With a nod to the November elections, Senate Democrats on Monday began what they promised would be a recurring effort this year to boost taxes on millionaires to address what they argue is an unfair tax code.
“Today, the wealthiest 1 percent takes home the highest share of the nation’s income since the early ’20s, the roaring ’20s,” Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said on the Senate floor. “But while their bank accounts have grown, their tax bills have become smaller. The wealthiest Americans pay the lowest tax rate in more than five decades.”
Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), head of the Senate Democrats’ policy and communications shop, said on a conference call with reporters that he believes Democrats have the upper hand in the debate.
“The GOP fears this debate because there is an emerging contrast in Congress,” Schumer said. “Republicans want to give even further tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires, while we think the very wealthy should share in more sacrifice so the burden doesn’t fall on the middle class.” [MORE]
Corporate front group ALEC – which lets big corporations write legislation and then pass it off to state legislatures to be enacted — is hurting. In recent days, six major corporations and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have decided to stop funding the group, which has been engaged in pushing voter suppression and “Stand Your Ground” laws.
This has prompted ALEC to whine that it is being silenced by an “intimidation” campaign. (It used the word four times in a single short press release.) ALEC claims that by publicly urging companies to voluntarily leave the organization, critics are trying to “eliminate discourse.”
In an ironic move, ALEC is apparently deleting comments on its Facebook page that are critical of the corporate front group. Pinterest user Wagatwe isn’t putting up with this hypocrisy. Wagatwe has compiled a Pinterest page of comments that ALEC deleted from its page, such as, “How much are the Koch Brothers paying you for this tripe?” [MORE]
HERE’S a window into a tragedy within the American military: For every soldier killed on the battlefield this year, about 25 veterans are dying by their own hands
An American soldier dies every day and a half, on average, in Iraq or Afghanistan. Veterans kill themselves at a rate of one every 80 minutes. More than 6,500 veteran suicides are logged every year — more than the total number of soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq combined since those wars began.
Excerpt from article by THOMAS KAPLAN, New York Times
ALBANY — An unusual and well-heeled coalition, trying to tap public anger over the flood of money into politics, is pushing to enact a public financing system for elections in New York State.
...They say New York, which they call a symbol of institutionalized corruption, could become a national model for the effort to free elections from the grip of big money. The campaign will start next week with mailings to the constituents of four state senators. [MORE]
What can the people who run super PACs do with all the cash they have collected when their favorite candidate drops out of the race?
“They can do pretty much anything they want with the money,” said Viveca Novak, communications director at the Center for Responsive Politics. “They can have a margarita party in the Bahamas.”
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum’s decision to suspend his presidential campaign Tuesday means the “Red, White and Blue Fund” super PAC, which supported him, is without a candidate. The organization and its benefactors helped the under-funded Santorum stay in the game. [MORE]
The first Continental Congress was held in 1774 in Philadelphia after 12 of the 13 North American colonies elected delegates to petition King George III to redress grievances caused by the so-called “The Intolerable Acts.”
The colonists sought a voice in Parliament if they were to be taxed and subject to laws passed by that legislature. The king, of course, ignored the petition and after the Revolutionary War was won, the founding fathers of the United States ensured that the new Constitution gave the American people the right to petition their government for a redress of grievances. This petition power was to be ignored at the peril of those who governed.
Now, 238 years later, the American people again find their government indifferent to their pleas for long overdue change. Therefore, this upcoming July 2, 3 and 4, a new Continental Congress, comprised of 878 delegates from all 435 congressional voting districts in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. territories will convene in Philadelphia to draft and ratify a petition for redress of grievances.
This “Continental Congress 2.0” will draft and ratify a 21st century petition for redress of grievances, which will be publicly presented to the American people at a ceremony outside of Independence Hall on the afternoon of July 4, 2012. Then, 535 copies will then be served on the Congress, 9 copies to the Supreme Court and one copy upon the President. [READ MORE]
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Don Manning will chat with Michael Charney, award-winning author of "CHASING GLENN BECK; A Personal Experiment in Reclaiming Our Hijacked Political Conversation". Michael and Don will take your comments and questions. "What's on Your Mind?... Let's Talk About It!" on Speaking of America.
by Eric Dolan, The Raw Story A legal complaint has been filed against the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) for allegedly trying to hide a $10,000 donation from former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
by JONATHAN WEISMAN and JENNIFER STEINHAUER, NY Times
If Mitt Romney is considering a quick pivot to the center as he heads into the general election, he will find an imposing impediment: fellow Republicans in the House.
As Congress was set to reconvene on Monday, House Republicans said Mr. Romney could go his own way on smaller issues that may help define him as separate from his Congressional Republican counterparts. But, they said, he must understand that they are driving the policy agenda for the party now.
“We’re not a cheerleading squad,” said Representative Jeff Landry, an outspoken freshman from Louisiana. “We’re the conductor. We’re supposed to drive the train.”
With Representative Paul D. Ryan’s budget plan, Republicans have already set the agenda on the key issue that divides the two parties in an age of austerity: how to manage the federal budget and its related entitlement programs. Mr. Romney has eagerly embraced it, campaigning with Mr. Ryan by his side and calling him “bold and brilliant.” [MORE]
An anonymous donor gave $10 million late last year to run ads attacking President Obama and Democratic policies, escalating the money race that is defining the 2012 presidential campaign. And in the new, free-wheeling environment of independent political giving, the identity of this donor, like many others, is likely to remain a permanent mystery.
The donation went to Crossroads GPS, the conservative nonprofit group founded with the support of political strategist Karl Rove. Another donor gave $10 million in the 2010 midterm elections, according to draft tax returns that provide the first detailed look at its finances.
Crossroads GPS would not identify the donors, who could be individuals, corporations or other interest groups, and under tax and campaign laws, it is not required to disclose them. It is possible that both $10 million donations come from the same source.
Neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman has been taken into custody and charged with second-degree murder in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, Florida special prosecutor Angela Corey announced late Wednesday.
“I can tell you we did not come to this decision lightly,” Corey said. She said Zimmerman had turned himself in to authorities.
Martin, 17 and unarmed, was shot and killed Feb. 26 by Zimmerman, who said he was acting in self-defense. Police in Sanford, Fla., where the shooting took place, did not charge Zimmerman, citing the state’s “stand your ground” law.
Benjamin Crump, who is representing the Martin family, said this week that Corey’s office had asked where Trayvon’s parents would be each day this week. They arrived Wednesday in Washington for a civil rights conference organized by the Rev. Al Sharpton, where they spoke to reporters. [MORE]
Wendy’s, the nation’s newly crowned second largest fast-food restaurant, announced that they too have declined to renew their membership in corporate front group ALEC for 2012. The company sent out a tweetlast night from its official account, saying that their withdrawal from ALEC had been anticipated for several months. “We decided late 2011 and never renewed this year. It didn’t fit our business needs,” read the message.
Wendy’s joins a quickly growing list of large corporations and other institutions that pulled their support and funding from ALEC, a conservative organization that has helped draft controversial voter ID bills in dozens of states. Coca Cola, Pepsi Co, Intuit, Kraft, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Wendy’s fellow fast-food giant McDonalds all previously announced that they would drop ALEC as well. [MORE]
Hundreds of Angelenos unite to oppose "Citizens United vs FEC" - the 2010 Supreme Court decision that allowed corporations to make unlimited/undisclosed political contributions. Join our call for real campaign finance reform. Please share this video and Like "Stop Citizens United" on fb to help spread the word: http://facebook.com/StopCitizensUnited
Big thanks to Marisa Tomei and the hundreds of participants who came out on a Saturday morning (and stayed out in the rain for hours) to help make this video!