Politics and Legislation
Fox Hosts Act Horrified at Proposal to “Amend The Constitution” to Get Rid of Special Interest Money
The conservative hosts of Fox News’ The Five acted horrified at House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s statement that she wants to “amend the Constitution” to reverse the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC, a decision that Pelosi said “flies in the face of our founders’ vision.” The Fox hosts acted as if this was a radical idea, but Fox hosts and congressional Republicans have repeatedly proposed amending the Constitution.
Pelosi: “Amend The Constitution” To Stop “Secret, Unlimited” Corporate Campaign Donations
Pelosi Calls For “A New Politics Free Of Special Interest Money.” During an April 19 press conference, Pelosi called out Republicans for refusing to hold a hearing on the DISCLOSE Act, a campaign finance reform bill:
On another subject, but related, yesterday House Administration Democrats held a forum on the need to create a new politics free of special interest money. I call it a forum because we were not allowed to call it a hearing because the Republicans will not allow a hearing on DISCLOSE. They did not allow the camera system of the room to be used to transmit the proceedings from the forum to the rest of the world. We think that this is about transparency, DISCLOSE. Stand by your ads. If you are so proud of what you are doing with your effective political action, then let the world know who is paying for this ad; not by the end of the year, or the end of the month, but by the end of the ad, in real time. We have to do it as candidates. They should have to do it as contributors. [Pelosi press conference, 4/19/12]
Pelosi Proposed To “Amend The Constitution” To Reverse Supreme Court Decision That Allows “Secret, Unlimited” Corporate Money In Campaigns. From the press conference:
We have a clear agenda in this regard. DISCLOSE, reform the system, reducing the role of money in campaigns, and amend the Constitution to rid it of this ability for special interests to let secret, unlimited huge amounts of money flow into campaigns. I think one of the presenters yesterday said it was — that the Supreme Court had unleashed a predator that was oozing slime into the political system, and that indeed is not an exaggeration. Our founders had an idea. It was called democracy. [They] said the elections are determined by the people, the voice, and the vote of the people, not by the bankrolls of the privileged few. The Supreme Court decision flies in the face of our founders’ vision, and we want to reverse it. [Pelosi press conference, 4/19/12]
Former head says TSA is ‘national embarrassment’
By Ethan A. Huff, April 25 2012
(NaturalNews) When former president George W. Bush signed into law the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA) following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which established the existence of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), America was told flying would become a safer and more secure experience for everyone. But more than a decade later, the TSA has shown itself to be an abusive and ineffective “national embarrassment,” to quote the words of former TSA head Kip Hawley, who says…
So Much Tax Evasion, So Little Accountability
By Sam Pizzigati
Every once in a while, our plutocrats drop all democratic pretense and arrogantly offer up a raw display of their ample political might. One such display came last week. On Monday, a proposal to fix a minimum tax on America’s rich — the “Buffett rule” — went nowhere in the U.S. Senate.
The Buffett rule proposal needed 60 votes to beat back a filibuster. The actual votes the proposal received: just 51.
But last week’s most impressive show of plutocratic power actually came the next day — and made no headlines. On Tuesday, the annual federal income tax filing deadline came and went with America’s super rich once again stiffing Uncle Sam for hundreds of billions of dollars in taxes due.
We’re not talking loopholes here, those entirely legal tax code provisions — like lower tax rates for capital gains — that give the rich preferential treatment at tax time. We’re talking outright tax evasion, the willful misreporting of income.
The IRS periodically tries to measure how much of this cheating goes on. The latest estimate, released this past January and covering 2006, puts the tax gap — the difference between taxes owed but not paid on time — at $385 billion.
Some of this gap represents “innocent” tax return mistakes, the rest outright fraud. Taxpayers at all income levels, of course, cheat. But the only fiscally consequential cheating comes from the super rich. They both cheat at a higher rate than Americans of modest means and — given the enormity of their incomes — deny Uncle Sam far more tax dollars when they do cheat.
