Super PACs spent $567,498,628 on the 2012 elections. About half of that was used on the presidential election. You may have seen that half-billion-dollar number thrown around or heard the mention of Super PACs – but what does a Super PAC really do?
The vast majority of Americans—more than 90 percent in recent polls—believe it “important” to “reduce the influence of money in politics.” But is the business model of the reformers actually consistent with winning reform?
This is the fair but hard question raised by the strategy planned by Senate Democrats this summer to force a vote on New Mexico Senator Tom Udall’s proposed constitutional amendment to give Congress the power “to regulate the raising and spending of money” in elections. Forty-three Senate Democrats have cosponsored the resolution. Zero Republicans have. Zero is the same number of Republicans who have joined any of the proposed constitutional amendments now floating about in Congress to, as they are described, “reverse Citizens United.” Constitutional reform to give Congress the power to further regulate campaign cash is the exclusive domain of the Democrats (excepting, of course, the ACLU Democrats; the ACLU opposes such amendments).
Reform.to tracks members of Congress as well as candidates, and highlights their support for specific legislative and constitutional reforms aimed at fighting the corrupting influence of money in politics.
Sens. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) on Tuesday introduced legislation to prevent members of Congress from becoming lobbyists after they retire.
Current law allows senators to become lobbyists two years after leaving office, while House members only have to wait for a year. But Bennet and Tester's bill would institute a lifetime ban on lobbying for lawmakers.
The effects of the Affordable Care Act may be weighing less heavily on the hiring plans of U.S. privately held companies this year, according to a survey of accountants who work with small businesses.
BY: MICHAEL COHN
MAY 28, 2014
The financial information company Sageworks found that slightly more than half of accountants working with privately held businesses said that the ACA is making it less likely that their clients will hire in the next 12 months. That is a smaller percentage than Sageworks found in a previous survey it conducted last summer in which two-thirds of the respondents said the ACA was making it less likely that private companies would hire in the year ahead.
In addition, a slightly larger percentage this year predicted the ACA would have no impact on hiring in the next year. Of the more than 500 firms surveyed in April and May of this year, 19 percent foresaw no impact on hiring, 20 percent were unsure and 5 percent noted that the implementation of the ACA will lead to more hiring in the next 12 months.
Unless there are further delays, the employer mandate requiring employers with over 50 full-time employees to provide health insurance to full-time workers is scheduled to begin in 2015 for businesses with more than 100 employees and in 2016 for businesses with 50 to 99 employees.
“Private companies in the United States are continuing to grow at a healthy rate, and while planning for the Affordable Care Act is still impacting many businesses’ plans for hiring, it is causing significantly fewer businesses to slow hiring in the coming year in comparison to last year, which is positive," said Sageworks chairman Brian Hamilton in a statement.
A record-low 21% of Americans express a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in television news. Confidence among liberals and moderates has fallen significantly and is now similar to that of conservatives.
Coffee Party USA's insight:
Gallup poll from July, 2012, but seemingly still the case and still the trend.
Do something about it.
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When telcos zero-rate data used by their apps and their partners’ apps, they are engaging in price discrimination and threatening net neutrality. The practice should be banned in U.S. and Europe.
by Antonios Drossos, Rewheel
APR. 26, 2014 - 10:30 AM PDT
The net-neutrality provisions adopted by the European Parliament earlier this monthruled that specialized services like “fast lanes” can’t be used by telcos to the detriment of the availability or quality of internet access services. On the other side of the Atlantic, Americans are less fortunate. The FCC said this week that it would propose new rules that allow companies like Disney, Google or Netflix to pay internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon for special, faster lanes to send video and other content to their customers.
This is the price the U.S. pays for delegating such crucial policy decisions to an unelected ex-lobbyist rather than delegating to Congress. Meanwhile, the open internet isn’t safe yet in Europe: The Council hasn’t spoken and the devil is in the details.
The 2007 influx of undocumented immigrants crossing the border led to the Arizona stop-and-frisk law. What will be the outcome of 2014 surge of unaccompanied minors? Eric Byler, filmmaker and director of “9500 Liberty,” joins Krystal Ball to discuss.
Install and use Greenhouse, a free browser extension for Chrome, Safari, and Firefox that exposes the role money plays in Congress. Provides transparency by putting vital data about political contributions where it’s most relevant. Discover the real impact of money on our political system.
Some are red. Some are blue. All are green.
A free browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari that exposes the role money plays in Congress. Displays on any web page detailed campaign contribution data for every Senator and Representative, including total amount received and breakdown by industry and by size of donation. Puts vital data where it’s most relevant so you can discover the real impact of money on our political system.
Today’s Senate subcommittee endorsement of a constitutional amendment permitting common-sense limits on campaign spending “is an important step toward putting voters back at the center of our elections,” said Common Cause President Miles Rapoport.
In part two of his interview, economist Joseph E. Stiglitz says corporate tax abuse has helped make America unequal and undemocratic. But the Nobel Prize-winner has a plan to change that. Watch part one of Bill's interview with Stiglitz »
Thousands of bills are introduced during each Congress. Vanishingly few of them end up becoming law — fewer each year, as Congressional gridlock anddysfunction worsen. Out of 7,207 bills and joint resolutions introduced during this Congress, only 103 have become law — fewer, by this point, than in any other Congress since at least the 1970s.
The state of Colorado has signed a law giving terminally ill patients the right to use experimental drugs. Governor John Hickenlooper signed the 'Right to Try' bill into law in Fort Collins.
It’s a proposal being advanced in several states by patient advocates who are frustrated by the amount of time the federal approval process takes for experimental drugs in the pipeline. Missouri and Louisiana also passed similar legislation recently.
The bill's co-sponsor, Democratic State Rep. Joann Ginall, was absent from the signing ceremony in order to tend to her older brother, Tom, who is suffering from a rare blood cancer. “For people who are facing death and have one last hope, they should have a choice to try every possible drug,” Ginall stated.
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. Gibney contends that America's richest citizens have "rigged the game in their favor," and created unprecedented inequality in the United States.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wholeheartedly endorsed a constitutional amendment to limit campaign spending on Thursday, putting the Senate on course to vote on the matter as early as July.
Reid said that the Senate Judiciary Committee will take up the amendment on June 3, which allows Congress and the states to limit fundraising and spending on federal campaigns and gives lawmakers the ability to regulate outside groups. From there, the amendment will go to the Senate floor, where it has little chance of passing due to broad GOP opposition to meddling with campaign finance laws.