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"Speaking of America" with Don Manning - Sep 04,2012

"Speaking of America" with Don Manning - Sep 04,2012 | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
"Whats on Your Mind?" Every Monday evening we open the phone lines to whatever America wants to talk about. Politics, Environment, Culture, Social Issues, Local, National, even International. The direction of the dialogue is up to you!
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The Bushies are back, and playing for Romney

The Bushies are back, and playing for Romney | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by David J. Rothkopf, Washington Post


Condoleezza Rice has had quite a summer. First, she delivered such a powerful address to a campaign retreat for Mitt Romney that she stirred up veepstakes buzz. Next, she became one of the first two women admitted to the Augusta National Golf Club. And this past week, she delivered a show-stopping speech at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, outshining the other speakers, triggering standing ovations, and leaving journalists and commentators on the left and right tripping over themselves to praise her dignity and thoughtfulness.


Not bad for one of the marquee names of an administration that left office with a deeply damaged reputation, particularly on foreign policy.


The rehabilitation of Rice is just part of a broader restoration of the Bush brand and of those who worked with our 43rd president. Fewer than four years after George W. Bush left office, his team members are back in high places, their reputation is being reconsidered, and the Bush name is regaining its old luster and then some.


Among those joining Rice at Romney’s June retreat for top donors were former top Bush administration officials such as Karl Rove, who also addressed the 800 attendees; former homeland security czar Michael Chertoff; former Florida governor Jeb Bush; and even luminaries from the George H.W. Bush administration such as former secretary of state James Baker III. Jeb Bush was also a GOP convention headliner, delivering a well-received speech on education.


Particularly striking is the degree to which Bush 43 foreign policy players have assumed leading roles in shaping policy for Romney. John Bolton, Bush’s U.N. ambassador and an especially combative member of the neoconservative contingent so closely linked with that administration, has been part of Romney’s inner circle throughout the year. [MORE]

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Why the Tea Party Still Matters: Theda Skocpol’s ‘Obama and America’s Political Future’

Why the Tea Party Still Matters: Theda Skocpol’s ‘Obama and America’s Political Future’ | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
Harvard political scientist Theda Skocpol’s new book might be called Obama and America’s Political Future, but it’s the Tea Party and the Republicans’ rightward slide that cannot be underestimated.
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Scaring the Voters in the Middle

Scaring the Voters in the Middle | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

THE claims of Representative Todd Akin that women don’t get pregnant from “legitimate rape” now live in infamy. But a few things you may not know: ...

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Bush Chief Political Strategist: Paul Ryan’s Speech Was Full Of Lies

Bush Chief Political Strategist: Paul Ryan’s Speech Was Full Of Lies | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

By Pat Garofalo, Think Progress


Paul Ryan's speech before the Republican National Convention was riddled with lies, including a tall-tale blaming President Obama for the closure of a GM plant that announced its shutdown in June 2008. On ABC’s This Week on Sunday, Matthew Dowd, chief political strategist for former President Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign, criticized Ryan’s for its many falsehoods, saying, “at some point, the truth should matter”:


DOWD: Paul Ryan, what he did in his speech, I think so stretched the truth. And I like Paul Ryan, have a lot of great respect for Paul Ryan, but the elements that he said about closing the GM plant which closed before Barack Obama took President [sic], about the Simpson-Bowles bill which he opposed and then all of a sudden he faults Barack Obama for. At some point, the truth should matter...He was trying to convey that Barack Obama was responsible for the closing of that GM plant and that isn’t true.


[Read more.]

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Our Low-Wage Recovery: How McJobs Have Replaced Middle Class Jobs

Our Low-Wage Recovery: How McJobs Have Replaced Middle Class Jobs | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
Mid-wage jobs vanished by the millions during the recession. They've been replaced by retail, fast food, and temp work.


