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Conservative Groups Focus on Registration in Swing States

Conservative Groups Focus on Registration in Swing States | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by STEPHANIE SAUL, New York Times


It might as well be Harry Potter’s invisible Knight Bus, because no one can prove it exists.


The bus has been repeatedly cited by True the Vote, a national group focused on voter fraud. Catherine Engelbrecht, the group’s leader, told a gathering in July about buses carrying dozens of voters showing up at polling places during the recent Wisconsin recall election.


“Magically, all of them needed to register and vote at the same time,” Ms. Engelbrecht said. “Do you think maybe they registered falsely under false pretenses? Probably so.”


Weeks later, another True the Vote representative told a meeting of conservative women about a bus seen at a San Diego polling place in 2010 offloading people “who did not appear to be from this country.”


Officials in both San Diego and Wisconsin said they had no evidence that the buses were real. “It’s so stealthy that no one is ever able to get a picture and no one is able to get a license plate,” said Reid Magney, a spokesman for the Wisconsin agency that oversees elections. In some versions the bus is from an Indian reservation; in others it is full of voters from Chicago or Detroit. “Pick your minority group,” he said.


The buses are part of the election fraud gospel according to True the Vote, which is mobilizing a small army of volunteers to combat what it sees as a force out to subvert elections. Ms. Engelbrecht’s July speech in Montana was titled “Voter Fraud: The Plot to Undermine American Democracy.”


True the Vote’s plan is to scrutinize the validity of voter registration rolls and voters who appear at the polls. Among those in their cross hairs: noncitizens who are registered to vote, those without proper identification, others who may be registered twice, and dead people. In Ohio and Indiana, True the Vote recently filed lawsuits to force officials to clean up voter rolls.


Efforts to tighten voter requirements have become a major issue in the presidential election. Over the last few years, many states have passed voter identification laws, and many of those are being challenged in court.


Now, a network of conservative groups is waging an aggressive campaign on the ground. In a report this month, the liberal-leaning organizations Common Cause and Demos cited True the Vote as the central player in this effort, which it called a threat to the fundamental right to vote.


“It is not about party or politics; it is about principle,” Ms. Engelbrecht said.


While she portrays True the Vote as nonpartisan, it grew out of a Tea Party group, King Street Patriots, that she founded in Texas. An examination shows that it has worked closely with a variety of well-financed organizations, many unabashed in their desire to defeat President Obama.


A polished and provocative video, circulating among Tea Party activists, seeks to raise a “cavalry” to march on swing states and identifies True the Vote as a participant in the effort, called Code Red USA.


In the past year, Americans for Prosperity, an organization founded by the billionaire Koch brothers, and other Republican-leaning independent groups have sponsored meetings featuring Ms. Engelbrecht and other True the Vote speakers. A spokesman for Americans for Prosperity said that the group had hosted events including True the Vote speakers but that election integrity was not a focus of his group. [MORE]

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Five Ways to Hack Voters' Brains

Five Ways to Hack Voters' Brains | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

By Sasha Issenberg (Wall Street Journal)


Before Michigan's 2006 gubernatorial primary, an East Lansing direct-mail consultant named Mark Grebner decided to shame nonvoters. He sent citizens copies of their own publicly available voting histories, along with those of their neighbors, and said that he would deliver an updated set following the election. In response, Mr. Grebner received death threats, but his tactic worked. Those whom he targeted were 20% more likely to show up at the polls than those who received a standard get-out-the-vote reminder.


Welcome to the modern science of politics, where voters have become lab rats in an ongoing cycle of controlled trials informed by principles from behavioral psychology. Once dominated by superstition and guesswork, campaigns today are now awash in data and insights that allow them to act on that data.

