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A thought, an idea, a flash of inspiration. Potently Pickaninny but small enough to fit on a scrap of paper. Leave a comment. 



Goldman Sachs and Its Incognito Aide-ing of Congress

Just when I thought Wall Street bankers couldn’t possibly be any more despicable and Congressional Republicans any more explicit in their willingness to use the federal government to advance the interests of the banks, both have proven there is no limit to how far they will go. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), chair of the House Oversight Committee, hired a former vice president at Goldman Sachs to spearhead the committee’s effort to block regulations which would limit the banks dealings in the multi-trillion dollar derivatives market. This revelation, however, is not the most egregious part of the story. Unfortunately, the continuously revolving door between the Congress and corporations is no longer a newsworthy story on its own; corporate lobbyists turned congressional staffers turned corporate lobbyists again are an accepted part of life in Washington, D.C. This story stands out because the ex-Goldman Sachs VP, who was known to his colleagues as Peter Simonyi changed his name shortly after leaving the Wall Street firm—today, he is known to his congressional colleagues as Peter Haller.

Many, if not all, of the issues we face as a country can somehow be linked to the corporate takeover of our government. The more I think about it, we need to make doing something to diminish their influence on government and politics our number one priority. Move to Amend is coordinating an effort in support of a constitutional amendment which establishes that money is not speech and that corporations are not entitled to the same constitutional rights as people. It seems like one of the most constructive things we can do to push back against corporate power. I just signed their petition. Will you join me?


What's in the Proposed Debt Deal?

For those who follow politics and even for those who don't, the debt ceiling debate has predominated in the news for weeks. Unfortunately, most of the focus has been on the politics of the debate while discussion about the impact of the policy has been largely ignored. For anyone interested in what this proposed deal means on a policy level, take a listen to Ezra Klein's easy-to-follow discussion with The Majority Report's Sam Seder


The Corporate States of America

Oh, what a tangled web they weave…

Photo by Jon SullivanOver the past few days, I have heard a number of discussions about the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a right-wing policy think tank. The organization is getting quite a bit of attention these days, but it has been shaping policy in the states for almost forty years.  The Center for Media and Democracy recently released copies of more than 800 model bills approved by representatives of the largest corporations and funneled to conservative state legislatures via ALEC's various policy task forces. From the environment to immigration to voting to education to workers’ rights to prisons—you name the policy area—ALEC has crafted model legislation; despite the organization’s billing of itself as non-partisan, their model legislation appears to be primarily pushed through by Republican-controlled state legislatures.

Listen to The Nation's John Nichols' Majority Report interview regarding ALEC’s influence on state government policy.

The right wing always seems to keep an eye on their long-term agenda. The ability to remain focused on the future—even when you appear to be losing—may be one of the most important lessons that progressives could learn from the conservative movement. 



Proud of Georgia’s New Sex Trafficking Law

It has baffled me that a teenager who is too young to consent to sex in most states can be arrested for prostitution, while the men who are pimping her out and paying for sex with her don’t get charged. But things are changing in some states, like Georgia, where a new law just went into effect that prohibits prosecutors from charging people with sex crimes if they have been trafficked for sex. The new law includes medical treatment for the survivors of sex trafficking and sexual exploitation and tough penalties for human traffickers. If we’re serious about putting an end to commercial sexual exploitation, then we’ve got to penalize the people who profit from it, not the people being sold.


Power to the People!

I am heartened by Ohioans response to their governor’s signing of anti-collective bargaining legislation. Opponents of the bill collected 1,298,301 signatures in support of a November ballot measure to repeal the law; only 230,000 were needed.

It looks like the Republicans' efforts to take down Ohio’s unions won't be as easy as they once thought.

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