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Moderate Republicans re. Today's GOP: "Should I stay or should I go?" | Coffee Party Radio Tuesday 9/25

by Eric Byler

We are proud of the fact that the Coffee Party is a gathering place for former Republicans and questioning Republicans who put the facts first when looking at important issues. One of my primary goals as a Coffee Party leader is to create a "safe environment" where no one is bullied or rejected because of their beliefs, cultural background, or upbringing.  There are, unfortunately, some in our community who are distrustful and even hateful toward Republicans, but, many moderate Republicans have told me that the Coffee Party community is the one where "we are least abused."  Let's see if we can improve on that.  

Our Tuesday Sept. 25th presentation of The Middle Ground (8 to 9:30 pm ET) will be dedicated to current and former Republicans who are unhappy with the extreme elements of their party. D.R. Tucker is a freelance writer and conservative thought-leader who strongly opposed Massachusetts Gov. Duvall Patrick, then had a change of heart and recently explained his decision to vote for President Obama in his essay "Breaking Away."  Alanna Almeda is a life-long Republican, a blogger and a stay-at-home mom in Prince William County, VA best know for standing up against her party on the issue of immigration.  Lacy Ward Jr. is a former Republican nominee for the Alabama House of Delegates, and staffer for two Virginia Congressmen who has been critical of President Obama's approach to education. And, Hal Ziegler is a former Republican State Senator from the state of Michigan.

The topic of the show was inspired by a recent essay on the environment by former Delaware Republican Party officer Michael Stafford, a long-time Coffee Party contributor and now a syndicated columnist.  Mr. Stafford will join us to discuss issues like immigration, climate change, and tax policy, as well as attitudes and tactics that have caused him to leave the GOP. We'll also be joined by moderate Republicans who remain with the party for the same noble reason that Mr. Stafford made the video above during the height of the 2011 Debt Ceiling Crisis, hoping to create grassroots support for moderate Republicans to counter Fox News & the Tea Party. Our show's focus for the evening will be a question that is a painful and difficult one for moderates across the U.S. who feel isolated in today's GOP: Why Remain a Republican?

with Michael Charney & Eric Byler

Tuesdays at 8 pm ET (5 pm PT)
Click here for the podcast.

The hosts of The Middle Ground include moderate Republican Michael Charney, and filmmaker and registered Independent Eric Byler (me).  Both of us have a track record of reaching across the aisle. Michael Charney has decided to remain a Republican in order to fight for the soul of the party. Michael Stafford fought that fight for years but has given up and become an Independent who is very critical (as Charney has been at times) of the Mitt Romney campaign.

I believe that principled, moderate Republicans are the "Most Valuable Players in American politics today."  It's a lesson I learned during the making of 9500 Liberty, and have applied in the creation of the Coffee Party.  Many of the heroes of 9500 Liberty are courageous Republicans who broke with their party to stand up to extremism on the issue of immigration (see video below featuring Mrs. Almeda).  In fact, it is 9500 Liberty that first brought me together with Mr. Stafford and helped to introduce the Coffee Party to Mr. Charney.

Is Romney Blowing the Election for Fox News, or Did Fox News Blow It For Romney Long Ago?

by Don Manning

The whole world is a-Romney-bashin'. So tonight, when you call in to Speaking of America, let's see if we can't cut the man some slack. I'd like to talk about the warped world that Fox "News" and the Republican media empire has foisted upon Mr. Romney. Could anyone have done any better at the top of a GOP ticket in 2012?

"Speaking of America"with Don Manning

Mondays 8 to 10 pm Pacific (11 pm to 1 am ET)

Romney's campaign appears to be betting that there are enough Republican media consumers in America to win a general election. But my guess is they realized long ago that this is a losing bet. The problem is that, if Romney so much as mentions facts and events from the reality-based world, he is crucified by consumers of Fox "News" and Rush Limbaugh whose self-esteem and/or business plans depend upon denying any such a world exists. The man can't win!

