Weekly News Roundup 10/12



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?”


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


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.

News on the Vice-Presidential Debate:


ThinkProgress Liveblogs The Vice Presidential Debate

All 90 minutes of the VP debate, fact-checked.


News from around the web:

Court Rejects ‘Citizens United’ Arguments in Texas Bingo Case

“A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that Texas charities can’t use proceeds from bingo on certain types of political advocacy, rejecting a challenge that pivoted on the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.”

Ever wished money grew on trees? Now it does

“... Or at least it does in northern Italy, where an enterprising restaurant is now accepting fruits, vegetables, handicrafts and other useful items as payment. The proud patrons of L'e maiala in Tuscany are hoping to create a new type of dining experience – one more like a grandmother's kitchen.”

Loophole Allows Saudi Arabian Businesses to Spend Freely in Our Election

“Foreign corporations can in fact influence American democracy in pernicious ways. For instance, how can Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich countries keep us dependent on fossil fuels? Well, thanks in part to the Citizens United decision, a new loophole allows foreign corporations to spend unlimited, undisclosed amounts on American elections.”

Citizens United decision boosts union canvassers

“The Citizens United Supreme Court decision paved the way for super PACs and all the money they’re raising and spending in the presidential election. But Citizens United also gave union vote canvassers a big boost. Before Citizens United, they could only call on union members. Now they can appear on anyone's doorstep. And that’s significantly raised their ground game.”

Rethinking “Citizens United” and so-called “corporate personhood”

“The more I learn about the Citizen United ruling and what are actually at stake, the more I feel that this really isn’t about “corporate personhood” but rather about speech and state interference thereto.”

Infographic: US campaign finances revealed

“Breaking down the presidential candidates' fundraising and highlighting the explosion in outside spending by Super PACs.”

Republican Party Lawsuit Seeking To Make Citizens United Even Worse Is Headed For The Supreme Court

“A lawsuit brought by the Republican National Committee now wants to eliminate most modest restrictions on election buying, and eliminate the $117,000 cap on donations by people like Sheldon Adelson. Moreover, because of a federal law that requires the Supreme Court to hear certain campaign finance cases, the Supreme Court is now almost certain to take the case — potentially handing the Republican Party their biggest Supreme Court victory since Citizens United.”


'Democracy Amendment' question takes aim at Citizens United ruling

“A non-binding ballot question, dubbed the "Democracy Amend ment" by supporters, will appear on the ballot in all Berkshire County towns, as well as most of the rest of the state, on Election Day, Nov. 6.

If approved, the question would reinforce a resolution approved by state lawmakers in Boston calling on Congress to begin action on a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s ruling that opened the floodgates for big-money campaign contributions by unidentified political action committees, corporations and unions.”

A Foreign Corporation May Have Made An Illegal $1 Million Contribution To The Pro-Romney Super PAC

“The OdysseyRe corporation — an insurance company in Connecticut — made a $1 million contribution to the Mitt Romney-affiliated Restore Our Future Super PAC.”

Montana Campaign Donation Limits Reinstated By 9th Circuit Court Of Appeals

“The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated Montana's campaign donation limits, telling the federal judge who struck down the limits that the panel needs to see his full reasoning so it can review the case.

The court intervened late Tuesday less than a week after the judge's decision opened the door to unlimited money in state elections – during the height of election season.”

New ‘Super PACs’ Alter Landscape for House Races

“In the shadow of the supersize “super PACs” that have reshaped the battle for the White House and Senate, a new and potentially potent kind of super PAC is proliferating in the closing weeks of the campaign and taking aim at House races.”

Half of Scott Brown's Top 20 Donors are Big Banks or Other Financial Institutions

“If there’s one thing that’s true in American politics, it’s this: you are who funds you. Senators bankrolled by Big Oil give the industries subsidies. Lawmakers backed by health insurers helped kill the public option. And if there’s one thing that’s clear in the race between Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown, it’s that Corporate America has sided with the latter.”

Would an Obama Win Hurt Campaign Finance Reform?

