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Corporate Spy Switches Sides, Will Protest Grover Norquist "Pledge" on Tax Day, April 17

Corporate Spy Switches Sides, Will Protest Grover Norquist "Pledge" on Tax Day, April 17 | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by WILL RICE, Coffee Party Commonwealth


You may be surprised, considering how I spent Tax Day last year, that I have decided to take on the most powerful Rich Man's Lobbyist in U.S. history.


The American Taxpayer is fighting back on Tuesday April 17 in Washington DC, and I'm proud to say I've been working hard to help to plan the event. If you live in or near the Washington, D.C., area, you can make an important statement on April 17.


Stand up to Grover Norquist!

Tax Day, Tues. April 17, 2012, 12 noon
Grover Norquist’s Office
722 12th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20005


Who’s Grover Norquist? He’s the Washington lobbyist more responsible than any other for our out-of-whack tax system, the impoverishment of our public goods and services, and federal budget gridlock. [MORE]

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Gangster Banks Keep Winning Public Business. Why?

Gangster Banks Keep Winning Public Business. Why? | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by MATT TAIBBI, Rolling Stone


A friend of mine sent this article from Bloomberg, along with the simple comment: "Perfect." What's perfect? That the banks that have been caught repeatedly ripping off communities and munipalities — banks that have paid hefty settlements for rigging bids, bribery and other sordid misdeeds — keep winning the most public business. Apparently, our public officials aren't concerned about whom they hire to serve as the people's investment bankers.

From the piece, entitled "JPMorgan Claims No. 1 for Government Debt After Jefferson County":

  • JPMorgan, which emerged from the worst financial crisis since the 1930s as the most profitable U.S. bank, has parlayed crisis-era loans to cities and states and a willingness to outbid other firms in local government bond auctions into becoming the top underwriter of municipal debt last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It was the first time the firm held that rank.

  • The turnaround was a milestone for JPMorgan’s municipal- bond department, which has been marred by its involvement in two of the biggest scandals in the history of U.S. public finance: a so-called pay-to-play scheme in Jefferson County, Alabama, that contributed to the biggest-ever U.S. municipal bankruptcy, and a federal probe that uncovered bid rigging of municipal-bond investment products.

This story dovetails with the larger story I have out in the magazine now about Bank of America, another Too-Big-To-Fail behemoth that placed a very close second in the area of municipal bond business, according to the Bloomberg survey. Chase managed $35.7 billion in long-term bond sales, while BOA/Merrill Lynch came in at about $200 million less. [MORE]

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McConnell Admits Plan for Uninsured: Nothing

McConnell Admits Plan for Uninsured: Nothing | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by JONATHAN CHAIT, New York Magazine


You know the Republican mantra you’ve been hearing for three years, “repeal and replace?" Mitch McConnell admits in an interview with Ramesh Ponnuru that the real plan is just plain repeal:


If the court keeps the law and McConnell becomes Senate majority leader, he vows that “the first item up would be to try to repeal Obamacare.”


But he doesn’t favor comprehensive legislation to replace it. “We would want to more modestly approach this with more incremental fixes,” he told me. “Not a massive Republican alternative.”


Two ideas McConnell mentions are allowing people to purchase health insurance across state lines and reforming medical-malpractice laws. Neither idea would do much to increase coverage, and McConnell didn’t mention one idea — changing the tax treatment of health insurance — that would, perhaps because his party hasn’t reached a consensus on it.  [MORE]

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The Obamacare Tragedy

The Obamacare Tragedy | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by ANDREW LEONARD, Salon


Just as healthcare reform finally starts to work, the Supreme Court appears poised to destroy it.


Mere seconds after reporters covering the Supreme Court’s historic hearing on the healthcare reform law Tuesday morning were free to tweet, the panic started to spread: The harsh, pointed questions asked by a majority of the justices inspired a nearly unanimous insta-analysis: The Affordable Care Act is doomed. The mandate requiring that all Americans purchase health coverage is sure to be found unconstitutional.


