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Fact-based, solutions-oriented, people-powered news for the 99%
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Van Jones Rallies Hawaii’s Community Organizers for ‘Economic Fairness, Justice’ and a State Bank

Van Jones Rallies Hawaii’s Community Organizers for ‘Economic Fairness, Justice’ and a State Bank | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by MALIA ZIMMERMAN , Hawaii Reporter


Van Jones, President Barack Obama’s former green jobs adviser who heads the “Rebuild the Dream” organization, keynoted a rally and a “mass action event” at the Hawaii State Capitol Tuesday night to promote “economic fairness” and “economic justice.” 


Environmental activists groups, a union, and the University of Hawaii organized the five-hour event to promote legislation that would establish a State Partnership Bank, or a “clean” and “green” bank, to fund green energy projects, as well as “highlight other legislation that would make the local economy more just and sustainable.”  [MORE]

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These days, it's a tea party in name only

By DOUGLAS TURNER, Commentary / timesunion.com


The tea party was a movement against the permanent incumbency here and in the statehouses, and for smaller, less intrusive government, and for lower taxes.


In two years, the effort has been overwhelmed, not by liberal activists and media, but by super PAC mega-millions, lobbyists and organization Republicans.


[Read more]



 

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Women Still Pay More for Health Insurance, Data Shows

Women Still Pay More for Health Insurance, Data Shows | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by ROBERT PEAR, New York Times


WASHINGTON — Women still pay more than men for the same health insurance coverage, according to new research and data from online brokers.


The new health care law will prohibit such “gender rating,” starting in 2014. But gaps persist in most states, with no evidence that insurers have taken steps to reduce them.


For a popular Blue Cross Blue Shield plan in Chicago, a 30-year-old woman pays $375 a month, which is 31 percent more than what a man of the same age pays for the same coverage, according to eHealthInsurance.com, a leading online source of health insurance.


In a report to be issued this week, the National Women’s Law Center, a research and advocacy group, says that in states that have not banned gender rating, more than 90 percent of the best-selling health plans charge women more than men.


[MORE]


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What's next for Occupy Wall Street?

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The States Get a Poor Report Card

The States Get a Poor Report Card | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

Editorial, The New York Times


State governments have long been accused of backroom dealing, cozy relationships with moneyed lobbyists, and disconnection from ordinary citizens. A new study suggests those accusations barely scratch the surface.


The study, issued Monday by a consortium led by the Center for Public Integrity, a nonpartisan watchdog group, found that most states shy away from public scrutiny, fail to enact or enforce ethics laws, and allow corporations and the wealthy a dominant voice in elections and policy decisions. The study gave virtually every state a mediocre to poor grade on a wide range of government conduct, including ethics enforcement, transparency, auditing and campaign finance reform. No state got an A; five received B’s, and the rest grades of C, D or F.


For all the reform talk by many governors and state lawmakers, very little has really changed in most capitals over the decades. Budgeting is still done behind closed doors, and spending decisions are revealed to the public at the last minute. Ethics panels do not bother to meet, or never enforce the conflict-of-interest laws that are on the books. Lobbyists have free access to elected officials, plying them with gifts or big campaign contributions. Open-records acts are shot through with loopholes.


And yet all the Republican presidential candidates think it would be a good idea to hand some of Washington’s most important programs to state governments, which so often combine corruptibility with incompetence. In a speech on Monday, Mitt Romney said he would dump onto the states most federal anti-poverty programs, including Medicaid, food stamps and housing assistance, because states know best what their local needs are.


States, however, generally have a poor record of taking care of their neediest citizens, and could not be relied on to maintain lifeline programs like food stamps if Washington just wrote them checks and stopped paying attention. In many states, newspapers and broadcasters have cut their statehouse coverage, reducing scrutiny of government’s effectiveness and integrity.


