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Nation's governors focus on ways to trim health care costs

Nation's governors focus on ways to trim health care costs | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
The nation's governors, meeting in Williamsburg, Va., tried to look beyond politics to what needs to be done to cut health care costs.
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The U.S. Should Require All Citizens to Vote

The U.S. Should Require All Citizens to Vote | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
But if it won't, here's one possible incentive: Your voting receipt could become a Mega Millions lottery ticket.


One of the major problems contributing to the extraordinary dysfunction of the American political system is the series of voting processes that gives immense influence to the extreme, ideologically driven bases of the two major parties. In today's base-driven elections, party strategists try to maximize the turnout of their own base -- usually by frightening them to death about the consequences if the "enemy" prevails -- while minimizing the turnout of the other side by any means necessary and available.


In my view, the best way to ameliorate this malign dynamic is to find ways to enlarge the electorate in primaries and general elections -- to move our politics to where persuadable voters in the middle have more impact. If I could do one thing to counter our dysfunction, it would be to adopt a version of the Australian system of mandatory attendance at the polls.

...


Why would increasing turnout make a difference? It is not that high turnout is a surefire indicator of civic health and democratic values -- the former Soviet Union, after all, boasted 98 percent turnouts. The greater impact is on the culture of politicians. Australian politicians of all stripes say that knowing both parties' bases will certainly vote motivates them to focus on those persuadable voters in the middle. They do not emphasize the kinds of wedge issues like guns, gays, or abortion that dominate American discourse. Instead, politicians focus on the bigger questions -- like the economy, jobs, and education -- that drive the voters in the middle, and they avoid the kind of vicious or vitriolic campaign rhetoric that turns off the persuadable voters.

...


Of course, mandatory voting has no serious chance of being enacted in the United States, where mandates of any sort are (as you might have noticed) unpopular. Americans rebel viscerally against the idea of taking away the freedom not to vote, even if the consequence is simply a modest penalty or the requirement to write an excuse. So I also favor exploring ways to expand the electorate by using incentives instead of disincentives.


My favorite incentive approach is a "Mega Millions lottery," where one's voting receipt is also one's lottery ticket. The lure of a major prize could and would motivate people to vote, the same way the multimillion dollar Mega Millions prize in 2012 motivated many to stand in line for hours for a chance to buy a lottery ticket that gave a one-in-176-million chance to become a multimillionaire. A lottery could increase turnout dramatically and overnight, and is a model that could be employed at all levels (say, a chance to win a car donated by a local dealer for a local election).


[Read More.]

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Idle cash piles up: David Cay Johnston

Idle cash piles up: David Cay Johnston | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

By David Cay Johnston


(Reuters) - IRS data suggests that, globally, U.S. nonfinancial companies hold at least three times more cash and other liquid assets than the Federal Reserve reports, idle money that could be creating jobs, funding dividends or even paying a stiff federal penalty tax for hoarding corporate cash.

...


A business holding more cash than its operations reasonably require can be hit with a 15 percent levy under Section 531 of the Internal Revenue Code, on top of the 35 percent corporate income tax. The Tax Court even devised a mechanical test in 1965 for how much is too much.


Historically the IRS has levied only privately owned firms or publicly traded companies with few shareholders. But Internal Revenue Code Section 531 applies to all corporations. President Ronald Reagan signed Section 532 (c), which made that explicit, though with an exception for untaxed offshore profits.


After reviewing decades of literature on these code sections, I cannot fathom any rational basis for giving multinational companies an exception to the cash hoarding rules, which discriminates against purely domestic firms.


Some of the multinational corporations say they will bring home what could be more than a trillion dollars if Congress will give them an 85 percent tax discount. The companies frame this as creating jobs. But as I showed in an earlier column, unless there are strict rules, the money can be used to buy back company stock while destroying jobs.