The timing could not possibly be worse. Even as polls continue to show that more Americans oppose the healthcare reform law than support it, two years after President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, there is increasing evidence the measure has finally started to deliver some benefits. [MORE]

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Romney Was for a 21st Century Energy Plan Before He Was Against It

Romney Was for a 21st Century Energy Plan Before He Was Against It | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

Excerpt from article by BENJY SARLIN, Talking Points Memo


The best example yet is probably an audio clip dug up by Buzzfeed’s Andrew Kaczynski, purportedly from a 2007 town hall, that contains in just two minutes just about everything Republicans hate about Democrats on energy.


In it, Romney is asked how he feels about requiring higher fuel-efficiency standards from car companies. He says he would consider them, explaining that the government has not required high enough efficiency standards in recent years and that loopholes encourage people to drive SUVs. Not only that, he’s rooting for high gas prices to help get the job done.


“The CAFE requirements have not worked terribly well over the last 20 years in part because they haven’t applied to trucks, so America has moved more and more to trucks and SUVs,” Romney said. “So the average fuel economy over the last, I think it’s 20 years, has been almost flat. I’m hopeful that with $3 gasoline being charged by Hugo Chavez and Ahmadinejad and Putin and others that you’re going to see Americans slowly but surely move to vehicles that are far more fuel efficient and you’ll see our manufacturers start competing on the basis of fuel efficiency.”


Today Romney proudly touts his opposition to fuel efficiency standards on his website, telling one conservative radio host that car companies’ woes came after “the government put in place CAFE requirements that were disadvantageous for domestic manufacturers.”  [MORE]

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Schumer: Dems will bring vote on Buffett Rule - CBS News

Schumer: Dems will bring vote on Buffett Rule - CBS News | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by LUCY MADISON, CBS News


On Tax Day this year, Senate Democrats will put forward legislation that would aim to turn the so-called "Buffett Rule" - requiring higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans - into law.


Senator Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., in an appearance on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday, said Republicans can expect to see a proposal from Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., on April 15.


"We are going to put on the floor, on Tax Day, a proposal by Sheldon Whitehouse that would enact the so-called Buffett Rule," Schumer told CBS' Norah O'Donnell.


"It says those at the top pay 30 percent regardless of their deductions."

Billionaire Warren Buffett has become something of a symbol for the left on the matter of tax reform in recent months due to his urging that the wealthiest Americans - himself included - be taxed at a higher rate than the current tax code demands. [MORE including video]

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Become a Coffee Party member

Become a Coffee Party member | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

J O I N  the  C L A S S  of  2 0 1 2

412,034 people strong on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter


Via Coffee Party USA, J'nene Solidarity Kay
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Guys I'm lovin' the class of 2012! What a great concept!
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Interview w/ Filmmaker/Visionary Robert Rodriguez - SXSW 2012

Interview by SHIRA LAZAR, Entrepreneur.com


How are you planning to disrupt the TV space?
If you launch a network like everyone else has a network that doesn't make sense. You need to get content that no one else is providing. We can, because 2nd and 3rd generation Hispanic Americans is the biggest and fastest minority group in the country. It's like "Desperado TV." You don't watch Desperado or Machete because they're Latin, you watch them because they're cool movies to check out. El Rey will be made up of shows by people from all over the country who wouldn't typically get into Hollywood. Hollywood wants to own everything. I don't want to own anything. I don't want people just to make content, I want to empower and teach them to create content they own that they can exploit in any medium.


How big of a role with social media play in your next generation network?
Social media is a must for El Rey [Network]. The median age of U.S. citizens is about 37 years old, while U.S.-based Hispanics, as a whole, are much younger. Plus, they're over indexed in social media, and they spend a trillion dollars a year. And even though there are 500 networks, not one of them is talking to them. A TV network sounds so traditional, but what it really starts as is a lifestyle brand. You're talking about a youth that's very dissatisfied and not only is social media a place that reflects the identity of a culture, it shapes it.


