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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

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Be Afraid! GOP Screams Green New Deal Will Ban Ice Cream

No, the Green New Deal will not ban ice cream, cheeseburgers, milkshakes, cars or air travel — as Republicans have ludicrously claimed over the past few days.

It’s absurd that even needs to be said. However, in an effort to turn public opinion against the ambitious piece of legislation a pair of Democrats introduced last week to try and combat climate change, Republicans have been spewing ridiculous lies about what the deal would do.

On Monday night at a campaign rally in El Paso, Texas, Trump falsely claimed the deal would “shut down a little thing called air travel.”

“How do you take a train to Europe?” Trump said, mocking the deal.

The deal, to any normal human being who has read it, does not ban air travel. It simply would make other forms of public transportation faster and more readily available, thus making air travel less necessary within the U.S.

Congressional Republicans have also gotten in on the foolishness surrounding the deal.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) — a member of House Republican leadership — falsely said the deal would “outlaw cars.”

Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said in a speech on the Senate floor on Tuesday that the deal would ban ice cream.

“There’s another victim of the Green New Deal, it’s ice cream,” Barrasso said, without any sarcasm. “Livestock will be banned. Say goodbye to dairy, to beef, to family farms, to ranches. American favorites like cheeseburgers and milkshake will become a thing of the past.”

Where do we even begin with this whopper, no pun intended. Barrasso is apparently referring to the plan‘s net-zero emissions goal, which he’d like us to believe is a threat to cows.

Don’t worry, you’ll still be able to get your Ben & Jerry’s and In-N-Out if the Green New Deal passes. As the Washington Post reports, “Nothing in the resolution eliminates ‘all Planes, Cars, Cows, Oil, Gas & the Military,’ as Trump tweeted.”

But don’t expect it to pass.

Even though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he’ll put the bill to a vote, he’s only doing it in an effort to put vulnerable Democratic senators in a bind — without proposing any climate change legislation of his own.

Democrats, for their part, are annoyed at the GOP misinformation, but unswayed by the smear campaign.

“Republicans don’t want to debate climate change, they only want to deny it,” Sen. Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat and co-sponsor of the deal, said in a statement.

“The Green New Deal resolution has struck a powerful chord in the country,” Markey continued, “and Republicans, climate deniers and the fossil fuel industry are going to end up on the wrong side of history.”

Published with permission of The American Independent.

Democrats Push To Restart CDC Funding For Gun Violence Research

by Lois Beckett, ProPublica.

Two congressional Democrats are unveiling legislation this morning that would restart the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s gun violence research efforts.

Since 1996, when a small CDC-funded study on the risks of owning a firearm ignited opposition from Republicans, the CDC’s budget for research on firearms injuries has shrunk to zero.

The result, as we’ve detailed, is that many basic questions about gun violence — such as how many Americans are shot each year — remain unanswered.

The new legislation, which will be introduced by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) in the House, and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) in the Senate, would give the CDC $10 million a year “for the purpose of conducting or supporting research on firearms safety or gun violence prevention.”

“In America, gun violence kills twice as many children as cancer, and yet political grandstanding has halted funding for public health research to understand this crisis,” Maloney said in a statement.

Maloney, who co-sponsored the 1994 assault weapons ban, is a longtime gun control advocate. Earlier this year, she and Markey encouraged President Obama to include CDC funding in his proposed 2015 budget, which he did.

Obama’s proposal has been opposed by key Republicans.

“The President’s request to fund propaganda for his gun-grabbing initiatives though the CDC will not be included in the FY2015 appropriations bill,” Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA), chairman of the appropriations subcommittee that traditionally sets CDC funding, told ProPublica last month.

The CDC sponsors a wide variety of disease and injury prevention programs, focusing on everything from HIV/AIDS to averting falls by elderly people. Since 2007, the CDC has spent less than $100,000 a year on firearms-focused work, according to a CDC spokeswoman. The money goes not for research but for a very rough, annual estimate of the number of Americans injured by shootings.

The National Rifle Association’s director of public affairs told CNN last year that more government-funded gun research is not needed.

“What works to reduce gun violence is to make sure that criminals are prosecuted and those who have been found to be a danger to themselves or others don’t have access to firearms,” Andrew Arulanandam said. “Not to carry out more studies.”

The NRA did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the proposed legislation.

Professional groups that represent doctors, including the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, support the push for more research funding. In a letter last summer, the associations wrote that “the dearth of gun violence research has contributed to the lack of meaningful progress in reducing firearm injuries,” and noted that “firearm injuries are one of the top three causes of death among youth.”

The CDC is not the only source of federal funding for gun violence research. The Justice Department — which has funded gun violence prevention studies since the 1980s — gave nearly $2 million to firearms violence projects last year, and is offering as much as $1.5 million in research funding this year.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), which invests $30 billion in medical research each year, put out a call last fall for new research projects on gun violence prevention. It’s not yet clear how much money the NIH will devote to the research. The NIH will announce the gun violence projects it will fund in September and December, a spokeswoman said.

A report last year from experts convened by the federally funded Institute of Medicine outlined the current priorities for research on reducing gun violence. Among the questions that need answers, according to the report: How often do Americans successfully use guns to protect themselves each year? Could improved “smart gun” technologies reduce gun deaths and injuries, and will consumers be willing to adopt them? And would universal background checks — the most popular and prominent gun control policy proposal — actually reduce gun violence?

Photo: brian.ch via Flickr