Shareholders Raising Ruckus About CEO Pay
By Wendell Potter
One of my responsibilities when I was head of corporate communications at Cigna was to help ensure that the company’s annual meeting of shareholders ran smoothly and, if at all possible, attracted no negative publicity.
I always dreaded the annual meeting because you really never knew if one or more disgruntled shareholders might show up and ask rude questions of the CEO. But during all of my years of helping plan those meetings, we had an unblemished string of non-events. We considered the meetings marathons if they lasted more than 15 minutes. Most of them were over long before then. Over the course of 10 years, I only recall two reporters who felt compelled to attend, and one of them got stuck in traffic and missed the whole thing.
Some of my peers at other health insurers were not that lucky, but relatively few of the big-profit insurers have had to cope with contentious shareholder meetings.
It is clear those days are over.
Some investors are now beginning to question how those companies make the billions of dollars in profits they report every year, especially with the ranks of the uninsured continuing to swell, how they spend policyholders’ money to influence public policy and whether their CEOs are truly worth all they are being paid.
April 13th, 2012
Frank Wallace, who is unemployed, displays a sign during a vigil
for the unemployed at the Arch Street Methodist Church in Philadelphia
With recovery in full swing and unemployment dropping to an Obama administration near record low of 8.2%, the US economy seems to be bouncing back stronger than ever. Unless, of course, you look at the numbers no one in mainstream media, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, or the administration is talking about. As many of our readers already know, the official unemployment rates released monthly by the BLS (U-3, U-6) fail to account for one very key figure – those individuals who are no longer in the labor force.
The number of those folks – the ones that don’t matter anymore because counting them would hinder the President’s reelection bid – is absolutely staggering for what is supposed to be the engine of the global economy and the world’s only super power:
Were it not for people dropping out of the labor force, the unemployment rate would be well over 11%.
Over the past several years people have dropped out of the labor force at an astounding, almost unbelievable rate, holding the unemployment rate artificially low. Some of this was due to major revisions last month on account of the 2010 census finally factored in. However, most of it is simply economic weakness.
In the last year, the civilian population rose by 3,604,000. Yet the labor force only rose by 1,315,000. Those not in the labor force rose by 2,289,000.
The Civilian Labor Force fell by 164,000.
Those “Not in Labor Force” increased by 310,000. If you are not in the labor force, you are not counted as unemployed.
Those “Not in Labor Force” is at a new record high of 87,897,000.
Source: Townhall Finance
With some 248 million people over the age of 15, nearly one in three Americans in this country are not working.
While the participation rate includes people like those in retirement and stay-at-home moms (because they definitely haven’t worked a day in their lives, as was recently noted by democrat strategist Hilary Rosen) who have no intention of joining the traditional labor force, the last four years have seen an unprecedented drop in the rate of labor force participation as well as unemployment overall. Charlie McGrath of Wide Awake News explains:
The government… pretending everything is getting better because we spent trillions of dollars bailing out firms we now call too-big-to-fail. But the fact of the matter is, in order to get this kind of 8.3% fictitious fantasy number they had to lower the participation rate.
In the last four years we’ve lost 10 million people out of the participation rate. Just to give you an idea of how many people that is, it would take the city of Dallas, Salt Lake, San Diego, Spokane, Roanoke and Cincinnati… the people living in those city limits. If you double that number that gives you the number of people that have left the participation rate that are no longer in the working pool.
Yet, that isn’t stopping the mainstream media from reporting that things are getting better. We’ve spent this nation into absolute financial servitude.
Understand that when you turn on the mainstream media you are being fed propaganda.
The Obama administration is pulling out all the stops. If the real story came out – that the true unemployment rate in this country (those out of work plus those who the government deems as no longer participating) is almost triple that of the official BLS U-3 rate of 8.2% – confidence in the financial markets and the government’s ability to mitigate the crisis would be lost almost immediately. So, too, would Obama’s hope for another four years of fundamentally changing America.
