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Here's What Lack Of Broadband Competition Looks Like In Map Form

Here's What Lack Of Broadband Competition Looks Like In Map Form | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
When announcing Comcast's intention to buy Time Warner Cable, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts called cable a "highly competitive and dynamic marketplace." Dynamic it might be, but competitive it isn't. M...
Greg Russak's insight:

Is there anyone who isn't calling "bullshit" on this?

 

When announcing Comcast’s intention to buy Time Warner Cable, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts called cable a “highly competitive and dynamic marketplace.”


These maps are Rorschach tests on unregulated capitalism and monopolies

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The True History of Libertarianism in America: A Phony Ideology to Promote a Corporate Agenda

The True History of Libertarianism in America: A Phony Ideology to Promote a Corporate Agenda | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Before Milton Friedman was earning plaudits as an economic genius, he was a shill for the real estate industry and an early pioneer for big business propaganda known as libertarianism.
Greg Russak's insight:

Saturday's Coffee Party BlogTalkRadio show, "Politics Done Right - Are you ready for President Rand Paul?" (http://www.blogtalkradio.com/coffeepartyusa/2014/03/22/politics-done-right--are-you-ready-for-president-rand-paul), inspired me to do a little homework afterward and over the weekend.

 

The AlterNet article linked here is just one of many that motivated me to write this blog post:

 

Young (and Old) People: Do Not Be Fooled by Rand Paul

(https://didyoucheckfirst.wordpress.com/2014/03/23/young-and-old-people-do-not-be-fooled-by-rand-paul/)

 

 

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White House trying to salvage surgeon general nomination

White House trying to salvage surgeon general nomination | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
White House trying to salvage surgeon general nomination
Greg Russak's insight:

Generally speaking, Democrats have too little spine most of the time and on too many issues. It's always been my biggest gripe with them as a group.

 

Republicans have their own unique form of cowardice. In this case, carrying the NRA's water is just as cowardly and even more reprehensible in my opinion. 

 

Embracing the radical extremism of today's NRA and ginning up ridiculous fears in the minds of some Americans over Second Amendment rights merely for political gain is worse than not having the courage to stand up against the NRA.

 

Put another way, the GOP's fear-mongering is far worse than the Democrats' fearfulness.

 

Allowing the NRA to threaten politicians over things like surgeon general nominations serves only to prove once again that our elected officials are beholden to special interests and their money instead of us.

 

How about we as citizens send our own message?

 

Let's keep fighting together to get Big and Secret Money out of politics so we can actually have representatives who represent us.

 

Here are some suggestions....

 

First, co-sponsor the American Anti-Corruption Act

http://unitedrepublic.actionkit.com/event/cosponsor/9815/

 

Next, get involved in the conversations about money in politics, what to do about it, and give your support to groups who are working hard to change things.

 

Groups like....

Coffee Party USA (http://www.coffeepartyusa.com/)

Move To Amend (http://movetoamend.org/)

Wolf PAC (http://www.wolf-pac.com/)

 

Then, look for ways to take action in the real world, too! Here's one.

Find a "rapid response" event near you in preparation for when the Supreme Court decides on McCutcheon v FEC at 

http://action.citizen.org/p/salsa/event/common/public/search.sjs?distributed_event_KEY=706

 

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Georgia Activists Confront GOP Rejection of Medicaid as Moral Mondays Spread Across South

Georgia Activists Confront GOP Rejection of Medicaid as Moral Mondays Spread Across South | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
'Glory, glory, we need health care!' is their rallying cry.
Greg Russak's insight:
March 20, 2014  |   

"Medicaid expansion now!" was the rallying cry this week of a rising grassroots movement spreading across the South. Nearly 40 people were arrested at the Georgia State Senate on Tuesday protesting a bill that would bar the expansion of Medicaid. Georgia has the fifth-highest number of uninsured people of any state in the country. Under the Affordable Care Act, an estimated 650,000 additional residents would be eligible for Medicaid. But Georgia is one of a number of Republican-led states that have opted out of such Medicaid expansion. 

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GM’s Supplier-Squeezing Days Gave Birth to Flawed Models

GM’s Supplier-Squeezing Days Gave Birth to Flawed Models | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
The cars at the center of General Motors Co.’s February recall were still on the drawing board when a top engineer gathered more than a dozen managers and delivered a fateful message: Build them for less.
Greg Russak's insight:

A fascinating tale about how a 2-dollar switch and GM's culture and concerns about profitability appear to have trumped ethical decision-making.

 

---

Issues with the switch and its spring arose at GM as early as 2001, and engineers were aware of the issue in 2004, the automaker told NHTSA. By 2005, car reviewers, including in the New York Times, reported unexpected engine cutoffs linked to the ignition switches.

 

Engineers had identified the flaw and come up with solutions to fix it by late 2004, according to GM’s Feb. 24 timeline. Yet “after consideration of the lead time required, cost, and effectiveness of each of these solutions” GM closed the investigation without taking any action, the automaker said.

 

Engineers came up with another solution to the flaw in 2005 that “was initially approved, but later canceled,” GM said. A recall wasn’t discussed in those early years, it said.

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Supreme Court Watch: Campaign Spending, Union Busting and the Subversion of the First Amendment: Bill Blum

Supreme Court Watch: Campaign Spending, Union Busting and the Subversion of the First Amendment: Bill Blum | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Although predicting the outcome of Supreme Court cases is never a sure thing, two decisions that may be handed down any day have the clear potential to transform the meaning of the First Amendment and once again expose the court’s radically pro-corporate and anti-union agenda.
- 2014/03/18
Greg Russak's insight:

Is this really what we want our democracy to become?

 

Are you ready to do something about it yet?

 

Until we get money out of politics, money will be the primary force that governs us, and as this article helps to explain, that is bad for everyone except those with the most money. 

 

Co-Sponsor the American Anti-Corruption Act 

http://unitedrepublic.actionkit.com/event/cosponsor/9815/

 

------

(from the article)

McCutcheon and Harris are important not only because they promise to perpetuate the court’s double standard on the First Amendment but because they threaten to extend it in new and unacceptable ways. If the McCutcheon plaintiffs prevail, the floodgates opened by Citizens United to independent expenditures by super PACs and shady nonprofit groups exempted from disclosing their donor lists—which exceeded $1 billionin 2012 and which conservative groups dominated by a better than 2-1 spending ratio—would give way to unlimited contributions straight to the coffers of candidates and their campaign committees. The accompanying long-term dangers to what remains of our democracy would expand exponentially. 

 

A victory for the plaintiffs in Harris could be even more ominous. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the percentage of unionized wage and salary workers in our economy has dropped to 11.3 percent from 20.1 percent in 1983. The unionization rate in the private sector stands at an abysmal 6.7 percent. The public sector, by contrast, boasts a unionization rate of 35.3 percent.

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FDIC Sues 16 Global Banks For Roles In Manipulating LIBOR

FDIC Sues 16 Global Banks For Roles In Manipulating LIBOR | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
The FDIC filed the lawsuit on behalf of 38 banks which went bankrupt at the peak of the downturn in 2008, as a considerable part of the losses for these banks were incurred on interest-rate derivative products sold to them by the bigger banks.
Greg Russak's insight:

Explain to me again why bankers shouldn't be more vigorously, forcefully, and strenuously regulated?

 

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Feinstein v. the CIA: A Moment of Truth: Robert Scheer

Feinstein v. the CIA: A Moment of Truth: Robert Scheer | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
It was a truly historic moment Tuesday when Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein took to the Senate floor to warn that the CIA’s continuing cover-up of its torture program is threatening our constitutional division of power.
- 2014/03/12
Greg Russak's insight:

The fact that this country tortured people is no longer in dispute. It is a stain on our history, like slavery, that can never be washed away or forgiven. Ever. The only real question left is how we as a people respond. Will we demand that those responsible, from top to bottom, be brought to justice?

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A Relentless Widening of Disparity in Wealth

A Relentless Widening of Disparity in Wealth | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
The economic forces concentrating more and more wealth into the hands of the fortunate few are almost sure to prevail for a long time, according to a new book by the economist Thomas Piketty.
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Food Stamp Program: Myths, Facts, and History

Food Stamp Program: Myths, Facts, and History | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Food Stamps. If you haven’t used them, you surely know someone who has. And you’ve heard all of the gripes and comments about “those people”. The Food Stamp Program has been a beloved right-wing piñata for 50 years. But it shouldn’t be that way.
Greg Russak's insight:

To be kept handy for those times when the b.s. starts flying about SNAP.

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Why the Whole World Should Fight the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Why the Whole World Should Fight the Trans-Pacific Partnership | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Sometimes a story comes up which leaves you wondering where the hell to begin, and that's exactly the kind of story we love to cover here on Politicoid. Having received much love from Australia of ...
Greg Russak's insight:

This blog post by Politicoid is an excellent summary and well worth the read.

 

Then there's this today from Public Citizen 

 

"Today (March 15) is the second anniversary of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) taking effect.

The data are in: U.S. exports to Korea dropped 11 percent and our deficit with Korea ballooned 47 percent. That equates to more than 40,000 additional American jobs lost.

This, after the Obama administration promised it would expand our exports and create American jobs.

Despite the stunning evidence, now the Obama administration is making the same bogus claims that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will create more exports and jobs. The thing is, the Obama administration literally used the Korea FTA as its starting text for the TPP!"


If you want to do something and make your voice heard, I've been collecting resources at 

http://didyoucheckfirst.wordpress.com/tppttip-resources/


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NH considers a call for an Article V convention

from March 12th

The New Hampshire House of Representatives (all 400 of them!) will debate a resolution tomorrow to exercise NH’s power to call on Congress to convene an Article V convention. This is an important decision for New Hampshire. I just hope the confused rhetoric of the John Birch Society doesn’t confuse the issue. 

Greg Russak's insight:

Lawrence Lessig is, as always, very informative and highly instructive.

http://lessig.tumblr.com/post/79397353043/nh-considers-a-call-for-an-article-v-convention

 

Those with a leaning toward the John Birch Society may not like what he has to say. 

For those like me who need a primer on JBS, I found this Intelligence Report from the Southern Poverty Law Center to be helpful http://www.splcenter.org/.../2012/spring/bringing-back-birch


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Americans Stick With Obamacare As Opposition Burns Bright

Americans Stick With Obamacare As Opposition Burns Bright | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
President Obama s health-care law is becoming more entrenched, with 64% of Americans now supporting it outright or backing small changes, according to a Bloomberg National Poll.
Greg Russak's insight:

For anyone still taking their cues on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act from Fox, Rush, Glenn, and that crowd, this article is about a Bloomberg poll and is published by an industry publication for the HR and benefits management and insurance marketplace....

 

"Still, rank-and-file Republicans want several key provisions retained. Sixty-two percent of Republicans want to retain the law’s ban on denying coverage based on pre-existing medical conditions, and 57% want to keep the requirement that insurance companies allow children up to age 26 to stay on their parents’ policies. Republicans are about evenly divided on the elimination of lifetime limits on medical benefits."


First, why anyone outside the board rooms and corner offices of insurance companies would oppose the elimination of lifetime limits on medical benefits is a total mystery to me. If you are opposed and you're not among the aforementioned, you're "voting" against your own economic self-interests (again).


Second and more to the point, if Republicans are ok on pre-existing conditions and keeping children to age 26 on their parents' plans then WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?!?!?


Look, I'm no fan of a mandate, either, but we need to be absolutely and completely clear on this issue.
THE MANDATE WAS AND IS A TOTAL CONCESSION TO PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANIES ESPECIALLY SINCE,
a) BY LAW, EVERY AMERICAN MUST NOW BUY THEIR PRODUCTS and,
b) THERE IS NO PUBLIC OPTION WITH WHICH THEY MUST COMPETE
(unless you want to erroneously count the co-ops, many of whom are exceeding their goals and beating the incumbent carriers)


Not only that, no insurance company is forced to offer anything anywhere, so if your state is down to a small handful of carriers who are dropping your old plans and raising premiums on new ones, THAT IS THEIR CHOICE AND IS THE FREE MARKET AT WORK!!!


Other than not allowing insurance companies to sell junk plans any longer or to rake grandma over the coals on premiums, INSURANCE COMPANIES STILL MAKE ALL THEIR OWN BUSINESS DECISIONS!!!


So, someone please explain to me their opposition to the PPACA other than "OBAMA!"

For more facts about the PPACA, I invite you to check out http://didyoucheckfirst.wordpress.com/2013/11/30/more-ppaca-red-herrings-renewals-and-benefits/

and

http://didyoucheckfirst.wordpress.com/2013/10/19/the-fault-dear-citizen-is-not-with-obamacare/

and

http://didyoucheckfirst.wordpress.com/2013/12/15/warning-insurance-companies-using-obamacare-scare-to-scam-public/

 

 

 

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Who Are the Long-Term Unemployed and What Happens to Them?

Who Are the Long-Term Unemployed and What Happens to Them? | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Greg Russak's insight:

"Even in good times, the long-term unemployed are on the margins of the labor market, with diminished job prospects and high labor force withdrawal rates. Even after finding another job, reemployment does not fully reset the clock for the long-term unemployed, who are frequently jobless again soon after they gain reemployment. Only 11 percent of those who were long-term unemployed in a given month returned to steady, full-time employment a year later."

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Crimea and Punishment: Imperial Blowback from Iraq to Ukraine

Crimea and Punishment: Imperial Blowback from Iraq to Ukraine | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Greg Russak's insight:

Our foreign policy chickens continue to come home to roost.

 

"As many pointed out at the time, the invasion of Iraq in particular foretold a world wracked by disregard for international norms and defined by the mercenary pursuits of national self-interest. In setting a template for the policy engagements to follow, this archetype of adventurism ushered in an era in which exceptionalism has become the norm, where the cavalier disregard of domestic and/or global objections is considered politically acceptable, and where powerful nations can exercise a free hand in determining the future of less powerful ones when strategic interests are involved."


- Randall Amster, JD, PhD, is Director of the Program on Justice and Peace at Georgetown University, and serves as Executive Director of the Peace and Justice Studies Association 

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Statement By U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman at the Close of the Fourth Round Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Negotiations | Office of the United States Trade Representative

Greg Russak's insight:

U.S. Trade Representative, Michael Froman, is now on Twitter. 

@MikeFroman

It's only been since yesterday, and he doesn't have much to say. We have his NCAA brackets and he cleverly suggests Cabinet meetings be limited to 140 characters (which might not be a bad idea).

 

Seriously, do not be shy about sharing your thoughts (respectfully) with him (or any government official) about the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

 

Here's a tip on using Twitter.

 

If you're starting the Tweet with his (or anyone's) handle, and you want more than just the recipient and anyone who follows you both to see it, start the Tweet with a period in front of the Twitter handle like in this Tweet I just sent:

 

.@MikeFroman, I've read that #TPP & #TTIP worse than #NAFTA for working Americans. Can you prove otherwise by sharing full text of both?

 

For info I've been collecting about the TTP and TTIP, visit 

http://didyoucheckfirst.wordpress.com/tppttip-resources/

 

It's our country. They work for us. Speak up.

 

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Pres. Obama: Let's End Tax Breaks for Oil Firms and Invest $2 Billion in Alternative Fuel

Pres. Obama: Let's End Tax Breaks for Oil Firms and Invest $2 Billion in Alternative Fuel | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
The “Great Recovery” is in full swing, and while the stock markets continue to rise along with the already record-setting corporate profits, the middle class is feeling as squeezed as ever. As cong...
Greg Russak's insight:

Projected value of credits and subsidies to oil industry over next 10 years:

Section 199 = $18.2billion

Foreign Tax Credit = $8.5billion

Intangible drilling cost subsidies = $12.5billion

Percentage depletion deductions = $11billion

 

TOTAL COST TO TAXPAYERS OVER 10 YEARS = $50.2billion

 

One more important fact to remember in November.

 

From http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/indus.php?Ind=E

"Led by the oil and gas industry, this sector regularly pumps the vast majority of its campaign contributions into Republican coffers. Even as other traditionally GOP-inclined industries have shifted somewhat to the left, this sector has remained rock-solid red."

 

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Tech Companies Urge Senator Wyden to Reject Fast Track and Bring Transparency to TPP

Tech Companies Urge Senator Wyden to Reject Fast Track and Bring Transparency to TPP | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Over 25 leading technology companies have joined a public letter urging Senator Ron Wyden, the newly appointed Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, to firmly oppose any form of "fast track" authority for trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Greg Russak's insight:

In pushing for Fast Track, the Obama administration would strip another layer of transparency and accountability out of the trade agreement process. If it succeeds, TPP and other trade agreements with draconian copyright enforcement rules could get passed with even less democratic oversight. We hope to see the Senator oppose those efforts, and stand firm on his dedication to Internet users and transparent rule making as he takes on a position of leadership over the Congressional trade agenda.

 

If you're in the US: use this tool to contact your lawmakers, call your representatives, and help us keep the pressure on Congress to oppose Fast Track.

 

https://action.eff.org/o/9042/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=9357

 

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President's 2015 Budget in Pictures

President's 2015 Budget in Pictures | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
President Obama recently released his 2015 budget proposal. And budgets are about priorities: What we’re going to spend money on, and how we’re going to raise the money that we’re spending. These pictures tell the story of the priorities in the president’s budget.
Greg Russak's insight:

An excellent and easy-to-understand breakdown

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Republicans Send Insurers Letters Asking Who's Paid

Republicans Send Insurers Letters Asking Who's Paid | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Republican members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee have sent letters to every insurer participating in the federal marketplace to request specific enrollment data.

Via Coffee Party USA
Greg Russak's insight:

If you read this, and I hope you do, I hope you'll also ask yourself a few questions:

 

Do you really want politicians asking your health insurance company to tell them whether or not you've paid your premium?

 

Do you appreciate which party is doing the asking and why they're asking? (Hint: After 52 votes in the House, there's only one party and one reason why.) 

 

Will you remember this (and more) come November?

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Coffee Party USA's curator insight, March 17, 2014 2:47 PM

To accuse the White House or any other federal agency of hiding health insurance premium payment data is to either,

a) not understand that those premiums are being paid directly to private health insurers and not to any federal agency or,

b) to have to admit that this is simply another ploy by Republicans to score political points by attempting to make the Administration appear as if they have something to hide about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

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How A Fight Over Natural Resources Is Quietly Driving The World’s Response To Ukraine

How A Fight Over Natural Resources Is Quietly Driving The World’s Response To Ukraine | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Control of resources and dependence on other countries is a central theme connecting the longstanding tension between Russia and Ukraine and potential actions taken by the rest of the world as the crisis escalates.
Greg Russak's insight:

More evidence for why we need to forge ahead with more conviction, more support, more urgency, and more investments in clean and renewable sources of energy. I'm convinced that if this country could go from basically nothing to having men walking on the Moon in under 10 years, we can find the means for being completely free of fossil fuels in the same amount of time. All it would take is real leadership from elected officials and a willingness on our part as citizens to support that.

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“Hi, I’m right here”: An open letter to Paul Ryan about poverty and empathy

“Hi, I’m right here”: An open letter to Paul Ryan about poverty and empathy | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
We need to change the conversation about poverty and inequality. It starts with compassion and kindness
Greg Russak's insight:

Maybe she wipes your child’s face at day care. Maybe he mops the floors at your church. Maybe she makes the beds in the hotel you stay at. Maybe he trims your shrubbery and mows your lawn. Maybe she lifts your elderly aunt in and out of her wheelchair each day at the nursing home.

 

Most middle-income Americans have no idea how many of the people around them every day are living in poverty. We think of “the poor” as only elsewhere, in inner cities or far-off trailer parks, anywhere but here. We tell ourselves that the poor are simply slackers who don’t want to work … or that the only folks earning wages you can’t live on are teenagers working summers at McDonald’s, who will of course go to college in the fall.

 

But it’s not true. Fifty-seven percent of the families below the poverty line in the U.S. are working families, working at jobs that just don’t pay enough. They’re not teenagers, they’re not lazy, and they’re not somewhere else. (After all, if every McDonald’s employee is a high school student, how can I buy a Big Mac at noon on a school day?) These folks are childcare workers, janitors, house cleaners, lawn-service workers, bus drivers, hospital aides, waitresses, nursing home employees, security guards, cafeteria workers and cashiers — and they’re the people who keep the rest of society humming along for everybody else.

 

* * *

There are many prescriptions for combating poverty, but we can’t even get started unless we first examine our assumptions, and take the time to envision what the world feels like for families living in poverty every day.

 

“Compassion is a skill that we get better at with practice,” writes theologian Karen Armstrong.

 

It just takes a little imagination.

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An open letter to the people who hate Obama more than they love America

An open letter to the people who hate Obama more than they love America | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
I meet you all the time. You hate Obama. You hate gay people. You hate black people, immigrants, Muslims, labor unions, women who want the right to make choices concerning their bodies, you ...
Greg Russak's insight:

This might sting a little.....

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Fair Elections For New York | Demos

Fair Elections For New York | Demos | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Greg Russak's insight:

Even if you don't live in New York....


In a few weeks, New York leaders could make history and enact public campaign financing. It's unclear if they will rise to the occasion. Last month, progressives called on New York's governor, Andrew Cuomo, to include public financing in his Executive Budget—and he did it.


Now he just has to finish the job. With your help.


New York's state budget is due April 1st. Sign our petition to tell Governor Andrew Cuomo: fair elections can't wait another term.


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Monica S Mcfeeters's curator insight, March 14, 2014 9:38 PM

Those living in New York  might want to get behind this effort to publicly finance elections. It would be one great step towards challenging the big money that corrupts so many elections these days.

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Boeing has big tax refund coming from Uncle Sam — again

Boeing has   big tax refund coming from Uncle Sam — again | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Boeing got a $199 million federal tax refund in 2013, and over the past 12 years has accumulated tax refunds of $1.6 billion.
Greg Russak's insight:

If you're still walking around complaining that tax rates are too high in the United States, you simply haven't been given the facts, you don't understand the facts, or you are unwilling to accept them as facts.

 

Anyone interested in reality needs to turn off Fox, Rush, Glenn, and that whole crowd on the right. They are lying to you, and you are being gullible by believing them and regurgitating their lies.

 

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