By JORDAN WEISSMANN, The Atlantic


When we think about what the economy has lost since the Great Recession, we tend to consider it in terms of simple addition and subtraction. We said goodbye to more than eight million jobs in the downturn; we've added around four million back. It's easy and dismal math.


But there's another painful dimension to this recovery that's gotten far less attention than the lingering jobs deficit. It's the fact that most of the jobs we lost offered decent pay, while the ones we're adding are mostly low-level, service sector positions. Middle class jobs have been replaced by McJobs.

...


This isn't just the familiar story of how blue-collar, male-dominated fields such construction and manufacturing were decimated. As NELP notes, many of the worst hit mid-wage occupations have been office workers; there are now around 345,000 fewer secretaries and administrative assistants and 108,000 fewer insurance claims clerks, for instance. These are jobs that have likely been made redundant by better technology, and the recession became an opportunity for companies to shed weight. Just like factories have reaped productivity gains by laying off workers and investing in machines, some white collar industries have trimmed their payrolls by relying more on IT and temps.


In that sense, what's happened during the recession and its aftermath is really the extension of a longer-term pattern, where technological change and globalization have shaped an economy that creates new work at the top and bottom, but very little in the middle. As this graph, also from NELP, shows, the housing boom helped arrest that trend a bit. It resumed right after the bust.


The middle layer of our economy was hollowed out in the recession. We've barely begun to fill it back in.


[Read more.]

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OpenSecrets Blog | OpenSecrets

OpenSecrets Blog | OpenSecrets | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

OpenSecrets Blog, winner of a prestigious Online News Association award in 2011, publishes the latest in money-and-politics news and related investigative journalism...

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Timeline: The Religious Right and The Republican Platform | BillMoyers.com

Timeline: The Religious Right and The Republican Platform | BillMoyers.com | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by Lauren Feeney


The Republican party platform of 1912 did not contain a single reference to God.


The word faith appeared once, in the phrase “faith in government.” A century later, the 2012 Republican platform contains 10 references to God and 19 to faith — in phrases like “faith-based organizations,” and “faith communities.” What changed?


The forty-year timeline below traces the increased inclusion in the platform of the language and ideals of the Religious Right. [READ MORE]


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‘An act of genuine radicalism:’ McConnell responds to Obama’s support of anti-Citizens United amendment [VIDEO]

‘An act of genuine radicalism:’ McConnell responds to Obama’s support of anti-Citizens United amendment [VIDEO] | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told The Daily Caller Thursday that President Obama’s call to amend the Constitution to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling is “an act of genuine radicalism.”


Obama on Wednesday afternoon participated in a question and answer session on the Reddit forum community, where he declared his support for such an amendment.


“I think we need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United,” Obama wrote on the website. “Even if the amendment process falls short, it can shine a spotlight on the super PAC phenomenon and help apply pressure for change.”


“It’s an act of genuine radicalism,” McConnell said when asked about his reaction to the president’s statement. “We haven’t amended the First Amendment in 235 years. The First Amendment is the core of not only freedom of religion, freedom to petition the government, and the rest, but most important, freedom of speech,” McConnell said. “And when the founders were thinking of freedom of speech, they were thinking of political speech.”


“What the president’s really upset with is the fact that there are a lot of voices out there who’ve gotten organized and don’t like what he’s doing,” McConnell continued. “And so what he wants to try to do is carve a nitch out of the First Amendment to give the government, itself the power to determine who speaks and who doesn’t.”


In the 2010 case, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the court ruled that the First Amendment protected corporations and unions from having limits placed on their political expenditures.

McConnell has consistently been an outspoken critic of Democratic Party efforts to overturn that ruling through constitutional amendment or the use of the stalled DISCLOSE Act. ...