What advice would you offer entrepreneurs?
Don't look at all at what other people are doing. Think of what you're doing as completely fresh because if you imitate you're dead. It's about creating an idea that doesn't exist now. [MORE]

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Interview with Robert Reich on Saving Capitalism and Democracy

Interview with Robert Reich on Saving Capitalism and Democracy | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

Three decades of growing inequality and collapsing public morality have pitched America into crisis, imperiling its democracy. But there are precedents for a way out, says Robert Reich


The Browser: In a recent post on your website, you said there was “moral rot” in America. And you say: “It’s located in the public behavior of people who control our economy and are turning our democracy into a financial slush pump.” Can you expand on this?


Robert Reich: An economy depends fundamentally on public morality; some shared standards about what sorts of activities are impermissible because they so fundamentally violate trust that they threaten to undermine the social fabric. Without trust it has to depend upon such complex contracts and such weighty enforcement systems that it would crumble under its own weight. What we’ve seen over the last two decades in the United States is a steady decline in the willingness of people in leading positions in the private sector – on Wall Street and in large corporations especially – to maintain those minimum standards. The new rule has become making the highest profits possible regardless of the social consequences.


In the first three decades after World War II – partly because America went through that terrible war and also experienced before that the Great Depression – there was a sense in the business community and on Wall Street of some degree of social responsibility. It wasn’t talked about as social responsibility, because it was assumed to be a bedrock of how people with great economic power should behave. CEOs did not earn more than 40 times what the typical worker earned. Rarely were there mass layoffs by profitable firms. The marginal income tax on the highest income earners in the 1950s was 91%. Even the effective rate, after all deductions and tax credits, was still well above 50%. The game was not played in a cutthroat way. In fact, consumers, workers, the community, were all considered stakeholders of almost equal entitlement as shareholders.


Around about the late 1970s and early 1980s, all of this changed quite dramatically. The change began on Wall Street. Wall Street convinced the Reagan administration, and subsequent administrations and congresses, to deregulate and to undermine the set of regulations that were put in place after the crash of 1929 – particularly during the Roosevelt administration – to prevent a repeat of the excesses of the 1920s. As a result of that move towards deregulation, we saw a steady decline in standards – a kind of race to the bottom – on Wall Street and then in executive suites. [MORE]

 

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"I teach my neighbors' kids"

MORE INFO: http://rosesinconcrete.org


Video by ERIC BYLER & AMANDA WERNER


Students in urban and poor communities are exposed to persistent forms of trauma that result from violence, hunger, unstable housing, and the broader effects of poverty and racism. Most will not perform well in school unless these basic survival needs are met. When urban youth do manage to find academic success, despite these challenging circumstances, the unspoken societal message is that success means "getting out" of their neighborhood. If the most resilient and successful young people leave their communities, then the vicious cycles of poverty and despair are never broken. We are determined to tackle these problems with love, hope and teaching methods that inspire students to achieve academic success while instilling in them a sense of responsibility to return to their neighborhoods to build thriving sustainable communities in urban centers in the U.S. and around the world.

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Coffee Party Strategic Plan 2012, submitted for input and collaboration

Coffee Party Strategic Plan 2012, submitted for input and collaboration | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

Mission Statement

Connecting communities to reclaim our government for the People.


Vision Statement

Coffee Party USA envisions a nation of diverse communities sharing a culture of informed public engagement where our sacred right to vote is the only currency of our democracy.


Strategic Plan


Problem:

News, information, and political discourse have been professionalized and consolidated under the dominion of elite media empires with morally ambiguous loyalties and objectives. Viewing audiences, particularly older ones as studies show, have come to confuse high ratings and conflict-driven entertainment with reliable news and information sources, to our nation's peril.


