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The plaintiffs that are suing US President Barack Obama over his insistence on keeping the National Defense Authorization Act on the books said Thursday that they fear Americans are already being held indefinitely and without trial under the NDAA.
Suspicious voter registration forms found in 10 Florida counties
by Matea Gold, Joseph Tanfani and Melanie Mason, LA Times
Florida elections officials said Friday that at least 10 counties have identified suspicious and possibly fraudulent voter registration forms turned in by a firm working for the Republican Party of Florida, which has filed an election fraud complaint with the state Division of Elections against its one-time consultant.
The controversy in Florida -- which began with possibly fraudulent forms that first cropped up in Palm Beach County -- has engulfed the Republican National Committee, which admitted Thursday that it urged state parties in seven swing states to hire the firm, Strategic Allied Consulting.The RNC paid the company at least $3.1 million -- routed through the state parties of Florida, Nevada, Colorado, North Carolina and Virginia -- to register voters and run get-out-the-vote operations. Wisconsin and Ohio had not yet paid the firm for get-out-the-vote operations it was contracted to do.
The RNC severed its ties to the firm Thursday after questions arose about the work Strategic Allied did in Palm Beach County, where election officials have turned over to prosecutors 106 voter registration forms submitted by one worker, some of which contained apparent forgeries and other problems. [MORE]
by Sourcewatch, NFIB Exposed
The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) is a lobbying group that calls itself "the voice of small business." However, the group has been shown to lobby on issues that favor large corporate interests and run counter to the interests of small businesses. News reports have also found that NFIB, which claims to be non-partisan, engages in partisan politics, and receives millions in hidden contributions.
In June 2012, Congress launched an inquiry into NFIB’s hidden sources of funding, which include large individual donations of over $1 million. However, NFIB has refused to disclose its donors.
A 2006 report quoted NFIB members who said the group was inflating its membership size of 650,000. NFIB now claims 350,000 members.
Politics Done Right with Egberto Willies
Saturday 12:00 Noon Central/1:00 PM Eastern
Call In, talk and/or Listen: (646) 929-2495
Please call in and give me hell today on Politics Done Right (1 to 3 pm ET). You'll probably agree I deserve it. I will apologize for posting something to the Coffee Party Facebook page that most agree was not civil. As many of you pointed out on the Facebook thread, civility is one of the values that defines the Coffee Party. Today I want to ask you whether the Coffee Party's "Civility Pledge" is an obstacle to finding and stating the truth. [MORE]
|Suggested by Jacqueline Laurette Jones|
by Jed Horowitz, Reuters
Barclays Plc's new chief executive said he will pay employees based in part on whether they are good citizens, as the British bank tries to restore its tarnished reputation.
Within the next six to 12 months, Barclays will devise a "balance scorecard" with metrics that measure performance across a range of areas, including how the actions of executives affect the environment, Antony Jenkins said in a brief interview on Sunday at the Clinton Global Initiative.
Jenkins ascended to the top of Britain's fourth-largest bank at the end of August after his controversial predecessor, Bob Diamond, and the bank's chief operating officer, Jerry del Missier, were forced to resign following Barclay's agreement in June to pay $450 million for rigging interest rates.
Jenkins, who previously ran Barclays' business and retail banking division, said he managed the unit with a scorecard that rated employees on how their actions affected all stakeholders, including investors, customers, other employees and "society." The scorecard includes a "citizenship" component, according to a bank spokesman.
A similar benchmark must be established at the Barclays Group level, Jenkins said, but declined to provide details about how short-term goals such as shareholder returns will be weighted against longer-term societal goals.
In formal remarks at the conference, Jenkins said Barclays has stepped up for a second three-year commitment of 10 million pounds to establish microfinance savings and loans businesses in Third World villages. [MORE]
This week's show explores a scheme involving state politicians and powerful corporations to remake America, one state house at a time.
This week, Moyers & Company reports on the most influential corporate-funded political force most of us have never heard of — ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council. A national consortium of state politicians and powerful corporations, ALEC presents itself as a “nonpartisan public-private partnership”. But behind that mantra lies a vast network of corporate lobbying and political action aimed to increase corporate profits at public expense without public knowledge. [MORE]
If the president prevails on Nov. 6, he’s said he hopes to break Washington’s stalemate. A look at the odds of an altered GOP, bipartisanship—and Erskine Bowles at Treasury. (If Obama wins, what changes for his second term?
On Wednesday, the Department of Agriculture unveiled what most gardeners had known for years: a new plant hardiness zone map that shows generally warmer winter low temperatures than the department’s previous map from 1990.
