Friday, March 30, 2012
Thursday, March 29, 2012
The Corporations Bankrolling ALEC, which Has Promoted the "Stand Your Ground" Gun Law as a "Model" Bill | Center for Media and Democracy
The killing of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin has raised old concerns about everything from racial profiling to gun violence. That's frustrating, as so many Americans had hoped that their country might have bent the arc of history a bit more toward progress.
But the shooting in Sanford, Florida, has done something else. It has focused new attention on the structural supports for legislating on behalf of special-interest, and on the way in which the American Legislative Exchange Council turns bad ideas into bad law.
That has created a new clarity with regard to the need for a pushback against ALEC and its corporate sponsors. And that clarity has renewed a civil rights coalition that will be needed if there is to be any hope for breaking the grip of one-size-fits-all lawmaking and renewing small "d" democracy and sound governance in the states.
The focus of the moment is, of course, on the "Kill at Will" laws—known variously as "Castle Doctrine" and "Stand Your Ground" measures, referred to by former Florida US Attorney Kendall Coffey as "License-to-Kill" laws—that ALEC has been promoting nationally since 2005 in cooperation with the National Rifle Association, the gun manufacturing industry and gun retailers. These laws, which afford immunity to gunmen who shoot unarmed individuals they presume to be threatening, go far beyond the traditional self-defense protections that have been afforded Americans from the founding of the republic. They tie the hands of responsible politice officers and prosecutors. And they create openings for abuses like those that have been highlighted in the aftermath of the Trayvon Martin shooting. Read Full Article Here | The Nation
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Exposed: The Corporations Behind the Law That May Let Trayvon Martin's Killer Go Free | The Nation
According to the Center for Media and Democracy, 98 percent of ALEC’s revenues come from corporations, corporate trade groups, and corporate foundations. Each member pays annual fees of between $7,000 and $25,000. ALEC is also supplemented by direct grants. We don’t know all the details about all of ALEC’s funders and members. Here’s a partial list of what we do know about the corporations and foundations who helped fund the group that drafted the law that keeps Trayvon Martin’s killer free — and put more guns on our streets:
ALEC received $1.4 million in grants from ExxonMobil from 1998-2009.
It has also received grants from two Koch family-backed foundations: Charles G. Koch Foundation, the Claude R. Lambe Foundation.
ALEC has received grant money from the billionaire conservative and American Spectator publisher Richard Mellon Scaife‘s Allegheny Foundation and the Coors family’s Castle Rock Foundation.
ALEC’s Private Enterprise Board members include executives from Bayer Corp., GlaxoSmithKline, Centerpoint360, Reynolds American, Wal-Mart Stores, Johnson & Johnson, PhRMA, American Bail Coalition, Kraft Foods, Inc., Pfizer Inc., DIAGEO, AT&T, Reed Elsevier, Inc., Peabody Energy, UPS, Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC, Altria Client Services, ExxonMobil, Salt River Project, and State Farm Insurance Co. Coca Cola also recently had an executive on ALEC’s board.
According to reporting by my colleague, Lee Fang, ALEC’s 38th Annual Meeting was funded by corporations including BP, Takeda Pharmaceutical, Allergan, Altria, Bayer, Chevron, Peabody, Shell, UnitedHealthcare, Visa, FedEx, Louisiana Seafood, UPS, Amazon.com, Chesapeake Energy, ConocoPhillips, Dow, Gulf States Toyota, International Paper, TimeWarner, Wellpoint, HP, Lilly, Merck, USAA, and Walgreens (the full list available here). Read More Here | The Nation
Monday, March 26, 2012
"That this bill was shoved down the throats of doctors, would interfere with their work and threaten them with jail, makes it the foremost outrage among 14 months of outrageous government actions.
In the big picture, it’s fascinating to watch whom these Republicans choose to meddle with.
Doctors regularly appear at or near the top in rankings of the nation’s most respected job categories. But then teachers, firefighters and police officers also rank at or near the top, and the GOP went after their benefits and, in the case of teachers at least, the power of their unions.
Scientists also rank high, yet the GOP inflicted draconian cuts to the University of Wisconsin-Madison budget even though its scientists attract massive grants and make UW-Madison a world-class research university."
