When the Supreme Court made it's ridiculous Citizens United decision, we were all assured that it would not affect campaign laws. That's because the law says the super-PACs, that can spend unlimited amounts of secret money, could not coordinate their spending with the campaign of any particular candidate. In other words, a super-PAC supporting a candidate could not meet with that candidate (or his advisors) and plan how the spend the super-PAC money for that candidate's benefit.
Now it looks like even that one small consolation has been thrown out the window. Karl Rove (aka Turd Blossom) and Willard Mitt Romney (aka Wall Street Willie) are now thumbing their noses at the campaign law.
Karl Rove is the head of the super-PACs American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, which plan to spend around $300 million to support Romney in the coming election. The law says he cannot coordinate that spending with the Romney campaign. But guess who is an invited guest at a "Leadership Retreat" being held this weekend by Romney and his staff -- a retreat being advertised as an opportunity for "strategizing and fraternizing". That's right, Karl Rove has been invited to the meeting to "strategize" with the Romney campaign.
Maybe I'm just a suspicious person, but this seems like a clear violation of the law. And it shows that there are no rules when politics and big money are allowed to mix. This makes it clear that the Citizens United nonsense must be overturned -- even if a constitutional amendment is required to do it. We cannot allow the rich to flaunt the few campaign laws left intact, and buy whatever election they wish to.
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Political Cartoon is by Tony Auth in The Philadelphia Inquirer.
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Jill Barber -- Oh My My.[...]
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I found the graph above very interesting. It is from the website of The Atlantic, and purports to show the economic history of the major powers for the last 2000 years -- giving their share of the world gross domestic product (GDP). Here is some of what The Atlantic had to say about the chart:
In Year 1, India and China were home to one-third and one-quarter of the world's population, respectively. It's hardly surprising, then, that they also commanded one-third and one-quarter of the world's economy, respectively.
Before the Industrial Revolution, there wasn't really any such thing as lasting income growth from productivity. In the thousands of years before the Industrial Revolution, civilization was stuck in the Malthusian Trap. If lots of people died, incomes tended to go up, as fewer workers benefited from a stable supply of crops. If lots of people were born, however, incomes would fall, which often led to more deaths. That explains the "trap," and it also explains why populations so closely approximated GDP around the world.
The industrial revolution(s) changed all that. Today, the U.S. accounts for 5% of the world population and 21% of its GDP. Asia (minus Japan) accounts for 60% of the world's population and 30% of its GDP.
So, one way to read the graph, very broadly speaking, is that everything to the left of 1800 is an approximation of population distribution around the world and everything to the right of 1800 is a demonstration of productivity divergences around the world -- the mastering of means of manufacturing, production and supply chains by steam, electricity, and ultimately software that concentrated, first in the West, and then spread to Japan, Russia, China, India, Brazil, and beyond.
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Given his support of Wall Street deregulation, restricting a woman?s right to choose, and tepid support of universal health care, it is well known Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA, 02) is a reluctant Democrat. Still, recent comments he made to The Hill newspaper[...]
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Federal prosecutors had at least two chances to go after white supremacist militia leader JT Ready in the months before he went on a rampage in an Arizona suburb, killing four others and then himself. Yet Ready was not arrested or charged with a crime.
Documents obtained by TPM on Thursday through a public records request show border agents sent at least two cases to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Phoenix after the agents came across Ready and his men, armed and detaining immigrants in the middle of the desert.
Following the May 2 massacre, in which Ready killed his girlfriend and three others before killing himself, the head of the FBI in Phoenix said his office was investigating Ready on suspicion of domestic terrorism at the time of the killings. He said the investigation was related to the shootings of immigrants in the desert.
Ready was a longtime border activist who once was a member of the National Socialist Movement, the largest neo-Nazi organization in the United States, and used to be an ally of former Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce (R). More recently, he ran his own group that he called the U.S. Border Guard, which patrolled the desert in search of what Ready called "narco terrorists."
The new documents from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection paint a picture of some of the things that caused federal agents concern. Ready not only routinely caused headaches for the real U.S. Border Patrol but also sparked some volatile and potentially dangerous situations.
In one case, on Feb. 26, 2011, a U.S. Border Patrol agent found Ready and another man detaining an immigrant who was lost in the desert and wandering without water. The documents said the immigrant's hands were zip-tied behind his back. (The name of the other man accompanying Ready was blacked out of the records.)
"When he saw J.T. Ready and (redacted) walked toward them to give up, because he had no water and was tired," the report said. "J.T. Ready and (redacted) told him in broken Spanish to get on the ground and he complied."
The immigrant told authorities that even though Ready and his friend were armed, they never pointed their guns at him and he never felt threatened or mistreated.
The report said a Border Patrol supervisor later got in touch with an unnamed federal prosecutor in Phoenix "and presented the case for any possible violation committed by J.T. Ready and (redacted.)"
The documents said the prosecutor declined to take the case but also asked the Border Patrol to send over a report on the incident just in case. Nothing appears to have ever come of it. A spokesman with the U.S. Attorney's Office in Phoenix did not return a call seeking comment on Thursday.
In a letter to TPM, the public records director for Customs and Border Protection said the names of almost everyone except Ready were blacked out from the documents to protect their privacy. Typically, federal law enforcement agencies will only release reports and documents about people who are dead or gave their consent for the records to be released.
In a case about five months later on July 17, 2011, Border Patrol agents encountered a similar situation. Ready and his group called authorities and said they were holding three immigrants in the desert.
When agents arrived at the scene, they found Ready and his men all carrying guns and wearing camouflage. This time, the immigrants were not handcuffed. But the report said the immigrants told the agents that members of Ready's group had pointed guns at them and told them sit on the ground.
