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The case for outsourcing jobs

The case for outsourcing jobs | Coffee Party News |

by Steve Hargreaves, CNN Money

"When jobs move from a factory in the South to one in Guatemala or China, it certainly has a negative impact on that community in the short run," said Jay Bryson, a global economist at Wells Fargo. "But in the long run it makes things more efficient."
Related: Manufacturing jobs boom is for real
Cheaper prices for consumer goods are often the first thing cited by defenders of outsourcing. Indeed, many items such as clothing, toys and electronics are getting cheaper, even without adjusting for inflation.
But the efficiencies extend beyond the cash register.

Of course, not everyone agrees with the conventional thinking.
Businesses might not necessarily use their added profits to hire, according to Alan Tonelson, a research fellow at the U.S. Business and Industry Council, which represents smaller and mid-size manufacturers.

Tonelson pointed to another study by the Nobel-winning economist Michael Spence that said from 1990 to 2008, companies in sectors most affected by international trade -- including manufacturing -- were responsible for just 2% of the 27 million new jobs the economy added. Tonelson said that implies that they've outsourced far more jobs than they've created.

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How to Fight Citizens United

How to Fight Citizens United | Coffee Party News |


Ever since the Citizens United ruling opened the floodgates to unlimited political spending (and even before), our friends at Open Secrets, The Campaign Legal Center, Common Cause, The Sunlight Foundation, Democracy 21, Public Citizen and countless other organizations have been working to turn back the tide. Click through to read about six initiatives democracy watchdogs are hoping will help clean up our elections and get money out of politics.

A rally to amend the constitution held in Spokane, WA. (Public Citizen)

The movement for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United has quickly gone from pipe dream to mainstream, says Public Citizen’s Rachel Lewis. Since the Citizens United ruling, 299 cities, towns and counties have passed resolutions calling for an amendment, as have seven state legislatures. Just recently, President Obama voiced his support.


Katharine Heintz's curator insight, January 19, 2014 6:27 PM

This source provides names and activities of other organizations that work to promote democratic participation. Could be good allies?

Katharine Heintz's curator insight, January 19, 2014 6:34 PM

This site lists lots of groups working on Democracy issues. Could be good for thinking about allies.

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Campaign 2012

Campaign 2012 | Coffee Party News |

by STEVE KROFT and SCOTT PELLEY, 60 Minutes Video

In separate interviews, President Barack Obama and his challenger, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, discuss the election year's hot button issues. Steve Kroft interviews President Barack Obama. Scott Pelley interviews Govenor Mitt Romney.

We asked Mr. Romney how his vision differs from the president's because recently Mr. Obama said this election is the clearest choice in a generation.

Gov. Mitt Romney: I think the president's right. I think this is a very clear choice for the American people as to what America's future will look like. The president's vision is one of a larger and larger government with trillion dollar deficits that promises everything to everyone. That's the course that he has laid out. His policy for the economy is more stimulus, more government spending. My course is very different than that. Mine says, "Make government smaller. Don't build these massive deficits that pass debt onto our kids, rebuild the foundation of America's strength with great homes, great schools, with entrepreneurship and innovation. Keep government as a-- if you will, facilitator of freedom in America. But don't have government take away the rights and the freedoms of the American people."

Scott Pelley: Ten years ago, when you were running for governor of Massachusetts, you were solidly pro-choice on abortion. Now you're against abortion, except in cases of rape, incest, or the health of the mother. When you were running for governor, you ridiculed the idea of signing a "no new taxes" pledge, and yet now you've signed one. Some people, Governor, have an uneasy feeling that you're not constant, that you say whatever you have to say in a particular moment.

Romney: Well they can look at my record. I understand that my opposition will do its very best to try and change, anyway they can, the narrative to fit their objectives. The president has certainly changed his view on a whole host of things. He was going to close Guantanamo. It's open. Military tribunals were going to be ended, now military tribunals continue. The president was opposed to same sex marriage, now he's in favor of same sex marriage. So I--

Pelley: But what about you?

Romney: So I--

Pelley: People wonder, "Does Romney believe the things that he says?" You say what to those people?

