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Wealth Inequality in America .

Society & Culture  (tags: Wealth Inequality, America, USA, charts, video, reality )

- 1904 days ago -
I'll keep this simple....WATCH. This is Reality folks.

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Roxie H (350)
Wednesday March 6, 2013, 11:14 am
This is SHOCKING.... the actual... is really hard to imagine... and we know its true... and sadly i am in that teeny speck..BUT get this pathetic true fact my care2 family..want to hear a screw? Angel heard this tale of mine sort of..this is why i want the sequester to go through.. last year.. because of dealing with stress and dealing with trying to save my Wolf Pack and corrupt walker and this state... i developed 7 (yessss 7) ulcers and had 2 operations and blah .. so i had to take out a ton of my 401k to pay medical expenses... well that in turn bumped me into a higher tax bracket..and still never covered all my now i am in a higher tax bar looking like i am a rich bitch...owing a ton of taxes now and broke beyond belief and OWE more in medical then i did before and no retirement now.... SO YA! i want the Rich to FALL WITH ME...hell ya....

Roxie H (350)
Wednesday March 6, 2013, 11:16 am
now this year... i am back down to the small ones again..... was rich for a year... was NOT WORTH IT! :( lost so much in 1 year ..... black hole of hell .... 2012

Sheryl G (363)
Wednesday March 6, 2013, 11:38 am
But the sequester wasn't going to hurt the rich, only those of us already hurting. Taking funds out of WIC, that is a program that helps the most needy, by supplimenting children in the womb by giving their Mother a bit more to eat, and by helping children under age 5 so that their growth both physical and mental won't become stunted. Since the Sequester, all it has done is pass more profits onto the already rich via the stock market has reached new heights.

The stock market climbed to new heights on March 5, 2013 only 4 days after the Sequester date was reached, clearing 14,200 for the first time in its history.

While stocks are achieving new highs, little benefit is trickling down to workers.

Since 2008 when the bottom dropped out the richest 1 percent of Americans have captured 121 percent of the income gains achieved during the current recovery, meaning everyone else has actually lost ground in terms of income since the economy bottomed out.

Not sure why the Plutocrats hate the Democratic White House so much......they are doing fabulously well with it. I would think the Republicans would be delighted, their buddies, the 1% are doing fabulous under the Democrats as they were with the Republicans in office. We have no political Party that is watching out for the majority of us; as the video clearly shows.

Sorry for your misfortune Roxy, this is more common than not today in this Country. My entire life was changed when my late husband got cancer, so I understand medical drain. What we had worked so hard for is just a distant memory to me now, between the medical and the rigging of a system gone crazy, few of us are in the same place we were only a few years back, nor did we think we'd ever be in the fix we find ourselves in.


Sheryl G (363)
Wednesday March 6, 2013, 12:09 pm
And while they fleece our pockets and pick the last crumb out from between our teeth they send our children off to endless wars of special interest to kill and be killed in. Please watch the 2.5 minute video below.
War Made Easy

Do we have the picture yet that few in Government are on our side? That with the Oligarchy ruling the roost they have placed in there elected officials that make you think they'll work for you but they are really working for the Plutocrats that paid for their seats in Government.

Kit B (276)
Wednesday March 6, 2013, 1:04 pm

Government on our side? Not even a a little bit. I believe this should be shown on all TV networks, let people know what they can not seem to imagine is factual. I know that socialism and redistribution of wealth are now "dirty" words, but we had better do something or things will continue to erode to a point long past being anything left to salvage. We keep talking about the middle class, when in fact even that is just barely a memory. American dream - sure - it is a dream, far from reality.

Christeen A (368)
Wednesday March 6, 2013, 2:04 pm
Great post. Thank you for sharing. Sad but oh so true.

Roxie H (350)
Wednesday March 6, 2013, 2:15 pm
so the sequester reality... is it going to wipe out WIC? my daughter needs that for the baby... see, another thing i was not aware of..again.. human right thing i was not aware of.. see you ladies keep me informed of things.. you understand? I rely on my pups to keep me in the know, i truly am out in the thick of the animal world working on other issues and have my head wrapped into those laws. so i look at your news to keep me in the human know... ugh this is dire... seriously my granddaughter relies on that formula for food... what in the hell...?? this is not good, someone give me back up options... in case she loses wic... i better start buying some cans with each paycheck... this is terrible

Caitlin M (104)
Wednesday March 6, 2013, 2:18 pm
Thanks for posting this, Dandelion. I sent it around via email because it is one of the best ways of really seeing what we've all probably heard. You are so right in your view of what's going on. Thanks so much for spreading the word. We must realize that the greedy bastards are really gunning for us... it's not paranoia; it's real.

LaurenBackSoon Kozen (173)
Wednesday March 6, 2013, 2:34 pm
Noted & Shared. Thanks for posting this Dandelion.

Pat B (356)
Wednesday March 6, 2013, 2:42 pm
I too, am passing this on, to show the real deal here. Sadly, we are pinching in this household, and I feel it's only going to get worse. Minimal allowances for day trips, or long car rides, as gas is going up too. Medical and dental is unreal, I am still paying bills on that. We have saved, saved, and nothing to show for it, now that we are in our 60's. Good video, Thanks, Dandelion for this.

Terry V (30)
Wednesday March 6, 2013, 2:45 pm
Noted and SHARED. THANKS!!!

lee e (114)
Wednesday March 6, 2013, 3:01 pm
Yhankss Kit - I really think that a good serial on TV could make this a sensational program -- there's a lot of distress and a lot of drama involvedd inthe personal lives of the actts of
congress -- or is it their lack of "acts"!

Daniel Partlow (179)
Wednesday March 6, 2013, 3:05 pm
This is really sad, because those top 10% will make sure it only ever gets farther in their court! It is time for a revolution!

Tamara Hayes (185)
Wednesday March 6, 2013, 5:17 pm
This makes me absolutely sick to my stomach. I just got out of the hospital, was there since last Thursday night and I am already losing sleep over what it is going to cost me. I am already on permanent disability and I am very scared of what is coming. I don't have any alternatives. I have to live with friends just so I have someone to sort of keep an eye on me because the state cancelled my caregiver. They reduced my food stamps to $58 a month. Yeah, try to stay healthy on that, not to mention what all of my medications cost. This is a nightmare of epic proportions and I have definitely shared this with everyone I know. It is way past time America woke up to the reality we are living. I think they should make this into a reality t.v. show. The rest are nothing compared to this. Thanks Sheryl for bringing this nauseating fact to light.

Freya H (357)
Wednesday March 6, 2013, 6:10 pm
The reason those hogs can get away with their crimes is because we, the "little guys," aren't organized as well as we should be. We need action that is far more effective than the pathetic "Occupy Wall Street" protest. We allow ourselves to get distracted with sports, celebrity gossip, etc.

Yes, it is definitely time for a real revolution! We need to throw our weight around! Remember, WE THE PEOPLE have the real ultimate power in this country, and it's called the Vote. Register to vote, then exercise this precious and powerful right. Most importantly - whenever possible, support a third-party candidate instead of a Democrat or Republican (who are pretty much one and the same, i.e., in the pockets of the fat cats).

