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Coffee Connect: The Coffee Party Newsletter • vol 3. #9


Coffee Party Radio:

Our Goal Is to Amplify Your Voice

by Eric Byler

If you frequent our Facebook page (now at 417 K fans), you know that Coffee Party Radio is on the air 5 days a week. We donate our time to Coffee Party Radio because it is the best way to connect communities, and the best way to hear from you. 

Coffee Party Radio allows us to demonstrate that Super-PAC’s and “news” channels are not the only way to have a voice in today’s America.  The Coffee Party is reaching millions of people every week. The most important ingredient? Your participation.

Your insights and experiences help to make sure that our national conversation is a two-way street; not a one-way street like the powerful media products that misled its consumers into voting against our nation’s economic interest, leading to the Wall Street casino that collapsed our economy and created the Great Recession.

So this is your invitation to pick up the phone and do your small part for 99 Percent Media.  C’mon!  It’s as easy as calling a family member or a friend.  All you have to do is dial 646-929-2495 when our radio shows are airing (see schedule) and you’ll be connected to a national community of concerned citizens who know how to talk about politics in a fact-based, civil, and transpartisan way.

And, if you want to be more involved — contributing to editorial decisions, chasing down news items, and lining up guests for our radio shows — please join our strategy call today (Sunday July 8) at 1 pm ET for those already in the game, and/or at 2 pm for new recruits.

Not a single member of the Coffee Party Board of Directors is a political professional.  None of our volunteers, and none of our original founders have ever been paid for political engagement.  We operate based on the theory that, once you realize you CAN have an impact on our national discourse, then you will decide, as we all have, that you ought to do.



The Supreme Court Has Spoken: Now It's Our Turn

by Eric Byler, Coffee Party Board of Directors

Yesterday, five justices on the Supreme Court spoke out on the issue of money in politics.  They declined to reconsider the "Citizens United" decision, and reaffirmed their radical stance that multi-national corporations have a Constitutional "right" to spend unlimited and anonymous money to influence our elections.   [MORE]

Let's Get Real About "Obamacare"

by Jessica English, Host of "The Bottom Line"

As the nation prepared for the Supreme Court's decision about our access to affordable health care, both Alec MacGillis of The New Republic and Sabrina Tavernise of the New York Times have written eye-opening articles about how little our fellow citizens actually know about the Affordable Care Act. The political theater that's been produced about the law remains unpopular, but those familiar with the law point out that the actual provisions in the law are quite popular when polled without the rhetorical gamesmanship. Eric Kleefeld of Talking Points Memo tweeted recently, "Pretty sure what makes Obamacare unconstitutional for Republicans is the Obama part." 

So... is it socialism?  Is the government going to take over your relationship with your doctor?  Is it impossible, un-American, unaffordable?  Will it kill business? Why have ideas, that are accepted by the majority of Americans, become so partisan? What is the Supreme Court deciding this week, anyway???  

How is your business, state, family, employer, and community going to be affected by the law?  Did you know most Americans are missing even the most basic information regarding the law - like the definition of an insurance exchange?  



Foes of Immigration Wrong to

Celebrate Arizona Ruling

by Eric Byler, Coffee Party Board of Directors

Here is my initial reading of the Supreme Court's decision in favor of the U.S. Department of Justice and the Obama administration with regard to Arizona's historic immigration law, SB 1070:

  • I was wrong.  I predicted (below) that the Supreme Court would go beyond the scope of the case before them, and strike down Arizona's SB 1070 in total based on the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.  Instead, they ruled as the Obama administration argued that the law violates the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, and clarified that the United States is one country, not 50, and that only the federal government can make foreign policy, immigration policy, trade policy, etc.  
  • I will be proven RIGHT in time.  The Obama administration decided not to challenge the most controversial part of SB 1070, the requirement that law enforcement officials check immigration status based on a subjective standard of suspicion.  I predicted based on recent case history that the Court would go beyond the case as argued and make a more sweeping decision (as it has to expand the power of multi-national corporations to influence our elections and limit the power of trade unions to do so).  Instead, the Court seemed to rule with 14th Amendment blinders on, saying that the "Reasonable Suspicion" does not violate the Supremacy Clause but implying strongly that it does violate Equal Protection.
  • Kennedy's majority opinion essentially delays the civil rights ruling for another case, presumably one that shows that a person has been detained under SB 1070 just to check their immigration status, which the Court says would be unconstitutional.  He writes: "This opinion does not foreclose other preemption and constitutional challenges to the law as interpreted and applied after it goes into effect."