As election day approaches, here are five ways that campaigns are using these new tools to sway voters:


[MORE]

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Mitt Romney’s Last-Ditch Strategy: Inflame the Base

Mitt Romney’s Last-Ditch Strategy: Inflame the Base | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
Why is Team Romney slamming Obama's foreign policy as Americans die overseas? Michael Tomasky says they can't win the swing vote, so they're going with Plan B: Rile up the base.
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Preview: The One-Percent Court | Moyers & Company | BillMoyers.com

Preview: The One-Percent Court | Moyers & Company | BillMoyers.com | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
This week's show examines how the Supreme Court preserves the power and influence of a minority of wealthy special interests.
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Election Protection · You Have the Right to Vote

Election Protection · You Have the Right to Vote | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

From 866ourvote.org


Last week, 105-year-old Alice Carlson went to a DMV in Pennsylvania to get a photo ID. She was accompanied by state Rep. Mario Scavello, who had given her a ride to the DMV. When Carlson tried to get her ID, she was informed that the DMV computer system did not recognize ages above 104. After about 90 minutes, and the insistence of state Rep. Mario Scavello, DOT officials eventually found a way to get her an ID. The Pennsylvania DOT has now adopted a paper method to accommodate any other persons over the age of 104 who might want to might need to get a photo ID.


On top of the many logistical challenges that Carlson had to overcome to get her photo ID, the problems that Carlson faced at the DMV are troubling, to say the least. During the Pennsylvania trial, the state heard testimony from dozens of ordinary citizens who, although eligible to vote, were unable to get the ID they now needed to vote under the new law. How many people don't have access to a state representative to help them get the ID they need to vote?


The voter ID law that has been so hastily passed and implemented makes even less sense considering that Pennsylvania acknowledged during the voter ID trial in August that not only has there been no in-person voter fraud in the state, but the state doesn't expect it to be a problem this November, either. In fact, nationally, there were only nine possible cases of in-person voter impersonation between 2000 and 2007 (the only kind of fraud that voter ID laws address).


[More about Pennyslvania] |  [Go to Election Protection website]

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House GOP Plans Two Month Vacation, Leaving Key Bills Awaiting Action

House GOP Plans Two Month Vacation, Leaving Key Bills Awaiting Action | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

House Republican Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) announced Friday that after next week, the House will stand in recess until November 13.


by JOSH ISRAEL, Think Progress


His plan for a nearly two month vacation will undoubtedly allow more time for campaigning, but will leave several vital bills awaiting action.


Among the important legislation the House will likely not address before the November elections:


1. Violence Against Women Act re-authorization. Though a bipartisan Senate majority passed the a strong re-authorization bill in April, the Republican House leadership refused to allow a vote on the Senate version of the bill. The House passed a watered down version on a mostly-party lines vote, leaving victims to wait for House action.


2. The American Jobs Act. Republicans have been blocking President Obama’s jobs legislation for more than a year. Though House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) promised in 2010 that a GOP Congress would focus on job creation, he has blocked this bill’s immediate infrastructure investments, tax credits for working Americans and employers, and aid to state and local governments to prevent further layoffs of teachers, firefighters, police officers, and other public safety officials.


3. Tax cuts for working families. In July, the Senate passed a bill extending tax-cuts for the first $250,000 in annual income. The Republican House leadership has refused to consider the bill, holding it hostage to their demands for a full extension of Bush-era tax cuts for millionaires.


4. Veterans Job Corps Act. The Senate is currently considering bipartisan legislation to help America’s veterans find jobs. The Air Force Times reports that the Republican House has “shown no interest” in the legislation to support those who served the country.


5. Sequestration. A spokesman for Boehner said earlier this week that stopping budget cuts he voted for last August “topped our July agenda and remains atop our agenda for September.” While House Republicans have complained about the imminent spending reductions and passed a bill that would require President Obama to find offsets for spending cuts they don’t like, Republican Leader Canter could not name a single compromise he was willing to make to get a deal.

6. Farm Bill. Despite strong support for a 5-year farm bill from even conservative groups like the Farm Bureau Association — the House leadership has not scheduled a vote on the bill. The current law expires September 30. Without passage, 90 percent of the work of the Department of Agriculture could be defunded.

