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Feingold: Justice Kennedy probably ‘embarrassed’ by ‘sloppy’ Citizens United decision | The Raw Story

Feingold: Justice Kennedy probably ‘embarrassed’ by ‘sloppy’ Citizens United decision | The Raw Story | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

By Eric Dolan, The Raw Story


Former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) on Monday speculated that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy was embarrassed by the “almost lawless decision” in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission.


“This is a guy who is usually a careful justice,” he told Sam Seder of the Majority Report. “He just started making these sweeping assertions about what corruption was, what companies do, like he was talking at a bar with somebody over a beer rather than anything that was a legal decision. It was really reckless. I am guess he might even be a little bit embarrassed at this point about what a sloppy opinion it was, and how it just asserted things that aren’t proven.”


The 2010 Citizens United ruling struck down key provisions of the federal McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform law and gave rise to Super PACS, which can raise an unlimited amount of money to influence federal elections as long as they do not directly coordinate with a candidate’s campaign. [MORE]


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CEOs Get Served by Shareholders Sick of Political Spending

CEOs Get Served by Shareholders Sick of Political Spending | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

LISA GILBERT, Huffington Post

In conjunction with 99% Power, the Corporate Reform Coalition is supporting first-time "political spending" resolutions filed at 3M and Bank of America by helping to organize rallies at 3M's annual shareholder meeting today and Bank of America's meeting on Wednesday, May 9. On June 14, the coalition will do the same at Target Corporation's annual shareholder meeting.

These rallies are designed to highlight an appalling problem: Thanks to the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, any CEO at a major company has free rein to pick up the corporate checkbook and spend, spend, spend to elect the candidate of their choosing. In 2010, for example, 3M gave $100,000 to MN Forward, a group that supported an anti-LGBT gubernatorial candidate, and their company's political spending didn't stop there.

The worst part of this newly enabled practice is that the shareholders of the corporations aren't offered any input in - or even informed of - the political causes that their own money goes to influence. Again, the bulk of Americans are shareholders. Everyone who has a pension or investments in the stock market may be having their investments put into corporation's secret political war chests--and they are powerless to stop it because they have no voice in the process. [MORE]


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3M shareholders should support resolution on political spending | MinnPost

3M shareholders should support resolution on political spending | MinnPost | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

By Mike Dean


Mike Dean is the executive director of Common Cause Minnesota.


This outrageous spending is due in part to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. That decision undermined a generation of good government reforms enacted in the wake of Watergate and opened the door to unrestricted corporate and union political expenditures for the first time since 1947. As a result, the demand for political contributions from the business community is intensifying.


Corporations should resist the temptation to engage in this arms race because corporate political spending is both bad for business and bad for our democracy. That is why 3M shareholders should support a resolution at the annual shareholder meeting today that urges the board of directors to adopt a policy prohibiting the use of corporate funds for any political election or campaign. [MORE]

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Feingold: Justice Kennedy probably ‘embarrassed’ by ‘sloppy’ Citizens United decision

Feingold: Justice Kennedy probably ‘embarrassed’ by ‘sloppy’ Citizens United decision | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by ERIC DOLAN, The Raw Story


Former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) on Monday speculated that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy was embarrassed by the “almost lawless decision” in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission.


“This is a guy who is usually a careful justice,” he told Sam Seder of the Majority Report. “He just started making these sweeping assertions about what corruption was, what companies do, like he was talking at a bar with somebody over a beer rather than anything that was a legal decision. It was really reckless. I am guess he might even be a little bit embarrassed at this point about what a sloppy opinion it was, and how it just asserted things that aren’t proven.”


The 2010 Citizens United ruling struck down key provisions of the federal McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform law and gave rise to Super PACS, which can raise an unlimited amount of money to influence federal elections as long as they do not directly coordinate with a candidate’s campaign. [MORE]

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U.S. to run first surplus since 2008: CBO

U.S. to run first surplus since 2008: CBO | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

By Robert Schroeder, MarketWatch | The Wall Street Journal


The U.S. government recorded a budget surplus of $58 billion in April, the Congressional Budget Office estimated on Monday, breaking a streak of deficits that began in 2008.