Want to motivate companies to put some of those trillions of dollars of idle cash to work creating jobs, paying dividends or sharing the burden of taxes? Call 1-202-224-3121 and tell your senator or representative you want Section 531 vigorously enforced - now - and the offshore loophole closed immediately.

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CALL TO ACTION: US Senate to vote on DISCLOSE Act tonight

CALL TO ACTION: US Senate to vote on DISCLOSE Act tonight | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
  1. Click here to email your Senators. 
     
  2. Then click here to give their office (your office) a call!
     

The legislation would provide the public with basic information about campaign expenditures made by outside groups that are influencing federal elections and the donors financing these expenditures. The legislation would also provide timely disclosure by Super PACs and require outside groups which make campaign expenditures to take responsibility for their campaign ads. [MORE]

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Should You Care About Mitt Romney's Swiss Bank Account?

Should You Care About Mitt Romney's Swiss Bank Account? | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by MATTHEW O'BRIEN, The Atlantic


The rich are different from you and me. They have Swiss bank accounts.


Well, at least Mitt Romney does.


That was one of the big revelations when Romney released his tax records in January -- a revelation that Vanity Fair recently looked into, along with the rest of his finances. Of course, it's no secret that Mr. Romney is a man of means. But what is still secret is just how Romney has invested those means.


Maybe not so much secret as secretive. Romney has released his return for 2010 and an estimate for 2011. So we have a broad outline of what his personal finances look like. And they look something like an Epcot of financial investments: There is a blind trust with offshore accounts in Switzerland, Bermuda, and the Cayman Islands -- not to mention an almost comically large IRA account. None of this is illegal. But it has raised questions about Romney's Caribbean tax havens and his Swiss bank account. The former makes sense. The latter not as much.


Question #1: Remind me: Why does Romney have money in the Caribbean?


Let's take a quick detour. Imagine that a tax-exempt entity -- like a university endowment -- buys or otherwise acquires a business. Maybe a macaroni company. That company would have a nice little competitive edge. It wouldn't have to pay taxes. That's exactly what happened when some wealthy alums donated the Mueller Macaroni Company to the New York University Law School in 1948. This loophole prompted Congress to close it 1950. Only a tax-exempt entity's "related" businesses would in fact be tax exempt. Everything else would be taxed as "unrelated business income".


What does this have to do with Mitt Romney? Well, university endowments and public pensions are some of the biggest investors in private equity funds like Romney's Bain Capital. Those investors don't want to be hit with the unrelated business tax -- so Bain Capital sets up shop in the Caymans where it can avoid the unrelated business income tax. You might still be wondering: What does this have to do with Mitt Romney -- at least now? He left Bain Capital in 1999 (or 2001). He did, but he didn't. He still gets a share of Bain Capital's profits every year as part of his retirement package. And Bain still has corporate blockers in the Caymans. That's why Romney has investment income from the Caymans. [MORE]

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Alabama's Republican governor calls on Romney to release tax returns

Alabama's Republican governor calls on Romney to release tax returns | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

Excerpt from article by JIM KUHNHENN, Associated Press


Pressure was building on Romney from within his own party to be more forthcoming with his finances, a day after he declared he would not release past income tax returns beyond his 2010 tax records and, before the November election.


On the sidelines of the National Governors Association meeting in Williamsburg, Alabama's Republican governor, Robert Bentley, called on Romney to release all the documents requested of him.


"If you have things to hide, then maybe you're doing things wrong," Bentley said. "I think you ought to be willing to release everything to the American people."


After Democrats seized on his words, Bentley later said he still believes Romney's taxes should be released and he believes in transparency, but he's wasn't implying that Romney has anything to hide. [MORE]

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Alabama’s GOP Governor Calls On Romney To Release More Tax Returns: ‘Release Everything To The American People’

Alabama’s GOP Governor Calls On Romney To Release More Tax Returns: ‘Release Everything To The American People’ | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

By Judd Legum, Think Progress


In a series of interviews yesterday, Mitt Romney mainatined he would only release tax returns dating back two years. Romney told CNN, "that's all that’s necessary for people to understand something about my finances."


