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insta8er's Journal
insta8er's Journal
June 25, 2016

UK: EU referendum petition signed by more than 2 Million

More than two million people have signed a petition calling for a second EU referendum, after the vote to leave.
It has more signatures than any other on the parliamentary website and as it has passed 100,000, Parliament will consider it for a debate.
The UK voted to leave the EU by 52% to 48% in Thursday's referendum but the majority of voters in London, Scotland and Northern Ireland backed Remain.
David Cameron has previously said there would be no second referendum.
On Friday he said he would stand down as prime minister by October following the leave result


Classic case of buyer's remorse if you ask me.

June 25, 2016

Who is writing the TPP? Article By Elizabeth Warren and Rosa DeLauro

CONGRESS IS in an intense debate over trade bills that will shape the course of the US economy for decades. Much of this debate has been characterized as a fight over whether international trade itself creates or destroys American jobs. There is, however, another major concern — that modern “trade” agreements are often less about trade and more about giant multinational corporations finding new ways to rig the economic system to benefit themselves. Hillary Clinton has said that the “United States should be advocating a level and fair playing field, not special favors” for big business, in our trade deals. We agree with this blunt assessment – and believe every member of Congress should consider this carefully before voting to help advance these agreements.

Advocates of the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership, a massive 12-country agreement, sell this proposal as a free trade deal — but the United States already has free trade agreements with half of the countries at the negotiating table, and only five of the treaty’s 29 draft chapters reportedly deal with traditional trade issues. While reducing traditional barriers to trade with countries like Japan will facilitate some international commerce, the TPP is about more than reducing tariffs.

The president argues that the TPP is about who will “write the rules” for 40 percent of the world’s economy — the United States or China. But who is writing the TPP? The text has been classified and the public isn’t permitted to see it, but 28 trade advisory committees have been intimately involved in the negotiations. Of the 566 committee members, 480, or 85 percent, are senior corporate executives or representatives from industry lobbying groups. Many of the advisory committees are made up entirely of industry representatives.

A rigged process leads to a rigged outcome. For evidence of that tilt, look at a key TPP provision: Investor-State Dispute Settlement where big companies get the right to challenge laws they don’t like in front of industry-friendly arbitration panels that sit outside of any court system. Those panels can force taxpayers to write huge checks to big corporations — with no appeals. Workers, environmentalists, and human rights advocates don’t get that special right.


June 25, 2016

Democrats Reject Platform Proposal Opposing Trade Deal

Democrats on Friday voted down an amendment to the party's platform that would have opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, avoiding an awkward scenario that would have put its statement of values at odds with President Barack Obama.

Members of a Democratic National Convention drafting committee defeated a proposal led by Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., that would have added language rejecting the Pacific Rim trade pact, which has been opposed by presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

The panel, which is developing the party's platform ahead of next month's Philadelphia convention, instead backed a measure that said "there are a diversity of views in the party" on the TPP and reaffirmed that Democrats contend any trade deal "must protect workers and the environment."

June 25, 2016

Barney Frank: Scrap superdelegates, end caucuses

Count former Rep. Barney Frank among the prominent Democrats who would like to see their party ditch superdelegates and back off from caucuses.
Frank, who now serves as co-chairman of the Democratic National Convention Rules Committee, says that in his current role, it’s his job to foster a fair debate as the party rethinks its process for picking presidential candidates, but he also admits that he has his own set of preferences for which way the party should go. Specifically, he opposes the prominent role “ex-officio delegates” (commonly known as “superdelegates”) have in the Democratic nominating process.

“I said repeatedly this spring that I believed it would be unacceptable for the votes of ex-officio delegates to overrule the outcome of the primaries and caucuses. While this will not happen this year, and has in fact never come even close to happening since the change was instituted, I support doing away with even the possibility of this before our next nomination contest,” Frank wrote in a letter to Maine state Rep. Diane Russell, who submitted an amendment to Frank and Leticia Van De Putte — Frank’s co-chair on the rules panel — that would eliminate superdelegates.


June 24, 2016

Obama Wants to Stop Subsidizing Israel's Defense Industry

If you want to understand just how special the U.S.-Israel relationship really is, look no further than the annual aid package. Israel is not only the greatest beneficiary of U.S. defense assistance, but also the only one allowed to spend a portion of that assistance on weapons and equipment from its own industry. Everyone else has to buy American.

