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Coffee Party Equality is a part of the BE THE MEDIA Project by Coffee Party USA

Coffee Party Equality is a part of the  BE THE MEDIA Project by Coffee Party USA | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

The Coffee Party USA membership believes that money-in-politics is the keystone issue in this republic's democracy today. Those seeking sexual orientation / gender identity equality are now targets for special interests that use the influence of their political contributions to impose their religious, economic, and political will. Coffee Party Equality is a part of the BE THE MEDIA project. It is intended to share evidence of special interest targeting and to report on actions being taken to demand, defend and restore equal rights for all Americans. You can join this relaunched BE THE MEDIA campaign by going to www.coffeepartyusa.com/volunteer.


When you JOIN the Coffee Party or RENEW your membership, you become one of the grass roots funders of our BE THE MEDIA Project. 


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Special Interest Powerhouse Promises Flood of Political Ads Without Disclosure, Despite Court Rulings

Special Interest Powerhouse Promises Flood of Political Ads Without Disclosure, Despite Court Rulings | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by KEVIN BOGARDUS, The Hill


Court rulings that require the disclosure of funding for campaign “issue” ads will not change the U.S Chamber of Commerce’s political program, officials with the business group insisted Monday.


Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue promised a vigorous campaign program despite a U.S. Court of Appeals ruling last week upholding an earlier judgment that the Federal Elections Commission was wrong not to require disclosure of funding for issue ads.


“We will have a vigorous, not changed in terms of our objectives and our methods, election program. These cases do not change that,” Donohue said Monday at a breakfast sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor. “Second, we will not have to disclose where our funding comes from.”


Bruce Josten, the Chamber’s executive vice president for government affairs, noted that the decision has been appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.” [MORE]

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Under the U.S. Supreme Court: 2012 election drowning in secret money

Under the U.S. Supreme Court: 2012 election drowning in secret money | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

MICHAEL KIRKLAND, UPI

The 2012 elections are awash in secret money, with donors accountable to no one, while the national media sleeps and few voters seem to care.


If money has an impact in U.S. elections, the race for the White House and other high offices may be determined by faceless donors pulling the strings from the shadows. Not exactly an image promoted by the Founding Fathers.


In January 2010's Citizens United vs. FEC, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling effectively ended the restrictions on political contributions from the general funds of corporations and unions for independent electioneering.

The U.S. appeals court in Washington then used Citizens United to rule in SpeechNow.org vs. FEC that limits on individual contributions to groups making independent expenditures are unconstitutional.

The two rulings established a new order in how outside groups can affect elections, one pretty much without boundaries.

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Justice Department keeping an eye on Texas Elections to protect voting rights

Justice Department keeping an eye on Texas Elections to protect voting rights | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by Molly Hennessy-Fiske, LA Times


Justice Department officials have announced plans to monitor local elections Saturday in three areas of Texas to ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act of 1965.


Federal observers will monitor polling places in Dallas, Galveston and Jasper counties, according to a Justice Department statement released Friday.


“Observers will watch and record activities during voting hours at polling locations in these counties, and Civil Rights Division attorneys will coordinate the federal activities and maintain contact with local election officials,” the statement said. [more]

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Kara long's curator insight, March 20, 2014 7:48 AM

 

This article discusses the plans of Justice Department officials in Texas to monitor elections in three areas. They was to make sure the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is followed. The Voting Rights Act prohibits discrimination in the election process on the basis of race, color or membership in a minority language group.  Because of the act, the Justice Department is authorized to send federal observers to areas certified by the attorney general or by a federal court order. 