But just because the President and his media conglomerates are preaching of recovery doesn’t mean that everyone believes it. A large portion of Americans, especially those millions of people without jobs, are not going to be swayed by the mainstream propaganda. They are living in a modern day depression right here and now, and they, too, will be headed to the polls in November. And, as Jim Clifton, CEO of Gallup, recently pointed out to RT, they don’t care about anything else except for their personal economic and financial circumstances:
RT: What are the dynamics in terms of opinion polls as far as the economy goes, among the American people, the way it was four years ago and the way it is now?
JC: We were going just fine in 2007, first part of 2008, then we crashed down. Now it’s coming back a little bit.
RT: Enough to win President Obama the next election?
JC: I don’t think quite yet… According to the Gallup poll, if we vote tonight, Romney will beat him… They are not voting for Romney – they just vote against the president.
RT: What are the main reasons not to vote for the president?
JC: Strictly unemployment. Just one reason. Foreign policy plays no role at all right now. If something really big happens… that will only make a little bit of a difference. Americans don’t want to hear about foreign policy. They should, but they don’t. Gallup shows real unemployment is close to 20 per cent in America. Not 8.5 but 20 per cent. 30 million people are out of work. 60 per cent of them told Gallup they have no hope of getting a job. That is 18 million.
RT: Do Americans blame the president for that?
JC: There are two questions here. Do I think they should? No. Do they? Yes.
President Obama most certainly inherited this crisis from his predecessor(s), but he’s taken no steps to change anything for the better. The hope many had that life would improve under policies designed to redistribute wealth to the masses by taking from those with the ability and giving to those with the need is rapidly diminishing. The trillions of dollars backed by human collateral that has been thrown at the crisis has done nothing to fix the underlying issues that caused it in the first place. All of the problems we faced in 2007/2008 are still here, and they are only going to get worse.
If you think 88 million not participating and 20%+ unemployment is bad, give it another four years.
Right now the safety nets are in place to help most of those who can’t find work – at least for 99 weeks until they are no longer counted as unemployed. But those safety nets, including medical care and food assistance, can only take so much before they snap. That moment is rapidly approaching.
Author: Mac Slavo
Views: 493 people have read this article (new feature)
Date: April 13th, 2012
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Wars and Rumors of War
Mosaic News 4/23/2012: Morocco’s February 20 Movement Returns After Reform Pledge Falters
Published on Apr 24, 2012 by linktv
Morocco’s February 20 Movement makes comeback after reform pledge falters, mass funeral held for Bahraini man killed by regime forces, Egyptians welcome cancellation of gas sales to Israel, and more.
Today’s headlines in full:
Morocco’s February 20 Movement makes comeback after reform pledge falters
Mass funeral held for Bahraini man killed by regime forces
Press TV, Iran
Yemenis rally for political and military restructuring
Press TV, Iran
Egyptians welcome cancellation of gas sales to Israel
Dubai TV, UAE
Dozens killed in Hama after UN observers’ visit
BBC Arabic, UK
Sudan’s Bashir in Heglig, rules out talks as new air raids hit South
Al Jazeera, Qatar
Police indict over 20 fans and players in Ramat Gan soccer riot
Debate over future of Beit El settlement outpost leads to Israeli Cabinet showdown
Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp commemorates Palestinian martyrs
Palestine TV, Ramallah
Image: A demonstrator argues with police during a demonstration called by the February 20 movement, in Rabat April 22, 2012: REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal
Mosaic is a Peabody Award-winning daily compilation of television news reports from the Middle East, including Egypt, Lebanon, Israel, Syria, the Palestinian Authority, Iraq and Iran. Watch more Mosaic at http://www.linktv.org/mosaic
Obama administration announces ‘War on Terror’ is over; so can we fire the TSA and repeal the Patriot Act now?