Angelika R (143)
Wednesday March 6, 2013, 7:42 pm
As heartbreaking as this truth is-things cannot and will not be solved by typing on Care 2. We've talked here for years about a needed revolution, nothing happened. Occupy was much needed and did a lot, could have been more were they not oppressed and stopped, but I think it is still active and also thinking of ways to reorganise and push things forward.
Sheryl knows it, Freya just repeated it as well, you need to VOTE and next time better be right. When there's a situation like last election things are difficult to decide for 3rd party but before long everybody will see their mistakes by hoping for change for better voting Obama. How much worse can things get? As long as there are still 2-digits numbers in votes for the rethugs, misery has obviously not reached all yet.

Angelika R (143)
Wednesday March 6, 2013, 7:51 pm
Roxy girl, I'm so sorry to hear about your plight, Tamara also, try not to panic. Not all of the consequences will kick in so fast and maybe there can still some sort of modest deal be reached so things won't be jut devastating. Hang in there- and remember to do your part each to kick your 2 lousy parties out next chance you get! Tghe few honest and decent individuals the dems have cannot repair your broken system.

SuSanne P (193)
Wednesday March 6, 2013, 7:59 pm
OMG Dandelion. Intellectually I believed this to be true, but this chart is terrifying. I agree with Angelika in every way. As I have learned over the years you are at least one step above it all, a mountain above my knowledge for sure! Action is needed and unfortunately too many believe the media spin. I believe this HAS to be taught in school from a young age, but I can't see that occurring and certainly not in time to be of any help to anyone other than the 1% who is so far off the chart it cannot even be shown. VOTE VOTE VOTE and as you tried to convince everyone on C2, a 3rd Party is essential.

l L (1)
Wednesday March 6, 2013, 8:06 pm
thx dandelion.

John B (185)
Wednesday March 6, 2013, 9:04 pm
Thanks Dandelion for the posting this incredible video. Viewed, noted and shared!

Sheryl G (363)
Wednesday March 6, 2013, 9:21 pm
People you must start supporting 3rd Party Candidates at every level of Gov. it is the only way to oust the ones who have sold out to the Plutocrats. As you can see it matters not if the Republicans or Democrats are in, both play the tune for the top financial tier of this Country.

You are only thought of for a vote and then it is mostly for show, to keep the public in line and quiet. You have the illusion of voting, but you are just voting to keep the noose around your neck. You must be brave and free yourself from this two Party back and forth situation. All you do is vote in Tweedle Dee or Tweedle Dum, Good Cop or Bad Cop, but at the end of the day the two Parties are joined at the hip.

Things only keep getting worse, nothing improves no matter which of these two Parties have been in. Vote 3rd Party......give them a message, put in people who have not been bought out by the Plutocrats and free yourselves. Otherwise it is a more of the same and you keep yourselves in chains.

Tamara, sorry you were just in the hospital but glad you are out again and back with us, sorry for the troubling news. However I'm a firm believer in knowledge is the key to our freedom. We all need to be courages and fight back, don't allow it to bring you down for that is what they want, us to remain apathetic and go quiet to our corners and curl up and die somewhere. Well, I'll not be quiet and I will keep trying while I can do so.

I owe it to my Father who fought in WWII and was so proud of his Country, I owe it to my children and grandchild who need a future, I owe it to myself so I can look at myself in the mirror and know I did my best in my own humble way to not just be accepting of the crap without a wimper, and finally I owe it to everyone for the Greedy Ones are raping our environment without thought other than profit. If we as a species want to survive and our animal kingdom too, then we need to be bold here.

Roxie H (350)
Wednesday March 6, 2013, 10:19 pm
I absolutely agree with you 100%... went green, wont go back.. Idle no more... I AM WITH THE MOVEMENT... Marching and have been.. why you think i am insane? Media does NOT put me and our voices on the broadcast. notice we stand over 150,000 members strong and no-one see's us? Look, When 100,000 people assembled....50,000 were in Washington and 50,000 were in California..they were getting arrested and where was Rox? I was detained also my Kitties and Puppies...yup yup 4 days in the glass walls..totally locked away... I stood tall, told my daughter to be strong... and my grand-daughter stayed in that tummy waited over-due for grandma to come out... BOY was i a happy grandma activist. Now, I am a silly leader walking a march... But we MUST assemble and yes... Us animals and you Human rights and I am also Mother Earth WE ALL MUST get together! ... it has come time... i say the word war..but that is not right... because we are the oppressed... the underdogs... the sqaushed... but the mass and the ones who deserve to be heard DAMMIT... we are the middle! ... broke.. stomped.. poor... and sick of being NOT HEARD... paid our share and never getting a damn dime for it... ya.. its time

Lynn D (0)
Thursday March 7, 2013, 3:17 am
This is a pile of junk and you shouldn't be punishing people who actually get off their duffs and work hard every day at a job they actually worked hard to qualify for!!!

Edwin M (346)
Thursday March 7, 2013, 3:27 am
Still think your "representatives" are working on your behalf? Thanks Sheryl

Arild Gone for now (174)
Thursday March 7, 2013, 3:31 am
Welcome to the USA,our new "Banana Republic",I feel bad for all of you,but untill you can muster up enough strengt to make a revolution I don't see much hope.In the words of Che Guevarra: " I prefer to die than living in chains".
Good posting Sheryl.

Abdessalam Diab (145)
Thursday March 7, 2013, 4:12 am
Welcome to America. Too sad but real.Will Americans do something to correct this situation and end the greed of few thousands who are stealing regular and poor people not only in America but around the glob ?
Thanks Sheryl for this informative post.

mag.w.d. Aichberger (34)
Thursday March 7, 2013, 4:16 am
Too sad, and bad, too bad; but fracking real, no doubt there.

And Yeah, dear Americans (please!!) DO GET UP, STAND UP, FIGHT! for our rights !

Ben O (171)
Thursday March 7, 2013, 4:32 am
I know it's reality, but I find it un-freaking-believable!

Past Member (0)
Thursday March 7, 2013, 4:49 am
Thank you.

Darlene W (303)
Thursday March 7, 2013, 5:19 am
Noted and shared---FRACK THE GOVERNMENT!!!! Occupy USA!!!!

Patricia H. (440)
Thursday March 7, 2013, 6:14 am

Sheryl G (363)
Thursday March 7, 2013, 8:13 am
Lynn D. did you actually watch the video all the way through? No where in there is it stating for people to sit on their duffs and expect a free ride for those who are able to do so health wise and age wise.

Are you part of the 1% or perhaps the 10%? Based on the figures given by the IRS that would mean, if you are in the 10% you have a yearly wage income of appox. $125,000 or more and you could also have much more in resources. Congratulations you work, you are still able to "make it" in this Country. If you are 1% well you don't even have a clue to how hard it is to "make it" in this Country.

There use to be a time, and I remember those days, when the Bank President had a real nice home, could take trips to the Alps perhaps, and drive an upscale car. Is ok, he was the Bank President so he got the perks, he rose his way up to the top.

I recall when the Teller in said bank also earned enough to rent a decent flat, if she saved one day she'd have a down payment for a modest home, she drove a car of more modest brand but she could turn it in for a new model about every 3 years or so and her vacations might be a trip to Florida or up into the mountains.

Now the same Teller is lucky to pay the "needs" and prays the car that is getting older by the year doesn't break down so she can get to work. Vacations, well if she is lucky a pizza night and maybe a rented movie can be squeeked out.

However, the Bank President now can jet around the world, have vacations homes in all sorts of Countries, cars and boats at every port, an even bigger Mansion, and the sky is the limit as to obtaining more and more.

