Category Archives: National Politics

Fast Track to Lost Jobs and Lower Wages

From the Economic Policy Institute an easy to understand analysis of the Fast Track Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement and what it could do to American workers and businesses.  Good article with many clickable links to provide more information to topics raised.

A child performing “menial” work in the new unregulated, global economy.

Fast Track to Lost Jobs and Lower Wages

This week, Senator Hatch will reportedly introduce “fast track” (trade promotion authority) legislation in the Senate, to help President Obama complete the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade and investment deal with eleven other countries in Asia and the Americas. “Fast Track” authority would allow the President to submit trade agreements to Congress without giving members of Congress the opportunity to amend the deal. Experience has shown that these trade and investment deals typically result in job losses and downward pressure on the wages of most American workers. The last thing America needs is renewal of fast track and more trade and investment deals rushed through Congress.

The administration has claimed that the TPP will create jobs, but it will not. There are other policies that have attracted bipartisan support, including ending currency manipulation and rebuilding infrastructure that could each create millions of U.S. jobs. President Obama has limited political capital to expend with the Republican-controlled Congress and he must choose his policies wisely.

Trade and Jobs?

For more than twenty years, both Democratic and Republican administrations have claimed that free trade agreements like the U.S. – Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) would lead to growing U.S. exports and stimulate creation of goods jobs in the United States. Bill Clinton claimed that NAFTA would create 200,000 jobs in its first two years and a million jobs in five years. President Obama claimed that KORUS would “support 70,000 American jobs” because the agreement would “increase exports of American goods by $10 billion to $11 billion.

Claims that trade and investment deals would support domestic job creation have proven to be empty promises. Expanding exports alone is not enough to ensure that trade adds jobs to the economy. Increases in U.S. exports tend to create jobs in the United States, but increases in imports lead to job loss—by destroying existing jobs and preventing new job creation—as imports displace goods that otherwise would have been made in the United States by American workers. Thus, it is changes in trade balances—the net of exports and imports—that determine the number of jobs created or displaced by trade and investment deals like NAFTA and KORUS.

More than 5 million U.S. manufacturing jobs were lost between 1997 and 2014, and most of those job losses were due to growing trade deficits with countries that have negotiated trade and investment deals with the United States.

Between 1993 (before NAFTA took effect) and 2013, the U.S. trade deficit with Mexico and Canada increased from $17.0 billion to $177.2 billion, displacing more than 850,000 U.S. jobs. Growing trade deficits and job displacement, especially between the United States and Mexico, were the result of a surge in outsourcing of production by U.S. and other foreign investors. The rise in outsourcing was fueled, in turn, by a surge in foreign direct investment (FDI) into Mexico, which increased by more than 150 percent in the post-NAFTA period.

KORUS took effect in March 2012. Between 2011 and 2014, U.S. exports to Korea increased by about $1 billion, but imports have increased by $13 billion, so the trade deficit has increased by nearly $12 billion. This growing trade deficit with Korea has cost more than 75,000 U.S. jobs.

Continue reading:  Fast Track to Lost Jobs and Lower Wages

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Fast-Track: An Undemocratic Path to Unfair “Trade”

As promised we bring you some more opinion and analysis on the Fast-Track push by Obama for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.  From the blog of the group Public Citizen:

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Fast Track

An Undemocratic Path to Unfair “Trade”

President Obama is asking Congress to delegate to him extreme Fast Track authority to railroad into place job-killing trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

ALERT! A Fast Track bill has recently been introduced. Click here for the full analysis.

Fast Track was an extreme and rarely-used procedure initially created by President Richard Nixon to get around public debate and congressional oversight. Fast Track is how we got into the job-killing, wage-flattening North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). Thanks to Fast Track, NAFTA and the WTO included terms that promote the offshoring of U.S. jobs to low-wage countries.

Fast Track also empowered executive branch officials advised by large corporations to skirt Congress and the public and use secretive “trade” agreements to roll back a wide range of non-trade policies on which our families rely for safe food, a clean environment, affordable medicines, financial stability and more.

Fast Track set up a system of more than 500 official corporate U.S. trade advisors who have access to secret trade agreement texts and who have set the “U.S.” trade agenda whether we have Democratic or Republican presidents.

