the U.S.?

In February 2015, Edwin Gomes became the first candidate running solely on the Working Families Party (WFP) line to win a seat in a state legislature. Gomes beat out four other candidates in a special election to represent Connecticut’s 23rd senate district.

On May 5, 2015, the WFP won another special election – this one to fill a vacant seat in New York’s legislature. Diana Richardson now represents the General Assembly’s 43rd district, covering Crown Heights and Prospect-Lefferts Gardens.

These victories are the culmination of decades of bottom-up political organizing, mobilization, and experimentation that stretches back to the early 1990s.

The WFP’s predecessor is the New Party, the brainchild of Daniel Cantor and Joel Rogers, whose 1990 manifesto, “Party Time,” called for the establishment of an alternative to the Democratic Party, which was becoming a more centrist party with the ascendance of the moderate Democratic Leadership Council and its political offspring – including Bill Clinton.

In 1992, the New Party formed to synthesize and politically represent the fragmented efforts of labor unions, community activists, and other progressive organizations.

"The New Party formed to ... politically represent the fragmented efforts of labor unions, community activists, and other progressive organizations."Andrew Gripp, IVN Independent Author
Part of its strategy entailed challenging anti-fusion laws across the country, which states have imposed in order to prevent minor parties from cross-endorsing major party candidates.

In 1996, a federal appeals court ruled in favor of a local chapter of the New Party in its challenge to Minnesota’s anti-fusion law. The case went to the Supreme Court, which overruled that decision and upheld the state’s ban in Timmons v. Twin Cities Area New Party.

In 1998, as the New Party began to dissipate, the Working Families Party was created in New York – a state that allows fusion.

Daniel Cantor is the national director of the WFP, which also has chapters in Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Oregon.

The WFP gained a foothold during New York’s gubernatorial election in 1998, when the party endorsed the Democratic challenger against George Pataki, Peter Vallone, on its own party line. Since Vallone (scarcely) received 50,000 votes, it guaranteed the WFP a space on future state ballots.

The WFP converted on its increased visibility. In 2003, it successfully ran Letitia James against a Democratic candidate to win a seat in the New York City Council. In 2009, WFP-backed candidates picked up eight seats, and its members formed the Progressive Caucus with like-minded Democrats. The caucus now comprises 19 members within the 51-member city council.

The WFP has replicated this bottom-up approach across several states – particularly in the northeast where election laws and political attitudes are more favorable to an alternative progressive party.

Connecticut, for instance, also allows minor parties to cross-endorse major party candidates. Moreover, many municipalities in the state prohibit a single party from controlling local boards and require representation by a minor party. In 2007, two WFP candidates were elected to the city council in Hartford.

Following its earliest electoral victories, the WFP began to exert influence of public policy – particularly regarding paid sick days and increases in the minimum wage.

In 2010, for instance, the issue of paid sick days largely affected the outcome of the Democratic Party’s gubernatorial primary. When the expected winner, Ned Lamont, opposed the policy, his challenger, Dan Malloy, came out in favor of it. Malloy went on to become governor, and Connecticut became the first state to require that employers with 50 or more workers offer paid sick leave.

The New York City Council passed a similar law in 2013 – in part due to the efforts of the WFP. Democratic councilwoman Christine Quinn had long opposed the legislation.

In recent months, the WFP has successfully advocated for the policy in other states. In Trenton, New Jersey, the NJ Working Families Alliance gathered enough signatures to put the bill before the city council, which then put it to a referendum. The measure passed by a wide margin in November 2014.

The law, which has been passed in eight other municipalities in the state, survived when a judge dismissed a challenge to it in April 2015.

In February 2015, the Philadelphia City Council passed its own sick leave law after years of opposition from the mayor. It applies to employers with at least 10 workers, and guarantees employees 1 hour of sick time for every 40 hours worked. It went into effect in mid-May and affects 200,000 employees – 40 percent of the city’s workforce.

Currently, 11 states have laws that preemptively bar localities from enacting mandatory sick leave legislation. Efforts to pass paid sick leave policies at the federal level failed in 2004 and 2009.

The WFP has also supported efforts to raise the minimum wage.

Connecticut raised its minimum wage under Governor Dannel Malloy, which will reach $10.10 an hour for workers at companies with at least 50 employees by January 1, 2017.

In some of the most expensive cities across the country, city councils have agreed to raise the minimum wage even higher.

The “Fight for $15” movement has its origins in the town of SeaTac, near the Seattle-Tacoma Airport. When the airline industry refused to negotiate a contract with higher wages, SeaTac residents voted in favor of a citywide minimum wage of $15 – by 77 votes.

Since then, larger cities have followed suit. In June 2014, nearby Seattle pledged to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2017. San Francisco pledged to do the same by 2018.

These changes come at a time when the country is debating how to reverse the long-term trend in income inequality.

According the Economic Policy Institute, the average worker has seen their income rise by 6 percent between 1979 and 2013 (in inflation-adjusted dollars). Over that same period, low-wage workers’ incomes fell 5 percent, while high-wage workers saw their incomes increase by 40 percent.

Opponents of a national increase of the minimum wage from its current level of $7.25 argue it would be too heavy-handed and inconsiderate of regional disparities in costs of living. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projected that a national floor of $10.10 per hour would cost the country 500,000 jobs.

Supporters of minimum wage increases on a smaller scale point to studies that show that gradual increases in the minimum wage do not significantly affect employment levels. Employers of low-wage workers, such as restaurant owners, often adapt by raising prices – though they do save some money as turnover decreases.

"According the Economic Policy Institute, the average worker has seen their income rise by 6% between 1979 and 2013."
“What’s good for American workers is actually good for the whole society,” Cantor told MSNBC on May 20 after Los Angeles voted to increase its minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020. “When people have more money in the pocket, they spend more money, which creates a virtuous cycle, in which there is more employment for everyone.”

In Connecticut, WFP State Senator Gomes is a co-sponsor of SB 1044 – the so-called “Wal-Mart bill” – which would fine companies with at least 500 workers $1 for every hour worked by an employee who makes less than $15 an hour.

A report found that the state spends almost $500 million annually to pay for Medicaid and cash assistance for low-income workers. The bill would raise between roughly $200 and $300 million per year in fines.

In Albany, WFP Assemblywoman Richardson is already supporting legislation that addresses a common concern among many of her constituents: affordable housing.

The Crown Heights neighborhood has many residents who suffer from steady increases in rental payments because of a loophole that allows landlords to circumvent rent controls. Renters also complain of gentrification and the practices and policies that drive it.

Richardson supported a bill that recently passed the state Assembly strengthening rental regulations. It will face opposition in the Senate, where Republicans favor extending a tax abatement program that is unpopular in Richardson’s district.

