Center for American Progress

At least 22 million would go hungry under Ryan/Romney budget

In today’s politics the term compassionate conservatism is an oxymoron. There’s no such thing with this bunch…

Daily Kos

Remember how those massive budget cuts in the Romney/Ryan plan fall primarily on poor Americans? The Center for American Progress has a new report detailing how those cuts in turn will affect children.

cuts to kids
  • The House Agriculture Committee’s budget cuts $33 billion from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program over the next decade, along with cuts that tie it into other safety net programs, which means school breakfast and lunch is out. As many as 22 million kids will go hungry.
  • Ways and Means eliminated the Social Services Block Grant, which funds state programs for child abuse prevention and intervention, foster care and child protective services. More than 11 million children are helped with these programs.
  • Immigrant parents won’t be able to use the child tax credit, because Ways and Means would allow the credit only for taxpayers filing under their Social Security number, not those who use an alternate taxpayer ID number. That’s about $1,800 per immigrant family, representing about 5.5 million children.

Let the children go hungry, say Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. Because those millionaires need their tax breaks. And the Pentagon has to have a bigger budget, whether it wants it or not.

Voter Suppression 101

Undermining Democracy is a very serious offense against our Constitution.

Yet Republicans, with the help of Right-Wing front group ALEC, have done just that on a massive scale.

The following is just a small segment of a brief  the Center for American Progress compiled…

Center For American Progress

How Conservatives Are Conspiring to Disenfranchise Millions of Americans

Download this issue brief (pdf)

Read the brief in your web browser (Scribd)

The right to vote is under attack all across our country. Conservative legislators are introducing and passing legislation that creates new barriers for those registering to vote, shortens the early voting period, imposes new requirements for already-registered voters, and rigs the Electoral College in select states. Conservatives fabricate reasons to enact these laws—voter fraud is exceedingly rare—in their efforts to disenfranchise as many potential voters among certain groups, such as college students, low-income voters, and minorities, as possible. Rather than modernizing our democracy to ensure that all citizens have access to the ballot box, these laws hinder voting rights in a manner not seen since the era of Jim Crow laws enacted in the South to disenfranchise blacks after Reconstruction in the late 1800s.

Talk about turning back the clock! At its best, America has utilized the federal legislative process to augment voting rights. Constitutional amendments such as the 12th, 14th, 15th, 17th, 19th, 23rd, and 26th have steadily improved the system by which our elections take place while expanding the pool of Americans eligible to participate. Yet in 2011, more than 30 state legislatures considered legislation to make it harder for citizens to vote, with over a dozen of those states succeeding in passing these bills. Anti-voting legislation appears to be continuing unabated so far in 2012.

Unfortunately, the rapid spread of these proposals in states as different as Florida and Wisconsin is not occurring by accident. Instead, many of these laws are being drafted and spread through corporate-backed entities such as the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, as uncovered in a previous Center for American Progress investigative report. Detailed in that report, ALEC charges corporations such as Koch Industries Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc., and The Coca-Cola Co. a fee and gives them access to members of state legislatures. Under ALEC’s auspices, legislators, corporate representatives, and ALEC officials work together to draft model legislation. As ALEC spokesperson Michael Bowman told NPR, this system is especially effective because “you have legislators who will ask questions much more freely at our meetings because they are not under the eyes of the press, the eyes of the voters.”

The investigative report included for the first time a leaked copy of ALEC’s model Voter ID legislation, which was approved by the ALEC board of directors in late 2009. This model legislation prohibited certain forms of identification, such as student IDs, and has been cited as the legislative model from groups ranging from Tea Party organizations to legislators proposing the actual legislation such as Wisconsin’s Voter ID proposal from Republican state Rep. Stone and Republican state Sen. Joe Leibham.

Registering the poor “to vote is like handing out burglary tools to criminals.”

-Conservative columnist Matthew Vadum

Continue reading here…

VIDEO: Republicans Change Their Tune On The 99 Percent Movement

The GOP are such hypocrites!