Tomorrow night's Coffee Party Radio show will be a forum for moderates who remain in Republican party, and the conflict they have with the "base" of the party. But when we talk about the "Republican base," who are we really talking about if not Republican media consumers?  As Jonathan Bernstein explained recently in Salon

"....Romney himself, or at least his campaign, seems to have massively misunderstood how the economy is perceived. That’s perhaps due to the conservative closed-information feedback loop. If most of your information comes through Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, you might think that the economy was just fine or maybe a bit on the weak side until January 2009 and that it has gone from bad to worse since then. Certainly, that’s what Republican rank-and-file voters seem to think.

"The result is ...rather than inviting people to compare the present to how things should be — and therefore encouraging them to compare Barack Obama to whatever their ideal might be — Romney is asking people to compare Obama to George W. Bush. While that might work really well among those listening to Sean Hannity or Glenn Beck, it’s a losing fight with everyone else."

Don't laugh about it, folks, because like it or not, the Republican party is one half of the two party system we need to function in order for America to succeed.  Will the Republican media empire learn its lesson if they lose in November. Or, are they going to blame Romney for not being conservative enough and double down on "Tea Party" extremism?

Call me and tell me your thoughts: 646-929-2495.

PS:  You the People are our only source of funding for Coffee Party media.  Please support the voice of the People by becoming an Official Member or making a small contribution.  

Amplify Your Voice! — Introducing Two Weekly Volunteer Calls

by Jessica English

As your new Volunteer and Membership Coordinator, I'm proud to  announce the launch of our new, weekly volunteer calls!  

What's NEW:
Each week, I am hosting two concise & informative conference calls to: 

1) Let you know of volunteer opportunities; and 

2) Allow you to choose where to plug in and make a difference!  

Register below and you will receive an email invitation to each weekly call:

Thursdays 8pm ET/5pm PT

Sundays 7pm PT/10pm ET

What to expect:

We will email you a list of the needs, including help producing our five weekly radio shows, creating content for our Facebook pages and on-line newsletters, and stuff that is more "behind-the-scenes."  

When your schedule allows simply join one of our calls. This allows us to coordinate action, and incorporate your ideas and suggestions into our collective goals.

We've poured through the many volunteer forms that you filled out (thank you), and are excited to bring everyone on board!  Please follow a link to register for a call!  

1) Thursdays - 8pm ET/5pm PT,

2) Sundays - 7pm PT/10pm ET, or

3) Let me know when is the best time to contact you.

I'm in my first month as the Coffee Party's Volunteer and Membership Coordinator.  I'm eager to help organize our volunteers and make an important difference in local communities and in our national political conversation. I can't wait to work with you!

INTERESTED in amplifying your voice and the voices of We the People?

Watch the video below and ​SIGN UP HERE.

PS: We are 100 percent people-powered by small contributions and membership dues. That's why we are free to follow the truth where ever it leads us. No oil barons, no partisan operatives, no casino moguls. We're proud of the fact that our average donation is less than $30. Please become a member, and/or help us along when you can.

PPS: Sept. 30 is the deadline for our Video Contest called "You Know It's Propaganda When..." video contest. I can't wait to view your entries!

Taxpayers Subsidize Corporations So Their Employees Can Eat

by Jessica English

If you don't like welfare and you don't like food stamps, tell Congress to raise the minimum wage. Government of, by, and for the People means putting people before profit. Our taxpayer dollars are subsidizing the profit margins of powerful corporations who can buy influence in Washington enough to write our laws. We need to change that.

So the next time a slick, expensively produced advertisement tells you to hate your fellow Americans who are struggling to feed their families, think about this: how much did it cost to create that advertisement? Who paid for it? And why? The definition of patriotism is not just love of country; it is also love of the PEOPLE who live in this country. If you are truly a patriot, don't allow your television to instruct you to hate your brothers and sisters, your fellow Americans. Help us connect our communities to reclaim our government for the People.

by Eric Byler
Will President Obama push back against hate-based political advertisements from the Romney campaign exploiting ignorance about welfare? Today on The Bottom Line (4 pm Central), Jessica English will talk about her new web video, one that I believe could turn the welfare debate on its head. 

The Bottom Line w/ Jessica English

Sundays at 5 pm Eastern Time
(3 pm MT, 2 pm PT)

Call in and let us know if you have an argument as forceful as the one Jessica offers in her video: Welfare and food stamps are taxpayer funded subsidies for corporations who choose not to pay a living wage.

