Elizabeth Warren: GOP ‘Ringing the Dinner Bell’ for Lobbyists


Sen Harry Reid and Sen. Elizabeth Warren. (photo: Greg Nash/Getty)
Sen Harry Reid and Sen. Elizabeth Warren. (photo: Greg Nash/Getty)

 

Tim Devaney | The Hill | Reader Supported News | May 18, 2016

en. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and fellow Democrats are vowing to block Republican efforts to roll back controversial regulations.

Warren on Wednesday slammed the GOP for connecting policy riders that would overturn regulations to must-pass government funding bills.

In recent years, Republicans have turned to policy riders in an attempt to cut off regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency, Labor Department and other federal agencies.

“It’s like ringing the dinner bell for lobbyists,” Warren said. “They are swarming this place, because they have all sorts of goodies they want to sneak into” the government spending bills.

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Big Money and the Corruption of Democracy


Robert Reich | Robert Reich’s Facebook Page | Reader Supported News | May 14, 2016

he U.S. blames places around the world like the Cayman Islands and the Isle of Man for giving corporations and billionaires secret havens to hide their loot. But the United States doesn’t require companies registered here to disclose their real owners. We thereby provide global corporations and billionaires one of the world’s easiest means of hiding their money. Yesterday the chief minister of the Isle of Man charged that nearly 10 times more shell companies were registered in one building in Delaware than in his entire territory. Researchers in the U.S. and Australia have concluded it’s “easier to obtain an untraceable shell company … in the U.S. than in any other country save Kenya.”

Last week the Obama Administration submitted legislation to Congress requiring companies registered in the U.S. to disclose their real owners, at least confidentially to the U.S. Treasury. But not even this mild proposal has any chance of passage. Almost all Republicans are opposed, as are many Democrats. There’s no justification for their opposition to this common-sense measure.

Yet another example of the corruption of our democracy by big money.

What do you think?

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Donald Trump and the politics of bullying


D | Bilerico Report | LGBTQNation | May 12, 2016

Donald Trump

Donald Trump DonkeyHotey (via Flickr)

I find Donald Trump as the presumptive Republican candidate for the presidency disconcerting for many reasons, the most important being that his popularity stems not from the substance of this policy initiatives – of which he has generated very few – but, rather, from the style and tone of his arguments. Trump has conducted a campaign of attack, innuendo, name-calling, and incessant racist, Islamophobic, and misogynistic bullying and scapegoating.

I would not find this so concerning if it had not resonated with a significant majority of the Republican electorate.

While some others in contention for the White House on the Republican side understood that their chances hinged on attracting a more diverse electorate in addition to older white people, Trump figuratively spit in the faces of minoritized racial groups, in particular Latinos, during his off-scripted rambling announcement speech last summer.

“The US has become a dumping ground for everyone else’s problems,” he said. “[Mexico is] sending people that have lots of problems, and they are bringing those problems to us. They are bringing drugs, and bringing crime, and they’re rapists.”

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NC Residents’ Question: How Much Is ‘Bathroom Bill’ Going to Cost Us?


A rally in Charlotte against the anti-LGBT law. (photo: Skip Foreman/AP)
A rally in Charlotte against the anti-LGBT law. (photo: Skip Foreman/AP)

 

Patrik Jonsson | Christian Science Monitor | Reader Supported News | April 25, 2016

North Carolina’s reputation as the South’s most progressive state brought enormous economic benefits. The transgender bathroom debate shows how things are changing – and could hold national lessons.

 

ust down the road from where an old-time AM station pumps out “10,000 watts of gospel power,” the thumbs-up “like” symbol of the global social media giant Facebook adorns a sprawling data storage complex – a nearly half-billion dollar investment in one of the poorest corners of Appalachia.

Facebook’s spending is a sign of North Carolina’s pull on corporate America, boosting it to the second-largest state economy in the Southeast, behind Florida and ahead of Georgia. But that strong economic foundation, built over decades, is showing signs of cracks, observers say.

The cracks appeared even before a hastily passed law that critics say discriminates against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and especially transgender Americans – a law that means North Carolina “just became the Bull Connor of the tech industry,” says Mike Capra, an Internet talk show host, referring to the civil-rights-era Birmingham, Ala., official who used his authority to block racial integration.

But that investment began to erode in 2010, when tea party Republicans rose to power in Raleigh. An emphasis on cutting spending programs, including for public school children, caused concern even before the combustible element of the culture wars were added. Despite economic growth in cities like Raleigh, Charlotte, and Asheville, two-thirds of North Carolina counties have seen poverty intensify since 2010.

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GOP-backing Koch brother: Hillary Clinton might make a better president than any of the Republicans


 | Raw Story | April 24, 2016

Billionaire industrialist Charles Koch, a key source of financing for conservative Republican causes along with his brother, said Democrat Hillary Clinton might make a better president than the candidates in the Republican field.

Koch, in an interview to air on Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” program, said that in some respects Bill Clinton had been a better president than George W. Bush, who Koch said had increased government spending. Then when asked if Hillary Clinton would be a better president than the Republicans currently running, he said, “It’s possible, it’s possible.”

ABC said Koch, who along brother David leads an influential political organization called Freedom Partners, has been displeased so far with the tone of the Republican presidential race, in which billionaire Donald Trump leads U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Ohio Governor John Kasich.

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Bernie’s Most Valuable Lesson: The Democratic Party Does Not Do Enough to Represent the Values of Progressive Americans


Conor Lynch | Salon | AlterNet | April 24, 2016

Over the past year, the insurgent political campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders has revealed quite a bit about the reasoning of partisan Democrats, and thus separated the progressives from the liberals. As a populist candidate who has refused support from Super PACs and big monied interests, Sanders has shined a light on the unpleasant reality that the Democratic party — and its likely presidential nominee — is almost as reliant on funding from billionaires and Wall Street as the detested Republican party is.

Now, when it comes to criticizing Republicans, progressives and establishment Democrats generally see eye to eye. The Republican party is shamelessly anti-democratic and under the thumb of special interests; there is no debate about that. However, the other major party in American politics, while less shameless, is certainly no paragon of virtue. This has become increasingly evident as the 2016 primaries have progressed — and many Democrats are furious that the Sanders campaign has exposed this truth.

In recent weeks, the Sanders campaign has been increasingly vocal about the Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton’s many troubling positions and her ties to Wall Street and other industries. Sanders has criticized Clinton’s high-prices speeches for Goldman Sachs (for which she has flatly refused to release the transcripts), the $15 million raised from Wall Street by one of her Super PACs, and the fact that top donors throughout her career have been individuals working at banks like Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and JP Morgan Chase.

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Democracy Spring and the US Voting Matrix: How Much of the Electoral Process Is Illusory?


Candice Bernd | Truthout | April 24, 2016

(Courtesy: Peter Callahan / Democracy Spring)Protesters with Democracy Spring demonstrate against money in politics. (Courtesy: Peter Callahan / Democracy Spring)

 

The parallel Democracy Spring and Democracy Awakening mobilizations wrapped their week of sit-ins protesting the corrosive influence of money in politics and voter suppression at the US Capitol on Monday, tallying more than 1,400 arrests.

Launching with a 10-day march from Philadelphia to Washington, DC, the movement hosted rallies, speakers and teach-ins last week, along with lobbying members of Congress. The protests broke the record for the most nonviolent arrests at the Capitol in a single week, culminating Monday with arrests of leaders from the civil rights, labor and environmental movements.

NAACP president Cornell Brooks, Communication Workers of America president Chris Shelton and Greenpeace executive director Annie Leonard were among those who helped lead the Democracy Awakening mobilization on Monday, which also aimed to pressure Republicans to confirm President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, to the Supreme Court.

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North Carolina Republicans freak out after Obama criticizes anti-trans law


 | Raw Story | April 23, 2016

North Carolina Republicans criticized President Barack Obama on Friday after the president told a news conference in London the state’s law on transgender bathroom use was wrong and should be overturned.

North Carolina last month became the first state to require transgender people to use public restrooms that match the sex assigned to them at birth rather than their gender identity.

Big businesses, rock stars and other artists have boycotted the state unless it repeals the law, which transgender advocates say misguidedly whips up concern over public safety and infringes on the rights of transgender people.

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Obama’s Nomination of Merrick Garland Is a Lot More Ruthless Than It Looks


President Obama's Supreme Court nominee spoke at the White House on Wednesday. (photo: AP)
President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee spoke at the White House on Wednesday. (photo: AP)

 

Elias Isquith | Salon | Reader Supported News | March 20, 2016

The president’s nomination of an alleged moderate has some liberals scratching their heads. They shouldn’t

 

he first and most important thing to say about President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court is that it might not work.

Not in the sense that Garland won’t receive the Republican-controlled Senate’s approval — that goes without saying, at least until November — but in the sense that Obama’s “Godfather” move might not be the political checkmate that the White House hopes it will be.

It’s possible that less-engaged #NeverTrump Republicans, right-leaning independents, and establishment media centrist pundits will see the GOP’s refusal to even go through the motions with Garland as yet more proof that the party is unserious. And it’s possible that they’ll be so disgusted with Republican obstructionism that they’ll either vote for Hillary Clinton or skip 2016 altogether. That could happen, for sure.

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RNC Launching Task Force to Stop Obama Supreme Court Nominee


Jordan Fabian | The Hill | Reader Supported News | March 14, 2016

he Republican National Committee (RNC) is teaming up with a prominent conservative advocacy group to block President Obama’s effort to nominate a justice to the Supreme Court.

The RNC has formed a task force to launch radio and digital attack ads, petitions and media appearances to back up Senate Republicans, who have pledged not to hold hearings or votes on Obama’s replacement for the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

The campaign is aimed at Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, Democrats running in tough Senate races and party members on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus called it “the most comprehensive judicial response effort in our party’s history.”

“We’re going to hold everyone accountable and make sure Democrats have to answer to the American people for why they don’t want voters to have a say in this process,” he said in a statement.

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