Values - Audra K.

Statement of Conscience

[This statement was developed and used by Audra Killingsworth in successful first political campaign in which she gained a seat on the  5-person Apex Town Council. Her campaign made heavy use of social media, light attention to yard signs, and none for direct mail.]
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My name is Audra Killingsworth. I am 34 years old. I live in Apex, North Carolina just south of Raleigh. I am a mother of 4 children. I am married to a wonderful man. I work full time and in November 2017 I was elected to office as a Town Council Member in Apex by a huge margin. If you take nothing else away from this speech, make it this: Get involved if you want change. You must be willing to make it happen.

My first foray into politics besides voting was in the spring of 2016. I attended a precinct meeting and cluster meeting. I took my writing to the precinct meeting. It said this:

The weight upon my heart beats heavy
The weight upon my shoulders weighs too much
The heaviness on my brain leads me to despair
To imagine our country being so far away 
From equality 
From accepting people for who they are
Black, white, yellow, red, pink, brown
Female, male, intersex, asexual, omnisexual, heterosexual, bisexual, transgender, gay
Conservative, liberal, libertarian
Religious, atheist, the I don’t cares
Who cares?
I care
That people are judged by the clothes they wear, the metal that’s placed in their skin, the ink that lays in their epidermis, the people they choose to kiss, the way they choose to be has nothing to do with you or me. Unless, it hurts me or someone else.

I shared my writing, but it didn’t feel finished. It felt like there was something missing. 

The spring, summer, and fall of 2016 I canvassed for the first time, talked to people about good candidates running for office, handed out literature, worked a polling place, shared a lot of information on social media, and educated myself about state and national politics.

In January of 2017, I took my young daughter – 10 years old at the time - to Washington, D.C. to the Women’s March. 
I was overwhelmed with the togetherness I saw there. We had something in common. We were all unhappy with the current administration. The camaraderie was amazing.
The enthusiasm inspired me and they offered us solutions to fix the process. 
They asked women to get involved in the political process. How could I do that? 
I educated myself. I voted. I helped candidates by canvassing. I volunteered at the polls. What else could I do?
I asked myself questions. What could I do to change anything? What needed to change? 
The biggest thing I saw that needed to change was that our representatives needed to listen to and represent us. I had reached out countless times to many of the elected officials that represented me. I had not felt heard. In fact, I felt like they scoffed that I had contacted them. I hated the form letters I received. Those letters telling me my opinion didn’t matter, that my representative was going to vote however they wanted. I wanted change. I felt I could be that representative who listened, who contacted those who reached out in good faith, hoping for fair representation. But who am I to step into this arena?
I am a woman who has many labels and facets. Some of which could be limiting in my involvement in politics. 

Number 1: I am a Full time worker:  how would I have time for all that is required for running for office, election, and then the actual position on top of a full time job? 
The lack of a full time paid position and salary for either local or state representatives is limiting for many people that could potentially run for office and who might be better representatives of the people. I was able to still continue my career as an Occupational Therapist and Rehab Director and work as a Town Council Member anywhere from 10-20 hours per week above my full-time job. When I campaigned, I did so after work during the week, and on the weekend. I had a team of volunteers and ran in conjunction with 2 others who had similar views as me.  This position I could handle.

Number 2: I am a Mother: could I afford to spend that amount of time away from my children? I asked myself don’t my kids deserve a better future than the potential one they have now? The road we are going down is treacherous and has disastrous consequences for future generations. We need more conscionable people making decisions for our combined future.
There are also people who question whether a mother would make a good politician. However, if I was a man, would I get the same questions about what would happen with my kids?

Number 3: I am a Wife: Could my relationship with my husband withstand the demands of a campaign, election, and office holding should I win? Could my husband help me with the kids, household, and other responsibilities without it becoming too much of a burden?

Number 4: I am A bisexual woman: Would my sexuality be an issue in the election in an area that was very recently a fully conservative area stronghold? 

Number 5: And significantly, I am an atheist and secular humanist: What would happen when people found out I held no belief in a deity? And not only that, while not enforceable, North Carolina has a statute that says you must believe in the Almighty God to hold office. 
When I was first deciding if I could run for office, I talked to local party members and former candidates. When asked what skeletons I had in my closet, I said I was an atheist. One of them said, “Why should that matter?” Our area had grown exponentially in the last 5-10 years and the people moving in were much more open to diversity and progressivism. Would that help?
And Did I truly have the mental and emotional ability to handle what was needed to become a target in a campaign? 