[Read more]

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Breaking News: Federal Judge Orders Ohio to Restore Weekend Early Voting in Ohio

Breaking News: Federal Judge Orders Ohio to Restore Weekend Early Voting in Ohio | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by RICK HASEN, Election Law Blog


I thought we were done with blockbuster election law decisions before Labor Day, but now comes this order from a federal district court in Ohio in Obama for America v. Husted granting a preliminary injunction enjoining the state from enforcing a new law barring early voting on the weekend before election day.  The state had such voting in 2008 but eliminated it in 2012 except for UOCAVA voters–including military voters, who might be deployed at any time.


The judge first noted that the state did not mandate that election boards provide military voters who might be deployed at any time an actual right to cast an early ballot.  It instead left the question to local election boards.  Using the Anderson/Burdick balancing test and the right to no arbitrary and disparate treatment recognized in Bush v. Gore and other cases, the Court held that taking away early voting for all voters except (possibly) the UOCAVA voters violated the equal protection clause:


"From the onset of this litigation, Defendants have pointed to special concerns for the military—concerns all parties share—and the military’s need to maintain additional access to in-person early voting. But for UOCAVA voters, what is left is, potentially, one day: Monday. Defendants have presented no evidence to sustain the inference that in-person early voting on Monday—one day—will burden county boards of elections to the extent that the injury to Plaintiffs is justified. Moreover, Defendants undercut the virtue of their support of military voters by failing to protect any significant measure of UOCAVA voting. Unless a serviceperson is “suddenly deployed” at exactly the right time—enabling in-person voting on Monday—he or she will likely be unable to vote, depending on the local elections board’s “discretion.” That the State cannot justify its interest in foreclosing Ohio voters for one day emphasizes the arbitrary nature of its action." [MORE]

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PolitiFact | All Pants on Fire! statements involving Mitt Romney

PolitiFact | All Pants on Fire! statements involving Mitt Romney | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
PolitiFact.com is a project of the Tampa Bay Times to help you find the truth in Washington and the Obama presidency.


All Pants on Fire! statements involving Mitt Romney

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For the first time in my life, I will be voting against a Republican candidate for president

For the first time in my life, I will be voting against a Republican candidate for president | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by TONY SKAGGS, KeepThis100.com


A life-long Republican, voted for John McCain, and supported Mitt Romney as the most realistic candidate in the primaries. However, as both a Republican and more importantly an American, I did not share Rush Limbaugh’s view expressed in January 2009: “I disagree fervently with the people on our side of the aisle who have caved and who say, ‘Well, I hope he succeeds’… I hope he fails.” Nor do I agree with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell who in October of 2010, was asked what “the job” of Republicans in Congress was.


McConnell answered, “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” We were in the middle of the greatest economic crisis since the 1930′s and my party has as its main goal trying to make sure the president fails — even if the country fails right along with him. What has happened to my Republican party, this is not a sporting event, we all either win or lose together.


In the past, Republicans were pragmatic, not ideological; they would ask “does it work”, not “does it fit into my theory.”


Ronald Reagan is known for his tax cuts, but he also pragmatically raised taxes 11 times to address the growing budget deficit, and had a good relationship with Democratic Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill. Since Reagan was pragmatic, not ideological, he compromised and worked with congress and accomplished what needed to be done to help the economy. Pragmatic non-ideological republican presidents never had a problem expanding the national government to solve national problems. Republican President Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Republican President Theodore Roosevelt created the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Republican President Ford created the first federal regulatory program in education, with a program for special needs children. Republican President George Bush Sr. signed the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and raised taxes to fight the deficit. Republican President Eisenhower warned: “we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, by the military–industrial complex” and was responsible for one of the largest Infrastructure projects in American history (Interstate Highway System). President Eisenhower also sent federal troops to Little Rock Arkansas so that discrimination against black school children would be ended. These men were not Left-wing radical hippies, but the “Tea Party movement” and their supporters in Congress would call them Socialist. While I question many of President Obama’s policies, I can not be sure Mitt’s policies regarding the economy would have been any better. [MORE]

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Mr. Romney’s speech: A better indictment than sales pitch

Mr. Romney’s speech: A better indictment than sales pitch | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

Romney describes Obama’s failures more clearly than his own plan for success.