An Evening With Cornel West - Democracy in Crisis
- Monday, April 2, 2012
- 7:00pm until 9:00pm
- Milwaukee SDS will host Dr. Cornel West for "Democracy in Crisis: From Economic Austerity to Racism" in the UWM Union Wisconsin Room at 7pm April 2nd.
-- FREE TICKETS are available to the public for pickup or will-call from the UWM Bookstore. --
Scholar and activist Cor...nel West will share his insight on Wisconsin’s struggle against the austerity agenda of the 1%, the Occupy movement, and global struggles against racism and inequality.
Sponsored by: SDS, Occupy Milwaukee, Black Student Union, Committee to Stop FBI Repression, Union Programming, Union Sociocultural Programming, Campus Activities Board, Cultures and Communities, Department of History. Read More Here | Democracy in Crisis
Protest in New York City's Union Square against the killing of Trayvon Martin. Francis Reynolds/The Nation
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush endorsed Mitt Romney Wednesday, earning national headlines as an elder statesman of a Grand Old Party that is still trying to wrap its head around the concept of Romney as a presidential nominee.
It is a measure of the extent to which media and political players absolve those who make laws from any responsibility for the impact of the legislation they enact and sign that Romney—who has so meticulously avoided discussing the Trayvon Martin killing in Florida—would casually accept the backing of the signer of the “Stand Your Ground” law that so many reasonable observers believe played a role in Trayvon’s death.
The 17-year-old Florida youth was apparently hunted down and shot by a “neighborhood watch” gunman while Trayvon was returning from a trip to a nearby 7-11 store. The gunman, George Zimmerman, was reportedly of the belief that he had been given what was effectively a license to kill by Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law. Police in Sanford, Florida, apparently shared that view, as they decided against arresting and charging the shooter. Read More Here | The Nation
" The Florida Department of Law Enforcement suggests that killings that have gotten a "justifiable homicide" pass have tripled since Jeb Bush signed that state's law. And as Representative Taylor noted after the Washington County prosecutor deferred to the "Castle Doctrine" in the Slinger, Wisconsin, case, “Now a young man, like in Florida, has been killed, and a family mourns the loss of a son. What a senseless tragedy.”
Florida may have been the pioneer. But thanks to the American Legislative Exchange Council, it is now just one of many states, including Wisconsin, that have enacted variations on the "Castle Doctrine." These laws are not products of the political or legislative processes of sovereign American states, nor are they smart extensions of necessary protections for gun ownership. They are one-size-fits-all legislative "fixes" for problems that never existed -- imposed upon states that now must deal with the messes that ALEC creates." John Nichols
Read Full Article Here | The Nation
Male Congressmen Now Being Inundated With Knit And Crocheted Vaginas | Happy Place
Glen Grothman : mailing address
Room 10 South
P.O. Box 7882
Madison, WI 53707-7882
Lobbyists, Guns and Money - NYTimes.com
Sunday, March 25, 2012
Friday, March 23, 2012
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Message to the Government Accountability Board: Protect Our Recall Elections | Wisconsin Citizens Media Co-op
I am a former clerk of the Town of Middleton and I am a founder of and legal counsel for Wisconsin Citizens for Election Protection and for Wisconsin Counts, organizations that were formed for the purpose of protecting our elections from election fraud. Many of us are very concerned that Wisconsin is not prepared to prevent, detect or correct the election fraud that may accompany an election of the importance of the upcoming recall elections.
A fact of life is that when there is an important election, frequently someone tries to win by cheating. In Wisconsin, we have evidence of this fact as early as the election for Governor in 1855. That election was so filled with election fraud that the Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned the announced re-election of the incumbent.
On June 5th, 2012 there will be an election to recall Governor Scott Walker. That Recall Election may be the most important non-presidential election ever held in this country. Going into that election it is important to remember that Scott Walker’s campaign for a student office at Marquette University was marred by cheating. This recall election is vastly more important than was that election and deserves the highest level of vigilance by election officials. Read More Here | Wisconsin Citizens Media Co-op
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
The Center for Media Democracy contacted Governor Scott Walker and the four candidates who have filed to run in the recall election against him. We asked them all to comment on the influence of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) on the state of Wisconsin and what they might do about it as governor.