Thus far, the WFP’s legislative success has come during special elections for state seats and municipal elections where fusion is permitted. As the party grows, it will face challenges in electoral environments that are not as receptive to minor parties.

Yet Cantor points to the tea party to indicate that winning more seats is not necessary to effect change.

“They yanked the Republican Party to the right without being a separate party,” he told The American Prospect. “We realized that most of our power in New York comes from our work in Democratic primaries. We don’t have to be on the ballot.”

Andrew GrippIVN.us - Independent Voter Network: Unfiltered News

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http://ivn.us/2015/05/26/working-families-party-influential-third-party-u-s/feed/ 0 fingers-crossed Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks to the reporters at United Nations headquarters, Tuesday, March 10, 2015. Clinton conceded Tuesday that she should have used a government email to conduct business as secretary of state, saying her decision was simply a matter of "convenience." (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) bernie-sanders glazer
Rise of the Super Consultant: Why These Men and Women Have So Much Power over Elections http://ivn.us/2015/05/26/the-rise-of-the-new-political-consultant/ http://ivn.us/2015/05/26/the-rise-of-the-new-political-consultant/#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 07:30:28 +0000 http://ivn.us/?p=23295662770 Rise of the Super Consultant: Why These Men and Women Have So Much Power over Elections

Political consultants are often criticized for the way in which they seem to divide the American electorate, or at least make harsh, acidic comments about their employers’ rivals. Often, it seems that candidates are embarrassed more by what their operatives say than by what they themselves say.

Chris EstepIVN.us - Independent Voter Network: Unfiltered News

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Rise of the Super Consultant: Why These Men and Women Have So Much Power over Elections

Ever since the days of the Roman republic, when Quintus Tullius Cicero wrote a brief work titled “Little Handbook on Electioneering” for his brother Marcus, then a candidate for consul in Rome, political consultants have had a heavy presence in campaigns for public office.

In American history, these operatives have served in various political roles, from personal advisers of candidates to prominent leaders of partisan structures. Almost always, individual political consultants in the United States have been closely tied to the work of a single candidate or party; for obvious reasons, campaigns are hesitant to hire operatives who have previous experience in work for the other side.

Historically, American political consultants — while they are usually free to help a variety of candidates within a given party — have worked within the confines of the partisan parameters, and there have always been incentives for doing so. Continuing to work as operatives for political campaigns, or as advisers to political parties, enables consultants to make connections to other potential clients and sources of income.

Much has been said and written about the negative, polarizing influence of political consultants for candidates and campaigns. In 2004, David Dulio wrote in For Better or Worse?, a book about the role of hired advisers:

“…it is clear that when consultants enter a campaign they have a great deal of influence. Consultants’ advice is usually taken; they are paid for their expertise, and candidates do not like to see the dollars they worked so hard raising go to waste.”  – For Better or Worse, page 34

Additionally, one only needs to look at the teams working for the presidential campaigns of Hillary Clinton, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz to see that modern candidates in America are incredibly dependent on hired specialists to coordinate their political efforts.

Political consultants are often criticized for the way in which they seem to divide the American electorate, or at least make harsh, acidic comments about their employers’ rivals. Often, it seems that candidates are embarrassed more by what their operatives say than by what they themselves say.

There is merit to this idea; political consultants tend to encourage their candidates to emphasize policies and messages that only appeal to the party faithful, and a group of sympathetic independents that may be small, but is still large enough to barely win the election.

The result has been elections with lower voter turnout and winners with lower margins of victory. Some data indicates that the turnout rate among eligible voters in the United States has not exceeded 65% in over a century; meanwhile, the last time a presidential candidate won an election with a margin of victory of over 10% was in 1984 (Ronald Reagan’s re-election victory).

"The turnout rate among eligible voters in the U.S. has not exceeded 65% in over a century."Chris Estep, IVN Independent Author
At the same time, there should be concern about the rise of a new “breed” of political consultants; those who work for super PACs and are not officially affiliated with any party or candidate. Anu Narayanswamy of the Sunlight Foundation wrote in January 2013 that super PACs have given rise to a “class of super consultants.”

One such consultant (though there are also a variety of liberal and progressive super-PAC operatives) is Karl Rove. In September 2012, Craig Unger wrote a profile of Rove for Vanity Fair, in which he observed that “with his keen eye for strategy and his ties to disaffected millionaires in the G.O.P. establishment, Rove was the first to seize the initiative” created by the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling, which allowed super PACs to raise an unprecedented amount of financing.

This new style of political consulting is far more polarizing even than the work of operatives who advise candidates and parties. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the super PAC with which Rove is affiliated, American Crossroads, spent over $104 million in the 2012 election season, $96 million of which was used solely to attack Democratic candidates.

While super PACs are legally forbidden from coordinating strategies with candidates or parties, they have allowed political consultants to create what the Sunlight Foundation’s Narayanswamy calls “shadow campaigns.” Free to raise massive amounts of money, consultants can then use that money for highly divisive purposes, often with partisan rancor being the only result.

Despite spending so much money attacking Democratic candidates for the Senate and the presidency. Rove’s American Crossroads group — to continue using the example — failed to build a Republican senatorial majority in 2012 or help Mitt Romney win the White House.

In the end, political observers in America should be concerned about what the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling has allowed the political atmosphere to become, and about how political consultants, now armed with incredibly wealthy super PACs, can pursue electoral strategies that even startle traditional party and campaign operatives and polarize American voters.

Photo Credit: Minerva Studio / shutterstock.com

Chris EstepIVN.us - Independent Voter Network: Unfiltered News

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http://ivn.us/2015/05/26/the-rise-of-the-new-political-consultant/feed/ 1 working-families-party Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks to the reporters at United Nations headquarters, Tuesday, March 10, 2015. Clinton conceded Tuesday that she should have used a government email to conduct business as secretary of state, saying her decision was simply a matter of "convenience." (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) bernie-sanders glazer
Don’t Let Memorial Day Pass Without Remembering This Important Fact http://ivn.us/2015/05/25/dont-let-memorial-day-pass-without-remembering-this-one-fact/ http://ivn.us/2015/05/25/dont-let-memorial-day-pass-without-remembering-this-one-fact/#comments Mon, 25 May 2015 12:35:44 +0000 http://ivn.us/?p=23295663528 Don’t Let Memorial Day Pass Without Remembering This Important Fact

Memorial Day's roots can be informally traced back to May 1868, first known as Decoration Day. The holiday was meant to be a time for Americans to consider the sacrifice of those who died in the Civil War, also as a day of remembrance and national unity. Bear in mind, then-president Lincoln was assassinated just a few years earlier in 1865. Understandably, the late 1860s was a time when national unity was sorely needed.