The new study shows that several of the states doing the best anti-corruption work had to endure years of scandal to get there. The state with the best grade (B+) was New Jersey, which may be surprising considering its reputation for cronyism and payoffs. In 2005, however, after years of embarrassing scandals, the state passed some of the toughest ethics laws in the country. Lobbyist gifts are prohibited, state contractors cannot give to campaigns, ethics training is mandatory for state employees and an ethics board has real power to enforce the laws. [MORE]

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The Republican Party And Women

The Republican Party And Women | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by KEN RUDIN, NPR

It's not that the rhetoric coming out of the Republican presidential campaign is suddenly going to make women around the country start voting Democratic. Women, for the most part, do prefer Democratic candidates, and have in presidential races at least since 1992. Four years ago, women preferred Barack Obama over John McCain by some 13 percentage points (the gap was 41 points among single women).


But as the conversation has gone from abortion to contraception — which is, um, virgin territory in presidential campaigns — anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that it is pushing female voters even further away from the GOP. Starting off with the seemingly political decision by the Susan G. Komen Foundation (since reversed) to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood, through the attacks on birth control and culminating with Rush Limbaugh's personal attack on Sandra Fluke ("slut!" "prostitute!"), the party that once cherished individual liberties and freedom is being portrayed as rigid and insensitive. [MORE]

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Strategic Directions for Occupy Wall Street: Foreclosing Banks, Defending Homes, Making History

Strategic Directions for Occupy Wall Street: Foreclosing Banks, Defending Homes, Making History | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
Famed sociologist Frances Fox Piven and labor organizer Stephen Lerner discuss how Occupy Wall Street could grow into a major political movement that draws millions into the streets.
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After Occupy Wall Street Police Violence, Council Members Speak Out

After Occupy Wall Street Police Violence, Council Members Speak Out | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by:
NY City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez

NY City Council Member Jumaane Williams

NY City Council Member Letitia James

NY City Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito

NY City Council Member Stephen Levin


We, the undersigned elected officials, are deeply concerned with the excessive level of force employed by the NYPD on the night of March 17th, both in evicting peaceful demonstrators from Zuccotti Park and in arresting those who marched following the eviction.


From its inception six months ago, the Occupy Wall Street movement has consistently proven itself to be guilty of little other than bringing together tens of thousands of people to exuberantly exercise their Constitutional freedom to assemble and protest economic and social inequality in America. Yet, throughout the history of this non-violent movement, we have seen the NYPD using violent physical force against demonstrators who were threatening neither life nor property.


It is a sad reality that the events of March 17th come as little surprise to anyone familiar with the department's relationship to Occupy Wall Street's Constitutionally-protected activities. Some of us personally witnessed police officers beating demonstrators without cause, and photographic and video evidence points to further unprovoked assaults by NYPD officers, both in Zuccotti Park and in the march which followed. These images will continue to disturb residents of this city in the days to come. [Read More]

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Coffee Party USA–Woodland TX Engaging Discussion On Education

Coffee Party USA–Woodland TX Engaging Discussion On Education | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by EGBERTO WILLIES, Coffee Party USA

I decided to record portions of our local Coffee Party monthly meeting today. We are Coffee Party USA – Woodlands TX. Our topic of discussion was education. Our group is now facilitated by Denise Miller, an educator.


Today’s discussion was led by Cassandra Jones. Cassandra and her team did an immense amount of research both on our Texas education system as well as how it is interfaced with the federal government. Suffice it to say they were thorough and provided much to discuss.

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Investigate NYPD Violence Against Occupy Wall Street

by MAX BERGER


The New York Police Department has repeatedly used violence against peaceful protesters in the Occupy Wall Street movement. On March 17th, several protesters were hospitalized by police violence. The Department seems to be actively attempting to suppress the nonviolent movement through infiltration, monitoring and violent arrest.