Robert Bently, the Republican Governor of Alabama, isn’t satisfied. The AP has the story:


Pressure was building on Romney from within his own party to be more forthcoming with his finances, a day after he declared he would not release past income tax returns beyond his 2010 tax records and, before the November election, his 2011 taxes.


On the sidelines of the National Governors Association meeting in Williamsburg, Alabama's Republican governor, Robert Bentley, called on Romney to release all the documents requested of him.


"If you have things to hide, then maybe you're doing things wrong," Bentley said. "I think you ought to be willing to release everything to the American people."

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The Politics of Power and the Precious Right to Vote - Huffington Post

The Politics of Power and the Precious Right to Vote - Huffington Post | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

Dr. Jeffries described a common narrative about African American history that woefully simplifies most of the last 150 years. That narrative says all barriers to voting were settled for good once President Johnson and Congress “gave” black citizens the Voting Rights Act in 1965 and now that we have President and First Lady Obama and their two beautiful children in the White House we’ve reached a wonderful “post-racial” moment in America. But as Dr. Jeffries carefully explained, this oversimplification has always been a myth -- or worse, a lie -- and to ignore current threats to voting rights shows an ignorance of history and a willingness to jeopardize our democracy and future.


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Banksters Take Us to the Brink

Banksters Take Us to the Brink | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

New bank debacles, including the Barclays Bank scandal, create a terrible unfairness across the country.


by BILL MOYERS and MICHAEL WINSHIP, BillMoyers.com


Every day brings more reminders of the terrible unfairness that besets our country, the tragic reversal of fortune experienced by millions who once had good lives and steady jobs, now gone.


An article in the current issue of Rolling Stone chronicles “The Fallen: The Sharp, Sudden Decline of America’s Middle Class” and describes a handful of middle class men and women made homeless, forced to live out of their cars in church parking lots in Southern California.


One of them, Janis Adkins, drove a van filled with her belongings to Santa Barbara, where she panhandled at an intersection with a sign reading, “I’d Rather Be Working — Hire Me If You Have a Job.” Once upon a time she had a successful plant nursery business in Utah that annually grossed $300,000. But two years after the nation’s financial meltdown her sales had dropped by fifty percent and the value of her land plunged even more. She tried to refinance but four banks turned her down flat. “Everyone was talking about bailouts,” Adkins told reporter Jeff Tietz. “I said, ‘I’m not asking for a bailout, I’m asking you to work with me.’ They look at you, no expression on their faces, saying, ‘There’s nothing we can do.’”


“Nothing we can do.” And yet it was banks like these who helped get people like Janis Adkins into such desperate jams in the first place. When faced with their own financial catastrophes, all those big-time bankers came running to the government and taxpayers for those aforementioned bailouts worth hundreds of billions of dollars, then scooped up big bonuses and perks for themselves, and went back to business as usual.


And what a business! You’ve most likely been hearing about the newest scandal in banking, centering on Barclays Bank in Great Britain and something called Libor. That stands for London Interbank Offered Rate, and involves a group of bankers who set a daily interest rate affecting trillions of dollars of transactions around the world. Your home mortgage, your college debt, your credit card fees; all of these could have been affected by Libor. [MORE]

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Sunlight Foundation: How does DISCLOSE Act Shine a Light on Super PACs and Dark Money

Sunlight Foundation: How does DISCLOSE Act Shine a Light on Super PACs and Dark Money | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it


by LISA ROSENBERG, Sunlight Foundation


As we wrote yesterday, the Senate will vote on the DISCLOSE Act on Monday. In a series of blog posts we explain “What You Should Know About the DISCLOSE Act.” This morning we answer the question, “How does the DISCLOSE Act shine a light on Super PACs and dark money?”