Fast Track is such an extreme power grab that in the past 21 years Congress has only allowed it to go into effect for five years total. Why? Because under the U.S. Constitution, Congress is supposed to write the laws and set trade policy. For 200 years, these key checks and balances helped ensure that no one branch of government had too much power. But, starting with Nixon, presidents have tried to seize those congressional powers using the Fast Track mechanism. hide

Fast Track has only been used 16 times in the history of our nation, often to enact the most controversial of “trade” pacts, such as the NAFTA and the establishment of the WTO. Meanwhile, hundreds of less controversial U.S. trade agreements have been implemented without resort to Fast Track, showing that the extraordinary procedure is not needed to approve trade agreements.

Fast Track allowed the executive branch to unilaterally select partner countries for “trade” pacts, decide the agreements’ contents, and then negotiate and sign the agreements – all before Congress had a vote on the matter! Normal congressional committee processes were forbidden, meaning that the executive branch was empowered to write lengthy legislation on its own with no review or amendments. These executive-authored bills altered wide swaths of U.S. law unrelated to trade – food safety, immigration visas, energy policy, medicine patents and more – to conform our domestic policies to each agreement’s requirements. And, remarkably, Fast Track let the executive branch control Congress’ voting schedule. Unlike any other legislation, both the House and Senate were required to vote on a Fast Tracked trade agreement within 90 days of the White House submitting it. No floor amendments were allowed and debate was limited.

Because Fast Track’s dramatic shift in the balance of powers between branches of the U.S. government occurred via an arcane procedural mechanism, it obtained little scrutiny – until recently. Its use by Democratic and Republican presidents alike to seize Congress’ constitutional prerogatives, “diplomatically legislate” non-trade policy, and preempt state policy, has made it increasingly controversial.

A president cannot obtain Fast Track empowerment without a vote of Congress. President Clinton, renowned for trade expansion, only had Fast Track authority for two of his eight years in office due to congressional opposition. Indeed, in 1998 Clinton’s effort to get Fast Track authority was rejected by 171 House Democrats and 71 House GOP members.

The last time Congress authorized Fast Track was in 2002, with a 3:30 am vote before a congressional recess in which the antiquated mechanism was approved by just three votes. Since 2007, Congress has refused to authorize this extreme procedure, even after its proponents tried to escape Fast Track’s bad reputation by renaming it “Trade Promotion Authority.” The bill currently before Congress would replicate the widely-opposed Fast Track bill from 2002.

As a candidate, President Obama said he would replace this anti-democratic process. But now he is asking Congress to grant him Fast Track’s extraordinary authority – in part to try to overcome growing public and congressional opposition to his controversial TPP and Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA) deals. To prevent an expansion of this unfair “trade” model, Congress must not allow the executive branch to once again gain Fast Track’s undemocratic powers.

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Dreaming About Man on Dog …

…has apparently gotten old.

ACTION ALERT: Show Up Friday 13th and Tell Legislators “Pass the Resolution!”

ACTION ALERT:

A hearing at the will be happening on Friday, February 13, in Room 210 at the LOB (Legislative Office Building – behind the State House).

Show up and support HCR-2, [House Concurrent Resolution 2] the move to get Citizen’s United overturned.  You can sign up to testify as to why you think, as a citizen, this resolution and considering an amendment is important.  You also can stand by and stare down a politician.  Your presence speaks volumes!

Also: A constitutional amendment is the ONLY way to overturn the Citizen’s United decision!

HCR-2  asks the New Hampshire state legislature to bring forth a resolution to Congress to have convention as explained in Article V of the US Constitution to consider adopting an amendment differentiates personhood from corporate existence. Article V in the constitution reads as follows:

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.

Therefore, the move is on to get New Hampshire on the list of states to comprise the two-thirds necessary for a convention.  The convention would convene for no other purpose than to consider the adopting of an amendment to clarify that corporations cannot claim “personhood”.

The body of HCR-2 reads as follows:

ANALYSIS

This bill applies to Congress for a convention under Article V of the United States Constitution for the purpose of proposing amendments to the United States Constitution in order to address concerns raised by the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010), and related cases.

15-0135

05/09

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Fifteen

A RESOLUTION applying to Congress to hold a convention for amendments.