But this more and more is being taken from somewhere and it's the Tellers wages and her ability to keep her life going.

These top tier people are not working any harder than the ones who daily get up and do all sorts of jobs at less pay. The waitress on her feet all day carrying heavy trays, the man who is putting down the hot top in the hot sun, the Nurse who holds the hand of the dying patient after she just ran her legs off all day, her back aching as she is now 58 and the years are catching up, the roofer whose knees are sore from the numerous ladder climbs with a stack of shingles on his shoulder.

Why do the Speculators who gamble the monies from the hard earned pensions of all of the many working people get to make fortunes with that hard earned money and at the time those truck drivers, teachers, police, go to retire their pensions are no longer there or dwindled down, the threat to cut their Social Security is always on the line, and they had to over the last 30 odd years work harder and harder to earn less and less while the top tier work less and less but TAKE more and more.

Lynn D. you really need to wake up here, and understand the "new" economy, the old ways of what it was is no longer. Stop buying into the sound bites that Plutocrats put out there so you don't see where the problem is, unless you are one of them, I guess then the world is still a nice place for you, however for more and more of a public, both in the USA and abroad it is getting harder and harder to find a job, if you do have a job it doesn't keep up from the pillaging of the economy that is sending the wealth to the top.

Watch the really watch it with an open mind.....see it for what's being shown....what it is saying, not what you think it was about.


Sheryl G (363)
Thursday March 7, 2013, 8:17 am
Just as a side note, I'm always suspect of people who have 0 friends and have the profile hidden.

Do they get paid by the likes of the Koch brothers or some such thing to troll the internet, pulling up key words and then going onto the various sites and put in a few words to either deflect the conversation or muddy the waters.

For people who do not invest into C2 but only come on to drop the one liners I do say, be suspicious of them and their motives.

Jim P (3257)
Thursday March 7, 2013, 10:28 am
Wealth Inequality in America

"Taxpayers raise corporate profits to new heights with little return"

Rachel Maddow Show

Chart between rich & poor at 04:26 of this video, "Who's Got The Money In America?"
Listen to the interview at 08:06

Ty, Dandelion.

Gene Jacobson (290)
Thursday March 7, 2013, 11:07 am
I was just going to say great video, but that is SO inadequate in comparison to the content that it just pales in comparison. We do not learn from history, that is pretty well established, but we really should, or rather those off the chart people should, because NO society has ever been able to maintain anything approaching the level of difference this chart shows without collapsing, usually by revolution. This chart shows what brought about the Arab Spring - where the princes and despots own everything and the vast majority of the people are scraping by with virtually nothing. We see those stories on the news and NOT ONE of our zillionaires, thinks, wow, we really need to do something about the distribution of wealth in the US or that could be us. Indeed even raise the suggestion and Faux news and the right wingnuts start screaming class warfare. Well, you know what? Maybe that is what we need. Maybe that is the way we right the ship of state in ways that allow ALL of us a chance at the American Dream rather than 98% of us living one missed paycheck away from the street or one serious illness from bankruptcy. The model we have CANNOT be sustained. History proves this. And it proves us insane in that we keep doing the same things and expecting different results. That is the 98%, the top 2% is perfectly happy, fat, happy and heads in the clouds, not seeing the thunder looming. And anyone who thinks it isn't looming, well read a bit of history, this nation will see a Washington Spring if we do not address this insane imbalance and do away with the ranting of the right wing, that tiny percentage who want to gut the rest of even more deeply by attacking SS and Medicare and the programs the poor MUST have because they have nothing else. Class warfare? About damn time.

john byrne (50)
Thursday March 7, 2013, 12:47 pm

Thanks for the intel Dandoline. it comes as no surprise to me I have tried for years to inform workers in their on going fight for there rights across the board, it mainly falls on deaf ears as most countries have there minions in control of press & all news outlets so what you get is condensed so tightly it couldnt fart even if it wanted to.The power brokers who decides what wars are more profitable no thought for the citizens or the suffering of people who have never got their foot on the bottom rung of the ladder nor will ever be giving the chance to.threads like Care 2 are like Holy Water to the devil where people can speak to each other without fear or favor. .Niki Nana.

Diane K (134)
Thursday March 7, 2013, 1:35 pm
Noted. This is a reality check & wake up call for so many, since what looks green on the other side, truly is. Sorry to see so many that have misfortune, but also sorry to see that the wealthiest Americans don't feel the guilt in not paying their fair share of taxes, in comparison to the misfortunate Thanks for post, Dandelion.

Debra Van Way (12)
Thursday March 7, 2013, 2:31 pm
The video does a good job of visual and oral reporting of just how it really is now in this country. Mitt and his wife showed just how uncaring and clueless many of the uber rich are. Wouldn't it be nice if we could wave a wand and have the 1% spend a year in the bottom %'s lifestyle. Would they then understand or would it even matter to them?


Helen Porter (39)
Thursday March 7, 2013, 3:37 pm
I'm not jealous.

Only 3, secret, overseas bank accounts will satisfy me.

marie C (163)
Thursday March 7, 2013, 4:48 pm
Great post Dandelion

Will Burrows (3)
Thursday March 7, 2013, 6:16 pm
As food, water and energy become more scarce for everyone, in the coming years and decades, wealth will need to be divided more equitably. The rich will have to take care of the poor. If they don't, they will put themselves and the whole world at risk.

Even at the level of nations: rich countries will need to share their wealth with poorer nations, for the sake of their own stability and security.

As the New Message from God says: "The very rich will have to give up their very silly little games, their indulgences and addictions, to really get out and help people. Otherwise, they too will be overthrown. The anger towards the rich will become so severe that the rich will have nowhere to run in the future if the world goes out of control."

This is from the revelation entitled "Rebellion, Revolution and War"

Helen Porter (39)
Thursday March 7, 2013, 6:41 pm
A green star to you, Will

You said....The rich will have to take care of the poor. If they don't, they will put themselves and the whole world at risk

No offense intended but it seems to me they've already done that..

Shirley B (5)
Thursday March 7, 2013, 8:17 pm
Pilamaya Dandelion. My heart goes out to Roxy and Tamara. Wish we could post this all to the whole world.

Lois Jordan (63)
Friday March 8, 2013, 4:03 pm
Thanks so much for posting this, Dandelion, I've already watched it twice at different sites and am so glad to see it here. Wish I could send you buckets of stars for all your wonderful comments above. Way too many Americans don't have the foggiest clue that this is the new economic reality. Big Media likes to concentrate on divisive social issues and ridiculous entertainment gossip---I hope this little video gets some major play.

Even those with some "job security" these days don't know how long it will last. Count me among those with young adult kids trying to earn a living, often needing some financial help from mom & dad. We are lucky to be able to help them....just don't know for how long. As we pay our increasing bills....higher health insurance premium pmts. have doubled for us, taxes have increased by leaps & bounds, monthly payments and fees continue to rise....we find our buck doesn't stretch nearly as far. I don't hear much about how the cost of living continues to rise.
It grates against my last nerve when I see the stock market rise to over 14,400 today, while the sequestration is going to actually put more people "on the street" and cause more starvation. Where we started the "trickle down" during Reagan, it began to "trickle up" during Bush....and is now increasingly flowing upward to the already wealthy. And, if history is any indication, the market will be dropping like a rock soon, and banks will be begging for bailouts again. Although I recently read that there is a steady stream of money flowing to the banks, anyway, through a "back door."
I agree with Dandelion 100% about the 3rd party. In fact, if the League of Women Voters hadn't been overtaken in the late 80's, they more-than-likely would've had more than 2 candidates at the Presidential debates. I believe that is the main reason they were eliminated from sponsoring the debates. The fix has been in for many years now, and we all have to work hard for change....since it seems that the man I voted for has lost his dictionary.