"The subjects stated that they did not feel like they were forcibly detained and that they did not try to leave," the report said.
It also said Ready handed the agents a "small amount of personal marijuana which he said came from one of the three illegal aliens." The immigrants, however, said it didn't belong to them.
The report said the U.S. Attorney's Office was contacted about Ready's group after the encounter. Again, nothing appears to have come of it.
The final entry in incident the report said: "The USAO will advise if they require the subjects to be held for further interviews and whether or not they intend to pursue any criminal prosecution of any members of the Border Guard Group."
The prosecutor in charge of the U.S. Attorney's Office at the time of both incidents was Dennis Burke, who resigned in August amid fallout from the Fast and Furious scandal, which involved a botched investigation into gun trafficking from the U.S. into Mexico.
Assad needs to be held accountable for the violence and crimes against humanity, though nobody needs a protracted war where even more people die needlessly. The current rumors suggest Putin recognizes that Assad may have a limited future, so it open to finding a resolution. More from The Guardian:Britain and America are willing to offer the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, safe passage ?...
Blue America has only endorsed ONE senator running for reelection-- ONE. And here's an example of why: Wednesday Bernie Sanders stood up on the floor of the Senate (video above) and called on Jim Inhofe-to "stop poisoning our children" for the sake of his campaign donors. Inhofe is a blatant corporate whore who has taken $2,294,442 in bribes from energy and natural resources companies, more than any other current Members of Congress other than McCain (R-AZ), Joe Barton (R-TX), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), John Cornyn (R-TX) and Miss McConnell (R-KY). The legislation he proposed in the Senate-- which Bernie's barn-burner speech helped defeat-- was meant to exempt coal companies from EPA emission standards meant to protect the public from mercury poisoning. Inhofe's resolution was defeated 46-53, with 5 Republicans too ashamed to go along with Inhofe's deadly proposal. They crossed the aisle and voted with the Democrats. On the way across, of course, they passed an equal number of Democratic corporate whores-- Ben Nelson, Joe Manchin, Jim Webb, Mark Warner, and Mary Landrieu-- going in the other direction. Miraculously, conservative Democrats Claire McCaskill, Tom Carper, Mark Begich and Jon Tester stuck with the Democrats. And even more miraculously, coal state advocate Jay Rockefeller had a profile in courage moment that could hurt him politically in West Virginia in 2014.
Standing at the back of the Senate chamber with a handful of his colleagues looking on, the 75-year-old Democrat delivered a lofty speech before the vote, warning that attempts to demonize air pollution rules will only hurt the coal industry as it tries to stay competitive in an increasingly challenging economic environment. Calling the Inhofe effort ?foolish,? Rockefeller said the long-term health effects of the rule would be ?enormous.?
?This is a critical and contentious time in the Mountain State,? Rockefeller said. ?The dialogue on coal, its impacts and the federal government?s role has reached a fevered pitch. ... West Virginians understandably worry that a way of life and the dignity of a job is at stake. Change and uncertainty in the coal industry is unsettling.
?But my fear is that concerns are also being fueled by the narrow view of others with divergent motivations-- one that denies the inevitability of change in the energy industry, and unfairly leaves coal miners in the dust,? Rockefeller said. ?The reality is that many who run the coal industry today would rather attack false enemies and deny real problems than find solutions.?
Senate Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), a staunch ally of the environmental community, immediately hailed the speech.
?I believe when the next historian writes a book about leadership, courage and integrity in the United States Senate, that this speech today will be featured in that book,? she said.
This week, Mitt Romney joined the pantheon of presidential candidates who have vowed to show up Franklin Delano Roosevelt?s 100-day marathon legislation-passing session. But those first 100 days look pretty different depending on which swing state you're in. In ads in North Carolina, Iowa, and Virginia, Romney announces that his first priority is repealing Obamacare?no surprise given that 46 percent of North Carolina residents think Congress was wrong to pass it. No mention of Obamacare in Ohio, though. In this ad, Romney?s first priority is getting the Rust Belt rocking and rolling again. The Virginia ad makes a passing reference to offshore drilling and the Iowa ad mentions the deficit. Taken together, Romney?s different promises fill up the first few weeks of his hypothetical presidency pretty quickly. And given past presidents? poor track record of following up on their 100 days campaign promises, the likelihood that Romney would cross off even a fraction of his to-do list is pretty slim.
These ads are already being interpreted by some news outlets as a sign that ?a very one-size-fits-all [campaign] is beginning to tailor its message.? But don?t be fooled. This is classic Mitt Romney, telling his disparate audiences whatever they want to hear all the while staving off the realization that his real plans?which no one is truly certain about?might not be the most swing-state friendly. Just because Romney?s ideas haven?t reached the ambitious heights of Newt Gingrich?s waylaid Day One doesn?t make them any more achievable?or a sign that his campaign has turned a new leaf.
"Your speaker from yesterday has a different view. In a speech he said that when he makes a promise, he?ll keep it. Well, he has promised to veto the DREAM Act. And we should take him at his word ? I?m just sayin?."
?Barack Obama, speaking about his opponent to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials ... without ever mentioning him by name
A new poll from Associated Press-GfK finds that while public opinion hasn't shifted significantly on the issue of gay marriage, more liberals support President Obama's handling of the issue since he publicly endorsed gay marriage last month. Forty-eight percent of those identifying as liberal "strongly" approve of the president's stance, up from only 28 percent a year ago. Republicans display the opposite trend, with 53 percent of Republican respondents saying they strongly disapprove of the president's handling of gay marriage, up from 45 percent.