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How the Deficit Got This Big

Despite what antigovernment conservatives say, non-defense discretionary spending on areas like foreign aid, education and food safety was not a driving factor in creating the deficits. In fact, such spending, accounting for only 15 percent of the budget, has been basically flat as a share of the economy for decades. Cutting it simply will not fill the deficit hole.


Supreme Court Rejects Judge-Drawn Maps in Texas Redistricting Case

US Supreme CourtThe Supreme Court on Friday instructed a lower court in Texas to take a fresh look at election maps it had drawn in place of a competing set of maps from the Texas Legislature. The justices said the lower court had not paid enough deference to the Legislature’s choices and had improperly substituted its own values for those of elected officials.

The court’s unanimous decision extends the uncertainty surrounding this major voting-rights case, which could help determine control of the House of Representatives.


Newt Gingrich: I would ignore supreme court as president

Newt GingrichNewt Gingrich has pledged that on his first day as president he will set up a constitutional showdown by ordering the military to defy a supreme court ruling extending some legal rights to foreign terrorism suspects and captured enemy combatants in US custody.

The Republican contender told a forum of anti-abortion activists ahead of South Carolina's primary election that as president he would ignore supreme court rulings he regards as legally flawed. He implied that would also extend to the 1973 decision, Roe vs Wade, legalising abortion.


Five U.S. Senators Are Perfect Koch Servants, Americans For Prosperity Reports

Koch BrothersFive senators and 39 representatives received a perfect 100 percent score from the Koch brothers’ Astroturf group Americans For Prosperity for the first half of the 112th Congress.

AFP judged Congress on their votes to protect the Koch brothers’ right-wing petrochemical empire on such issues as the repeal of President Obama’s new health care law, preempting EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases, Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget to end Medicare, ending ethanol subsidies, several Congressional Review Act resolutions of disapproval to overturn new regulations and the fiscal year 2012 appropriations bills.


Six Problems Unique to 2012 New Hampshire Elections:

ew Hampshire primary1. Removed safeguards for its same-day registration system. 2. Ignores the law on ballot-stuffing safeguards 3. Breaks the chain of custody 4. Conceals vote-counting from the public, in violation of Article 32 of its own Constitution5. Removed candidate recount rights (2009) 6. Made it illegal for public citizens or members of the press to examine the ballots after the election is over (2003)

TWO THINGS YOU CAN DO 1. Get involved with Protect the Count NH or Watch the Vote 2012 (links below) 2. Monitor the trap doors


New York City Council Votes Against Corporate Personhood, Citizens United

NY City Council votesMissoula, Montana; Boulder, Colorado; and South Miami, Florida, have all done it, but you know it's really catching on when the Big Apple jumps on board. The New York City Council voted Wednesday to get rid of corporate personhood in a growing nationwide backlash against the much-maligned Citizens United ruling.

Passed on January 21, 2010, Citizens United gave corporations the same political rights as people, opening the door for nearly unlimited political spending on elections.


Iowa: Issues of Integrity for the Iowa Republican Caucus

Iowa CaucusBrad Friedman at reports on some key procedures in the 2012 Iowa Republican caucus. At issue is just how transparent and public the process is, and whether there are any holes in the cheese. Fewer holes than 2008, it seems. A bit of diligence on the part of caucus participants will be needed (see end of this article for what to do).

There is also some consternation from concerned citizens about a recent story, which reports that the Iowa statewide caucus counting will be moved to an undisclosed location, its author chiding those who question the transparency behind such a move as "conspiracy minded types."


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