Alex GauthierIVN.us - Independent Voter Network: Unfiltered News

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Don’t Let Memorial Day Pass Without Remembering This Important Fact

Memorial Day’s roots can be informally traced back to May 1868, first known as Decoration Day. The holiday was meant to be a time for Americans to consider the sacrifice of those who died in the Civil War, also as a day of remembrance and national unity. Bear in mind, then-president Lincoln was assassinated just a few years earlier in 1865. Understandably, the late 1860s was a time when national unity was sorely needed.

"On Decoration Day" Political cartoon c 1900. Caption: "You bet I'm goin' to be a soldier, too, like my Uncle David, when I grow up." Source: wikimedia commons

“On Decoration Day” Political cartoon c 1900. Caption: “You bet I’m goin’ to be a soldier, too, like my Uncle David, when I grow up.” Source: wikimedia commons

But the tradition wouldn’t take on its more modern shape until after WWII. Perhaps by coincidence or design, the official holiday of “Memorial Day” was federally recognized in 1967. At the same time, U.S. involvement in Vietnam was escalating and the Civil Rights Movement was transforming the nation.

Today, Memorial Day has become more synonymous with used-car sales and bad traffic as opposed to its true meaning.

So on this Memorial Day, contrary to earlier ones in recent memory, consider the men and women who died while serving in the armed forces and the sheer magnitude of their sacrifice.

According to the Congressional Research Service (CRS), approximately 1.3 million men and women have sacrificed their lives serving the military from the American Revolution to December 23, 2014. Keep in mind the 1.3 million figure doesn’t include tens of thousands of active and retired military personnel who lose their battles against depression and other illnesses to suicide every year.

At a time when less than 0.5 percent of the U.S. population is in the armed services, it’s easy to see why the original meaning of Memorial Day may seem unappreciated. The United States has asked a lot of its men and women in uniform over 14 years at war – half of them spent in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Let this be the Memorial Day that doesn’t pass without reflecting on the fact that so many people across so many generations were willing to risk their lives for their country. It, quite literally, is the least we can do.

From the IVN Team, Happy Memorial Day!

Image: Paul Quinn / Shutterstock.com

Alex GauthierIVN.us - Independent Voter Network: Unfiltered News

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http://ivn.us/2015/05/25/dont-let-memorial-day-pass-without-remembering-this-one-fact/feed/ 2 640px-DecorationDayMcCutcheon "On Decoration Day" Political cartoon c 1900. Caption: "You bet I'm goin' to be a soldier, too, like my Uncle David, when I grow up." Source: wikimedia commons
Ill. Bill to Extend Marijuana Decriminalization May Solve Bigger Problem for Governor http://ivn.us/2015/05/25/ill-bill-extend-marijuana-decriminalization-may-solve-bigger-problem-governor/ http://ivn.us/2015/05/25/ill-bill-extend-marijuana-decriminalization-may-solve-bigger-problem-governor/#comments Mon, 25 May 2015 12:18:29 +0000 http://ivn.us/?p=23295663594 Ill. Bill to Extend Marijuana Decriminalization May Solve Bigger Problem for Governor

The Illinois Senate passed a bill that would bring the state one step closer to becoming the 18th state to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana. The bill would reduce possession of 15 ounces or less of marijuana from an arresting offense to a fine of $125 with no court time. The same bill passed the Illinois House in April.

Carl WicklanderIVN.us - Independent Voter Network: Unfiltered News

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Ill. Bill to Extend Marijuana Decriminalization May Solve Bigger Problem for Governor

ILLINOIS — A bill that would extend a pilot program of marijuana decriminalization in Illinois cleared one more hurdle last week, but still faces at least one more.

The Illinois Senate passed a bill that would bring the state one step closer to becoming the 18th state to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana. The bill would reduce possession of 15 ounces or less of marijuana from an arresting offense to a fine of $125 with no court time. The same bill passed the Illinois House in April.

The state’s current program includes regulations of fingerprinting, a background check, identification card, and a $150 fee.

Sponsoring Sen. Martin Noland, a Chicagoland Democrat, said:

“It’s wrong, and I would encourage the children of this state and my own children to abstain from the use of the substance, but people do use this, and it should not be something that ruins social lives and professional lives as well . . . People have been arrested at very young ages for this and have suffered the consequences.”

Another supporter, Republican Sen. Jason Barickman, spoke to the fiscal advantages:

“Every person you talk to in this state wants us to find ways to save money . . . This legislation gives us a way to do that. It will save money at the state level, and give us the opportunity to save money at the local level.”

The bill also has its detractors. Republican Sen. Dale Righter pointed out, “We know almost nothing about how this act is going to play out. . . . Why the rush to extend the sunset 2 1/2 years before that is set to occur?”

Governor Bruce Rauner has been generally skeptical about efforts to reform marijuana laws. A spokeswoman for the governor has only said there is “a lot of time left to evaluate a pilot program, and we should not extend the program until it has been fully evaluated.”

Despite questions about the likelihood of the governor signing the bill, advocates may hope he sees this as an opportunity to further another goal. Earlier this year, Rauner issued an executive order that intends to reduce the state’s prison population by 25% within 10 years. According to the ACLU, Illinois has the fifth-highest arrest rate in the country for marijuana possession.

Carl WicklanderIVN.us - Independent Voter Network: Unfiltered News

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Why America’s Electorate Could Use A Little More ‘Crazy’ http://ivn.us/2015/05/25/americas-electorate-use-little-crazy/ http://ivn.us/2015/05/25/americas-electorate-use-little-crazy/#comments Mon, 25 May 2015 11:10:16 +0000 http://ivn.us/?p=23295663535 Why America’s Electorate Could Use A Little More ‘Crazy’

That our political system is dysfunctional does not need to be overstated. The latest implosion over the Trans-Pacific Partnership demonstrates that enough, and a litany of polls and statistics reinforce the failures of Congress and the shared responsibility of both parties.

Centrist ProjectIVN.us - Independent Voter Network: Unfiltered News

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Why America’s Electorate Could Use A Little More ‘Crazy’

That our political system is dysfunctional does not need to be overstated. The latest implosion over the Trans-Pacific Partnership demonstrates that enough, and a litany of polls and statistics reinforce the failures of Congress and the shared responsibility of both parties.

Yet when Americans decide to vote their minds and break from expectations, they are derided as crazy and denounced for refusing to conform to one side.

We have a different opinion. In a political system aching for change, it is the voters who disrupt, who break the status quo, that we need the most. They are the ones who see the problems endemic in politics and are willing to demand better.