“If Obama defeats Mitt Romney in November, will his victory weaken the opposition to Citizens United by undercutting the notion that a handful of megadonors pouring millions of dollars into super-PACs and shadowy nonprofits have the power to dictate the outcome of an election?”

EXCLUSIVE: Outside Groups Spend Millions On Ads Featuring Medicare Misinformation

“The false claim that the Affordable Care Act of 2010 cut $716 billion out of Medicare has been oft-repeated in political ads and speeches in recent weeks. The law eliminates current over-payments to insurance companies, limits fraud and waste, and slows the growth of the program. Based on a Congressional Budget Office finding that repeal of the landmark healthcare reform law — and those important provisions — would increase Medicare costs by $716 billion between 2013 and 2022, many have incorrectly asserted that that means the bill will cut that amount from the program. A ThinkProgress analysis of independent advertisements and data from Kantar Media’s CMAG system reveals that between September 1 and October 1, an array of conservative outside groups spent about $8 million in attack ads, repeating the false claim, against House and Senate candidates across the country.”

Scoop: Ben & Jerry's Cofounder Wants to Freeze Money in Politics

“Shortly after I met Ben & Jerry's cofounder Ben Cohen in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park last Saturday, he removed a rubber stamper from his pocket, took a dollar bill from my wallet, and stamped it with the words "STAMP MONEY OUT OF POLITICS. AMEND THE CONSTITUTION."

"Money stamping is kind of like petitions on steroids," he explained as we sat on a lakeside bench. "You sign a petition and, let's face it, nobody really sees it. But stamping money is essentially monetary jiu jitsu. It's using the power of money to get money out of politics." The money stamp is part of Stamp Stampede, Cohen's effort to build popular support for a constitutional amendment to undoCitizens United, one greenback at a time.”

Progressives Seek to Recruit Mainstream Dems

“Hoping to build a larger coalition from the ranks of the Democratic Party, about 22 members of the Progressive Democrats of the Santa Monica Mountains (PDSMM) gathered on Sept. 18 for their monthly meeting to hear Alan Minsky, interim program director at KPFK radio (90.7 FM), report from the trenches of the Republican and Democratic Conventions.”

How Social Media Can Safeguard Your Vote

“Often, many voters only have a limited amount of time to go to the polls — a mix-up like an unacceptable form of identification, an ill-informed poll worker or incorrect polling location information could cause them to become disenfranchised.”

Two cents on the polls and the noise

“If I, and you, focus exclusively on the news and noise of poll numbers 28 days before the election, the sports banter-y language of it all, then we’re distracted from delving into the meat, the substance of the whole affair. And the meat are the clearly defined policy and vision for the country.”

The October Surprise: Majority of Outside Spending Likely to Come in Final Month

“With less than a month to go until the election, outside spending continues to be the campaign money story of 2012.  

Pretty much any way you slice it, it's way up in the 2012 cycle. The total spent by non-party outside groups has far eclipsed spending at comparable points in previous cycles, and if this cycle is like those earlier ones, the majority of total 2012 non-party outside spending is likely to come in the final weeks leading up to Election Day.”

Outside Political Groups Swamp Montana's Media Market

“Montana tried unsuccessfully to fight the Supreme Court's "Citizens United" ruling that opened up corporate spending in elections. Now the ads are thick and furious — but has the change in the rules tipped the advantage toward one party or the other?”

The Big Picture: CRP Collaboration With INN and Others Produces Rare Look at Wealthy Donors' Range of Giving

“The Center for Responsive Politics has collaborated over the last several months with the Investigative News Network, the National Institute on Money in State Politics and news outlets in seven states to try to get a complete picture of where wealthy donors' contributions go -- not just the federal campaigns or super PACs, not just the governors' races, but the state ballot initiatives, state legislative campaigns, party committees from the national level on down, and so on.

Today that collaboration comes to fruition. The following piece is being published on the site of INN (of which CRP is a member) and in other forums, and all of the news outlets that participated will be publishing their own, in-depth versions of the story with the focus on donors from their states. “

Infographic: Who's Paying for the President?

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