If Americans begin to think of our social safety net as a subsidy for plutocrats and profiteers, rather than undeserving fellow Americans,  Mr. Romney may come to regret the day he "approved this message." How many faithful consumers of corporate media products are aware that most welfare recipients are WORKING FULL TIME, but need public assistance because wages have not kept up with the cost of living?

Jessica writes:

"Our taxpayer dollars are subsidizing the profit margins of powerful corporations who can buy influence in Washington enough to write our laws. We need to change that." [more below]

Jeanene Louden, host of Lunch with Loudenwill run the show for Jessica English who will be calling in from her new home in Denver, Colorado. We'll also be joined by Rich Hancock, Democratic candidate for the TX state house, and fellow social media pioneer.  Our plan is to shift from poverty and welfare to education. 

Revolt of the Rich: Our financial elites are the new secessionists

by Eric Whinery, Treasurer - Coffee Party USA 

This article from the American Conservative penned by long term Republican staffer Mike Lofgren is a brilliant piece that maps out how powerful figures in religion, business and government have worked together to create a country that worships wealth and people who have it.  Lofgren writes:

"What I mean by secession is a withdrawal into enclaves, an internal immigration, whereby the rich disconnect themselves from the civic life of the nation and from any concern about its well being except as a place to extract loot."

Here at the Coffee Party we have spent a lot of time discussing on how far the political parties have gone astray. One of the major driving forces behind this is corruption of our political system by money. Democrats and Republicans, whether they attempt to hide it or not, have operated our Congress as little more than a tool to help the super wealthy become even wealthier — at the expense of the American people.  

As an active and informed citizen I have noticed how little the wealthy depend on society. They do not need our infrastructure, schools, police and with the ongoing privatization of our military they may no longer need to direct our military. The American wealthy have transformed themselves into the American ruling class.  They have little to no interaction with ordinary Americans, they don't need to have it.  All of the mechanisms are in place to siphon money from the masses into their bank accounts with minimal time and effort on their parts.  
Please take time to read this article, it is important and will be worth your while.

NOTE: Mike Lofgren served 16 years on the Republican staff of the House and Senate Budget Committees. He has just published The Party Is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless, and the Middle Class Got Shafted.

Revolt of the Rich: Our financial elites are the new secessionists

by MIKE LOFGREN, The American Conservative


It was 1993, during congressional debate over the North American Free Trade Agreement. I was having lunch with a staffer for one of the rare Republican congressmen who opposed the policy of so-called free trade. To this day, I remember something my colleague said: “The rich elites of this country have far more in common with their counterparts in London, Paris, and Tokyo than with their fellow American citizens.”


That was only the beginning of the period when the realities of outsourced manufacturing, financialization of the economy, and growing income disparity started to seep into the public consciousness, so at the time it seemed like a striking and novel statement.


At the end of the Cold War many writers predicted the decline of the traditional nation-state. Some looked at the demise of the Soviet Union and foresaw the territorial state breaking up into statelets of different ethnic, religious, or economic compositions. This happened in the Balkans, the former Czechoslovakia, and Sudan. Others predicted a weakening of the state due to the rise of Fourth Generation warfare and the inability of national armies to adapt to it. The quagmires of Iraq and Afghanistan lend credence to that theory. There have been numerous books about globalization and how it would eliminate borders. But I am unaware of a well-developed theory from that time about how the super-rich and the corporations they run would secede from the nation state.


I do not mean secession by physical withdrawal from the territory of the state, although that happens from time to time—for example, Erik Prince, who was born into a fortune, is related to the even bigger Amway fortune, and made yet another fortune as CEO of the mercenary-for-hire firm Blackwater, moved his company (renamed Xe) to the United Arab Emirates in 2011. What I mean by secession is a withdrawal into enclaves, an internal immigration, whereby the rich disconnect themselves from the civic life of the nation and from any concern about its well being except as a place to extract loot.