Of course I did! I have been on the outside of everything from the time I was little with being born into a Christian fundamentalist religion. We were always different. 
            
As an aside, I’m going to tell you a little about my background. I’m from a very rural area in Louisiana. My parents went to a church called the Worldwide Church of God – could be called a cult. We were biblical literalists. My dad was the head of the household – no matter how wrong he was. My mother, though strong and smart, has never questioned the reasonableness or rationality of what she grew up in and what we were brought up in. 
As I child I had a severe infection. An infection that got worse after I received two different types of antibiotics that didn’t work. After that, my mother took us to a naturopath and homeopathic doctor. I ended up with sepsis and missing half of the school year. Somehow my body fought it and I’m here to tell the tale, though I still suffer the consequences. We never received vaccinations because we should trust in the will of God. It wasn’t until I moved to North Carolina 12 years ago that received the first of many vaccinations. 
The community we lived in was a very small, depressed town and had no opportunities for a better life. From the time I was in middle school, I knew I had to get out of there. I read voraciously. It was the only way I knew there was a different way of life, opportunities, and a better existence. It also led me to read the bible – from cover to cover. I never really reconciled the idea of a loving god with the god described in the Old Testament.
And the thought of ideas being written down hundreds of years later and being exactly the same as when first told? Pause. Yeah right. I was well versed in Strong’s Concordance, apologetics, and rationalizations for the bible. But that was certainly a house of cards that collapsed quickly once I got away from the influence of my childhood.  My transition to college helped me gain the independence I needed to really understand what life was about.  I made the transition from a very conservative Christian, to a deist, to a spiritualist, to an agnostic, to a nihilist very briefly, and then to a very liberal atheist and secular humanist.  

I always stood up for what I believed in, regardless of the consequences. And now as a moral and ethical human being, I still stand up for what I believe in. I must stand up for what I believe in. Secular humanism is my philosophy in life and what makes me a better person. 

That is why I decided I wanted to make a difference through politics. I want to represent the people in my area by listening, making myself available for conversation, and standing up when things are going wrong. 
Facts matter, ethics matters, civility matters, and so does our ability to right wrongs. 

In March of 2017, I started going to town council meetings consistently, and attending as many meetings as possible in the community to understand what the position was like. I began talking to people in the party and in the community, and started a local atheist, agnostic, and humanist Facebook page for our town. I filed in the spring of 2017 for the Apex Town Council race, ran the campaign with contributions from people like you, and won election in November of 2017.  I took my oath of office over the North Carolina and United States constitutions being sworn in by the first Iranian American woman judge in North Carolina.
While I did not make my atheism or secular humanism a central focus of my campaign, I answered honestly when asked. I learned it wasn’t as big of a deal to most in my community and even learned about quite a few more just like me as I opened up and stepped out. 

Our area had turned from a red/conservative stronghold, into a blue, liberal, progressive wave with all the people that have moved into our growing area. We flipped our council for the first time. Other people believed it was time for change too.

For the first time we now have a Freethought Caucus in Congress! Politicians who have been in the closet have been willing to say who they truly are. This current and the recent administrations at the state and federal levels have been pushing the limits of separation of church and state by passing legislation protecting “religious freedoms” over civil rights, removing powers from the executive branch, and gerrymandering the legislative and judicial races.  Civil rights, constitutional rights, and future rights must be protected by the people we elect to office or they will be lost. 
It’s like we’ve got a pool full of children and it’s time for more adults in the pool.

We need people, good people, to volunteer for campaigns by working polls, hosting meetings, knocking on doors, calling people. Or can you contribute to campaigns or causes that support what you believe in? Can you manage campaigns; become campaign treasurers; or even run for office. Can you do any of these?