Whereas, the government of the United States is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people; and

Whereas, George Washington, the first President of the United States, stated in his 1796 farewell address that, “The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their Constitutions of Government”; and

Whereas, it was the stated intention of the framers of the Constitution of the United States of America that the Congress of the United States of America should be “dependent on the people alone.” (James Madison, Federalist 52); and

Whereas, the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution states “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people,” which has consistently been interpreted to allow the several states to establish their own laws governing the financing of elections; and

Whereas, the United States Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010), removed restrictions on amounts of independent political spending and established a de-facto imposition on the several states denying them the ability to establish their own laws governing the financing of elections; and

Whereas, the current state of federal elections has become such that tremendous power is given to monied legal entities, which have supplanted the will of the people by undermining our ability to choose our political leadership, write our own laws, and determine the fate of our state; and

Whereas, natural persons are endowed with certain unalienable rights, including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, while incorporated legal entities exist only under the revocable authority established by the people through Congress and the several state legislatures; and

Whereas, the Congress of the United States has thus far failed to address the multitude of problems created by the United States Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010); and

Whereas, it is in the self-interest of the Congress of the United States not to address the issues raised by the ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010); and

Whereas, Article V of the United States Constitution requires the United States Congress to call a convention for proposing amendments upon application of two-thirds of the legislatures of the several states for the purpose of proposing amendments to the United States Constitution; now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the House of Representatives, the Senate concurring:

That the legislature of the state of New Hampshire hereby applies to the United States Congress to hold a convention, as stipulated by Article V of the United States Constitution, for the purpose of proposing amendments to the United States Constitution in order to address concerns raised by the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010), and related cases, including events occurring long before or afterward or for a substantially similar purpose, and desires that said convention should be so limited, and

That delegates to such a convention from New Hampshire shall propose no amendments which do not have a primary goal of addressing the grievances listed herein, and the delegates to said convention from New Hampshire shall be comprised equally from individuals currently elected to state and local office, or be selected by election in each Congressional district for the purpose of serving as delegates, though all individuals elected or appointed to federal office, now or in the past, be prohibited from serving as delegates to the Convention, and the legislature intends to retain the ability to define the power of its delegates within the limits expressed above; and

That the state of New Hampshire intends that this be a continuing application considered together with applications calling for a convention currently pending in several other states, and all other passed, pending, and future applications, until such time as two-thirds of the several states have applied for a convention and said convention is convened by Congress; and

That the clerk of the New Hampshire house of representatives transmit copies of this resolution to the President and Vice President of the United States, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, the Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives, the President Pro Tempore of the United States Senate, each member of the New Hampshire congressional delegation, and the presiding officers of each legislative body of each of the several states, requesting the cooperation of the several states in issuing an application compelling Congress to call a convention for proposing amendments pursuant to Article V of the United States Constitution.

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Sponsors of the bill are:

 Moveon.org is also having an online petition drive which they will also present to the state legislators.  Please sign the petition as well as a citizen of New Hampshire who is concerned about how the Citizen’s United Supreme Court decision is effecting the political discourse in this country.

Also, for more information on the original Citizen’s United decision and its effects, please refer to the following articles:

Citizens United vs. FEC – Open Secrets.org – a lot of good links and basic information, updated with new analysis on what the decision has done to the political process.

Citizen’s United Supreme Court Decision An excellent detailed analysis of the decision and its meaning and effects from the League of Women Voters of Minnesota with many good links.

Money Unlimited In-depth article in the New Yorker from 2012 on Justice John Robert’s work to get Citizen’s United the victory it sought.

State’s legislatures and local governments that have passed a resolution and sent it to Congress are listed on United for the People,org’s List of Local and State Resolutions

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Power to the People: How Ballot Initiatives Can Achieve the Change We Need

Just linked to us from Paul Brochu, a very dedicated activist and NH IWW leader. Paul proposes that possibly there’s another avenue to getting our work done on key issues on the national level besides relying on career politicians.

ballot initiatives

Adequately Outraged:

By: WP Brochu

The 2014 mid-term elections are officially in the books. Barack Obama’s Democratic party (or so the RNC would have voters believe) took a shellacking on a national level and more ethically suspect politicians have been sent to snuggle up with K Street in January. This next American Congress will continue its dysfunction as the millionaires that are overseeing the operation of a civilization are locked in a perpetual theater of struggle. Fortunately, the continuing momentum of progressive ballot measures in deeply conservative states suggests that the glorified petty popularity contests politics have become can be bypassed with direct mandates from the people.