So rather than deride them, we should celebrate the crazy voters, those of you crazy enough to make a difference.

You See Things Differently

You reject the notion of us vs. them, black and white politics. You see nuance and complexity in policy and you embrace this in your own beliefs.

You see congressmen and senators as representatives and public servants, not party members, partisans, or ideologues.

You don’t see policy in shades of red or blue. You don’t play politics like a game and you don’t see winners and losers. When you see the problems our nation is facing, you don’t ask who is to blame — you ask how they can be fixed.

You Make Your Own Decisions

You are a skeptic. You question pundits who label opponents as the enemy, and you reject name calling, grandstanding, and partisan bickering. You find out for yourself.

When you vote, you vote for the candidate who best represents you. You are a Democrat, a Republican, or an independent by choice. No one is entitled to your vote, they have to earn it.

You Believe

You look at politics in America, at the state of our democracy, the dysfunction of our Congress, and the challenges of our policy, and you say, “We can do better than this.”

When others resign themselves to dysfunction in Congress, to failures of leadership and failures of policy, when they give up and say “things will never get better,” you ask, “Why not?”

 

57% of Americans blame extreme partisans for the dysfunction in Congress. Public approval for both parties is below 40%. The portion of Americans who identify as independent is at a record high and growing. Americans everywhere see the problems facing our nation, and are calling for something new.

So maybe crazy voters aren’t that crazy after all. Maybe they are just the innovators — the early adopters. Maybe what makes them special isn’t how they think, but how they act. Crazy voters are the ones who are loud enough and disruptive enough to be called crazy in the first place, because that is the only way to make a difference. And 2016 is going to be their year.

Editor’s note: This article, written by Andy Smith, originally published on the Centrist Project’s website on May 22, 2015. You can learn more about the Centrist Project on its website or follow the organization on Twitter and Facebook.

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An Open Letter to Governor Brown: Please Support A Mother’s Right to Choose http://ivn.us/2015/05/25/open-letter-governor-brown-please-support-mothers-right-choose/ http://ivn.us/2015/05/25/open-letter-governor-brown-please-support-mothers-right-choose/#comments Mon, 25 May 2015 11:00:45 +0000 http://ivn.us/?p=23295663571 An Open Letter to Governor Brown: Please Support A Mother’s Right to Choose

Please ask yourself before casting your deciding vote, am I sacrificing the people’s liberty for a real threat? Do you really know better than me what is best for my child? There is no reason for us to be blindly supportive of the vaccine initiative.

Caitlan SullivanIVN.us - Independent Voter Network: Unfiltered News

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An Open Letter to Governor Brown: Please Support A Mother’s Right to Choose

Dear Governor Brown,

My name is Caitlan, and I have an 11-month-old daughter, Maggie. Prior to my career as a stay at home Mom, I worked in the financial sector for over ten years. I am the type of person that eats as much organic and unprocessed food as I can, I do yoga and Pilates every day, and I lean toward acupuncture and herbs for non-medical emergencies.

I moved toward this “natural” lifestyle in my late 20s when I was having trouble sleeping. I went to my General Practitioner who proposed putting me on a low dose of Paxil. Instead of putting a Band-Aid on the problem and embarking on a lifetime of pharmaceutical dependency, I turned to acupuncture.

Within a week, I was sleeping fine. Though I loved and trusted my GP, I am a person who does my homework and asks questions. When a doctor tells me I should do something, I do not just blindly follow.

Early in my pregnancy I set the intention to deliver my baby naturally and drug free. To the surprise of every nurse in the hospital’s labor & delivery unit, I did it. I am 11 months into nursing my baby, and have been feeding her homemade organic baby food for the past five months. Now, I’m not some air-headed hippie Mom. I prefer Chanel to patchouli, and the BBC to Bravo, but I will take Chinese herbs over Advil any day.

I like to believe I am an informed and intelligent person. I took my pregnancy seriously and researched what would happen when the baby was born. The vaccine issue had never occurred to me. I was fully on board with the benefits of vaccines and never once considered the downside. When I heard that my perfectly healthy newborn was to be injected with a Hepatitis B vaccine within 12 hours of life, a red flag went up immediately. I began voraciously learning about the vaccines and have spent well over 1,000 hours on this.

When I told my husband about my vaccine concerns, he laughed at first. I then asked him, what’s so bad about the measles? Our parents all had it. He began the research and found that it occurs as a runny nose, and a rash in most people. We started the discussion and began looking at the seriousness of each diseases, the likelihood of contracting them versus the need to inject our baby with the neurotoxins, heavy metals, and other nasty ingredients like aborted fetal tissue, on the vaccine schedule.

Please trust me when I tell you how much this research has consumed me, how we’ve had to suffer with family members and friends that question our sanity, and how heavy the choice has weighed on us. I am not saying we will never vaccinate her. I am saying we are not on board with the current schedule of 49 doses by the age of 5 years old and I believe we have done the right thing for our baby by questioning, and delaying. I am justifiably scared of SB 277, which seeks to remove our rights.

While I can only hope the lawmakers pushing this policy are doing these things in the name of public health, and I’m happy that they have our “best interest” in mind, these efforts are a sacrifice of my liberties. While I am very happy for every parent and grandparent whose children never suffered from the adverse effects from vaccines, I strongly believe they would have a different opinion as to the safety of these pharmaceutical wonder drugs, had one of them been the unfortunate sacrificial lamb suffering for the “Greater Good.”

Governor Brown, I’m sure you recognize that children today are subject to no less than 3 times as many vaccines as the previous generation. Parents today are facing a much more significant question about vaccines than parents 30 years ago were facing.

Something is broken, Governor Brown. Our children have never been sicker, and our requirement for vaccines has never been higher. I understand correlation doesn’t equal causation, but please point me to a study that shows the benefit of heavy metal exposure on the human body. Children in the U.S. are fraught with auto-immune diseases, deadly allergies, asthma, eczema, perpetual ear infections, and childhood cancers. Autism rates are staggeringly high (1 in 68).

According to the CDC, our infant mortality rate is higher than any of the other 27 first world countries! This wasn’t the case 30 years ago. Don’t you think we should figure out what is happening to our babies? I personally know four people that have lost their baby to SIDS. Is that normal?

While frightening facts like “28 percent of children younger than the age of 5 who contracted measles in the United States between 2001 and 2013 had to be hospitalized. Measles can cause pneumonia, lifelong brain damage, deafness, and death,” flood the media, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) data, 0 deaths have occurred resulting from the wild measles in the last ten years.

Meanwhile, according to data from the Vaccine Adverse Effect Reporting System (VAERS), a government-run program, over 100 deaths have occurred from the MMR vaccine. Any day of the week, I’d prefer to be “hospitalized” than die, or begin a lifetime of suffering a debilitating auto immune disease.

