Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Center for Media and Democracy: "The Spin, 03 July, 2013"

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Keystone Academy: ALEC Pols Learn the Etiquette of Serving Special Interests

Image of ALEC Legislators at Keystone In October 2012, nine U.S. state legislators went on an industry paid trip to explore the Alberta tar sands. Publicly described as an "ALEC Academy," documents obtained by CMD show the legislators were accompanied on a chartered flight by a gaggle of oil-industry lobbyists, were served lunch by Shell Oil, dinner by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, and that the expenses of the trip were paid for by TransCanada and other corporations and groups with a direct financial interest in the Alberta tar sands and the proposed Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline.

CMD Calls for Nebraska Ethics Investigation Over ALEC Keystone Academy Junket

Image of Nebraska Senator Jim SmithThe Center for Media and Democracy filed a complaint yesterday with the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission alleging that Nebraska Senator Jim Smith, a major proponent of the Keystone XL pipeline, failed to disclose significant travel expenses paid for by the Government of Alberta, Canada during Smith's participation in an "Oil Sands Academy" organized by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The trip was sponsored by the operator of the Keystone XL pipeline, TransCanada, which may raise additional concerns under the ethics and lobbying code.

Group Launches "Taxpayer Empowerment Agenda" to Reclaim Public Control

Image of sign saying As cities and states struggle to raise revenue in a sagging economy, they have increasingly turned control of public services and assets over to for-profit corporations. But these short-term efforts to close budget gaps can have a disastrous long-term impact.

Pushback Against Privatization Across the Country

Image of New Jersey Governor Chris ChristieThe 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.

John Nichols, Bob McChesney Book Event for “Dollarocracy” in Madison July 24th

Image of John NicholsThe Center for Media and Democracy will be hosting the inaugural event celebrating the publication of Dollarocracy: How the Money and Media Election Complex is Destroying America, the new book from acclaimed authors John Nichols and Robert McChesney. The two authors, both Madisonians, will be at Tripp Commons, on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus for a 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 24th book reading, discussion and signing.

Many Faces of NRA/ALEC-Approved "Stand Your Ground" Law

Image of Trayvon MartinAs George Zimmerman's trial for shooting and killing unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in early 2012 gets underway, the "Stand Your Ground" law that initially kept Zimmerman from being arrested is still the subject of much controversy. Florida's law became the template for an American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) "model bill" that has been introduced in dozens of other states. As the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) has reported, the bill was brought to ALEC by the National Rifle Association (NRA).

Gov. Walker Vetoes Bail Bonds, Attack on Investigative Journalism

Image of Wisconsin governor Scott WalkerWisconsin Governor Scott Walker has vetoed a budget provision that would have radically changed the state's pre-trial justice system and another that would have kicked an independent journalism outfit off of University of Wisconsin campuses.

WI Budget Includes $1 Million for Well-Funded Teach for America

Image of students holding Teach for America bannerWisconsin's 2013-2015 biennial budget sits on Governor Walker's desk awaiting his signature. Included in the budget is a provision allocating $1 million in taxpayer funds over the next two years to the controversial education organization Teach for America. The non-profit organization is backed by a number of right-wing interests that have bankrolled the conservative push to privatize, voucherize, and generally dismantle free and universal public education in America.

Bradley Foundation - Challenging Affirmative Action & Voting Rights Part of Crusade

Image of Bradley Foundation sealThe Milwaukee-based Bradley Foundation is one-for-two in legal challenges to civil rights and racial equality this term, with the U.S. Supreme Court striking down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in one case bankrolled by Bradley, and in another, remanding an affirmative action case to a lower court, turning back the Bradley-backed challenge. The cases represent the latest in the Bradley Foundation's long-term effort to dismantle the gains of the civil rights era.

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