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Margaret Talbot: Why Is Congress So Afraid of Gun Control?

Margaret Talbot: Why Is Congress So Afraid of Gun Control? | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
What’s the worst that could happen? That’s what people ought to be asking Congress, in particular those senators who are holding up federal action on gun safety.
Greg Russak's insight:

"When people ask their friends the worst-case question, what they’re really saying is that even if the worst does happen it may not be as bad as imagined. If members of Congress who support gun safety but are worried about the political consequences vote for it anyway, a few of them may not be reëlected. But if gun safety can’t pass in this Congress, at this moment, what can? And there is still a year and a half before the election to mobilize against the N.R.A. and its allies and its funders in the gun industry. Besides, maybe members of Congress won’t be punished at the polls. They should remember the ninety per cent."

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Greg Russak's comment, April 17, 2013 10:30 PM
Whoa there, Party Recon. Maybe a "prescription" would help you to calm down. Laugh. It's a joke. Until I can pop in to the local 7-11 and... oh, forget it. We're a long way away from that, I fear. As for guns, I'm not suggesting a ban on all semi-automatics, and I care a great deal about everyone killed by a gun. I proudly count myself among those deeply touched and troubled by the senseless killing of anyone, but especially little children. As the parent of two grown children I cannot being to fathom the depth of grief and sorrow those families must be feeling and will feel for the rest of their lives. As for the CA gun crime stat, I'll take your word for it. I don't, however, think we ought to hold the actions of criminals up as the benchmark for our behavior or the bar to which we aspire. Criminals do all kinds of things that are illegal. It's what makes them criminals. We have laws against robbing banks and yet some people still do it. I doubt you'd want to repeal those laws, so why must we hold gun laws up to a standard of perfection. There's an excellent article on that very topic, "The Gun Lobby's Dumbest Argument", which you'll find here on my Scoop.it page. While I support making assault rifles and high-capacity magazines illegal starting now, how about this as a compromise? How about we make new sales of them to the public illegal and if you own one made before April 18, 2013, you can keep it? Or, pick another date 3 months, 6 months, a year out. Whatever. I suspect everyone who cares to have one probably does by now, and whatever rush banning them would create would be a little economic bump to the gun makers. Everyone gets what they want, right? I'm willing to consider any rational suggestions for how to at least minimize the chances of another Columbine, Aurora, or Sandy Hook so long as it doesn't involve more guns in the hands of more people. That's just gasoline on a fire, audio replays of survivors of Texas diner shootings from 1991 notwithstanding.
Party Recon's comment, April 18, 2013 3:52 PM
Oh boy, this is a mouthful: OK, let's start with this: I am a father as well, but I don't think that is a prerequisite for advocating for children. I am also touched by the killing of children. In fact, I am angered greatly by anyone doing anything to mess with children -- or women for that matter. As a martial arts instructor, I have taught countless free self-defense seminars to children, especially young teenaged girls who are the primary targets of non-family member abductions. I also have taught seminars for abused women. So I certainly believe my moral compass is pointing in the right direction.

Next: You said, "I don't, however, think we ought to hold the actions of criminals up as the benchmark for our behavior or the bar to which we aspire." Umm. That is the entire point of making laws Greg. Many people mistakenly think that laws govern the conduct of civilized societies. That could not be farther from the truth. It is the agreed-to Social Contract that is the glue of any community. When people violate the social contract, laws are needed to punish them. So IHMO, it is exactly the actions of criminals that drive the lawmaking process. The sheer number of laws, both criminal and civil, expand in direct proportion to number of times jerks figure out new ways to game the system. Good laws are aimed at modifying behavior. Laws whose focus is on the objects used in committing the crimes are a temporary band aide at best. Timothy McVeigh is proof positive of that. We highly regulate commercial explosives, the wacko figures out he can get the same result using fertilizer. The necessity created by the law became the mother of the destructive invention. So here’s a question: “If the fear of life in prison or, worse yet, lethal injection doesn’t scare you, how is the threat of spending a few years in jail on an illegal firearms possession charge going to act as an effective deterrent?”

Next: You said, ". . . so long as it doesn't involve more guns in the hands of more people. That's just gasoline on a fire." You have provided absolutely no proof of this, while I have provided proof, skinny as it may be, to the contrary. But I do love the comparison of gasoline to guns. After all, gasoline needs a combustion source just as guns need a trigger puller. So if everyone had an ample supply of gasoline, surly everyone would be much more careful when considering whether or not to light a match. I know, you'll never agree with that, but why? The proof is simply not there to support your conclusions. You're only betting on a future outcome that is supported by your own rationality and others that think like you. Again, no progress will ever come from this. You must open your mind to other possibilities and seek common ground.


