Goodbye 2016

Top Reasons 2016 is one hell of a year

Brexit is an abbreviation for "British exit," which refers to the June 23, 2016, referendum whereby British citizens voted to exit the European Union. The referendum roiled global markets, including currencies, causing the British pound to fall to its lowest level in decades. UK Prime Minister David Cameron, who supported the United Kingdom remaining in the European Union, resigned on July 13 as a result. Home Secretary Theresa May, leader of the Conservative Party, became Prime Minister, who has to deal with this crisis.
Projections differ significantly over the precise economic effect, but there is a consensus that leaving would hurt Britain financially, at least in the short term. Without access to the union’s open markets, Britain would probably lose trade and investment. And while the influx of migrant workers has created anxiety over British culture and identity, losing that labor force could lead to lower productivity, slower economic growth and decreased job opportunities, a study by Britain’s National Institute of Economic and Social Research found. New trade deals could takes YEARS establish and requiring border control for the Channel and the Republic of Ireland.
The UK economy appears to have weathered the initial shock of the Brexit vote, although the value of the pound remains near a 30-year low, but opinion is sharply divided over the long-term effects of leaving the EU. Some major firms such as Easyjet and John Lewis have pointed out that the slump in sterling has increased their costs.
Britain also lost its top AAA credit rating, meaning the cost of government borrowing will be higher. But share prices have recovered from a dramatic slump in value, with both the FTSE 100 and the broader FTSE 250 index, which includes more British-based businesses, trading higher than before the referendum.
The Bank of England is hoping its decision to cut interest rates from 0.5% to 0.25% - a record low and the first cut since 2009 - will stave off recession and stimulate investment, with some economic indicators pointing to a downturn.
In November, the British High Court ruled that the government needs the Parliament's approval to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and begin the process of withdrawing the UK from the EU. The government has said it will appeal the verdict to the Supreme Court in December. If the Supreme Court agrees with the High Court's decision, the Parliament will have to vote on whether Brexit should take place. Otherwise, Theresa May plans to trigger Article 50 at the end of March 2017.

Flint Water Crisis Continues
Work is still needs to be done for this problem.
The Flint water crisis is a drinking water contamination issue in Flint, Michigan, United States, that started in April 2014. After Flint changed its water source from treated Detroit Water and Sewerage Department water (which was sourced from Lake Huron as well as the Detroit River) to the Flint River (to which officials had failed to apply corrosion inhibitors), its drinking water had a series of problems that culminated with lead contamination, creating a serious public health danger. The Flint River water that was treated improperly caused lead from aging pipes to leach into the water supply, causing extremely elevated levels of the heavy metal neurotoxin. In Flint, between 6,000 and 12,000 children have been exposed to drinking water with high levels of lead and they may experience a range of serious health problems. Due to the change in water source, the percentage of Flint children with elevated blood-lead levels may have risen from about 2.5% in 2013 to as much as 5% in 2015. The water change is also a possible cause of an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in the county that has killed 10 people and affected another 77.
The water disaster called attention to the problem of aging and seriously neglected water infrastructure nationwide.  The Flint crisis recalled recent lead contamination crises in the tap water in various cities, such as the lead contamination in Washington, D.C. drinking water (2001), Columbia, South Carolina (2005); Durham and Greenville, North Carolina (2006); Jackson, Mississippi (2015); and Sebring, Ohio (2015). The problem is ongoing and getting worse in some areas.
Orlando Pulse Shooting
On June 12, 2016, Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old security guard, killed 49 people and wounded 53 others in a terrorist attack/hate crime inside Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, United States. He was shot and killed by Orlando Police Department (OPD) officers after a three-hour standoff. Pulse was hosting Latin Night and most of the victims were Latino. It was both the deadliest mass shooting by a single shooter and the deadliest incident of violence against LGBT people in United States history. It was also the deadliest terrorist attack in the United States since the September 11 attacks in 2001.
In a 9-1-1 call shortly after the shooting began, Mateen swore allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and said the shooting was "triggered" by the U.S. killing of Abu Waheeb in Iraq the previous month. He later told a negotiator he was "out here right now" because of the American-led interventions in Iraq and in Syria, and that the negotiator should tell the United States to stop bombing ISIL.
Initial reports said Mateen may have been a patron of the nightclub and used gay dating websites and apps, but Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) officials said they have not found any credible evidence to substantiate these claims. However people who knew Mateen have speculated that he might have been gay or bisexual. A male friend of his from 2006, when the two were in police academy together, said that Mateen went to gay clubs with him and that Mateen once expressed an interest in dating him. Club-goers also recalled Mateen dancing with another man. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) also conducted an investigation and said it found no links between ISIL and Mateen.