We call for a full, independent investigation by the state Attorney General into the active suppression of the movement by the New York Police Department, including, but not limited to:


  1. The use of taxpayer funds to infiltrate and monitor peaceful Occupy protest planning
  2. Departmental practices that lead to, or allow for, the violent dispersal of crowds and the violent arrest of protestors
  3. Civil rights violations of protestors by the police


On March 17th, the NYPD seriously injured several peaceful protesters at the six month anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement, including a few that needed hospitalization. No police were injured and no property was damaged. We demand an investigation into the violence. [CLICK to SIGN]

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Happy Birthday Wells Fargo (now pay your taxes!)

by CARL GIBSON


Today is Wells Fargo’s 160th birthday. We couldn’t let America’s 4th largest bank, and one of America’s biggest tax dodgers have their special day without paying them a visit. As we all know, Wells Fargo traditionally celebrates in style. In 2009, as a birthday present to themselves, they acquired Wachovia while giving off the illusion of tightening their belts. To add icing to the cake, they even got the taxpayers to foot the bill by writing off $74 billion in “losses” on their federal income taxes as a result of the acquisition. To that type of juggling, we say, “You’re welcome, Wells Fargo.”


Of course, Wells Fargo has been getting big gifts from the taxpayers since 2008. Despite being a large and wildly profitable brokerage and bank, Wells Fargo got $680 million in federal income tax benefits INSTEAD of paying taxes over the last three tax seasons, and spent over $11 million on Washington lobbyists. I imagine the parties were hearty in all 58 of their overseas subsidiaries in countries designated as tax havens. CEO John Stumpf and the Wells Fargo board all enjoyed $141 million in total compensation during that same time period. Stumpf took home $13.8 million in 2008 alone. Wells Fargo always celebrates their birthdays lavishly, they just make the guests pay for the cake. And the presents. And the ice cream. And the DJ.


So today, a group of about 30 visitors bearing gifts, a cake, and even a clown came to Wells Fargo’s home base in Houston to wish the tax dodgers a happy 160th birthday. Check out the video to see what happened!

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In the Coffee Party there is no “other,” only We the People — Introducing Coffee Party Treasurer Eric Whinery

In the Coffee Party there is no “other,” only We the People — Introducing Coffee Party Treasurer Eric Whinery | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by ERIC WHINERY, Coffee Party USA


My name is Eric Whinery and I have recently been elected to your Board of Directors as the Treasurer of Coffee Party USA. Currently I live and work in the city of Chicago with my lovely wife and our wonderful Basset Hound. I am employed as a financial analyst with a heavy emphasis on Information Technology (IT) and related budgeting and reporting. I earned a degree in finance and have worked in IT and IT operations management, accounting, and tax preparation. As Treasurer, I apply my broad background to serve as custodian of your donations of funds to the cause.

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Birth control controversies a fundraising boon

Birth control controversies a fundraising boon | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by ROBIN BRAVENDER, Politico


The sudden focus on contraception and abortion in the 2012 campaign has meant a surge in fundraising for abortion rights groups that support women as congressional candidates.


EMILY’s List — whose mission is to elect pro-abortion rights Democratic women — has raised nearly twice as much for candidates at this point in the 2012 cycle as it did during the entire 2010 cycle, according to spokeswoman Jess McIntosh. And that’s with about eight months to go.


“We are on track to have one of the best first quarters we’ve ever had for candidate fundraising,” said EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock.


It’s a very different landscape than the one Democratic women faced in 2010, when 11 of them were ousted from the House and several were replaced by tea party-backed candidates. Democratic women fared better in the Senate, where moderate Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas was the only female Democratic incumbent to lose her reelection bid, but several others had close calls. [Read More]

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"Wake Up S.E.C" Rally: Washington, DC CALL TO ACTION: MONDAY MARCH 26

"Wake Up S.E.C" Rally: Washington, DC  CALL TO ACTION: MONDAY MARCH 26 | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

National Coalition for Accountability in Political Spending (CAPS) to host rally on steps of Securities and Exchange Commission


by ERIC BYLER, Coffee Party USA


On Monday March 26, a bi-partisan group of organizations and public figures, including the Coalition for Accountability in Political Spending (CAPS), Common Cause, US Public Interest Research Group and Public Citizen will mobilize outside the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Headquarters to demand immediate action to confront the rise of secret corporate spending in our elections.


With just three votes, the Commissioners of the S.E.C have the power to require all publicly-traded corporations to disclose their political spending. One of the three, Commissioner Luis Aguilar said stated publicly that, “investors are not receiving adequate disclosure, and as the investor’s advocate, the commission should act swiftly to rectify the situation.”  That means only two more votes are needed move forward with openness and accountability and push back against secrecy and potential corruption.