Melania Padilla (122)
Monday March 11, 2013, 12:50 pm
Believe me, this happens in my country also.... And I have no doubts that it happens in others as well. Shared and noted

Sheryl G (363)
Monday March 11, 2013, 8:32 pm
In his Thoughts on Government (1776), Adams wrote that the purpose of government was the "greatest quantity of human happiness." Adams derived that notion from Cicero, the ancient Roman philosopher who said, "The people's good is the highest law."

Not a singular Corporations best Profits, not the right of the mightiest or the wealthiest only.

“When one may pay out over two million dollars to presidential and Congressional campaigns, the US. government is virtually up for sale.” John W. Gardner - American Writer and former Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare

"Give me the right to issue and control a nation’s money and I care not who governs the country.” Meyer Amschal Rothschild, International banker

"If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich." John F. Kennedy

There is always a tipping point by the masses when squeezed too hard, when they feel there is nothing left to loose. Those sitting in their gated mansions and ivory towers need to realize that their numbers are small in size, how much defense will their portfolios give to them? It isn't a world I want to see, is this what they want? Like the alcoholic, how much is enough for them? How many more homes, boats, gold toilet seats, rings and necklaces do they need? When is it enough?


Gina Caracci (219)
Tuesday March 12, 2013, 5:47 pm
The only thing that gets me thru anymore is knowing that what we consider reality is just an illusion. NONE of this is REAL. If the world blew up, wed ALL be in a much better place. I just hope Jesus comes and stops the insanity b4 it gets any worse.

Like Gene said, history repeats itself. I suggest we all arms ourselves and REVOLT- NOW.

Franco Di Palma (374)
Tuesday March 12, 2013, 5:54 pm
Thank you Dandelion for posting this and for your great comments.....

Animae C (516)
Tuesday March 12, 2013, 8:53 pm
Extremely saddened, i'm sure Australia isn't too far behind.
There's got to be 'evil' brewing in that small upper crust %

LucyKaleido S (82)
Wednesday March 13, 2013, 6:17 am
This video is a brilliant demonstration ! Thanks to you, Dandelion, for finding & posting it.

(I'd love to know who made it, but the info isn't on the YouTube post, which provides 4 URLs as references, but no credits. I visited all 4 URLs: they each have different & more complicated graphics, none has this video and so there are no credits for it provided there either.)

It has apparently gone viral, & that is a good sign. With everyone on this thread sensitive to this issue, we should be able to do something, if we get organized!

I think the 'Occupy' movement made people more aware of this issue, whatever it's shortcomings were.

I am convinced that wealth & income inequality is the N° 1 cause of everything that is WRONG in our society,& all the social & health ills all societies suffer from. The more a society is unequal, the more & greater are the problems -of health, stress, addictions, mental illness, violence, crime. And the inverse is true: these problems are fewer & smaller in more equal societies.

It's not simply an emotional issue, the gut-level conviction that 'inequality is wrong' or 'inequality is unfair'! That NO ONE should have to go through the difficulties, the anguish!, that Roxie & Tamara describe.

It's is not merely a matter of personal conviction; it is the scientifically-proven, research-based, well documented thesis of an award-winning book, The Spirit Level, that first came out in 2009. The authors are not political radicals - they do not come from a background of political activism. They come from the very serious medical background of epidemiology, where each had already built a serious professional career, with peer-evaluated research!

Quote: "If - for instance - a country does badly on health, you can predict with some confidence that it will also imprison a larger proportion of its population, have more teenage pregnancies, lower literacy scores, more obesity, worse mental health, and so on. Inequality seems to make countries SOCIALLY DYSFUNCTIONAL across a wide range of outcomes." (p. 174)

Because the book calls for action & change, it mustn't be allowed to remain simply a book that people may read or not, & then forget...It has to be turned into a movement. That is why the authors & convinced readers have created a trust and a site, The Equality Trust, to create a movement, a force, to create pressure for change & to continue informing the public to that end; to gain more & more supporters to to move from debate to action, to weigh in at decision making levels, to lobby govt & elected officials. The site acts as a rallying point for people who want to move the equality agenda ahead, and serves as a showcase for all the evidence, not only the evidence from the book, but evidence they continue to gather, whatever the source.

The book has different subtitles, depending on where it was published or what edition it is:
- "The Spirit Level: Why more equal societies almost always do better"
- "The Spirit Level: Why greater equality makes societies stronger"
- "The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone"

This is a cute video that serves as an introduction to the book, without getting into the heavy stuff of the research itself.


LucyKaleido S (82)
Wednesday March 13, 2013, 6:23 am

I also wanted to share the link to & information about an important documentary film that goes further than presenting the inequality statistics, but shows how the 1%-ers devote a share of their enormous wealth to keeping the game rigged in their favor, and how people taking advantage of a rigged system will nonetheless feel entitled to their unearned advantages:

"Academy Award-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room) presents his take on the gap between rich and poor Americans in "Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dream"," which could also be called Park Avenue’s Billionaires: How They Stay That Way. (It is based on Michael Gross’s book “740 Park: The Story of the World’s Richest Apartment Building”) Gibney contends that America’s richest citizens have “rigged the game in their favor,” and created unprecedented inequality in the United States.

"Nowhere, Gibney asserts, is this more evident than on Park Avenue in New York. 740 Park in Manhattan is currently home to the highest concentration of billionaires in the country, including David Koch. Across the river, less than five miles away, Park Avenue runs through the South Bronx, home to the poorest congressional district in the United States.

In Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dream, Gibney states that while income disparity has always existed in the U.S., it has accelerated sharply over the last 40 years. As of 2010, the 400 richest Americans controlled more wealth than the bottom 50 percent of the populace — 150 million people. In the film, Gibney explains why he believes upward mobility is increasingly out of reach for the poor."

PBS interviews Alex Gibney about what motivated him to make this film. (includes the trailor on same page)

Almost an hour long, the whole film can be viewed here, in or outside the US.

The reason why I was able to see the film on French TV is that Gibney's "Park Avenue: Money, Power & the American Dream" is part of an international project called 'WHY POVERTY?', to quote the organizers, "a groundbreaking cross-media event reaching more than 500 million people around the world via over 60 international television broadcasters as well as radio, Internet, and live events in November 2012." There are 8 feature-length WHY POVERTY? documentaries from award-winning film makers and 30 shorts from new & emerging talents, broadcast around the world in 2012. They are all viewable free & 'embeddable' online from 2013 on the 'WHY POVERTY?' site here:

LucyKaleido S (82)
Wednesday March 13, 2013, 6:32 am
I hope the link works here: Almost an hour long, the whole film can be viewed here , in or outside the US.
Just click on the 'Park Avenue' video frame. I can't link to it because it is a pop-out.

LucyKaleido S (82)
Wednesday March 13, 2013, 6:32 am
Btw, I grew up a few streets away from the Park Ave in the Bronx!