What steps should you take if you want to run for office?
First you should find a position that you can reasonably handle. – All areas of government need good, reasonable people running at the local, state, federal levels. 
Then you need to file with the proper board to begin your campaign. Is it full time, part-time, paid, or volunteer? Research the position. Can you handle the hours, the dedication, and the exposure to the public?
Next find out when filing dates are and when the next election is. 
Then research thoroughly campaign finance and board of elections rules (which are different for every race and election at every level).
Next take a candidate training course, many of which are free.
Then start going to as many events as possible to meet and talk with people. And do talk to as many people as possible.
My strategy was to ask open-ended questions (what is going well in our area? What would you change?) and then just listen. 
And educate if necessary. Things don’t always happen the way people think they happen.
Do start on the campaign trail as early as possible. 
Don’t make promises you can’t keep. 
Be ethical, civil, and honest.
Always ask for help including contact info, contributions, volunteers, and connections.
Be ready to meet someone that doesn’t agree with you and be able to deal with that.
Don’t be surprised if your best supporters are people you wouldn’t expect.

And finally, get ready to hold office. 

A few months after being elected, I finished my writing. Here it is:

The weight upon my heart beats heavy
The heaviness upon my shoulders weighs too much.
The despair on my brain leads me to sadness.
To imagine our country being so far away
From equality
From accepting people for who they are
Black, white, yellow, red, pink, brown,
Female, male, intersex, asexual, omnisexual, heterosexual, bisexual, transgender, gay,
Conservative, liberal, libertarian,
Religious, atheist, the I don't cares.
Who cares?
I care 
that people are judged by the clothes they wear, the metal that's placed in their skin, the ink that lays in their epidermis, the people they choose to kiss, the way they choose to be has nothing to do with you or me: Unless it hurts me or someone else. 
The lack of empathy seen today by a multitude of people is disheartening.

Do you know what empathy is?
It's not arresting people of color because they walk down a sidewalk in the other side of town,
Or the fact that we have an other side of town.
It's not following a black man around a store because it's thought he might steal something as he picks up diapers for a baby girl, or tampons for his partner, or food for his grandmother.
It's not throwing that same girl who has a different skin tone on the ground because she dared stand her ground like the white kids do every day.
It's not applauding a man who shot a teenager in self defense because he dared to walk through a neighborhood with a hoodie on. 
It's not sitting on top of a man who tried to sell cigarettes until he could not breathe. 
It's not shooting people in the back as they run away that obviously are not a threat.
It's not acknowledging that lives are being lost from one race at a higher rate than all others in this "great" nation. Black lives do matter because right now they do not matter as much. 

It's not allowing a rapist to go free because it might hurt his future.
It's not breaking up families because a person is called illegal.
It's not removing a chance for a woman or a girl to make her own decisions about if and when and where and how she chooses to give life to another generation.
It's not purposefully paying a woman less than a man simply because of the equipment she lacks.
It's not demanding a child be pushed into this world but forcing it onto the street as soon as it takes its first breath.
It's not denying people, including children, food and housing. 
It's not forcing others to follow the dogma or philosophy you subscribe to.
It's not forcing others to use a bathroom their minds don't belong in.
It's not allowing people to drink poisoned water because it saved a few dollars. 
It's not paying CEO's millions when most of their employees have to work multiple jobs just to pay the bills.

Do you know what empathy is?
It is filling children's bellies before bloated bank accounts.
It's making sure people are healthy and whole if they want to be. 
It's allowing people to make rational choices based on science and reasoning, not biases and power, or faith of another person. 
It's voting people into office who have the long term future in mind instead of power and short term gain.
It's remembering that people have thoughts, and dreams, and desires. 
We want to make our own choices and be accepted without caveats.
We all have the desire to be respected and to truly live. 
We are all humans on this planet we call earth. 
Can we live together or destroy each other for simply being different? 

We need a good balance of reasonable, secular, humanist people helping to push this country to what we are capable of:
A country that is a leader in every way. 
A place that others aspire to. 
A place we need to be, but are nowhere near yet. 
Help us get there.
In conclusion, if you have ever thought about jumping into political waters, now is the time. It’s not nearly as uncomfortable as you might think. And we definitely need more adults in the pool.

Amend NC Constitution

Make Proposed Amendments Clear

Here's one way to fight back against the power grab by the Republican majority General Assembly

  1. Have the existing wording commission carry on with its drafting work. If this cannot be done on payroll time, then do it on private time. It need not be that many hours.
  2. If possible, reach agreement on wording among all three members.
  3. If agreement IS reached, then publish the wordings
    1. If this cannot be done "officially" then let the results 'leak' so that they can be re-published widely.
  4. If agreement IS NOT reached, then 'leak' the results of the Democratic members as in 3.1 above.
  5. Use such results in slate cards and web sites for the fall elections.  
--- Courtesy of J.S.

