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Weekly News Roundup #5 - 10/19

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From our blog:

Video of Cenk Uygur: The Number One Problem in Politics is $$$

Events:

Overturn Citizens United in Chicago (Oct 22 - Nov 6)

Wolf PAC meetup in Sommerville, MA on 10/27/12

Call Reps on election day - Nov. 6 - Everywhere

Videos:

Cenk speaks:

Auction 2012: Two-Party Oligarchy Vs. The People

Sarah Silverman, Lizz Winstead Take On 'Corporations Are People'

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The Number One Problem in Politics is $$$

Cenk Uygur, main host & co-founder of the Internet and talk radio show The Young Turks (TYT) and founder of Wolf PAC, rails against the corrupting influence of corporate money in politics and calls for a 28th Amendment to the Constitution that would declare that corporations are not human beings and are thus banned from donating to politics.

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Weekly News Roundup 10/12

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From our blog:

The Cost of Higher Learning

“The Atlantic had an excellent article that spelled out the situation that many prospective college grads fear. It boils down to one question:

Will I be able to find a job when I graduate?”

Events:

Join Wolf PAC in Brooklyn, NY on Saturday 10/13 to Get the Word Out!

On October 13 at 10:45 a.m., 2,000 Americans will gather at Ocean Beach in San Francisco to spell out “DUMP CITIZENS UNITED” with their bodies.

New Wolf PAC meetup! 10/27 Somerville, MA

Videos:

Every Woman You Know Needs To See This Powerful Message From Several Mostly Naked Ladies

Sarah Silverman | Let My People Vote 2012 - Get Nana A Gun

Bernie Sanders: The US has the most unequal distribution of income and wealth of any country in the industrialized world.

Is Social Security going bankrupt? No. Should the retirement age be raised? No. Bernie Sanders refutes the lies about social security in a powerful new video.

Have you heard of the award-winning film "We're Not Broke"? Its makers want to make corporations pay their fair share.

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The Cost of Higher Learning

By Jeff Waldorf

 

As a student, I am painfully aware of the personal costs of paying for college. As someone who is low-income and hasn't had the benefit of being able to borrow money from their parents for college, I know what it's like to be staring at a mountain of future debt. I know many who are in my position and others who have graduated -- to end up not using the degree they worked so hard and paid so much for.

The Atlantic had an excellent article that spelled out the situation that many prospective college grads fear. It boils down to one question:

Will I be able to find a job when I graduate?

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Weekly News Roundup 10/5

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This edition of our weekly news round-up includes posts from our blog, videos, news about the presidential debate, and general news about money in politics – so keep scrolling down!

 

From our blog:

The New Kleptocracy - Part 1

The New Kleptocracy - Part 2

A two-part series that discusses how an ever-increasing centralization of power into the hands of a small group of elites is turning the United States from a constitutional republic into a kleptocracy.

Videos worth watching:

Noam Chomsky Discusses Activism, Occupy, The 2012 Election On The Matthew Filipowicz Show

Wolf-Pac state leadership volunteers - BotL Activism - Air Date- 9-26-12

Wake the F**K Up! (NSFW)

The Video Monsanto Does NOT Want You to See! Brought to you by Nutiva and Elevate

(another way money in politics is affecting our health)

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The New Kleptocracy Part 2

money_going_in.jpgBy Josh Sager

 

This is Part 2 of a two-part series that discusses how an ever-increasing centralization of power into the hands of a small group of elites is turning the United States from a constitutional republic into a kleptocracy. Here is Part 1.


Characteristic #2: Political power is condensed so that a small group of elites hold a majority of the control over government

In order for the elite in a kleptocracy to sustain their policy agendas and control over the government, they must keep political and economic power centralized within a small group of people. In most cases, kleptocrats will gain control over a government by either becoming the political power structure (ex. become a dictator) or utilizing their resources to gain control over a political party (ex. buying numerous politicians). The control over government held by elites in a kleptocracy allows them to manipulate public policy and sustain their political power.

In the United States, the rise of the super-PAC and demise of campaign finance laws are the two situations which have driven our democracy towards kleptocracy; we still have the illusion of democracy, but any choice which we are given is likely to either be bought by the elites, or unlikely to be elected because of massive opposition by moneyed interests. Elites and corporate organizations exert political power through giving money (Read: bribes) to politicians as well as through running political ads to influence voters.

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The New Kleptocracy Part 1

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By Josh Sager

 

Throughout history, humans have arranged themselves into societies based around hierarchy and a system of selecting who is allowed to wield power—these social constructs are called governments. At its best, a government exists to provide the common defense, preserve the rule of law, promote the social welfare, and do the things which private industry cannot do equitably or efficiently (ex. maintaining the roads). At its worst, a government can kill millions, promote exploitation, repress its population, and syphon resources from the citizens to the elite.

