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The Middle Ground webcasts from Raleigh, NC

Doctor-arrested-sm.jpgThe Middle Ground
Tuesdays at 8 pm ET
CLICK HERE to listen to archived recording

It's a call-in show tonight on The Middle Ground. Annabel Park and I were filming until 3 am last night as 151 people were arrested while protesting the policies of the North Carolina General Assembly. And we've been filming every day since last week's show. So I need you to call in and tell me, and our Coffee Party Radio community, what the critical issues are this week — both in the corporate media presentations, and in reality. In return, we'll share with you "what the heck is going on in North Carolina." 

Nancy Brown will join us once again to let you know what's happening in North Carolina. If you missed last week's show, you can meet Nancy in this video which shows her getting hauled off by police! (=

Lee Beaumont will join us once again to talk about Leeland's List, 50 basic questions about our world that he feels politicians should answer when competing for public office. 

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Cheat Sheet for Aspiring Politicians

Politician General Knowledge Assessment

scirelimethods.gifWhat domain of knowledge do we expect politicians to be familiar with? Politicians often launch into issues and take positions ahead of establishing a grounding in basic facts about our world. Also, politicians seem to adopt positions that seem based on contradictory facts. So perhaps we can help politicians put first things first by encouraging them to research some basic facts about the world we live in, and, make public their findings.

Below is a list of basic questions about our world that I propose politicians answer early in their campaigns. It samples a domain of basic knowledge on which I think it is reasonable to expect a policy-maker to be conversant.

Respondents are encouraged to consult any sources they believe to be reliable in answering these questions.

(Reliable answers are included where applicable.)

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FREE THE ELECTED - PART 2

Follow-The-Money.pngLast week we announced FREE THE ELECTED, a new focus for Coffee Party USA for the next 18 months that will encompass many projects and campaigns.  

TODAY WE ARE ANNOUNCING OUR FIRST PROJECT: Follow the Money Act of 2013 - get it out of the Senate Finance Committee, on to the Senate floor, and passed into law!

What is the Follow the Money Act?  “A bill to amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 and the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to require the disclosure of contributions and expenditures for independent Federal election-related activity, and for other purposes.”

Senator Wyden points to the need of the American people needing to know who is financing campaigns without having to be a detective and the responsibility of our campaign system to make it easy for people to know.  Here is the official press release.

The League of Women Voters has led the charge of good government groups supporting the Follow the Money Act of 2013 in a joint letter to the Senate.  

Business groups came out in force two weeks later, urging lawmakers to oppose or kill “Follow the Money Act of 2013.”  The 170 groups, led by the US Chamber of Commerce said the condition for real-time reporting would be burdensome and create “significant barriers to a group’s ability to communicate with the public.”  

Coffee Party USA knows that YOU have a stake and voice in this matter too.

What can you do?

post your senator’s response in the comments below.
Ask them to allow the bill to move out of committee for a vote and post any response you get in the comments below.Here is a listing of the Senate Finance Committee Members from the 113th Congress.  Note it is the members in individual pictures below, not the group picture above.  

And what actions would you add to this list? Let us know by calling in today or commenting here.

Today...it’s all about what you can do on

Thursday 12-1 p.m. Pacific
Call in at 646-929-2495
Or listen online LIVE or later

Last week, we started fundraising offering free Restaurant.com Gift Certificates equal to the amount you donated to fund FREE THE ELECTED.  Many of you have asked, what are you doing with the money?  The 535 Campaign, which envisions in-district voters in contact with every elected representative in the House and Senate needs up to $50,000 for online infrastructure.  We are excited, but we are not waiting. We will work and recruit volunteers as we build.  Thank you to everyone who is already participating.

Coffee Party ON!
Jeanene and Debilyn

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IRS Scandal, Voting Rights: What's the common thread?

IRS-3-copy.jpgI am webcasting from Wilmington, NC tonight where Annabel Park and I are filming our new documentary Story of America.

The Middle Ground
Tuesdays at 8 pm ET
CLICK HERE to listen to archived recording

In North Carolina, politicians are insulating themselves from the electoral process through a combination of gerrymandering (more grotesque and racially targeted than any place in the country) and restrictions on voting (more thorough and racially targeted than anything since the Jim Crow Era). There is growing public opposition, but on the soap operas most Americans think of as "news," there has been very little coverage.

Instead, our corporate media outlets been focused on nationwide controversies which have searved as an audio backdrop for our film production on the radio and on hotel room TV's.

The IRS scandal is of particular interest to me. For one thing, I am on the board of two tax-exempt non-profits that had to go through the same process of applying for tax-exempt status for work that involves politics. But more importantly, I believe that the unfair categorization employed by the IRS is illustrative of the very same Equal Protection issues that arise when politicians make laws abridging voting rights, or requiring immigration status checks of ethnic-looking people by police (our previous film).

Our special guests: Leeland Beaumont published a blog on our website today with 50 questions he'd like politicians to answer early in their campaigns. Nancy Brown was arrested recently in Raleigh, NC as part of a civil disobedience campaign.

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50 Questions for Our Elected

1335643562-creat.jpgListen to Leland Beaumont on The Middle Ground, which airs on Tuesdays at 8 pm ET on Coffee Party Radio.

CLICK HERE for the list with answers

What domain of knowledge do we expect politicians to be familiar with? Politicians often launch into issues and take positions ahead of establishing a grounding in basic facts about our world. Also, politicians seem to adopt positions that seem based on contradictory facts. So perhaps we can help politicians put first things first by encouraging them to research some basic facts about the world we live in, and, make public their findings.

Below is a list of basic questions about our world that I propose politicians answer early in their campaigns. It samples a domain of basic knowledge on which I think it is reasonable to expect a policy-maker should be conversant.

Politician General Knowledge Assessment

Politicians often say things so surprising that it is tempting to wonder what they might be thinking. What is the factual basis that informs each politician’s stance on the issues?  Here are some questions to pose to political candidates to assess what they know about important issues, basic facts about our world, citizenship, and the rules of logic.

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A Letter to my Senator

Bob,

Remember me? I'm the guy on your left up there ^^ Yes, Now you remember me. Great to speak with you again!

Listen, It has been a few years since we spoke and as a Constituent in your state I have a few questions to ask you and all of your colleagues in Washington DC:

1) Why do we spend 1.4 Trillion dollars on wars but only spend 1/10th of that on taking care of the Veterans who fight them?

2) Why do we spend billions on farm & oil subsidies, but do not spend the 30 billion a year to feed every human on the planet and 50 billion more to lift every human out of poverty especially when we spend more then 600 billion dollars on defense per year?

3) Why do we have a system of government where the banks get to write the laws that govern them, but when they tank the economy NOT ONE OF THEM ARE ARRESTED, YET HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE PROTESTING THE BANKS ARE BEATEN, ARRESTED, GROPED, AND IN CERTAIN INSTANCES KILLED or Hospitalized?


THE ANSWER:

It's because money is allowed to fund the campaigns of those running for the US SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, and because that money is from large bundling donors who have a personal and/or professional agenda in the Congress of the United States of America the PEOPLE'S VOICES are SILENCED!

There are no REQUIRED DONOR ANONYMITY laws in place, and because of this, WE THE PEOPLE DO NOT GET THE CONSTITUTIONAL DUAL FEDERALIST BI-CAMERAL SYSTEM, MADISON, JAY, AND HAMILTON PROMISED US!

THIS ACCEPTANCE OF MONEY FROM ANYONE WITHOUT ANONYMITY IS A CONFLICT OF INTEREST, CORROSIVE TO THE RULE OF LAW, AND CORRUPTS OUR CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC.