Excerpt from Editorial from The Washington Post


We support the more vigorous trade policy he advocated and the notion of giving parents more choice in their children’s schooling. His advocacy of a foreign policy that champions the ideal of freedom is welcome.


But Mr. Romney mostly repeated his five rather vague priorities for fixing the economy, adding little meat to the gauziness of past declarations. There was nostalgia for an earlier era of greater American confidence, without much detail about how to achieve a restoration. Promising to begin his presidency “with a jobs tour” — and jabbing, inaccurately, at Mr. Obama for starting his with an “apology tour” — is not a substitute for a serious policy.


Mr. Romney presented himself more as an empathetic manager than an ideological visionary. He mocked Mr. Obama’s grand claims with a direct and appealing promise “to help you and your family.” But this was not a speech in which he demonstrated how he would do so. He made no mention of the tough love and hard budget choices that earlier convention speakers had touted as central to the Republican plan. His argument against Mr. Obama was stronger than his pitch for himself. [Read full editorial]


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GOP Specifically Stated They Wanted Obama To Fail And Would Obstruct At Every Turn

GOP Specifically Stated They Wanted Obama To Fail And Would Obstruct At Every Turn | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by Egberto Willies, EgbertoWillies.com


Mitt Romney’s convention speech had a lot of mistruths and distortions, but one of his central appeals to undecided voters was built on a fundamental lie. The truth is that since day one, President Obama’s political opponents — including Congressman Ryan — have been working to make him fail.


[MORE]

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Justice Party Presidential Candidate Rocky Anderson Speaks Candidly on the Crumbling State of the Union

Justice Party Presidential Candidate Rocky Anderson Speaks Candidly on the Crumbling State of the Union | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
A major third party movement, even if it is not successful on Election Day, can create the conditions for the changes that we're talking about to ultimately be implemented.


Rocky Anderson: Our nation has been transformed in extraordinarily tragic ways in the past dozen years. The rule of law has been utterly eviscerated during the Bush and Obama administrations. We've engaged in wars of aggression, wars for which there has been no coherent explanation. Our debt is completely out of control. We have a military-industrial complex with a stranglehold on our government. And at the core of almost every public policy failure, all we have to do to find an explanation is follow the money, because our Congress and the White House have been purchased lock, stock and barrel by wealthy corporate interests.
The Republican and Democratic Parties have colluded in creating the corrupt, perverse system that has led our nation to this point today. And there is now no question in my mind that we need a major new alternative. There are some great third parties in this country, but none of them have a history of winning elections. They simply don't resonate with a broad enough political base either to succeed in winning or in helping create a long-term, sustained movement for significant change in this country.

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The Newsroom - Tea Party is the American Taliban

For a fictional show (based on actual events), this is the truest news story you have ever seen. From Episode 10 of "The Newsroom" by Aaron Sorkin.
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I Want My America Back -- not the Tea Party's America

I Want My America Back -- not the Tea Party's America | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

When I was a kid and we were deciding what games to play and how to play them, our slogan was "the majority rules." That constant and lofty principle ranked right up there with "loser walks" after a touchdown in sandlot football. The bullies and the brats who stamped their feet to get their way did not make the rules. We carried the concept of majority rule into our adult lives and assumed it applied to government as well, but apparently that is no longer the case. Some of our elected representatives would bring down this country in pursuit of their own jihad. The majority no longer rules, and we are all losers as a result. When have we ever had a statute enacted when so many legislators voted their approval and simultaneously voiced their disapproval? The country is in a state of despair -- and for good reason. The stock market has obviously given the debt-ceiling "compromise" and the debate leading up to it a flunking grade as has Standard & Poor's.