Think Progress

ThinkProgress has already reported on the disdainful reaction the 99 Percent Movement initially received from the mainstream corporate media, as well as the notable double standardin the right-wing media’s coverage of the movement versus the Tea Parties.

But as the protests have demonstrated their staying power, and polls have shown Americans support the movement, a number of Republican politicians have come around on the 99 percent. After leading the denigration and belittling of the movement, some softened their tone, offering understanding and compassion for those in the 99 percent movement. ThinkProgress has the video report.

Watch it:

During Secret Retreat With Billionaires, Koch Lobbyist Admits Tea Party Group ‘Designed’ To Elect Republicans In 2010

Rachel Maddow dissected the Koch brothers’ relationship to the Tea Party over a year ago…so this is nothing new.  It’s simply inadvertently out in the open.

Think Progress

This morning, blogger Brad Friedman, writing in Mother Jones and BradBlog, revealed a set of audio tapes from the last major donor meeting convened by the billionaire Koch brothers. There are a number of startling revelations from the scoop — but the opening remarks from Kevin Gentry, a Koch Industries executive at the firm’s DC lobbying office, blow the cover off the many Tea Party efforts underwritten by the billionaires in the Koch network of donors.

Gentry, who doubles as the official responsible for doling out Koch charitable grants, admits privately what ThinkProgress and others have noted for years: Americans for Prosperity, the front group founded by David Koch, orchestrates Tea Party events simply to elect more Republicans. Gentry said he met with Fred Young, a Wisconsin owner of engine manufacturing plants, at an Americans for Prosperity (AFP) event “designed to help in the Congressional races” during one of their “get out the vote tours”:

KEVIN GENTRY: I’m going to turn it over to a dear friend, Fred Young, for the purposes of an introduction. Fred is a long-time fighter, freedom fighter, in this movement, from Racine, Wisconsin. Former owner of Young Radiator. As part of our efforts last year, in 2010, I was on the road for [TN?] in Wisconsin, here at one of Americans for Prosperity’s last minute kind of get out the vote tours. And I went to an event in Racine, Wisconsin, and met up with Fred. It was sort of a Tea Party AFP event designed to help in the Congressional races. And Fred was kind enough to lend me a sweatshirt because I wasn’t actually prepared for Racine, Wisconsin in November. So Fred, let’s take it away, please.

Too many in the media ignored the Koch network’s transparently partisan agenda last year. A few outlets, like the Washington Post, took the group to task for spending $45 million in attack ads against Democrats using an unaccountable, secret money wing of Americans for Prosperity. However, most failed to report on the millions more spent on four different bus tours designed to promote Republicans. These rallies, which required great resources in terms of staff and logistics, were never reported to the Federal Elections Committee as campaign spending, thus evading the few watchdog groups and reporters interested in serious election coverage.

As ThinkProgress revealed last year, in documents outlining the June, 2010 donor meeting, billionaires like Paul Singer, Ken Griffin, Rich DeVos, and John Childs are regular attendees of these events, which solicit multi-million donations for an elaborate array of right-wing front groups, from Tea Party organizers like Americans for Prosperity to stealth advertising campaigns like “Public Notice.” Unfortunately, many still report on Tea Party groups like Americans for Prosperity as bonafide grassroots organizations.

Related articles

Behind the Story: Koch Industries Lobbying (Video)

Huffington Post

[...]

Charles and David Koch, the owners of the country’s second-largest private corporation, are libertarians of long standing, who contend that government regulations, taxes and subsidies stifle individual initiative and hamper American competitiveness. In recent years, the Kochs have played an increasingly public role as financial angels for conservative causes, politicians and foundations.

What’s not so well-known is the activity of Koch Industries in the trenches in Washington, where a Center for Public Integrity examination of lobbying disclosure files and federal regulatory records reveals a lobbying steamroller for the company’s interests, at times in conflict with its public pose.

