The U.S. Supreme Court's disastrous Citizens United v. FEC ruling has allowed corporate CEOs to unleash a torrent of secret corporate spending into our political system.
Indefensibly, CEOs are able to keep both the public and their own shareholders in the dark about the use of company funds for political ends.
This give CEOs free rein to make political expenditures that they would never be able to justify publicly -- including campaigns so toxic they would inevitably tarnish the company's brand were the funding source made public.
And the results have been absolutely corrosive to our democracy.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which is a federal agency, can require publicly traded companies to disclose the money they spend on politics. And they are accepting public comments on the merits of doing so.
So I just submitted a public comment telling the SEC not to let corporations hide their political spending. I hope you do, too.
Please join me by submitting your own comment.
The Republican leadership of the House of Representatives passed a budget plan that cuts off 300,000 kids from free school lunches at a time when one in five children lives in poverty.
In last summer's deal on the debt ceiling, the House and Senate agreed to mandatory future cuts to both the military and social programs. While painful, because the cuts to military spending were deep, this represented a much better deal than anything under consideration by the Super Committee - and effectively spared Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare benefits from cuts.
But now House Republicans have passed a sweeping budget-reconciliation bill that reneges on the debt-ceiling deal to cut military spending. It increases an already bloated Pentagon budget and pays for it by taking away funding for food stamps, wiping out key parts of the federal health care law, including health care for children, and slashes funding designated to rein in Wall Street corruption.
I just petitioned my senators to say no to a heartless tea party budget that pays for Pentagon increases by taking food and health care away from children. You should too.
Harry Reid has said the Senate doesn't have time in its tight schedule to discuss gun control. Bullshit! If he wasn't scared of the NRA, he would find the time.
It says a lot when he dismisses whether there would be time next year.
You have blood on your hands Harry Reid!
People of Earth,
Your current Presidential candidates have failed me for the last time. Newt Gingrich is promising you a Moon Base by 2020, rather than a moon-sized laser that can destroy planets. Mitt Romney has vowed not to “light his hair on fire” just to rally the conservative base, whilst I have actually been on fire. In lava. Rick Santorum’s campaign has shown a “darker” side recently with his ‘Obamaville’ apocalypse advert, whereas I have actually gone to the Dark Side and authorised the apocalypse of Alderaan. And the less said about Obama’s failure to “change” America into a country that proudly builds AT-ATs the better. I have no choice. As of today, I am announcing my candidacy for the Presidency of the United States of America. I AM your future President.
Read on ...
In Citizens United, the Supreme Court ruled that the only justification for limiting campaign expenditures was "corruption or the appearance of corruption." And since independent expenditures, including those from corporations and unions, don't have any kind of corrupting influence, there's no justification for limiting them.
Read on ...
Republican candidates have lately been parroting Charles Murray's argument that our "entitlement society" has created a nation of deadbeats who would rather live off government benefits than find a job. In response, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) released a study earlier this week showing the fraction of government benefits that go to able-bodied workers.
Read on ...
You have heard, perhaps, that rich people in America are egregiously overtaxed. And the poor? They're the lucky duckies! Why, 47 percent of Americans pay no taxes at all! (This is not true, of course. Many poor and elderly Americans pay no federal income tax, but they pay plenty of other taxes.)
Still and all, it's true that the federal income tax is indeed progressive. Conservatives are right about that—though it's not as progressive as it used to be, back before top marginal rates were lowered and capital gains taxes were slashed in half. But conservatives are a little less excited to talk about other kinds of taxes. Payroll taxes aren't progressive, for example. In fact, they're actively regressive, with the poor and middle class paying higher rates than the rich.
Read on ...
The House version of the Stop Online Piracy Act, the proposed anti-piracy legislation that drew a planned and widespread internet revolt Wednesday, is likely to undergo a radical overhaul to muster passage.
The measure, along with the Senate’s proposed Protect IP Act, faces an uncertain future given newfound widespread legislative opposition to the proposals in their current form. On Wednesday, as thousands of websites blacked themselves out or altered their appearance in protest, Republican and Democratic lawmakers in both the Senate and House began distancing themselves from the non-partisan bills they had once supported.
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The Senate is poised to vote on a bill that would end the internet as we know it.
If it passes, the "Protect IP Act" (and its companion bill in the House, "SOPA") could put people in jail for uploading a video to YouTube and would severely limit our right to free speech.
This bill has been rushed through Congress because big corporate interests like Comcast, Pfizer, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have spent millions of dollars lobbying for this censoring legislation.
I told my senators to protect our free and open internet and oppose the Protect IP Act. You should do the same. You can sign the petition at the link below.
Obama administration joins the ranks of SOPA skeptics -- Ars Technica
The Obama administration has joined the ranks of skeptics of the Stop Online Piracy Act. In an online statement released Saturday, three senior White House officials wrote that the administration "will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet."
The statement was made in response to a petition on the White House's "we the people" site asking the president to veto SOPA if it reached his desk. The officials—IP enforcement coordinator Victoria Espinel, CTO Aneesh Chopra, and cybersecurity coordinator Howard Schmidt—did not commit the president to vetoing SOPA. However, they laid out criteria for an anti-piracy bill that seems to clearly rule out SOPA and the Senate's Protect IP Act in their current form.
Read on ...
Joe Heller -- Date Unknown
Hell, they should just do it to Congress no matter what!
A Christmas Gift for the Pentagon -- Slate
Remember how it turned retired generals into media shills? Lax oversight means it could happen again.
This is a time of good cheer at the Pentagon—its watchdog, the inspector general, has just ruled that its Bush-era campaign to manipulate the media was entirely acceptable under Defense Department regulations. The report, dated Nov. 11, was held back until Christmas Eve, when it was released at the happiest time of the year. But we should not allow it to slip into oblivion.
Read on ...