[WATCH THIS INTERVIEW - Campaign 2012, part 1]

[MORE WITH ROMNEY - Campaign 2012, part 3]


We spoke on September 12th in the White House Blue Room.

Steve Kroft: Mr. President, you were elected four years ago, promising hope and change for the better. Your opponent argues that you have achieved neither. The country has rarely been so divided politically. And people are afraid for their jobs. I know you know that. People are fearful about the future for their families. How do you respond to that?

President Barack Obama: I think it's important to know where we've been and how far we've traveled. The month I was sworn into office, we were losing 800,000 jobs a month. We ultimately would lose nine million jobs during the height of that great recession. We came in, made some tough decisions. Everything from stabilizing the financial system to making sure that the auto industry survived, to making sure that we cut taxes for middle class families so they had more money in their pockets, to helping states avoid massive layoffs of teachers and firefighters and police officers. And because of that, we've now had 30 months of job growth, four and a half million new jobs, half a million jobs in manufacturing alone. And the question now for the American people is, "Do we keep moving forward and continue to make progress or do we go backwards to the very policies that got us into this mess in the first place?" We probably have not seen a clearer choice in an election in my lifetime.

Kroft: On the campaign trail, Gov. Romney has been portraying you as a nice guy who doesn't have a clue about the economy or how the country works. That private enterprise is the engine of growth in this country. And that's what creates jobs, not big government. And that you're crushing economic freedom with taxes, regulations, and high-cost health care.

Obama: Well, it's a lot of rhetoric, but there aren't a lot of facts supporting it. Taxes are lower on families than they've been probably in the last 50 years. So I haven't raised taxes. I've cut taxes for middle class families by an average of $3,600 per typical family. When it comes to regulations, I've issued fewer regulations than my predecessor, George Bush, did during that same period in office. So it's kind of hard to argue that we've overregulated. Now, I don't make any apologies for putting in place regulations to make sure banks don't make reckless bets and then expect taxpayers to bail them out. I don't make any apologies for regulating insurance companies, so that they can't drop a family's coverage, just when somebody in their family needs it most. And, you know, the problem that Gov. Romney has is that he seems to only have one note: tax cuts for the wealthy and rolling back regulations as a recipe for success. Well, we tried that vigorously between 2001 and 2008. And it didn't work out so well.

[WATCH THIS INTERVIEW - Campaign 2012, part 2]

[MORE WITH OBAMA - Campaign 2012, part 4]


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Occupy Wall Street/Strike Debt: The Debt Resistors' Operations Manual

Occupy Wall Street/Strike Debt: The Debt Resistors' Operations Manual - Free download as PDF File (.pdf), text file (.txt) or read online for free.
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Adviser Admits Romney’s Tax Plan Would Redistribute Wealth

Adviser Admits Romney’s Tax Plan Would Redistribute Wealth | Coffee Party News |

by Igor Volsky, Think Progress

Mitt Romney economic adviser Emil Henry tripled down on the GOP presidential candidate’s claim that 47 percent of Americans are “dependent upon government” and see themselves as “victims” because they don’t pay federal income taxes, during an appearance on MSNBC’s Up with Chris Hayes on Sunday. “You have a president who errs towards, in the very least, an entitlement society, a society of hand downs, a society of 46 million people on food stamps,” Henry said, adding that Romney opposes Obama’s efforts to “redistribute” wealth to those with lower incomes. [MORE]

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Can Debt Spark a Revolution?

Can Debt Spark a Revolution? | Coffee Party News |

It’s now clear that the 1 percent are the creditors: those who are able to turn their wealth into political influence and their political influence back into wealth again.

by DAVID GRAEBER, The Nation

The idea of the “99 percent” managed to do something that no one has done in the United States since the Great Depression: revive the concept of social class as a political issue. What made this possible was a subtle change in the very nature of class power in this country, which, I have come to realize, has everything to do with debt.


As a member of the team that came up with the slogan “We Are the 99 Percent,” I can attest that we weren’t thinking of inequality or even simply class but specifically of class power. It’s now clear that the 1 percent are the creditors: those who are able to turn their wealth into political influence and their political influence back into wealth again. The overriding imperative of government policy is to do whatever it takes, using all available tools—fiscal, monetary, political, even military—to keep stock prices from falling. The most powerful empire on earth seems to exist first and foremost to guarantee the stream of wealth flowing into the hands of that tiny proportion of its population who hold financial assets. This allows an ever-increasing amount of wealth to flow back into the system of legalized bribery that American politics has effectively become. [MORE]

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Voter Harassment, Circa 2012

Voter Harassment, Circa 2012 | Coffee Party News |

Groups aligned with the Tea Party and other conservative causes are using Jim Crow-era tactics at the ballot box.


This is how voter intimidation worked in 1966: White teenagers in Americus, Ga., harassed black citizens in line to vote, and the police refused to intervene. Black plantation workers in Mississippi had to vote in plantation stores, overseen by their bosses. Black voters in Choctaw County, Ala., had to hand their ballots directly to white election officials for inspection.

This is how it works today: In an ostensible hunt for voter fraud, a Tea Party group, True the Vote, descends on a largely minority precinct and combs the registration records for the slightest misspelling or address error. It uses this information to challenge voters at the polls, and though almost every challenge is baseless, the arguments and delays frustrate those in line and reduce turnout.

The thing that’s different from the days of overt discrimination is the phony pretext of combating voter fraud. Voter identity fraud is all but nonexistent, but the assertion that it might exist is used as an excuse to reduce the political rights of minorities, the poor, students, older Americans and other groups that tend to vote Democratic.

In The Times on Monday, Stephanie Saul described how the plan works. True the Vote grew out of a Tea Party group in Texas, the King Street Patriots, with the assistance of Americans for Prosperity, a group founded by the Koch brothers that works to elect conservative Republicans. It has developed its own software to check voter registration lists against driver’s license and property records. Those kinds of database matches are notoriously unreliable because names and addresses are often slightly different in various databases, but the group uses this technique to challenge more voters. [MORE]

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A Tangled Web: Who’s Making Money From All This Campaign Spending?

A Tangled Web: Who’s Making Money From All This Campaign Spending? | Coffee Party News |


An interactive investigation from ProPublica...

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Blame Fox, not Mitt

Blame Fox, not Mitt | Coffee Party News |

(Photo: AP/David Mcnew/Salon)

Romney's run an awful campaign. But his real problem is most Americans reject the Fox News/Limbaugh fairy tale.

Excerpt from article by JONATHAN BERNSTEIN, Salon

...Romney himself, or at least his campaign, seems to have massively misunderstood how the economy is perceived. That’s perhaps due to the conservative closed-information feedback loop. If most of your information comes through Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, you might think that the economy was just fine or maybe a bit on the weak side until January 2009 and that it has gone from bad to worse since then. Certainly, that’s what Republican rank-and-file voters seem to think. In the meantime, while Democrats are optimistic about the economy and Independents are moderately pessimistic (but far less so than in 2008), economic confidence among Republicans is as low as it was back in the nightmare winter of 2008-2009.

The outcome of all this is a Republican campaign theme emphasizing the question “Are you better off?” — a terrible match for what are, after all, miserable economic circumstances. Rather than inviting people to compare the present to how things should be — and therefore encouraging them to compare Barack Obama to whatever their ideal might be — Romney is asking people to compare Obama to George W. Bush. While that might work really well among those listening to Sean Hannity or Glenn Beck, it’s a losing fight with everyone else.

And yet blaming Romney for this one – or for his “47 percent” statement, or for his botched response to the deaths in Libya – is missing the point. For that matter, so is looking at his choice of Paul Ryan as a running mate, which invited everyone to think about Ryan’s unpopular history of opposition to traditional Medicare and Social Security.

The truth is that Romney is constantly constrained by what conservatives want him to do and by what they believe. Furthermore, what they want is generally unpopular, and what they believe is far too often simply cut off from the reality that the rest of the nation lives in.

So Romney cannot have a coherent foreign policy because what his voters want to hear is that Barack Obama sympathizes with terrorists. Most Americans, meanwhile, think of Obama as the guy who took out bin Laden. Romney cannot have a sensible tax policy because conservatives insist that he promote large, self-funding tax cuts for the rich. Most of the nation, however, supports raising taxes on the rich, and reality insists that cutting taxes also reduces revenues. Also, Romney didn’t invent the 47 percent nonsense; whether he truly believes it or not, he was simply parroting back what his voters have been hearing for years from Rush Limbaugh and others like him.

Nor would another candidate fare any better. Some have suggested that Romney is unusually constrained by conservatives because they don’t trust him, and so he (unlike a hypothetical “real” conservative nominee) isn’t able to move to the middle. But there are two problems with that theory.

One is that it’s likely that any winning candidate, after spending years fighting for the Republican nomination, would be so far inside the conservative closed-information feedback loop that he or she would be doing the same things. It’s not because the candidate pressure from the right but rather because he or she has lost perspective on what anyone outside of that loop believes. And the second is: We’ve seen no evidence that Tea Partiers are willing to trust anyone.

Sure, we’ve had some campaign goofs that appear to be about Romney and not the GOP: the flap about his tax returns, the decision to put Eastwood on the podium without a script, the candidate’s brilliant plan to insult the Brits over the Olympics. But for the most part, what’s been happening hasn’t been a series of gaffes; it’s been the very predictable consequence of the triumph of Tea Party conservatives in the Republican Party. [READ FULL PIECE]


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Coffee Party Radio: Doctors Tell How Obamacare Affects You Sat 12–2PM Central

Coffee Party Radio: Doctors Tell How Obamacare Affects You Sat 12–2PM Central | Coffee Party News |

Do you still have questions about Obamacare and how it will impact your life? Let's spend some time together today and debunk some of the mythology generated about the Affordable Care Act. Joining us today on Politics Done Right are Dr. Mona Mangat and Dr. Christopher Lillis.

Politics Done Right with Egberto Willies 

Saturday 1 to 3 pm Eastern (12 to 2 pm Central)

Call in, talk and/or listen: (646) 929-2495

Click to listen to PODCAST

Flan59's comment, September 22, 2012 9:11 AM
There is one provision in the ACA that many people do not know about. It is a test program, to partially repeal a long-standing Medicaid provision that bans federal funds from treating patients in "Institutes for Mental Diseases". This is a discriminatory provision as people on Medicaid are covered in other specialty hospitals and rehab facilities, but not people who are seriously ill with a brain disease, including addiction. This is part of the reason why so many are homeless and incarcerated. Please support a full repeal of this discriminatory law. I will be watching this test program closely. For more information...go to my website.
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In Wisconsin, Political Circus Leaves Voters Wounded

In Wisconsin, Political Circus Leaves Voters Wounded | Coffee Party News |


"Emotions are still raw in Wisconsin after the bitter fight over public unions and the unsuccessful vote to recall Gov. Scott Walker."

Suffering with the intense political devisiveness.

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Mitt Tells the Truth

Mitt Tells the Truth | Coffee Party News |

The contempt with which America's wealthy privately view those beneath them is actually an old story. (see video)

by Bill Moyers and Michael Winship,

Like everyone else, we watched the movie of the week — that clandestine video from Mitt Romney’s fundraiser in Florida. Thanks to that anonymous cameraperson, we now have a record of what our modern day, wealthy gentry really thinks about the rest of us — and it’s not pretty.

On the other hand, it’s also not news. If you had reported as long as some of us have on winner-take-all politics and the unenlightened assumptions of the moneyed class, you wouldn’t find the remarks of Romney and his pals all that exceptional. The resentment, disdain and contempt with which they privately view those beneath them are an old story.

In fact, the video’s reminiscent of our first Gilded Age, back in the late 19th century. The celebrated New York dandy Frederick Townsend Martin summed it up when he declared, “We are the rich. We own America. We got it, God knows how, but we intend to keep it.”

And so they do, as that glitzy gathering in Florida reminds us. You could see and hear one of the guests ask Mitt Romney what they could do to help. The governor answers, “Frankly, what I need you to do is to raise millions of dollars, because the president’s going to have about $800 to $900 million. And that’s — that’s by far the most important thing you could do.”

He’s being truthful there, because money rules these campaigns. And if there were more secret videos from other candidates, we would see them in equally compromised positions, bowing and scraping in their infernal pursuit of campaign cash, bending over backwards to suffer the advice that the privileged think their money entitles them to give.

And we mean both parties. Not far from us the other night, at a Manhattan fundraiser hosted by Jay-Z and Beyoncé, President Obama joked, “If somebody here has a $10 million check — I can’t solicit it from you, but feel free to use it wisely.” At least we think he was joking — Obama and Romney alike now shape their schedules as much around moneymaking events as rallies and town halls. Even though a state may be a lost cause when it comes to votes, if there’s money to be made they’ll change the campaign jet’s flight plan and make a special landing, just for the cold hard cash.

By the time the primaries were over this year, the top 150 political and media consultants already had raked in an estimated $465 million – or more. When Election Day finally rolls around, chances are that number will have at least doubled....

So we can’t stop reporting on this, even though we’re often told: “Please change the subject. Everyone’s tired of this one.” Don’t be so sure. There’s a groundswell for rooting the money out of politics, as Americans come to see that this is the one reform that enables all other reforms. Two polls released in the last few days report large majorities — as many as eight in ten — are in favor of clamping down on the amount of money that corporations, the super-rich, and those shadowy outside groups are pouring into the campaigns. It’s up to all of us to put a sign on every lawn and stoop in the land: “Democracy is not for sale.”  [VIDEO and Full Text]

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Miners forced to attend Romney rally?

Miners forced to attend Romney rally? | Coffee Party News |

United Press International

Ohio coal miners shown in a TV ad for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney say the images were shot at a campaign event their company required them to attend.


The "War on Coal" ad suggests President Barack Obama's emphasis on clean energy is costing U.S. jobs, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday. The president is leading in Ohio, a critical swing state.


The ad, filmed Aug. 14, shows miners in hard-hats with coal dust on their faces, standing behind Romney at a mine in Beallsville, owned by Murray Energy. Its president, Robert Murray, is a Romney backer and Republican Party donor both as an individual and through his company.


Miners told David Blomquist, a talk radio host for WWVA in the area, the mine was shut down during the campaign event and their pay was docked but they were also required to attend the event. [MORE]

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How’s Reelection Looking For 'America’s Toughest Sheriff' Joe Arpaio?

How’s Reelection Looking For 'America’s Toughest Sheriff' Joe Arpaio? | Coffee Party News |

by Laura Matthews, International Business

If polls are to be believed, pro-immigration activists may need to work harder to prevent the reelection of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

The Justice Dept. is suing him, and pro-immigration activists want him out, but it seems Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio might be here to stay.

The 80-year-old, who declares himself "America's toughest sheriff" and is known for his extreme anti-immigration views, might just secure a sixth term in office as a poll shows that Arpaio is keeping his lead over his closest challenger.

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A Costly Equation: Medical Dollars Wasted Are Greater Than the U.S. Defense Budget

A Costly Equation: Medical Dollars Wasted Are Greater Than the U.S. Defense Budget | Coffee Party News |


I’ve heard a lot of reports about the staggering amount of fraud, overtreatment and unnecessary health care in the United States. But the recent “Best Care at Lower Cost” report by the Institute of Medicine included this stunner: In 2009, the health care system wasted an estimated $765 billion– more than the entire budget of the Department of Defense.

I’ve got to hand it to the IOM committee for finding an interesting way to give those numbers a punch.

The report outlined the varieties of waste: Care is provided that’s not based on evidence; discretionary care is used too much; high cost options are chosen rather than avoided; care is fragmented; insurance administration and paperwork are inefficient; and fraud is at every level. The estimates of money poorly spent included:

  • $210 billion on overuse and unnecessary care.
  • $130 billion in inefficiency, including mistakes and harm.
  • $190 billion in excess administrative costs. [MORE]
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You built that, but why?

You built that, but why? | Coffee Party News |
A COLLEAGUE and I were talking the other day about the frustration with the Obama presidency among CEOs and other business big shots. This set feels disrespected by...
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Conservative Thought-leader Advises Romney Campaign to Stop Denying History and Look Forward

Conservative Thought-leader Advises Romney Campaign to Stop Denying History and Look Forward | Coffee Party News |

by IGOR VOLSKY, Think Progress

The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol advised the Mitt Romney to avoid making the election about the last four years, noting that the Obama administration inherited the crisis from Bush and has handled it well. “If this election is just about the last four years, that’s a muddy verdict. Bush was president during the financial meltdown. The Obama team has turned that around pretty well. Bill Clinton’s speech at the convention was very important in that way,” he said. Romney “has go to make it a choice about the next four years and explain what obama would do that would be bad for the country and what he would do to be good.” [see VIDEO]

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Five myths about the 47 percent

Five myths about the 47 percent | Coffee Party News |

from article by William G. Gale and Donald B. Marron, The Washington Post

1. Forty-seven percent of Americans don’t pay taxes.

The most pernicious misconception about people who don’t pay federal income taxes is that they don’t pay any taxes. That oft-heard claim ignores all the other taxes Americans encounter in their daily lives. Almost two-thirds of the 47 percent work, for example, and their payroll taxes help finance Social Security and Medicare. Accounting for this, the share of households paying no net federal taxes falls to 28 percent.

And those aren’t the only other taxes they bear. According to economic research, the corporate income tax discourages domestic investment; that depresses wages, so workers are effectively paying some of the corporate tax. More directly, many households pay federal taxes on gasoline, beer and cigarettes. And then there are state and local sales, property and income taxes — all of which are often less progressive than the federal income tax. Putting all these together, a family of three with an income of $30,000 would owe no federal income tax (in fact, they would get money back). But they could easily pay more than $4,500, or 15 percent of their income, in taxes.

2. Members of the 47 percent will never pay federal income taxes.

Politicians and commentators often talk about those who don’t pay income taxes as though they’re in a special club with lifetime membership. In fact, it’s a highly diverse group, some of whom move in and out from year to year.

When they first join the workforce, for example, young people may not earn enough to pay federal income taxes. The same is true for many of the temporarily unemployed, working parents and entrepreneurs whose businesses experience a loss. But most of these people look forward to the day, perhaps in just a year or two, when their incomes will rise and they will join or rejoin the 53 percent of Americans who do pay federal income taxes.

The reverse is true for many senior citizens: They may pay no federal income tax in retirement, but most did during their working years.

3. Many high-income people game the system to pay no income tax.

Our jerry-rigged tax code leaves many Americans with a nagging sense that other people are exploiting loopholes to avoid taxes — and the rest of us have to make up the difference. Sadly, there’s an element of truth to that. But gimmickry by high-income taxpayers has essentially nothing to do with who does and doesn’t pay income taxes. Our colleagues at the Tax Policy Center estimate, for example, that households with cash incomes of $200,000 or more account for less than 0.1 percent of the 47 percent.

The vast majority of people who pay no federal income tax have low earnings, are elderly or have children at home. They are exempt from the income tax because of features Congress added to the tax code, thanks to bipartisan efforts, to help these groups. For example, Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton both favored the earned-income tax credit (EITC), which has helped millions of families stave off poverty.

About half of these households don’t pay federal income tax simply because their incomes are low. More than one-fifth are retirees who benefit from tax breaks for seniors, including an exemption for most Social Security benefits. And another one-seventh are working families with children whose income tax liability is eliminated because of the child tax credit, the EITC, or the child and dependent care credit. Together, these three groups of taxpayers account for almost 90 percent of the households that pay no federal income tax.

4. The 47% Vote Democratic

In the leaked video that went viral this past week, Romney counts the 47 percent as people who will vote for President Obama “no matter what.” There is no direct way to match people’s tax records and voting habits, so we have only circumstantial evidence on how the 47 percent votes — but they certainly aren’t all shoo-ins for Obama. [MORE]

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Bill Moyers: Elections for Sale

Bill Moyers: Elections for Sale | Coffee Party News |

Watch Moyers & Company at

One of the reasons Moyers & Company frequently returns to the theme of money and politics is because it’s absolutely necessary to do so. Nothing corrupts our political system more than the ability of the rich and influential to spend limitless amounts of money — often in secret — with the intention of creating preferred political outcomes. And far from being a regulator of campaign finances, our political funding laws — aided by a corporate-friendly Supreme Court and self-interested politicians — only facilitate the process of empowering the few while subjugating the many.

Few understand how money moves in and out of our political system better than campaign finance reform advocate Trevor Potter. A former chairman of the Federal Election Commission and founding president of the Campaign Legal Center, Potter was Stephen Colbert’s chief advisor when Colbert formed his own super PAC and 501 (c)(4) in a clever effort to expose the potential for chicanery behind each.

Bill and Potter discuss how American elections are bought and sold, who covers the cost, and how the rest of us pay the price.

“I can assure you that if someone is spending millions of dollars to elect the candidate, the candidate knows where that money is coming from. There’s nothing illegal about telling them, but the voters aren’t going to know that,” Potter tells Bill. “We’re creating opportunities for corruption and candidates being beholden to specific private interests because of funding, yet there’s no disclosure to the rest of us.” [MORE]

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The Truth About Makers and Takers: We Are All the Takers

The Truth About Makers and Takers: We Are All the Takers | Coffee Party News |

by DEREK THOMPSON, the Atlantic

Mitt Romney's 47% moment breathed new life into the idea that the U.S. is divided between "the makers" and "the takers."

The story goes like this. There are those who make money and pay taxes: The top 10% of earners pay 70% of federal income taxes. And there are those who take money and don't pay taxes: About half of Americans live in households that receive direct government benefits, like Medicare, Social Security, or food stamps. A similar share of the country doesn't owe federal income taxes.

I have three problems with this storyline.

First, if you live in the United States, you're a Taker. It's not the 47%. It's the 100%. Government provides services and benefits that are impossible not to take, from national defense, to infrastructure, to food and drug safety. We're all beneficiaries of not getting invaded, having roads, and not getting poisoned by our dinner and over-the-counter medication.

Second, if you work in the United States, you're a Maker. It's not the 15 million -- that 10% households who owe most federal income taxes. It's the 155 million -- the labor force, not counting the millions of people who want but cannot find a job. It's true that richer people pay more. But they also earn more. The top 1% pays more federal taxes than the bottom 60% combined. That sounds outrageous. But the top 1% also makes more than the bottom 40% combined.

Here are two nice graphs, from Tax Policy Center data. On the left: This is how the income pie is sliced for each quintile. The richest 20% earns more than 50% of the income. On the right: This is how the tax pie is sliced for each quintile. The richest 20% pays about 66% of total federal taxes. Upshot: High income inequality combined with a progressive tax system means the burden of paying for government falls heavily on the top 20%. (These graphs don't include state and local taxes, which are considerably more regressive.)   [MORE]

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Has America become an oligarchy?

Has America become an oligarchy? | Coffee Party News |
The 2012 presidential campaign will cost close to $2.5 billion dollars -- most of it financed by the obscenely rich

All power corrupts but some must govern. – John le Carré

The ritual performance of the legend of democracy in the autumn of 2012 promises the conspicuous consumption of $5.8 billion, enough money, thank God, to prove that our flag is still there. Forbidden the use of words apt to depress a Q Score or disturb a Gallup poll, the candidates stand as product placements meant to be seen instead of heard, their quality to be inferred from the cost of their manufacture. The sponsors of the event, generous to a fault but careful to remain anonymous, dress it up with the bursting in air of star-spangled photo ops, abundant assortments of multiflavored sound bites, and the candidates so well-contrived that they can be played for jokes, presented as game-show contestants, or posed as noble knights-at-arms setting forth on vision quests, enduring the trials by klieg light, until on election night they come to judgment before the throne of cameras by whom and for whom they were produced.

Best of all, at least from the point of view of the commercial oligarchy paying for both the politicians and the press coverage, the issue is never about the why of who owes what to whom, only about the how much and when, or if, the check is in the mail. No loose talk about what is meant by the word democracy or in what ways it refers to the cherished hope of liberty embodied in the history of a courageous people.

