In the wake of the jury verdict finding George Zimmerman not guilty in his killing of Trayvon Martin, many in the media have pushed the line that Florida's notorious "Stand Your Ground" (SYG) law played no role in the trial. They couldn't be more wrong.
News Articles By Lisa Graves
Originally published by In These Times.
Freedom of conscience is one of the most fundamental human freedoms. This freedom is not merely about one's ability to choose to believe or not believe in religion or a particular philosophy. In a democracy, freedom of conscience is about the ability to be critical of government and corporations, and to be free from the chilling fear that being critical will subject you to government surveillance.
Breaking: today, the Center for Media and Democracy and Arizona Working Families jointly issued a report titled "A Reporter's Guide to the Goldwater Institute: What Citizens, Policymakers, and Reporters Should Know." A link to that report is available for download below.
Last week, the Center for Media and Democracy and The Nation magazine worked together to publish a package in The Nation and a new online wiki resource on Pete Peterson and the Campaign to Fix the Debt, an entity we consider an "astroturf supergroup" with a huge budget working hard to create the fantasy that Americans care more about national debt and deficits than jobs and the economy. Fix the Debt is currently exploiting the "sequester" debate in Congress to encourage steep cuts to incredibly popular social programs like Medicare and Social Security.
Fix 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.
Washington— On Wednesday, February 13, 2013, the Economic Policy Institute will host a media conference call on the economic policy agenda promoted by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)—an agenda that would weaken state economies, harm working families and put the interests of corporations and the most affluent households before the common good.
A majority of Visa shareholders rejected an effort to require the company to provide more disclosure about its role in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and related lobbying activities. Boston Common Asset Management, an investment firm focused on socially responsible investing, and the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations (UUA), a religious organization that affirms the inherent capacity for good in human beings, filed a resolution to require the company to disclose all payments used for lobbying purposes, including payments to groups like ALEC. In all, over 100 million votes were cast in favor of the resolution -- 37% -- but that substantial outpouring of support for greater transparency accounted for less than a majority of the votes cast by Visa shareholders.
The largest Democratic Party organization in the nation has called on Congress to support a 25% cut in Pentagon spending. The California Democratic Party -- which includes more than 2,000 representatives of the state's more than seven million Democrats -- adopted this policy in the past year in the face of threats by Republicans in Congress to refuse to allow the U.S. to increase its credit limit.
Last year, Americans witnessed an explosion in million-dollar checks from a handful of uber-wealthy people underwriting political campaigns and election ads. In 2012, there were also numerous efforts to make it harder for Americans to exercise their fundamental right to vote through restrictive voter ID legislation and limits on voter registration.
You helped make the world a better place this year. You helped expose corruption and thwart efforts to distort our democracy.
1. You helped force 42 major corporations and 70 legislators to do something they did not want to do, leave the American Legislative Exchange Council.