 
Kristin Blom's comment, March 20, 2014 12:07 PM
I think it is very important to protect the rights of voters. It seems like Texas has a lot of controversy with voting laws and restrictions. In this chaotic time for them, I think it is a good idea to have the voting process monitored. While the pending laws and new regulations are still being figured out, it is important that the current laws are upheld. Once the new laws are either approved or shot down, then I think less monitoring will need to be done. The argument seems to be over discrimination, so it will be interesting to see what happens to the future of voting rights in Texas.
Evan Richardson's comment, March 23, 2014 11:30 PM
I like that Texas is trying to enforce its civil rights laws, but is it really that big of an issue today? I know a lot of people are probably racist towards people they think may be illegal aliens, but they need to register to vote to even show up to the polling stations. I just hope that the monitoring is not so intrusive that it scares of voters, as everyone's opinion should matter.
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Want to help stop $ecret political $pending?! Join a webinar on letter-to-the-editor writing!

Want to help stop $ecret political $pending?! Join a webinar on letter-to-the-editor writing! | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

Check out this webinar on Tuesday if you're tired of just reading the news and are ready to help make the news! If there is not enough talk about money and politics in your community or in your local paper, writing a letter to the editor is a great way to start important conversations.

This webinar will provide tips for writing an effective, publishable letter to the editor about the battle against corporate money in politics.


The webinar will be on Tuesday, May 1 from 6 to 7 p.m. Eastern time (5 to 6 p.m. Central, 4 to 5 p.m. Mountain, 3 to 4 p.m. Pacific).


In May and June, organizations and activists just like you are taking the money and politics fight to the corporations with  a series of events that will provide you with a timely topic for your letter to the editor. 

Click to sign up for the webinar.

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Two Parties Find a Way to Agree, and Disagree, on Student Loan Rates

Two Parties Find a Way to Agree, and Disagree, on Student Loan Rates | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

PETER BAKER and JENNIFER STEINHAUER, New York Times

IOWA CITY — As President Obama wrapped up a barnstorming tour of college campuses in swing states on Wednesday, Democrats and Republicans agreed that they wanted to avoid a steep increase in the student loan interest rate this summer. But the chief issue remained unsettled: how to pay the cost of doing so.

In a second day of campaign-style rallies, Mr. Obama pressed his attack on Republicans, depicting them as unsympathetic to college students in need. Republicans countered by accusing the president and his Democratic allies of playing politics with the issue and trying to raise taxes on small businesses to pay for the subsidized rate.

Caught in the middle were seven million college students who will see the interest rate on their federally subsidized loans double to 6.8 percent on July 1 unless Congress and the White House come together on a plan to prevent that, at a cost of $6 billion. For a typical student, the White House said the higher rate could mean as much as $1,000 in additional debt per year at a time of high unemployment among recent graduates. [MORE]



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Presidential Election 2012 To Play Out On New Campaign Finance Field

Presidential Election 2012 To Play Out On New Campaign Finance Field | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

BY PAUL BLUMENTHAL for Huffington Post

WASHINGTON -- As Rick Santorum exits the Republican presidential primary campaign stage right and Newt Gingrich wallows in a sea of debt, the general election match-up between President Barack Obama and presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney begins in earnest. Thanks to a sea change in campaign finance laws brought about by the Supreme Court and a shift in fundraising norms driven by Obama's decision to opt out of presidential matching funds in 2008, this campaign will be unlike any other in recent memory.


The 2012 contest will be the first since 1972 in which neither major-party candidate will accept presidential matching funds in the general election. Both Obama and Romney will be free to raise as much money as they can and spend as much money as possible. The campaign will also be the first since the McCain-Feingold ban on soft money was implemented in which unlimited contributions from corporations, unions and the wealthiest Americans will play a major, if not pivotal, role. [MORE]

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The Audacity of WTF

The Audacity of WTF | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

MARTY KAPLAN, Huffington Post

We're getting used to what's been going on during this campaign. That's dangerous. We should be reminding ourselves just how strange it is.

Start with this: Billionaires are buying civic mindshare.

That's right. A web of plutocrats, guided by a cadre of Karl Roves, is backing their ideal front man, Mitt Romney. Thanks to Frank Luntz, their class is known as the jobs creators, rather than, say, the Robber Barons, and pointing this out is known as class warfare.