For America to succeed in the 21st century, we must make better decisions. To do that, we must transform ourselves from clusters isolated by geography, culture, or ideology into an Intelligent Network, connected through trans-media communications. The Coffee Party USA has been an early, comparatively successful model for such a network. But America needs us to do better — much better. [MORE]

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America needs a 2-page tax code

America needs a 2-page tax code | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN (video)


We’re going to hear a lot of polarized rhetoric over the next few months. The Republicans and Democrats will seem to disagree about everything. But there is one huge and important area where there is a possibility - a possibility - of bipartisan action and that’s tax reform.


Most Americans - Republicans and Democrats - dislike the tax code. They’re right to do so. America has what is arguably the world’s most complex tax code. The federal code plus IRS rulings is now 70,000 pages long. The code itself is 16,000 pages. The statist French, for example, have a tax code of only 1,909 pages - only 12% as long as ours. And then there are countries like Russia, the Czech Republic, Estonia that have innovated and moved to a flat tax, with considerable success.


You have to understand, complexity equals corruption.

...


The U.S. tax system is not simply corrupt, it is corrupt in a deceptive manner that has degraded the entire system of American government. Congress is able to funnel vast sums of money in perpetuity to its favored funders through the tax code without anyone realizing it.


For those who despair at the role of money in politics, the simplest way to get the corruption out of Washington is to remove the prize that members of Congress give away - preferential tax treatment. A flatter tax code with almost no exemptions does that.


[MORE including video (following oil industry propaganda)]

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Companies Should Disclose Contributions as Unions Do

Companies Should Disclose Contributions as Unions Do | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

Letter to the Editor of the Wall Street Journal, by RICHARD TRUMKA, AFL-CIO


Your editorial "The Corporate Disclosure Assault" (March 19) falsely claims that disclosure of corporate political expenditures is not in the best interest of all shareholders. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy's majority opinion in Citizens United, which upheld the First Amendment rights of corporations to make independent political expenditures, explicitly relied in part on the principle that "prompt disclosure of expenditures can provide shareholders and citizens with the information needed to hold corporations and elected officials accountable for their positions and supporters.''


Current law enables businesses to spend for many political purposes without disclosure, whether to the public or their shareholders. The editorial's suggestion that businesses should be able to conceal their political spending in order to avoid criticism or controversy disserves shareholders. As Justice Antonin Scalia recently observed in another case, Doe v. Reed, which rejected First Amendment-based claims for keeping secret the identities of ballot-petition signers, "Requiring people to stand up in public for their political acts fosters civic courage, without which democracy is doomed."


Unions have long been required to make public disclosures of their political and other spending. Corporations that spend to influence politics have no legitimate gripe against shareholder disclosure resolutions that would require them to publicly disclose that spending—and they have ample opportunity and resources to explain why that spending advances shareholder value and the public interest. [MORE]

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Red States See Massive Public Sector Job Losses

Red States See Massive Public Sector Job Losses | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

A handful of Republican-controlled states were responsible for the vast majority of the public sector job losses in 2011, where state legislatures worked furiously to shrink government and pass voting and reproductive rights restrictions.


by MIKE KONCZAL and BRYCE COVERT, The Nation


The conservative Republicans who took power in Pennsylvania in 2010 have had a busy year. Republican state legislators, empowered by new control of the governorship and the state house, proposed one of the most stringent mandatory ultrasound bills in the country. The House passed a voter identification law that could block 700,000 Pennsylvanians from voting, most of them young, of color, and poor. Meanwhile, the same state legislators led a successful charge to shrink public employment. The number of government employees fell over 3 percent that year, one of the sharpest declines in any state. Before the cuts, “Pennsylvania [had] the second lowest number of state workers per capita, already,” said Rebecca McNichol, Pennsylvania state director of the CLEAR Coalition. Yet, she says, “this past year the budget was devastating” in deeper cuts.

