A "radical, possibly deranged, truthteller" will be the 2012 GOP presidential candidate, said political commentator Tucker Carlson at the 2011 annual meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in New Orleans. Speaking between workshops on the benefits of carbon emissions and task force meetings where corporations and politicians vote on "model bills," Carlson joined right-wing leaders who sang the praises of the Tea Party and "sticking to your guns," cursed Obama and other "big government liberals," and praised the same "cut, cap, and balance" agenda manifest in the ALEC bills and pushed by national politicians in Washington D.C.
The Center for Media and Democracy has joined a diverse coalition of groups in an online protest of the made-up notion that "money is speech" and that corporations have a "free speech right" to distort democracy with unlimited spending.
(By Brad Johnson, reposted from ThinkProgress, August 8, 2011)
The fight against global warming pollution requires the investment of everyone, including the world's multinational corporate giants. Many companies have taken official stances on climate pollution, pledging to reduce their greenhouse footprint in order to reduce the threat of a destabilized climate.
However, a number of these same companies are sponsoring toxic, far-right denial of climate science. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) pushes an extremist denier agenda throughout the United States, funded in secret by corporations. ThinkProgress has acquired a list of the sponsors of ALEC's 2011 annual meeting, held last week in New Orleans, Louisiana.
As they sometimes say in the South, it's all about taking care of bid'ness.
But don't tell that to the group of 100 or so protesters, who on Friday afternoon marched on the Marriott hotel in New Orleans, Louisiana (NOLA), where corporate lobbyists were voting with state lawmakers on "model" legislation at the American Legislative Exchange Council's (ALEC) 38th Annual Meeting.
The protest, organized in part by Louisiana State University's Student Labor Action Project, the Defend Ohio Campaign, and activists from across the country, began at the Hale Boggs Federal Building in downtown NOLA. That same day, members of the local community also gathered to celebrate the conviction of five police officers on charges stemming from the notorious Danziger Bridge case. A federal jury found the officers guilty of civil rights violations in the shootings of unarmed citizens.
More than 56 groups have taken to the airwaves this summer telling Wisconsin citizens how to vote, and now it's down to the wire. The first recall election is Tuesday, where six Republicans senators will have their positions challenged.
The recall elections are a result of a movement of state citizens upset with what many have called Governor Scott Walker's radical efforts to limit the rights of workers in the state and the recently signed GOP budget, which included severe cuts to public education and safety-net programs. Citizens have pushed to have the Republican senators who voted for these measures removed from office. Two Democratic senators will also face recall on August 16th. The Democrats will have to win at least three Republican seats next week to take back control of the State Senate.
In late July, shortly after the launch of ALECexposed.org, Lousiana State Rep.Noble Ellington, a Republican from the state's 20th district and the national chairman of the American Legislative Exchange Council, spoke to NPR about the recent spate of criticism leveled at his organization. When discussing the behind-closed-doors process used to craft ALEC model legislation, Ellington dismissed concerns raised by NPR, assuring interviewer Terry Gross that the public "have an opportunity to talk to their legislators about the legislation -- so I don't see how you can get more transparent than that."
On August 3, the national Common Cause office released a study of the American Legislative Exchange Council's political clout titled, "Legislating Under the Influence: Money, Power, and the American Legislative Exchange Council" (pdf). The study examines the campaign contributions from corporations, political action committees, executives and employees associated with the 22 companies represented on ALEC's "Private Enterprise Board." Common Cause found that through the efforts and largesse of global firms like Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola, Koch Industries, AT&T, Altria (the parent company of cigarette maker Philip Morris) and Exxon Mobil, ALEC has quietly managed to turn itself into a powerful force in all 50 state capitols.
FreedomWorks, Inc., a non-profit organization heavily involved with the Tea Party movement, announced on August 3rd a new round of Tea Party rallies throughout Wisconsin.
On Wednesday morning, a group of Americans from across the political spectrum, and the country, held a press conference in New Orleans to highlight the devastating impact of the "model" legislation voted on by corporations through the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
The event, hosted by People for the American Way and moderated by Center for Media and Democracy Executive Director Lisa Graves, was held directly across the street from ALEC's 38th annual meeting, where corporate lobbyists and state legislators gathered to attend Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindall's PhRMA-sponsored keynote address.
While the sounds of daily protest at the Wisconsin Capitol building from the spring's mass demonstrations have faded, the TV ad war in the state Senate recall elections prove the heated political climate in the state has not cooled.
August Recalls Heat Up
Six Wisconsin Republican senators will face recall on August 9th. The special elections resulted from demands that legislators who went along with Governor Scott Walker's collective bargaining bill and drastic budget cuts be removed from office. Republicans have countered these elections by launching recalls against two Democratic senators, scheduled for August 16th.