Conclusion: Of course I don't want laws on the books repealed, but we need to get better at picking our current battles – and this one has horrible side effects. I'm sick of people waging divisive, vitriolic debates where both sides use the emotional appeal of tragedy in an attempt to win people over -- especially with people you know will NEVER change their minds. Those people who proclaim that you're going to have to pry their guns from their cold dead hands are not going to change their minds no matter how many Sandy Hooks they live through. As you pointed out, they spin those to make their convictions even stronger. In the meantime, why not ask the tougher question: "Why do people commit gun crimes"? I'll tell you why the cowards in Washington won't. They do it for one or more of four reasons. It's easy (vs. fixing a broken mental healthcare system or putting people back to work), they don't really care about gun violence, they love guns, or because like me, they have deemed it a lost cause. That is, unless they themselves have been the victim of a gun crime.

Case in point: Before being shot, what was Gabby Giffords voting record on Gun Control?

Nov. 16, 2011, HR 822
Requiring State Reciprocity for Carrying Concealed Firearms
Bill Passed
Giffords’: Did Not Vote

July 28, 2010, HR 5827
Exempting Guns from an Estate for Bankruptcy Purposes (a.k.a. ‘Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2010').
Bill Passed - House
Giffords’ vote: Yea

May 20, 2009, HR 627
Allowing Loaded Guns in National Parks Concurrence
Vote Passed - House
Giffords’ vote: Yea

And my favorite . . .

Sept. 17, 2008, HR 6842
Repealing Portions of the D.C. Firearm Ban
Bill Passed - House
Giffords’ vote: YEA
Bill highlights: Repeals the ban on semiautomatic weapons in Washington, D.C.

(All this and more can be found at http://votesmart.org/candidate/key-votes/28507/gabrielle-giffords/37/guns#.UXBFHbWG0sp)

Talk about, did you check first? So she votes nothing but pro-gun until 2011, when she quite literally has a come to Jesus moment and now she is all about gun control? Perhaps; but isn't it much more likely that she flip-flopped because the polls say that 90% of American’s are pro-gun control? Isn't she really just the biggest opportunist on the planet?

I really appreciate your passion Greg and your wish to make people's lives safer. As such, I suggest that you start with local action as it is much easier to gain consensus with people that are in the same risk pool as you. That is the primary conclusion of the Transpartisan book I reference. It's a great read and I can probably get you a free eBook if you don't already own it. Just let me know.
Greg Russak's comment, April 20, 2013 10:10 AM
@Party Recon, I appreciate your thoughtful reply. Giffords' voting record is interesting. Thank you for sharing it. I'm truly sorry that she had to suffer the horrible tragedy of being shot. I'm thankful for her change of heart. It's what rational people do; come to new conclusions when presented with new evidence and information. That said, I cannot see a time when I'll ever agree with you and consider the need to do something about gun violence to be a lost cause. I hold out too much hope for humanity and too many aspirations for my kids and future generations. That said, I couldn't help but notice you chose not to respond to any of my suggested compromises but, instead, felt obliged to suggest how and where I might find consensus. Ah, well. As for your opinions on laws, they're curious; however, like all opinions, you're entitled to them. Cheers.
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Donald Trump’s business disaster is worse than you think

Donald Trump’s business disaster is worse than you think | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Donald Trump ran his hotel and casino company into the ground at the same time that other gambling companies were making money like a one-armed bandit, reports Brett Arends.
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Corporate media ignores #Sanders yet again

Corporate media ignores #Sanders yet again | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
A huge thanks to all of the volunteers of March For Bernie (Pittsburgh, PA) (and now Burghers for Bernie) for yesterday' rally, to all of the volunteers for all of yesterday's rallies around the country, and for all of the tireless work you do to support Senator Sanders! It's too bad we live in a country…
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When even @NewsHour fails to do their job properly

When even @NewsHour fails to do their job properly | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Here's a perfect example of how easily people can be duped. Given the outlet this time, I suspect the targets are mostly people on the left. Column: Why the Trans-Pacific Partnership isn’t a bum deal “The TPP is a horrible deal,” Donald Trump said. “It’s a deal that’s designed for China to come in, as…
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Only #Sanders has any credibility on controlling Wall Street and reforming campaign financing

Only #Sanders has any credibility on controlling Wall Street and reforming campaign financing | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
There is only one candidate for president with any credibility when it comes to reining in Wall Street and doing something to end the corrupting influence that Big and Dark Money have over our elected officials. As terrible as right-wing and ultra-conservative ideology is for everyone (including the 'true believers' who live with the rest…
Greg Russak's insight:

"How much more convincing will it take to reach our fellow 99-percenters who prefer Hillary or who think that they’re Republicans?"