So I ask you and your friends on BOTH sides of the Aisle:

WHAT ARE YOU PLANNING TO DO ABOUT THIS?

Sincerely with much hope for the future,
Your friend and campaign contributor,

Cameron Michaels
Cameron.coffeepartyusa@gmail.com

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FREE THE ELECTED! from the Tyranny of Money in Politics

money-politics-illustration-2.jpg

We (the people) need to free our elected from daily fund raising and the fear that contributions will go to their next opponent if they don't comply with the wishes of their funders.

A corrupt system is one in which good people do bad things because it seems normal.

Until the super-minority of big money campaign contributors and corporations with super-citizen rights can no longer directly buy candidates with mega-donations, or indirectly influence them with marketing departments, lobbyists, and “helpful” self-interest groups, our elected will not look to voters when decisions are made. 

“Members of Congress should be compelled to wear uniforms like Nascar drivers, so we could identify their corporate sponsors.” - Unknown Blogger, 2009

CP_logo.pngCoffee Party USA is focusing efforts for the next 18 months on our FREE THE ELECTED strategy. Several projects are in production, but we need your help. 

The technology needed to empower action in every state and every congressional district in America is not free. Your contributions to FREE THE ELECTED will be used to launch the platforms for our national and local projects.

Out with cash and in with votes: end the tyranny of the super-minority.

Let's face it: we are using the bows and arrows of righteous indignation against  the stealth bombers of big money. Our power lies in who we are as a country when we are united in our intent to have those we elect work for US.

Go to our donation page, FREE THE ELECTED with Steak and Lobster by clicking HERE. We will send you a free Restaurant.com Gift Certificate* equal to your contribution for dining out in your community as a thank you! (Some of us will be having sushi or a tofu burger with home fries, but you get the idea.)

restaurant.com2.png

There are no limits to how many times you can visit the page, and no limit to how much you can contribute. Any amount will be a big help to FREE THE ELECTED.

We all thank you for all you do!

CoffeePartyON!
Jeanene Louden, Treasurer and Managing Director
Cameron Michaels, Fundraising
and the rest of the Board of Directors

 

*A Restaurant.com Gift Certificate gives you the choice of thousands of participating restaurants nationwide, as well as premium online partners like LobsterGram, Mrs. Fields, The Fruit Company and many others.  Your free Restaurant.com Gift Certificate will be emailed to you within 7-10 days of your contribution.

Minimum spend requirements and other restrictions may apply. Visit http://Dine.Restaurant.com for complete terms and conditions and participating restaurants. 

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The "Follow The Money Act of 2012" Is the First Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Bill in a Decade

The "Follow the Money Act" is the first bipartisian campaign finance reform bill in over a decade. This morning, The Washington Post came out in support:

The two main parties once agreed that disclosure should be a pillar of campaign finance. In 2010, the Supreme Court’sdecision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission opened the door to unlimited contributions by corporations, wealthy individuals and labor unions. It should not be forgotten that in Citizens United a majority of the court reaffirmed the importance of disclosure. But having won on the issue of contribution limits, many Republicans abandoned their previous support for disclosure.

An attempt toward more transparency was made in the last Congress with the Disclose Act, but the measure was blocked by Republicans. Now Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) has joined with a Republican, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, to offer a fresh attempt at a bipartisan bill, the Follow the Money Act, which, they declared, will cover “the full universe of independent political spenders.” One welcome idea in the bill is real-time electronic reporting and disclosure of contributions. It is not clear whether the mechanism of the bill would deliver the worthy goal of universal coverage, but there is time to hammer out details. It’s significant that Ms. Murkowski has become the first Republican in a while to sign up for a campaign disclosure bill, and we hope she can persuade others to join her.

More from The Washington Post's editorial.  |  Read other key provisions.

Contact your Senators to ask them to co-sponsor.

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What can We the People do to at last address climate change?