As a reminder, in the Citizens United case, the Supreme Court overturned a century of law and decided that unlimited sums of money from corporations (and by extension, labor unions) could be used in elections as long as the expenditures were “independent” of candidates’ campaigns. Super PACs, officially known as independent expenditure only committees, and 501(c) nonprofit organizations, also known as “social welfare” organizations, are the two main vehicles that have been funneling hundreds of millions of dollars of undisclosed “dark money” into the 2012 elections.


Dark money is poisonous to our democracy because it fully undermines the theory of an informed and educated electorate. It is “dark” because its sources are hidden from the public. There are virtually no disclosure rules that apply to 501(c) organizations and, in the case of Super PACs, the limited disclosure that applies is often not timely enough to be meaningful to voters. Additionally, because donations to Super PACS can be laundered through shell 501(c) organizations, the actual donors may never be disclosed.


Because of dark money, voters have no idea what interests are represented behind the electioneering ads they see. It is hard for voters to determine the credibility of a message if we don’t know who is speaking. [MORE]

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Democracy is for People - Take Action if You Still Believe It: Support The DISCLOSE Act

Democracy is for People - Take Action if You Still Believe It: Support The DISCLOSE Act | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by Jessica English


ACTION ALERT: The DISCLOSE Act is coming up for a vote again in the US Senate, and our friends at The Sunlight Foundation have created a Letter-to-the-Editor tool to make it easy for you to have an impact on the result. (Want to see if your rep is a cosponsor on the bill? Look them up here.)


Here is their sample letter:


Dear Editor,


The 2012 elections will be the most expensive ever, with hundreds of millions of dollars worth of negative, misleading campaign ads being paid for by undisclosed, dark money. As a result of the Citizens United decision, voters have already been bombarded with nearly $140 million dollars worth of ads paid for by super PACs and more than $12 million paid for by secretive nonprofit organizations (and it's likely millions more).


Voters deserve to know where and who is trying to influence our votes and our lawmakers. The Senate is set to vote on the DISCLOSE Act in the coming days, but right now there are not enough votes to break a promised filibuster. Members of Congress should support this important bill, recognizing that the health of our democracy depends not on secret millions being poured into elections, but on an informed electorate. The DISCLOSE Act will help let us know in real time who's behind the money, so we can make informed decisions when we got to the polls. Let's ask Congress to pass the DISCLOSE Act.


The Sunlight Foundation encourages you to personalize your letter with a story of how the corrupting influence of money in politics, and the awful policies that result from it, impact your life. [MORE]

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Fixing the "Lie-More" Economy

Fixing the "Lie-More" Economy | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

By SHELLY BERNAL, United Republic

 

The Libor-Barclay’s scandal has made us increasingly aware of the collusion between politics and finance. The fix already lies in on our LIE MORE economy, where corporate raiders can easily siphon money out of our economy, leaving us fighting among ourselves for a shrinking economic pie. We debate safety nets, taxes, jobs, the deficit, and stimulus spending when the very first thing we should do is simply disconnect the siphon.

 

The derivatives market, of which the vast majority is made up of interest rate products, is one manifestation of the political-financial monopoly. As Goldman Sachs’ employee Fabrice Tourre so eloquently described in his emails to girlfriend Marrine Serres, he was the “fabulous Fab” creating “Frankenstein” products that were nothing more than “pure intellectual masturbation” for sale to unwitting clients.  The financial wizards of this monopoly include Wall Street banks, of which I will only highlight three.  These unregulated derivative products were very profitable and from 1998 to 2008, Bank of America reported profits of $135 billion, Citibank $145.8 billion, and JP Morgan Chase $97.6 billion. The political cronies of this monopoly included appointed and elected members of our federal government. A few of the top federal government regulators who ignored the warning signs to regulate the derivatives were Greenspan, Rubin, Levitt, Geithner, and Summers. Obviously the White House and Congress were active participants in the monopoly because of the benefits this collusion brought to them:


  1. A smoke and mirrors prosperity for political re-election purposes.
  2. Campaign contributions (same three-bank example contributed $49.8 million from 1998 – 2008)
  3. Lobbying (these three banks paid $139.1 million from 1998 – 2008)
  4. U.S. Congress members benefit from abnormally positive returns on personal investments.
  5. Open Secrets profiled 849 people who work in the finance and investment industry as lobbyists who previously worked in the federal government (more work directly in lobbying industry). As Jack Abramoff explains, “unless we sever the link between serving the public and cashing in, no other reform will matter."  [MORE]
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Political Theater Over Tax Cut

Political Theater Over Tax Cut | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it


by STEVEN T. DENNIS and HUMBERTO SANCHEZ, Roll Call


Republicans said Wednesday that they are prepared to filibuster President Barack Obama’s small-business tax cut, believing that any political hit will be minimal even as they go against decades of GOP support for tax cuts of all kinds.


The Republican Party believes it will have plenty of cover for voting to block the tax cut, and some Democrats quietly agree, feeling the White House botched the messaging on the bill — the first item on its “to-do” list — by pivoting earlier this week to extending Bush tax cuts.


For months, Democrats led by Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.) had carefully laid the groundwork for a tax trap: Republicans would either have to give Democrats a victory on a small-business jobs bill or face a backlash for blocking a straight-up tax cut because it had Obama’s name on it. [MORE]

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Mega GOP Donor Being Investigated For Suspicious Activities

Mega GOP Donor Being Investigated For Suspicious Activities | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by Matt Isaacs, Lowell Bergman and Stephen Engelberg

 

A decade ago gambling magnate and leading Republican donor Sheldon Adelson looked at a desolate spit of land in Macau and imagined a glittering strip of casinos, hotels and malls.

 

Where competitors saw obstacles, including Macau's hostility to outsiders and historic links to Chinese organized crime, Adelson envisaged a chance to make billions.

 

Adelson pushed his chips to the center of the table, keeping his nerve even as his company teetered on the brink of bankruptcy in late 2008.

 

The Macau bet paid off, propelling Adelson into the ranks of the mega-rich and underwriting his role as the largest Republican donor in the 2012 campaign, providing tens of millions of dollars to Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and other GOP causes.

 

Now, some of the methods Adelson used in Macau to save his company and help build a personal fortune estimated at $25 billion have come under expanding scrutiny by federal and Nevada investigators, according to people familiar with both inquiries.

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Sheila Bair on Keeping Banks Honest

Sheila Bair on Keeping Banks Honest | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
Financial expert Sheila Bair talks about about the lawlessness of our banking system and the prognosis for meaningful reform.
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We ALL Want the Money Out of Politics

We ALL Want the Money Out of Politics | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by DREW WESTEN, New York Times


IMAGINE you’re the closest living relative of a child who just inherited $100 million after her parents died in a car crash. You’re a distant cousin, but if something happened to her, you’d be next in line.


She has juvenile diabetes. So you “adjust” her insulin prescription a bit yourself, doubling the dose. When that doesn’t work, you tell her a different drug works just as well, and when she’s reluctant, you offer her a trip to Disney World.


What would happen if you got caught? You’d probably be convicted of attempted murder and spend several years in prison.


For the full article from which this comes, click here.


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Libor Rigging: The Tip of the Iceberg

Libor Rigging: The Tip of the Iceberg | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by ROB KIRBY, Goldseek.com

 

GATA was born in the late 1990’s - primarily on the back of fundamental research by Frank Veneroso regarding Central Bank Gold Leasing. Veneroso’s intellectual curiosity was aroused after being fed detailed data re: gold leasing by the Bank of England’s Terry Smeeton.

 

The fact that gold prices and interest rates were so highly “inter-related” was first publicized in the alternative media by Reg Howe in 2001. Howe alerted the world to academic accounts of the special relationship between gold and interest rates. He highlighted the body of economic law and observation associated with “Gibson's Paradox” – something Lawrence Summers [later, U.S. Treasury Secretary and current senior economic advisor to Obama] wrote about with Robert Barsky while he was a professor at Harvard in the 1980’s.