The money that Koch (pronounced “coke”) has spent on lobbying in Washington has soared in recent years, from $857,000 in 2004 to $20 million in 2008. The Kochs then spent another $20.5 million over the next two years to influence federal policy, as the company’s lobbyists and officials sought to mold, gut or kill more than 100 prospective bills or regulations.       Continue reading here…

Bristol Palin’s Nonprofit Paid Her Seven Times What It Spent On Actual Teen Pregnancy Prevention

A fraud by any other name is still a fraud…

Think Progress

In 2009, Sarah Palin’s daughter Bristol joined a teen pregnancy prevention nonprofit called the Candie’s Foundation. Today, the Associated Press reported that the Candie’s Foundation released its 2009 tax information, revealing that Bristol was paid a salary of $262,500.

But a closer examination of the tax form by ThinkProgress shows that the group disbursed only $35,000 in grants to actual teen pregnancy health and counseling clinics: $25,000 to the Mt. Sinai Adolescent Health Center and $10,000 to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. View a screenshot of Bristol’s exorbitant salary below:

Continue reading here…

REPORT: Everything You Need To Know About The Koch Brothers

More info on the diabolical Koch brothers…

Think Progress

Today, the Center for American Progress Action Fund released a report shedding light on the vast Koch network and how it operates. The report shows that Charles and David Koch have used the considerable wealth (they are worth a combined $44 billion) to push policies that put their profits ahead of the interests of most Americans.

The report finds:

  • Grassroots organizing for big business. The Koch brothers use their considerable wealth to bankroll the right wing, including the Tea Party. This serves the purpose of furthering not only their right-wing ideology but also their bottom line. Koch Industries has a lot to gain from gutting government oversight and electing candidates who oppose government regulation, especially in the oil-and-gas industry.
  • $85 million to 85 think tanks. Identification of at least $85 million the Koch brothers have given to at least 85 right-wing think tanks and advocacy groups over the past decade and a half.
  • State organizing. The Koch brothers are active at the state level, spending $5.2 million on candidates and ballot measures in 34 states since 2003. They donated directly to 13 governors that won election last year.
  • Over 70% of the GOP Freshman. The Kochs donated directly to 62 of the 87 members of the House GOP freshman class.
  • 2012. The Kochs are not going away. In fact, they have already pledged to raise $88 million for the 2012 election and have started scheduling events for potential Republican presidential candidates.

Read the full report here.

This report is intended to be a guide to help progressives map out the vast network of influence the Koch brothers have built over the last decades. By exposing the Koch brothers’ agenda and shedding light on how they operate, progressives can force a public debate that will show that the Koch brothers are outside the mainstream of most Americans and that they are putting their self-interest and right wing agenda ahead of middle-class families

2,000 Protesters March On Koch Industries’ D.C. Office

Think Progress

Though they don’t want you to know about it, the billionaire Koch brothers are bankrolling a massive campaign to roll back progressive achievements, and today, labor, civil rights, and climate activists turned out at dozens of rallies across the country to demonstrate against the Koch’s secretive influence in American politics and to stand up for labor and civil rights.

In Washington, D.C. today an estimated 2,000 protesters marched on Koch Industries’ Washington D.C. offices and attempted to give Charles and David Koch an invitation to come out and speak with the protesters. Not surprisingly, the building’s doors were locked and no one was allowed inside. However, a representative from the real estate company which managed the building told an handful of organizers who attempted to deliver the invitation, “I’d be here with you guys if I wasn’t working right now.” Noting that he works for the building, not Koch, he said, “I don’t want to be here.”

The events were scheduled for today because it marks the 43rd anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis, TN. King traveled to Memphis to support a strike by the city’s sanitation workers, and was an ardent supporter of workers’ rights. Dr. Earl D. Trent Jr., the senior pastor at the Florida Avenue Baptist Church in Washington, told ThinkProgress that if King “were alive today, he would be right here at the forefront, no doubt.” “And that’s why we have to carry this out.”