Three Democrats and one Independent have announced that they are running against Governor Walker; a primary is likely May 8. There is speculation that other candidates may still announce their intentions to run. The general election is expected to be June 5.
The BRAD BLOG : Motion by Former Deputy Appears to Implicate WI's Scott Walker in a Conspiracy to Violate Milwaukee Employee Residence Law
Facing recall, Sen. Galloway retires from state Senate
MARY SPICUZZA | Wisconsin State Journal | firstname.lastname@example.org | 608-252-6122 | @MSpicuzzaWSJ madison.com | (134) Comments | Posted: Friday, March 16, 2012 4:30 pm"Galloway is one of four GOP senators now facing recall elections. Her departure leaves the Legislature evenly split 16-16. It comes at the end of the legislative session, but it will change the makeup of committees, including ones that continue to be active when the Legislature is out of session. Fitzgerald said he plans to meet with Miller, D-Monona, on Tuesday to discuss changes.
A year ago, Republicans held a 19-14 majority in the Senate, but that narrowed to 17-16 in August after Democrats ousted two GOP incumbents in recall elections. Republicans lose majority of that house with Galloway's departure." Read More Here | Galloway retires from state Senate
Monday, March 19, 2012
Recall Petition Update 10: Impact of Sen. Galloway’s Announced Resignation on Recall Election | Government Accountability Board
Embattled Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser said Monday he will likely ask other members of the court to recuse themselves from deciding on the disciplinary complaint filed against him last week — an action that, if successful, would appear to kill the case.
Prosser also said in an interview Monday that he favors authorizing the Wisconsin Judicial Commission to release records of its deliberations in the matter to allow him and others to determine whether the commission was — as he charged Friday — politically biased against him.
"As far as I'm concerned, I don't think I have anything to hide here," Prosser said. "I don't know who made the complaints. I don't know what their (commission members') votes were. I don't know if it was a unanimous vote or not a unanimous vote."
Last week the commission alleged Prosser engaged in three counts of misconduct during an altercation June 13 in which he put his hands on the neck of Justice Ann Walsh Bradley in front of four other justices. One member, Patrick Crooks, was not there. State law bars judges from presiding over matters in which they are material witnesses. Read more here | Prosser plans to ask other justices to recuse selves in discipline case
“Today, Citizens for Responsible Government (an oxymoron) began recall effort against me and established a recall committee against Sen. Dale Schultz (R-17). Here is my statement:
“Citizens for Responsible government is a Milwaukee fringe group that is more interested in political conquest than working for the common good. They helped Scott Walker win a recall election in Milwaukee and now they think they can spread their southeastern Wisconsin special interest money and extreme right-wing agenda to other parts of the state.
“They don’t care about jobs or responsible mining policy. The only contact they have had with my office has been harassing, costly and time-consuming open record requests. They just want to send a message that they will threaten to recall a public official who happens to dare to disagree with them.
“They don’t care about the north. They just want to make sure they own the politics and control the person who represents the north. They certainly don’t care about the truth. Read Full Article and View Video Here | Wisconsin Citizens Media Co-op
Friday, March 16, 2012
Thursday, March 8, 2012
"With some results still yet to come in, reports confirm that at least 55 towns in Vermont approved municipal resolutions calling for an end to big money's dominance in US politics and calling for a Constitutional amendment to reverse the Supreme Court's 'Citizens United' decision that has opened the floodgates for secretive, unlimited campaign spending in US elections.
“The people of Vermont and across America are totally disgusted with the huge amounts of money that billionaires and corporations are throwing into the political process,” US Senator Bernie Sanders said today. “We have to overturn this disastrous Citizens United decision. I hope the message coming out of the town meetings will spark a grassroots movement across the United States.”" Read More | Common Dreams
"Wisconsinites are in Kucinich’s debt because last spring, he made a monkey out of Scott Walker when the Wisconsin governor testified before the House. Kucinich forced Walker to admit that his attacks on labor rights had nothing to do with saving revenue for the state of Wisconsin. This helped unmask Walker as someone who simply wanted to crush unions." Matt Rothchild | The Progressive
Appreciating Dennis Kucinich | The Progressive
By Matthew Rothschild, March 7, 2012
Dennis Kucinich deserves a lot of credit for holding high the progressive banner in Congress over the past 16 years.