7. Wind tax credit. The Senate may act next week to renew an expiring wind energy tax credit. Despite bipartisan support — including from original author Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the Examiner notes that the House is unlikely to pass the renewal. Despite GOP calls for energy independence, the expiration has threatened the wind energy industry and already led to job cuts. [MORE]

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Dead Guantanamo Prisoner On Why He Gave Up on Life

Dead Guantanamo Prisoner On Why He Gave Up on Life | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

Adnan Latif was found dead in his cell on September 10th, 2012, just a day before the eleventh anniversary of 9/11.


by John Knefel, AlterNet


His letter begins simply. The first paragraph is just one devastating sentence: "Do whatever you wish to do, the issue is over." He then goes on to describe Guantanamo as, "a prison that does not know humanity, and does not know [sic] except the language of power, oppression, and humiliation for whoever enters it."


"Anybody who is able to die," Latif writes, "will be able to achieve happiness for himself, he has no hope except that."


He continues: "The requirement...is to leave this life which is no longer anymore [sic] called a life, instead it itself has become death and renewable torture. Ending it is a mercy and happiness for this soul. I will not allow any more of this and I will end it." [MORE]

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Mitt’s Major Meltdown

Mitt’s Major Meltdown | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by Gail Collins, The New York Times


Perhaps he didn’t know he’d made it, although, really, I thought it was pretty clear.


He could do anything he wanted during this campaign as long as he sent out signals that once he got in the White House he was not likely to be truly crazy.


We, in return, were going to be able to continue with our normal sleeping patterns through the fall.


It didn’t seem to be a lot to ask, but when the crisis in the Middle East flared up, Romney turned out to have no restraining inner core. All the uneasy feelings you got when he went to London and dissed the Olympic organizers can now come into full bloom. Feel free to worry about anything. That he’d declare war on Malta. Lock himself in a nuclear missile silo and refuse to come out until there’s a tax cut....


Here is the Republican candidate for president of the United States on Wednesday, explaining why he broke into a moment of rising international tension and denounced the White House as “disgraceful” for a mild statement made by the American Embassy in Cairo about the importance of respecting other people’s religions:


“They clearly — they clearly sent mixed messages to the world. And — and the statement came from the administration — and the embassy is the administration — the statement that came from the administration was a — was a statement which is akin to apology and I think was a — a — a severe miscalculation.”


Feel free to reread this when you’re staring at the ceiling at 4 a.m. [MORE]

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Brown-Warren civility begins to crack

Brown-Warren civility begins to crack | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

The civility that has marked the past year in the Mass. Senate race may soon be a quaint memory.


by DAVID CATANESE and MANU RAJU, Politico


For the better part of a year, the Massachusetts Senate race between Sen. Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren has been a paragon of positivity: Two candidates making their case to voters, not a single ugly attack ad. Even super PACs — the masters of doing candidates’ dirty work — have stayed away.


If that all sounds too good to keep up — well, it probably is.


With control of the Senate hanging in the balance and Democrat Warren at risk of losing in the deep blue state, the civility that has marked the past year may soon be a quaint memory.


Warren took the first shot this week with a spot criticizing Brown for “siding with the big money guys” — mild by negative ad standards, but a departure still. The ad may well be a sign of a distinctly harsher tone to come.


Warren acted under acute pressure from Democratic leaders — in Washington and Massachusetts — who are fretting that one of their best Senate pickup opportunities could be slipping away. [MORE]

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Conservative Groups Focus on Registration in Swing States

Conservative Groups Focus on Registration in Swing States | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
Busloads of illegal voters, cited by voter fraud groups like True the Vote, have yet to be seen. But that has not deterred such organizations, which widely support conservative causes.

 

More conservative pushing the vote around.

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Is Middle East Unrest the 2012 Election's 'Black Swan'?

Is Middle East Unrest the 2012 Election's 'Black Swan'? | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by Michael Falcone and Amy Walter, ABC News


A while back — even before Mitt Romney had assumed the mantle of presumptive Republican nominee — Yahoo News' political columnist and long-time election analyst Jeff Greenfield wrote about 2012's "Black Swan."


His column had nothing to do with the 2010 ballet-noir film starring Natalie Portman, but rather a 2007 book by author Nassim Nicholas Taleb, which as Greenfield wrote, "examines our persistent 'ability' to ignore the potentially huge effects of unlikely, random events" — what Taleb termed "Black Swans."