Our plutocracy now lives like the British in colonial India: in the place and ruling it, but not of it. If one can afford private security, public safety is of no concern; if one owns a Gulfstream jet, crumbling bridges cause less apprehension—and viable public transportation doesn’t even show up on the radar screen. With private doctors on call and a chartered plane to get to the Mayo Clinic, why worry about Medicare?


Being in the country but not of it is what gives the contemporary American super-rich their quality of being abstracted and clueless. Perhaps that explains why Mitt Romney’s regular-guy anecdotes always seem a bit strained. I discussed this with a radio host who recounted a story about Robert Rubin, former secretary of the Treasury as well as an executive at Goldman Sachs and CitiGroup. Rubin was being chauffeured through Manhattan to reach some event whose attendees consisted of the Great and the Good such as himself. Along the way he encountered a traffic jam, and on arriving to his event—late—he complained to a city functionary with the power to look into it. “Where was the jam?” asked the functionary. Rubin, who had lived most of his life in Manhattan, a place of east-west numbered streets and north-south avenues, couldn’t tell him. The super-rich who determine our political arrangements apparently inhabit another, more refined dimension.


To some degree the rich have always secluded themselves from the gaze of the common herd; their habit for centuries has been to send their offspring to private schools. But now this habit is exacerbated by the plutocracy’s palpable animosity towards public education and public educators, as Michael Bloomberg has demonstrated. To the extent public education “reform” is popular among billionaires and their tax-exempt foundations, one suspects it is as a lever to divert the more than $500 billion dollars in annual federal, state, and local education funding into private hands—meaning themselves and their friends. What Halliburton did for U.S. Army logistics, school privatizers will do for public education. A century ago, at least we got some attractive public libraries out of Andrew Carnegie. Noblesse oblige like Carnegie’s is presently lacking among our seceding plutocracy.


In both world wars, even a Harvard man or a New York socialite might know the weight of an army pack. Now the military is for suckers from the laboring classes whose subprime mortgages you just sliced into CDOs and sold to gullible investors in order to buy your second Bentley or rustle up the cash to get Rod Stewart to perform at your birthday party. The sentiment among the super-rich towards the rest of America is often one of contempt rather than noblesse.


Stephen Schwarzman, the hedge fund billionaire CEO of the Blackstone Group who hired Rod Stewart for his $5-million birthday party, believes it is the rabble who are socially irresponsible. Speaking about low-income citizens who pay no income tax, he says: “You have to have skin in the game. I’m not saying how much people should do. But we should all be part of the system.”


But millions of Americans who do not pay federal income taxes do pay federal payroll taxes. These taxes are regressive, and the dirty little secret is that over the last several decades they have made up a greater and greater share of federal revenues. In 1950, payroll and other federal retirement contributions constituted 10.9 percent of all federal revenues. By 2007, the last “normal” economic year before federal revenues began falling, they made up 33.9 percent. By contrast, corporate income taxes were 26.4 percent of federal revenues in 1950. By 2007 they had fallen to 14.4 percent. So who has skin in the game? [MORE]

Media for The 99% (a.k.a We the People)


The hope we see rests in new media.  What does all of this out-of-state and sometimes out-of-country money buy?  It buys media products: political advertisements, which are designed to work on a captive, passive consumer audience.  With the advent of social media, we don't have to be that passive.  We can create media products too, and, at a cost that most Americans can afford.  That's why we hope you'll join our Be the Media campaign.  [MORE]

Coffee Party Radio Is on 5 Days a Week - Check it out on video too!

Coffee Party Radio, Regular Schedule:

Mondays 11 pm ET to 1 am ET — Speaking of America with Don Manning
Tuesdays 8 pm ET to 9 pm ET  — The Middle Ground with Michael Charney & Eric Byler
Thursdays 2:30 pm ET to 3:30 pm ET — Louden Clear with Jeanene Louden
Saturdays 1 pm ET to 3 pm ET — Politics Done Right with Egberto Willies
Sundays 5 pm ET 5 to 6:30 pm ET — The Bottom Line with Jessica English
The call in number for Coffee Party Radio is: (646) 929-2495

Concerned Citizens Deliver 1.9 Million Petitions to Overturn Citizens United via Constitutional Amendment

by Calvin Sloan
In support of today's first ever Senate Hearing on Citizens United, concerned citizens will deliver at least 1,959,063 signatures calling for overturning Citizens United and related cases by amending the Constitution.
The petitions were gathered in support of  hearings held by the Constitution Subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee to examine the impact of unlimited, often anonymous spending to influence election results, and the need for constitutional remedies to restore the democratic promise of America. The people whose names appear on these petitions reflect the deep-seated public concern about the state of our democracy and the growing grassroots movement to restore government, of, by, and for the people.  