 

The upshot of this Gibson’s Paradox economic theory goes something like this: real interest rates and the gold price are causal and inter-related with each other.

 

This is why Professor Lawrence Summers was summoned to Washington as assistant Secretary of Treasury under Robert Rubin [Clinton Admin. / 1993]. It was to implement HIS THEORETICAL WORK under the auspices of Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin’s mythical “Strong Dollar Policy”.

 

Conclusion: since 1994, the mythical Strong Dollar Policy had necessitated a two prong strategy: that of keeping rates low because weak currencies are typified by high interest rates; and the price of gold must be suppressed as it stands as an historical alternative settlement currency – and they don’t want the alternative to appear “strong”.

 

The interrelatedness of the gold price and interest rates helps to explain why – According to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency - of the 302 Trillion in aggregate derivatives held by American Bank Holding Cos – 81 % of this is composed of interest rate products. This is due to the symbiosis that exists between gold and interest rates.

 

Libor – or the London Inter-Bank Offered Rate - is one of the lynch pins in setting [rigging] global U.S. Dollar interest rates. This is why a larger discussion needs to be had about the Libor rigging – it is not a London or Barclay’s centric story. It has EVERYTHING to do with making the American Dollar look viable as the world’s reserve currency. [MORE]

 

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An American Nun Responds To Vatican Criticism : NPR

by NPR STAFF, National Public Radio

 

LISTEN TO THIS STORY

 

In April, the Vatican announced that three American bishops (one archbishop and two bishops) would be sent to oversee the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, a member organization founded in 1956 that represents 80 percent of Catholic sisters in the United States, to get them to conform with the teachings of the Church.

 

In its assessment of the group, the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said the leadership conference is undermining Roman Catholic teachings on homosexuality and birth control and promoting "radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith." It also reprimanded the nuns for hosting speakers who "often contradict or ignore" church teachings and for making public statements that "disagree with or challenge the bishops, who are the church's authentic teachers of faith and morals." [MORE]



Via Jessica English
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The Untold Story of Deficits in Washington

The Untold Story of Deficits in Washington | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by Mattea Kramer, National Priorities Project

with research support by Andrew Fieldhouse


Tax revenues have plummeted. And the reason isn’t just the recession.

In 2000, the federal government had a balanced budget and projected surpluses for years to come. Fast forward a decade, and Washington runs steep budget deficits while news media report that federal spending is out of control. Americans now list federal debt and deficits as one of their top concerns for the nation. But deficits depend on two things: spending and revenue. In 2000, when the budget was balanced, federal tax revenue amounted to around 20 percent of the U.S. economy.


Federal revenue as a share of the economy has dropped sharply since then, to its lowest point in more than half a century. Federal spending has increased in recent years, and this rise in spending has received ample coverage in the news media. Some lawmakers say the only solution to deficits is to make deep cuts in federal programs.


Yet there has been little mention of dwindling revenue.


Why measure tax revenue as “a share of the economy”?
The U.S. economy in 2012 is different than it was in 2000. In order to compare tax revenue across years, we measure revenue as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the size of the overall economy.

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Nation’s leading anti-poverty advocate Cheri Honkala to be Green Party VP candidate

Nation’s leading anti-poverty advocate Cheri Honkala to be Green Party VP candidate | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
Green Party Presidential Candidate Dr. Jill Stein today announced her choice for running mate, the nation’s leading anti-poverty advocate, Cheri Honkala.

 

JILL STEIN, jillstein.org

 

Green Party Presidential Candidate Dr. Jill Stein today announced her choice for running mate, the nation’s leading anti-poverty advocate, Cheri Honkala.Honkala is National Coordinator for the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, one of the country’s largest multi-racial, inter-generational movements led by the poor and homeless. Compelled by her own experience as a homeless, single mom, Honkala has spent nearly three decades working directly alongside the poor to build the movement to end poverty, and has organized tens of thousands of people to take action via marches, demonstrations and tent cities.

 

“Ever since deciding to run for President, I’ve been thinking about who would have the strength and courage to take up this fight with me,” said Stein. “Cheri Honkala has shown tremendous perseverance and leadership, despite remarkable odds. Her selflessness and demonstrated capacity to inspire make her the perfect Vice Presidential candidate to help me reclaim democracy.”

 

In 2011, Honkala became the first woman to run for sheriff in Philadelphia and the first and only sheriff candidate in the country to run on a “no evictions” platform, pledging to help families in foreclosure stay in their homes. She was a proud Green Party Candidate and received local and national endorsements, including from the National Organization for Women.

 

Today, Honkala is internationally respected for her anti-poverty work and has received numerous awards.

 

“It’s immoral that children are hungry and homeless in the richest country in the world,” said Honkala. “It’s time for the 99% to stand united to serve our collective human needs instead of selfish, corporate greed. The Green Party is the only one standing up to Wall Street, and Jill Stein’s Green New Deal is the best plan for saving this sinking ship. I’m honored to fight beside her.”

 

Green Party supporters submitted over 200 recommendations for running mates to the Stein campaign, and several dozen of these people were considered, including the other Green Party presidential candidates, television comedienne Roseanne Barr and public servant Kent Mesplay. Ultimately, Cheri Honkala was selected as the best match for the Stein campaign’s political platform and strategic needs.

 

Stein, a Harvard-trained physician who once ran against Mitt Romney for Governor of Massachusetts, is proposing a Green New Deal for America - a four part policy strategy for moving America quickly out of crisis into a secure, sustainable future. Inspired by the New Deal programs that helped the U.S. out of the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Green New Deal proposes to provide similar relief and create an economy that makes communities sustainable, healthy and just.

 

In part, the proposal outlines initiatives that will create 25 million jobs, end unemployment, and transition the country to a green economy. The proposal also guarantees a halt to foreclosures and evictions, tuition-free public education from pre-school through college, and Medicare for all, and an end to corporate domination of democracy.

 

The Green Party National Convention begins tomorrow in Baltimore.

 

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Meet The Florida Man Who Was Threatened With Prosecution For Registering Voters

Meet The Florida Man Who Was Threatened With Prosecution For Registering Voters | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

By Scott Keyes and Judd Legum, Think Progress


All Sabu Williams wanted to do on Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend was register voters.
One can imagine his surprise, then, when soon thereafter he received a letter from the state supervisor of elections threatening him with prosecution.


The letter claimed Williams, president of the Okaloosa County NAACP, had run afoul of Florida’s new voter suppression law, which was passed by the Republican-controlled legislature last year. The law cut the state’s early voting period in half and enacted a host of new requirements on voter registration groups, including that they must turn in completed forms within 48 hours exactly or face a fine. (The 48-hour rule has since been blocked by a federal judge.)


After the rule was first put in place, the NAACP was the only group in Okaloosa County that braved the new pitfalls and continued to register voters. However, when they registered voters over MLK weekend, they were charged with submitting the forms an hour late on Tuesday, despite the fact that they were unable to submit forms on Monday because it was a holiday.
"We’re here the very first day that you’re open at 2 o'clock in the afternoon and you’re saying that we’re an hour late?" Williams asked. "You've got to be kidding me."


He soon received a letter from the state supervisor of elections. "We appreciate you going out and registering voters," the letter read. "However, you were late for two of those and if you're late anymore we're going to turn this over to the Florida Department of Justice for prosecution."


[Read More.]

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George H.W. Bush Challenges GOP On No-Tax Pledge: ‘Who The Hell Is Grover Norquist, Anyway?’