Given the violence against American diplomatic missions in Middle East, and the deaths of four U.S. personnel including Ambassador Chris Stevens, and the spreading tensions to other parts of the world, we may have an election-year Black Swan on our hands.


And now it's up to both candidates to turn that challenge into an opportunity.


Before and after the killings in Benghazi, Mitt Romney's strategy has been to come out swinging. His defiant statement yesterday, accusing President Obama of sending "mixed messages to the world" showed Romney's willingness to make this week's foreign policy crisis a campaign issue — even if the facts weren't entirely on his side. [MORE]

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Anti-American Protests Over Film Expand to More Than a Dozen Countries

Anti-American Protests Over Film Expand to More Than a Dozen Countries | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK, 

ALAN COWELL and RICK GLADSTONE, 

New York Times


Protests expanded to more than a dozen countries on Friday, as demonstrators breached the American Embassy in Tunisia and protesters in Sudan broadened their targets to include Germany and Britain.


[So much MORE]


[Freedom of religion and freedom of speech are only used to denigrate the religion and speech of others by fools. Coexist. THAT is the America I know. -jkl]

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Michael Lewis: Obama’s Way

Michael Lewis: Obama’s Way | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
Hanging out with the president—on the basketball court, in the White House residence, and on Air Force One—provides an eye-opening lesson in what it takes to lead the free world, as well as an unparalleled portrait of Barack Obama.


The gist of Obama’s advice to any would-be president is something like this: You may think that the presidency is essentially a public-relations job. Relations with the public are indeed important, maybe now more than ever, as public opinion is the only tool he has for pressuring an intractable opposition to agree on anything. He admits that he has been guilty, at times, of misreading the public. He badly underestimated, for instance, how little it would cost Republicans politically to oppose ideas they had once advocated, merely because Obama supported them. He thought the other side would pay a bigger price for inflicting damage on the country for the sake of defeating a president. But the idea that he might somehow frighten Congress into doing what he wanted was, to him, clearly absurd. “All of these forces have created an environment in which the incentives for politicians to cooperate don’t function the way they used to,” he said. “L.B.J. operated in an environment in which if he got a couple of committee chairmen to agree he had a deal. Those chairmen didn’t have to worry about a Tea Party challenge. About cable news. That model has progressively shifted for each president. It’s not a fear-versus-a-nice-guy approach that is the choice. The question is: How do you shape public opinion and frame an issue so that it’s hard for the opposition to say no. And these days you don’t do that by saying, ‘I’m going to withhold an earmark,’ or ‘I’m not going to appoint your brother-in-law to the federal bench.’”

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Full Transcript: George Stephanopoulos and Mitt Romney

Full Transcript: George Stephanopoulos and Mitt Romney | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

Martin H. Simon (ABC)


The following is a full transcript of my interview with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.


[Read Transcript]



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The Foreign Relations Fumbler

The Foreign Relations Fumbler | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

By Nicholas D. Kristof (New York Times)


DIPLOMACY is a minefield, and Mitt Romney spent the last week blowing up his foreign policy credentials to be president. He raised doubts about his capacity to deal with global crises, and we were left hoping that if that 3 a.m. call ever went to him, he’d have set up call forwarding.


The essential problem is that every time Romney touches foreign policy, he breaks things. He went on a friendly trip to Britain — the easiest possible test for a candidate, akin to rolling off a log — and endeared himself by questioning London’s readiness to host the Olympic Games. In the resulting firestorm, one newspaper, The Sun, denounced “Mitt the Twit.”


(Imagine a President Romney making a London trip and helpfully offering off-the-cuff advice on Northern Ireland, or breaking the ice in Parliament by telling jokes about Queen Elizabeth. The War of 1812 would resume, and the British would again be burning down the White House.)


Then there was the Romney trip to Israel, where he insulted Palestinians and left some Jews uncomfortable with stereotyping by praising Jewish culture in the context of making money. Hmm.


After that trip, you’d have thought that on foreign policy, Romney might remember the adage: Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.