You probably had the measles as a child, did you not? I’m sure you did, everyone did. According to the public records, there were 3 deaths out of 10,000,000 cases in 1955, prior to the start of the measles mass vaccination campaign. (Source: MWR. Achievements in Public Health, 1900-1999 Impact of Vaccines Universally Recommended for Children – – United States, 1990-1998. April 02, 1999 / 48(12); 243-248.)

While the lawmakers backing this bill deem it in the interest of public safety and to protect the weakest members of the herd, with rhetoric like “Measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases can also be devastating to unimmunized children, such as infants who are too young to be immunized and children who are medically unable to be vaccinated because of cancer treatment or a weakened immune system,” according to St. Jude’s Hospital Inpatient visiting guidelines, the recently vaccinated are the real danger to children with cancer and weakened immune system as they walk around asymptomatic, shedding the virus.

A common cold is also a serious threat to an immunocomprised person, as is the asymptomatic person strolling out of Walmart loaded up on vaccines.

"According to the CDC, our infant mortality rate is higher than any of the other 27 first world countries!"
The mainstream media loves to state that science has conclusively and repeatedly found that vaccines are safe for the overwhelming majority, but this is simply not true! Never has a true independent, double-blind placebo study been performed on the safety of vaccines.

Currently, the vaccines are not tested against placebos; they are tested against aluminum — or other vaccines! These studies are often funded and published by companies like the Lewin Group, a consulting firm that lists major vaccine manufacturers as clients. As you know, this is not how scientific studies are to be performed. The science is not in, Governor Brown!

As I’m sure you’re aware, since 1986, vaccine manufacturers have been immune from liability in the United States and victims of vaccine injury must file with the VAERS system in attempt to be compensated through the federal program. Despite the lengthy and arduous process, the government has paid out over $3 Billion to the vaccine injured.

The payment for death is $250,000. Do you think that would suffice to comfort you if your baby was the unfortunate statistic? SIDS is the usual suspect. Who knows how many infants have been sacrificed for the “greater good” with their unsuspecting parents not knowing that their infant had actually died from toxicity caused by vaccination.

My life would be easier if I simply agreed with statements like this from Senator Feinstein: “[P]ersonal beliefs about vaccines should not supersede public safety and the need to protect against these serious and potentially deadly diseases.”

However, I have found flaws in the way these studies are conducted, the way they are refuted, and the science that is handed down in order to make policy.

The disgraced Andrew Wakefield and his retracted article in the Lancet, are often referred to as proof positive that this is a case-closed issue. I’m sure you are aware that the manufacturer of the MMR vaccine, Merck, is currently facing federal court due to falsifying their data as to the efficacy of the Mumps vaccine.

You probably also heard that the Italian courts just determined that there is indeed a link between MMR and autism. You probably heard of the whistle-blowers from the CDC that came forward with the cover up of the MMR study showing 300% increase in autism in African-American boys. You’re probably aware of another vaccine manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline, recently settling with the Chinese government to the tune of $500 million for bribery and falsifying data.

Please consider how certain you are that vaccine manufacturers are acting in the best interest of public health? If vaccines are so good and so safe, why did our government have to create an unconstitutional protection for drug companies? Why are they immune from liability? Why do we have to spend taxpayer dollars to pay out unfortunate victims, meanwhile the pharmaceutical companies are raking in billions of dollars a year off of vaccines? If the vaccine is so effective, why do vaccinated people get the measles, the whooping cough, the flu? If the drugs are so effective, and the companies are so wonderful, why are billion-dollar lawsuits being rewarded?

Please ask yourself before casting your deciding vote, am I sacrificing the people’s liberty for a real threat? Do you really know better than me what is best for my child? There is no reason for us to be blindly supportive of the vaccine initiative.

I understand that this is a tough position for you to be in, but that doesn’t waive your responsibility to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, to which you swore an oath. You are in a position to make a unique and lasting change to protect our children, and the way to do this is to demand answers, not force these unsafe, untested, pharmaceutical drugs on our children.

We are all worried about making the right decisions for the protection of our children. Governor Brown, you were always the champion of a women’s right to choose. There should be NO disconnect on this issue. Women should not only have the right to choose, we should have the right to protect our children once they are born!

My understanding is that the Democratic Party is the party that champions itself as being a protector of individual rights and liberty. I ask you to look at this issue through those eyes. Removing the philosophical and religious exemptions to vaccines is akin to declaring martial law. Do you really want to be imposing a medical police state over cold and flu-like symptoms?

I know you are a highly educated, and thoughtful man. Please think about this! Again, I truly appreciate you taking the time to write me on behalf of this issue and welcome any response.

Sincerely,

Caitlan Sullivan

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Caitlan SullivanIVN.us - Independent Voter Network: Unfiltered News

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DOJ Watchdog: PATRIOT Act Hasn’t Helped Crack Any National Security Cases http://ivn.us/2015/05/22/doj-watchdog-patriot-act-hasnt-helped-crack-national-security-cases/ http://ivn.us/2015/05/22/doj-watchdog-patriot-act-hasnt-helped-crack-national-security-cases/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 14:41:57 +0000 http://ivn.us/?p=23295663515 DOJ Watchdog: PATRIOT Act Hasn’t Helped Crack Any National Security Cases

On the heels of U.S. Senator Rand Paul's (R-Ky.) filibuster against extending provisions in the PATRIOT Act that are set to expire at the end of the month, a new report from the Justice Department's inspector general reveals that the FBI cannot name a single instance when information gathered through Section 215 orders solved any cases. However, the report did find that the agency has broadened the scope of information it collects for national security investigations.

Shawn M. GriffithsIVN.us - Independent Voter Network: Unfiltered News

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DOJ Watchdog: PATRIOT Act Hasn’t Helped Crack Any National Security Cases

On the heels of U.S. Senator Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) filibuster against extending provisions in the PATRIOT Act that are set to expire at the end of the month, a new report from the Justice Department’s inspector general (IG) reveals that the FBI cannot name a single instance when information gathered through Section 215 orders solved any cases. However, the report did find that the agency has broadened the scope of information it collects for national security investigations.

The AP reports:

the FBI has expanded the categories of information sought under Section 215 in ways that continue to demand oversight, the inspector general said. Materials produced in response to Section 215 orders “now range from hard copy to reproductions of business ledgers and receipts to gigabytes of metadata and other electronic information,” the report said. Technological advancements to the Internet and society’s use of it “have also expanded the quantity and quality of electronic information available to the FBI,” according to the report.

