Many a pundit has wrung their hands over the “enigma” that is astronomically high health care costs in the United States. Once you follow the money, however, things get a lot less mysterious in a hurry.
The 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference’s poll of conservative attitudes toward marijuana might surprise you.
41 percent of respondents said “Marijuana should be legalized for recreational and medical use and taxed,” while 21 percent said “Marijuana should be legalized only for medical purposes when prescribed by a doctor.”
31 percent said, “Marijuana should remain illegal” while 6 percent abstained from the question.
Due to the large youth presence at the conference, CPAC pollster Tony Fabrizio noted that with the exception of those 65 and older, pluralities of conservatives in each age group supported the legalization of marijuana in either its recreational or medicinal forms.
- See more at: http://rare.us/story/cpac-2014-legalized-marijuana-now-has-majority-support-among-conservatives/#sthash.6GWJnpST.dpuf
Department: County Executive | Posted: 2/21/2014 | Views: 986
Bellone: The launch of the Suffolk County’s PulsePoint App will help response times for residents experiencing sudden cardiac arrest Phone application
Holbrook, N.Y. (February 20, 2014) – Suffolk County Executive Steven Bellone joined Fire Rescue Emergency Services (FRES) Commissioner Joe Williams along with members of the Suffolk County EMS, the Suffolk County Joint Chiefs Association, the Regional Emergency Medical Services Council at the Holbrook Fire Department to announce the implementation of the Suffolk County PulsePoint App today. The new service, funded through federal grants, is the first municipal phone application on the East Coast that empowers CPR-trained residents to provide life-saving assistance to those in cardiac arrest.
“Suffolk County will continue to utilize the latest technological advances to provide life-saving assistance to our residents,” said County Executive Bellone. “With hundreds of residents and emergency management personnel signed up in the first 24-hours, I ask any and all CPR-trained residents to download the application, sign-up for the service and join those who are already users of this life saving service.”
With new strategies, the Working Families Party is shaking up the two-party system.
"As public discontent with mainstream Democrats builds, is it possible for a third party to grow — not by running a famous big name on a presidential ticket, but from the bottom up?" writes Sarah Jaffe in In These Times
Sauda Baraka didn’t pursue a spot on the Bridgeport, Conn., Board of Education thinking it would be a springboard to higher office. As her children went through Bridgeport’s public schools, she saw herself simply as an “involved parent” — until 2004, when the Republican Party recruited her to run for the board. Connecticut reserves three seats on all school boards for a minority party — and at the time in Bridgeport, long dominated by a Democratic Party machine, the minority party was Republican. She accepted, and won.
After Baraka spent four years pressing for more funding for the schools and more transparency about operations, the Republicans “kicked me to the curb,” she tells In These Times. “I guess they didn’t like my politics.”
A proposed bill that would keep the public in the dark about the sources of money in Wisconsin elections could also make it easier for dark money groups to coordinate with candidates, an issue of particular salience given the ongoing "John Doe" probe into alleged campaign finance violations in the state."
Dark money" is a phrase which refers to election spending by nonprofits that exploit loopholes in campaign finance disclosure laws and keep their donors secret by running "issue ads" designed to influence elections. Wisconsin's "dark money" bill was just introduced this week. It is now being fast-tracked in the Wisconsin legislature before the end of session, with little time for the press and public to asses its impact.
Currently, Wisconsin law says that ads supporting a candidate that meet the definition of a "political purpose" are subject to registration and disclosure requirements. Acts for a "political purpose" include ads that expressly call for the election or defeat of a candidate; however, the current definition is "not limited to" such express advocacy.
The bill, SB 654 introduced by Senator Mary Lazich (Chair of the Committee on Elections and Urban Affairs) and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, would change the definition of "political purpose," narrowing the definition to a short list of terms like "vote for" or "vote against," and eliminating language defining political purpose as "not limited to" express advocacy. This means that groups that run ads near an election, discussing a candidate, and supporting or criticizing his or her record, would have no responsibility to register with the state elections board and say who is backing them, as long as their ads don't explicitly include the magic words of express advocacy. [MORE]
Coffee Party USA's insight:
"Dark money" is like "dark matter," an astronomical term for a massive, invisible force that warps everything around it. Why would Wisconsin's legislature welcome a massive, invisible force to warp its democratic process? —Eric Byler
Kamilah Moore Opinion The Afrikan Student Union at UCLA currently exists to promote, protect and serve the social, educational, and political interests of people of Afrikan descent. On Tuesday, February 4th, ASU Administrative Staff introduced a resolution to UCLA’s Undergraduate Student Association Council (USAC) urging it, the UCLA Foundation, and the UC Regents to divest from corporations that have investments in the two major private prison companies, CCA and GEO Group.
As Black intellectuals and activists, it is important to recognize the context in which we are functioning. The UC has the largest endowment in the world. If we know, through public information on the UC Regents, that the UC is investing in corporations such as Wells Fargo, Vanguard Group, Blackrock Fund Advisors, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Invesco Finance LTD, and JP Morgan Chase, which contribute to the privatization of prisons and in turn, the enslavement of black, brown and other oppressed communities, it is our collective responsibility to challenge this reality.
OpenSecrets.org has fundraising profiles for all 535 members of Congress (and more).
Coffee Party USA's insight:
"As surely as water flows downhill, money in politics flows to where the power is. Individuals and interest groups will give campaign contributions to politicians in the best position to deliver what they're looking for. That means incumbents get vastly more than challengers, committee chairmen and legislative leaders get more than rank-and-file members, and parties in power get more than parties in the minority."
"When conservatism became a movement, it lost its soul."
- Alan Pell Crawford
Just 2 days ago, I posted a piece about conservative radio host, Mark Levin, receiving the "inaugural" Andrew Breitbart Defender of the First Amendment Award at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
I posed these questions with it:
"Is this really what it means to be "conservative" in America today? Is it any wonder so many of us struggle to connect with each other?"
Now, and with sincere thanks to a good friend who just happens to be a conservative, I offer this article from The American Conservative by Alan Pell Crawford.
I strongly encourage everyone - especially liberals and progressives, but regardless of where you place yourself on the socio-political spectrum - to read it. It is informative, educational, and thought-provoking. It helped me to better understand where and how modern day conservatism got its start, as well as how the "conservative movement" has changed over the last few decades.
The contrast between Levin and Crawford is stark. The question now, it seems, is which one of them is more representative of conservatism to conservatives? Only conservatives can answer that question.
It is the night of August 15, 1973. I’m at Washington’s Sheraton-Park Hotel, now the Marriott-Wardman. The occasion is the annual convention of Young Americans for Freedom (YAF), formed 12 years earlier by, among others, William F. Buckley Jr. While nearly 1,000 YAFers are elsewhere in the building, I, by special invitation, am at a reception hosted by R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. Tyrrell—who had been kind enough to help me land an internship that summer at the right-wing weekly Human Events—was then the dashing editor of The Alternative, a magazine for undergraduates with Tory sensibilities.
The Alternative in time was renamed TheAmerican Spectator, and as Tyrrell became more enmeshed in conservative-movement politics, it would move uptown to the Washington, D.C. suburbs. But back then, The Alternative was edited in a farmhouse outside Bloomington, Indiana, home to Indiana University. It was at Indiana, as an undergraduate who had consumed a heady concoction of two parts Mencken and one part Edmund Burke, that I became an occasional contributor to The Alternative. Its publisher, the man we called “Baron” Von Kannon, is now a vice president at the Heritage Foundation, a right-wing think tank established that same year.
An Oxford scholar warns that our outmoded economic model is a “warrant for inflicting pain” first on the poor and minorities and eventually on most of society. - 2014/03/02
OXFORD, England—The morning after my Feb. 20 debate at the Oxford Union, I walked from my hotel along Oxford’s narrow cobblestone streets, past its storied colleges with resplendent lawns and Gothic stone spires, to meet Avner Offer, an economic historian and Chichele Professor Emeritus of Economic History.
Offer, the author of “The Challenge of Affluence: Self-Control and Well-Being in the United States and Britain Since 1950,” for 25 years has explored the cavernous gap between our economic and social reality and our ruling economic ideology. Neoclassical economics, he says, is a “just-world theory,” one that posits that not only do good people get what they deserve but those who suffer deserve to suffer. He says this model is “a warrant for inflicting pain.” If we continue down a path of mounting scarcities, along with economic stagnation or decline, this neoclassical model is ominous. It could be used to justify repression in an effort to sustain a vision that does not correspond to the real world.
The marketing-data industry got a swift kick in the gut from mainstream news outlet "60 Minutes" last night. The CBS magazine show called the data broker industry "a much greater and more immediate threat to your privacy" than "government snooping and bulk collection and storage of vast amounts of data." And, continued reporter Steve Kroft, corporate data collection is "coming from thousands of companies you never heard of."
Yale study spotlights FDA's ineffectiveness in ensuring drug safety
Coffee Party USA's insight:
Thursday, March 06, 2014 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
(NaturalNews) The FDA's standards for approving new drugs are inconsistent and lacking in important areas, according to an analysis conducted by researchers from Yale University and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
"Not all FDA approvals are created equally," researcher Nicholas Downing said.
According to the researchers, the study is the first to systematically examine the FDA's drug approval standards, and it calls into question the assumption that all drugs prescribed in the United States are safe or effective.
If Rand Paul were elected president, he would have the power to nominate potential Supreme Court justices who want to return to a world where basic workplace protections are considered unconstitutional -- and who object to the federal ban on whites-only lunch counters to boot.
The son of libertarian icon and former Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX), Rand Paul has emerged as the nation’s leading spokesperson for an anti-government philosophy that would undo nearly all the accomplishments of the New Deal and the Civil Rights Era. As a Senate candidate in 2010, Paul came out against the Civil Rights Act of 1964′s bans on private discrimination — including the bans on employment discrimination and whites-only lunch counters — claiming that the right of “private ownership” should trump African Americans’ and other minorities’ right to be free from invidious discrimination. Permitting private discrimination, according to Paul, is “the hard part about believing in freedom.”
Nor are Paul’s libertarian views limited to his skepticism towards civil rights protections. In 2013, Paul endorsed a long-ago overruled Supreme Court decision called Lochner v. New York. The Court’s Lochner opinion relied on a fabricated “right to contract” that it and subsequent cases used to strike down various laws protecting workers from exploitative employers — on the idea that if a worker signs a contract that forces them to work 16 hours a day for barely subsistence wages then it would somehow violate the worker’s rights to pay them more money for fewer hours work.
Lochner was overruled in 1937, after the Great Depression discredited the largely libertarian economic policy that had been imposed upon the country by the Supreme Court. And it was, until very recently, viewed as a disastrous opinion even among leading conservatives. Robert Bork, whose nomination to the Supreme Court was rejected by a Senate that deemed him too conservative, labeled Lochner as “the quintessence of judicial usurpation of power.”
Yet, if Rand Paul were elected president, he would have the power to nominate potential Supreme Court justices who would restore Lochner and who would potentially strike down the federal ban on whites-only lunch counters to boot. And this is the man that one of the nation’s top conservative gatherings selected as their first choice to be the next President of the United States.
Miami, of all places, might be most aware of rising sea levels and the risk of increasing storm intensity.
But what’s a conservative to do? Agree to walk and eat bugs? Accept a future of shivering or sweating in the dark depending on the season? Join the apocalyptic whine from the environmental left about our sure and imminent demise?
Let’s not do any of those things. Let’s show that this is about reasonable risk avoidance and sound economics. Let’s be the optimists who say, “You’ve got a problem? We’ve got a solution.” Accountable free enterprise can deliver more energy, more mobility and more convenience. Innovation and human ingenuity can bring us better, cleaner and cheaper fuels.
During my first six years in Congress, I said there was no problem to be solved —that climate change was Al Gore’s imagination. I took a break from Congress for six years, practicing commercial real-estate law. When I was running for Congress again in 2004, my son had just turned 18 and was voting for the first time. He came to me and said, “I’ll vote for you, Dad, but you’re going to clean up your act on the environment.” [MORE]
Coffee Party USA's insight:
Climate change: Political donors who made their fortunes off 20th century energy sources (oil, coal, etc.) team up with politicians who rely on a 20th century tactics (the Southern Strategy). The former needs legislative obstruction, the latter needs campaign donations, and their partnership delays the time when Congress embraces Bob Inglis' vision of "You've got a problem? We've got a solution." —Eric Byler
“The American public called PBS the most trusted source for news and public affairs programs and the most 'fair' source for news coverage.” - PBS, February 20, 2014 Last month, in response to Pando...
Coffee Party USA's insight:
Following Pando’s reporting on John Arnold and WNET, CPB ombudsman Joel Kaplan agreed that “without actually being able to examine” the documents involved in PBS transactions, “there is no way to know” if PBS content is being unduly manipulated. Referring to WNET’s move to give Arnold back his money, Kaplan added: “I hope that the decision to return the money was not done to avoid disclosing the original contract between the (Arnold) foundation and WNET – that agreement still needs to be disclosed.”
There's just something about this blog post that may strike some readers (like me, CP News Curator, Greg) as a bit breathless and even a little hyperbolic.
Thanks to this post, I learned that the NewsHour has been produced for years by MacNeil/Lehrer Productions which has been a part of Liberty Media for 20 years. I learned that the Arnold Foundation, not "anti-pension mogul John Arnold" was going to fund a program about pensions. I learned that the money was returned once the alleged conflict of interest was brought to light.
In this post, Mr. Sirota, besides taking a few liberties of his own by using several of his own blog posts as sources, seems to be taking other liberties by implying that CPB Ombudsman Joel Kaplan's letter of Feb 15th is a broader indictment of PBS instead in what he termed "a scathing report demanding immediate reform."
He seems to be mostly upset that his desire to obtain private contracts is being denied.
I can't help but wonder what all the fuss was and is about.
Last month, in response to Pando’s revelations that anti-pension mogul John Arnold secretly was financing PBS’s “Pension Peril” series, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting issued a scathing report demanding immediate reform. Criticizing “the lack of transparency” at PBS, CPB’s ombudsman Joel Kaplan declared that public broadcasting outlets must let the public access details of their financial dealings.
So how’s that new commitment to transparency going?
Here’s how: Once again, a PBS flagship station is in the process of negotiating a deal with a politically active mogul. Once again, the deal involves the NewsHour — the same iconic PBS program that stealthily promoted Arnold’s anti-pension programming. And once again, PBS is refusing to disclose the deal’s financial details to the public.
The major difference this time is that this new story of secrecy isn’t about who funds the journalism on the NewsHour. It is about who actually owns the NewsHour.
Lo and behold: Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States and the center of federal government, has decriminalized the possession and consumption of small amounts of marijuana. By a near-unanimous vote, the D.C. city council has decided to eliminate laws that made possession of up to an ounce of marijuana a criminal offense punishable by a fine of $1,000 or a six-month prison sentence. When the new regulations go into effect this summer, possession will be punishable only by a fine of $25; public consumption will remain a misdemeanor, but with a maximum fine of $500 or 60 days in jail. D.C. joins the 17 states that have decriminalization laws on the books, and has become one of the most lenient cities in the country when it comes to marijuana offenses.
As the world's biggest online retailer, Amazon wants a benevolent image to encourage trust from customers. Obtaining vast quantities of their personal information has been central to the firm's business model. But Amazon is diversifying -- and a few months ago the company signed a $600 million contract with the Central Intelligence Agency to provide "cloud computing" services.
Amazon now has the means, motive and opportunity to provide huge amounts of customer information to its new business partner. An official statement from Amazon headquarters last fall declared: "We look forward to a successful relationship with the CIA."
The Central Intelligence Agency has plenty of money to throw around. Thanks to documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, we know that the CIA's annual budget is $14.7 billion; the NSA's is $10.8 billion.
The EndPartisanship.org coalition today filed suit in the U.S. District Court in Newark,challenging the constitutionality of partisan primary elections.
Coffee Party USA's insight:
The idea of open primaries raises some interesting questions.
Should people who are not members of a party be entitled to vote in primaries to elect candidates chosen from a party?
If public funds were taken out of the equation, would that satisfy the issue and allow the "private clubs" to close their primaries to anyone who is not a member of the party? Would eliminating public funds be a "privatizing" of the electoral process? What are the pros and cons of doing so?
Finally, if so few eligible voters go to the polls for primaries and general elections now, would opening primaries change that behavior if the candidates and the parties don't fundamentally change themselves?
According to Congressional Lobbying Reports linked from this article….
Time-Warner’s 1Q2013 Lobbying Report lists $905,000.00 in total lobbying expenses, and a team of 4 lobbying on trade issues that included TPP, the New Zealand Copyright Act (http://fairdeal.net.nz/) and other matters.
Comcast’s 2Q2013 report lists total lobbying expenses of $5.47million. They categorize their lobbying related to TPP as “International IP Protection – TPP, WIPO (https://www.eff.org/issues/wipo), and TTIP.
In Q4 of 2013, Twenty-First Century Fox spent a total of $1.52million dollars on all their lobbying including the TPP, TTIP, and Trade Promotion Authority, better known as “fast track” authority.
Disney spent a total of $1.11million in the first quarter of last year on lobbying, spreading their TPP-related lobbying around in the House, the Senate, the U.S. Copyright Office, Patent & Trademark Office (PTO), the Office of Management & Budget (OMB), the Department of Commerce (DOC), and with the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR).
Do we perhaps begin to understand better why it is that the corporate/mainstream media has nothing at all to share with us about the secrecy and the potential pitfalls of current trade negotiations?
Justice depends on having a fair chance to be heard, regardless of who you are, where you live, or how much money you have. The National Center for Access to Justice has created the Justice Index to help make access to justice a reality for all. The Justice Index provides a vivid picture of which states are following practices and providing the resources necessary to make the legal system fair to everyone. Our justice system is among the most highly regarded in the world and we cherish our ideal of equality before the law. But for too many people the reality falls short of the promise.