Partisan - 2018

Policy or Party - Chicken or Egg`

Democrats Are Wrong About Republicans. Republicans Are Wrong About Democrats.


“The danger of mega-partisan identity is that it encourages citizens to care more about partisan victory than about real policy outcomes,” Mason told me. “We find ways to justify almost any governmental policy as long as it is the policy of our own team. What is best for America, Americans or even small children is secondary to whether our party’s team gets what it demanded.”

---   https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/democrats-are-wrong-about-republicans-republicans-are-wrong-about-democrats/?src=obsidebar=sb_1

Interesting article about the the mis-estimates of stats by Dems and Repunlicans. Worth a visit, IMO

NCSD 2018 Convention Adv.

Wake County Senior Democrats

We congratulate and support all Democratic candidates.

We urge all Democratic  candidates to campaign on the positive values that all Americans should share.

We are the party of positive values such as a living wage and equal opportunity for all regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or country of birth.  
Most of all, we are caring Americans who want openness and fairness in government and our society so that everyone can share in that equal opportunity.   
WCSD
  Web site
/  Blohg

Purge of voter rolls

Purge of Voter  Rolls


NBC News: Voter purge frenzy after federal protections lifted, new report says.

Nine states with a history of racial discrimination are aggressively removing voters from the rolls, the Brennan Center for Justice says.

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/voter-roll-purges-surged-after-changes-voting-rights-act-new-n893056?cid=sm_npd_ms_fb_lw

The report claims: "Since 2013, Florida, New York, North Carolina, and Virginia have conducted illegal purges." Legal or illegal, voter rolls are being "cleaned up." Please make sure you aren't accidentally or otherwise removed and therefore unable to vote in November.

You can verify your NC registration here: https://vt.ncsbe.gov/RegLkup/.

Spread the word. -- courtesy of mbh

Money Talks or Clams Up

Follow the Money ...

...is an old rule of  politics and public life.

It applies to the current scene in Washington, because the waffling of POTUS on whether Russia was involved in any way in attempting to influence our 2016 (or the 2018) elections may ultimately turn on money. POTUS has been successful in hiding his tax returns. His companies may not make public reports. There are stories that his companies debt is held by organizations that are Russian or report to V. Putin. Should this be true, POTUS may not be in a position to put America first or make it great without being exposed as a client of Russia.

We are long on bluster and short on evidence.

NC Votes

Ballots cast in 2014

NC   40.8%
VA   36.6%
TN   28.6%
SC   34.8%
GA  38.2%

-- source: AARP Bulletin, July/August 2018, p 42, from US Elections Project (www.electproject.org)


NC leads its neighbors, but is still well below a majority of its registered voters.

We could do better. And if NC Democrats can do better than the opposition, it could switch both the state house and the Federal Congress.

Coulda, Shoulda, Wouldn't

Who do you trust?

  • The persons who do what they say they will do? (DWYSYWD)
  • The persons who repeatedly change or contradict their previous positions or statements?
Repeated reversals and walk-backs are signs of persons we cannot rely on.

In national politics we have POTUS as an extreme example of such people.

 Are politicians of the Republican Party ready to stand up and oppose the statements and actions of a POTUS who cannot be relied on?

Enough jello-spine and more bony spine.

Waving the Flag - er Banner

14 July 2018

Raleigh, NC – “CONGRESSMAN HOLDING:
HANDS OFF OUR HEALTHCARE” 

will be the message of an airplane banner welcoming George Holding this evening at the Red, White, and BBQ picnic sponsored by the East Wake Republican Club.

The airplane banner ad, promoted by North Carolinians For a Fair Economy, will fly over the GOP picnic this evening (Saturday, July 14) from approximately 6:15 - 7:45 p.m. The event, billed by the organizers as “the largest conservative gathering in the state,” has confirmed that Congressman Holding, as well as other elected officials, will be in attendance.

 ---North Carolinians For A Fair Economy believes that George Holding must put his constituents before his loyalty to the GOP sabotage. Hopefully, he will get the message this evening.