The surplus — the first of Barack Obama’s presidency — was the result of both increased tax collection and lower government spending. Before April, the government had not run a surplus since September 2008, the month that the financial crisis struck the U.S. economy. Read CBO report.


[MORE]

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Secretive Extremist Group Seeks to "Swift Boat" President Obama

Secretive Extremist Group Seeks to "Swift Boat" President Obama | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by Judd Legum and Adam Peck, ThinkProgress


A secretive right-wing group, Veterans For A Strong America, is attempting to do to President Obama what the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth did to Sen. John Kerry in 2004. And they aren’t shy about it. The group’s leader and sole employee, Joel Arends, told Mother Jones, “Yes, it’s the swift boating of the president.”


Arends said his goal is to take “what’s perceived to be [Obama's] greatest strength” — the successful raid on Osama Bin Laden’s Pakistani compound — and make it “his greatest weakness.” The effort started this week with a web video attacking Obama for taking too much credit.


In an interview with ThinkProgress, Arends refused to discuss any information regarding how the group was financed or its leadership. Arends also declined to provide legal forms he claims to have filed with the IRS. A representative from the IRS told ThinkProgress that the agency does not have any forms from Arends’ group on file.


Here’s what we do know about Arends and Veterans For A Strong America:

  1. In four days, the first ad by Veterans For A Strong America garnered almost 1 million views on Youtube. It has also been played frequently on TV news shows. [YouTube, 5/1/12]

  2. Veterans For A Strong America is seeking to recruit Navy SEALS to attack Obama. “In the wake of a warm conservative reception for a web video trashing the president for ‘spiking the football’ on the anniversary of Osama Bin Laden’s death, the conservative group Veterans for a Strong America plans to gather Navy SEALs and Special Forces operators to criticize the White House during the 2012 campaign.” [MORE]
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Greek elections shake up Parliament

Greek elections shake up Parliament | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

Greece's conservatives win the most seats but fall far short of a majority, causing a political deadlock at a time of heightened economic unease.


ATHENS — Greek conservatives won at the polls Sunday in national elections but fell far short of enough seats to take power, deadlocking Parliament and deepening unease over the country's economic future and its continued membership in the Eurozone.


With 72% of the votes counted, Antonis Samaras and his center-right New Democracy party had 19.7% of the vote, giving them 111 seats — far short of the number needed to secure an outright majority inGreece's300-seat Parliament. Samaras, 61, has three days to try to form a coalition before passing on the task to the runner-up party.


With the Parliament split among at least seven parties — many of them formed in protest of austerity cuts that have crippled the economy — the messy electoral result could take weeks to untangle at a time when Europe's debt crisis threatens to flare up again. It's the most fractured legislature in Greece since the restoration of democracy in 1974.


"This is a seismic political shift," said Dimitris Mavros, managing director of the MRB polling group, adding: "We're looking at the end of a political era in which the conservatives and Socialists dominated the political spectrum. Voter intent [was] clear: to demolish that system and produce a new, highly fragmented political kaleidoscope." [MORE]

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Elizabeth Warren: Can a liberal champion win over the center in Massachusetts?

Elizabeth Warren: Can a liberal champion win over the center in Massachusetts? | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
The U.S. Senate candidate is a celebrity on the left, but many Massachusetts voters are still getting to know her.


By Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post


Polls show the race is close, but the dynamic could shift in either direction, in no small part because Warren is a first-time candidate, who has yet to introduce herself to many in this state.


Where a Suffolk University poll in February showed her trailing Brown by nine percentage points, “what we calculated was the difference was people who do not know her,” said David Paleologos, director of the university’s political research center.

....

In her stump speeches, Warren reminds voters of a background that began far from Harvard Law School. She grew up in Oklahoma, the whip-smart daughter of a cash-strapped maintenance man and a mother who worked answering phones at Sears.


Whether that will sell against Republican efforts to define her as a Harvard elitist and an anti-business extremist, however, remains to be seen. [MORE]

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ACTION ALERT: Ask Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to Require Disclosure of Political Spending

ACTION ALERT: Ask Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to Require Disclosure of Political Spending | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by ERIC BYLER, Coffee Party USA


Due to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, multi-national corporations are spending unprecedented, unlimited, and undisclosed amounts of money to elect candidates to public office. But the immense wealth at their command doesn’t really belong to them; it belongs to the shareholders of their companies.


And, no matter how capable, and no matter how powerful this elite group of oligarchs has come to be, they should not be allowed to dump our retirement savings and our investments into their secret political war chests.


The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), a federal agency charged with protecting the public from fraud and abuse, has the authority to require publicly traded companies to disclose how they spend money to influence our elections.

Please write to them and let them know that you would like them to require such disclosure. Taking this action could help to contain the corrupting influence of money in politics by bringing it out into the sunlight. [MORE]

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Former GOP Hopeful Seeking Big Win

Former GOP Hopeful Seeking Big Win | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

By CRISTINA SILVA, AP


LAS VEGAS -- Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson is campaigning to win the White House as a Libertarian after receiving scant attention in the Republican presidential race.


Johnson easily became the party's presidential nominee at the Libertarian national convention in Las Vegas on Saturday. He hopes to appeal to voters fed up with the traditional two-party system this November.

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VICTORY: Monique White Wins Negotiation to Save Her Home!

VICTORY: Monique White Wins Negotiation to Save Her Home! | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

excerpt from Occupy Our Homes


Supporters have camped out in and around her home, led over a dozen marches on US Bank, collected over 6,500 petition signatures, packed the courtroom, shut down Bank branches, and even marched to the homeof US Bank CEO Richard Davis. Occupy Homes MN has worked with White and her family since October 2011, making national and international news in the process.


"I'm so thankful for all of the support during this process." Said White, "Through it all I kept my faith in God and fought for what's right. Right now I'm just thankful that my family and I will get to keep my home."


"Monique is truly a hero of the Occupy movement," Said organizer Anthony Newby with Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC), "Monique may have been the first in the country to invite the Occupy movement to defend her home from an unfair eviction. This deal sets an historic precedent for what communities can accomplish when they unite around this issue.


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Huge Pension Fund Sues Execs In Wake Of Scandal

Huge Pension Fund Sues Execs In Wake Of Scandal | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

By ANNE D'INNOCENZIO, AP


NEW YORK — One of the nation's largest public pension funds has filed a lawsuit against current and former Wal-Mart executives and board members, saying they had breached their responsibility in handling an alleged bribery scheme.


The California State Teachers' Retirement System which holds more than 5.3 million shares of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., filed what's called a derivative suit late Thursday in state court in Delaware seeking changes in corporate governance and improvements in its internal procedures at the world's biggest retailer.

The pension fund is asking that any damages sustained as a result of the violations should be awarded to the company, which is based in Bentonville, Ark.

The action marks the pension fund's first derivative lawsuit. This type of suit is brought by a shareholder on behalf of a corporation against a third party. The goal of the plaintiffs is not to reap big financial rewards but to change corporate governance. [MORE]

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How to Quit the Big Banks, Form a Community Based Credit Union, today on The Bottom Line

How to Quit the Big Banks, Form a Community Based Credit Union, today on The Bottom Line | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by JESSICA ENGLISH, Coffee Party USA


Today's episode of The Bottom Line focuses on a great test case for community banking featured Friday in the Los Angeles Times. My guests will include Ann Leda Shapiro, who recently left Chase Bank and was able to buy a house using a new Puget Sound Cooperative Credit Union on Vashon Island, WA. We'll also talk to Bill Moyer — artist, activist, and visionary behind the Backbone Campaign, who helped to make the credit union possible.


THE BOTTOM LINE
with Jessica English

Today! Sunday, May 6
5 to 6:30 pm ET (2 to 3:30 pm PT)

CALL: (646) 929-2495

CLICK HERE to listen live


Kim Murphy of the Los Angeles Times reports:


Harmon and Moyer were talking one day in 2009 about how to create a coal-free zone on the island. They needed to help people weatherize their homes, but none of the three Wall Street banks on the island wanted to make those kinds of loans except as home equity loans.


"We need a credit union," Harmon said.


A community survey showed widespread enthusiasm, but then the four-member steering committee began crunching numbers. It needed at least $1 million up front to insure the deposits and guarantee the first two years of expenses.

"We got to this crossroads where we either needed an angel or a partner. And as organizers, we were not interested in creating models where you need an angel, or are only successful in highly privileged communities," Moyer said.


Join me from 5 PM to 6:30 PM eastern time today, and please contribute great articles you find to my Bottom Line collectively curated newsletter.


Sincrerely,
Jess

PS: Please join the Coffee Party or renew your membership so we can keep our social media miracle going!

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Is Obama responsible for a $5 trillion increase in the debt?

Is Obama responsible for a $5 trillion increase in the debt? | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

Excerpt from article by Glenn Kessler, Washington Post


Romney also attributed the growth of the debt entirely to Obama’s policies. And, and while the numbers add up, that is a bit more difficult to justify.


First of all, Obama has failed to convince Congress to enact some of his proposed policies — such as higher taxes on the wealthy — that likely would have reduced the deficit and thus kept the debt growing more slowly.


But more to the point, a major factor in the debt explosion has been the decline in government revenues because of the recession. One could argue — and Romney might — that the laggard recovery is the result of Obama’s policies and thus he should also get all of the blame for the decline in revenues. But the chart below shows that the decline in revenues (the red line) began at start of the recession — a year before Obama took office.


The chart also shows an explosion of spending (blue line) began at the start of the recession — that is the result of automatic stabilizers such as unemployment insurance kicking in. The spending kept going up, and a good chunk of that is Obama’s responsibility. Still, as the chart shows, it is not such a simple answer to pin this all on Obama’s “policies.” [MORE]

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How Mississippi's Black/Brown Strategy Beat the South's Anti-Immigrant Wave

How Mississippi's Black/Brown Strategy Beat the South's Anti-Immigrant Wave | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

A campaign that brought together low-income workers and undocumented workers stopped an anti-immigrant bill in its tracks.

 

by DAVID BACON, The Nation

 

In early April, an anti-immigrant bill like those that swept through legislatures in Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina was stopped cold in Mississippi. That wasn’t supposed to happen. Tea Party Republicans were confident they’d roll over any opposition. They’d brought Kris Kobach, the Kansas Secretary of State who co-authored Arizona’s SB 1070, into Jackson, to push for the Mississippi bill. The American Legislative Exchange Council, which designs and introduces similar bills into legislatures across the country, had its agents on the scene. 


Their timing seemed unbeatable. Last November Republicans took control of the state House of Representatives for the first time since Reconstruction. Mississippi was one of the last Southern states in which Democrats controlled the legislature, and the turnover is a final triumph of Reagan and Nixon’s Southern Strategy. And the Republicans who took power weren’t just any Republicans. Haley Barbour, now ironically considered a “moderate Republican,” had stepped down as governor. Voters replaced him with an anti-immigrant successor, Phil Bryant, whose venom toward the foreign-born rivals Lou Dobbs.


Yet the seemingly inevitable didn’t happen. [MORE]

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"Resolved Not to Give Up" By Don Manning | Speaking of America

"Resolved Not to Give Up" By Don Manning | Speaking of America | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

Recently while organizing various notes and documents in my computer, I found a small collection of some of my favorite quotes.

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Boehner, Norquist Enter Pre-Production on "Debt Ceiling Hostage Crisis 2: Electric Boogaloo"

Boehner, Norquist Enter Pre-Production on "Debt Ceiling Hostage Crisis 2: Electric Boogaloo" | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by JAKE SHERMAN and MJ LEE 


Speaker John Boehner is once again promising that any increase in the nation’s borrowing limit will have to be accompanied by a greater amount of spending cuts.


The Ohio Republican’s position, which will be announced at the Peter G. Peterson Fiscal Summit Tuesday in D.C., seems to mirror his stance during last year’s all-consuming debt ceiling standoff.


“When the time comes, I will again insist on my simple principle of cuts and reforms greater than the debt limit increase,” Boehner plans to say, according to excerpts released by his office. “This is the only avenue I see right now to force the elected leadership of this country to solve our structural fiscal imbalance. If that means we have to do a series of stop-gap measures, so be it – but that’s not the ideal. Let’s start solving the problem. We can make the bold cuts and reforms necessary to meet this principle, and we must.”

[MORE]


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NPR: Europeans Rejecting Austerity in Favor of Growth Economy

NPR: Europeans Rejecting Austerity in Favor of Growth Economy | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

Listen to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED report


Excerpt from piece by Eric Westervelt, NPR


Critics Say Austerity Is Too Rigid


Economist Irwin Collier at Berlin's Free University says European voters have good reason to rebel. Merkel's policy of aggressively pushing for debt-troubled countries to trim their public sector deficits, he says, has proved too rigid.


"The problem if you do it too fast and too soon [is that] you get into a vicious cycle where you start losing tax revenue and your deficits start mounting," he says. "So it's actually counterproductive. This is clearly an instance where austerity has been far too front-loaded for the good of economic growth in the eurozone."


For the German approach to succeed, Collier argues, debt-burdened countries would have to make these painful structural reforms during a period of growth.

"And for that to happen, Germany has to shift from being the stern schoolmaster of fiscal discipline to a locomotive of economic growth," Collier says.


Merkel has been using the word "growth" more and more lately. But there's little sign Germany will fundamentally change its approach to the debt crisis. Merkel's spokesman on Monday referred to "growth through structural reforms" — meaning the current approach is the best one.


But clearly the French election results mark a setback for Merkel and her goal of solving Europe's economic crisis with financial austerity.


She openly supported incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy. She insisted again on Monday in Berlin that an EU pact signed earlier this year limiting debt and imposing budget cuts across the 17-nation eurozone was not up for amendment or change, as Hollande would like. [MORE]

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Class Actions Face Hurdle in 2011 Supreme Court Ruling

Class Actions Face Hurdle in 2011 Supreme Court Ruling | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

DAVID SEGAL, New York Times

In April 2011, the Supreme Court ruledin AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion that corporations could write consumer contracts that blocked class-action lawsuits. To do so, the corporations need only draft a contract that a.) requires unhappy customers to settle disputes through arbitration, and b.) prohibits unhappy customers from arbitrating as a collective. When the ruling was issued, Brian T. Fitzpatrick, a law professor at Vanderbilt University, described it to The New York Times as “one of the most important and favorable cases for businesses in a very long time.” He called it “a game changer.”

 

A year later, we’re starting to see how much the game has changed. On April 25, the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen released a report titled “Justice Denied” that said that since Concepcion, judges had cited the decision at least 76 times as a reason to prevent potential class-action lawsuits from moving ahead. In some of those cases, the judges made clear that they were ruling against the plaintiffs through gritted teeth, explaining that Concepcion basically made it impossible to come to any other decision. 

Take Mr. Wolf’s case. The contract he signed with Nissan included a forced arbitration clause along with a class-action ban. His lawyer, Thomas T. Booth Jr., argued that the terms of the lease were “unconscionable,” which is legalese for “totally uncool, under the circumstances.” [MORE]

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Haley Barbour Finds Marco Rubio's Second Class Citizen Alternative 'Clearly Attractive'

Haley Barbour Finds Marco Rubio's Second Class Citizen Alternative 'Clearly Attractive' | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by MIKE SACKS, Huffington Post


Calling the Hispanic vote "in play" for Republicans this November, former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said on Sunday that parts of an alternative DREAM Act proposed by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) are "clearly attractive."


Barbour, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee and now an adviser for the Karl Rove-backed super PAC American Crossroads, appeared to throw his weight behind Rubio's plan as a way to attract a demographic that Republicans lost badly in 2008.


Rubio's proposal, which has not yet been drafted, would reportedly permit undocumented young people whose parents had brought them to the United States to remain in the country if they kept a clean criminal record and joined the military or attended college. In making his proposal, Rubio, a leading contender for the GOP's vice presidential nomination, may provide some cover for Mitt Romney, the party's presumptive presidential nominee. Romney has called for a Republican version of the Democrat-backed DREAM Act that does not include the path toward citizenship provided in the original. [MORE]

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Buffett Shuns Super PAC Contributions While Backing Obama

Buffett Shuns Super PAC Contributions While Backing Obama | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

MARGARET COLLINS, Bloomberg News 

Warren Buffett, the world’s third-richest man and a supporter of President Barack Obama, faulted campaign-finance rules that allow unlimited contributions and said he won’t donate to a super political action committee.

 

“I don’t want to see democracy go in that direction,”Buffett said yesterday at the annual shareholders meeting of his Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A) in Omaha, Nebraska. “You have to take a stand some place.”

 

Super PACs can accept unlimited corporate, union and individual donations. They were made possible by the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling that removed limits on corporate and union election spending.

 

The super PACs are barred from making donations to candidates, and can spend money independently of the campaigns. Supporters of both Obama and Republican front-runner Mitt Romneyhave created super PACs in an attempt to influence this year’s U.S. presidential election. [MORE]

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Bank of America Targeted By Protesters And Investors As SEC Weighs Political Spending Rule

Bank of America Targeted By Protesters And Investors As SEC Weighs Political Spending Rule | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by ZACH CARTER, Huffington Post - Washington DC


As the Securities and Exchange Commission considers requiring corporations to disclose their political spending to shareholders, a coalition of institutional investors and public interest groups are seeking to make next week's Bank of America shareholder meeting a flashpoint for getting corporate money out of politics.


Consumer watchdog Public Citizen and a host of activist groups are planning protests around several major shareholder meetings in the coming months, but the Bank of America meeting Wednesday will be among the most prominent. At the meeting, Trillium Asset Managment, a firm that manages $1 billion in environmentally friendly investments, will present a resolution that would bar the company from engaging in any political spending whatsoever. That ban would include lobbying, campaign contributions and donations to politically oriented groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. BofA has given money to ALEC, but the Chamber is more secretive about its members, and it is not clear whether BofA has contributed to the Chamber or not.


In recent years, significant percentages of shareholders at some large companies have voted to require their firms to provide increased disclosure about the extent of their political donations, although none of these resolutions have passed to date. And Trillium views its more aggressive proposal to get BofA to end all political spending as intimately connected with a campaign pressuring the SEC to require disclosure.  [MORE]

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Connecting the dots: Economic policy, "Citizens United," and gay rights

Connecting the dots: Economic policy, "Citizens United," and gay rights | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by ERIC BYLER, Coffee Party USA


I have a fondness and an appreciation for Chris Matthews because he is thorough, factual, and so unmistakably and genuinely in love with the subject that he covers: politics.


I listened to the latest episode of Hardball with Chris Matthews tonight, and I liked it so much that I might watch it as well. The show covered three issues about which I'm very passionate:

  1. One percent economic policy vs. 99 percent economic policy with guests Paul Krugman and Jon Heilemann. Krugman makes the point that private sector employment has returned to levels before the Great Recession, but that public sector employment is way down because of One percent economic policies (austerity). Krugman says unemployment would be at 7 percent if we had pursued 99 percent economic policies. Heilemann points out that such policies were not attainable during these past years because of fiscal conservatives in both the Republican and Democratic parties. And Matthews adds that if Obama had tried to do more for jobs and the economy, it might have backfired on him, and no legislation would have been passed at all.