Pennsylvania isn’t alone. Republicans seized control of both branches of the legislature in 11 states after the 2010 elections. It’s in these very states that public sector layoffs are disproportionately concentrated, leading to one of the biggest rounds of job losses for the public workforce since record keeping began. Governors and state legislators promised to focus on creating jobs and balancing budgets during campaign season—even newly elected Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett still claims that creating jobs is one of his “top priorities.” Instead, these newly Republican states are targeting public workers, causing a significant drop in employment in the public sector that has threatened the entire economy.


President Obama is often blamed for the precipitous drop in government payrolls—even though it was caused by shrunken budgets at the state level. “There is no reason to think Mr. Obama is as happy about the reduction in government workers as some Republicans. But like it or not, the Obama administration has turned out to be anything but a big-government one,” wrote Floyd Norris in the New York Times. [MORE]

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Citizens Applaud Pittsburgh City Council For Resolution to Abolish Corporate Personhood

Citizens Applaud Pittsburgh City Council For Resolution to Abolish Corporate Personhood | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

Letter to the Editor published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
by THOMAS DUFOUR


On Dec. 30, Pittsburgh City Council passed a resolution, "to call for an amendment to the Constitution to abolish corporate personhood and return our democracy, our elections, our communities back to America's human persons and to thus reclaim our sovereign right to self-governance."


We admire this decision by our representatives to lend their support in an effort to restore our democratic values and end the perpetual campaign cycle in which big money influences elections through massive, often anonymous, contributions. This must be stopped, or we risk ceding influence over our representatives to the highest bidder. If all people are entitled to an equal voice in government, money cannot be speech.


Therefore, we laud the council for standing with us in our fight to end "corporate personhood." We encourage, in line with the resolution, for "other communities and jurisdictions to join with us in this action by passing similar resolutions." We ask that the Allegheny County Council take up this issue at once.


While the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, which enabled an influx of unlimited sums of money into political campaigns, was a setback for our self-governance, we're confident that with the support of our local leaders and citizens that we can win this fight. Montana recently challenged the Citizens United ruling, and the Supreme Court may reconsider its decision.


We encourage the justices to do so. "We the people" must reaffirm our constitutional rights and speak out at every turn that money is not speech.


NOTE: Thirty other local residents have signed on in support of this letter. [MORE]

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Justices Split in Questions on Insurance Mandate

Justices Split in Questions on Insurance Mandate | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by ADAM LIPTAK, New York Times


With the fate of President Obama’s health care law hanging in the balance, a lawyer for the administration faced a barrage of skeptical questions on Tuesday from four of the Supreme Court’s more conservative justices, suggesting that a 5-to-4 decision to strike down the law was a live possibility.


Predicting the result in any Supreme Court case, much less one that will define the legacies of a president and a chief justice, is nothing like a science, and the case could still turn in various directions. But the available evidence indicated that the heart of the Affordable Care Act is in peril.


The court’s decision is expected by June, and much may change as the justices deliberate and exchange draft opinions in the coming months. [MORE]

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Health Care Law Protesters Outside Supreme Court Spark Clash

Health Care Law Protesters Outside Supreme Court Spark Clash | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by MICHAEL MCAULIFF, huffingtonpost.com


Opponents and supporters of the health care reform law clashed outside the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday, displaying the gulf that exists between those who favor the law and those who want it abolished.


At times, it verged on the physical, as defenders of Obamacare outnumbered and out-shouted their opposition.


[MORE]

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Obama administration allows health coverage for same-sex spouse

Obama administration allows health coverage for same-sex spouse | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by JOE DAVIDSON, Washington Post


The Obama administration has directed a health insurance company to cover the same-sex spouse of a federal employee. Gay rights advocates say they believe this is the first time such coverage has been allowed.


A March 9 letter to Blue Cross Blue Shield, from Shirley Patterson, assistant director of federal employee insurance operations for the Office of Personnel Management, said that “OPM hereby withdraws any outstanding directive regarding the enrollment of Ms. Golinski’s wife, Amy C. Cunninghis, in her family health benefits plan.”


OPM previously said the wife of Karen Golinski, a federal court employee in California, could not be covered. [MORE]

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GOP Infighting Blocks More Than Infrastructure, Jobs Bills

GOP Infighting Blocks More Than Infrastructure, Jobs Bills | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by MANU RAJU, Politico


Republican congressional leaders are actively talking about how to coalesce behind their party’s presidential nominee and roll out a unified GOP agenda.

But recent votes in Congress have shown just how hard it will be to get the modern, unruly Republican Party to rally behind a single agenda on taxes, health care, government spending and even foreign policy. The divide between the business and tea party wings of the Republican Party will be just as pronounced even if the GOP sweeps the elections and Mitt Romney wins the White House.


For example: Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) budget didn’t cut enough for some on the right, and GOP moderates are squeamish about its proposed treatment of Medicare. The highway bill has also shown a divide — nearly half of the Senate Republican Conference voted to approve the $109 billion highway bill, only to see it shelved by House Republicans. On another key bill, the number of Republicans with tight U.S. Chamber of Commerce ties are eager to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank, but tea party conservatives see the agency as an affront to the party’s small government dogma.


These divides come on the heels of intraparty feuding earlier this year over an extension of the Social Security payroll tax cut, not to mention lingering bitterness over last summer’s debt-limit deal. On foreign policy, the Republican Party lacks a united vision for dealing with the pace of withdrawal in Afghanistan. [MORE]

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For Pennsylvania’s doctors, a gag order on fracking chemicals

For Pennsylvania’s doctors, a gag order on fracking chemicals | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by KATE SHEPPARD, Grist


Under a new law, doctors in Pennsylvania can access information about chemicals used in natural gas extraction—but they won’t be able to share it with their patients. A provision buried in a law passed last month is drawing scrutiny from the public health and environmental community, who argue that it will “gag” doctors who want to raise concerns related to oil and gas extraction with the people they treat and the general public.


Pennsylvania is at the forefront in the debate over “fracking,” the process by which a high-pressure mixture of chemicals, sand, and water are blasted into rock to tap into the gas. Recent discoveries of great reserves in the Marcellus Shale region of the state prompted a rush to development, as have advancements in fracking technologies. But with those changes have come a number of concerns from citizens about potential environmental and health impacts from natural gas drilling. [MORE]

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New Graphic Shows How Federal Tax Dollars Were Spent in 2011

New Graphic Shows How Federal Tax Dollars Were Spent in 2011 | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

In the chart above, education, transportation, foreign relations, energy & the environment ALL received less than 3 cents out of every dollar in 2011.  Compare that to our military budget (27 cents) and our healh care costs (21 cents)....


From National Priorities Project:


On April 17, 2012, your 2011 federal income tax return is due to the IRS. Where did the federal government spend your income taxes during fiscal year 2011?


Federal income tax revenues totaled around $1.13 trillion in fiscal 2011, and this chart shows exactly where the federal government spent each one of those dollars.


[MORE]

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Lobbyists, Guns and Money

Lobbyists, Guns and Money | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

ALEC, the corporate-backed group that’s been pushing and even drafting legislation, says it stands for free markets. Crony capitalism is more like it.

 

by PAUL KRUGMAN, New York Times

 

Florida’s now-infamous Stand Your Ground law, which lets you shoot someone you consider threatening without facing arrest, let alone prosecution, sounds crazy — and it is. And it’s tempting to dismiss this law as the work of ignorant yahoos. But similar laws have been pushed across the nation, not by ignorant yahoos but by big corporations.

 

Specifically, language virtually identical to Florida’s law is featured in a template supplied to legislators in other states by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a corporate-backed organization that has managed to keep a low profile even as it exerts vast influence (only recently, thanks to yeoman work by the Center for Media and Democracy, has a clear picture of ALEC’s activities emerged). And if there is any silver lining to Trayvon Martin’s killing, it is that it might finally place a spotlight on what ALEC is doing to our society — and our democracy.

