Roundup: Debt Ceiling, Million-Dollar Judges and the NRA’s Inner Circle

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GOP Debt Limit Bluff Exposed: “House and Senate Republicans, as well as influential conservative advocates and media figures, have joined Newt Gingrich, Wall Street Journal editors and others pressing Republicans to give up the ghost.” [Talking Points Memo]

Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., left, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., center, and Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., right, finish a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, where they and other lawmakers announced their plan to introduce new legislation to eliminate the federal debt ceiling. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Public Option Resurfaced by House Democrats as Deficit Reduction Measure: “According to a Tuesday statement from Rep. Jan Schakowsky’s (D-Ill.) office, Schakowsky, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), and 43 other House members have introduced the Public Option Deficit Reduction Act, which would “would offer the choice of a publicly-run health insurance plan, an option that would save more than $100 billion over 10 years.” [Huffington Post]

For ‘Party of Business,’ Allegiances are Shifting: “Corporate chiefs in recent months have pleaded publicly with Republicans to raise their taxes for the sake of deficit reduction, and to raise the nation’s debt limit without a fight lest another confrontation like that in 2011 wallop the economy. But the lobbying has been to no avail. This is not their parents’ Republican Party.”
[The New York Times]

Unmasking the NRA’s Inner Circle: “Today’s NRA, widely considered to be disproportionately influential in politics, operates more like a corporation or politburo than a typical nonprofit or lobbying organization. Its 76 board directors and 10 executive officers keep a grip on power through elections in which ordinary grassroots members appear to have little say.” [Mother Jones]

NRA Unleashes Lobbyists: “The NRA kept its dozen in-house lobbyists on lockdown in the first month after the Newtown massacre, but no more. The group is moving back onto Capitol Hill in force, not shying away from its take-no-prisoners message: no new gun laws.” [Politico]

Rigging Democracy — Why the People Won’t Pick the Next President or Congress — Unless We Act Now: “Obama’s victory overshadowed the fact that Republicans maintain control of the House of Representatives and won dramatic victories at the state level that seem almost mathematically miraculous in how they flout majority rule.” [In These Times]

When Public Outperforms Private in Services: “The pursuit of financial rewards, by private companies or even nonprofit organizations, can directly undermine public policy goals.”
[The New York Times]

Court Opened Door to $933 Million in New Election Spending: “The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision unleashed nearly $1 billion in new political spending in the 2012 election, with media outlets and a small number of political consulting firms raking in the bulk of the proceeds.” [Center for Public Integrity]

The Million Dollar Judges of 2012: “The Center for American Progress collected information on all judges who won elections in 2012 while raising roughly $1 million or more, as well as those who had more than $1 million spent on their behalf by independent groups. The campaigns of the “million dollar judges” of 2012 demonstrate that independent spending plays an increasingly crucial role.” [Center for American Progress]

A Senator’s Lonely Crusade to Learn the CIA’s Secrets: “Understand that the CIA’s capacity to commit abuses is anything but theoretical. As Obama well knows, its history is rife with examples of its personnel using the cover of secrecy to do things that the American people and their elected representatives would have never willingly permitted.” [The Atlantic]

What We Should Fear: “As most Internet experts realize, the Internet is pretty safe from natural disasters because of its redundant infrastructure (meaning that there are many pathways by which any given packet of data can reach its destination) but deeply vulnerable to a wide range of deliberate attacks, either by censoring governments or by rogue hackers.” [The New Yorker]

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