 

Agents who were interviewed for the review described the Patriot Act authority as a valuable tool to develop leads and corroborate other information, but said they “did not identify any major case developments” that came from the records obtained through Section 215 orders. And in some cases, information was gathered through the surveillance on people who were not subjects of or associated with an FBI investigation, according to the report. – AP, May 21, 2015

The IG’s report seems to contradict what FBI Director James Comey and U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch have said about the program, suggesting that it is vital to the nation’s security. Congress is currently weighing whether or not to renew provisions in the PATRIOT Act, and are on the clock to make a decision. Comey and Lynch have both said that public safety will be jeopardized if the law is allowed to expire.

The IG also found that the Justice Department did not act until 2013 to create and implement privacy rules when using Section 215 for intelligence gathering — 7 years after it was supposed to!

Alex Abdo, a staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union, called the inspector general’s report “an indictment of the system of secret oversight” relied on as checks for FBI and NSA surveillance.

 

“It’s evidence that the kind of reform we need is not superficial tinkering with government authorities,” Abdo said in an interview with The Associated Press. “It’s systemic reform.” – AP, May 21, 2015

Read the full AP report here

Shawn M. GriffithsIVN.us - Independent Voter Network: Unfiltered News

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China Is Beating Us on the World Stage — And No One Noticed Until Now http://ivn.us/2015/05/22/china-beating-us-world-stage-no-one-noticed-now/ http://ivn.us/2015/05/22/china-beating-us-world-stage-no-one-noticed-now/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 09:00:47 +0000 http://ivn.us/?p=23295663457 China Is Beating Us on the World Stage — And No One Noticed Until Now

The major media outlets have finally taken up addressing Chinese expansionism, with Secretary of State John Kerry's high-level talks on China's artificial reefs being built in the South China Sea. The problem is: What are we going to do about it now that the reefs are already built?

David YeeIVN.us - Independent Voter Network: Unfiltered News

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China Is Beating Us on the World Stage — And No One Noticed Until Now

The major media outlets have finally taken up addressing Chinese expansionism, with Secretary of State John Kerry’s high-level talks on China’s artificial reefs being built in the South China Sea.

The problem is: What are we going to do about it now that the reefs are already built?

It’s not like the warning signs haven’t been there for years. IVN has reported on Chinese expansionism for over a year at this point, including the changing paradigm of the Chinese military that the West has been reluctant to accept and the growing strategic activities in the South China Sea.

The U.S. government hasn’t been wholly neglectful. President Obama strengthened military ties with the Philippines by re-opening a U.S. military base to have an advanced military presence in the South China Sea.

The U.S. Marines have also significantly increased troop concentration, troop training, and drills at their base in Northern Australia.

But from a diplomatic standpoint, we have already lost this battle with the Chinese. The reefs are built and they have dozens of ships working on them and/or guarding them. Unless we want to risk an outright military territorial dispute, the reefs are here to stay.

With permanent veto power at the U.N., it’s unlikely the international community will be able to push back against China’s territorial claims, outside of international court cases that are often ignored.

The only thing we can do is start addressing expansionism sooner, and we need to start addressing the underlying roots of this expansion. This will require a level of boldness in geographically “staking” our claims when it comes to trade and influence, while pushing back against the urges to entangle the United States and the Western Hemisphere at large with complicated, one-sided treaties that serve Chinese expansionism far greater than American trade.

Staking Our Geographic Spheres of Influence

Like it or not, former Secretary of State Colin Powell was correct when he told then-President G. W. Bush that if we went into Iraq, the Pottery Barn rule would apply, “You break it, you own it.”

There are multiple calls from both sides of the aisle for a departure from American dominance and influence in the Middle East, but this will come at a significant geopolitical cost. The Chinese are all too willing to swoop in and fix, with a seemingly endless supply of capital, what we have broken.

Premier Li rides a newly-constructed subway in Brazil built by Chinese factories.

American’s should be war weary, and we should be looking for answers in the Middle East to nation build and foster democratic ideals.

But if we allow the Chinese to swoop in at the last minute to play the role of hero, we will be stuck with a diplomatic and economic nightmare that could last a century. Not only would China have an unbroken line of trade geographically from China to Africa, they would establish themselves as the go-to nation building superpower.

Closer to home: Whatever happened to the Monroe Doctrine (and Roosevelt Corollary) that have guided our national policy making since 1823?

Chinese arms sales, troop exchanges, joint military exercises, naval deployments, permanently stationed troops, and military treaties have all become the standard in Latin and South America — and this isn’t even counting the large number of economic treaties created. This includes the inking of another $27 billion trade agreement with Brazil, the first stop on Premier Li’s South American economic tour.

In American politics, we are caught between two camps: the growing isolationist movement and those wanting to take a greater role on the world stage. As with anything, balance is everything, but throwing away 192 years of American foreign policy cannot be the answer — the Western Hemisphere is our sphere of influence.

What We Can’t Do is Blind Reactionism

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a genuine, but misguided effort of twelve countries — Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam — to build a viable, Pacific trade partnership outside of China’s immediate grasp.

For a time, China was seemingly uninterested in the TPP, countering with its own treaties with many of the individual nations involved. However, it started to express interest as early as 2013 in being a part of the negotiations as well.

The TPP might be the best treaty America has ever tried to negotiate. But if the terms are so good, generous, and equitable, why not make the details public?

We need a greater role in the world stage, but it won’t come from encumbering the American people with treaties that potentially strip our national sovereignty. But the unfortunate reality is that we have become a nation that doesn’t export “hard assets” anymore. Yes, we are the world leaders in exporting medical technology and heavy transportation equipment, but our exports are largely products that are used by others to create value-added products (often exported back to the U.S.).

Part of any stable reaction to Chinese expansionism has to be policy-making that is nation building, not nation breaking, protecting our interests in the Western Hemisphere and having economic policies that turn America back into the leading exporter of products worldwide — closing our $40-50 billion monthly trade gap.

Yesterday’s News Can’t Be Today’s

The Chinese encroachment into the South China Sea, including artificial reef building, is last year’s news — hardly worthy of mention now that the deed is “done.” We need to have a media and administration that is focusing on today’s news, not last year’s.

We are quickly becoming caught in a cycle of catch-up that we had better get out of quickly, because in the age of instantaneous information, we need to be addressing our foreign policy dilemmas as they happen — not once they are reported on by the major news outlets!

David YeeIVN.us - Independent Voter Network: Unfiltered News

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Amid New Allegations and Disclosures, Hillary Clinton Faces Scrutiny Over Donors’ Influence http://ivn.us/2015/05/22/hillary-clinton-money-scandal/ http://ivn.us/2015/05/22/hillary-clinton-money-scandal/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 08:00:40 +0000 http://ivn.us/?p=23295663394 Amid New Allegations and Disclosures, Hillary Clinton Faces Scrutiny Over Donors’ Influence

Since the release of the book, Clinton Cash, by Peter Schweizer, a conservative scholar and Republican consultant, Hillary Clinton has faced scrutiny over whether contributions to the Clintons and their charitable initiatives influenced her behavior while secretary of state.

