Face The Nation on CBS: Roberts switched views to uphold health care law - Sources: Chief Justice originally sided with other conservatives to overturn heart of Affordable Care Act, then withstood "desperate effort to bring him back" by...
"Love is non-partisan. Love does not belong to any specific group. And the equality of love is also non-partisan. ... Equality is non-partisan because the priority of our rights and our liberties, as if freedom is some kind of finite resource, is most anti-American." —Lt. Dan Choi
Thanks to their friends in the Senate, deep-pocketed campaign donors get to keep their masks on... for now.
by BILL MOYERS and MICHAEL WINSHIP
Ask any magician and they’ll tell you that the secret to a successful magic trick is misdirection — distracting the crowd so they don’t realize how they’re being fooled. Get them watching your left hand while your right hand palms the silver dollar: “Now you see it, now you don’t.” The purloined coin now belongs to the magician.
Just like democracy. Once upon a time conservatives supported the full disclosure of campaign contributors. Now they oppose it with their might — and magic, especially when it comes to unlimited cash from corporations. My goodness, they say, with a semantic wave of the wand, what’s the big deal?: nary a single Fortune 500 company had given a dime to the super PACs. (Even that’s not entirely true, by the way.)
Meanwhile the other hand is poking around for loopholes, stuffing millions of secret corporate dollars into non-profit, tax-exempt organizations called 501(c)s that funnel the money into advertising on behalf of candidates or causes. Legally, in part because the Federal Election Commission does not consider them political committees, they can keep it all nice and anonymous, never revealing who’s really behind the donations or the political ads they buy. This is especially handy for corporations — why risk offending customers by revealing your politics or letting them know how much you’re willing to shell out for a permanent piece of an obliging politician?
That’s why passing a piece of legislation called the DISCLOSE Act is so important and that’s why on Monday, Republicans in the Senate killed it. Again. [MORE]
Following the Obama administration’s announcement to exempt several thousand young undocumented immigrants from deportation, Need to Know’s panel of experts discuss the nation’s need for immigration reform.
A great conversation on both sides of the issue. CLICK to watch.
by Sara Kenigsberg & Lucia Graves, Huffington Post
David Bronner had been camped out in a steel cage in front of Lafayette Park for almost three hours before a truck full of firemen came to remove him forcibly with a power saw.
The long-haired president of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, a top-selling natural soap chain based in Escondido, Calif., was holding court in an 64-square-foot cage to draw attention to the federal prohibition on growing industrial hemp, a policy which fails to distinguish between oilseed and fiber varieties of cannabis. [MORE]
Is an honest Media the one and only Force than can restore peace and balance to the Galaxy? To find out, we consult two of journalism's most influential and inflammatory figures: Rebel journalist, enfant terrible, Julian Assange, who awaits a verdict in London which could see him 'Sextradited' to Sweden. And, on the opposite end of the journalistic spectrum, Rupert Murdoch, head of the mighty NewsCorp media Empire, embroiled in legal scandals that go to the highest and lowest levels of celebrity in Britain.
In the manichean manner of some ancient laser sword and forcery epic, join the most retro news-anchor in the Galaxy, Robert Foster, as he attempts to wrangle these two figures together for a rap-debate. Will the light or the dark side prevail - and is it really that easy to know which is which? How many Bothans died to bring us this information? Is the Force Estate with Robert? Will we see THE RETURN OF THE JOURNALI before the EMPIRE EXTRADITES BACK?
For answers to all these questions and more, pull down your blast shields, switch off your on-board computer and feel the Force in this latest episode of Juice Rap News... or click play.
ABOVE: Coffee Party USA's Eric Byler looks inside the numbers of our federal debt with Jo Comerford of the National Priorities Project.
As the 2012 race shifts its focus from the economy to the debt , let's investigate why we have a deficit and a debt problem. Our tax code is full of loopholes created and exploited by big corporations. They spend the millions to control our government with misleading commercials, political donations, and an army of lobbyists camped out on K Street.