Sheryl G (363)
Wednesday March 13, 2013, 6:39 am
Thank you Lucy for all of the valuable information that you place upon this link. I will certainly check it all out and in my way see to it that it moves from me to others. It is through each of our efforts that we make changes that are in dire need. Each of us have the ability to do something, educate ourselves, educate others, speak to one another, it requires getting the facts straight, then moving upon the information. It appears you have left all of that to disgest in your comments.

SĂźheyla C (234)
Wednesday March 13, 2013, 2:47 pm
Noted.Thank you so much for posting .

LucyKaleido S (82)
Saturday May 25, 2013, 1:25 am
When I read & re-read the distress expressed in the comments here and then compare that to the fact that the US Congress has just made cuts in Food Stamps -the SNAP program- (& I remember Tamara saying her that she ALREADY had to cope with a big cut in her Food Stamp allotment) with members of Congress making comments like the ones you'll read here in one of my latest posts, then you realize how heartless these GOP & Tea Party representatives are, how out of step with what is really going on in the US: from the Alternet - "GOPer Who Got Million$ in Farm $ubsidie$ Thinks the Poor Should Starve Rather Than Get Food Stamps" : "Stephen Fincher, a deranged Republican congressman from Tennessee, is very angry that the federal government is committed to preventing poor people from starving to death..."
& here we've got a US congressman who defends his support for cuts to the SNAP/Food Stamp program, by quoting from the Bible: "The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat" !!!

BUT is there no greater COMPASSION than that of Jesus? How can these two facts co-exist? Does the Bible say anything you want it to? How can he call himself a Christian with views like this, that translate into action to cut food stamps for millions of people, 47% of whom are CHILDREN? How can he talk about 'refusal to work,' when we're in the middle of a great economic crisis with a PENURY of jobs?

Is this bas--rd from Tennessee, who also belongs to the House's 'Tea Party Caucus,' one of the 'power brokers' John Byrne speaks of or is he unwittingly acting as their puppet?

Tamara said, "They reduced my food stamps to $58 a month. Yeah, try to stay healthy on that..."

The following figures are from the February, 2013 Alternet article, "9 Economic Facts That Will Make Your Head Spin", that was posted to C2NN by my friend Nancy, mid-February of this year.

This was BEFORE the congressional debate on cutting the SNAP/Food Stamps program & the figures were sad enough WITHOUT the prospective CUTS, that have NOW BEEN VOTED by both Houses! (Where do these people live? How can they be so heartless?)

Economic Fact N° "3. Unhappy meal": "46.7 million Americans must now use food stamps in order to get a meal, and many aren’t old enough to earn money for themselves. Almost half of all U.S. children will be on food stamps during some part of their childhood. For black children, that number is 90 percent. Eight percent of those receiving food stamps are seniors.

The average monthly SNAP benefit (food stamps) per person is $133.85. That’s less than $1.50 per person, per meal. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2011, a gallon of milk cost $3.50 on average in the U.S. while a pound of stew beef cost $4.30. Food prices are expected to increase as much as 3 percent in 2013."

The NY Times published an editorial on these horrific, historic Food Stamps cuts - "There Was a Time When Ending Hunger Was a National Goal for Republicans and Democrats" - "Proposed cuts to food stamps are a sad retreat from American values." - that begins, " “That hunger and malnutrition should persist in a land such as ours is embarrassing and intolerable.” So declared Richard Nixon in May 1969 in his now widely forgotten “Special Message to the Congress Recommending a Program to End Hunger in America.” In that document, he summoned the country to a new level of generosity and concern and laid out a series of strong legislative steps and executive actions, including a significant expansion of the food-stamps program.

While campaigning for the White House in 1968, Mr. Nixon did not focus on the existence of a serious hunger problem. His conversion came as public calls to do something about hunger rose — driven, in part, by Senator Robert Kennedy’s highly publicized trip to Mississippi in 1967 where he encountered nearly starving children and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s focus on hunger as part of the Poor People’s Campaign.

During the ’70s, another Republican leader, Senator Bob Dole of Kansas, forged a partnership with George McGovern, the South Dakota Democrat defeated by Mr. Nixon in 1972. They helped pass legislation to improve the accessibility and antifraud provisions of the food-stamps program. For example, it eliminated a requirement that recipients buy food-stamp coupons, a prohibitive burden for the lowest-income Americans.

That kind of dedicated bipartisan commitment to ending hunger was light-years ago in American politics — before President Ronald Reagan and, later, Speaker Newt Gingrich made attacking food stamps a prime Republican obsession, and certainly before moderate Republicans, a disappearing breed, lived in fear of making any move that might provoke a primary challenge from a Tea Party-supported candidate. The modern food-stamps program, built with Republican and Democratic support, succeeded in eliminating the most extreme pockets of hunger in parts of the country. .../..."

We at least have the NY Times & other newspapers to decry such evernts, but what will happen if the Koch Brothers succeed in buying the LATimes & the Chicago Tribune? We'll have Tea Party propaganda, instead of investigative journalism & op-eds with the right kind of social consciousness!

PLEASE! - Daily Kos Action posted here: Sign the Petition!!! Stop the Koch brothers from buying the news
Btw, this ISN'T a post of mine, but I really would like to see it on Front Page because this would get many more signatures for a very important petition: AND DON'T FORGET: THERE'S A DEADLINE! Sign ASAP because MAY 30th is the NEXT MEETING of the board of directors of The Tribune Company, which OWNS the media the Koch Bros want to buy & they MUST GET the PETITION before MAY 30th!

"As you may have heard, the Koch brothers have set their sights on destroying what remains of the free press. They considering buying one of the biggest media groups in America – the Tribune papers, which comprise eight major publications, including the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune. This would allow the Kochs to spread their right-wing nuttery even more effectively than they do now." - Here's what the great journalist Matt Taibbi says in Rolling Stone "Who Can Stop the Koch Brothers From Buying the Tribune Papers? Unions Can, and Should"

And back to your post, Dandelion, to begin with: this is what such wealth inequality accomplishes & why it is undemocratic: Buying up media & using it for propaganda purposes is a tool for shaping (manipulating) public opinion that only the very wealthy can afford to treat themselves to. That's how they STAY billionaires & they know it!

Sheryl G (363)
Saturday May 25, 2013, 7:37 am
I will read the links you left later on, as I've got the Women's Circle I hold to prepare for today. However within your writing you had stated:

For black children, that number is 90 percent. Eight percent of those receiving food stamps are seniors.

Well the Greedy Heartless Ones, most of whom are white, really don't care if 90% of black children would starve to death. It is how they felt about my ancestors, the American Indian, "nits make lice" if the children die off, that means less adults down the line.

As to Seniors, or as we call them, Elders, to the Greedy Heartless Ones, if those people who have reached that age don't have enough to live on by that point they never will so let them die too, they are considered a drain on a system.

In caring, compassionate societies, the Elders are well taken care of, for in the past, they had contributed to society in many ways, now it is time for them to share their wisdom intellect and to be cared for. In strong and decent societies, children, all children are treated well for they ARE the future of the Nation.

These Greedy Heartless Ones who thrive on Ayn Rand, who use her as a model to excuse their own Heartless actions so they can "buy" their way into a heaven that they've twisted their religion to suit their purposes. They are not Christian not in the manner of Walking Christ like. Anyone can claim to be something, but that doesn't make one so.

These Greedy Heartless Ones are dangerous, and the American people best understand that. Because it is not a slope one wants to go down, for when they cut off food to the poor, is that a Nation that most want to live in, seeing starving bodies sitting on the streets begging for food? Children picking in the landfills?