Wiser voices have spoken about the consequences of the legislation saving the country from its credit default. I am interested and concerned with the process. The undisputed fact is that a minority of the country has taken over its control. Although the cabal may not share blood oaths or secret handshakes, they have their intractable pledges and fanaticism that makes them willing to destroy this country's and possibly the world's economy to achieve their ends. By holding up a vote on what had been a traditional rubber stamp for decades by both political parties to raise the debt limit, they sought to extort compliance with their own demands irrespective of the destruction that might ensue if their demands were not met. This conduct strikes at the very foundations of our democracy and the future of our country.


The same is true of the use, or rather the abuse, of the filibuster rule and need for a super-majority. The filibuster rule was enacted and reserved for those rare occasions when the minority was so incensed or outraged by legislation or appointments proposed by the majority or the president that it used this rule to defeat them. For years, an actual filibuster was required. Now, no one need stand in the well of the Senate and actually filibuster, the mere threat is sufficient, and the rule is used in a trivial manner to defeat or delay virtually all important legislation or appointments proposed by the majority. (I have previously expressed my ambivalence over the survival of 60 vote rule.) ...


[MORE]

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Republican Troops Keeping Ryan’s Budget Plan at Arm’s Length

Republican Troops Keeping Ryan’s Budget Plan at Arm’s Length | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

Republicans, even House challengers, are distancing themselves from the proposed Medicare cuts in Paul D. Ryan's budget plan, even as he and Mitt Romney urge them to embrace it.

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Money in Politics: Where Is the Outrage?

Money in Politics: Where Is the Outrage? | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by Bill Moyers and Bernard A. Weisberger


We might wish the uproar from the convention halls of both parties these busy weeks were the wholesome clamor of delegates deliberating serious visions of how we should be governed for the next four years. It rises instead from scripted TV spectacles — grown-ups doing somersaults of make-believe — that will once again distract the public’s attention from the death rattle of American democracy brought on by an overdose of campaign cash.


No serious proposal to take the money out of politics, or even reduce its tightening grip on the body politic, will emerge from Tampa or Charlotte, so the sounds of celebration and merriment are merely prelude to a funeral cortege for America as a shared experience. A radical minority of the super-rich has gained ascendency over politics, buying the policies, laws, tax breaks, subsidies, and rules that consolidate a permanent state of vast inequality by which they can further help themselves to America’s wealth and resources. [READ MORE]

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Voter ID, early voting, redistricting: GOP suffers tough week in court in Texas, Ohio, Florida

Voter ID, early voting, redistricting: GOP suffers tough week in court in Texas, Ohio, Florida | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

A big week for voting issues in the courts, and as Ari Berman notes, none of these broke Republicans' way.


In Texas, via the AP:


"A Texas law requiring voters to show picture ID at the polls was struck down by a three-judge federal panel, who said the state failed to prove the legislation wouldn't harm low-income and minority voters. Thursday's unanimous ruling was the second legal defeat in three days for one of America's most conservative states, which on Tuesday had a different Washington panel reject its new congressional and state Legislature district maps on the grounds that they discriminated against blacks and Hispanics. But while it has lost those battles, Texas vows it may yet win the war — in the Supreme Court."


In Ohio:


"A federal judge in Ohio is giving all voters in the swing state the option of casting their ballot in person during the three days before Election Day. Judge Peter Economus on Friday issued a preliminary injunction granting the request from President Barack Obama's campaign that targets a state law that cuts off early voting for most residents on the Friday evening before a Tuesday election. The law exempts military personnel and Ohioans living overseas."


And in Florida:


"A federal judge agreed Wednesday to permanently bar the state from enforcing some provisions in Florida's new election law, which restricted voter registration drives conducted by third-party groups or individuals such as the League of Women Voters and teachers. ... Other provisions in the Republican-sponsored election law that have drawn legal challenges reduced early voting days and required voters to cast provisional ballots, which often are not counted, if they change out-of-county addresses at the polls. Sponsors argued the changes were needed to prevent voting fraud. Opponents said they discriminated against minorities and young people who tend to vote Democratic."