WHEN

Monday March 26, 2012 at 10:00 AM


WHERE

U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission Headquarters
100 F St NE
Washington, DC 20549


The action, called “Wake Up S.E.C.,” will center around a giant clock symbolizing that time is running out for the SEC to act. Bill de Blasio, a Public Advocate, and others will demand an on-the-spot meeting with SEC Chair Mary Schapiro, who has failed to respond to the S.E.C 7-month old rule making petition on corporate political disclosure.


More than 65,000 people, including members of the Corporate Reform Coalition, have already submitted letters to the S.E.C. in support of these crucial reforms.


Join this action.

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STUNNING: Dallas Federal Reserve Branch Calls for Breakup of Big Banks, Slams "Too Big to Fail"

STUNNING: Dallas Federal Reserve Branch Calls for Breakup of Big Banks, Slams "Too Big to Fail" | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by DAVID HARRIS-GERSHON, Daily Kos

Joe Weisenthal at Business Insider has just published portions of a scathing report from the Dallas Fed which not only calls the idea of "too-big-to-fail" a perversion of capitalism, but also calls for the decentralization and breakup of big banks.


... I'm posting the full letter from Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher, a letter which precedes the Dallas Fed's report entitled "Choosing the Road to Prosperity: Why We Must End Too Big to Fail - Now."  [MORE]

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On Education: "I teach my neighbors' kids" — Jeff Andrade Duncan

Interview with Jeff Andrade Duncan, world renowned educator
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. [MORE]

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This Week in Poverty: Me, Mom and Reagan

This Week in Poverty: Me, Mom and Reagan | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

A new report on single mothers in the United States shatters some of The Gipper's favorite myths that still persist today.


by GREG KAUFMANN, The Nation


Here’s the new American reality: about half of all kids will spend at least part of their childhood in a family headed by a single mother, and the typical single mother is white, has one kid, is separated or divorced, works and probably earns less than $25,000 a year.


Wait, what? Run that back to me.


Because when I was a kid being raised by a white single mom, President Reagan basically promised me we that we were different, special even. My Mom put herself through school and worked. The typical single mom, according to the president, was a “welfare queen” taking “government handouts” so she could drive her “Cadillac” and raise her “strapping young bucks” on “T-bone steaks.” He didn’t have to say she was black, lazy and never married—everyone knew it. This image persisted through welfare reform in 1996 when basic cash assistance was gutted, and it still grips the American psyche today.


But a new report from Tim Casey, senior staff attorney at Legal Momentum—the nation’s oldest legal defense and education fund for women and girls—departs from this iconic portrayal of single moms. Instead, Casey goes out on a limb and turns to data from crazy outfits like the US Census Bureau. The report is a lot less fun than the alternative universe offered by the current crop of Republican presidential candidates, because Casey stubbornly insists on using “facts.”

[MORE]


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Two Years of Health Care Reform: Millions Benefited, Millions Saved

Two Years of Health Care Reform: Millions Benefited, Millions Saved | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by EMILY OSHIMA, Center for American Progress


Just two years after President Barack Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law on March 23, 2010, millions of Americans have already benefited from its sweeping reforms. While the new law’s provisions will not be fully implemented until 2014, it is making a difference by drastically improving access to higher-quality care, addressing rising health care costs, and protecting consumers. [MORE]

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Corporate Campaign Spending: They Get What They Pay for

Corporate Campaign Spending: They Get What They Pay for | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by SALVATORE BABONES, Truthout


Will corporate spending determine the outcomes of the 2012 elections? Academic research shows that when companies spend money on politics, they earn a significant financial return. For America's corporations, it pays to play politics.


How high corporate political spending will go in 2012 is anyone's guess. According to the Supreme Court, the sky's the limit. [MORE]

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The Charts That Prove Obama Doesn’t Set Gas Prices

The Charts That Prove Obama Doesn’t Set Gas Prices | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
America produces 200 times as much oil as Germany, but our gas prices rise and fall in tandem (we pay far lower gas taxes). Source:  Energy Information Administration and NY Times.
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Women Once Again In Crossfire Of Culture Wars

Women Once Again In Crossfire Of Culture Wars | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

In recent months, a swarm of controversies have erupted over issues of women's health — from the split in the Catholic church over employer coverage of contraceptives to the proposed ultrasound laws in Virginia and Texas to the uproar over funding for Planned Parenthood.