Let them keep voicing the garbage out of their mouths. I hope it disgusts most people, if it doesn't then I guess the American people have allowed themselves to sink to new lows. In that case I'm glad I'm 60 and don't have too live long in it, and I hope that if this Country is that Heartless that my children will find a way out of it.

As you said Lucy with the beautiful eyes:

"And back to your post, Dandelion, to begin with: this is what such wealth inequality accomplishes & why it is undemocratic: Buying up media & using it for propaganda purposes is a tool for shaping (manipulating) public opinion that only the very wealthy can afford to treat themselves to. That's how they STAY billionaires & they know it!"

Yes, it is Lucy, how they keep the things the way it is or turn it into a worse case scenario for the majority of people. When the well to do, that gain control of all aspects of society get bored with one thing they will then find their pleasures in other ways. Do we go back to the Colosseum to fight each other or have animals tearing us apart for their pleasures?

Once a society gets so numb to people dying in the streets from hunger and from exposure, it only opens the next door to more sickness. The Heartless and Greedy Ones will never be satisfied, like alcoholics they only want more at the expense of the many. And just like alcoholics, we can enable them or we can start placing some controls upon them. Because when there is no self control then it is imperative that others do so for them or all is destroyed by this uncontrolled behavior....Our Republic has gone first.

LucyKaleido S (82)
Saturday May 25, 2013, 10:46 am
"Once a society gets so numb to people dying in the streets from hunger and from exposure, it only opens the next door to more sickness."

I am convinced the US has become a toxic, disfunctional society that has lost all semblance of human compassion, but it isn't just a question of basic & important emotions lacking; there is a grievous lack of reason or reasoning, coming up with reasoned decisions to do certain things & not do others.

A while ago I saw on the French evening news that in the US there are REAL firearms made specifically for children, pink for girls & blue for boys! I COULDN'T believe it! Now, THAT is sick!!

They dealt with the topic of firearms for kids because a little boy had just that day accidentally killed his little sister with such an arm!

Mother Jones wrote it up the next day, Wednesday May 1st, 2013, without failing to tackle the bigger picture that can't be ignored:

"On Tuesday, inside a rural Kentucky home, a five-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed his two-year-old sister. The boy had been playing with a .22 caliber single-shot Crickett rifle made and marketed for kids. The children's mother was reportedly outside the house when the shooting took place, and apparently didn't know that the gun contained a shell.

"Just one of those crazy accidents," said the Cumberland County coroner, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader. (NOTE: he does not at all question the wisdom of giving children REAL firearms!)

Clearly the issue of parental responsibility is at the center of this tragedy. (For me it's not a question of the mother not having been there to watch the kids, it's a question of what kind of parents buy REAL GUNS for their children??)

But against the backdrop of the Newtown massacre and ongoing national debate over regulating firearms, it also points back to the big business of guns—including how the industry profits from products aimed at children *.

The Pennsylvania-based maker of Crickett rifles, Keystone Sporting Arms, markets its guns with the slogan "My First Rifle." They are available with different barrel and stock designs, including some made in hot pink to appeal to young girls.

Business has boomed since the company's inception in 1996, according to its website*. In its first year, it had four employees and produced 4,000 rifles for kids; by 2008 it had greatly expanded its operations, with 70 employees and an output of 60,000 rifles a year. KSA's site states that its goal is "to instill gun safety in the minds of youth shooters and encourage them to gain the knowledge and respect that hunting and shooting activities require and deserve."

But a visit to the "kids corner" page reveals a gallery of photos that some people might find unsettling: see onsite

Update, May 3, 10:30amPT: Shortly after we published this story, the Crickett Firearms website was shut down, and it remains unavailable. This morning I called Keystone Sporting Arms and was referred to attorney John Renzulli, who spoke on behalf of the company: He said that the Crickett Firearms site had been "inundated and corrupted" by a surge of visitors and had been shut down by the hosting service. "We're working hard with the host to get the site up again," he said, though he declined to specify when it would be restored. (It's an intriguing explanation given that Crickett's accounts on Facebook and Twitter have also since disappeared.)

Renzulli acknowledged that the accidental death of the two-year-old girl in Kentucky has stirred strong emotions, but said that it was not an appropriate time to continue the debate about gun control. "This is not about Crickett Firearms," he said. "We need to respect the privacy of these people, this family is going through a lot. We're not going to analyze and evaluate what happened here until a full investigation has been conducted by law enforcement. At that point we'll comment."

Here are some additional screen shots I captured from the "kids corner" page of ( see onsite)

* Now, that 'products aimed at children' link from the Mother Jones' piece takes you to a NYTimes article from January 26, 2013, & it's, in fact, the Times, & not the Mother Jones journalist who has done all the work on how these companies work out & on their marketing to sell arms to kids:

"Threatened by long-term declining participation in shooting sports, the firearms industry has poured millions of dollars into a broad campaign to ensure its future by getting guns into the hands of more, and younger, children.

The industry’s strategies include giving firearms, ammunition and cash to youth groups; weakening state restrictions on hunting by young children; marketing an affordable military-style rifle for “junior shooters” and sponsoring semiautomatic-handgun competitions for youths; and developing a target-shooting video game that promotes brand-name weapons, with links to the Web sites of their makers.

The pages of Junior Shooters, an industry-supported magazine that seeks to get children involved in the recreational use of firearms, once featured a smiling 15-year-old girl clutching a semiautomatic rifle. At the end of an accompanying article that extolled target shooting with a Bushmaster AR-15 — an advertisement elsewhere in the magazine directed readers to a coupon for buying one — the author encouraged youngsters to share the article with a parent.

“Who knows?” it said. “Maybe you’ll find a Bushmaster AR-15 under your tree some frosty Christmas morning!”

The industry’s youth-marketing effort is backed by extensive social research and is carried out by an array of nonprofit groups financed by the gun industry, an examination by The New York Times found. The campaign picked up steam about five years ago with the completion of a major study that urged a stronger emphasis on the “recruitment and retention” of new hunters and target shooters.

The overall objective was summed up in another study, commissioned last year by the shooting sports industry, that suggested encouraging children experienced in firearms to recruit other young people. The report, which focused on children ages 8 to 17, said these “peer ambassadors” should help introduce wary youngsters to guns slowly, perhaps through paintball, archery or some other less intimidating activity.

“The point should be to get newcomers started shooting something, with the natural next step being a move toward actual firearms,” said the report, which was prepared for the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the Hunting Heritage Trust.

Firearms manufacturers and their two primary surrogates, the National Rifle Association of America and the National Shooting Sports Foundation, have long been associated with high-profile battles to fend off efforts at gun control and to widen access to firearms. The public debate over the mass shootings in Newtown, Conn., and elsewhere has focused largely on the availability of guns, along with mental illness and the influence of violent video games.

Little attention has been paid, though, to the industry’s youth-marketing initiatives. They stir passionate views, with proponents arguing that introducing children to guns can provide a safe and healthy pastime, and critics countering that it fosters a corrosive gun culture and is potentially dangerous.

The N.R.A. has for decades given grants for youth shooting programs, mostly to Boy Scout councils and 4-H groups, which traditionally involved single-shot rimfire rifles, BB guns and archery. Its $21 million in total grants in 2010 was nearly double what it gave out five years earlier.

Newer initiatives by other organizations go further, seeking to introduce children to high-powered rifles and handguns while invoking the same rationale of those older, more traditional programs: that firearms can teach “life skills” like responsibility, ethics and citizenship. And the gun industry points to injury statistics that it says show a greater likelihood of getting hurt cheerleading or playing softball than using firearms for fun and sport.

Still, some experts in child psychiatry say that encouraging youthful exposure to guns, even in a structured setting with an emphasis on safety, is asking for trouble. Dr. Jess P. Shatkin, the director of undergraduate studies in child and adolescent mental health at New York University, said that young people are naturally impulsive and that their brains “are engineered to take risks,” making them ill suited for handling guns.

“There are lots of ways to teach responsibility to a kid,” Dr. Shatkin said. “You don’t need a gun to do it.”

Steve Sanetti, the president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, said it was better to instruct children in the safe use of a firearm through hunting and target shooting, and engage them in positive ways with the heritage of guns in America. His industry is well positioned for the task, he said, but faces an unusual challenge: introducing minors to activities that involve products they cannot legally buy and that require a high level of maturity.

Ultimately, Mr. Sanetti said, it should be left to parents, not the government, to decide if and when to introduce their children to shooting and what sort of firearms to use.

“It’s a very significant decision,” he said, “and it involves the personal responsibility of the parent and personal responsibility of the child.”

Trying to Reverse a Trend
The shooting sports foundation, the tax-exempt trade association for the gun industry, is a driving force behind many of the newest youth initiatives. Its national headquarters is in Newtown, just a few miles from Sandy Hook Elementary School, where Adam Lanza, 20, used his mother’s Bushmaster AR-15 to kill 20 children and 6 adults last month.

The foundation’s $26 million budget is financed mostly by gun companies, associated businesses and the foundation’s SHOT Show, the industry’s annual trade show, according to its latest tax return.

Although shooting sports and gun sales have enjoyed a rebound recently, the long-term demographics are not favorable, as urbanization, the growth of indoor pursuits like video games and changing cultural mores erode consumer interest. Licensed hunters fell from 7 percent of the population in 1975 to fewer than 5 percent in 2005, according to federal data. Galvanized by the declining share, the industry redoubled its efforts to reverse the trend about five years ago.

The focus on young people has been accompanied by foundation-sponsored research examining popular attitudes toward hunting and shooting. Some of the studies used focus groups and telephone surveys of teenagers to explore their feelings about guns and people who use them, and offered strategies for generating a greater acceptance of firearms.

The Times reviewed more than a thousand pages of these studies, obtained from gun industry Web sites and online archives, some of them produced as recently as last year. Most were prepared by consultants retained by the foundation, and at least one was financed with a grant from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

In an interview, Mr. Sanetti said the youth-centered research was driven by the inevitable “tension” the industry faces, given that no one under 18 can buy a rifle or a shotgun from a licensed dealer or even possess a handgun under most circumstances. That means looking for creative and appropriate ways to introduce children to shooting sports.

“There’s nothing alarmist or sinister about it,” Mr. Sanetti said. “It’s realistic.”

Pointing to the need to “start them young,” one study concluded that “stakeholders such as managers and manufacturers should target programs toward youth 12 years old and younger.”

“This is the time that youth are being targeted with competing activities,” it said. “It is important to consider more hunting and target-shooting recruitment programs aimed at middle school level, or earlier.”

Aware that introducing firearms to young children could meet with resistance, several studies suggested methods for smoothing the way for target-shooting programs in schools. One cautioned, “When approaching school systems, it is important to frame the shooting sports only as a mechanism to teach other life skills, rather than an end to itself.”

In another report, the authors warned against using human silhouettes for targets when trying to recruit new shooters and encouraged using words and phrases like “sharing the experience,” “family” and “fun.” They also said children should be enlisted to prod parents to let them join shooting activities: “Such a program could be called ‘Take Me Hunting’ or ‘Take Me Shooting.’ ”

The industry recognized that state laws limiting hunting by children could pose a problem, according to a “Youth Hunting Report” prepared by the shooting sports foundation and two other groups. Declaring that “the need for aggressive recruitment is urgent,” the report said a primary objective should be to “eliminate or reduce age minimums.” Still another study recommended allowing children to get a provisional license to hunt with an adult, “perhaps even before requiring them to take hunter safety courses.”

The effort has succeeded in a number of states, including Wisconsin, which in 2009 lowered the minimum hunting age to 10 from 12, and Michigan, where in 2011 the age minimum for hunting small game was eliminated for children accompanied by an adult mentor. The foundation cited statistics suggesting that youth involvement in hunting, as well as target shooting, had picked up in recent years amid the renewed focus on recruitment.

Gun companies have spent millions of dollars to put their recruitment strategies into action, either directly or through the shooting sports foundation and other organizations. The support takes many forms.

The Scholastic Steel Challenge, started in 2009, introduces children as young as 12 to competitive handgun shooting using steel targets. Its “platinum” sponsors include the shooting sports foundation, Smith & Wesson and Glock, which donated 60 9-millimeter semiautomatic pistols, according to the group’s Web site.

The site features a quote from a gun company executive praising the youth initiative and saying that “anyone in the firearms industry that overlooks its potential is missing the boat.”

Larry Potterfield, the founder of MidwayUSA, one of the nation’s largest sellers of shooting supplies and a major sponsor of the Scholastic Steel Challenge, said he did not fire a handgun until he was 21, adding that they “are the most difficult guns to learn to shoot well.” But, he said, he sees nothing wrong with children using them.

“Kids need arm strength and good patience to learn to shoot a handgun well,” he said in an e-mail, “and I would think that would come in the 12-14 age group for most kids.”

Another organization, the nonprofit Youth Shooting Sports Alliance, which was created in 2007, has received close to $1 million in cash, guns and equipment from the shooting sports foundation and firearms-related companies, including ATK, Winchester and Sturm, Ruger & Company, its tax returns show. In 2011, the alliance awarded 58 grants. A typical grant: 23 rifles, 4 shotguns, 16 cases of ammunition and other materials, which went to a Michigan youth camp.

The foundation and gun companies also support Junior Shooters magazine, which is based in Idaho and was started in 2007. The publication is filled with catchy advertisements and articles about things like zombie targets, pink guns and, under the heading “Kids Gear,” tactical rifle components with military-style features like pistol grips and collapsible stocks.

Gun companies often send new models to the magazine for children to try out with adult supervision. Shortly after Sturm, Ruger announced in 2009 a new, lightweight semiautomatic rifle that had the “look and feel” of an AR-15 but used less expensive .22-caliber cartridges, Junior Shooters received one for review. The magazine had three boys ages 14 to 17 fire it and wrote that they “had an absolute ball!”

Junior Shooters’ editor, Andy Fink, acknowledged in an editorial that some of his magazine’s content stirred controversy.

“I have heard people say, even shooters that participate in some of the shotgun shooting sports, such things as, ‘Why do you need a semiautomatic gun for hunting?’ ” he wrote. But if the industry is to survive, he said, gun enthusiasts must embrace all youth shooting activities, including ones “using semiautomatic firearms with magazines holding 30-100 rounds.”

In an interview, Mr. Fink elaborated. Semiautomatic firearms are actually not weapons, he said, unless someone chooses to hurt another person with them, and their image has been unfairly tainted by the news media. There is no legitimate reason children should not learn to safely use an AR-15 for recreation, he said.

“They’re a tool, not any different than a car or a baseball bat,” Mr. Fink said. “It’s no different than a junior shooting a .22 or a shotgun. The difference is in the perception of the viewer.”

The Weapon of Choice
The AR-15, the civilian version of the military’s M-16 and M-4, has been aggressively marketed as a cool and powerful step up from more traditional target and hunting rifles. But its appearance in mass shootings — in addition to Newtown, the gun was also used last year in the movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colo., and the attack on firefighters in Webster, N.Y. — has prompted calls for tighter restrictions. The AR-15 is among the guns included in a proposed ban on a range of semiautomatic weapons that was introduced in the Senate last week.

Given the gun’s commercial popularity, it is perhaps unsurprising that AR-15-style firearms have worked their way into youth shooting programs. At a “Guns ’n Grillin” weekend last fall, teenagers at a Boy Scout council in Virginia got to shoot AR-15s. They are used in youth competitions held each year at a National Guard camp in Ohio, and in “junior clinics” taught by Army or Marine marksmanship instructors, some of them sponsored by gun companies or organizations they support.

ArmaLite, a successor company to the one that developed the AR-15, is offering a similar rifle, the AR-10, for the grand prize in a raffle benefiting the Illinois State Rifle Association’s “junior high-power” team, which uses AR-15s in its competitions. Bushmaster has offered on its Web site a coupon worth $350 off the price of an AR-15 “to support and encourage junior shooters.”

Military-style firearms are prevalent in a target-shooting video game and mobile app called Point of Impact, which was sponsored by the shooting sports foundation and Guns & Ammo magazine. The game — rated for ages 9 and up in the iTunes store — allows players to shoot brand-name AR-15 rifles and semiautomatic handguns at inanimate targets, and it provides links to gun makers’ Web sites as well as to the foundation’s “First Shots” program, intended to recruit new shooters.

Upon the game’s release in January 2011, foundation executives said in a news release that it was one of the industry’s “most unique marketing tools directed at a younger audience.” Mr. Sanetti of the shooting sports foundation said sponsorship of the game was an experiment intended to deliver safety tips to players, while potentially generating interest in real-life sports.

The confluence of high-powered weaponry and youth shooting programs does not sit well even with some proponents of those programs. Stephan Carlson, a University of Minnesota environmental science professor whose research on the positive effects of learning hunting and outdoor skills in 4-H classes has been cited by the gun industry, said he “wouldn’t necessarily go along” with introducing children to more powerful firearms that added nothing useful to their experience.

“I see why the industry would be pushing it, but I don’t see the value in it,” Mr. Carlson said. “I guess it goes back to the skill base we’re trying to instill in the kids. What are we preparing them for?”

For Mr. Potterfield of MidwayUSA, who said his own children started shooting “boys’ rifles” at age 4, getting young people engaged with firearms — provided they have the maturity and the physical ability to handle them — strengthens an endangered American tradition.

Mr. Potterfield and his wife, Brenda, have donated more than $5 million for youth shooting programs in recent years, a campaign that he said was motivated by philanthropy, not “return on investment.”

“Our gifting is pure benevolence,” he said. “We grew up and live in rural America and have owned guns, hunted and fished all of our lives. This is our community, and we hope to preserve it for future generations.”

Now, when I was last in Colorado, I was with my companion, & we were respectively 44 & 41 years of age. Yet, despite the fact that it was more than obvious that we were well over 18 or 21 (can't remember what the legal age for drinking is there), we were required to show IDs before we could get a beer at a state fair or a glass of wine at a restaurant in town. I thought it was a joke: I laughingly said that the man was paying me a big complement, but he didn't laugh or even smile, & I could tell that this was no laughing matter as far as he was concerned! -- And I was out of bounds with my remark!

Now I just can't understand how people who are fussy to the point of nitpicky & even downright silly about the age limit for drinking a beer aren't for an age limiting access for having a dangerous weapon!

That's what I mean when I say a sick society!
And that Congress did not ban assault weapons after the Colombine massacre, or even after the Newtown school shooting is another sign to me that the society is sick. Far from banning assault weapons completely, they didn't even approve expanded background checks for Americans purchasing firearms at gun shows or online!

Robert S (111)
Saturday May 25, 2013, 1:24 pm
Very interesting. Thanks to Dandelion for the revealing posting and to Ms. Eyes, for steering me over here. I now see why. It had a dual purpose. Perhaps even a triple purpose. How admirably complex and subtle you are Ms. Eyes. I salute you.

Birgit W (160)
Sunday September 29, 2013, 12:48 pm
Thank you for sharing Dandelion.

LucyKaleido S (82)
Sunday February 8, 2015, 11:58 pm
The links I left above to see the hour-long Alex Gibney documentary, "Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dream" no longer work; the site changed its organization & the film can now be viewed @

LucyKaleido S (82)
Monday February 9, 2015, 12:44 am
I quoted quite a bit from a write-up on Gibney's film, "Park Avenue’s Billionaires: How They Stay That Way," but the site I linked to has shut down! Miraculously the article (a bit reworked) has been moved to this site, where they have also included the full video of the film (from YouTube's "Why Poverty" post; scroll down) @

LucyKaleido S (82)
Monday February 9, 2015, 2:56 am
Forgot to mention that in "Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dream," Gibney makes use of some ground-breaking psychological research that had just come out in 2012, and even has the lead psychologist of the research team speaking in the film.

Paul Piff, who'd designed the experiments for the study, had just had "Higher social class predicts increased unethical behavior" published in January, 2012, in the "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America"

Piff's findings, "in combination with a researcher eager to promote them, reverberated online," & "made him semi-famous," at the age of 30, according to New York Magazine journalist Lisa Miller, who vulgarized the study & its findings as "The Money-Empathy Gap" - "New research suggests that more money makes people act less human. Or at least less humane." :
".../... it showed through quizzes, online games, questionnaires, in-lab manipulations, and field studies that living high on the socioeconomic ladder can, colloquially speaking, dehumanize people. It can make them less ethical, more selfish, more insular, and less compassionate than other people. It can make them more likely, as Piff demonstrated in his experiments, to take candy from a bowl of sweets designated for children. “While having money doesn’t necessarily make anybody anything,” Piff says, “the rich are way more likely to prioritize their own self-interests above the interests of other people. It makes them more likely to exhibit characteristics that we would stereotypically associate with, say, assholes.” .../..."

PBS News Hour had Paul Piff on to talk about his findings in a short interview billed as "Exploring the Psychology of Wealth, ‘Pernicious’ Effects of Economic Inequality" - "Does the amount of wealth you have affect the kind of person you are?", also in the summer of 2012.

Sheryl G (363)
Monday February 9, 2015, 4:31 am
Thank you for your additional offerings. Studies are good to add support of what I think many of us already are more than aware of. We see this in policies that are projected upon the least among us and what one always had referred to as the nose in the air.

There are exceptions of course, very generous and kind people of all social strata, however, it seems once there is a certain point in one's achievement of wealth, they begin to have a shift in attitude, a feeling of superiority and entitlement.

Hence the Oligarchy has thrown that word out to the poor who receive food stamps, sometimes the only thing between them and hunger, despite the fact that our Mother Earth provides for all if the Oligarchy hadn't set up a system to deny the hungry. Or in the case of workers earned benefits, ie Social Security, saying those are entitlements when the laborer worked many years for those benefits.....and yes, should be entitled to them as they worked for those benefits to be there in their Elder years.
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