“Taking Back Our Democracy: Responding to Citizens United and the Rise of Super PACs" 

WATCH LIVE  July 24, 2012  |  2:30 PM Eastern Time  |  Hart 21

Marge Baker, Executive Vice President of People For the American Way:

“The interests of the American people should be front and center in our elections, and today, 2 million people made that point loud and clear. But despite the message we sent Congress today, all over the country, our voices are being drowned out by the powerful corporations and the super wealthy. Short of changing who sits on the Supreme Court, amending the Constitution is the only way to undo the damage done to our democracy by Citizens United. The American people overwhelmingly support that idea, and by holding these hearings, our elected representatives are honoring the millions of Americans who are calling for a Constitution that ensures that “We the People” means all the people, not just the privileged few.”

Leslie Watson MalachiDirector of African American Ministers in Action, a program of People For the American Way:

“This petition drive proves that our collective voice can be the spark of change. Because millions of people have signed their names to proclaim that our democracy is not for sale, this grassroots movement has the power to take back our elections and ensure government by people through fair and transparent elections. We’ve made it clear to our elected representatives that a constitutional amendment is necessary to uphold that ideal. These hearings show how far this movement has come.”

Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen:

“The choice is simple: We can have a working democracy, in which the people rule, or we can have aCitizens United-facilitated plutocracy, in which giant corporations and the super-rich dominate elections. Rescuing our democracy requires that we overturn Citizens United and other decisions that constitutionalize the “right” of corporations and the super-rich to buy elections. With no prospect of the Court revisiting the damaging decisions it has inflicted, we need a constitutional amendment to reestablish the simple principle that Democracy is for People.”

Justin Ruben, Executive Director of MoveOn.org Political Action:

“We've seen this summer how a handful of billionaires are trying to buy the election.  That's one of the reasons nearly 700,000 MoveOn members have spoken out in favor of overturning Citizens United, getting big money out of our elections, and preventing our democracy from being sold to the highest bidder.”

Becky Bond, Political Director of CREDO Action:

“How can the American people have an equal voice in our democracy when corporations are flooding the political system with millions in secret campaign donations? We must pass a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, end corporate personhood and help get shadowy money out of politics for good.”

Bob Edgar, President & CEO of Common Cause:

“Super PACs have transformed our elections into the sport of kings. Billionaires and corporations are pooling unlimited sums of money into joint accounts, pledging astronomical sums in support of or opposition to candidates, and recklessly drowning out the voices of the American people. These corporations and mega donors are motivated by an expectation of influence and access, often at the expense of the public interest. We cannot afford to auction off our vibrant democracy to the highest bidder.”

Lisa Graves, the Executive Director of the Center for Media and Democracy/ ALECexposed.org:

"While billionaires are openly writing million-dollar checks to Super PACs, millions more is being secretly funneled to front groups whose ads may affect who wins and wields power over people and policy.  Deceptively named nonprofit groups are becoming the Swiss bank accounts of elections, receiving secret multi-million dollar gifts that buy ads to influence how Americans vote. We may never know the true identity of those attempting to buy our elections through such shadowy groups -- whether they are corporations or people, domestic or foreign -- but we do know American democracy is increasingly for sale and that's why We the People are demanding that the Constitution be amended to fight this corruption." 

Peter Schurman, Campaign Director at Free Speech For People:

“For a campaign we all knew would be difficult, the Senate hearing today is a major milestone: it shows that the growing movement for a constitutional amendment is starting to make a dent in Washington. It's time for Congress and the states to overrule the Supreme Court and make it clear that we the people, not we the corporations, are in charge of American democracy.”