The grinding machine of traditional electoral and legislative politics has refined itself through years of research and experience in publicity, image manipulation and importance of access to a powerful few. The causes become entwined with the people and whole movements can be stymied through either…

View original post 384 more words

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Dear Democrats…

Carl Gibson, co-founder of US Uncut and writer wrote an open letter to Democrats that he allowed us to re-post here.  We think its very relevant to not only the New Hampshire Democratic party but a much wider demographic than just young folks, we think most all Democrats and progressives, including many in the upper years would agree with the point Carl makes: From Reader Supported News

Carl Gibson appearing on MSNBC to discuss the Affordable Care Act. (photo: MSNBC)

Open Letter to Democrats From a Disillusioned Young Voter

 

ear Democrats,

Are you listening? President Obama says he hears us. He says that people don’t have a reason to show up to vote if the politicians they have to choose from don’t motivate them. He’s partially right. But that’s only part of a much larger problem. To all you would-be elected officials looking for my generation’s support at the polls, listen closely – get populist or get ready to lose bad.

2014’s low voter turnout was historic. Voter turnout actually hasn’t been this low since the 1940s. As Mother Jones pointed out, voter turnout for people under 30 was dismal. In this election, people like me only made up 12 percent of those who voted, while people aged 60 and older made up almost 40 percent of total voters. In 2012, when President Obama was re-elected and Congressional Democrats made gains in the House and Senate, millennials made up almost one-fifth of all voters, and voters 60 and older made up just 25 percent of the electorate, bringing us a little closer to a tie. It isn’t hard to see the difference – this year, Republicans steamrolled you, Democrats, because most of us stayed home and let our Fox-watching uncles and grandparents decide on who was going to represent everyone else.

So how do older people pick who runs Congress? Like every other voting bloc, they pick the ones who run on issues most important to them. And as Vox reported, data consistently shows that younger people want their tax dollars spent on education and job creation. Older voters want their money spent on Social Security and war. The Republicans who swept the U.S. Senate ran largely on fear campaigns over ISIS, promising to be more hawkish than their opponents in an eagerness to pour money and troops into Iraq and Syria to snuff out America’s newest boogeyman.

Read the rest at: Open Letter to Democrats From a Dissillusioned Young Voter

h/t: Daily Kos

 

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Its All Over

Occupy protester arrest

Protesters from Occupy in New York City forcibly removed from a bridge sit-in.

Vote.

Its the easiest muscle in your democratic body to exercise.  It takes the least work, its required only once every few years and most of the time you have to intentionally not listen to not know the issues at stake.

The above picture shows people engaged in the brief, short lived Occupy movement across the country.  One person once corrected me saying, “It was never a movement!” I disagree, it was.  But it was short for multiple reasons but the action of democracy flows under the shiny trappings of capitalist consumption and greed.  It flows under the frozen crust of alienation and dissatisfaction.  It flows because the water of justice cannot be stopped, it flows because the movement of a people yearning for decency in their lives, security, safety and peace will not stop.  Going to the polling place is the easiest.  Exercise that muscle, because sooner or later we’ll all be called on to either run or fight.  Better be fit and ready now.

Now, onto Susan Bruce’s excellent analysis of what’s at stake in New Hampshire:

It’s Almost Over

It’s almost over. A few more political ads ought to help us choose what candidates to vote for. Is there really anyone left who is undecided? Nationwide, over $4 billion is being spent on the midterm elections. Good thing we don’t have anything important we could be spending $4 billion on. The corporate taps are open wide and the dark money is flowing.

Thanks to all that money, we know that Scott Brown knows only one number. 99. We know that he’s attempting to whip white NH into a frenzy about immigration and Ebola. The fear is supposed to divert you from paying attention to why he’s here. He’s here because he lost his Senate seat in Massachusetts, and he’d like to use NH as a springboard to higher office. I’ve been to debates and forums where Brown spoke, and his ground support is thin. What can anyone say about him? He’s never done anything in NH except vacation and run for office. Brown grew up in Massachusetts, went to school there, was married and had a family there, had a career there, got into politics there. If Elizabeth Warren hadn’t beaten him, he’d still be there. The first time Scott Brown casts a vote here it will be for himself.
This is a man who has repeatedly refused to speak with members of the press, going so far as to hide in a bathroom to avoid a reporter. As you ponder his name on your ballot ask yourself this: Should New Hampshire’s US Senate seat be a consolation prize for a guy whose ambition is the only reason he’s here?