Meanwhile, in South Carolina, a ruling on a voter ID case is expected within a stone's throw of Election Day:


"Attorneys planned to wrap up testimony Friday in the federal trial over whether South Carolina's voter ID law discriminates against minority voters. The Obama administration rejected the law requiring voters show specific photo ID at the polls, which prompted South Carolina's lawsuit. Closing arguments won't be delivered until Sept. 24, bringing a decision close to the Nov. 6 elections. But a three-judge panel struck down Texas' voter ID law on Thursday. The law, like South Carolina's, was subject to Justice Department approval because of the states' history of discrimination against minorities."


[MORE]

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Ralph Reed in the Marianas Trenches | On Democracy | BillMoyers.com

Ralph Reed in the Marianas Trenches | On Democracy | BillMoyers.com | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
A plank in the GOP platform tells just one tale of Reed's heinous hypocrisy.
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Federal judge rules for Obama in Ohio election day lawsuit

Federal judge rules for Obama in Ohio election day lawsuit | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

A federal judge today ruled that Ohioans should be allowed to vote in-person on the final three days prior to Election Day.


U.S. District Court Judge Peter C. Economus, granted a preliminary injunction and set the new deadline for in-person voting on Monday, Nov. 5.


“On balance, the right of Ohio voters to vote in person during the last three days prior to Election Day — a right previously conferred to all voters by the state — outweighs the state’s interest in setting the 6 p.m. Friday deadline,” Economus wrote. “The burden on Ohio voters’ right to participate in the national and statewide election is great, as evidenced by the statistical analysis offered by Plaintiffs and not disputed by Defendants.” ...

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Obama Makes Big 'Constitutional' Endorsement

Obama Makes Big 'Constitutional' Endorsement | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

WASHINGTON -- In answering a question posed to him by a member of the Internet community Reddit, President Barack Obama stated his support for a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision, the first time that the president has voiced this position himself.


In response to a question about the president's position on money in politics, Obama wrote, "Over the longer term, I think we need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United (assuming the Supreme Court doesn't revisit it). Even if the amendment process falls short, it can shine a spotlight of the super-PAC phenomenon and help apply pressure for change."


[Read more.]

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U.S. Taxpayers Subsidize Corporations So Their Employees Can Eat

by JESSICA ENGLISH, Coffee Party USA


If you don't like welfare and you don't like food stamps, tell Congress to raise the minimum wage. Government of, by, and for the People means putting people before profit. Our taxpayer dollars are subsidizing the profit margins of powerful corporations who can buy influence in Washington enough to write our laws. We need to change that.


So the next time a slick, expensively produced advertisement tells you to hate your fellow Americans who are struggling to feed their families, think about this: how much did it cost to create that advertisement? Who paid for it? And why? The definition of patriotism is not just love of country; it is also love of the PEOPLE who live in this country. If you are truly a patriot, don't allow your television to instruct you to hate your brothers and sisters, your fellow Americans. Help us connect our communities to reclaim our government for the People. [MORE]

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Exclusive: Inside Karl Rove's Billionaire Fundraiser

Exclusive: Inside Karl Rove's Billionaire Fundraiser | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

Rove and Haley Barbour offered a direct, detailed breakfast pitch to 70 top Republican donors for an additional $100 million on behalf of super-PAC American Crossroads...


On the final morning of the Republican National Convention, Karl Rove took the stage at the Tampa Club to provide an exclusive breakfast briefing to about 70 of the Republican party’s highest-earning and most powerful donors. During the more than hour-long session, Rove explained to an audience dotted with hedge fund billionaires and investors—including John Paulson and Wilbur Ross—how his super PAC, American Crossroads, will persuade undecided voters in crucial swing states to vote against Barack Obama. He also detailed plans for Senate and House races, and joked, “We should sink Todd Akin. If he’s found mysteriously murdered, don’t look for my whereabouts!”...

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