Proof That America’s Criminal Justice System Discriminates Against Minorities

written by VLTP’s Bob Sloan for PolicyMicWith criminal justice legislation, statutes, and applications of both, the wording of legal documents and proposed bills have been used to basically disenfranchise minorities. The enactment of drug laws provides an easily recognized form of such disenfranchising of African Americans and Hispanics in the U.S. As with many U.S. laws, the base legislation has come from certain trade or advocacy groups such as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) which helped write and pass hundreds of such criminal justice laws.

To read Bob’s in-depth article at PolicyMic, please click here.

For-Profit Education Firm Kaplan is 14th Company to Dump ALEC

by Rebekah Wilce — April 27, 2012

Kaplan, a for-profit education, tutoring, and testing empire that is the largest division of the $4 billion Washington Post Company, recently told the Republic Report (RR) that Kaplan’s for-profit college division “was a member of ALEC for a one year period, which ended in August 2011.”

For the entire PR Watch article, please click here

Gates Foundation Reveals its Dark Side After Ditching ALEC

While funding $218 million polio and measles immunization research, the foundation also invested $400 million in 69 of North America’s worst polluting companies and $423 million in companies like Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon Mobil Corp, and Chevron – oil firms responsible for pollution which has caused  respiratory problems in local African populations. In 2005, the foundation held $1.5 billion worth of stocks in drug companies who price their products beyond the reach of AIDS patients in Africa and are widely criticized for creating barriers to the flow of medicines to Third World countries.

Read more about a number of the less than savory activities of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation here.

Walmart Scrambles Lobbyists in Response to Mexico Bribery Report

After several years of relative calm, Walmart is once again in Capitol Hill’s cross hairs.

Despite Cummings and Waxman’s interest in an investigation, House Republicans have signaled that they have no interest in probing the matter.

Roll Call reports that Wal-Mart enlisted a cadre of K Streeters to stave off the investigation:

Walmart’s top D.C. lobbyist, Ivan Zapien, convened a meeting of his outside consultants today. Those who attended, according to a source familiar with the session, included Walmart’s former in-house Democratic lobbyist Kimberly Woodard, who now runs her own shop; GOP heavyweight Charlie Black of Prime Policy Group; Paul Brathwaite of the Podesta Group, and Capitol Counsel’s John Raffaelli and former Rep. Jim McCrery (R-La.).

“The allegations that Walmart officials in Mexico may have broken U.S. laws by bribing officials to get their stores built faster raise serious concerns,” Cummings said in a statement. “But I am even more alarmed by reports that top company executives in the U.S. tried to cover up these abuses.

To read this insightful article, please click here.

Wal-Mart Deploys Lobbyist Who Used To Work For Congressman Cummings To Fight Cummings’ Investigation Of Bribery Scandal

By | Apr 25th 2012

This morning, Oversight Committee members Congressman Elijah Cummings and Henry Waxman announced that they will begin a probe of Wal-Mart’s lobbying. In a press release, Cummings announced that he has sent letters to Tom Donohue and Greg Steinhafel, leaders of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Retail Industry Leaders Association — the two Wal-Mart-funded fronts identified by Jilani as having worked to weaken the FCPA.

To read the rest of Lee Fang’s article, please click here

Peter Grear to speak at ALEC Teach-In on 5/12

VLTP is proud to announce that Peter Grear will be speaking at the ALEC Teach-In on 5/12.

Peter, a member of Occupy Wilmington, has had his own law practice since 1976 in Wilmington,

He is the co-publisher of the Greater Diversity News, which you can link to from here

Peter brings his own historical and educational perspective to the subject of Voter Suppression and other ALEC legislation aimed at turning back the clock on those who fought to establish their civil rights.

Peter will be speaking, and also heading up a round table discussion about the issues covered in his speech.

Senate Passes USPS Reform Bill – Now Its Up To an ALEC Influenced House…

Senate Passes USPS Reform Bill – Now Its Up To an ALEC Influenced House…

By Bob Sloan


The Senate today voted to pass a bill to salvage the USPS – for now.  Critical to avoiding a proposed shut down of hundreds of postal facilities and centers with the loss of 200,000 jobs, the news was cautiously welcomed by VLTP.  While the House has yet to vote on similar legislation, sponsored by Rep. Issa, this is a step in the right direction.  A key part of the Senate bill would return $11 billion  of the funds the USPS has been forced to set aside (since Congress stipulated that provision in the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act [HR 6407]) for employee retirement and health plans…and reduce the amount of future contributions to that account.

Some Background

As VLTP has been reporting for nearly a year, our research uncovered an attempt by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to push for privatization of the USPS on behalf of two of their primary members and supporters, UPS and FedEx.  Congressional alumni and supporters of ALEC were instrumental in crafting and sponsoring the legislation that forced the USPS to “pay forward” retirement and health benefits covering 75 years…and to be accomplished in just a ten year window.  Sponsor of this legislation in the House was former Rep. Tom Davis (R VA).  His wife, Jeannemarie Devolites Davis was a Virginia Politician serving as a state Senator and a member of ALEC. Her political campaigns for Virginia‘s Senate was funded by husband Tom Davis and various Republican PACs including the former Majority Leader and ALEC Alumni Tom Delay through his ARMPAC.  Rep. Tom Davis received $211,333 during his public service from known ALEC members.