Please continue reading here:  Its Almost Over, by Susan Bruce

Why We Need a 28th Amendment

by Sam Sholi

With Congress’ approval rating at a resoundingly low 9% amongst American citizens according to a survey by Public Policy Polling, it can be assumed that the American people have finally become conscious of the fact that the U.S’ political system, or at least those within it, no longer work in their interests.

Now that Congress is less popular than traffic jams, head lice, cockroaches and colonoscopies (according to the same survey), one can’t help but wonder what has driven Congress to appear so incompetent and to be subject to such an intense level of dissatisfaction amongst U.S citizens.

The answer is clear – the major influence of corporations, lobbyists, and wealthy campaign donors has resulted in ensuring that a vast number of American politicians are now nothing more than mouthpieces for the highest earners and biggest businesses in America. This problem is compounded by the U.S Supreme Court decision in the case of Citizens United V Federal Electoral Commission in 2010, where it ruled corporations have the same First Amendment rights as people and therefore can make unlimited campaign contributions during election campaigns.

The Center for Responsive Politics (a nonpartisan, independent and nonprofit research organization dedicated to tracking money in U.S politics and its effect on elections and public policy), cited that statistically, even in the most competitive cycles during congressional elections, on average the candidates who spend the most on their campaigns usually win eight of 10 Senate contests and nine of 10 House races. The evidence conclusively proves that the defining factor in deciding who sits in Congress no longer bears any relation to your ideology, whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, or whether you are a liberal or conservative. It’s all about the money!

desjarnis rep pic

Rep. Desjarlis (R) Tennessee – a product of the system’s flaws

The effect of this has been disastrous. The fact that these politicians are predominantly elected because they can afford to run superior election campaigns means that sometimes American congressmen and senators will be elected despite being simply unfit to do their job. The most notable example of this being how last year Congressman Scott Desjarlais (TN, 4th District) was re-elected – a  Republican who was disgraced during last year’s congressional elections for having multiple mistresses and requesting one of them to have an abortion, despite running his campaign on being a pro-life, pro-family values candidate. Of course, Dejarlais spent more money than his rival for his seat.

The second problem that arises under this current system is the fact that several U.S politicians are no longer acting based on their own instincts, but for their donors. Is it really a coincidence that Gun rights groups have given more than $17 million in individual, PAC and soft money contributions to federal candidates and party committees since 1989, yet we still have failed to see any serious gun-control measures despite public outcry for it after every mass shooting in the last 25 years?

The only way to avoid this problem will be to introduce a 28th Constitutional amendment that not only overrules the decision in Citizens United, but also prevents an elite class of donors being able to exercise their current entitlement to effectively buy the country’s elections through excessively high campaign donations.  In order to achieve this, the amendment must contain a provision to make it illegal for corporations to directly or indirectly give money to any politician, and a provision which places a cap on the amount politicians can raise from any individual.

But if so many congressmen and senators are under the influence of corporate interests and wealthy donors, then why would they accept such an amendment? The answer is that they don’t have to. It is possible to bypass Congress. If two-thirds of the State legislatures (whose members are not as heavily influenced by money) call for a Constitutional Convention then it will become possible to pass the amendment.

civil rights marchers

The 1960’s civil rights movement – proving that unjust establishment practices can be brought to an end if the political will is there.

This presents a real opportunity for America to take back its democracy. But as was the case with the success of the 1960s civil rights movement amongst African-Americans, if this amendment is to be passed then there will need to be a movement with leaders (like Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X) that can inspire a mass movement of people to stand up for that change.

But in order for that to happen, America must first undergo a revolution of consciousness and wake up to the fact that a vote at the ballot cannot compensate for the erosion of a democracy.

Sam Sholi is currently studying law in a university in the United States

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Gorilla Sales Skyrocket After Latest Gorilla Attack!

