SC Forward Progress invites you to celebrate the long awaited departure of the Republican Presidential candidates!
For almost a year South Carolinians have endured enough extreme rhetoric, pandering, and GOP drama to last us for a long time.
It?s time for them to go and for us to celebrate!
Special guests: Governor Jim Hodges, State Senator Brad Hutto, State Representative Bakari Sellers, State Representative James Smith, and Don and Carol Fowler!
· What: Primary Watch Party
· Date: Saturday January 21, 2012
· Time: 6:00 PM until 9:00 PM
· Where: World of Beer (upstairs) 902 Gervais Street, Columbia, SC
· Host: SC Forward Progress (www.scforwardprogress.com)
· Free admission
Cash bar with other drink and menu items availableDonations to SC Forward Progress are appreciated but not required and are not tax deductible
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GREENVILLE, South Carolina — Standing in front of a statue of long-time South Carolina Sen. and former Vice President John C. Calhoun, Texas Rep. Ron Paul (R) endorsed the idea that states should be able to nullify federal laws they don’t like at a press conference at the South Carolina state capitol on Tuesday.
In 1833, Calhoun became one of the first American politicians to attempt nullification when he led an effort to nullify a federal tariff that South Carolina opposed. Thirty years later, nullification played a significant role in the start of the Civil War when multiple states, South Carolina included, attempted to nullify federal laws about slavery.
Despite this checkered past, Paul said nullification “would be very good” to have in practice today because it would reduce the size of the federal government:
KEYES: We’re holding this conference in front of the statue of John C. Calhoun. What role do you his beliefs playing in politics today, particularly nullification?
PAUL: Well, to tell you the truth, I don’t feel comfortable right now pretending I can analyze everything he believed in and everything I believe in, so I think I’m going to beg off on that. But if he was a strict Constitutionalist and a states’ rights person, I’m sure that I would have a lot of agreement with him.
KEYES: Do you think nullification is still a valid political argument in society today?
PAUL: Certainly I think it is. And the Northeast states were the first ones to talk about nullification and also — I think nullifying laws, even if we never used it, to have it available would be very good. I think nullification would be a way to restrain the federal government. [...] I think nullification would be a very good principle. I think it probably wouldn’t be used that much, but our federal government would be much smaller than it is today had that principle been more clearly embedded in our Constitution.
This isn’t the first time Paul has endorsed nullification, but doing so in a state where nullification movements led to Civil War makes it particularly noteworthy. And while he claims it was “embedded” in what the drafters of the Constitution “understood,” the actual text they wrote seems to read differently.
The Constitution states clearly that Acts of Congress ?shall be the supreme law of the land?anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding? — meaning states do not reserve the right to void laws they don’t like.
Despite its blatant unconstitutionality and disturbing historical connotations, nullification has seen a resurgence in popularity among right-wing politicians who oppose laws ranging from health care reform to federal light bulb standards.
In December, an Arizona judge upheld a state law that bans classes that “promote the overthrow of the United States government, promote resentment toward a race or class of people, are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group or advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.” That ruling’s already cost Tucson public schools their Mexican Studies program, and as part of that elimination, Shakespeare’s The Tempest is being removed from classrooms and sent to the district’s book depository. As nuts as it is to think that the Bard’s story of a sorcerer and his daughter could promote a rebellion in Arizona, there are a lot of other books that could fall under scrutiny if this law is allowed to stand.
1. Paradise Lost, John Milton: Sure, this is supposed to be John Milton’s repentance of his republican apostasy, but what if red-blooded American kiddies get confused by the eloquence of that wily creature Satan? That whole “Farewel Remorse: all Good to me is lost; / Evil be thou my Good” thing could cause all sorts of kerfuffles and uprisings, like those darn video games my grandson is always playing.
2. A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens: It’s a short leap from Marquis Evrémonde to Mitt Romney, and we wouldn’t want to invite that comparison, now would we? Darnay is such an avatar of the politics of envy.
3. The Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling: This one might be a squeaker. Sure, the hero advocates strongly against the anti-Muggle, Squib, and Mudblood race politics of Voldemort and his cronies. But that Potter kid is awfully disrespectful to the Minister of Magic and forms of authority in general.
5. Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card: Pre-teens plotting an overhaul of world government and resisting the efforts of the military that’s recruited them to manipulate them. Total recipe for disaster. Especially now that blogging is an actual thing that kids can do. Nuke this one. And parents, shut down your kids’ Tumblrs just to be safe.
6. The Cat Ate My Gymsuit, Paula Danziger and The Day They Came to Arrest the Book, Nat Hentoff: Because the last thing a state that’s cracking down on curriculum needs is sympathetic novels about students who organize to fight a crackdown on curriculum or fighting a book banning, lining up civil libertarians against censorship-minded feminists and African-American students and parents. How will authority survive if challenging it is seen as reasonable? And how can tender-hearted children face the prospect of standing up for themselves and choosing sides in disagreements?
7. Am I Blue? Coming Out from the Silence, Marion Diane Bauer: Even though gay people, especially teenagers, are at risk of violence and discrimination, it would be far too dangerous to marginalize the people who hate them and to promote a sense of solidarity and mutual support within the community of gay people and straight allies.
8. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Sherman Alexie:: God forbid anyone, particularly from a minority group that’s been demonstrably oppressed and damaged by the actions of the United States government, spend any time contemplating their own identity or doing anything other than instantly assimilating without looking back.
9. The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood: It’s critically important that we remind girls as early as possible to accept what the state has to say about their fertility without question, and to make clear that there’s never any point at which it would be justified that women break the law to retain control over their own health and bodies.