President Barack Obama is now looking to end this U.S. subsidy of Israel's defense sector, according to U.S. and Israeli officials. They say the "offshore procurement" provision, unique to Israel's aid package, is one of the last obstacles to completing an agreement to extend aid until 2029. Obama would like to phase out the agreement that allows Israel to spend 26 percent of U.S. annual aid at home. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, so far, disagrees.

In one respect this is surprising. Obama and his supporters like to tout U.S. military aid to Israel as an act of the president's unprecedented generosity. The U.S. has given Israel nearly $24 billion under Obama, more than any other U.S. president. As National Security Adviser Susan Rice said this month, "Even in these days of belt tightening, we are prepared to sign the single largest military assistance package -- with any country -- in American history," adding that it today comprises more than 50 percent of the total U.S. military aid budget.


June 24, 2016

Colorado to vote on single-payer state health-care system

Colorado voters will decide next year whether this state should be the first to pay for comprehensive health care for residents.

Proponents of a single-payer state system gathered enough signatures to put ColoradoCare on the ballot, the secretary of state’s office announced Monday.

They needed 98,492 valid signatures to put a state-governed health care system to a vote. After reviewing a 5 percent sample of the 158,831 signatures submitted, the secretary of state projected that the valid total would be 110 percent of the number required — and certified that Initiative 20, the “State Health Care System,” will be on the 2016 ballot.

Residents would choose their own health care providers, but ColoradoCare would pay the bills.

June 24, 2016

EU referendum: Which type of person wants to leave, and who will be voting to remain?

Those living in Scotland, with a university education or aged below 30 are most likely to want to stay in the EU, according to new polling data released by YouGov.

The UK's overall voting intentions could not be closer - with a slight lead in favour of the European Union - but splits between different groups of voters could hold the clue to the referendum's result.

While there seems to be no gender gap, the issue splits the population down age, political leanings and education.

YouGov said that its research shows that "for once the differences do match the stereotypes. There is a huge contrast between the kinds of people wanting Britain to stay in the EU and those wanting Brexit".

But what else does it indicate?


June 24, 2016

Sanders Says His Revolution Is 'Just Getting Started

Bernie Sanders told a roaring crowd of supporters Thursday that his campaign is "just getting started" fighting economic inequality, changing the Democratic Party and bolstering Democrats running for Congress.

Speaking to a packed hall in Manhattan, Sanders took something of a victory lap as he reviewed the states he won and the fact that many young people flocked to his campaign over presumptive Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton's. He did not mention her name, let alone endorse her as leading Democrats have urged.

"Our goal from day one has been to transform this nation and that is the fight we are going to continue," Sanders, his voice hoarse, told supporters who packed a venue called The Town Hall near Times Square. "We have got to make sure that (Republican presidential candidate Donald) Trump is not president. But that is not good enough."

The independent senator got standing ovations as he reviewed his campaign positions, from free health care and college tuition to campaign finance reform. Sanders urged his supporters to keep fighting inequality and insisting on "forcing open the door" of the Democratic Party to allow working Americans, not political elites, to run it. That was a not-subtle swipe at a party he complained rigged the nominating system in Clinton's favor.


June 23, 2016

Hillary Clinton racks up business endorsements

A group of major business leaders endorsed Hillary Clinton on Thursday in the wake of back-to-back speeches extolling her economic vision and slamming that of her opponent, Donald Trump.

The list includes current and former executives from General Motors, Delta Air Lines, Costco, Airbnb and Alphabet, the parent company for online search giant Google.

Among the highest-profile names on the list are Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and Los Angeles Lakers great Magic Johnson, a businessman and part owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Other sports team owners on the list include Washington Capitals and Wizards owner Ted Leonsis, as well as Laura Ricketts, the lone liberal in the famously conservative Ricketts family that owns the Chicago Cubs.


June 22, 2016

Former Top Bush Adviser Backs Hillary Clinton Over Donald Trump

A top national security adviser to several former Republican presidents endorsed Hillary Clinton‘s presidential campaign on Wednesday, becoming one of the most prominent GOP figures to back the presumptive Democratic nominee over Donald Trump.

Brent Scowcroft offered a glowing endorsement of Clinton, saying that her lifetime experience in politics gives her a “truly unique experience and perspective” to “lead our country at this critical time.”

“She has spent her entire career in public service working to improve the lives of the American people, and helping the United States lead a more secure and peaceful world,” Scowcroft said in a statement.

Sowcroft, a retired Air Force general, served as National Security Adviser under Presidents Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush. He also advised President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005 and assisted President Obama in selecting his national security team. Scowcroft did not mention Trump in his endorsement.


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