GOP Straight Up Bribes Democratic Senator In Effort To Block Obamacare
The Huffington Post | By Ryan Grim & Ashley Alman
Posted: 06/08/2014 9:03 pm EDT
The Republican Party in Virginia has resorted to what appears to be outright bribery in its ongoing effort to deny low-income residents in the state access to the Medicaid expansion authorized by Obamacare.
The Washington Post is reporting that Republicans offered to move Democratic state Sen. Phillip P. Puckett and his daughter into prestigious jobs in exchange for Puckett's resignation, which will flip the chamber into Republican hands. Puckett will officially accept the offer on Monday, the paper reported.
The Senate was on course to pass an expansion of Medicaid, as the law allows, while the House of Delegates, in GOP hands, aimed to block it. (read more)
Another study blows up the myth of upward mobility
Jun 04, 2014 12:34pm PDT by Laura Clawson
The myth that the United States of America is a place where upward mobility is a real possibility available to anyone persists, despite evidence to the contrary like the fact that rich kids with low test scores aremore likely to graduate from college than poor kids with high test scores, and poor kids rise to the top income group as adults at rates of less than 5 percent in big parts of the country. Now, another study backs that up. Sociologists Karl Alexander, Doris Entwisle and Linda Olson followed nearly 800 Baltimore kids starting in 1982, when they were first-graders. Thirty years later,
We the People need more proud progressive leaders like these, to fight the
good fights for We The People, the Great American Middle Class!
Greed is not good, money is not speech, rights are for all
and justice is a moral imperative.
This intervention is designed to end Government By Troll and Dark Money billionaires who corrupt our democracy and subvert the constitution of the United States of America.
The Twelve Steps
1. End Corporate Personhood: Pass and Ratify the 28th Amendment to end this corrosive legal fiction of Citizens United/SCOTUS decision that grants human rights to a lifeless legal entity, on the basis that money is speech, with no evidence of corrupting influence in politics.
2. Guarantee Voting Rights: Enact the VOTING RIGHTS ACT to secure the ballot box, guarantee ease of access, availability for all citizens nationwide. Remove voting from political influence and purchased allegiance.
3. Outlaw Lobbying: Close K Street and the Banking/Defense/Medical/Congressional revolving door that breeds systematic political bribery, delayed promises of employment, hiring of family members. Register for public disclosure all meetings between elected officials and their employees.
4. Restore Banks & Regulate Wall Street: Restore Glass-Steagall, Tax Financial Transactions, Breakup the Big Banks. Too big to fail and too big to prosecute means too big to allow, risk or tolerate. Outlaw commodity ownership by hedge funds.
5. Prosecute Financial Crimes as Crimes: Mandate Jail-time for big and repeat offenders, enact a Corporate Death Penalty for egregious repeat offenders, and mandate full disclosure all regulatory settlements, on public media.
6. Get the Greed Out of Politics with Political
Campaign Finance Reform: Full Financial Disclosure for all PACs and NPOs, Set strict donation limits and Publicly Finance State and Federal Political Campaigns, establish equitable Non-partisan Congressional District Reform to end gerrymandering.
7. Simplify the Tax Code with incentives for First Homes and Education: Tax All Income at same progressive rates, Close Corporate Loopholes, Keep Deductions on First Homes, add Student Loan Deduction.
8. Guarantee Workplace Rights: Equitably Adjust and Index the Minimum Wage, Mandate Equal Pay for Women, guarantee Workers Right to Organize.
9. Establish Smart Grid based on Neighborhood
Energy Production: Fund and Implement Home Solar Expansion, Build the Smart Grid and Mandate Peak Time Solar Buy-back Rates to promote decentralized green energy production.
10. Guarantee Human and Health Rights: Reestablish oversight of NSA and reverse the militarization of local police forces, establish basic Medicare for All with Reproductive Rights, enact Real Immigration reform with dignity and citizenship.
11. End the War on Drugs: Treat Addiction Medically, End Jail for Minor Drug Offenses, Accurately Reclassify Marijuana as Class 3 narcotic, and release all nonviolent marijuana offenders.
12. End Prisons for Profit: Don't outsource Justice. Justice is our Public Duty and cannot be responsibly assigned for money. Lack of money is not a crime and must never cause incarceration.
We got in this hole... One trillion: Tax cuts for rich, Two trillion: Two wars on credit cards, One trillion: Medicare Part D, drug company giveaways.
Franken’s Campaign Against Comcast Is No Joke
By ASHLEY PARKERAPRIL 11, 2014 WASHINGTON --
For Senator Al Franken, the political became personal at a “Saturday Night Live” cast party, of all places.
It was there in New York two years ago that Mr. Franken, a Minnesota Democrat, ran into Lorne Michaels, the creator of the NBC show and his former boss when he was a writer and performer there. Mr. Michaels was chatting with Brian L. Roberts, the chief executive of Comcast, which had recently acquired NBCUniversal in a deal that Mr. Franken opposed.
“I fought to prevent this!” Mr. Franken blurted out to the two men.
It was a potentially awkward moment that Mr. Franken defused with the kind of blustery humor that delighted audiences during his years as an entertainer. “We all had a laugh, fun was had by all, and I went on,” he said in an interview.
But for Mr. Franken, antitrust issues involving big companies are no joking matter. The man who created such famous “Saturday Night Live” characters as the self-help guru Stuart Smalley is now a serious policy wonk and a self-made expert in antitrust matters like price-fixing and monopolization.