OSLO (Reuters) - Fish are likely to get smaller on average by 2050 because global warming will cut the amount of oxygen in the oceans in a shift that may also mean dwindling catches, according to a study (RT @GlobalWarming36: RT @GlobalWarming36: ...
|Suggested by Zachary Z. Ordo|
by Glenn Greenwald
I'm currently traveling around the US on a speaking tour, and as I've written before, one of the prime benefits of doing that is being able to meet people and their families whose lives have been severely harmed by the post-9/11 assault on basic liberties. Doing that prevents one from regarding these injustices as abstractions, and ensures that the very real human costs from these government abuses remain vivid.
Such is the case with the treatment of Dr. Shakir Hamoodi, an Iraqi-American nuclear engineer who just began a three-year prison sentence at the Fort Leavenworth, Kansas penitentiary for the "crime" of sending sustenance money to his impoverished, sick, and suffering relatives in Iraq - including his blind mother - during the years when US sanctions (which is what caused his family's suffering) barred the sending of any money to Iraq.
Yesterday in Columbia, Missouri, I met with Hamoodi's son, Owais, a medical student at the University of Missouri (MU) School of Medicine, and Hamoodi's son-in-law, Amir Yehia, a Master's student in MU's School of Journalism. The travesty of this case - and the havoc it has wreaked on the entire family - is repellent and genuinely infuriating. But it is sadly common in post-9/11 America, especially for American Muslim communities.
Hamoodi came with his wife to the US in 1985 to work toward his PhD in nuclear engineering from MU and, not wanting to return to the oppression of Saddam's regime, stayed in the US. He was offered a research professor position at the university, proceeded to have five American-born children, all of whom he and his wife raised in the Columbia community, and then himself became a US citizen in 2002.
But US-imposed sanctions after the First Gulf War had decimated the value of Iraqi currency and were causing extreme hardship for his large family who remained in Iraq. That sanctions regime caused the death of at least hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, including 500,000 Iraqi children. In 1991, the writer Chuck Sudetic visited Iraq, wrote in Mother Jones about the pervasive suffering, starvation and mass death he witnessed first-hand, and noted that the US-led sanctions regime "killed more civilians than all the chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons used in human history".
The sanctions regime decimated Hamoodi's family. His elderly blind mother was unable to buy basic medication. His sister, one of 11 siblings back in Iraq, suffered a miscarriage because she was unable to buy $10 antibiotics. His brother, a surgeon, was earning the equivalent of $2 per month and literally unable to feed his family.
by BRENT LoGIURATO, Business Insider
Max Rice, the "disillusioned former supporter of President Obama" who pranked Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson this morning, couldn't even vote in 2008. He was 16.
But when a "friend of a friend" came calling with an offer to appear on Fox & Friends Monday morning, Rice, who told Business Insider he is a 20-year-old film student at Columbia College in Chicago, morphed himself into a 23-year-old, unemployed recent college graduate who was forced to move back in with his parents.
In a phone interview with BI after the appearance today, Rice said that he didn't go on air intending to punk Carlson and Fox, but that he felt like a "character" in Fox News' "movie" when the network fed him talking points and a narrative.
"They gave me a paragraph full of bullshit talking points. ... They basically gave me a speech and they thought I was supposed to have it memorized," Rice said.
Rice forwarded us email exchanges he had with various staffers at Fox News leading up to his appearance. [MORE]
(Note: This is the story that matters, in my opinion. The actual "prank" wasn't even that funny. But the fact that he was fed talking points? Telling... MC)
by REAL CLEAR POLITICS
"I know everyone’s paying attention, I know the Obama campaign is ready to act on this. But I realized that there are two important federal laws, the Voting Rights Act, passed in the 60s, and Voter Registration Act passed in the 90s, that have criminal and civil penalties for people who try to intimidate a voter. And I wanted to make sure that the Justice Department is moving on these cases. So I did hear from them today, and although they can’t confirm or deny any particular case because I wrote about Ohio, they did say that they had opened up 42 investigations this year, which is good to know," Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-California) told MSNBC's Ed Schultz on Friday.
"They are pursuing, enforcing these laws, and they said I could say that anyone within the sound of my voice, anyone in this country who feels they’re being intimidated can call their nearest FBI office because it is a federal offense to harass someone, to intimidate someone. Think about all the people that worked so hard and struggled and went to prison and put their life on the line for the right to vote," Boxer said.
|Scooped by Lynda Park|
by Annie-Rose Strasser, Think Progress
Mitt Romney got himself in trouble when he wrote off 47 percent of Americans who “are dependent upon government.” But he also got his math wrong.
It turns out that 96 percent of Americans have used government assistance at one point or another in their lives, ranging from Social Security to grant programs. [MORE]
by TOM BENNING, Dallas Morning News
For all the talk about whether Mitt Romney should distance himself from George W. Bush –and the policies of the last GOP White House — a new survey shows that the former president actually has better favorability ratings than the Republican nominee.
