For better or worse, a bill passed Congress in the wee hours of 2013 averting the much-hyped "fiscal cliff" for now and raising taxes on couples making over $450,000 and extending a lifeline of unemployment benefits to 2 million Americans.
Five registered non-profits run by super-lobbyist Rick Berman's for-profit PR firm, Berman & Co., are the target of an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) complaint filed this month by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).
This week in Washington, DC, Jeb Bush's "Foundation for Excellence in Education" (FEE) is meeting just five blocks away from the post-election conference of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the controversial corporate bill mill working on profitizing public education among other legislative changes, but the ties between the two groups are even closer.
Despite over half a million dollars spent by the fossil fuel industry in Longmont, Colorado, residents voted Tuesday to make the city the first to ban hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" in the state. The city of 87,000, nestled at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, voted 59 to 41 to ban the controversial method of extracting shale oil and gas, as well as to ban the storage of the toxin-laden wastewater in the city limits.
California Proposition 37 to label foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is up for a vote on Tuesday, November 6. It enjoyed broad popular support as of September, with a USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll showing support by 61 percent of registered voters. But in the two weeks following that poll, support dropped to 48 percent, according to a poll done by Pepperdine University School of Public Policy and the California Business Roundtable.
The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) "I Built My Business" astroturf bus tour started rolling through Wisconsin this week in support of Republican candidates for office. NFIB advertises itself as the nonpartisan "Voice of Small Business," but CMD's new web resource NFIBexposed.org presents a wealth of facts that challenge that assertion.
Well-funded advocates of privatizing the nation's education system are employing a new strategy this fall to enlist support for the cause. The emotionally engaging Hollywood film "Won't Back Down" -- set for release September 28 -- portrays so-called "Parent Trigger" laws as an effective mechanism for transforming underperforming public schools. But the film's distortion of the facts prompts a closer examination of its funders and backers and a closer look at those promoting Parent Trigger as a cure for what ails the American education system.
Three right-wing organizations founded nearly forty years ago by conservative activist Paul Weyrich are rediscovering their shared origins. The Republican Study Committee, a caucus of 169 right-wing Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives, is establishing a partnership with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the controversial "corporate bill mill" for state legislators, and their first meeting is scheduled at the Heritage Foundation headquarters. Each of those three organizations -- the RSC, ALEC, and the Heritage Foundation -- were founded in 1973 by Weyrich. (Weyrich passed away in 2008.)
Manufacturers of flame retardant chemicals, an industry that got a boost from Big Tobacco's shadow money decades ago, are being exposed to increased public scrutiny. In the fallout, a front group formed by the three biggest manufacturers, calling itself "Citizens for Fire Safety," has been shuttered.