Economy

What is ALEC Hiding? CMD Reporter Kicked Out of ALEC Hotel

The Center for Media and Democracy's reporter Eric Carlson flew down to New Orleans to cover the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) annual meeting. After hearing from ALEC Board member and Ohio State Senator Bill Seitz that "there is nothing secret about it [ALEC]," Carlson was eager to attend ALEC workshops and interview state legislators about their priorities.

However, Carlson was denied press credentials by ALEC and then kicked out by security as he sat writing on his computer in the Marriott lobby. Marriott denies that it was their security personnel and speculates that it could have been private security hired by ALEC.

Big Business Woos ALEC Legislators in the Big Easy

ALEC Exposed - A project of CMDOn August 3, the American Legislative Exchange Council kicks off its annual meeting in the Big Easy. State legislators from across the country will arrive in New Orleans to be wined and dined by corporate lobbyists. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, for example, has invited legislators to a big smoke at its cigar reception on Bourbon Street. But the meeting is not all fun and games. Legislators will be sitting down with some of the biggest corporations in the world -- Koch Industries, Bayer, Kraft, Coca-Cola, State Farm, AT&T, WalMart, Philip Morris and more -- behind closed doors. There, they approve one-size-fits-all changes to the law that ALEC legislators take home and introduce as their own brilliant policy innovations.

Consumer Bureau Launches in Shark-Infested Waters

Dangerous waters lay ahead for the Consumer Financial Protection BureauThe Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) throws open its doors to consumers this week, officially starting its mission to safeguard Americans from overly complex financial products and malignant banking practices. The bureau is the culmination of a national grassroots effort to hold the big banks accountable for the 2008 economic collapse caused by Wall Street's insatiable appetite for dangerous mortgage products. Millions of Americans signed petitions to create the bureau and new polling shows that 74% of Americans think it is a terrific idea.

ALEC Exposed: Milton Friedman's Little Shop of Horrors

Milton FriedmanAlthough he passed away in 2006, states are now grappling with many of the toxic notions left behind by University of Chicago economist, Milton Friedman.

In her groundbreaking book, The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein coined the term "disaster capitalism" for the rapid-fire, corporate re-engineering of societies still reeling from shock. The master of disaster? Privatization and free market guru Milton Friedman. Friedman advised governments in economic crisis to follow strict austerity measures, combining radical cuts in social services with the full-scale privatization of their more lucrative assets. Many countries in Latin America auctioned off everything standing -- from energy and water utilities to Social Security -- to for profit multinational firms, crushing unions and other dissenters along the way.

Thousands Protest at Capitol Against Walker Budget, Supreme Court Ruling

You will hear my voteCrowds of protesters who flocked to the Wisconsin state Capitol June 14 anticipating Assembly action on the divisive collective bargaining bill, which essentially eliminates collective bargaining for public workers, were shocked to learn the Supreme Court had reinstated the law in a hotly contested 4-3 decision.

Speakers at a planned 5:00 p.m. rally were quick to lift the faltering spirits of the Wisconsin Democracy Movement. Mahlon Mitchell, president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin, told the crowd of thousands, "We're going to be here every day. We didn't pick this fight, but if it's a fight they want, it's a fight they're going to get."

Russ Feingold Leads Thousands in Budget Protest at Wisconsin Capitol

Inside the Wisconsin state Capitol on Monday, June 6, Supreme Court Justices began hearings on the controversial collective bargaining measure proposed by Governor Scott Walker. Outside the Capitol, thousands of community members and employees from across the state rallied against the Walker-sponsored budget, chanting "Recall Walker" and "Walker, we won't back down! This is a union town!"

Former U.S. Senator Russ Feingold led the march from Madison Fire Station 1 toward the Capitol. Feingold was born in Janesville, Wisconsin, and marched up to the Capitol with Rock County AFSCME member past the standing "Walkerville" tent encampment, whose friendly inhabitants set up refreshment tables to help crowds battle the crushing heat. Feingold refused to address speculation that he might oppose Scott Walker in the next election, but signs, T-shirts and chants of "Russ for Governor" indicated mounting support for his candidacy.

Wisconsin Judge Declares Walker’s Collective Bargaining Bill “Null and Void”

On May 26, Wisconsin Judge Maryann Sumi ruled Governor Scott Walker's "budget repair bill," which would eviscerate collective bargaining rights for most public workers in the state, "null and void."

Sumi ruled that lawmakers clearly violated the state's open meetings law in their rush to pass the bill at the height of the capitol protests, and that the public interest in the enforcement of the state's open records law outweighed the public interest in sustaining legislative action.

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