US prosecutors told to push for more, harsher punishments

More, harsher punishments = more prisoners in federal prisons, many of which are corporate-run = more profits for corporations that run prisons = more cash available by agents of corporate-run prisons to lobby and contribute/invest in public officials to have more, harsher punishments.

Repeat.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/us-prosecutors-told-to-push-for-more-harsher-punishments/ar-BBB2Pgg

 

 

Cleveland citizens decry impact of Citizens United case at first Democracy Day hearing

DemocracyDay

Hearing prompts calls to curb corporate campaign influence

By Robert Higgs, cleveland.com

http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2017/05/cleveland_citizens_decry_impac.html#incart_river_home

Cleveland initiative opposing Citizens United should have gone to city voters: Lois Romanoff and Chris Stocking (Opinion)

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Great piece posted on cleveland.com…

I offered many reflections in the comments section at the end.

http://www.cleveland.com/opinion/index.ssf/2017/03/cleveland_democracy_day_is_wel.html#incart_river_home

Tom Price is Costly to Democracy

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Tell Senators Rob Portman (202-224-3353) and Sherrod Brown (1-888-896-6446) to oppose the nomination of Tom Price as Health and Human Services Secretary.

Tom Price purchased stock last June at a special privileged discount from a biomedical corporation, Innate Immunotherapeutics, according to the Wall Street Journal. This was contrary to his testimony during his confirmation hearing. Price sits on the House Ways and Means Committee’s health subcommittee, which is responsible for passing laws and regulations related to the medical industry.

In a separate investment, Price bought between $1,001 and $15,000 in shares of Zimmer Biomet, a medical device maker. A week later, he introduced legislation financially benefiting the company. The bill, the 21st Century Cures Act, became law.

This is pay-to-play political corruption through and through — something candidate Trump said he opposed. Price’s actions are costly to not only health care but to what’s left of our democracy. Price is not right to oversee the federal agency concerning health care and the health care industry.

Yet another example among 1000s of the use of big money from wealthy individuals and/or corporations seeking to capture the political system for their own ends — and why we need the We the People Amendment to the Constitution.

#EndCorporateRule #CorporateRule #Democracy #WeThePeopleAmendment #MovetoAmend

Pay-to-play of Betsy DeVos

corruption

Last Tuesday, U.S. Representatives from Ohio Marcy Kaptur, Marcia Fudge and Joyce Beatty spoke on the House floor demanding that President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, pay the millions in fines owed to the State of Ohio for breaking campaign finance law. As Rep. Kaptur testified:

“These obligations total $5.3 million dollars, in unpaid‎ fines and levied late penalties. Her PAC, All Children Matter, owes the state of Ohio for campaign finance violations, the largest fines ever levied in Ohio history.

In addition, according to OpenSecrets.org, Betsy DeVos gave direct contributions to at least 20 current Members of the Senate. These are the same Senators who will now confirm her for the Secretary of Education position.

No one is above law. Betsy DeVos’ attempt to subvert the law and buy influence is diametrically opposed to everything the President-elect advised was wrong with America. He wants to drain the swamp. I call on President-Elect Trump to hold Betsy DeVos accountable.”

DeVos is a huge supporter of privatizing/corporatizing public education through the creation of charter schools and vouchers.

It should be noted that several recipients of the illegal political campaign contributions in Ohio from nearly a decade ago are still in office, including Lt. Governor Mary Taylor, Sec of State John Husted, Treasurer Josh Mandel, and current Ohio House member and former Ohio Senate President Keith Faber.

DeVos’ confirmination hearing is today. Our Senators need to hear that we oppose her confirmation as Secretary of Education.

DeVos has an estimated net worth of $5.1 billion. She, like so many others of extreme riches, use their wealth power to achieve political power. It’s a formula for corruption, cronyism, political perversion, economic misallocation, and public mistrust, cynicism, alienation and disempowerment. It feeds on itself as others feel they must follow suit to keep us in a cycle that leads to democratic decay, if not destruction. It’s the path we are racing down. It’s up to us to stop it. Knowing is the first step. Taking action, strategic action, mass action that addresses root causes – not just (un)electing public officials or (un)enacting laws and regulations — must be the next step. That’s where changing ground rules, constitutional rules, comes in. It’s not easy. It’s not necessarily quick. But it must be our quest.

Addicted politicians to political investments oppose importing cheaper Canadian drugs

 

corruption

A simple amendment to a bill in the U.S. Senate was introduced Wednesday night urging the government to permit U.S. residents to purchase pharmaceutical drugs from Canada. The practice is currently illegal.

Canadian drugs are much cheaper than those purchased in the US, not because of their inferior quality, but simply due to government price controls. The United States is the only industrialized country that does not use price controls for pharmaceuticals.

The amendment introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders failed 52-46. That’s not surprising in one sense given the political views of Sanders compared to the majority of the Senate. However, what was surprising was who voted for and against the amendment. Thirteen Republicans and a majority of Democrats supported the Sanders amendment, while 13 Democrats and a majority of Republicans opposed it.

A 2015 poll found that 72 percent of Americans support Canadian drug importation. President-elect Donald Trump also campaigned on a promise to allow for importation.

Those opposing the amendment claimed safety issues. This is a smokescreen.  Do we really believe Canadian drug standards are fundamentally different that here? Besides most Canadian drugs are originally manufactured in the United States.

No. A big reason for the vote was money – not the high drug prices, but the Senators drugged and addicted to political campaign donations…or investments from big Pharma – that is pharmaceutical corporations.

Leading the way among the 13 Democrats who opposed the Sanders amendment was New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, perceived as an early front-runner for the 2020 Democratic Presidential nomination. Over the last 6 years, he received $267,338 from Big Pharma. Many pharmaceutical and biotech firms reside in New Jersey. Other Democrats who opposed this reasonable measure were Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) who received $254,649; Robert Casey (D-PA) who received $250,730; and Michael Bennet (D-CO) who received $222,000.

By the way, Booker is also a Wall Street favorite. Securities and investment firms donated/invested $1.88 million to Booker during the 2014 midterm elections – ahead of all other 99 senators. Second was Mitch McConnell.

This behavior doesn’t do much for the reality, or even the perception, that politicians – Democrats and Republicans — are listening to average people. Another example of the disconnect between what people want and, in this case, the policies we don’t have. Another example of the hijacking of what’s left of our democracy through the addiction of corporate campaign cash. Another example why we need to abolish corporate personhood and money as speech through the Move to Amend We the People Amendment. And another example of why we can’t leave it to those we elect to represent us.

We must take charge – educate others, organize, mobilize and pressure politicians to do what’s just.