Thanks to the Supreme Court's punting on disclosure, these billionaires are able to hack our elections secretly. Surely there are other Joe Rickettses out there, test-driving messaging at least as reptilian as his Son of Willie Horton strategy; we just don't know their names. It took a fluke -- a leak to the New York Times -- to let us in on this one, but there are other rocks we won't be lucky enough to see under. Now that the law against anonymous last-minute lying has been lifted, the 30 days before Nov. 6 is going to be all Orwell, all the time. [MORE]



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Don't Get Fooled Again

Don't Get Fooled Again | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

TAYLOR LINCOLN, Huffington Post

Revisiting the lessons from deregulating derivatives is particularly important right now because Congress seems to have forgotten them. A report we just issued provides a road map of how derivatives wrecked the economy in 2008 and could do so again if Wall Street gets its way.


Nine bills that would roll back the derivatives reforms created in the wake of the financial crisis are moving in Congress. These proposals, most of which have already passed in committee, have been put forth in the name of furthering the competitiveness of U.S. companies and creating jobs for Main Street. These are quite brazen claims, since deregulating derivatives arguably did more to harm economic competitiveness and job creation than anything Congress has done for a very long time.


Here is the history, in brief: At the end of the Clinton administration, financial derivatives were relatively new and sat in a regulatory netherworld. In practice, they were not regulated. But they bore all the hallmarks of traditional futures, which by law must be traded on regulated exchanges. [MORE]

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Jefferson’s lifelong dream

Jefferson’s lifelong dream | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

ANDREW BURSTEIN AND NANCY ISENBERG, Salon

"The only security of all is in a free press.” Thomas Jefferson wrote these words to the Marquis de Lafayette at the age of 80. The reason Jefferson lauded a free press was that he wished, in tense political times, for the U.S. to function as a deliberative democracy, in which an increasingly better-educated citizenry monitored the policy decisions of its elected representatives and judged whether or not they deserved to remain in office.

A better-educated citizenry. That was Jefferson’s mantra, and it should be ours, too. Republicans in Congress have claimed Jefferson as their man, time and again quoting him as a champion of small government. One of their favorites lines is, “If it were possible to obtain a single amendment to our Constitution,” it would be “taking from the Federal Government the power of borrowing.” The Jefferson they do not pay attention to is the one whose lifelong dream was a well-funded public education system — the Jefferson who spent his post-presidential retirement years creating a beautiful public university in Charlottesville, Virginia. Jefferson asked no less a figure than U.S. Attorney General William Wirt, notably the son of a Maryland tavern-keeper, to be its president. He understand that personal growth and national strength were best served by lifting up ordinary folks.

This week, the Senate debated student loan rates, which are now at a comfortable 3.4 percent and are set to double on July 1, if nothing is done. In his most recent college tour, President Obama focused on the endangered interest rate, fully aware that Republicans would have to support the Democratic initiative, if only to avoid embarrassment. Their sleight of hand was in proposing to come up with the $6 billion by removing money from preventive healthcare programs. That, then, is how the House Republican majority voted a week earlier to pass a one-year extension of the 3.4 percent rate. Democrats had urged cutting subsidies to oil and gas companies instead of raiding health care funds. When that wouldn’t fly, the alternative became an increase in the Social Security payroll taxes of the already wealthy. The White House vowed a veto after the House measure passed. It’s now the Senate’s turn. Congress will have to reach some sort of compromise, because neither party wishes to be seen as anti-student in an election year. [MORE]

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How Wall Street Killed Financial Reform

How Wall Street Killed Financial Reform | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by MATT TAIBBI, Rolling Stone

Two years ago, when he signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, President Barack Obama bragged that he'd dealt a crushing blow to the extravagant financial corruption that had caused the global economic crash in 2008. "These reforms represent the strongest consumer financial protections in history," the president told an adoring crowd in downtown D.C. on July 21st, 2010. "In history."