Andrew GrippIVN.us - Independent Voter Network: Unfiltered News

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Amid New Allegations and Disclosures, Hillary Clinton Faces Scrutiny Over Donors’ Influence

Since the release of the book, Clinton Cash, by Peter Schweizer, a conservative scholar and Republican consultant, Hillary Clinton has faced scrutiny over whether contributions to the Clintons and their charitable initiatives influenced her behavior while secretary of state.

Schweizer’s discussion of the book itself generated a donation-related micro-scandal. Shortly after his appearance on ABC’s This Week, where the host George Stephanopolous declared that ABC News had found “no proof” that any contributions to the Clintons or their foundation had directly affected her policy decisions, it was later discovered that Stephanopolous had contributed $75,000 to the Clinton Foundation over a three-year period.

Stephanopolous’s relationship with the Clintons stretches back decades: he helped manage Bill Clinton’s successful presidential campaign in 1992.

The book presents a myriad of relationships, timelines, transactions, and other details that suggest – but do not prove – that Hillary Clinton let donations affect her decision-making. Its allegations echo fundraising scandals that plagued the Democratic Party during President Clinton’s time in office.

Some cases appear more indicting than others, especially in light of the detailed rebuttal to the book posted by Correct the Record – an outfit run by David Brock, a prominent supporter of Hillary Clinton.

Uranium One Takeover

One frequently discussed allegation relates to an incident in October 2010, when a committee that included Secretary Clinton approved a deal that gave a Russian atomic energy company control over 20 percent of America’s uranium reserves – allegedly as a reward for generous contributions by the former owner of the company, Frank Giustra.

The timeline runs as follows. In 2005, Bill Clinton traveled to Kazakhstan with Giustra, the owner of the energy company UrAsia, to meet with President Nazarbayev. Days after that visit, Giustra acquired stake in three uranium mines in Kazakhstan. Months later, Giustra donated over $30 million to the Clinton Foundation. Giustra maintains that Bill Clinton played no role in orchestrating the deal.

In 2007, ownership of UrAsia began to change. That year, it merged with a South African company called Uranium One, and Frank Giustra sold his stake in the company – worth about $45 million. Then, in 2009, ARMZ – an arm of the Russia state-owned Rosatom, purchased 17% stake in Uranium One. This was the beginning of a gradual takeover of Giustra’s former company.

In June 2010, Bill Clinton received $500,000 to speak in Russia at the same time that Rosatom submitted to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One, which had acquired ownership of uranium production sites in several western states. Approval of the deal was put before a high-level panel known as the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which included Secretary Clinton as well as nine other voting members — including other cabinet-level secretaries.

A dissenting vote would have transferred approval of the deal to the president, but it received unanimous approval.

In 2009, the committee disapproved of a deal that would have permitted the Chinese to acquire a 51% stake in a small gold company in Nevada, citing national security concerns.

While the allegation is that Clinton’s approval was a favor for Giustra, Correct the Record notes that he sold his share in the company 18 months before Clinton became secretary of state. However, he did continue to serve as a financial adviser to the company as the chairman of Endeavour Financial after 2007 – the year of the merger.

Moreover, as the New York Times points out, other donors to Clinton benefited from the deal, including Ian Telfer, the chairman of Uranium One at the time of the Russian acquisition. Telfer donated $250,000 through his own charity to support the Clintons’ philanthropic work that year.

While Mr. Giustra does not feature as centrally in the Uranium One case, he is at the center of allegations pertaining to influencing the approval of a free trade deal with Colombia from which he stood to benefit.

Colombian Free Trade Agreement

"In 2008, when Hillary Clinton was running for president, she opposed a proposed free trade agreement with Colombia."Andrew Gripp, IVN Independent Author
In 2007, Giustra helped launch an energy company called Pacific Rubiales, which had access to oil fields in Colombia.

In 2008, when Hillary Clinton was running for president, she opposed a proposed free trade agreement with Colombia, citing the country’s poor labor record.

In 2009, however, Clinton began to warm to the deal after taking over as secretary of state in President Obama’s administration. In June 2010, she traveled to Colombia and dined with Bill and Mr. Giustra. The next day, she met with Colombian president Álvaro Uribe and expressed support for a free trade agreement.

Congress debated the agreement in 2011 – amid accusations that the Colombian military had threatened violence against Pacific Rubiales workers who had staged a strike.

Clinton’s State Department praised Colombia’s progress on human rights. Congress approved the agreement in October 2011, which went into effect the following May.

Violation of 2008 Ethics Agreement

The innuendo of a conflict of interest stems from recent revelations that a Canada-based charity co-founded by Clinton and Giustra did not disclose its funding sources, which conflicts with the spirit of a 2008 ethics agreement reached with the Obama administration during Secretary Clinton’s tenure.

Giustra and his company pledged millions to the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership since its creation in 2007.

This agreement set up a review process for donations from foreign governments to the Clintons’ philanthropic organizations to avoid a conflict of interest. It did not forbid such donations so as to allow for the processing of existing multi-year grants.

However, at least one breach of this agreement did occur in 2010, when the foundation received $500,000 from the Algerian government following the earthquake in Haiti. The foundation acknowledged it failed to get the proper approval from the State Department.

That same year, there was also a noted increase in the number of meetings between department officials and registered lobbyists representing Algeria.

Morocco and OCP

Hillary Clinton also faces questions about donations from a state-owned phosphate company, OCP, in Morocco.

The country has a history of human rights abuses. It also occupies the disputed territory of Western Sahara: Morocco has held onto Western Sahara as a colonial territory long after Spain and neighboring Mauritania abandoned it in the 1970s.

Sahrawis, including miners who once worked for OCP, claim that OCP is a tool of the Moroccan occupation.

"OCP has donated up to $6 million to the Clinton Foundation."
While the State Department did continue to note human rights abuses and corruption in Morocco during Secretary Clinton’s tenure, Clinton praised its autonomy plan for Western Sahara and called Morocco “a leader and a model” in 2012.

When Clinton stepped down as secretary of state, a leaked memo from the Moroccan embassy revealed that the country lost “an ally who will be difficult to replace,” while another memo stressed the need to develop an “aggressive and enterprising” strategy to maintain warm relations.

Clinton’s successor, John Kerry, has a history of being more critical of Morocco. In 2001, then Senator Kerry expressed support for a referendum to decide whether Western Sahara would achieve independence.

