GOP town halls become lobbyist theater (by ThinkProgress6)

The oil lobby hired a group of lobbyists to create a front group in Iowa called the Iowa Energy Forum. The Iowa Energy Forum has planted industry-friendly questions in GOP town halls to Tim Pawlenty, Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Hermain Cain, and other candidates

(via gonzodave)


So much wrong with this. Hunger is not a matter of supply, but of distribution. There is plenty of food. But states punish the poor by making them jump through so many hoops that they simply give up. Why do people not understand how wrong this is? I can’t comprehend this.

This is a common issue for a lot of federally funded or fed / state matched programs ranging from public benefits to the Earned Income Tax Credit. I’m not exactly am expert on the topic but I’m pretty damn close. Would love to do a write up with my thoughts on the matter, known barriers (cultural, logistic and bureaucratic) and potential solutions some time.

Some time I am not sitting across from a gaggle of awesome grannies waiting in the only barber shop I could find open on a Sunday. This haircut is going to be… interesting. Maybe I can get some cool blue hair highlights like these righteous septuagenarians.

(via reagan-was-a-horrible-president)

FBI: If We Told You, You Might Sue

Often when the government tries to suppress information about its surveillance programs, it cites national-security concerns. But not always.

In 2008, a few years after the Bush administration’s warrantless-wiretapping program was revealed for the first time by theNew York Times, Congress passed the FISA Amendments Act. That act authorizes the government to engage in dragnet surveillance of Americans’ international communications without meaningful oversight. Aswe’ve explained before (including in our lawsuit challenging the statute), the FISA Amendments Act is unconstitutional.

In 2009, we also filed a Freedom of Information Act request to learn more about the government’s interpretation and implementation of the FISA Amendments Act. Last November, the government released a few hundred pages of heavily redacted documents. Though redacted, the documents confirmed that the government had interpreted the statute as broadly as we had feared and even that the government had repeatedly violated the few limitations that the statute actually imposed.

Two weeks ago, as part of our FOIA lawsuit over those documents, the government gave us several declarations attempting to justify the redaction of the documents. We’ve been combing through the documents and recently came across this unexpectedly honest explanation from the FBI of why the government doesn’t want us to know which “electronic communication service providers” participate in its dragnet surveillance program. On page 32:

There you have it. The government doesn’t want you to know whether your internet or phone company is cooperating with its dragnet surveillance program because you might get upset and file lawsuits asserting your constitutional rights. Would it be such a bad thing if a court were to consider the constitutionality of the most sweeping surveillance program ever enacted by Congress?


The People’s Budget

  • Deficit reduction of $5.6 trillion
  • Primary spending cuts of $869 billion
  • Net interest savings of $856 billion
  • Total spending cuts of $1.7 trillion
  • Revenue increase of $3.9 trillion
  • Public investment of $1.7 trillion
  • Budget surplus of $30.7 billion in 2021, debt at 64.1% of GDP.

Support for the People’s Budget

Paul Krugman

“genuinely courageous”

“achieves this without dismantling the legacy of the New Deal”

Dean Baker

"if you want a serious effort to balance the budget, here it is."

Jeffrey Sachs

“A bolt of hope…humane, responsible, and most of all sensible”

The Economist


“Mr Ryan’s plan adds (by its own claims) $6 trillion to the national debt over the next decade, but promises to balance the budget by sometime in the 2030s by cutting programmes for the poor and the elderly. The Progressive Caucus’s plan would (by its own claims) balance the budget by 2021 by cutting defence spending and raising taxes, mainly on rich people.”

The New Republic

“In passing, Miller also draws attention something that’s gotten far too little attention in this debate. The most fiscally responsible plan seems to be neither the Republicans’ nor the president’s. It’s theCongressional Progressive Caucus plan…”

The Washington Post

"It’s much more courageous to propose taxes on the rich and powerful than spending cuts on the poor and disabled."

Rachel Maddow

“Balances the budget 20 years earlier than Paul Ryan even tries to”

The Guardian

“the most fiscally responsible in town… would balance the books by 2021“

The Nation

the strongest rebuke…to the unconscionable ‘Ryan Budget’ for FY 2012.”

Center for American Progress

once again put[s] requiring more sacrifice from the luckiest among us back on the table”

Economic Policy Institute

National budget policy should adequately fund up-front job creation, invest in long-term economic growth, reform the tax code, and put the debt on a sustainable path while protecting the economic security of low-income Americans and growing the middle class. The proposal by the Congressional Progressive caucus achieves all of these goals.”

to my mind, CPC’s “The People’s Budget” is the most interesting thing being discussed in fiscal politics these days.

also, Dean Baker has been the single most important Economist / Commentator in America for the last 5 years and continues his righteous reign to the present moment. meeting him last year was definitely a high point of my professional life. 