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The Plutocrats Are Winning. Don't Let Them! - BillMoyers.com

The Plutocrats Are Winning. Don't Let Them! - BillMoyers.com | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Dear Reader, In the fall of 2001, in the aftermath of 9/11, as families grieved and the nation mourned, Washington swarmed with locusts of the human kind: wartime opportunists, lobbyists, lawyers, ex-members of Congress, bagmen for big donors: all of them determined to grab what they could for their corporate clients and rich donors while no one was looking.Across the land, the faces of Americans of every stripe were stained with tears. Here in New York, we still were attending memorial services for our firemen and police. But in the nation’s capital, within sight of a smoldering Pentagon that had been struck by one of the hijacked planes, the predator class was hard at work pursuing private plunder at public expense, gold-diggers in the ashes of tragedy exploiting our fear, sorrow, and loss. Continue reading
Greg Russak's insight:

“There is no distinctive native American criminal class except Congress.”

-Mark Twain

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2015 in Review: Marriage Equality, Mass Shootings, Pope Francis and Islamic State: The Rev. Madison Shockley

2015 in Review: Marriage Equality, Mass Shootings, Pope Francis and Islamic State: The Rev. Madison Shockley | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Despite conservative backlash against same-sex weddings in 2015, ministers who support them can now fully practice their religions. Meanwhile, hateful rhetoric from Donald Trump and others means patriotic and law-abiding Muslims face a rising tide of hate crimes.
- 2015/12/24
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You can live your lives or live your fears

You can live your lives or live your fears | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
To those who think this meme, in some way, is a serious suggestion as to how any nation should respond to terrorism anywhere, I have a serious question. Where are these armaments of conventional wa...
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32 Of The Best Brand Tweets Celebrating Marriage Equality

32 Of The Best Brand Tweets Celebrating Marriage Equality | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
#LoveWins.
Greg Russak's insight:

In my book, BuzzFeed has all the newsworthy gravitas of Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly, Duck Dynasty, and Entertainment Tonight, but this is worth sharing, and here's why.

 

When corporations start using a cause in their marketing, it's game-over for the other side.

 

There's one reason and one reason only they do this. Money. We shouldn't give them more credit than they're due for doing this. They still have a long way to go to prove that they're humanists. It is, sadly, still the extremely rare exception that a corporate leader - remember, these are people who run corporations capable of making different decisions - who isn't motivated primarily by money and the selfish accumulation of vast amounts of wealth and power.

 

The point here is that gay marriage can now and finally begin to be considered as mainstream. Soon, it will be no more interesting or curious or culturally charged than inter-denominational or inter-racial marriage, and that is how it should be.

 

But for now, there's this.

 

Corporations recognize that those opposed to gay marriage are the minority. They don't really care if that minority is pissed off at them or decides not to shop in their stores or buy their products. The reason is simple. Because there are more of us in support of our LGBTQ family, friends, and strangers than there are who don't.

 

And, that is how it should be, too.

 

#MarriageEquality #LoveWins

 

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‘Fast Track’ Would Hand the Money Monopoly to Private Banks—Permanently

‘Fast Track’ Would Hand the Money Monopoly to Private Banks—Permanently | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
If successful, the rush to “fast track” a trio of controversial trade deals would nip attempts to implement public banking and other monetary reforms in the bud.
- 2015/06/13
Greg Russak's insight:

"The entire basis for maintaining our private extractive banking monopoly may have been thrown out the window. And that could help explain the desperate rush to “fast track” not only the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), but the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA). TiSA would nip attempts to implement public banking and other monetary reforms in the bud."

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Space, place, race: Six policies to improve social mobility

Space, place, race: Six policies to improve social mobility | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Richard Reeves and Allegra Pocinki review six policy proposals brought forth at a recent event featuring Professor Raj Chetty on place, opportunity, and social mobility.
Greg Russak's insight:
No single policy can do it all

Diane Bell-McKoy highlighted the scale of the challenge: what breaks people is ‘broken systems’ in high-poverty areas like much of Baltimore. Clearly it will take much more than a handful of policies to turn the tide in such places. And many will only succeed if we make progress in reducing institutional and structural racism. We can hope, along with Professor Chetty, that simply learning about the reality of opportunity gaps in so many U.S. cities will mean more cities adopt such policies, and take up the challenge of promoting opportunity across America.

