Corporatism’s Plan for the Dumbing Down of America

Education is the key to America’s future and is now coming under widespread siege. Tuitions continue their upward climb and young Americans have to literally sign themselves into bondage as they incur huge student loans; these loans now, collectively, exceed $1 trillion. Then, after graduation, millions of students struggle to pay back these large debts while a great many of them can’t even find jobs. When education should be this nation’s greatest priority it is, instead, being grossly neglected; and teachers, the cornerstone of this great institution are coming under constant attack and losing their jobs all across America. And we ask why? Because it’s a part of the overall plan; when the mass of the American people slowly but surely become less educated, less creative and less innovative, they will then become more passive, more submissive and far easier to manipulate and control.

To read more from this incisive article, please click here

The Latest on the Trayvon Martin Case

Ten Pieces of New Evidence

Last night, state prosecutors released a large amount of evidence — including 183 pages of documents and numerous multimedia files — related to their murder case against George Zimmerman. Here are ten notable pieces evidence that were just made public:

To get the latest information on this horrible murder case and how it is being handled, please click here

and this is why we call it, The Cabal – Uncovering the Other ALECs

ALEC, though, is not the only “corporate bill mill” playing this game.

“Taxpayer-subsidized stealth lobbyists” have upped the ante and skillfully advanced their agendas through bipartisan “trade associations” for state government officials – in particular, the Council of State Governments (CSG) whose multimillion-dollar budget is mostly funded by taxpayers. Through CSG and Friends, lobbyists exploit a well-tethered network of nonprofits representing state-level officials to advance the agenda of their corporate clientele.

This, then, is part one of a four-party story about how the “real engines of government” work. First stop on the voyage: the CSG.

KUDOS TO SARAH BLASKEY AND STEVE HORN , TRUTHOUT

To read this entire Must-Read article, please click here.

CCI, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, SPN, Heartland Institute, Heritage Institute, Cato Institute, Mercatus Institute…Please see the photo called “Koch Controlled Foundations” in our Photo Gallery

Panama City Occupy Protesters March to Patronis’ Office

Members of Occupy Panama City took to the streets Thursday to protest for what they call a threat to democracy.

SOLIDARITY

To read this important article and see video of their protest, please click here.

Public Employees Donate Time To Mourn For Trayvon’s Mom

This story comes from Miami-Dade County, where Trayvon Martin’s mom, Sybrina Fulton is a public employee. You know the “enemy” according to Rick Scott and Scott Walker? It seems that around Mothers Day, Fulton’s co-workers felt she needed time to mourn. It was then that they began collecting paid vacation time. And donate they did. According to the Miami Herald, 192 co-workers contributed vacation time allowing the county to give Fulton a gift: Eight months of paid vacation to mourn her son. Trayvon’s parents have already started a foundation, the Justice for Trayvon Martin Foundation aimed at repealing “Stand Your Ground” laws. The foundation has also stated they plan to seek repeal of “Castle Doctrine” laws, such as the one that lets Adam Kind run free after killing Bo Morrison in Wisconsin in a case equally as disgusting. Additionally they plan to teach conflict resolution in schools to help avoid violent situations altogether.

To read more about this outpouring of compassion, please click here.

Stand Against Fracking

VLTP Press release for Charlotte May 11 & 12 Anti-ALEC Protest and Teach-In

 

Press Release

Save Our States (S.O.S.) Conference and Protest –

“They’re sneaking into Charlotte, meeting in secret to write new laws benefiting their corporate handlers…wanting us to remain unaware and silent.”

The Voters Legislative Transparency Project (VLTP), a national non-profit bipartisan organization and Occupy Charlotte announce a two-day schedule of events to protest activities of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and inform about ALEC’s crafting of pro-corporate model legislation.  Corporate representatives expected to attend ALEC’s “Spring Summit” include Duke Energy, Bank of America, Wal-Mart, Carolina Power and Light, Reynolds American, Wells Fargo, BP, Exxon Mobil, Altria and Monsanto.

Those opposing ALEC and their agenda will be marching as ALEC members meet at their Spring Summit to determine laws corporations want passed in 2012 and beyond.

On Friday May 11th9:00 AM until 6:00 PM – anti-ALEC protestors will be marching and demonstrating peacefully at the downtown Westin Charlotte Hotel, 601 S. College Street, Charlotte, North Carolina where ALEC will be meeting.  Activists, Occupiers, and the general public are invited to attend and take part.  Mecklenburg ACTS will be pressing their Resolution Against High Stakes Testing, a by-product of ALEC legislation.

On Saturday, May 12th9:00 AM to 4:30 PM – there will be an all-day “Outsmart ALEC” Teach-In held at the Wedgewood Baptist Church, 4800 Wedgewood Drive, Charlotte, 28210. Sponsors of this event are VLTP, Occupy Charlotte and the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD).