 

This was supposed to be the big one. At 2,300 pages, the new law ostensibly rewrote the rules for Wall Street. It was going to put an end to predatory lending in the mortgage markets, crack down on hidden fees and penalties in credit contracts, and create a powerful new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to safeguard ordinary consumers. Big banks would be banned from gambling with taxpayer money, and a new set of rules would limit speculators from making the kind of crazy-ass bets that cause wild spikes in the price of food and energy. There would be no more AIGs, and the world would never again face a financial apocalypse when a bank like Lehman Brothers went bankrupt.

 

Most importantly, even if any of that fiendish crap ever did happen again, Dodd-Frank guaranteed we wouldn't be expected to pay for it. "The American people will never again be asked to foot the bill for Wall Street's mistakes," Obama promised. "There will be no more taxpayer-funded bailouts. Period."


Two years later, Dodd-Frank is groaning on its deathbed. The giant reform bill turned out to be like the fish reeled in by Hemingway's Old Man – no sooner caught than set upon by sharks that strip it to nothing long before it ever reaches the shore. In a furious below-the-radar effort at gutting the law – roundly despised by Washington's Wall Street paymasters – a troop of water-carrying Eric Cantor Republicans are speeding nine separate bills through the House, all designed to roll back the few genuinely toothy portions left in Dodd-Frank. With the Quislingian covert assistance of Democrats, both in Congress and in the White House, those bills could pass through the House and the Senate with little or no debate, with simple floor votes – by a process usually reserved for things like the renaming of post offices or a nonbinding resolution celebrating Amelia Earhart's birthday.
Read more:  [MORE]

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Corporate Giving That Gives Up On Appearances Of Bipartisanship

Corporate Giving That Gives Up On Appearances Of Bipartisanship | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

DAN FROOMKIN, Huffington Post

WASHINGTON -- Money traditionally follows power in the nation's capital. As a result, corporate campaign contributions have historically been split among incumbents of both political parties, with a decided advantage for whichever controls Congress and the White House.

But that pattern has begun to fray, as companies in some major industries that see a threat from federal regulations -- most notably the energy sector -- appear to have deepened bonds with the Republican Party, with which they share increasingly indistinguishable goals.

"Since they're trying to block regulation or block new laws, a single party can do the job for them," said Robert Weissman, president of the consumer group Public Citizen. "So it makes sense to deepen the relationship there."

[MORE: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/26/corporate-campaign-contributions-industries-bipartisanship_n_1456071.html]

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Derivatives - The Unregulated Global Casino for Banks

Derivatives - The Unregulated Global Casino for Banks | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

DEMONOCRACY INFOGRAPHIC, data by ZeroHedge

A derivative is a legal bet (contract) that derives its value from another asset, such as the future or current value of oil, government bonds or anything else. Ex- A derivative buys you the option (but not obligation) to buy oil in 6 months for today's price/any agreed price, hoping that oil will cost more in future. (I'll bet you it'll cost more in 6 months). Derivative can also be used as insurance, betting that a loan will or won't default before a given date. So its a big betting system, like a Casino, but instead of betting on cards and roulette, you bet on future values and performance of practically anything that holds value. The system is not regulated what-so-ever, and you can buy a derivative on an existing derivative.

Most large banks try to prevent smaller investors from gaining access to the derivative market on the basis of there being too much risk. Deriv. market has blown a galactic bubble, just like the real estate bubble or stock market bubble (that's going on right now). Since there is literally no economist in the world that knows exactly how the derivative money flows or how the system works, while derivatives are traded in microseconds by computers, we really don't know what will trigger the crash, or when it will happen, but considering the global financial crisis this system is in for tough times, that will be catastrophic for the world financial system since the 9 largest banks shown below hold a total of $228.72 trillion in Derivatives - Approximately 3 times the entire world economy. No government in world has money for this bailout. Lets take a look at what banks have the biggest Derivative Exposures and what scandals they've been lately involved in. [MORE]

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