Excellent article from The Onion on Gun Gorilla Violence and the related debate about controlling gun gorilla ownership across the country.

gorillas

News • animals • News • ISSUE 49•02 • Jan 10, 2013

Statistics show sales of gorillas often spike sharply in the immediate aftermath of a major gorilla attack.

SAN DIEGO—Following the events of last week, in which a crazed western lowland gorilla ruthlessly murdered 21 people in a local shopping plaza after escaping from the San Diego Zoo, sources across the country confirmed Thursday that national gorilla sales have since skyrocketed.

“After seeing yet another deranged gorilla just burst into a public place and start killing people, I decided I need to make sure something like that never happens to me,” said 34-year-old Atlanta resident Nick Keller, shortly after purchasing a 350-pound mountain gorilla from his local gorilla store. “It just gives me peace of mind knowing that if I’m ever in that situation, I won’t have to just watch helplessly as my torso is ripped in half and my face is chewed off. I’ll be able to use my gorilla to defend myself.”

“Law enforcement and animal control can only get there so quickly,” Keller added. “And you never know when you’ll need to use a gorilla to save your life.”

Reports confirmed that gorilla sales have historically risen sharply in the immediate aftermath of a major gorilla attack, most notably after the 2010 tragedy in the small town of Logan, NM, where 14 people, including two 5-year-old children and a 92-year-old woman, were viciously beaten to death by a 12-year-old gorilla who spontaneously attacked patrons of a crowded grocery store.

The latest attack marked the fifth of its kind in the United States within the last six months and has reignited the explosive national debate over gorilla control, with thousands of outraged Americans reportedly demanding that their government representatives act immediately in order to prevent further bloodshed.

“We’ve had to deal with too many gorilla-related tragedies, and we’ve had to bury too many innocent, feces-covered victims,” said Nicole Simmons, president of the Mothers Against Gorillas coalition, who herself lost her 16-year-old son in the infamous Baker High School gorilla rampage of 1997. “It’s time to put an end to this. We need to get gorillas off the streets once and for all. Enough is enough.”

“The answer to this systemic problem is not more gorillas,” Simmons continued, her eyes welling with tears. “The answer is fewer gorillas.”

As evidence, Simmons pointed to a 2011 University of Maryland study, which found that 98 percent of Americans who own a gorilla have never used them for defense against a home invasion. Simmons also cited widely reported studies confirming that people who keep gorillas in the home are 12 times more likely to have their arms torn off, and children in those households are 19 times more likely to be picked up by the legs and bashed repeatedly into the ground.

Furthermore, many gorilla control advocates have reportedly called for statewide limits to the number of gorillas one can purchase and a federal ban on the ownership of silverbacks, referencing as an example the tight gorilla laws in countries such as Japan, England, and Australia, where the annual rate of gorilla crimes is virtually nonexistent.

“There is absolutely no reason—not for hunting, protection, or otherwise—that an ordinary citizen would need to possess a 600-pound silverback,” said Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), one of the most outspoken gorilla control advocates in Congress. “The general public frankly has no business owning apes of this size, and the only people who do are zookeepers who are trained to properly handle them. Otherwise, they are nothing but a threat to society and only serve to perpetuate more violence.”

Opponents to gorilla control legislation, however, appear to be fervent in their defense of their gorilla possession rights. A spokesperson for the powerful yet controversial national gorilla lobby told reporters that a ban on gorillas would not end incidents such as that in San Diego, as those who want the large primates could simply buy them from illegal dealers who smuggle them into the country from the jungles of sub-Saharan Africa.

Many gorilla owners also told sources that the creatures are primarily used for legal hunting purposes and that the overwhelming majority of gorilla enthusiasts are completely responsible with their apes.

“Listen, it’s my God-given right as an American to have the freedom to own a gorilla to protect myself and my family,” said Nashua, NH resident James Harrington, 46, adding that he personally owns 12 different gorillas of various sizes, but keeps them “safely locked away in [his] home.” “And the government has another thing coming if they think they can come into my house and take away my gorillas.”

“What happened in San Diego was horrible, but that doesn’t mean all gorillas are bad,” Harrington added. “In fact, if every person at that mall had a gorilla, then the tragedy probably never would have even happened in the first place.”

At press time, following the increase in national gorilla sales, four isolated gorilla attacks had just been reported across the country, with the overall civilian death toll currently estimated at 37.

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