Dark money

The following is an email from Friends of Sherrod Brown: 

"When it comes to voters' knowledge about the deep-pocketed donors who are trying to influence their vote, the 2014 election cycle is on track to be the darkest election in recent history. And that's saying a lot, as each of the last three elections has shattered dark money records set in the preceding cycle." -- Robert Maguire, OpenSecrets.org, 4/30/14

Dear [redacted],

"Dark money" refers to funds spent on elections and provided by people who remain anonymous thanks to a loophole in the tax code. In the 2012 cycle, we saw $265 million in "dark money" -- and thanks to the Koch brothers and Karl Rove, we're likely to see much more than that this time around.

Yes, the majority of all this dark money is directed by three people -- Charles and David Koch, and Karl Rove. Seriously, when you read about this stuff, you almost can't believe that just three people wield such incredible influence over our politics.

But Rove and the Kochs do wield that outsized influence, and it's up to us to fight back. Please chip in $5 or more to help his stay strong against outside spending.


All those political ads airing around the country? The vast majority of them aren't coming from campaigns, but rather from outside groups.

According to the Wesleyan Media Project, a group that tracks political ads, "The 2014 campaigns are currently dominated by interest group advertising. And the bulk of the interest group money is coming from dark money groups who don't disclose their donors."

Grassroots campaigns like ours need to fight back against dark money -- give $5, $10, or whatever makes sense for you.


Thank you.


***Paid for by Friends of Sherrod Brown***


This e-mail was sent to [redacted]
Click here to unsubscribe: [redacted]

Affirmation: This came as an email to me. I am not a member of the Democratic Party. I have not received any payment for publishing this email newsletter. I sincerely believe that the contents of this email are public information and that everyone should know about the money power play happening in politics.

No need to rush: There is no need to rush, HillRaisers

You've probably noticed Peter Nicholas' article on the front page of the wall street journal on Monday. I don't think there is anything to be gained by declaring candidacy this early. It only gives the other side more time for attack ads. With recent crumbling of regulations, it is easier than ever  for a few back room billionaires to carpet bomb elections all across the nation. 

Meanwhile, please pay attention to your local and state governments and prepare for the mid-terms. 

Best wishes, 

Is the whole go to college message overdone, questions the WSJ

I agree with the journal on this one, at least partially. Here is my thought: You should not have to take massive loans to go to college or to send your kids to college. I don't know what to say though. Assuming a 12% rate of inflation, for a child born in 2011 going to UT Austin in 2029, I would need to invest at least $2,830.72 per month to reach the goal with a 95% chance of success. 

Based on your selection of Portfolio 2027
A $656,021.00 investment goal
A $.00 one time lump sum payment
An 95% success rate

Now imagine you are a 26-year-old who puts away five thousand dollars per year into his IRA. $5000 per year for twenty years compounded annually at six percent is $183,900. The cost to attend UT Austin for fall 2013 is $5,107 for the school of engineering. Let's round it up to $5,500 to allow some incidental cost. That's $11,000 per year. Now, if you plan on having a kid four years from now in 2017, they'd want to college in eighteen years, that is beginning 2035. Assuming a modest six percent hike in prices, you'd need about $173,405.02 for tuition. So basically, if you put away as much for your kid as much as you will for your IRA, you will at least be able to cover his tuition to go to a state school. 

Would you spend six thousand dollars for a chance to prolong your dog's life by a year?

I'm sorry but, I think it's disgusting to even consider spending $6000 to save the life of a pet when there are children all around the world (including many parts of the USA) who need life-saving medical treatments or operations but aren't getting them because their parents lack $6000 or less to pay for it. Also, there are thousands of puppies in shelter all over America that are euthanized every day simply because they have no one to care for them! If you are a dog-lover, make sure your elderly dog dies peacefully and then move on. We all have to go sometime. 
By the way, according to Wikipedia, the average life expectacy of a bichon frize in the USA or Canada "12 to 13 year"s - not 16 years, as stated in the opening sentance. No dog brred has as an average life expectancy of 16 yrs. So, please, get some perspective! Are you keeping your old dog alive for his sake or simply because you are incapable of dealing with the inevitable? If you have an extra $6000 burning a hole in your pocket, then donate it in memory of your beloved pet to a child who needs an operation or to an animal shelter. Make the remaining time your dog has left comfortable and happy and then, give your love to a new pet that is in need of some.
Tom from Boston, MA wrote this comment. What sticks to me is this sentence in particular: "Are you keeping your old dog alive for his sake or simply because you are incapable of dealing with the inevitable?" I would go a step further and say this should apply to me as well. An exercise in imagination: If I have a terminal illness and it costs $600k to *maybe* lengthen my life by six to eight months at the most with me being bedridden the whole six months, it makes absolute sense for you to let go of me and save yourself from spending that $600k that you probably don't have. What if I chicken out though? Do I have a right to a surgical procedure when I am already comatose and there is little to none chance that I will get out of the coma even if the surgery succeeds? Would it be better to let me die? Perhaps that would save a little burden for the workers in the form a slightly smaller increase in their health insurance premiums.

Expat in Germany highlights something I didn't care to elaborate:
To all the people who say that "pets are also family," I think that misses the point. We need to make end-of-life decisions for our human family too, and these are typically based on quality of life, not cost. When the outcome is uncertain and the ailing person or pet is old, the decision is heart-wrenching either way.
When I compared the end-of-life cases for a dog with the end-of-life case for myself, I was aware of the same thing. I remember talking to a radiologist on a flight from LGA to DCA in June last year, I got to talk to a very nice radiologist who gave me a little fact nugget. A huge chunk of healthcare costs for patients is spent in their last six months of life. If we could determine when someone is about to die and cut off medical expenses six months prior (letting them go a little early), we could save quite a bit of money. Problem is, we cannot look into a crystal ball and say with a good confidence whether recovery will or will not happen. What do we do? As family, we cling to even the weakest thread of hope that a surgeon gives us, even fishing for it when the doctor tries to steer us to not be hopeful. Well, if this procedure has helped five people in the last five hundred... 

What should we do about the fiscal cliff?

Do nothing. Nobody seems to be talking about what seems to me to be the no-compromise solution. Are you ready to hear it?
Increase taxes and reduce spending. 
This is what everyone who does not have an axe to grind in the system should advocate. I remember when a woman came up on stage to Mitt Romney and asked what was going to happen to the deduction that she was supposed to get for what she spends on her child's college tuition. If it was me, I would have said "Woman, that deduction is going away. You didn't earn that. All deductions are going away. We will have one straight marginal tax rate and that is it."