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Being a Lobbyist Is Like Being ‘a Drug Addict. You Can’t Quit Cold Turkey’

Being a Lobbyist Is Like Being ‘a Drug Addict. You Can’t Quit Cold Turkey’ | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
Mike Dmitrich compared lobbying to drugs.
Utah has pretty weak ethics laws surrounding the revolving door — state lawmakers have an easy time leaving the legislature to become lobbyists.
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We Want to Be Free! (The Most Inspirational Video Ever)

"I wanna be free and to see a free world not for myself but for that of my child."


In 2011, Peoples Around The World Took To The Streets In Protest.


They Want To Be Free Of Terror.
They Want To Be Free Of War.
They Want To Be Free From The Enslavement Of Governments.
They Want To Be Free From The Failing Financial System.
They Want To Be Free Of Greed & Corruption.
They Want To Be Free Of Media Manipulation.
They Want To Be Free To Choose!
They Want To Be Free To Live Life To The Fullest.
They Want To Be Free To love & To Live In Peace.


Featuring Prophetic Voices From The Past,
This Short Documentry Is,
Of The Peoples Of The World,
For The Peoples Of The World...
For We All Want To Be Free!


Original Music By Sonic Realm

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David Frum: George and Mitt Romney & the Death of Moderate GOP

David Frum: George and Mitt Romney & the Death of Moderate GOP | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
GOP moderates are on the verge of extinction—why Mitt isn’t his father.


by DAVID FRUM, The Daily Beast


If Austin Powers were unfrozen in 2012 from his 1960s cryogenic freeze, there’s one political headline that would make him feel immediately at home: “Romney Struggles With Republican Party Conservatives.”


In 1966, George Romney tried to beat them. In 2012, Mitt Romney hopes to join them. In 1966, moderates seemed destined to rule the GOP forever—and George Romney was their great hope. In 2012, the moderates are on the verge of extinction—and Mitt Romney devotes most of his days to distancing himself from those aspects of his record that make him look like one of them.


Mitt and George Romney were intensely close. Yet few father-and-son politicians have ever been more unlike in their temperaments. George was direct to the point of bluntness. When Barry Goldwater suggested in 1964 that maybe he and George did not differ so much on the issues, George Romney wrote out a 12-page letter explaining exactly how and where they disagreed.


George Romney was shaped by the hard circumstances of his early life. When as a man in his 80s he traveled to visit his son’s campaign offices in Massachusetts, this millionaire former auto CEO rode the subway from Logan Airport, and then took the bus from the subway.


George Romney was not as adept with words as his son, perhaps not as mentally nimble. But he had a very clear view of himself. He and other party moderates had warned that nominating Goldwater in 1964 would be a ticket to disaster. Which of course it was. A chastened GOP turned to the center by 1966—and won a big midterm victory that year. [MORE]

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Scores Arrested as the Police Clear Zuccotti Park

Scores Arrested as the Police Clear Zuccotti Park | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by COLIN MOYNIHAN, New York Times


Scores of Occupy Wall Street protesters were arrested on Saturday night as police officers swept Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan and closed it.Dozens of demonstrators sat down and locked arms as officers moved in about 11:30 p.m. The protesters chanted “we are not afraid” as the police began pulling people from the crowd, one by one, and leading them out of the park in handcuffs.


The operation occurred after hundreds of people had gathered in the financial district to observe the founding of Occupy Wall Street six months ago. Earlier, protesters had embarked upon a winding march, after which police officers made initial arrests of about a dozen people near the park.


By 11:30 p.m., as police officers massed on Broadway, a commander announced that the park was closed. Those inside shouted back that the park was obliged through an agreement with the city to remain open. The commander then announced that anyone who remained inside would be arrested and charged with trespassing. [MORE]

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