Record Number of Women of Color Elected to the Senate & Inspires Thousands More Women to Run For Office
The number of women of color in the Senate not only increased this past election cycle, it quadrupled, a huge stride for minority women in elected office. Illinois’ Rep. Tammy Duckworth became the first Thai-American woman elected to the Senate. California Attorney General Kamala Harris, who is black and Indian American, made history as the first Indian-American woman to be elected the Senate. And in Nevada, Catherine Cortez Masto became the first-ever Latina senator and the first woman ever elected to the Senate from her state.
Perhaps one of the most underreported and promising stories of the post-election aftermath was the surge of women who are now looking to run for public office. In the wake of the election and Clinton’s disappointing loss and in resistance to Trump, women are now stepping up to run and are supporting more female representation in politics moving forward.

Progressive Movement
What the difference between a “liberal” and a “progressive” is. The questions from the media on this subject are always something like, “Isn’t ‘progressive’ just another name for ‘liberal’ that people want to use because ‘liberal’ has become a bad word?”
The answer, in my opinion, is no - there is a fundamental difference when it comes to core economic issues. It seems to me that traditional “liberals” in our current parlance are those who focus on using taxpayer money to help better society. A “progressive” are those who focus on using government power to make large institutions play by a set of rules. Here are some examples of the progressive movement:
Progressives believe that stagnating wages perpetuate income inequality and that raising the minimum wage is a necessary step to combat inequality. If the minimum wage grew at the rate of productivity growth in the United States, it would be $21.72 an hour, nearly three times as much as the current $7.25 an hour. Popular progressives, such as socialist Bernie Sanders and Keith Ellison, have endorsed a federally mandated wage increase to $15 an hour. The movement has already seen success with its implementation in California with the passing of bill to raise the minimum wage $1 every year until reaching $15 an hour in 2021. New York workers are lobbying for similar legislation as many continue to rally for a minimum wage increase as part of the Fight for $15 movement.
Progressives began to demand stronger Wall Street regulation after deregulation and relaxed enforcement as leading to the financial crisis of 2008. Passing the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory act in 2010 provided increased oversight on financial institutions and the creation of new regulatory agencies (CFPB), but many Progressives argue its broad framework allows for financial institutions to continue taking advantage of consumers and the government. Bernie Sanders, among others, has advocated to re-implement Glass-Steagall for its stricter regulation and to break up the banks because of financial institutions' market share being concentrated in fewer corporations. Another financial crisis could be on the rise with a new president.
Are You a Progressive? This article: The Definition of a Progressive: Are You a Progressive? by Michael Schwalbe should answer your question.

For this last post of 2016 I want to say that maybe this wasn't the best year so lets hope 2017 is better for all of us. Remember, you gotta keep fighting, believing in your dreams, in what you want to achieve. Don't let other people bring you down. It's hard sometimes but you have to keep looking ahead. CARE ABOUT YOURSELF FIRST! If you don't care about yourself, then who will? Lets face it, we LGBTIQ people, have it harder than anyone else in this world, that's why you have to find the strength within you to keep standing up every day.
Also remember to NEVER take anything for granted!

I wish you all success, health, happiness and joy for this New Year!


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