WCSD Newsletter - July 2018

July 2018 Newsletter

Meeting: Wednesday August 15, 2018
{ !!! No meeting in July !!! }

But:

1.   White House Games: 

The Republicans are always saying that the NEA or the AFL are branches of the Democratic Party. Well, Fox “news” is running the White House. Why aren’t the Democrats saying that?
Check it out at:  
About 42 minutes of podcast. 

2.   Social Security

Your Social Security did not exist until laws were passed in 1935. Before that we had the county poor house or the street. The law passed in the House with 95% approval of Democrats and 84% approval by Republicans. (Dems had a large supermajority in that Congress.). With one party trying to chip away at 'entitlements' it is time for Dems to let folks like  Burr,  Tillis, Holding, etc. know that WE taxpayers PAID for Social Security and Medicare. They are not merely entitlements; they are deferred benefits we earned in our working lives. Let them get educated about that.

3.  Russian Meddling

Is not limited to the United States. Trump should not be Putin's Patsy:
The closest model for how Russia covertly operates may be the Brexit campaign in the U.K., which took place months before the 2016 American election. Driving Britain out of the European Union advanced the decades-long Russian goal of splitting Western nations apart, and Russia found willing allies on the British far right. 
Not only did Russia use social media to covertly promote Brexit, but Russian officials also met secretly several times with Arron Banks, the millionaire British businessman who supported the Brexit campaign, with the largest political donation in British history. 
Leaked documents reveal that the Russians discussed letting Banks in on a gold-mining deal that could have produced several billion dollars in easy profit. It might seem preposterous that a national vote that changed the course of British history was determined by a secret Russian operation. 
British conservatives long dismissed suspicions of covert Russian involvement as a “conspiracy theory.” Yet the conspiracy appears to have been very real.
For a long but instructive article from which the above is quoted, see:
http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/07/trump-putin-russia-collusion.html 

 4. Summer Tasks

  • Drink enough liquids
  • Do not get overheated
  • Volunteer with WCSD, candidates, or other party organizations.

Flirting with Fascism

Fascism in the Air and Test Marketing


It is easy to dismiss Donald Trump as an ignoramus, not least because he is. But he has an acute understanding of one thing: test marketing. He created himself in the gossip pages of the New York tabloids, where celebrity is manufactured by planting outrageous stories that you can later confirm or deny depending on how they go down. And he recreated himself in reality TV where the storylines can be adjusted according to the ratings. Put something out there, pull it back, adjust, go again.
Fascism doesn’t arise suddenly in an existing democracy. It is not easy to get people to give up their ideas of freedom and civility. You have to do trial runs that, if they are done well, serve two purposes. They get people used to something they may initially recoil from; and they allow you to refine and calibrate. This is what is happening now and we would be fools not to see it.

Quoted from the Irish Times 
IMO, this is worth a reading detour to see the perspective of someone outside the United States

Candidate What's

What does a candidate support?

Here are some questions you might want a candidate to answer (depending on the office being sought). We are interested in candidates at all levels, local to national, but the focus of questions will change with the level. You might get answers from candidate web sites, volunteers, staff or the candidate in person. This piece should tickle your imagination. It is not a survey from which we want your answers.
  1. For all candidates: What is your one most important issue, if elected?
  2. Congress
    1. Will you vote to raise the salary cap for social security and medicare taxes to $250,000 and index it for inflation thereafter?
    2. Will you vote to keep open ways for women to implement their choices about pregnancy and health care?
    3.  Will you vote to reduce the need for money in campaigns, e.g. public financing, free space or air time, etc.?
    4. Will you vote to expand Medicaid so that all citizens can have health care?
    5. Will you vote to create a prompt path to citizenship for all persons currently residing in the United States?
  3. NC General Assembly
    1. Will you vote to ratify the equal rights amendment?
    2. Will you vote to reintegrate felons into society by restoring their voting rights after they complete their sentences?
    3. If homelessness a cause of higher costs for health care and social services, would you vote more funding for 'affordable' housing?
    4. Significant public support for election campaigns based on numbers of small donations.
    5. Will you vote to raise the level of income of households in the lower 30% of the income brackets?
    6. Will you vote to protect our environment (air, water, land) from all forms of degradation?
    7. Will you vote for increased tax support for 
      1. mental health?
      2. minimum income?
      3. public schools?
      4. public transport?
      5. open space / parks?
    8.  Will you vote to have judges appointed and thereafter elected in retention elections?
  4.  Local
    1. Will you vote for significant impact fees to be paid on new residential land development?
    2.  Will you vote to insure a higher ratio of park/open space as cities and towns enlarge?