  2. One percent economic policy vs. 99 percent economic policywith guests Paul Krugman and Jon Heilemann. Krugman makes the point that private sector employment has returned to levels before the Great Recession, but that public sector employment is way down because of One percent economic policies (austerity). Krugman says unemployment would be at 7 percent if we had pursued 99 percent economic policies. Heilemann points out that such policies were not attainable during these past years because of fiscal conservatives in both the Republican and Democratic parties. And Matthews adds that if Obama had tried to do more for jobs and the economy, it might have backfired on him, and no legislation would have been passed at all.The "Citizens United" decision with Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, who, along with his Republican Lt. Governor, is pushing Ballot Initiative 166, directing Montana's Congressional delegation to move to amend the United States Constitution to clarify that corporations are not people, and that they cannot legally bribe our politicians and purchase our government. Matthews asks Gov. Schweitzer, if We the People have a chance against multi-national corporations and there representatives in Congress and on the Supreme Court. I rather liked his answer, but I'll let you watch it below and not expand because I've already written and spoken out about Montana and Citizens United quite a bit.

  3. Gay rights [MORE]
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Voter registration down among Hispanics, blacks

Voter registration down among Hispanics, blacks | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

There are 2 million fewer black and Hispanic registered voters than there were in 2008, according to census figures. The steep decline is a challenge for the Obama campaign.


by KRISSAH THOMPSON, The Washington Post


The number of black and Hispanic registered voters has fallen sharply since 2008, posing a serious challenge to the Obama campaign in an election that could turn on the participation of minority voters.


In the 2008 election, robust turnout among black and Latino voters is credited with putting Obama over the top in key swing states, including Virginia and New Mexico.


Voter rolls typically shrink in non-presidential election years and registrations among whites fell at roughly the same rate, but this is the first time in nearly four decades that the number of registered Hispanics has dropped significantly.


That figure fell 5 percent across the country, to about 11 million, according to the Census Bureau. But in some politically important swing states, the decline among Hispanics, who are considered critical in the 2012 presidential contest, is much higher: just over 28 percent in New Mexico, for example, and about 10 percent in Florida.


For blacks, whose registration numbers are down 7 percent nationwide, and Hispanics, the large decrease is attributed to the ailing economy, which forced many Americans to move in search of work or because of other financial upheaval.


“The only explanation out there is the massive job loss and home mortgage foreclosures, which disproportionately affected minorities,” said Antonio Gonzalez, president of the William C. Velasquez Institute, a nonpartisan policy group that focuses on Latinos. “When you move, you lose your registration.” [MORE]

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Lugar loss rains on Romney primary wins for GOP establishment

Lugar loss rains on Romney primary wins for GOP establishment | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by MICHAEL FINNEGAN, Los Angeles Times


After more than 35 years in the United States Senate, Richard Lugar of Indiana was ousted Tuesday by a "tea party" challenger in a Republican primary that demonstrated the perils of compromise in an era of ideological purity and intransigence in Congress.


The 80-year-old senator, a leading voice for his party on foreign policy, was pummeled for weeks by Republican rival Richard Mourdock for his breaches with conservative orthodoxy.


Among them: Lugar's support of citizenship for some illegal immigrants and his votes to confirm President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominees, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.


Lugar's defeat marks a triumph for the tea party in a campaign season otherwise shaping up as less favorable to a conservative insurgency than the 2010 election that swept many of the movement's candidates into office and fueled a Republican takeover of the House.


It also affirms the downside of Senate longevity at a time when voters, in Indiana as elsewhere, are in a surly mood over prolonged economic hardship. Lugar, a fixture of the Republican establishment in Washington since the 1970s, was poorly prepared to fight for survival.  [MORE]

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