A new examination of the gun agenda of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) reveals numerous extreme bills advanced on the watch of Koch Industries as a leader and funder of ALEC.
PART ONE: New documents show that Koch Industries had a seat on the controversial "Public Safety and Elections Task Force" of the American Legislative Exchange Council as of at least 2011. (Part two of this special report detailing the extent of the gun agenda over the past two decades is available here.)
ALEC announced it was dropping that task force in the wake of the controversy over the tragic shooting of Trayvon Martin and so-called "Stand Your Ground" (SYG) laws. However, the co-leader of that task force, Rep. Jerry Madden (R-TX), revealed ALEC's announcement to be a PR maneuver when he reassured The Christian Post that his task force's work would continue through other ALEC task forces.
For Immediate Release:
May 11, 2012
Contact: Paul Towers, Pesticide Action Network, 916-216-1082
Syngenta Hired Guns Attack New Documentary
PR firm and paid spokespeople mount aggressive response to new film "Last Call at the Oasis"
San Francisco, CA -- As a new film highlights water contamination throughout the U.S. Midwest from Syngenta's flagship herbicide atrazine, the world's largest pesticide company has mounted a PR counter-attack downplaying the human and environmental health risks of a chemical linked to birth defects, low birth weight and certain cancers. Atrazine was banned in the EU in 2003, leaving the U.S. market as one of Syngenta's most profitable and vigorously guarded markets.
Americans for Prosperity (AFP), the Koch-funded astroturf group, held a Tax Day rally in Madison on April 14. This year's Tax Day rally was dramatically smaller than the 2009/2010 rallies at the Capitol and even smaller than last year's rally which took place in the sleet and the snow at the height of the Wisconsin Uprising. With the sun shining down on this year's rally, this year's themes included the supposedly fake "War on Women" and claims about how well Governor Scott Walker's policies are working for Wisconsin.
Wisconsin's chapter of AFP has been very supportive of Walker and his policies over the past year, running ads supporting the passage of Walker's union-busting "Budget Repair Bill," that sparked unprecedented protests in February and March of 2011. In more recent months, they have also partnered with the conservative belief tank, the MacIver Institute, to launch an expensive TV ad and Internet campaign called "It's Working," suggesting that Walker's collective bargaining measure and budget cuts have been successful.
In the past few weeks, the shooting death of Trayvon Martin exploded on the national stage. George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch captain who shot and killed Martin, kept his head down and did not do any interviews. Few spoke on his behalf, until Joe Oliver, a calm, compelling public speaker took to the national airwaves, prompting the question who is Joe Oliver?
Even before a recall election prompted by some 1 million Wisconsin residents has been scheduled, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has given himself a new job. In an email to constituents on March 2, he changed his title from Governor to "Governer."
The error was discovered by Madison disc jockey Nick Nice, who wrote in a Facebook message: "Actual screen shot from Walker's latest email. I don't even think Bush would have misspelled 'President.' Wow."
Earlier in the year, a Walker press release misspelled his hometown of Delavan, Wisconsin. It is unlikely that Wisconsin teachers, who lost the right to bargain for such matters as health insurance, working conditions and pensions under Walker, will provide the remedial spelling classes needed.
"That same day that I gave her the first bottle [of formula], she had terrible diarrhea, she had horrible spit-up, she had gas, she was crying with pain. ... [Then] our pharmacy accidentally ordered [formula] without DHA/ARA. She had it for four days and her symptoms improved almost overnight."
The candidacy of Mitt Romney for President of the United States has drawn scrutiny to the practices of the "private equity" industry. Tired of being bashed as greedy "vulture capitalists," the industry has launched an effort to polish its image.
The Private Equity Growth Capital Council (PEGCC), a trade group representing many of the most powerful firms in the venture capital and private equity industry, recently announced its intention to begin a new media initiative called "Private Equity At Work" to correct what it views as "a real lack of understanding about private equity."
Documents obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy, recently unsealed as part of a major lawsuit against Syngenta, reveal how the global chemical company's PR team investigated the press and spent millions to spin news coverage and public perceptions in the face of growing concerns about potential health risks from the widely used weed-killer "atrazine."
With its stock scraping bottom at just over $6.00 a share, its image reeling from a failed attempt to to stick its customers with a $5.00 per month debit card fee, and accusations of thousands of fraudulent foreclosures, Bank of America is undertaking another effort to improve its image. Heading up the makeover attempt is Anne M. Finucane, BofA's Global Strategy and Marketing Officer. Ms. Finucane knows better than most the depths of the trouble BofA is in. The New York Times dubs her the bank's chief "image officer" and says she and the bank stumbled badly with their failed attempt to impose a $5 monthly debit card fee -- a policy that failed after a massive uprising against the fee by BofA's customers. To her credit, Ms. Finucane says that BofA's damaged reputation "cannot be fixed with just a few new slogans. ... In order to repair reputation, you have to repair the issues that underlie" the problems, she says. But how this behemoth bank is going to improve its image when almost every week there is another story of a wrongful or needlessly cruel foreclosure, such as last week's news that a man was losing his home over an $.80 cent error, is anyones guess. BofA spends $1.55 billion/year on marketing in the U.S. alone. Fincucane has reportedly initiated a review of the company's advertising agencies, and selected agencies will be invited to pitch ideas for new marketing strategies to help improve the company's image.