Blair Bowie of U.S. PIRG:

“For nearly forty years, the Supreme Court has been driving us down a road that will inevitably dead end in the demise of American democracy. In equating money with speech the Court rejected the notion that in a democracy the size of your wallet should not determine the volume of your voice. Instead it enshrined the rights of artificial entities and ultra-wealthy individuals to drown out the voices of ordinary citizens in a flood of often secret cash. Ultimately, we can only get out of this judicial rut by amending the U.S. Constitution to clarify to the Supreme Court that the first amendment was never meant to be used as a tool for special interests to co-opt our democratic process. Today’s hearing and the massive citizen mobilization across the country since Citizens United show that the American people are ready to turn this car around.”

Eric Byler, President of the Coffee Party Board of Directors:

“Public awareness about money in politics is growing rapidly and crossing all cultural and political divides. Just like the founders of this nation, we are responding to an abuse of power by elite profiteers who feel entitled to govern over people. The task before us is to finish what our founders started — not to start a revolution but to complete one — by amending the Constitution and reestablishing the right to self-governance for people; not profiteers.” [MORE]

"Who the hell is Grover Norquist Anyway?!?" —30 years of Voodoo has put the US economy in a whole lot of doo-doo

Norquist Emerges as Barrier to U.S. Debt Deal

by Don Manning

Tonight on Coffee Party Radio: "Who the hell is Grover Norquist anyway?" That's what  President H. W. Bush said recently of the man who wants to drown our Republic in the bath tub, and, to whom many in Congress pledge their loyalty instead of the U. S. of A.

Speaking of America

Mondays 8 to 10 pm Pacific Time (11 pm to 1 am ET)

Thirty years of "Voodoo" has put the US economy in a lot of Doo-doo. Tonight Don Manning is your host as we examine how and why. 

Help us take a closer look at Grover's royalist agenda, and how he uses big money and big media to enforce it on the GOP, and on our country. How does one millionaire wield so much power over the elected officials sent to Washington to represent We the People? Is this democracy at work, or more "in your face" corrupution and politics as usual?"

Also, did you know that nearly 2 million signatures are being presented tomorrow at the  historic hearing in the United States Senate on the impacts of Super-PAC's and "Citizens United?"  We'll send a Coffee Party T-shirt to the caller who can best connect our two main subjects: Grover & Citizens United!

Or, just call in and tell us what's on your mind.  We love hearing from ya!

And, don't forget tomorrow night at 5 pm PT (8 pm ET) it's The Middle Ground with Michael Charney and Eric Byler. They'll talk about the Senate hearings on Citizens United. 

Sunday 5 pm ET on Coffee Party Radio: Debunking Four Spending Myths Keeping U.S. from Recovery

​​THE BOTTOM LINE with Jessica English

Sundays 5 pm to 6:30 pm eastern time (2 pm to 3:30 pm PT)


Our guest on The Bottom Line Sunday, Mattea Kramer, writes in her latest piece that high-profile claims of fantasy, fear only hold back America's resources from being used to spur economy

Please join us Sunday at 5 pm ET (2 pm PT) as Jessica English welcomes Mattea Kramer of National Priorities Project as her guest. Mattea's article, Four Spending Myths Holding Up the Economy, has been bouncing all over the Internet, including TomDispatch, CBS News, Mother Jones, Huffington Post, and Salon.

Mattea's research suggests that the US economy is being held back by policy made politically viable, not by facts or evidence, but by the power of media products and think tanks funded by the super-wealthy. As we approach Tuesday's historic Senate hearing about the impact of Super PAC's and "Citizens United," Jessica English will ask Mattea if it's really true that the best thing for our economy is to give our money to those who are already wealthy and stop investing in We the People.  And, if not, how did it come to pass that so many people think so?

My favorite (actually least favorite) Myth was #4: The Affordable Care Act -- Obamacare -- will bankrupt the federal government while levying the biggest tax in U.S. history.

Here are the others: 

Spending Myth 1: Today's deficits have taken us to a historically unprecedented, economically catastrophic place.

Spending Myth 2: Military and other national security spending have already taken their lumps and future budget-cutting efforts will have to take aim at domestic programs instead.

Spending Myth 3: Government health-insurance programs are more costly than private insurance.

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