Since Clinton’s departure, Morocco has intensified its lobbying efforts in Washington. It recruited as a lobbyist Justin Gray, who sits on the board of the pro-Clinton super PAC, Priorities USA Action. Former U.S. diplomat and treasury department official under President Clinton, Stuart Eizenstat – who sits on the OCP’s advisory board – also lobbies on the company’s behalf in the Senate.

The OCP has donated up to $6 million to the Clinton Foundation. It most recently spent $1 million to sponsor a lavish Clinton charity event in Marrakech in early May.

When Bill Clinton was asked about Schweizer’s book during the event, he retorted “It won’t fly.”

While many journalists have substantiated many of the facts in Clinton Cash, its publisher, Harper Collins, recently corrected a few inaccuracies.

Indian Nuclear Trade Deal

Fact-checkers have also undermined some of Schweizer’s charges. Politifact, for instance, showed that then-Senator Hillary Clinton did not change her position on amendments to a nuclear trade deal with India between 2006 and 2008.

Its report did notice, however, that Clinton did have a change of heart regarding the deal itself in mid-2006, when she switched from opposing to supporting it. “Maybe Chatwal helped change her mind between May and June 2006, or maybe not,” Politifact concluded.

In this case, Chatwal refers to Sant Singh Chatwal, a wealthy hotel and restaurant owner and a Clinton Foundation trustee. In April 2014, Chatwal pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance rules. Between 2007 and 2011, he circumvented contribution limits by reimbursing donors who gave to three Democratic federal candidates. One of these candidates was Hillary Clinton.

In addition to allegations of corruption by foreign donors giving to the Clintons’ charities, Hillary Clinton now faces renewed scrutiny about donations from domestic sources that benefited her personally.

Domestic Companies

According to a recent disclosure, BIll and Hillary Clinton earned $25 million in speaking fees since January 2014. Hillary Clinton personally earned $11.7 million for delivering 51 speeches in that time, while she was considering a presidential bid. Many of these speeches were given before technology companies, some of which have ties to the Clinton campaign.

Salesforce.com, for instance, paid Mrs. Clinton $451,000 for two speeches in 2014. Its CEO, Marc Benioff, was a major donor to the Ready for Hillary super PAC.

In late 2014, she also spoke to the data storage company, Nexenta Systems, whose chief executive, Tarkan Maner, sat on the super PAC’s national finance committee.

Some of these donors have a financial interest in U.S. policy. Qualcomm, for instance, has a major stake in protecting its intellectual property overseas. The company recently paid the Chinese government nearly $1 billion in fines for anti-trust violations. It count benefit from the implementation and later expansion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which could be used to challenge foreign governments’ regulations that are overly protective of domestic companies.

Hillary Clinton has not taken a firm stance for or against the TPP.

She has championed the interests of specific companies in the past. For instance, she promoted legislation and tariff reductions that benefited Corning Inc., a glass and materials company based in upstate New York. The company’s support for Clinton began with contributions toward her 2000 senatorial campaign.

Corning lobbied Clinton’s State Department and donated over $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation. It also paid Hillary Clinton $225,500 personally to speak before the company in July 2015.

When Bill Clinton was asked about the six-figure honorariums he has received since leaving office, he stated, “I gotta pay our bills.”

The Clinton’s income puts them in the top tenth of the top 1 percent of American earners.

Photo Source: AP

Andrew GrippIVN.us - Independent Voter Network: Unfiltered News

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The OTHER Santa Barbara Oil Spill and the Birth of Environmentalism http://ivn.us/2015/05/21/santa-barbara-oil-spill-birth-environmentalism/ http://ivn.us/2015/05/21/santa-barbara-oil-spill-birth-environmentalism/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 22:25:41 +0000 http://ivn.us/?p=23295663485 The OTHER Santa Barbara Oil Spill and the Birth of Environmentalism

This week we were treated to another oil spill that will cost millions to clean up and endanger many different species of marine wildlife. A pipe that was installed in 1987 burst close to Refugio State Beach in south Santa Barbara, spilling around 100,000 gallons of crude oil into the surrounding waters. California Governor Jerry Brown has since declared a state of emergency in Santa Barbara County and crews have set up blockades that are designed to contain two visible oil slicks.

Tige RichardsonIVN.us - Independent Voter Network: Unfiltered News

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The OTHER Santa Barbara Oil Spill and the Birth of Environmentalism

This week we were treated to another oil spill that will cost millions to clean up and endanger many different species of marine wildlife. A pipe that was installed in 1987 burst close to Refugio State Beach in south Santa Barbara, spilling around 100,000 gallons of crude oil into the surrounding waters. California Governor Jerry Brown has since declared a state of emergency in Santa Barbara County and crews have set up blockades that are designed to contain two visible oil slicks.

What is interesting about this relatively small incident is that it comes nearly 46 years after another Santa Barbara oil spill that sparked the modern day environmental movement.

A new article in Vox describes how the Santa Barbara spill of 1969 was the first oil spill to captivate a national audience.

The spill began on January 28, 1969, after a blowout on Union Oil’s Platform A — located offshore in the Santa Barbara channel. It took 10 days to plug the leak with cement, and in the interim, up to 4.2 million gallons of crude oil had spilled out.

To add a little perspective, let me ask a question. Have you ever been to Santa Barbara? No!?!? Well its just about the best place ever. I’m serious. They don’t call it the American Riviera for no reason.

So when oil slicks encroach on breathtaking views of the California coastline, people will notice and get angry. The spill of 1969 was the first time the national spotlight fixated on an environmental crisis and cast a major oil company as the villain.

The combination of the Santa Barbara oil spill, Ohio’s famously polluted Cayuhoga River catching fire, and Rachel Carson’s book, Silent Spring, a work that detailed the effect DDT had on birds, was a huge shock to the American conscience. So much so that people started to organize and get angry.

In reaction to the spill, people lit their gas credits on fire, the California Legislature put a moratorium on all new offshore drilling platforms, and in 1970 Congress passed the National Environmental Protection Act, an ordinance that required corporations to consider the environmental impacts of any new projects they were undertaking. A few months later, Nixon singed an executive order that created the EPA.

Since then, our passion for environmental protections has subsided but our environmental accidents have not. Maybe the events in Santa Barbara will inspire new reflection amongst elected officials about how best to mitigate the impact that we have on the environment….. Ha ha, no of course it won’t. Yet it is interesting that at one point in our modern history, we had legislators who were able to quickly react to legitimate issues that effected our natural resources.

Photo Source: USA Press

Tige RichardsonIVN.us - Independent Voter Network: Unfiltered News

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