Politics

Posted by Brendan Fischer on March 07, 2013

Members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in the Georgia Legislature are pushing a bill to thwart locally-owned internet in underserved communities, an industry-sponsored effort that effectively reinforces the digital divide. (UPDATE: HB 282 failed on a 94-70 vote on March 7.) If Georgia had passed the bill it would have been the twentieth state to eliminate community control over internet access.

Posted by Brendan Fischer on March 01, 2013

The U.S. Supreme Court may roll back two pillars of the civil rights era this term -- the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and affirmative action -- both of which have long been targeted by the right-wing and whose challenges are backed by the same set of deep-pocketed ideological funders.

Posted by Harriet Rowan on February 28, 2013

A controversial mining bill, which opponents say will weaken environmental standards and threaten the state's water resources, has passed the Wisconsin State Senate. The bill, the first to be introduced in the 2013-2014 legislative session, passed 17 to 16 with one Republican, Senator Dale Schultz, voting against along with the 15 Senate Democrats. SB1 is nearly identical to the bill that failed to pass in 2012.

Posted by The PRW Staff on February 27, 2013

by Dave Saldana

In Ontario, 465 union workers used to make locomotive engines. Then Indiana passed ALEC's anti-union legislation, and Caterpillar moved the works to Muncie. And that's bad for everybody.

Posted by Brendan Fischer on February 26, 2013

One year ago today, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by 28-year-old George Zimmerman. On average, 30 people are killed by firearms each day, so Trayvon Martin could have become just another faceless statistic. But the tragedy soon gained national attention as a result of the injustice wrought by Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law, which was cited to protect Zimmerman from prosecution because he claimed to have felt threatened by the unarmed African-American teenager.

The Trayvon Martin tragedy soon led to an examination of Stand Your Ground laws, as well as the organization responsible for their proliferation: the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC.

Posted by Brendan Fischer on February 25, 2013

Wisconsin State Senator Glenn Grothman, who made headlines in December for an unprovoked attack on Kwanzaa, has set his sights on another imagined enemy: renewable energy standards. Although Sen. Grothman's latest move is just as ridiculous as his past efforts, this one is part of a national effort backed by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the Heartland Institute.

Posted by Lisa Graves on February 21, 2013

Peter G. PetersonFix the Debt financier Peter G. Peterson knows a thing or two about debt: he's an expert at creating it. Peterson founded the private equity firm Blackstone Group in 1985 with Stephen Schwarzman (who compared raising taxes to "when Hitler invaded Poland"). Private equity firms don't contribute much to the economy; they don't make cars or milk the cows. Too frequently, they buy firms to loot them. After a leveraged buyout, they can leave companies so loaded up with debt they are forced to immediately slash their workforce or employees' retirement security.

Posted by Mary Bottari on February 21, 2013

Kick the Can ManFix the Debt is the most hypocritical corporate PR campaign in decades, an ambitious attempt to convince the country that another cataclysmic economic crisis is around the corner and that urgent action is needed. Its strategy is pure astroturf: assemble power players in business and government under an activist banner, then take the message outside the Beltway and give it the appearance of grassroots activism by manufacturing an emergency to infuse a sense of imminent crisis.

Posted by Brendan Fischer on February 20, 2013

The U.S. Supreme Court could open the door to even more money in politics than it did in the disastrous 2010 decision Citizens United v FEC as it considers a new case challenging limits on how much wealthy donors can give directly to federal candidates and political parties. If the court sides with the challengers in McCutcheon v FEC, political power and influence in America would be further concentrated in the hands of just a few wealthy donors.

Posted by Brendan Fischer on February 20, 2013

Wisconsin's Government Accountability Board estimates that ending Wisconsin's highly successful Election Day registration program could cost $14.5 million -- a calculation that Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) is calling "highly suspect." Republicans in the state are advocating for an end to the practice as part of a partisan national effort to narrow access to the ballot box, and Vos' statement on the cost estimate fits into a pattern of rejecting evidence that doesn't fit a pre-determined narrative on voting practices.

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Bill Moyers presents "United States of ALEC," a report on the most influential corporate-funded political force most of America has never heard of -- ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council.