A Bloomberg News National Poll released Wednesday has Bush receiving a favorable rating from 46 percent of those surveyed and an unfavorable rating from 49 percent. That’s compared to Romney’s 43 percent favorable and 50 percent unfavorable.
Bush also fared better than Vice President Joe Biden (42 percent favorable, 45 percent unfavorable) and the Republican Party as a whole (41 percent favorable, 46 percent unfavorable).
The survey shows first and foremost that Romney is struggling in his effort to unseat President Barack Obama — a fact highlighted by several other polls conducted ahead of the first presidential debate next Wednesday.
But it also shows how Bush — following the trend of other former presidents — has seen his popularity improve since leaving the White House, when his favorable numbers in some surveys hovered around the mid-30s. [MORE]
by JAMES WARREN, the Atlantic
We now assume we are living in a red-state/blue-state age, with polarization the overriding reality, political partisans perpetually talking past one another, and gridlock the norm.
But new social science research suggests a somewhat more complex reality, at least when it comes to how supporters of rival presidential candidates view one another. The research suggests a greater respect for one another's views than generally assumed. The possibility that there's mutual empathy could have practical impact on attempts to reach across the political aisle and getting things done.
The work comes from Yesim Orhun of the University of Michigan and Oleg Urminsky of the University of Chicago -- both marketing specialists at their respective graduate schools of business -- and is partly based on surveys conducted during the 2008 election. "How Own Evaluations Impact Beliefs about Others Whose Choices are Known" will be published in the Journal of Marketing Research.
Orhun and Urminsky asked several hundred people to rate their approval of candidates Barack Obama and John McCain, depending on whom they preferred, and then to estimate the approval ratings given to the other candidate by his supporters.
What they found was a greater link than they had imagined between an individual's support of his or her candidate and what they assumed about partisans of the opposing candidate. The more a voter liked Obama, the more they assumed that a McCain supporter really liked McCain. Conversely, the more an Obama voter disliked McCain, the more they tended to assume McCain voters didn't like Obama.
What strikes the researchers as notable is that individuals may use their personal views as a de facto template for estimating the attitudes of those on the other side of a divide.
Said Urminsky in a phone chat: "Even if others' choices are different from ours, we continue to see others as broadly similar to ourselves. We think to ourselves, 'How they reached their decision must be similar to how I reached mine.' So, if you find yourself using your own views to make sense of the opposing political views of a relative or neighbor, you are not alone. It's how we see across the divide." [MORE]
by TERRY KREPEL, Media Matters
The Wall Street Journal finally noted columnist Karl Rove's link to the pro-Republican super PAC American Crossroads in his latest column. The Journal has long failed to disclose that Rove is deeply involved with American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, two political groups that are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to help Republicans in this election year.
For what appears to be the first time, the bio line at the end of Rove's column states that Rove is "a co-founder of the political action committee American Crossroads." The column is expected to run in the paper's September 27 edition. The Journal had previously stated only that Rove is "the former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush."
By failing to note the columnist's connection, the Journal had allowed Rove to choose for himself when he would disclose in his columns that he is helping to raise massive amounts of money to affect the election. Rove has often failed to provide this disclosure and has regularly treated his Journal column as an extension of his job to get Mitt Romney and other Republicans elected.
Current and former editorial page editors at top newspapers told Media Matters last month that the Journal should disclose Rove's role in every column by changing his bio to include that information, with one calling the paper's failure to do so "negligent." [MORE]
Two new Republican groups are bucking their party's widespread rejection of climate science. They're targeting young people, warning of the national security risks of fossil fuel dependence, and touting free market ideas to deal with global warming.
by JENNIFER LUDDEN, NPR
One topic you don't hear much about from Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is climate change. Like so much else, it's become politically divisive, with polls showing Republicans far less likely to believe in it or support policies to address it.
But two new groups aim to work from within, using conservative arguments to win over skeptics.
Former South Carolina Rep. Bob Inglis has already paid a price for being out of step with his party. In 2010, amid a Tea Party surge, the Republican lost his congressional seat, attacked for — among other things — accepting climate science.
These days, Inglis heads the Energy and Enterprise Initiative at George Mason University, making a free market case for tackling global warming.
"We think free enterprise has the answer to energy and climate," Inglis said at a recent meeting of students with the Wharton Energy Club at the University of Pennsylvania. "There's an incredible opportunity in energy, if we just get the economics right."
Inglis proposes eliminating government incentives: no more tax breaks for solar panels or electric cars; no more subsidies for oil companies. Then, he says he would impose a carbon tax on fossil fuels. [MORE]