Yet with the Middle East exploding in recent days because of a video insulting the Prophet Muhammad, Romney dived in with a statement that hit a trifecta: it was erroneous, inflammatory and offensive.
Still, I was initially in a forgiving mood. Presidential candidates always have microphones in their faces, and it’s not surprising that periodically they say inane things. President Obama himself blew it a few days ago by mistakenly asserting that we didn’t consider Egypt an ally. But Obama then had the good sense to have the White House clarify that “not an ally” in that context meant “an ally.”


If Romney had similarly explained that in denouncing Obama he was actually praising the administration, the episode might have blown over. But after a night of sleep, he doubled down and repeated his denunciation of the president. That was just reckless.


[MORE]

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Stevens Remembered as Avid Diplomat

Stevens Remembered as Avid Diplomat | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
Made personal connections with Libyans.(Stevens Remembered as Avid Diplomat http://t.co/FHS1vS17 #cheatsheet...)...
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What the Founding Fathers Wanted | Cartoons, What Matters Today | BillMoyers.com

What the Founding Fathers Wanted | Cartoons, What Matters Today | BillMoyers.com | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
Mark Fiore ponders what life might be like if we literally lived the way Americans did around the time our founding fathers drafted the Constitution.
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Wisconsin Court Shoots Down Scott Walker's Anti-union Law

Wisconsin Court Shoots Down Scott Walker's Anti-union Law | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by SCOTT BAUER, Huffington Post


A Wisconsin judge on Friday struck down nearly all of the state law championed by Gov. Scott Walker that effectively ended collective bargaining rights for most public workers.


Walker's administration immediately vowed to appeal, while unions, which have vigorously fought the law, declared victory. But what the ruling meant for existing public contracts was murky: Unions claimed the ruling meant they could negotiate again, but Walker could seek to keep the law in effect while the legal drama plays out.


The law, a crowning achievement for Walker that made him a national conservative star, took away nearly all collective bargaining rights from most workers and has been in effect for more than a year.


Dane County Circuit Judge Juan Colas ruled that the law violates both the state and U.S. Constitution and is null and void.


In his 27-page ruling, the judge said sections of the law "single out and encumber the rights of those employees who choose union membership and representation solely because of that association and therefore infringe upon the rights of free speech and association guaranteed by both the Wisconsin and United States Constitutions."

Colas also said the law violates the equal protection clause by creating separate classes of workers who are treated differently and unequally.


The ruling applies to all local public workers affected by the law, including teachers and city and county government employees, but not those who work for the state. They were not a party to the lawsuit, which was brought by a Madison teachers union and a Milwaukee public workers union.


Walker issued a statement accusing the judge of being a "liberal activist..." [MORE]

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You Should Know About Sensata - It’s What the Election is About

You Should Know About Sensata - It’s What the Election is About | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

Workers facing outsourcing by Bain Capital are camping outside the Sensata factory in Freeport, Ill. They are asking Mitt Romney to show up and help save their jobs.


by DAVE JOHNSON, Nation of Change


They say they will stay camped there until Romney shows up and stands with them – or with Bain.


Mitt Romney can can use this to show us if he wants to be president of the whole United States, or just president of, by and for the outsourcing 1 percenters.


Sensata


The private equity firm Bain Capital put together Sensata Technologies in 2006 to make and sell sensors and controls to car makers and other manufacturers. The company is closing the Freeport, Ill. plant and outsourcing the 165 jobs to China. The workers have to train their Chinese replacements before they are laid off.


Sensata is making plenty of money. According to the company's website:


  • Second quarter 2012 net revenue was a record $504.6 million, an increase of 10.9% from the second quarter 2011 net revenue of $455.0 million.
     
  • Second quarter 2012 net income was $26.1 million, or $0.14 per diluted share, versus second quarter 2011 net (loss) of $(34.6) million, or $(0.20) per diluted share.
     
  • Second quarter 2012 Adjusted net income1 was a record $97.5 million, or $0.54 per diluted share, versus second quarter 2011 Adjusted net income1 of $92.2 million, or $0.51 per diluted share.