After a failed attempt to block the Comcast-NBC Universal merger, Mr. Franken again finds himself playing a trustbusting role in Washington — against the same adversary. He has emerged as the leading congressional opponent of Comcast’s $45 billion bid to take over Time Warner Cable, a merger that would unite the nation’s two biggest cable companies.
In a three-hour Senate Judiciary hearing on Wednesday, Mr. Franken adopted a prosecutorial stance as he interrogated executives from both companies, asking pointed questions, often repeatedly, like a dog with a particularly tasty bone. He was the only lawmaker to explicitly say he wanted the merger blocked.
“We’ve got the biggest cable provider and biggest Internet provider, in Comcast, buying the second-biggest cable provider and third-largest Internet provider, and I’m very worried that will create a company that’s too big,” Mr. Franken said in the interview. “They’re going to use their position to leverage higher cable prices and to dictate a lot of things that will make for fewer choices, and their service will be even worse.”
Mr. Franken, for his part, should have a good sense of Comcast — he said the company was his provider in both Minnesota and Washington, and added with a laugh: “It’s great. The service is wonderful.” Moments later, he doubled back to explain his tone. His chuckle, he said, “was more ironic than sarcastic.”
Crushing Student Debt
Elizabeth Warren decries US college loan profits
At Suffolk, senator urges overhaul
By Dan Adams | GLOBE CORRESPONDENT APRIL 13, 2014
US Senator Elizabeth Warren blasted government profits on student loans in a speech at Suffolk University’s Law School on Saturday, firing up a crowd of law students, education researchers, and financial specialists.
“This exploding debt is crushing our young people,” Warren, a Democrat, said in her speech to attendees of a two-day student loan symposium. “These students didn’t go to the mall and run up a bunch of charges on credit cards. They worked hard to learn new skills that will benefit this country. . . . They deserve our support, not an extra tax for trying to get an education.”
Warren’s speech, peppered with the familiar battle cries that buoyed her election campaign, outlined policy changes she has long sought on student lending, a signature issue for the first-term senator.
Still, for many in attendance Saturday, Warren’s presence was significant. To them, she is a long-awaited ally in the halls of power and the articulate public face of a reinvigorated effort to reduce ballooning college loan debt.
“She presents it in a way that it’s hard to imagine anyone wouldn’t be supportive of what she’s proposing,” said Suffolk’s president, James McCarthy.
Warren drew applause as she called for an end to government profits on student loan interest, the reinstatement of bankruptcy protections for student borrowers, and penalties for colleges whose students default on their loans in large numbers.
Last summer, Warren defied her party and voted against a compromise bill that lowered interest rates on new subsidized federal loans, saying it would allow interest rates to rise and leave the government holding profits earned on the backs of student borrowers.
But in brief comments to a reporter following her speech, Warren framed that bill’s passage as an encouraging sign of bipartisan support for lowering interest rates — this time, she hopes, on existing student loans.
“Congress agreed overwhelmingly that any interest rate above 3.8 percent was too high, so this Congress should not have difficulty with the same view on past loans,” she said.
Saturday, Warren again displayed her willingness to be a fly in the Democratic ointment, denouncing a provision in the White House’s proposed 2015 budget that would cap forgiveness of federal loans for college students who go on to work in the public sector. Currently, graduates who work full time in public service can have the remainder of their federal loans forgiven after making 120 monthly payments, which usually takes 10 years.
“I’m not a fan of capping,” Warren said in response to a question from an audience member, repeating a proposal she made last year to forgive a portion of a graduate’s loans for each year the graduate spends working in public service. “We should be encouraging every young person to spend some time in public service.”
Bernie Sanders Raises Battle Cry Against Citizens United: ‘I Vote for Democracy!’
John Nichols on April 11, 2014 - 4:42 PM ET
Citizens United is not just the default reference for US Supreme Court decisions—including the 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling—that have ushered in a new era of corporate dominance of American elections. It’s the name of the conservative group that encouraged Chief Justice John Roberts and the most activist Court majority in American history to tear the heart out of what were already weak campaign finance laws.
Citizens United still exists as an activist group that produces documentaries--ACLU: At War with America, Border War: The Battle Over Illegal Immigration, Fire From the Heartland: The Awakening of the Conservative Woman, America at Risk: Hosted by Newt and Callista Gingrich—and organizes gatherings that highlight right-wing policies and politicians. On Saturday, Citizens United hosted something of a kickoff for the Republican presidential race in the first-primary state of New Hampshire.
Organized in collaboration with the Koch brothers–funded Americans for Prosperity Foundation, Citizens United’s “Freedom Summit” attracted a list of peakers that included leading contenders (and wannabes) for the GOP nod. Indeed, Greg Moore, the director of AFP-New Hampshire, described the summit as the first “cattle call” of 2016.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul made his pitch to the Koch crowd.
So did Texas Senator Ted Cruz.
And former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.
And perennial (if never quite announced) contender Donald Trump.
The Freedom Summit was not entertaining objections to the latest Supreme Court decision to steer more big money into politics—in the case of McCutcheon v. FEC—or to the political machinations of bottom-line corporations and self-serving “mega-donors.”
But across town, on the same day, the objection was raised.
The New Hampshire Institute of Politics on the campus of Saint Anselm College was packed Saturday for a town hall meeting with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who roused the crowd with a condemnation of the money power that is corrupting American elections and governance.
“In the United States of America, billionaires should not be able to buy elections,” declared Sanders, to thunderous applause.
“If we do not get our act together, we are moving towards an oligarchic society,” he continued, arguing that, “We have got to fight to defend American democracy.”
The People's Pledge