The United States was originally designed to be a form of representative democracy called a constitutional republic. In this form of government, citizens elect politicians to represent their interests, both on the state and federal levels—these politicians are directly accountable to their constituents. Unfortunately, as money has crept into politics and promoted an ever-increasing centralization of power into the hands of a small group of elites, the United States has started to look less like a constitutional republic and more like a kleptocracy.

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Weekly News Roundup 9/28

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From our blog:

Romney Fails and T-Paw Bails…to Work for Wall Street?

Why Removing Money and Lobbying from Politics is the Only Thing that Matters Today

Call to action:

Debates w/ only Dems & Repubs are a farce! We demand real debates!

“The presidential debates are the first opportunity for millions of voters to see the presidential contenders themselves, not just their advertising campaigns. These debates are organized by the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) - a supposedly "nonpartisan" corporation which is a puppet of the national Democratic and Republican parties, and the big corporations that fund both of them. The CPD's criteria to be included in these debates are designed to exclude independent contenders who promote ideas that challenge those in power.”

Events:

OpenSecrets Webchat Oct. 4: Ask the Experts -- How Will Citizens United Affect 2012?

“Next Thursday, Oct. 4, the Center for Responsive Politics will sponsor a webchat on the fallout from Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. A roundtable of experts -- David Magleby, Ray La Raja, Timothy Werner, Diana Dwyre and CRP's Bob Biersack -- will be on hand to discuss, among other things, how the 2010 decision has led to a surge in independent expenditures by unions and corporations.”

News from around the web:

Romney Unwittingly Explains Why Citizens United Was Wrong

“At a forum on education policy on Tuesday morning, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney launched into an unexpected explanation of why big money should be kept out of our political system.”

Cardin Backs Obama on Citizens United Repeal

An effort endorsed by President Barack Obama to draft a constitutional amendment overturning the Supreme Court’s Citizens United campaign finance decision seems to be gaining traction in Congress.

Maryland Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin told The Daily Caller that “it may be necessary for Congress to try to initiate a constitutional change” in order to limit the money involved in elections.’

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Romney Fails and T-Paw Bails…to Work for Wall Street?

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By Jeff Waldorf



Yes it’s true, Tim Pawlenty, former candidate, VP hopeful, and one of the few people more uninteresting than Romney, has kicked himself off the Romney campaign. In a statement about him leaving the Romney campaign, Pawlenty said, “I am grateful to have had the opportunity to serve, but I am now moving on and committed to focusing fully on this new opportunity.”

I can’t actually recall anything Tim Pawlenty has done to serve. But of course he’s committed to focusing on how much money he can take from the banks in bribes.

According to opensecrets.org T-paw received $57,500 from top contributor Goldman Sachs, $37,250 from Wells Fargo, $31,715 from Morgan Stanley, and on and on.

This is a chart from Opensecrets.org showing how much money Tim Pawlenty got from the banks. So now that he’s fairly sure Romney is toast, he’s gotta pay the banks back somehow:

Goldman Sachs

$57,500

Moelis & Co

$47,000

Wells Fargo

$37,250

Capital Group Companies 

$32,500

Morgan Stanley

$31,715

Federated Insurance

$24,500

Poet LLC

$20,000

Xcel Energy

$18,750

TCW Group

$17,500

Bank of America

$15,250

Gores Group

$15,000

JPMorgan Chase & Co

$14,550

Sidley Austin LLP

$13,500

Northern Gas & Oil

$12,500

Hicks Holdings

$12,500

Vector Capital

$12,500

PVS Chemicals

$12,500

Apollo Management

$12,500

UBS AG

$12,250

Latham & Watkins

$11,000

What better way to do so than to be a CEO of the Financial Services Roundtable, a lobbying group for Wall Street? 

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Why Removing Money and Lobbying from Politics is the Only Thing that Matters Today

honeywell_intl.jpgBy Joseph Glatzer

 

 

So, why indeed? Well, let’s think about this logically. We can start from the premise that America’s political system is bought and paid for by the richest corporations and individuals. Those with the most money to contribute to (bribe) politicians have the most influence. So, necessarily, those who don’t have vast sums of money to influence the political process are left out in the cold.

“Democracy” is a cute little game they give us to vote every few years and stay apathetic and uninformed between elections. Thus, voting doesn’t make a difference anymore, if it ever did. I implore every American to refrain from voting in most elections, especially the presidential election. This is because voting in the corrupt system we have adds legitimacy to it, and this is counterproductive.

So, what is the alternative?

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