    When a challenge based on Equal Protection reaches the Supreme Court, it seems evident that a 6-3 decision wills strike down this provision as well.  (Justices Roberts, Ginsburg, Breyer and Sotomayor agreed with Justice Kennedy's majority opinion. Scalia,  Thomas and Alito filed opinions partly agreeing and partly disagreeing). [MORE]

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Michael Stafford Leaves G.O.P.

by Jessica English, Host of "The Bottom Line"

Our featured guest for a recent show was syndicated columnist Michael Stafford.  Stafford is the author of the conservative treatise An Upward Calling, a powerful argument for fact-based and compassionate conservatism.

But a few days ago, Michael's column entitled Why I Gave Up Being a Republican has taken his principled dissent within the GOP to a bittersweet (perhaps temporary?) goodbye.  His announcement touched off a firestorm on the web, and thanks to a long-term friendship with the Coffee Party, Michael has chosen The Bottom Line for his first interview since he published this piece! 

Michael has been a Republican since grade school. Not only has he voted Republican, he was also an official in the party.  So what the heck happened? I can empathize because I left the Republican Party eight years ago. What about you?  Where do you stand?  In this show we talked about what led to Michael Stafford's decision and where he plans to go from here.  In the meantime, please visit  The Bottom Line newsletter to read some of Michael's thought-provoking work. [MORE]

Propaganda Awareness Contest

by Mike Potters, Pensacola Coffee Party

The Coffee Party USA Propaganda Awareness Video PSA Contest Committee is going to conduct a YouTube Video Contest. The contest’s main goal is for contestant entries to attract the attention of as many people as possible through entertainment, and then to heighten viewer awareness of a propaganda technique, when it is being used in a political ad, or in propaganda disguised as broadcast journalism, to provoke viewers into agree with some political position without using facts, or even stating the truth.
The contest also may provide an excellent new way for the Coffee Party to get the word out to others about who we are, and what we stand for.
Here is how the contest will work: Contestants must create a very brief, provocative, entertaining, engaging YouTube video (30 seconds – 5 minutes) that’s presented in a civil manner, and non-partisan in regard to any particular position on a current political argument. The object is to keep the message focused on propaganda awareness education, and to use entertainment to hold the interest of people no matter what positions they may have on current issues, left, right, or center. Each video PSA entry must be educational in this particular way.
Coffee Party USA Propaganda Awareness Video PSA Contest Committee needs people who wish to put a little time to help get the contest rolling. If you’d like to help, please contact Mike Potters at VideoContest@coffeepartyusa.com

Corporate Personhood and Politics Don't Mix

by Debilyn Molineaux, Coffee Party Executive Director

Upon hearing that the Supreme Court decided 5-4 to overturn 100 years of campaign laws in Montana, I felt it in my stomach. Actually, I felt like I’d just been gut-punched. My visceral reaction is only one of many that we are experiencing today as Americans. While over 80% of Americans disagree with the Citizens United ruling, currently only five people’s opinion matter on this subject. And they sit on the Supreme Court.

Ironically, the Citizens United ruling is about free speech, and liberally grants free speech to corporations. More precisely, this marks a time when we as a country have stretched the definition of corporate person hood beyond that of a legal entity, to that of a living entity. These corporations are of many stripes, including small businesses, unions, churches, advocacy groups, hobby clubs and others in addition to the multi-national corporations we commonly think of as “corporations.”

One point that no one seems to be making is that corporations were formed to be people organizing together as a group. Each of these individual people have the right of free speech, and now the entity has the right of free speech. In the arena of politics, this effectively doubles, triples or more the voice of every person who has enough money to buy more "free speech." If the media would provide "free advertising" to each entity or person who requested it, then we might actually have free speech in politics. Right now, it’s more of an auction atmosphere.

Additionally, not every person who organizes within a corporate entity is a citizen of the United States.  This allows foreign investors, who likely have profit motives, rather than civic investment motives, "free speech" rights in our electoral process. They may not get to vote in the election itself, but their influence will be felt, none the less. [MORE]

Response to SCOTUS Refusal to Rethink Citizens United

by Michael Charney, Co-Host "The Middle Ground"

While we’ve all been waiting patiently for the Supreme Court to rule on the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”), two other very important cases were also on the court’s docket recently. And while we are now forced to wait until Thursday for the decision on health care, the other rulings (which were announced today) now blanket our media—all 100% of it.

One of those two—the challenge against Montana’s 1912 law barring corporations from contributing to political parties and campaigns—was decided in favor of the complainant, American Tradition Partnership.  ATP, a conservative advocacy group, successfully challenged the Montana ban (which had previously been upheld by Montana’s Supreme Court).  Today’s ruling came back as  a 5-4 partisan decision that effectively reaffirms the earlier Citizens United ruling and makes clear that the federal findings supersede any state laws. [MORE]

Get The Facts on Federal Spending

by Jeanene Louden, Coffee Party Board of Directors

This chart shows how the $35,000 I paid in Federal Income Taxes was spent by our government in Fiscal Year 2011. Not a lot of room for a social safety net after $9,450 went to military spending! (Click on the chart to enlarge, and click here to create your own tax dollar chart.) I think this amazing interactive tool is something worth talking about, that's why today's Lunch with Louden is proud to host the woman who put it together.