Kucinich lost his primary race against another progressive, Marcy Kaptur, the longest serving woman in Congress on Tuesday, by a 55-41 margin.
"Wisconsinites are in Kucinich’s debt because last spring, he made a monkey out of Scott Walker when the Wisconsin governor testified before the House. Kucinich forced Walker to admit that his attacks on labor rights had nothing to do with saving revenue for the state of Wisconsin. This helped unmask Walker as someone who simply wanted to crush unions." Read More | The Progressive
Video of the Kucinich/Walker testimony
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
GOP bid to block wind power rules fails - JSOnline
By Patrick Marley of the Journal Sentinel
The Public Service Commission wrote the rules, but Republicans temporarily stopped them when they took over the Legislature in the November 2010 elections. To permanently prevent the rules from going into effect, they needed to pass a bill by next week, when the legislative session ends.
Senate Republicans put forward a bill requiring the PSC to write new wind rules, but they pulled the bill back Wednesday because they didn't have the votes. Sen. Frank Lasee (R-De Pere) said there was no way to get the measure passed and that the old rules would go into effect.
Republicans control the Senate 17-16. All the Democrats and Sen. Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center) opposed blocking the rules, meaning Republicans were one vote shy of passing it. Read More Here | JSOnline
What's Ahead for Rep. Dennis Kucinich? | Truthout
by: Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! | Report
Dennis Kucinich, the liberal icon who tried twice to get the Democratic nomination for president, in Lorain, Ohio, January 1, 2012.
In a newly drawn district in Ohio, outspoken antiwar Rep. Dennis Kucinich suffered a defeat against Rep. Marcy Kaptur. The two were forced to square off in a Democratic primary after Republicans redrew Ohio’s congressional map. Kaptur now faces Samuel Wurzelbacher, "Joe the Plumber," winner of the district’s Republican primary. Kucinich has said he may establish residency in Washington state, where there is a June filing deadline to run for a new congressional seat in the Seattle area."I think there would be an awfully lot of people, even on the ground in Washington state, who would be more welcoming to him than to most candidates," says reporter John Nichols of The Nation. Read More Here | Truthout
I knew I was a little "slow" ...this should have been posted here yesterday. This came from DRW (Disability Rights - Wisconsin) • Support AB 471 - Intellectual Disabilities
• Support AB 477 – Family Care Caps
• Support AB 455 – Restraint and Seclusion
• Oppose AB 110 – Special Needs Vouchers
BACKGROUND ON THESE FOUR BILLS:
Intellectual Disabilities Language Bill
AB 471 removes harmful language from our state laws – the words “mental retardation” – that have stigmatized people with disabilities for far too long. The removal of this term will not change funding, eligibility or supports for people with disabilities, but will make a big difference to many individuals and will bring our state in line with the thinking of other major medical organizations and health agencies. This bill passed the Senate by unanimous voice vote and we look forward to a day soon when the Governor will sign it into law.
Our Recommendation: Support
Family Care Caps Bill
AB 477 lifts the caps on Wisconsin’s long-term care programs – including Family Care, IRIS, PACE and Family Care Partnership – that were placed in the state budget. The Department of Health Services has presented solid information demonstrating that our long-term care system is sustainable and cost-effective, in addition to being extremely vital to the lives of tens of thousands of people with disabilities and seniors. We hope the Assembly will have a strong show of bi-partisanship to pass this bill just like the Senate who passed it unanimously. Swift passage of this legislation is important to not only the more than 8,000 eligible individuals on the state’s waiting list, but for the maintenance of $1.7 billion in federal funds.
Our Recommendation: Support
Seclusion and Restraint Bill
AB 455/SB 353 restricts the use of seclusion and restraint in schools to situations when the student’s or other individuals’ safety is at risk and it is the least restrictive intervention. Harmful practices are not allowed and parents must be notified. This is a huge step forward in Wisconsin. In the past, students have been harmed and teachers have been ill-prepared to deal with serious situations. In addition, this bill has the extraordinary and diverse support of DPI and various education stakeholders, including school boards and school administrators, and is also supported by all major disability and children’s advocacy groups. The Senate bill passed that chamber by unanimous voice vote. The success of this legislation is a credit to the education committee membership in both chambers, including Assembly Education Committee Chair Kestell. We look forward to a day soon when the Governor will sign this bill into law.