21tornado8-articleLarge-v6.jpgOklahoma. With sadness, shock, and sorrow for fellow Americans who lost lives, loved ones, and homes in yesterday's tragedy, we welcome tonight to The Middle Ground D.R. Tucker, conservative writer and blogger whose widely-read essay “Confessions of a Climate Change Convert” crystalizes the angst of intelligent, scientifically literate conservatives who have seen their movement taken over by Rush Limbaugh sensibilities and Sarah Palin science.

The Middle Ground
Tuesdays at 8 pm ET
CLICK HERE to listen to archived recording

tucker2D.R. has focused much of his work on efforts to convince leaders in the Republican party to take action. He wrote recently:

...Set aside the GOP’s alliance with Big Oil for a moment, and realize that in order for the GOP to accept climate reality, it must accept the reality that government has to play some sort of a role in solving this problem, either through EPA regulations or, preferably, a bill that places a gradually rising fee on carbon emissions, with all proceeds rebated to the public. How many members of the GOP base are willing to accept government playing this sort of role in the economy? Even after Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy, the resistance to regulation is still rampant on the right.

But if we put all the blame, and all the responsibility, on GOP party leaders, we are abdicating our own responsibility as citizens? Isn't there something that we can do? I'll start off the show tonight by asking our guest, and I encourage you to call in with your own ideas.

I compare the climate/energy issue with the gun safety issue.  On the one hand, we have powerful industry lobbyists who do not want the People to take actions that might reduce their profits. On the other hand, we have a People that is discouraged and even disgusted with the performance of those we elect to represent us. And, in both cases, we make a practical, if cold, calculation:

What are the chances I will be killed in a natural disaster, or an assault weapons massacre? Tiny, right? Is it worth giving up some of the precious time I have with my family, or the time I need to recuperate from a demanding job, to try to reduce that percentage? Perhaps not. And if not, that means that the most powerful influence on our elected officials will continue to be money, not voters — profiteers, not People.

What can we do to shift the way we think about such issues? If we were to accept the notion advanced by President Obama — and President Bush, and indeed all of our past presidents — that we are "all in this together," shouldn't we calculate the frequency and deadliness of such disasters not only in terms of our own risk, but in terms of the risk to America as a whole. For, the difference between a .1 percent chance, and a .05 percent chance that I'll die in hurricane disaster, tornado disaster, or gun massacre may not be significant enough to cause me to take action. But if we multiply that percentage chance by 300 million — the approximate population of the United States — we could, if we chose to take action, save thousand and thousands of lives. Is that not enough to be willing to try?

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Follow Up: What the 1% Media Doesn’t Care About

bad_news_cat.jpgPress [1] For Democracy

Follow Up:  What the 1% Media Doesn’t Care About

NEW TIME! Monday at 9 p.m. Eastern

Call (646) 929-2495 to listen & hit [1] to speak

Listen live online or archived

How many times [per week] does the mainstream media report a sensationalized story based solely on rumor, conjecture, and “unnamed sources” in an attempt to scoop the competition?  And once the actual facts are revealed, rarely if ever do those media outlets revisit the story in hopes of actually setting the record straight.   

Tonight, in order to hold ourselves to a higher standard, Press [1] for Democracy will revisit the topics of shows past in order to update you with any new facts that have presented themselves.  Topics scheduled for review include:

  • Last week’s IRS scandal

  • Congress’s failed attempt at mandating background checks for gun buyers

  • What’s happening in Newtown, CT these days?

  • Any new ideas on putting America back to work

  • GMO’s

  • Shareholder Actions

  • Anything else you wish to discuss

DanAronson2.jpgAnd of course, we’ll not only discuss these latest updates, but call the press out for any butchering they did of the stories in the first place.  Join us tonight at our new start time, 9 PM EST / 6 PM PST.  Listen live or better yet, call 646-929-2495 to voice your opinion/outrage.  And when you enter the host queue, remember to Press [1] for Democracy!  

Dan Aronson

  

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