In return, politicians INSIDE our government feign alarm over the deficits created by the tax loopholes their corporate funders have installed, and propose that the difference be made up ordinary people like you and me — by taxes on our pensions and cuts in public safety, job creation, infrastructure, and education.
"Won't this anger the voters?" the politicians ask. "Don't worry, we'll pay for campaign commercials, grassroots movements, and think tanks to distract deceive them," the corporate lobbyists say.
We won't be deceived any longer. We demand that Congress represent We the People instead of corporate campaign funders and lobbyists! SHARE this video on Facebook or Twitter (see share buttons below).
When the Supreme Court’s landmark health care decision came down on Thursday, CNN and Fox News raced to be first in reporting the ruling. They were first, all right: the first major news networks to incorrectly report that the mandate had been struck down.
Needless to say, Jon Stewart, who loves to point out the falsehoods, incongruities and plain ridiculousness that plague cable news channels, had a field day with the “widely different” accounts they broadcast.
“Yes, widely different,” the host of “The Daily Show” said. “There’s what you’ve been saying, and then there’s what happened.” [MORE, including vide0]
Karen Huff Klein, a bus monitor for the Greece School District in Rochester, N.Y., is receiving an outpour of support after a ten-minute video of her enduring vicious bullying while watching over students on a bus ride home was uploaded to YouTube.
After the footage surfaced, Reddit user razorsheldon posted a call to arms in support of the school official who was brought to tears by the group of children.
In the disturbing video, the children can be heard yelling at Klein, calling her an "ugly fat ass" and telling the widow, "you don't have a family because they all killed themselves because they don't want to be near you."
Above, my former Congressman, whom I have met in person and admire for his courage and leadership during Virginia's immigration culture war, offers the most impressive remarks I have ever seen him make.
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va) calls the Republican contempt hearing in the U.S. House a "sad moment for the Congress, and says one would forgive the American public for seeing it as "akin to a kangaroo court," in which "the verdict is decided in advance" and in which facts are distorted and selectively filtered out to fit a predetermined verdict. When legitimate lines of inquiry are avoided, there is always a reason, Connolly says, referring to the decision not to inquire about the precursos to "Fast and Furious" which began during the prevoius administration. Connolly says that one could forgive the American public for concluding that all of this extraordinary behavior, including name-calling and character assassination directed at Atty General Eric Holder, is nothing other than an attempt to attack President Obama in an election year.
Bill Moyers invited us to come on his show this week to chat about dark money, the undisclosed, often untraceable political spending made possible by the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision. In a wide-ranging (and incredibly gracious) interview, he asked us about everything from the latest super-PAC machinations to the nexus between political money and income inequality. [WATCH]
The measure, which lawmakers drafted in response to the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling, “would require independent groups to disclose the names of contributors who give more than $10,000 to independent groups for use in political campaigns.” Here is what you should know about the measure:
It’s all about disclosure. The bill’s sole purpose would be to require outside groups who can currently spend unlimited sums of money on “independent expenditure” ads attacking and supporting presidential and other candidates to identify who is paying for the ads. Under current law, a 501(c)(4) tax-exempt group like Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS can spend millions of dollars on attack ads without citizens ever knowing who is paying for them. Under the DISCLOSE Act, if a group spends more than $10,000 on political ads in an election cycle, it would have to identify the donors funding the efforts.
The Supreme Court backed disclosure. In his 5-4 majority opinion in the Citzens United v. FEC case, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote “disclosure is a less restrictive alternative to more comprehensive regulations of speech.” By an 8-1 majority, every Justice but Clarence Thomas agreed that Congress had acted properly when it required that donors be identified for political ads that do not expressly advocate for or against a candidate. But, while these indirect ads come with disclosure, Congress did not anticipate that Citizens United would allow outside groups’s ads to directly tell voters to support or oppose candidates, leaving a major loophole.
Republicans used to support disclosure. When Congress considered the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform law in the early 2000s, opponents consistently argued that complete disclosure, rather than regulation, was the best campaign finance law. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who now dismisses disclosure as government-supported “harassment and intimidation,” once endorsed the concept and asked “why would a little disclosure be better than a lot of disclosure?” Fourteen current Senate Republicans who now oppose the DISCLOSE Act voted in 2000 for similar disclosure for 527 committees, the forerunner to these 501(c)(4) outside spending groups. And even Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who this March warned the lack of disclosure for independent spending would lead to “huge scandals” still joined with the Republicans to stop the bill in 2010 and yesterday.
Republicans are moving the goal posts on disclosure. The 2010 version of the bill included an array of provisions aimed at mitigating problems created by Citizens United, including restrictions on foreign-owned corporations’ ads and government contractors. Republicans like McConnell criticized that version as “117 pages of stealth negotiations in which Democrats pick winners and losers, either through outright prohibitions or restrictions so complex that they end up achieving the same result.” This year, sponsor Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) is offering just a 20-page bill that contains solely the disclosure provisions, in hopes that Republicans would be more open to supporting it. None have. [MORE]
There is, however, a partisan argument against the Affordable Care Act. When Congress voted on health reform, every single Republican voted to maintain the status quo. When the justices announce their decision in the health care case this month, these same lawmakers hope that every single Republican justice will join them in voting against reform. Things weren’t always this way, however. In the words of Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Republicans used to oppose “those who can’t get their policy views enacted through the legislature” who then “turn to the courts.”
Indeed, quotes from Republican senators arguing against exactly the same kind of judicial activism Republican senators now insist the Supreme Court must engage in is so common, we found dozens of examples. [MORE]
From 2004 to 2007, the bank put credit-worthy Hispanic and African-American borrowers into more expensive nonprime loans, the U.S.
by Bloomberg News
Wells Fargo & Co., the largest U.S. mortgage lender, agreed to pay $125 million to settle U.S. allegations that it discriminated against minority borrowers in making residential loans.
From 2004 to 2007, the bank put credit-worthy Hispanic and African-American borrowers into more expensive nonprime loans, the U.S. said in documents filed today in federal court in Washington. Through 2009, the bank allowed “discretionary charges” by mortgage brokers that resulted in minority borrowers paying higher fees, costs and interest than similar white borrowers, the U.S. said.
“Wells Fargo’s internal documents reveal that senior officials were aware of the numerous tactics that subprime originators employed to keep loans in the subprime division,” when they could have qualified for prime loans, the Justice Department alleged in a complaint filed with the settlement.
Wells Fargo denies allegations that it engaged in an illegal pattern of lending discrimination, saying it agreed to the settlement “solely” for the purpose of avoiding litigation, according to a proposed consent order.
The Obama administration has increased scrutiny of banks to discourage loan discrimination as the housing bust fuels loan defaults. The Justice Department extracted a record $335 million from Bank of America Corp. in a deal announced in December. Countrywide, acquired by Bank of America in 2008, assessed higher fees and interest rates on more than 200,000 black and Hispanic borrowers, the Justice Department said at the time. [MORE]
Massachusetts Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren launched a new television ad today, highlighting how the sluggish economy has affected many middle-class families.
“You work your heart out to buy a house, then watch its value disappear,” Warren narrates over B-roll of a pipe fitter at work. “You save to put your kids through school, then the debt just about crushes you,” she says to out-of-focus B-roll of what appears to be a family in front of a house.
“Families are getting hammered and Washington’s got it all wrong,” the consumer advocate and Harvard professor says directly to the camera.
“They give out billions to oil companies, the most profitable corporations on earth, then try to slash students loans and Medicare. We’re supposed to help our kids and honor our parents,” she says over images of her on the trail with senior citizens and children. [MORE]
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) points the finger at Wall Street profiteers who purchased the legislation they needed to crash the global economy, cause the global recession, and make off like billinon dollar bandits.
"Maybe the lesson of the Great Financial Crisis was you cannot continute to maintain the largest Gambling Casino in the history of the world. But... they're back at it again."