Its ERA Time

Equal Rights for All

One more state needs to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. 

North Carolina could be that state

-------------------------

Right now, women and men  do not have equal protection under the U.S. Constitution. The ERA would create that equality.

This change in the status of women has practical benefits for them:
  • consistency of protection from state to state
  • legal protection to women when violence occurs within a marriage
  • form a basis for equal pay for equal work

What is the ERA Coalition?

"The ERA Coalition represents 76 member and lead organizations, and millions of women and men. We support and help lead the movement for passage of an equal rights amendment through public education and messaging campaigns. Our polling research shows that while 94% of Americans support constitutional equality for women and men, 80% mistakenly think it already exists. The ERA Coalition is working to close this information gap."  ---  more at:   ERAcoalition

ERA Resources at League of Women Voters
 --- more at League


Being a Patriot

What to do as a patriot

A starting place of devotion is a trip to a cemetery with a flag or a flower.

A second step would be showing an American flag on your property.

But,  IMO, an ardent patriot would petition elected officials and legislators for redress of grievances, as it says somewhere.

What grievances might you have?
  • lies told by officials about what they are doing or not doing --- and uncovered by the media
  • unexploded bombs in Yemen marked "Made in USA." In 10-15 years some Yemeni children will have grown in terrorists because of injuries and deaths we brought to their families.
  • hospitals blown up in Yemen by a Saudi coalition aided by U.S. Military
  • punitive tariffs set up by POTUS
  • vaporous statements about the end of nuclear threat from North Korea; All the missiles and warheads are still in place and ready to be fired.
  • charging parents separated from children at our borders -- by hundreds or miles --- for the transportation to unite them with their kids.
  • letting drug companies charge whatever they wish rather than having medicare negotiate profitable but reasonable prices on behalf of medicare participants.
  • potholes, affordable internet access in all locations. After all, roads and airwaves are property held in common for all of us.
  • A border wall that will not make us more secure but will make some contractors rich.
  • election districts that are gerrymandered to make our elections fakes
  • more....
Who should you address?
  • city council
  • county commission
  • NC General Assembly
  • U.S. House of Representatives
  • U.S. Senate 
  • The Real Media, but be careful about the 'social' media

Sources - NonPartisan & Fact Checking

NonPartisan

Allsides

"Free people from filter bubbles so they can better understand the world and each other." --from the site

American Oversight   

“There's a perfect storm for corruption and scandal brewing in the administration—and Congress has completely abdicated its responsibility to provide oversight. American Oversight is filling the void and holding this administration accountable by focusing on executive branch agencies and high-level government officials.
“Relying on the Freedom of Information Act and other public records laws, American Oversight does the job that Congress refuses to do, exposing unethical conduct throughout this administration and demanding investigations. We file open records requests and sue agencies to uncover misconduct that otherwise would not see daylight and harness the independent power of the courts to force the administration to obey the law.”

Axios

"We are a new media company delivering vital, trustworthy news and analysis in the most efficient, illuminating and shareable ways possible. We offer a mix of original and smartly narrated coverage of media trends, tech, business and politics with expertise, voice AND smart brevity — on a new and innovative mobile platform. At Axios — the Greek word for worthy — we provide only content worthy of people’s time, attention and trust." 

Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget 

“The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget is a nonpartisan, non-profit organization committed to educating the public on issues with significant fiscal policy impact.
Our bipartisan leadership comprises some of the nation's leading budget experts, including many past heads of the House and Senate Budget Committees, the Congressional Budget Office, the Office of Management and Budget, the Government Accountability Office, and the Federal Reserve Board.
As an independent source of objective policy analysis, we regularly engage policymakers of both parties and help them develop and analyze proposals to improve the country’s fiscal and economic condition.
These efforts have reinforced the Committee’s role as an authoritative voice for fiscal responsibility and an educational resource for policymakers and the general public. It is also a trusted budget watchdog that assists journalists across the country in understanding fiscal developments in Washington.
For an in-depth look at our impact in Washington and beyond, read our most recent annual report. To learn more about our impact throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, read our report – Campaign 2016: Driving the Debt Debate. ”