Jo Comerford, executive director of National Priorities Project was my guest on a recent Coffee Party Radio Show (6/21), listen to archived show HERE.

I paid a lot of federal taxes. My interest in folks like the National Priorities Project is that they reveal the simple truth about where the money went. The truth is useful. Ironically, as a business person, the numbers seldom take me where the common media narrative (the evil voice over) wants me to go.

Yes, I am concerned about our national debt and impending debt ceiling “conversation.” But debt just points me to the fact that we should not be giving discounts (tax cuts) we cannot afford. And that cost savings makeovers like "Obama Care" (snarky term) are brilliant, given that the dollars I paid into medicare and health expense are second only to those I chipped in for the military. [MORE]

Independent Thinker? Explore "The Middle Ground"

by Michael Charney, Co-Host "The Middle Ground"

Ever wonder what the so-called “mainstream media” really thinks?  Recently we explored that question and more with Jennifer Vaughn, the evening anchor at WMUR-TV (an ABC affiliate in New Hampshire). Jennifer has interviewed all of the candidates in the past two presidential election cycles, and she has interesting insights to share.  CLICK HERE to listen to the archived recording.

We also took a look at why New Hampshire is one of the few places where money doesn’t seem to buy elections. Candidates have to get up close and personal to win votes. But why is it different there? And what can we do around the country to mirror that small-town, up-close-and-personal campaigning style?

As always, we’ll go where the conversation takes us. [MORE]


Why the New Dreamers Policy

Is Good for the American Economy

by Eric Byler, Coffee Party Board of Directors

President Obama's decision to override years of anti-immigrant obstruction — the DREAM Act passed the U.S. House 216-198, and had a 55-41 edge in the Senate in 2010 but was killed by a filibuster — is not only good for immigrant families, it is good for America as a whole.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates this approach will reduce our deficit by $1.4 billion over the next 10 years due to increased tax revenue. A recent study by UCLA’s North American Integration and Development Center estimated that $1.4 TRILLION over 40 years in income would be generated by DREAM Act beneficiaries. And, America’s military leaders advocate for the DREAM Act because it would significantly increase the pool of recruits qualified to defend our nation.

Since I can't be sure what you may have heard from exploiters of anti-immigrant sentiment employed in politics and in the One Percent Media, let's be clear about what we are talking about.  First of all, this policy shift does not grant voting rights to anyone — this is the major sticking point for Republican moderates on this issue, who want immigration reforms such as these in order to grow our economy, but are weary of expanding the immigrant (and, let's be frank, non-white) electorate.  Okay, so no new voters to deal with.  What this new policy does do is allow people to avoid deportation and get work permits who were brought to U.S. by their parents before the age of 16. [MORE]

People Who Make a Difference

by Debilyn Molineaux, Coffee Party Executive Director

There are many people who have volunteered at Coffee Party USA. Some folks give just a few hours and some give thousands of hours.  Whether you’ve given your time, your money or just your attention, we’d like to say thanks.  And here are a few people who’ve made a big difference by giving of their time.

David Matarasso is a name many people know from Coffee Party on Facebook.  Actually, there are many names we all see on the Facebook page a lot.  What makes David stand out is that he volunteered to coordinate our Social Media Teams (part of the Messaging Work Group) and organize how we are bringing in more volunteers.  David’s energy seems boundless, as he has taken on several more volunteer tasks for us too, but Social Media is where you will most likely meet David.  Thank you David!

Jeanene Louden is the Secretary for the Board of Directors.  Additionally, Jeanene serves as the liaison for the Board Development Work Group, which will soon be recruiting for board elections.  Jeanene also sits in on the Strategy and Organizational Design Work Group and happens to be the host of “Lunch with Louden” on Coffee Party Radio.  To say that she lives and breathes Coffee Party, would be an understatement.  

Cameron Kruger is a Founding Member of the Coffee Party, but only recently decided to volunteer his time.  He has jumped in with the Internet Infrastructure Work Group which is currently working on a new website for Coffee Party USA.  He also recruited two of his buddies to work with him on the project.  Then, because he was so inspired, Cameron joined the Development Work Group with an idea for fun local meetings and sustainable funding at local coffee shops.  Thank you Cameron! 

We have many super volunteers at Coffee Party USA.  Look for their stories in future newsletters.  You can make a difference at Coffee Party USA by becoming a volunteer today.  



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