By Mike Adams, April 24 2012
(NaturalNews) In an astonishing bit of unexpected news, a senior State Department official has announced, “The war on terror is over.” This stems from the idea, reports the National Journal, that, “it is no longer the case, in other words, that every Islamist is seen as a potential accessory to terrorists.” That same official continues, “Now that we have killed most of al Qaida, now that people have come to see legitimate means of expression, people who once might have gone into al Qaida see an…
Articles of Interest
TSA apologizes for nabbing ‘terrorist’ can of soup as national security threat
By J. D. Heyes,
(NaturalNews) The follies and antics of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) are shaping up to be a continual comedy of errors as the agency now finds it necessary to tout its non-accomplishments while the government that formed it has resorted to apologizing for its misdeeds. Regarding the former, Bob, the TSA blogger, posted a little ditty about how valiant agents managed to prevent a Las Vegas passenger from smuggling dangerous chicken soup aboard an airliner. To wit, according…
World Bank Nominee Tied to Monsanto Shareholder Bill Gates, Soros
By Tim McCoy
Obama nominated Dartmouth University president Jim Yong Kim, M.D. to head the United Nations World Bank. Most people think that UN agencies benefit poor people, but this is far from the truth.
The UN World Bank claims to fight poverty in developing nations by financing infrastructure projects. But the UN World Bank is really a tool used to acquire Third World natural resources through conditions on loans that are extremely difficult to repay. The raw resources are then privatized by insider multi-national corporations. The World Bank actually creates more poverty.
The nomination of Jim Yong Kim indicates that the World Bank may shift away from focusing on infrastructure and will instead turn toward providing health care in Third World countries. Jim Yong Kim’s areas of interest include vaccines for tuberculosis as well as drugs for HIV and AIDS.
Kim brokered a deal with Big Pharma and the UN World Health Organization for expanding the pharmaceutical drug market to a larger populace in exchange for lower drug prices for second-line tuberculosis drugs. Second-line drugs are used when basic treatment fails because of drug resistance. Drug resistance similar to the new ‘resistant White Plague‘ brought about by big pharma’s drugs. Many in the medical community believed it would be dangerous to distribute second-line drugs widely. Kim is also responsible for pushing HIV/AIDS retroviral drugs in developing nations.
HIV/AIDS drugs used in the Third World have profound side effects that include eye, kidney, liver and heart problems.
Jim Yong Kim says that the highest point in his career was when George Soros donated to Kim’s tuberculosis vaccine program, which was followed by a a huge grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for $44.7 million. Monsanto shareholder Bill Gates, who has repeatedly stated that Monsanto’s GMOs are the answer to starvation despite scientific proof of the contrary, gave a controversial speech at a Ted conference outlining the controversial population reduction plan through ‘healthcare’:
“The world today has 6.8 billion people… that’s headed up to about 9 billion. Now if we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services, we could lower that by perhaps 10 or 15 percent.”
Turkey says Israel not welcome at NATO summit
ISTANBUL | Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:38am EDT
(Reuters) – Turkey has refused to allow Israel to take part in a NATO summit next month because the Jewish state has not apologized for the 2010 killing of Turkish activists in a raid on a ship taking aid to Palestinians, a Turkish official said on Monday.
Relations between the regional powers deteriorated sharply after Israeli commandos raided the Mavi Marmara aid vessel in May 2010 to enforce a naval blockade of the Gaza Strip and killed nine Turks in clashes with activists.
Last September, Turkey expelled Israel’s envoy and froze military cooperation after a U.N. report on the raid failed to prompt an apology from Israel.
“We did not give our consent on that issue,” a Turkish official told Reuters when asked if Turkey was blocking Israel’s participation in a NATO summit in Chicago on May 20-21.
He said Turkey was still seeking an official apology and compensation for the victims of the Mavi Marmara raid.
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