 

What is ALEC? Despite claims that it’s nonpartisan, it’s very much a movement-conservative organization, funded by the usual suspects: the Kochs, Exxon Mobil, and so on. Unlike other such groups, however, it doesn’t just influence laws, it literally writes them, supplying fully drafted bills to state legislators. In Virginia, for example, more than 50 ALEC-written bills have been introduced, many almost word for word. And these bills often become law.

 

Many ALEC-drafted bills pursue standard conservative goals: union-busting, undermining environmental protection, tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy. ALEC seems, however, to have a special interest in privatization — that is, on turning the provision of public services, from schools to prisons, over to for-profit corporations. And some of the most prominent beneficiaries of privatization, such as the online education company K12 Inc. and the prison operator Corrections Corporation of America, are, not surprisingly, very much involved with the organization.

 

What this tells us, in turn, is that ALEC’s claim to stand for limited government and free markets is deeply misleading. To a large extent the organization seeks not limited government but privatized government, in which corporations get their profits from taxpayer dollars, dollars steered their way by friendly politicians. In short, ALEC isn’t so much about promoting free markets as it is about expanding crony capitalism. [MORE]

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Bono comments on Invisible Children’s Kony 2012 campaign

Bono comments on Invisible Children’s Kony 2012 campaign | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by MALAKA GHARIB, One


ONE co-founder Bono commented on Invisible Children’s “Kony 2012” film and campaign in Ireland’s edition of the Sunday Times yesterday. The campaign, which aims to raise global support for the arrest of Ugandan war criminal Joseph Kony, has caught the attention of the world over the past few days, and the filmmakers have urged public figures to speak out in response. The Sunday Times reports that Bono and others have commended Invisible Children for putting a spotlight on Kony’s atrocities.


"I salute a strategy that generates this much interest if it's targeted towards lasting meaningful solutions owned and directed by the people of the region on their journey from the trauma of these atrocities towards stability and development," Bono said. [READ MORE]

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"Speaking of America" hosted by Don Manning - Mar 27,2012

"Speaking of America" hosted by Don Manning - Mar 27,2012 | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
On this installment, we will discuss the death of Trayvon Martin. Senseless tragedy, avoidable event, travesty of local justice, criminal act, or parts of all? Take part in the discussion.
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Readers Push Back Against Wall Street Journal Editorial Defending Secret Campaign Spending by Corporations

Readers Push Back Against Wall Street Journal Editorial Defending Secret Campaign Spending by Corporations | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

Letters to the Editor from The Wall Street Journal:


Your editorial ignores a fundamental reality that is reshaping the business and political landscape: Americans' growing distrust of corporations. That distrust is based on, in many cases, the perceived lack of transparency and disclosure by companies of all sizes. Disclosure of corporate political contributions has nothing to do with unions or activists using it as a "PR club to harass companies until they stop donating." Rather, it is a smart business practice in an age when this information is likely to leak out anyway (think WikiLeaks, Anonymous and the like).


Companies should not be afraid of disclosure so long as it is done in a strategic and responsible manner. Unfortunately, all too often businesses only disclose information when they are forced by reason of ignorance or found to be engaging in unethical or illegal practices. This is no way to run a business, and it does little to allay the public's growing trust issues with corporations.

Gerard F. Corbett

Chair and CEO

Public Relations Society of America


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It would be a sad commentary on the state of our democracy if companies concluded that shareholder value can best be advanced through secret political spending. Secrecy exposes companies and our democratic institutions to serious risks that are exacerbated today by the growing trend of outsourcing political spending to third-party advocacy organizations often associated with powerful political figures. Companies can find themselves exposed to political shakedowns and the danger that their money will be used for purposes that conflict with their values and objectives. Without disclosure, it is difficult for companies, their shareholders and the public to monitor this. Companies can protect themselves by adopting disclosure and board oversight of their political spending.


John Milton Cooper Jr.
Chairman, Center for Political Accountability [MORE]

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