Speakers – Topics

Lisa Graves from the Center for Media and Democracy                 –              Tort Reform and Legislation

Monica Embrey from Greenpeace                                           –              Environment, Fracking, EPA

Bob Sloan from VLTP                                                                      –              Prison Privatization and Industries

Tom Rothrock from Mecklenburg Co. Sr. Democrats       –              ALEC Legislation and Senior Citizens

Pat McCoy from Action NC                                                          –              ALEC Legislation and Immigrants

Peter Grear, attorney and member of Occupy Wilmington          Voter Suppression and Civil Rights

Joe Brewer, Congnitive Policy Networks (via SKYPE)      –              Cognitive Approach to Current Events

Ron Rabatsky from VLTP                                                               –              ALEC and Public Education

LUNCH/Snacks provided from 12:00 to 12:30

Voter Registration form 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM

Roundtable Discussions – with the speakers

Voter registration drive by the NC League of Women’s Voters (bring required ID/docs to register). Round table discussions between panelists and attendees addressing ALEC, their agenda and topics important to North Carolina and beyond.

For more information, press inquiries or to reserve a spot at the Teach-In contact: Ronrabatsky@vltp.net or call Ron at 704-814-0620 Bob Sloan at 317-400-5674.

Long Time ALEC Private Sector Chair, Victor Schwartz Denies ALEC Involvement

Victor Schwartz speaking at an ALEC Civil Justice Task Force in 2010, seated alongside Rep. Bill Seitz (R OH) – on Tort Reform (from an anonymous source)

For years Victor Schwartz, an attorney and top lobbyist for the law firm of Shook, Hardy and Bacon (SHB) has held the influential post of Chairman of the Civil Justice Task Force of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).  He is assisted by an “adviser” , Mark Behrens – also an attorney and lobbyist with SHB;

“Washingtonian magazine has listed Mr. Behrens as of the “top lawyers” in the District of Columbia and Business Insurance named him to its 2004 “40 under 40” list. Mr. Behrens also acts as co-chair of the Federalist Society’s Tort and Product Liability Subcommittee; counsel to the Coalition for Litigation Justice; and advisor to the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) Civil Justice Task Force.”

For months, ALEC has come under fire from many groups, individuals and journalists for their interference with state legislative processes, writing pro-corporate legislation and policies that disenfranchise American voters.  15 top U.S. companies recently dropped their membership in ALEC as have more than 30 state lawmakers under pressure from the media and activists.

Schwartz has helped ALEC draft and adopt model legislation to “reform” state tort laws and establish policies limiting consumer protections, protect companies from asbestos litigation and limit recovery in cases of product failure(s) and drug related injuries or medical malpractice – but by far one of the key initiatives Schwartz has been pushing is asbestos legislation he helped develop with ALEC to assist one of his key clients  – Crown Cork and Seal Co. (CC&SC) – to avoid paying settlements for asbestos contamination.

For nearly a decade, Schwartz has fought in many states on behalf of CC&SC as both attorney of record as in the above case with SHB representing companies and organizations affiliated with ALEC as an amicus curiae.  (One would think that representing one of the parties in a court case, while also representing other “Interested parties” in the same litigation would produce a conflict of interest).

Recently Lawyers.com began to ask questions about ALEC’s status of a charity and their involvement in many areas of tort reform and state legislation.  American Association for Justice has also begun to weigh in on the Schwartz/ALEC/SHB relationship and their combined influences.  Under pressure to comment about the issues addressed in these articles, ALEC has officially chosen to remain silent, not responding to requests for statements or interviews – except for Victor Schwartz, who issued a statement denying he or SHB are members of ALEC.  When asked for more, he responded with no comment.

Whether a member or not, Schwartz represents ALEC as their private sector chair of the Civil Justice Task Force and has held that position off and on for over a decade.  He has been instrumental in advancing ALEC’s pro-corporate “free-market” agenda.  Schwartz has personally done more to cripple consumer rights than possibly any other individual – or group.

Just nine months ago Schwartz was interviewed in New Orleans (for the ALEC Annual Meeting) by a journalist from Think Progress…and defended ALEC in this video interview.  Now he is attempting to separate himself and SHB from ALEC.

For those researching SHB, they should look to the Kansas University School of Law and Shook, Hardy & Bacon’s Center for Excellence in Advocacy, operated in the same state as one of ALEC’s primary funding members, Koch Industries.  In Kansas, these three groups; SHB, ALEC and the Koch brothers have come together to wield a huge amount of influence in state politics.  Shouldn’t Schwartz be proud of all the great work he has done on behalf of this cabal?

For more on this story, please read: “ALEC Task Force Chair denies ALEC Membership” by: Michelle Widmann

Special Rights for ALEC: Three States Exempt Stealth Corporate Lobbying Group From Lobbying Rules

A new report by the Center for Public Integrity reveals that legislators in three states have explicitly exempted the organization from state lobbying registration and disclosure laws:

[In] three states — South Carolina, Indiana and Colorado — it turns out that ALEC has quietly, and by name, been specifically exempted from lobbyist status.

To read how ALEC, which claims it is not a lobbyist, needs special exemptions from lobbying status, please click here.

ALEC’s Spring Agenda: What You Need to Know

Mark your calendars, people, because ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council is having their spring pow-wow in Charlotte, NC on May 11th, and their agenda is simply brimming with ideas meant to undermine American democracy.

To read more about the upcoming events and the horrible legislation that ALEC has planned, please click here