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Karl Marx Was Right: Chris Hedges

Karl Marx Was Right: Chris Hedges | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
The economist and philosopher foresaw that capitalism had built within it the seeds of its own destruction, that the greed of a tiny elite would eventually bring down the system. The final stages that he predicted are visible all around us now.
- 2015/05/31
Greg Russak's insight:

Get beyond the headline. Read the entire piece. Read it thoughtfully. Then decide.

 

"Marx illuminated these contradictions within capitalism. He understood that the idea of capitalism—free trade, free markets, individualism, innovation, self-development—works only in the utopian mind of a true believer such as Alan Greenspan, never in reality. The hoarding of wealth by a tiny capitalist elite, Marx foresaw, along with the exploitation of the workers, meant that the masses could no longer buy the products that propelled capitalism forward. Wealth becomes concentrated in the hands of a tiny elite—the world’s richest 1 percent will own more than half of the world’s wealth by next year." - Chris Hedges

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Blow the whistle on ALEC!

Blow the whistle on ALEC! | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
The IRS needs to investigate ALEC and hold its corporate members accountable for lobbying under the guise of charity.
Greg Russak's insight:
PETITION TO IRS: Immediately investigate ALEC's abuse of its charitable status and hold this lobby group and its corporate funders accountable.

Atlanta TV investigative journalists expose ALEC and how they are corrupting our government.

 

If we stay silent, we are surrendering our democracy to them.

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Bernie or Busters: Are you prepared to own it?

Bernie or Busters: Are you prepared to own it? | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
I admire the passion of Bernie or Busters, but I don't think that they're being very strategic or very pragmatic. What I think they're being is ideological. This friendly criticism is coming from a guy who had been registered Non-Partisan for the first 36 years of his eligibility. It wasn't until Bernie decided he was…
Greg Russak's insight:
How to get attacked by fellow Bernie supporters? Have the temerity to ask them if they'll own it? I really can't believe the level if ideology I'm encountering from people who support the same candidate as I do.
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#EmoProgs, you’re not helping

#EmoProgs, you’re not helping | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
To my fellow Sanders supporters: If you're among those attacking Warren for not endorsing Sanders, and if you plan to stay home, write in Bernie, or vote 3rd party if Hillary wins the nomination, I submit to you that you will be just as responsible for a President Trump as those misguided Americans who vote…
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What NV caucus data reveals

What NV caucus data reveals | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
(Correction and clarification: According to MSN News, some 80,000 Nevadans participated in the Democratic caucus. That's 3.69% of the total population over the age of 18. The 11,827 voters discussed below are presumed to be the county convention delegates selected by caucus-goers, assuming the Democratic Party, "...reported county convention delegate totals to the media and…
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Future generations will ask what the f*ck were you thinking

Future generations will ask what the f*ck were you thinking | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Its analysis of the top 100 donors, Politico explains, includes "contributions to super PACs through the end of 2015 that were disclosed to the Federal Election Commission, combined with analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics and an estimate of average small donation size ― $75 ― calculated by the Campaign Finance Institute. The analysis…
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How the government came to own the West

How the government came to own the West | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Some elected officials want the federal government to release Western lands it has long held in stewardship for the benefit of the public and businesses.
Greg Russak's insight:

Pesky facts someone needs to share with the armed criminal trespassers in Oregon....

 

“A grazing right becomes like another form of property,” Limerick said. “You don’t own the land, but you can pass that grazing right along as a piece of property. So at that point, the division between private and public becomes pretty fuzzy.”

The economics of federal land management can be fuzzy as well, said political scientist Daniel McCool, director of environmental and sustainability studies at the University of Utah.

“Grazing rights are still very heavily subsidized,” McCool said. “Ranchers pay a tiny fraction of market value.”

McCool and other critics say current federal land-management policy subsidizes the energy and timber industries as well, by charging below-market rates to exploit resources on public lands.

And McCool said economic studies have shown that shifting from federal to state land ownership in the West would not generate additional revenue to support local government services.

To the contrary, he said, such a change would likely raise costs for local land-users, such as ranchers, because the additional costs of land management would far outstrip new revenue generated for state and local government.

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Interactive Map: Find Out Which Country Is Most Responsible for Climate Change

Interactive Map: Find Out Which Country Is Most Responsible for Climate Change | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Aurélien Saussay at French Economic Observatory created an interactive map showing the historical trends in CO2 emissions responsible for climate change
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Senators Voting to Block EPA Rules Received 17 Times as Much Money from the Coal Mining Industry | MapLight - Money and Politics

Senators Voting to Block EPA Rules Received 17 Times as Much Money from the Coal Mining Industry | MapLight - Money and Politics | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Rob Crandall/Shutterstock November 19, 2015 -- Ahead of a climate summit in Paris, the Senate passed joint resolutions on November 17, 2015 to block Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules designed to address climate change. Which 13 senators received more than $100,000 from the coal mining industry and voted to block EPA regulations?
Greg Russak's insight:

The next time someone tries to tell you that both parties are the same. (Hint: They aren't.)

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Anti-intellectualism Is Killing America

Anti-intellectualism Is Killing America | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Social dysfunction can be traced to the abandonment of reason
Greg Russak's insight:

Truer words are rarely penned. Please read and share this Psychology Today article as far and as wide as possible.

 

My hope is that someday my fellow citizens who are empowering this craze of anti-intellectualism on the right will soon come to their senses.

 

Anti-intellectualism is possible only because it is accepted and embraced by some as somehow good and right. It is not, and it never has been.

 

Those who willfully allow themselves to be duped into supporting and voting for anti-intellectual and corporatist candidates need to be outnumbered in the town squares and coffee shops, in places of worship (yes, there, too), on social media and in all our news outlets, and most importantly on election day.

 

This means, of course, that you liberals and progressives reading this have a responsibility, too, for when you stay silent and you don't vote, you also are culpable. 

 

I also look forward to the day when those Americans who embrace anti-intellectualism come to realize the truth that it wasn't willful ignorance and anti-intellectualism that made this country great. It was our unstoppable energy to apply our individual and collective intellect in scientific and evidence-based ways toward progress. Progress. Anti-intellectualism is the antithesis of progress, and we cannot solve our current and future problems or expand our knowledge and understanding without progress. And, it's only through progress that we can continue to move toward realizing more and more of the values any society needs to survive and thrive - equality, fairness, justice, and liberty for each and every human being.

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snopes.com: Obama Kissing a Man

snopes.com: Obama Kissing a Man | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Photograph shows Barack Obama kissing David Cameron?
Greg Russak's insight:

For the easily duped and punked who just can't stand the thought that people different from them exist let alone now can legally be married.

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Pelosi Torpedoes Obama’s Trade Authority Package

President Obama’s effort to secure the same Trade Promotion Authority that has been delivered in one form or another to every president since FDR went down in flames on Friday, and the president’s erstwhile ally, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) lit the match, taking to the floor to denounce TPA and pledging her vote to block it. In a convoluted legislative maneuver, the House broke up a Senate-passed bill into two parts, one of which gave the president TPA, and another that created a Trade Adjustment Assistance program for workers displaced as a result of new trade flows when trade rules are changed. To send a bill to the President’s desk, at least in the near term, the House needed to pass both measures, and the House Republican leadership brought up the TAA portion first.
Greg Russak's insight:

"... the TAA portion of the trade package went down to overwhelming defeat, 126-302, with large majorities of both parties voting against it.


"The House went forward with a vote on the TPA portion – something leadership had earlier indicated it would not do – and it passed 219-211, with only 28 Democrats joining 191 Republicans to vote in favor."

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Programmatic Buying Coming to the Political Arena in 2016

Programmatic Buying Coming to the Political Arena in 2016 | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
political advertisers seem poised to buy ads through programmatic systems to a much greater degree than in recent election cycles.
Greg Russak's insight:

In a post-Citizens United/McCutcheon world, an informed voter is one should try to understand that, 
1) money is not and ought not to be equated with free speech,


2) corporate media and their technology costs lots of money to access, and that means those with the most money get the largest megaphone and audiences (meaning we voters) and,


3) the combination of money and media is lethal to a democracy because it essentially guarantees a pay-to-play system where money controls access to information and who gets to participate in the conversation.

 

Now this: Programmatic ad buying comes to politics.

 

Let that sink in.

 

We are being treated as if we're nothing more than target markets to be sold to by corporatists spending perhaps billions in this cycle to sell us on voting for their proxies running for public office.

 

BTW, the so-called "..Democratic digital outfit 270 Strategies..." mentioned in the article?
They're same group behind the fake progressive outfit, "Progressive Coalition for American Jobs" that is advocating FOR the Trans Pacific Partnership.
(see http://ourfuture.org/20150311/a-trade-campaign-built-on-four-pinocchios)
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A Trade Campaign Built On Four Pinocchios

A Trade Campaign Built On Four Pinocchios | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
A new PR campaign in support of Trade Promotion Authority a.
Greg Russak's insight:

"A newly launched public relations campaign in support of trade promotion authority, a.k.a. “fast track,” and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) calls itself “the Progressive Coalition for American Jobs.” At its foundation is a set of misleading (at best) claims that begin with a four-Pinocchio whopper."

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