Last Thursday, tea party activists rallied on Capitol Hill to pressure Republican lawmakers to cut government spending. Crowd estimates ranged from “dozens” to “fewer than 200,” yet the event attracted dozens of reporters and significant media interest, producing hundreds of stories in local and national press. At today’s rally, which was ten times bigger than the tea party one, ThinkProgress spotted three reporters — none from mainstream publications.

Waxman: ‘All That Seems To Matter Is What Koch Industries Think’

Henry Waxman, member of the United States Cong...

Image via Wikipedia

Think Progress

Speaking at the Center for American Progress Action Fund today, House energy committee ranking member Henry Waxman (D-CA) railed against the toxic influence of Koch Industries on efforts to fight global warming. Waxman, who fought polluters to pass the Clean Air Act of 1990, is dismayed by the level of outright science denial among the Republican Party today, exemplified by their votes to slash and burn environmental protection, and the Upton-Inhofe bill to reverse the scientific finding that carbon pollution threatens public health:

It apparently no longer matters in Congress what health experts and scientists think. All that seems to matter is what Koch Industries thinks.

Watch a compilation of Waxman’s remarks:

“The new Republican majority has a lot of leeway to rewrite laws,” Waxman also said, “but they don’t have the ability to rewrite the laws of nature.”

Web Ad: Pledging Allegiance To Secret Corporate Donors

Think Progress

After reading our ThinkProgress reports on the Chamber of Commerce’s secret corporate funding, an entrepreneurial fan of our blog passed us this web ad he conceived.

The Report

Last week, ThinkProgress published an exclusive story about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s foreign fundraising operation. We noted the Chamber raises money from foreign-owned businesses for its 501(c)(6) entity, the same account that finances its unprecedented $75 million dollar partisan attack ad campaign. While the Chamber is notoriously secretive, the thrust of our story involved the disclosure of fundraising documents U.S. Chamber staffers had been distributing to solicit foreign (even state-owned) companies to donate directly to the Chamber’s 501(c)(6).

We documented three different ways the Chamber fundraises from foreign corporations: (1) An internal fundraising program called “Business Councils” used to solicit direct, largely foreign contributions to the Chamber, (2) Direct contributions from foreign multinationals like BP, Siemens, and Shell Oil, and (3) From the Chamber’s network of AmCham affiliates, which are foreign chambers of the Chamber composed of American and foreign companies. The Chamber quickly acknowledged that it receives direct, foreign money, but simply replied, “We are not obligated to discuss our internal procedures.” Instead of providing any documentation or proof to demonstrate foreign money is not being used for electioneering purposes, the Chamber launched an aggressive media strategy to first, attack ThinkProgress with petty name-calling and second, to confuse the media by highlighting the Chamber’s relatively minor AmCham fundraising, which the Chamber says (also without documentation) totals “approximately $100,000” from all 115 international AmCham chapters. The Chamber and the media largely ignored ThinkProgress’ revelation about the Chamber’s direct foreign fundraising to its 501(c)(6) used for attack ads.

Yesterday, the Chamber’s chief lobbyist Bruce Josten, who has been spoon-feeding much of the media distortions about our report, went on Fox News (whose parent company donated $1 million to the Chamber recently for its ad campaign) to again try to dilute the issue by dissembling about the Chamber’s fundraising and membership. “We have probably 60 or so foreign multi-national companies in our membership that we have had for decades, many of which have been in the United States for half a century or a century,” said Josten.

The Chamber is being deceptive. In addition to multinational members of the Chamber headquartered abroad (like BP, Shell Oil, and Siemens), a new ThinkProgress investigation has identified at least 84 other foreign companies that actively donate to the Chamber’s 501(c)(6). Below is a chart detailing the annual dues foreign corporations have indicated that they give directly to the Chamber (using information that is publicly available from the Business Council applications and the Chamber’s own websites.)