The decades-long effort to privatize public services and assets is hitting some bumps, with state and local governments reconsidering whether for-profit companies should be allowed to indiscriminately profit off of taxpayer dollars with limited accountability.
Scores of investors working together through Ceres and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility are challenging companies that fund the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), reminding them that such support backs ALEC's anti-environmental agenda. In response, four corporations have confirmed that they have cut or are cutting ties with ALEC:
Republican lawmakers have squeezed a provision into the Wisconsin budget to reintroduce bail bondsmen (and bounty hunters) to the state, a corruptive practice that has been banned since 1979, faces nearly universal opposition from the state's criminal justice system, and is promoted heavily by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
ALEC Asserting Immunity From State Freedom of Information Laws
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 7, 2013
CONTACT: Brendan Fischer, Brendan@prwatch.org
MADISON -- The Center for Media and Democracy filed suit Thursday against Wisconsin State Senator Leah Vukmir, a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the treasurer of ALEC's national board, over her failure to disclose ALEC-related materials under Wisconsin's public records law -- possibly because ALEC told her to keep the documents secret.
Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin are fast-tracking a controversial bill to keep political donors secret, enact voter ID, and limit early voting, among other measures, with a vote scheduled for next week. The only public hearing on the bill was held Tuesday, where a representative of the business lobby made several misleading assertions about the bill's disclosure provisions.
A Wisconsin legislator has managed to bundle nearly all of the excesses associated with dirty elections into a single bill that good government advocates are describing as a "sweeping assault on democracy:" the legislation would try reinstating restrictive voter ID requirements, make it easier for donors to secretly influence elections, expand lobbyist influence, restrict early voting, and make it harder to register, among other measures.
This article was first published by PRWatch.org on December 31, 2012, while we were writing our report "Dissent or Terror: How the Nation's Counter Terrorism Apparatus, in Partnership with Corporate America, Turned on Occupy Wall Street," published by DBA Press and the Center for Media and Democracy in May 2013. We re-release it now as part of a PRWatch series on the new report.
Records obtained from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) by DBA Press and the Center for Media and Democracy (DBA/CMD) through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request indicate that the FBI employed tactics under a "counter terrorism" initiative called "Operation Tripwire" in the monitoring of Occupy Wall Street (OWS) activists.
-- by Wendell Potter, The Center for Public Integrity
I was not among those who believed the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision would open the floodgates of corporate money to influence elections and public policy. While the decision enables corporations to call for the election or defeat of federal candidates, those expenditures have to be reported and few corporations will take the risk of losing customers by getting involved in politics so publicly.
This article is an extraction of material contained in "Dissent or Terror: How the Nation's 'Counter Terrorism' Apparatus, in Partnership with Corporate America, Turned on Occupy Wall Street," published by DBA Press and the Center for Media and Democracy.
Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, a nationwide "homeland security"/"counter terrorism" apparatus emerged. Components of this apparatus include the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the National Counterterrorism Center, and state/regional "fusion centers." Fusion centers, by and large, are staffed with personnel working in "counter terrorism"/ "homeland security" units of municipal, county, state, tribal and federal law enforcement/public safety/"counter terrorism" agencies. To a large degree, the "counter terrorism" operations of municipal, county, state and tribal agencies engaged in fusion centers are financed through a number of U.S. Department of Homeland Security grant programs.
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.