The campaigns don’t favor the voters with the gratitude and respect owed to their standing as valuable citizens participant in the making of such a thing as a common good. They stay on message with their parsing of democracy as the ancient Greek name for the American Express card, picturing the great, good American place as a Florida resort hotel wherein all present receive the privileges and comforts owed to their status as valued customers, invited to convert the practice of citizenship into the art of shopping, to select wisely from the campaign advertisements, texting A for Yes, B for No.

The sales pitch bends down to the electorate as if to a crowd of restless children, deems the body politic incapable of generous impulse, selfless motive, or creative thought, delivers the insult with a headwaiter’s condescending smile. How then expect the people to trust a government that invests no trust in them? Why the surprise that over the last 30 years the voting public has been giving ever-louder voice to its contempt for any and all politicians, no matter what their color, creed, prior arrest record, or sexual affiliation? The congressional disapproval rating (78% earlier this year) correlates with the estimates of low attendance among young voters (down 20% from 2008) at the November polls.

Democracy as an ATM

If democracy means anything at all (if it isn’t what the late Gore Vidal called “the national nonsense-word”), it is the holding of one’s fellow citizens in thoughtful regard, not because they are beautiful or rich or famous, but because they are one’s fellow citizens. Republican democracy is a shared work of the imagination among people of myriad talents, interests, voices, and generations that proceeds on the premise that the labor never ends, entails a ceaseless making and remaking of its laws and customs, i.e., a sentient organism as opposed to an ATM, the government an us, not a them.

Contrary to the contemporary view of politics as a rat’s nest of paltry swindling, Niccolò Machiavelli, the fifteenth-century courtier and political theorist, rates it as the most worthy of human endeavors when supported by a citizenry possessed of the will to act rather than the wish to be cared for. Without the “affection of peoples for self-government…cities have never increased either in dominion or wealth.” [MORE]

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Protesting Libyans overrun militant compound in backlash against armed groups

Protesting Libyans overrun militant compound in backlash against armed groups | Coffee Party News |

by NBC News staff and wire services

Hundreds of Libyan protesters stormed the compound of Ansar al Sharia in Benghazi Friday night, driving out its militant occupants and setting fire to the compound, in an unprecedented public backlash against armed groups that have run rampant in the country since the 2011 ouster of former dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Ansar al Sharia is the militant al-Qaeda inspired group that some allege played a role in the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi that left four Americans dead, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.

An estimated 30,000 Libyans marched to the group’s brigade compound earlier in the day in protest, chanting, "No to militias," the Associated Press reported.

The demonstrators demanded that militias in the country hand over their weapons to the fledgling post-Gadhafi government, and declared their solidarity with the United States in condemning terrorism. [MORE]

[WATCH - A different kind of rally in Benghazi]

As parts of the Muslim world fire up with anti-American protests, thousands rally in Benghazi, Libya, where the U.S. ambassador and three others were killed, to support America. NBC’s Brian Williams reports.

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Economic Update: "History of Workers Co-ops"

Economic Update: "History of Workers Co-ops" | Coffee Party News |

By RICHARD D.WOLFF, Economic Update/Truthout

"We aim to explain why certain economic changes are happening."

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Paul Ryan Booed Throughout AARP Speech (VIDEO)

Paul Ryan Booed Throughout AARP Speech (VIDEO) | Coffee Party News |

by BENJY SARLIN, Talking Points Memo

Paul Ryan’s speech to AARP’s national conference in New Orleans did not go over too well with the audience.

The Republican vice presidential nominee, who has led his party in proposing a privatization plan for Medicare, drew repeated jeers and catcalls as he made the case for Mitt Romney’s platform on entitlements.

Easily the worst moments came as Ryan discussed repealing the Affordable Care Act, which increased prescription drug and preventive service benefits for seniors.

“The first step to a stronger Medicare is to repeal ‘Obamacare,’” Ryan said, prompting a chorus of boos. After the outcry, he said: “I had a feeling there would be mixed reaction, so let me get into it.”

He drew a second wave of disapproval for saying the president’s law “turned Medicare into a piggy bank for ‘Obamacare.’” Ryan was referring to $716 billion in Medicare savings enacted by the ACA — savings he himself has included in two budgets — that largely came out of payments to insurance providers. [MORE]

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