So many problems we face today are denied resolution as long as Citizens United stands, and corporate money is allowed to influence the outcome of elections.

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by Brett Wilkins

“Of the corporations, by the corporations, for the corporations.”

It’s been one year since the US Supreme Court decidedthat corporations are people and money is free speech. The disastrous Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission rulingdestroyed over a century of restrictions on corporate influence of our nation’s electoral process, accelerating the already alarming corporate takeover of American politics. The consequences of Citizens United were almost immediately felt in the form of a $290,000,000 special interest spending orgy in the 2010 midterm elections. Much of this money represented foreign corporate interests, and it played a significant role in the conservative resurgence that saw Republicans re-gain control of the House of Representatives.

Justice John Paul Stevens’ stirring dissenting opinion argued that “the Court’s ruling threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the nation. It will undoubtedly cripple the ability of ordinary citizens, Congress, and the states to adopt even limited measures to protect against corporate domination of the electoral process.” Stevens also wrote: “Corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires. Corporations help structure and facilitate the activities of human beings, to be sure, and their ‘personhood’ often serves as a useful legal fiction. But they are not themselves members of ‘We the People’ by whom and for whom our Constitution was established.”

Senator Lyons.

In that spirit, Vermont state senator Virginia Lyons has introduced an anti-corporate personhood resolution in the state legislature. JRS 11 is a “joint resolution urging the United States Congress to propose an amendment to the United States Constitution for the states’ consideration which provides that corporations are not persons under the laws of the United States or any of its jurisdictional subdivisions.” 

read more

(via gonzodave)


I think “straight out of Kafka” is really an accurate description:

This week, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a major address calling for Internet freedom around the world. As Clinton condemned the Egyptian and Iranian governments for arresting and beating protesters, former…

Beaten, Arrested for Silent Protest at Clinton Speech

During a speech on February 16, 2011, at George Washington University by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in which she condemned governments that arrest protesters and don’t allow free speech, he was arrested and beaten by security for standing silently with his back turned during her remarks.

"I was grabbed from the audience in plain view of her by police and an unidentified official in plain clothes, brutalized, and left bleeding in jail. She never paused speaking.
Blind-sided by security officers who pounced upon me, I remarked, as I was hauled out the door, So this is America?” I am now covered with bruises, lacerations, and contusions inflicted in the assault.”[10]


listen to this eyewitness account NOW!

This is war. Gaddafi uses his army and foreign mercenaries to massacre his own people. It’s horrible to hear the eyewitnesses calling in (BBC), they are pleaing to be helped!! 

“Where is the United Nations??? Hundreds and hundreds of people dying in the street. We’re not going to give up! We want to live!”

Current information and regular eyewitness reports despite being internet:

Livestream from Aljazeera:

Radio BBC World Services:

(via jrvmajesty)

“If you paint a target on someone’s head you can’t act surprised when someone pulls the trigger. Violent rhetoric leads to violence.”

Tom Baker (via azspot)

This is not the world I want to live in. 

(via fullcredit)

(via absurdlakefront)

Copenhagen Climate Cables

Last year’s climate summit in Copenhagen was a political disaster. Leaked US diplomatic cables now show why the summit failed so spectacularly. The dispatches reveal that the US and China, the world’s top two polluters, joined forces to stymie every attempt by European nations to reach agreement.

In May 2009 the Chinese leaders received a very welcome guest. John Kerry, the powerful chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, met with Deputy Prime Minister Li Keqiang in Beijing. Kerry told his hosts that Washington could understand “China’s resistance to accepting mandatory targets at the United Nations Climate Conference, which will take place in Copenhagen.”

According to a cable from the US embassy in the Chinese capital, Kerry outlined “a new basis for ‘major cooperation’ between the United States and China on climate change.”

At that time, many Europeans were hoping the delegates at the Copenhagen summit would agree climate-change measures that could save the planet from the cumulative effects of global warming. But that dream died pitifully in mid-December 2009, and the world leaders went their separate ways again without any concrete achievements. Confidential US diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks now show just how closely the world’s biggest polluters — the United States and China — colluded in the months leading up to the conference. And they give weight to those who have long suspected that the two countries secretly formed an alliance.