George H.W. Bush Challenges GOP On No-Tax Pledge: ‘Who The Hell Is Grover Norquist, Anyway?’ | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

By Travis Waldron, Think Progress


Grover Norquist, the anti-tax activist who authored a no-new-taxes pledge popular among GOP politicians, has called Republicans who raised taxes "rat heads in a Coke bottle." A former Republican president who raised taxes during his administration, however, is now challenging Republicans to set aside the Norquist pledge.


In an interview with Parade Magazine, George H. W. Bush, who broke his "no new taxes" election pledge, said he didn't like the "rigidity" of pledges like Norquist’s. "Who the hell is Grover Norquist, anyway?" Bush added:


PARADE: During your presidency you gave in on your "no new taxes"pledge. You’ve been vindicated in many respects for that decision. I wonder how you view the “no new tax” pledge from Grover Norquist that seems to be requisite for GOP political candidates.


GB: The rigidity of those pledges is something I don’t like. The circumstances change and you can’t be wedded to some formula by Grover Norquist. It’s—who the hell is Grover Norquist, anyway?


BB: I think he ought to go back to Alaska. [laughs] Don’t quote me! [A reference to a comment Mrs. Bush made about Sarah Palin in a 2010 interview, in which she said, "I think she’s very happy in Alaska—and I hope she’ll stay there."]


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CALL TO ACTION: Contact Your Senator Now, DISCLOSE ACT to be reconsidered today!

CALL TO ACTION: Contact Your Senator Now, DISCLOSE ACT to be reconsidered today! | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by EGBERTO WILLIES and ERIC BYLER


After yesterday's cloture vote failed to overcome a Republican filibuster, the United States Senate will again debate The DISCLOSE Act, the purchase of our democracy, and whether or not We the People have a right to know when big money buys bad policy. The law would require currently secret campaign spending by multi-national corporations and partisan special interest groups to be disclosed to the public.


Yesterday's cloture vote was defeated with 44 Nays — not a majority, but enough to prevent the 52 Senators who do support transparency from bringing this vital legislation up for a vote. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid voted against cloture so that he could bring the matter up for reconsideration, which he will do today.

That means We the People need 8 more votes to overcome this filibuster and allow the DISCLOSE Act to come up for a vote. Even if all 8 of them simply allowed the vote to take place in the name of democracy, and then voted against the law in deference to their corporate donors, the will of the People would be done. [MORE]

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Senate to Vote on DISCLOSE Act - What You Should Know

Senate to Vote on DISCLOSE Act - What You Should Know | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

The Senate is expected to vote soon on the DISCLOSE Act, a bill that will shine a light on the dark money that is overshadowing our elections.


by LISA ROSENBERG, Sunlight Foundation


The Senate is expected to vote soon on the DISCLOSE Act, a bill that will shine a light on the dark money that is overshadowing our elections. Over the next few days, we will be posting a series of blogs explaining “What You Should Know About the DISCLOSE Act.” Today’s post explains what the DISCLOSE Act would do, if enacted.


The DISCLOSE Act was first introduced in 2010 as a response to the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United Case, which, along with a handful of other court decisions, unleashed a torrent of dark money in our elections. So far in the 2012 election cycle, almost $140 million has been spent by Super PACs, and it’s likely that hundreds of millions more may have been spent by 501(c) nonprofit organizations. (We don’t know how much exactly, because there’s no disclosure.)


The 2012 DISCLOSE Act (which stands for Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections) is the most narrowly tailored congressional response to address the flood of corporate and union spending on elections. The bill is simple. It would require groups airing election ads to disclose where they got their money.


If enacted, the DISCLOSE Act would require corporations, unions, super PACs and other secretive nonprofits to report within 24 hours of making a campaign expenditure of $10,000 or more. The names of donors who give $10,000 or more to the organization would be made public, but donors could remain anonymous by specifying that their donations to the organization were not to be used for campaign purposes. [MORE]

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Wells Fargo to pay $125 million to settle federal charges for targeting black, Hispanic home buyers

Wells Fargo to pay $125 million to settle federal charges for targeting black, Hispanic home buyers | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

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.


Bank Scrutiny


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]

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