July 29 marked the one-year anniversary of Arizona's controversial immigration law, a year that has seen similar anti-immigrant bills emerge across the country. Thanks to the release of over 800 pieces of "model legislation" by the Center for Media and Democracy, we can now pinpoint the source of the outbreak to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a bill factory for legislation that benefits the bottom line of its corporate members. While it has been reported that more immigrants behind bars means more income for ALEC member Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), less discussed has been how immigrant detention benefits commercial bail-bond agencies, an industry represented in ALEC through the American Bail Coalition.
Today, CNBC's Mad Money with Jim Cramer's "Invest in America" series will take the show to a seemingly unlikely locale. The crew will head to a place many would consider the middle of nowhere -- the state of North Dakota.
Why North Dakota? Four words: The Bakken Shale Formation.
Referred to as "Kuwait on the Prairie" by The New Yorker in an April 2011 feature story and located predominately in northwest North Dakota, the shale formation possesses a vast amount of both oil and methane ("natural") gas, gathered via the notorious fracking process. Recognizing the economic opportunities that the formation would present to fossil fuel corporations, the U.S. Energy Information Administration penned a report in November 2006 titled "Technology-Based Oil and Natural Gas Plays: Shale Shock! Could There Be Billions in the Bakken?", highlighting them in some depth.
-- by Lee Fang
The Center for Media and Democracy is re-posting this article from Lee Fang at Think Progress as part of our effort to track right-wing opposition to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau through our BanksterUSA project. The original can be found here. For context on these new revelations, please read this news story from May 24.
Last week, ThinkProgress revealed that Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) hired Peter Haller, a former Goldman Sachs vice president, as one of his top aides. Haller, who adopted his mother's maiden name in 2008 and had escaped public scrutiny until now, coordinated an Oversight Committee letter to regulators demanding that they justify new Dodd-Frank rules impacting investment banks like his old employer, Goldman Sachs. After publication of our story, the Project on Government Oversight discovered more of Haller's Oversight Committee letters, again on issues directly related to Goldman Sachs.
Embattled Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser is in the spotlight once again, this time for a conflict-of-interest in a pending case involving Koch-funded Tea Party groups.
The case, Wisconsin Prosperity Network v. Myse, involves a challenge by Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity to proposed campaign disclosure rules passed in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision (and subsequently enjoined by the Wisconsin Supreme Court). Attorney Jim Troupis is arguing against the transparency requirements on behalf of Americans for Prosperity and the other Tea Party-affiliated groups. Troupis Law Office was also paid $75,000 by Justice Prosser to represent his campaign during last spring's contentious supreme court election recount.
(The Center for Media and Democracy is pleased to reprint this illuminating article about the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and reactionary immigration policies pushed into law in Arizona, as part of our ongoing reporting on ALEC and gathering of reporting about this organization in our work on ALECexposed.org. This story was originally published by DBA Press in June 2010)
"Beside my brothers and my sisters, I'll proudly take a stand. When liberty's in jeopardy, I'll always do what's right. I'm out here on the frontline, sleep in peace tonight. American soldier, I'm an American soldier..."
So goes the ringtone on Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce's phone -- as performed by Toby "'cause we put a boot up your ass, it's the American way" Keith. Seconds into any conversation with Pearce on the issue of illegal immigration, you'll find the song fits. Pearce is -- in his mind -- the "American soldier." What's more, just as he sees himself a soldier, Pearce envisions his home to be none less than the front in a war which threatens the very fiber of the nation.
In the midst of corporations voting with state politicians on corporate wishlists to rewrite the law, some messages at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) Annual Meeting in New Orleans got a little mixed up. Here are two examples.
Saturday marks the commencement of the Tar Sands Action, which will take place in front of the White House.
The 1,980-mile pipeline is slated to transport the dirtiest oil in the world from Alberta's tar sands down to southeast Texas. The pipeline's route overlaps with the Ogallala Aquifer, which supplies 82 percent of the people that live within the aquifer's boundary their drinking water. It would also snake through the Nebraska Sand Hills, which is a vital wetland ecosystem, containing a diverse array of plant and animal life.
It's our responsibility as journalists to let the public know who is paid by what corporation, or if they're representing the government. Otherwise, it's unforgivable. The media is our lens on the world. And it is absolutely critical we trust the media. Because, ultimately, when people are terrorized, when people are targeted, when people are marginalized, that does not make any of us safer.
- Amy Goodman, interview in "Programming the Nation?" documentary
As Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker pushes austerity as the only solution to reducing the state's deficit spending, it seems as though there are a few exceptions to his idea of "shared sacrifice." S.C. Johnson & Son, one of the state's wealthiest firms, is one of many companies that pays nothing in state income tax -- increasing the burden on citizen taxpayers, according to a new project by the Institute for Wisconsin's Future.
As he was gearing up to run for governor of Florida, Republican Rick Scott emerged as one of the most vocal opponents of what he and others began referring to as "Obamacare."
Scott created, chaired and bankrolled a group called Conservatives for Patients Rights that spent millions of dollars on TV commercials attacking health care reform, especially a proposal calling for the federal government to create a public health insurance option to compete with private insurers.
In one ad, the narrator said the votes of a few key senators could determine whether or not Americans would be able to keep their own doctors and their own health insurance plans. The implication was clear -- people would lose the ability to choose their own doctors if health reform passed.
Trouble was, it wasn't true.