ALEC Alumni, Rep. John McHugh (R NY) first introduced Postal Reform legislation in 1996: (H.R. 3717).  Inexplicably – or perhaps due to great framing and a belief that McHugh genuinely wanted to help the USPS – he was heavily supported by USPS workers himself with campaign contributions totaling $272,800 from 5 USPS worker organizations. An additional $61,350 was contributed from UPS and FedEx.

Senate co-Sponsor of the 2006 legislation impacting the USPS was Susan Collins (R ME) who has ties to Koch money and is actively supporting Koch‘s EPA deregulation and environmental denial of climate change. In 2006 Collins received $166,138 in donations from; UPS ($22,168), Verizon, ($15,221), AT&T ($12,000), GlaxoSmithKline ($11,999), MBNA Corporation ($85,250)54 and Blue Cross and Blue Shield ($31,550) – all now known to be members of ALEC.  Because of the perception that Collins was working to help the USPS with the 2006 legislation, she received  $42,500 in contributions from postal workers. Over her career, Collins has so far received $510,993 from confirmed ALEC members.

Co-sponsor of the legislation to “save” the USPS in 2010 and again here in 2012, is Rep. Joe Lieberman. He received no funding from top ALEC corporate members in 2008 but that’s changed.  For 2012 – while not running for re-election – Lieberman received contributions from several corporate PAC’s and Committees who are also ALEC members, including; AT&T, Verizon, FedEx, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Comcast and Koch Industries.

As the Report published by VLTP and linked to above reveals, from the introduction of McHugh’s legislation in 1996 the conservative think tanks associated with ALEC have been publishing articles, statistics and reports calling for the privatization of the USPS, calling their services to the public a “monopoly”.  These “reports” and articles from; the Heritage Foundation, CATO, National Taxpayers Union and the Reason Foundation have a commonality beyond ALEC – they are all linked to the Koch brothers by ideology and funding.

Hopefully this background information helps you understand that key politicians involved in working to privatize the USPS has also been working to cause the collapse of the Postal Service.  By working both sides of the argument they have/are receiving huge sums of money as campaign contributions – from those supporting the USPS and those opposing them.  Additionally, an important aspect of this battle over mail service, is the fact that ALEC has 100 “Alumni” currently sitting in the U.S. Congress.

Under the foregoing circumstances the future of the USPS is in jeopardy to both the public as well as postal workers.  With UPS and FedEx seeking access to the first class mail and parcel post contracts worth billions of dollars annually, this battle is not going to simply cease.  With the assistance of ALEC, corporate funding, legislative members and alumni the USPS will not be “safe” for years to come…unless postal administrators take notice of the facts before them and work to eliminate ALEC and their influence in Congress.  If they don’t, much of their annual income and political efforts going forward will go to trying to forestall ALEC’s continued attempts at privatization.

Today’s news while heartening, is also dismaying as the Republicans are now “kicking the can down the road” much as they accuse President Obama’s administration of doing.  To understand the Senate bill and the provisions…

…Read the Christian Science Monitor story related to this news —> here

Clean-Energy Requirements Targeted by ALEC, Norquist

By Jim Snyder – Apr 23, 2012

Small-government groups including the American Legislative Exchange Council, whose advocacy for Florida’s Stand-Your-Ground law and other measures have drawn calls to revoke its tax-exempt status, are taking aim at state mandates requiring renewable energy use.

While environmentalists view the clean-energy standards as vital to reducing the country’s reliance on fossil fuels, groups like ALEC and the Grover Norquist-run Americans for Tax Reform say the mandates are a hidden tax on consumers and a drag on state economies.

To read more about ALEC’s latest threat, please click here

One of our VLTP members has already mad a very appropriate comment:  “Always Remember —The British East India Company Never Dies …It Merely Changes Its PR Firm …”

 

If Corporations Were People, Wal-Mart Would Be In Jail

By: Sarah Jones | April 23, 2012

The Depart of Justice is investigating Wal-Mart for possible violations of a federal law. To put this in perspective, in 2008, Siemens AG paid a $450 million fine for violating the FCPA (Foreign Corrupt Practices Act).

Apparently, money can buy more than elections – money can also buy “growth”. Read the following from the New York Times to remind yourself why we have things like oversight and laws and why corporations, if they are people, are psychopaths.

To read all of Sarah Jones’ article, please click here

Don’t Let Business Lobbyists Kill the Post Office

…But politics also plays a huge part in this. In 2006, in what looks like an attempt to bust the Postal Workers’ Union, George Bush signed into law the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006. This law required the Postal Service to pre-fund 100 percent of its entire future obligations for 75 years of health benefits to its employees – and not only do it, but do it within ten years. No other organization, public or private, has to pre-fund 100 percent of its future health benefits.

The transparent purpose of this law, which was pushed heavily by industry lobbyists, was to break a public sector union and privatize the mail industry. Before the 2006 act, the postal service did one thing, did it well, and, minus the need to generate profits and bonuses for executives, did it cheaply. It paid for itself and was not a burden to taxpayers.

To read more of Matt Taibbi’s article, please click here

And please click here to go to our forum and discuss the USPS with others.  The Forum is moderated by Marty Townsend who is from a multi-generational USPS family.