10. The Hunger Games series, Suzanne Collins: Again, a mixed bag. The heroine’s an awful rebel, but the series as a whole tends to endorse dropping out of the political process rather than continuing to participate in the furtherance of a revolution, so the net effect might be to neutralize those pesky kids.
Mitt Romney yesterday admitted for the first time that his tax rate is about 15 percent, lower than the rate paid by millions of middle class families. Romney is able to pay such a low rate (even though the top income tax rate is 35 percent) because his income comes overwhelmingly from investments and he is able to use a pernicious loophole available to wealthy money managers.
Romney has been refusing to release his tax returns, finally conceding to releasing his 2011 return after he files it in April. However, only releasing his 2011 returns would give Romney the opportunity to keep under wraps some of the financial engineering he may have done to avoid taxes before the last calendar year. As Reuters noted, those returns “could shed light on how Romney and Bain use offshore strategies to avoid taxes.” In fact, ABC News reported today that Romney has millions of dollars parked in several Bain funds that are set up in tax shelters in order to help their investors avoid U.S. taxes:
Although it is not apparent on his financial disclosure form, Mitt Romney has millions of dollars of his personal wealth in investment funds set up in the Cayman Islands, a notorious Caribbean tax haven…As one of the wealthiest candidates to run for president in recent times, Romney has used a variety of techniques to help minimize the taxes on his estimated $250 million fortune. In addition to paying the lower tax rate on his investment income, Romney has as much as $8 million invested in at least 12 funds listed on a Cayman Islands registry. Another investment, which Romney reports as being worth between $5 million and $25 million, shows up on securities records as having been domiciled in the Caymans.
Even if these funds don’t help Romney directly dodge U.S. taxes, which the campaign claims they don’t, they convey a host of advantages to Bain and Romney, including “higher management fees and greater foreign interest” from investors looking to avoid U.S. taxes. As the Washington Post’s Suzy Khimm noted, “just one of these offshore-linked funds ? Bain Capital Fund VIII, based in the Cayman Islands ? generated $1 million for the Romneys in 2010.”
Offshore funds are attractive to investors, since they help with tax evasion, and more investor interest translates into more profit for Bain and Romney. As we’ve noted, Romney has a lucrative retirement deal with Bain that is paying him millions each year.
In contrast to Romney’s steadfast refusal to release his tax returns, George Romney (Mitt’s father) released 12 years worth of tax returns when he ran for president in 1968. Those returns showed that the elder Romney paid a 37 percent effective tax rate.
The New Jersey Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to consider and vote on a bill extending marriage equality to gays and lesbians next Tuesday, Freedom to Marry is reporting. New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D) has said he expects the Senate to vote on the measure by March and the bill will likely emerge from both houses of the legislature. Marriage equality faces an obstacle in Gov. Chris Christie (R), however, who supports the state’s existing civil unions law, but opposes full marriage rights.
New Hampshire’s GOP-led House voted to prohibit the state from contracting with “organizations that provide abortions even if private money is used to pay for the service,” including Planned Parenthood. Though the women’s health organization predominantly provides contraceptive, breast cancer, and STD testing services to nearly 16,000 low-income women in New Hampshire, its small abortion practice has led lawmakers to cut off funding. Some hospitals that provide abortion services could be affected, but proponents believe that they and others “could set up a separate business to handle” those specific procedures. The bill does allow “medical procedures to save the life of the child, remove a dead fetus,” or “remove an ecotopic pregnancy,” and, after passing 207-147, will now be considered by the state Senate.
Today, many internet sites — from Wikipedia to Google — have chosen to go dark or change their display format, in protest of S. 968, the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 (or the PROTECT IP Act).
Supporters argue the bill will provide much-needed protections for American intellectual property and curb “rogue websites operated and registered overseas.” Opponents warn that the measure as written would “censor the Web and impose harmful regulations on American business” and want to see significant changes to the draft before Congress considers it. Both sides have mobilized to lobby Washington on the bill.
Though many of the supporters and opponents of the bill are well known, a ThinkProgress examination of the companies and organizations lobbying on the bill yields some unexpected results.
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced the bill last May. In the two quarters that followed, at least 39 entities reported lobbying in favor of the bill. These included obvious business interests such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Comcast Corp., Disney, the Motion Picture Association of America, News Corp., Nintendo, and Sony Pictures, as well as a few less expects backers including Tiffany & Co., the American Apparel & Footware Association, and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.
At least 19 companies and organizations lobbied against the bill and/or the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), the House version of the bill. These included Internet companies including eBay, Facebook, Go Daddy, Google, and Yahoo!, but also American Express and Visa.
While federal lobbying disclosure rules do not require filers to report how much they spend on each specific issue, the supporters total lobbying over the time they lobbied on this (including all other issues) amounted to at least $64 million, while opponents’ total lobbying on all issues totaled at least $12.8 million. (Note: we cannot determine from disclosure forms how much of the lobbying spending was devoted solely to PIPA.)
So whichever side wins, it won’t have come cheap. See our analysis of both the pro- and anti-PIPA lobbying activities below:
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today appointed basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabar as a State Department Cultural Ambassador. Abdul-Jabar will travel and promote diplomacy and tolerance in line with Clinton’s “Smart Power” plan of multi-faceted diplomacy. “I am excited and honored to serve my country as a Cultural Ambassador for the U.S. Department of State,” said Abdul-Jabar, the all-time NBA leading scorer, adding that he looked forward to talking with youngsters worldwide about how people “can strengthen our understanding of one another through education, through sports, and through greater cultural tolerance.” Here’s an AP photo of the 7’2″ Abdul-Jabar dwarfing the 5’6″ Secretary of State (in heels):