Common Dreams 

“Breaking News and Views for the Progressive Community”
“Over twenty years ago, we created our media model – non-profit, funded by thousands of small contributors – guaranteeing us the independence to speak truth to power. We depend on our readers – with donations averaging about $31. Only a tiny portion of our readers give. If everyone reading this gave $10, we could keep Common Dreams publishing for years to come. Independent journalism and democracy itself have never been more fragile, more at risk than now.”
Courtesy of Bo Chagnon

Council on Foreign Relations 

“The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, and publisher dedicated to being a resource for its members, government officials, business executives, journalists, educators and students, civic and religious leaders, and other interested citizens in order to help them better understand the world and the foreign policy choices facing the United States and other countries. Founded in 1921, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy.”

Fact Check

"We are a nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. We monitor the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews and news releases. Our goal is to apply the best practices of both journalism and scholarship, and to increase public knowledge and understanding.
"FactCheck.org is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania."

Flack Check

"Headquartered at the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, FlackCheck.org is the political literacy companion site to the award-winning FactCheck.org. The site provides resources designed to help viewers recognize flaws in arguments in general and political ads in particular. Video resources point out deception and incivility in political rhetoric.

"FlackCheck.org is funded by an endowment provided by the Annenberg Foundation to support the Leonore Annenberg Institute for Civics."

The two sites above have multiple projects and focusses. They are worth a visit.

Open Secrets

We pursue our mission largely through our award-winning website, OpenSecrets.org, which is the most comprehensive resource for federal campaign contributions, lobbying data and analysis available anywhere. And for other organizations and news media, the Center's exclusive data powers their online features tracking money in politics - counting cash to make change. Our OpenSecrets Blog features newsbreaking original reporting about money-in-politics, including the sort of investigative work that won the Society of Professional Journalists' 2013 award for Public Service in Online Journalism.

Pew Research Center - Journalism and Media 

Political Polarization & Media Habits is a longish site with several parts as prepared by BY AMY MITCHELL, JEFFREY GOTTFRIED, JOCELYN KILEY AND KATERINA EVA MATSA
It deals with the sources of news and political reporting as chosen by progressives and conservatives. Certainly worth a visit even though it dates from 2014.
It is also the source of the chart given out media by positioning along a Progressive - Conservative scale. 

Politifact

"PolitiFact is a nonpartisan fact-checking website to sort out the truth in American politics. PolitiFact was created by the Tampa Bay Times, a Florida newspaper, in 2007. In 2018, PolitiFact was acquired by the Poynter Institute, a nonprofit school for journalists.
You can view The Poynter Institute’s most-recent public financial disclosure form 990 here."
--from their web site.

Tax Foundation

“The Tax Foundation is the nation’s leading independent tax policy research organization. Since 1937, our principled research, insightful analysis, and engaged experts have informed smarter tax policy at the federal, state, and local levels. We improve lives through tax policy research and education that leads to greater economic growth and opportunity.”

(copied from website, 2018-07-02)

Taxation with a POV and a Heart

Nudging Corporate Taxation

Most corporate income taxation in the U.S. measures net income and then taxes it at one tax rate, for example, 7.9 or 8.93 percent.

Recently I heard an interesting proposal: Set the percentage rate, then reduce it by various amounts based on verifiable corporate actions. For example, less x.xx percentage points for a specified level of health care insurance for all workers, or less y.yy percentage points for paying all workers at some specified level of living wage or more.

Endless variations are possible, based on reductions in air emissions, liquid effluents, or pounds of waste, or the abatement of nuisances, such as from hog farm cesspools.

The point is, authorities provide nudges toward desired behavior and thus need to do less regulation.
Part of the balance to lost revenue from lower rates could come from lower social services costs when employees have a higher income and better health care and thus need fewer social services.

IMO, this sounds like a system that could be titrated rather finely to achieve specific goals, lets market forces work, improves individual well-being, and might reduce government regulation. IOW, win-win-win.

This is not my idea but I put it forward for consideration while the person I heard it from wishes to remain anonymous.

Lunch at the Media

As the saying goes, "There is no free lunch." To which I would add, "But there are free riders." So, activat...