Sensata explains that Chinese workers cost less. [MORE]

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Clinton Calls Anti-Islam Film 'Disgusting'

Video - Wall Street Journal Digital Network


Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sharpened her criticism of an anti-Islam video Thursday, Sept. 13 that provoked protests in the Arab world, calling the film "disgusting and reprehensible."

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“Why Obama Is Likely to Lose in 2012”

“Why Obama Is Likely to Lose in 2012” | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

The following is an excerpt from Greg Palast's upcoming book "Billionaires & Ballot Bandits."


by GREG PALAST, Nation of Change


“Why Obama Is Likely to Lose in 2012” is the title of a column Karl Rove wrote in the Wall Street Journal in June 2011.


It’s not Rove’s prediction: this is his plan to make sure Obama will lose. That’s fine with me—if Rove prefers vanilla to chocolate, hey, it’s a free country. But how Rove plans to take Obama down is contained in the subhead, and it gives me the chills:


“Even a small drop in the share of black voters would wipe out [Obama’s] winning margin in North Carolina.”


Here, Rove is not talking about winning by convincing black voters to vote Republican. The key to victory is preventing the black vote. Period. Rove suggests, with a wink and nudge, the Game Plan:


“If their [black voters’] share of the turnout drops just one point in North Carolina, Mr. Obama’s 2008 winning margin there is wiped out two and a half times over.” [MORE]

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trayntp's comment, September 15, 2012 10:42 PM
Ridiculous. Obama only got 13,000 more NC votes than McCain did in 2008. Bob Barr, the Libertarian, got 25,000 votes. That's where the Republicans lost. Trying to make everything about Democrats and Republicans is just DUMB talk.
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Obama: Romney shoots first, aims later

Obama: Romney shoots first, aims later | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
Responding to statements made by GOP Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney accusing the Obama administration of apologizing for U.S.
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5 Issues this Election Should Be About, and One to Drop

5 Issues this Election Should Be About, and One to Drop | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by Sarah van Gelder, YES! Magazine


Cutting through the campaign rhetoric and attack ads, here are five issues we believe should be at the center of the 2012 election, plus one that has no place in the public sphere.

Yes!

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Money & Politics, What Matters Today

Money & Politics, What Matters Today | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

This Week in Dark Money is a collection of stories and charts by Mother Jones Magazine shining some light on the corrupting influence of money in politics.  CLICK HERE for more.


by Gavin Aronsen, Mother Jones


Chart of the week: It's too big to cram onto this page, but head over to the Texas Tribune for a great visualization of the Lone Star State's deep-pocketed donors funding some of the country's biggest super-PACs. Topping the chart: billionare businessman (and "Dallas' most evil genius") Harold Simmons, whose favorite super-PAC (to the tune of $11 million) is Karl Rove's American Crossroads, and Houston homebuilder Bob Perry, who's given $8.75 million to the pro-Romney Restore Our Future, among other groups.


Stat of the week: $570,000: The minimum amount raised by the Coalition of Americans for Political Equality, a super-PAC run by a former Arizona GOP county chair that put up a series of websites disguised as candidate homepages in an apparent effort to trick prospective donors. [MORE]

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Cole: America's 9/11 response subverted our values, liberties

Cole: America's 9/11 response subverted our values, liberties | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

By Jan Cole from The Detroit News


The United States government's reaction to the attacks of 9/11 some 11 years ago took the world into a tragic era of unnecessary wars and confrontation that destabilized allies and threatened vital long-term U.S.


Although the Obama administration has withdrawn from Iraq and plans on being largely out of Afghanistan by 2014, the perpetual wars continue. The U.S. is fighting remote-control conflicts by drone in northern Pakistan, Yemen and occasionally Somalia. The wars have no boundaries and are governed by no law. They include the use of drones for assassination, including of American citizens abroad. They do not have congressional authorization. They are classified so they cannot even be confirmed to us by our elected officials.

The U.S. government's response to the lawlessness and mass killing of 9/11 has too often been a subversion of American laws and values, and an abandonment of the ideals enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.


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