Our Recommendation: Support
Special Needs Voucher Bill
AB 110 is intended to allow parents of students with disabilities to use a voucher to attend a private school. However it will create new, though perhaps unintended problems, which can be harmful to parents and students. Although this bill was improved since its original version, the calculation for funding of these vouchers remains a significant concern and is not a responsible use of taxpayer dollars. Since there are no income or tuition caps in this bill, it will likely lock out lower income families or families with children with complex disabilities, and in fact will use public dollars to subsidize private education for families with very high incomes. No statewide disability or special education-focused organization supports this bill. In addition, as we have seen in other states, particularly Florida where the idea for Wisconsin’s voucher program was sparked, a program of this type creates significant loopholes for fraud and family deception. Families may not realize they give up their rights to a Free and Appropriate Public Education. The bill does not even require voucher schools to have trained or certified special education teachers, or an approved curriculum. Perhaps most concerning is the fact that each voucher takes critical funding away from the majority of students with disabilities who remain in that area public school. Although we do believe a small percentage of families could benefit from such a voucher, this bill does not serve the best interests of the 95%+ students with disabilities who will choose to remain in our public schools. In fact, they may be harmed if this bill becomes law. Such a bill should not be passed in haste.
Our Recommendation: Oppose
A FOOTNOTE IF YOU ARE STILL READING!
Bills we also like - The Assembly will also vote Tuesday on these bills which we like or helped to improve:
AB 447 – Vocational Diploma Bill: authorizes a school board to issue a Vocational Diploma – for a student with a disability, the discussion about a vocational diploma will happen within the IEP process. Disability advocates got this improvement!
AB 558 Read to Lead Bill: This bill creates universal screening for kindergartners and a new reading licensure exam for teachers. Disability Advocates successfully amended the bill to get a representative for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities added to the new Read to Lead Development Council and made a link to the Child Find process so eligible children are referred to special education.
SB 421 Physicians Assistants: This bill authorizes new duties for physicians assistants. Disability Advocates were able to make a change so that now P.A.s and nurse practitioners can write medical excuses for students with special health care needs so they are not marked truant from school.
Gov. Scott Walker and legislative Republicans are stripping Wisconsinites of their legal protections to an extent I have never seen during my tenure in the state Assembly. We are not merely seeing attacks on workers’ rights, women’s rights, and voter’s rights — which are all pretty horrendous — but we are also experiencing attacks on the rights of consumers under the guise of improving our business climate.
Eliminating your right to justice and recourse when you have been harmed by a business or product explicitly contradicts the Republicans’ message of individual freedom and responsibility. Instead, their motto should be: “You’re on your own.” But the deck is stacked against you. In order to protect yourself you will have to be your own lawyer, doctor, and even insurer.
Here are just a few of the devastating attacks on consumers’ rights this session: Read More Here
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Monday, March 5, 2012
Thursday, March 1, 2012
March 1st, 2012 2:17 PM
Are the Koch Brothers Funding Rush Limbaugh?
By Robert Greenwald
By Robert Greenwald and Jesse Lava
Just in time for the release of Brave New Foundation's new film, Koch Brothers Exposed, Rush Limbaugh has thrown in with Charles and David Koch in their letter war with Obama campaign manager Jim Messina. No surprise there; Rush has made his fortune defending the rich and powerful against the 99%. But does Rush actually have a vested interest in the Koch brothers' success? The letter war started when Messina sent a fundraising letter saying the billionaire brothers bankroll "Tea Party extremism" and manipulate oil prices to buttress their energy business. The Kochs responded that Obama was treading on their "right to free speech." (To them, I guess, being criticized by the president is tantamount to being arrested for sedition.) Team Obama shot back again, and here we are.
The video we made with Sen. Bernie Sanders reveals the Kochs' general method, whether Limbaugh is involved or not: fund an army of right-wing organizations so that politicians and pundits know exactly what to say: