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Reposted from Bob Sloan by Bob Sloan

Pursuing Charles and David Koch and their funding of the far right and an ultra-conservative agenda is important. Identifying the “charitable” organizations they launder money through – which is then passed onto other organizations (along with tax credits or deductions), is also important. Exposing the various billionaire families (DeVos, Coors, Bradley, etc.) that contribute to the goals of the Kochs’ and their cabal, is likewise important.

However, what those actively pursuing and exposing the Koch Cabal must understand is that once an integral part of the cabal is exposed, the duties that particular organization was responsible for, is transferred to one or more entities within the Koch’s vast network – and the agenda continues to move along smoothly without any real interruption. The cabal can afford to “lose” one or more of the network’s controlled “charities” and continue to function without missing a beat.

Poll

How many U.S. jobs have been taken over by state and federal prisoners to date?

5%1 votes
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31%6 votes
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| 19 votes | Vote | Results

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Reposted from Bob Sloan by Bob Sloan
The above graphic charts the relationship(s) between dozens of extreme right-wing organizations, foundations, institutes, conservative owned companies and wealthy individuals working together to advance a pro-conservative agenda against a majority of Americans. I used this graphic in May of 2011 in an effort of exposing the formation of a secretive "Cabal" dedicated to changing the way our democracy works.  Now other sources have revealed - and corroborate - the existence of such a cabal is in fact true...
Poll

Were you already aware of the Koch/ALEC "cabal" - and their extensive influence?

50%26 votes
9%5 votes
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| 52 votes | Vote | Results

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Reposted from Bob Sloan by Bob Sloan

Reposted from VLTP.net...
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Diarist Note - We at DL's Abolish ALEC group have been writing about this subject for more than a year now and just recently our research, conclusions and opinions have been corroborated independently by the International Forum on Globalization that just released a report that is a must read: "The Influence of Koch-Cash."  Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! posted a new video about the Koch's in an interview with the report author.  The video is a must see short intro to the Koch/ALEC Cabal...
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The Corrosive Effect of the Koch/ALEC Cabal on U.S. and World Governments

In a perfect world, we as citizens in a representative democracy would elect those who best represent our views on issues critically important in our lives.  In the context of that perfect world, our elected  representatives would work tirelessly pursuing legislation that would benefit their constituents and thus earn the respect of voters and ensure their re-election.  In America, this IS the basis that formed the foundation of our government.  Unfortunately, we do not have a “perfect world” with regard to those who represent us, far from it.  Today, we elect those who will take office and then essentially sell their votes to corporations and special interests which are not allowed to vote for elected officials in our democracy, wealthy or powerful entities in whose interest it is to keep these captured legislators in office, term after term.  Many elected officials take office and ignore the needs of their constituents in favor of the desires of corporations or special interests, and often ignore requests for legislation beneficial to the community they are supposed to represent– until those constituents are needed in subsequent elections, and sometimes even then officials count on voters not being aware how they’ve been sold out.

Some ask: how this has come to pass?  Who is responsible for undermining our democracy and corrupting our elected representatives?

Poll

Will ALEC and the Koch Cabal simply transfer their influence and power to other RW organizations - or continue as they have been?

52%13 votes
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12%3 votes
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| 25 votes | Vote | Results

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Reposted from Bob Sloan by Bob Sloan
John Kasich answering questions about a possible 2015 Presidential run.
Reposted from VLTP.net

Op-Ed by Exec. Dir. Bob Sloan

As pressure has been brought to bear upon the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) over the past couple of years, many of their far-right conservative initiatives were brought into the light along with that organization's secretive memberships and vast influence.

Articles began surfacing advising voters of ALEC's involvement in crafting and urging passage of key state legislation designed to suppress voter rights, tort reform (to limit consumer protections) and on social issues involving abortion, separation of church and state, privatization of public schools, utilities and abolishing or repealing the Affordable Care Act.  They have written and disseminated labor legislation to end collective bargaining, reduce Union and worker wages and other legislation beneficial to their corporate members.

Most Americans were completely unaware of ALEC from it's conception in 1973...and those who did know ALEC existed, were uninformed as to what ALEC actually did.  All of that changed in May 2011 when hundreds of ALEC's documents were turned over  to the Nation Magazine and the Center for Media and Democracy by a concerned whistle-blower.  In July CMD and the Nation launched "ALEC Exposed" a joint project to fully expose ALEC to the public.  When the site went public, there was less than 18 months remaining until the 2012 election, requiring those of us knowledgeable about ALEC to work quickly to make voters fully aware of ALEC.

Other organizations and groups joined CMD in helping to pull ALEC from the dark shadows and expose their activities to all Americans. Groups such as Common Cause, Color of Change, PFAW, Progress Now, Democracy Now and Walden Asset Management  joined with CMD in an effort of enlightening everyone about ALEC - and demonstrating why their activities were so dangerous to democracy and the very fabric of our Nation.  Jointly they issued state reports identifying ALEC state legislative members, the legislation they were responsible for writing and passing in each state.  They issued reports on the corporate members of ALEC that funded and co-wrote free market legislation for the state members to introduce and pass in each state.

Poll

Can the ALEC Cabal be eradicated before the 2016 General Election?

19%10 votes
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| 51 votes | Vote | Results

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Reposted from Bob Sloan by Bob Sloan
State Sen. David Holt, R-Oklahoma City, has announced he will introduce legislation in 2013 that will allow parents to overhaul chronically low-performing schools:
“A parent trigger law in Oklahoma would provide a way to break old patterns, and empower the people that are most invested in success — parents and students — to set a new tone for their school,” he said.”
In this article from Tulsa World, experienced researchers can point to this “legislation” as a key example of how the ALEC cabal (consisting of billionaire operated foundations, multi-national companies, conservative funded think tanks, bought and paid for state lawmakers and Congressional “alumni”) advances their conservative ideologies and pro-market concepts through drafting and then lobbying for enactment of laws they’ve written.  It also shows where the money being funneled into these activities comes from and how media influence is used to facilitate four decades of success;
The parent trigger movement was spurred by two controversial conservative groups, Heartland Institute and the American Legislative Exchange Council. ALEC is financially supported by billionaires such as the Koch Brothers and Phillip Anschutz.

“Walden Media produced “Won’t Back Down.” The company is a division of The Anschutz Corp, which owns the Oklahoma Publishing Co., publisher of The Oklahoman newspaper in Oklahoma City.

The film also is being distributed by 20th Century Fox. The company is owned by Rupert Murdoch and News Corp., which owns Fox News, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post.”

Poll

Do you support or oppose the Parent Trigger Act?

13%5 votes
72%26 votes
11%4 votes
2%1 votes

| 36 votes | Vote | Results

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Reposted from Bill Moyers by boatsie

This week, we report on the most influential corporate-funded political force most Americans have never heard of — ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council. A national consortium of state politicians and powerful corporations, ALEC presents itself as a “nonpartisan public-private partnership”. But behind that mantra lies a vast network of corporate lobbying and political action aimed to increase corporate profits at public expense without public knowledge.

In state houses around the country, hundreds of pieces of boilerplate ALEC legislation are proposed or enacted that would, among other things, dilute collective bargaining rights, make it harder for some Americans to vote, and limit corporate liability for harm caused to consumers — each accomplished without the public ever knowing who’s behind it.

We explore ALEC’s self-serving machine at work, acting in a way one Wisconsin politician describes as “a corporate dating service for lonely legislators and corporate special interests.”

I hope you tune in to watch "United States of ALEC", and share the news. Here's a preview:


By the way, join me for my first LIVE CHAT of 2012. You can set up a reminder for yourself and start submitting questions for me here. I look forward to it.

“United States of ALEC” is a collaboration between as Okapi Productions LLC and the Schumann Media Center, headed by Bill Moyers, which supports independent journalism and public watchdogs including the Center for Media and Democracy, whose investigators are featured in the report.

Discuss
Reposted from Bob Sloan by Bob Sloan

Reposted from Voters Legislative Transparency Project (VLTP.net)

ALEC Finds New Friends

Republican Study Committee (RSC) and Heritage Foundation - New Partners...

Seems ALEC is searching for legislative support through a new partnership as dozens of members - legislative and corporate - abandon membership in the organization.  In the article about this they provide the RSC is meeting with ALEC at the Heritage Foundation next week:

"Frankly, this gathering is long overdue," Paul Teller, the executive director of the RSC said in a statement.

"As Washington encroaches more and more into state and local spheres, it's important that conservative legislators at the federal and state levels collaborate on policies to stop and roll back the ever-expanding federal government."

"Recent legislative proposals on Capitol Hill have focused on rolling back federal involvement in states, such as efforts to replace Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program with block grants and to allow states to opt out of the federal highway and mass transit programs. Those positions are very much in line with ALEC's efforts to empower states...Kaitlyn Buss, a spokeswoman for ALEC, said in an email that there is "no formal partnership with ALEC and any organizations."

"Obviously federalism is one of ALEC's foundational principles, and so facilitating a conversation about federalism is very much in line with our work," Buss added.

I would suggest to the RSC that they fully research ALEC and understand the extent of the group's efforts to "Roll Back" the federal government before ecstatically climbing into bed with them...but of course, since the RSC, ALEC and the Heritage Foundation were all founded by Conservative activist, Paul Weyrich, they're already well acquainted.

This is why it is important for us to understand just how far ALEC will go to influence state sovereignty by attempting to lessen the controls exerted upon individual states through federal governmental controls and oversight.  In the past the Heritage and members of the RSC have quietly lent their assistance to ALEC in their pursuits - now it appears they are preparing to remove the curtain obscuring their ongoing relationship.  I think this removes any further claim of ALEC being truly "bi-partisan" in their operation and legislative pursuits.

Before we consider what the impact of a joint RSC/ALEC partnership against federal controls would have upon the U.S., we should first look at current ALEC activities along these lines involving memberships held by foreign representatives. Together ALEC's state lawmakers work hand in hand with several influential foreign elected officials to establish US state and foreign policies and pass laws suggested by those representing foreign powers...and the claim ALEC makes that their activities are similar to those of the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL)....not by a long shot.

Concerns about foreign money and influence finding their way into our electoral process because of the Citizen's United SCOTUS decision - are now bolstered by the discovery that foreign nations are already taking part in establishing U.S. policies related to voting and foreign matters - through ALEC.

Poll

Do actions by the ALEC IRTF foreign members violate US or foreign policy lobbying restrictions ?

23%5 votes
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| 21 votes | Vote | Results

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Reposted from Bob Sloan by Bob Sloan
An article today from Lisa Graves at the Center for Media and Democracy informs in May 2012, PRWeek reported ALEC had...
..."hired the notorious global PR firm Edelman. Edelman is the firm of choice for big tobacco, big oil, and big pharma, all key sponsors of ALEC. ALEC also held a special meeting asking right-wing bloggers, such as the Breitbart operation,for help in "a very aggressive campaign to really spread the word about what we actually do," as CMD has reported.

In today's article, Graves stated, an "aggressive campaign" is clearly underway:
"The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) sent a message to hundreds of legislators across the country attacking the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), the creator of ALECexposed.org. Among other things ALEC claimed, "CMD is an attack-dog, not a watch-dog."

The error-filled missive, which was intended to buck up the ALEC faithful as more and more corporations flee the organization, has us here at CMD pondering the old adage, "First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they want to attack you and then you win..."

In this attack they have singled out journalist Beau Hodai for special attention in the memo sent out by ALEC, referring readers to an article published by The Washington Free Beacon (WFB), the online publication of the self-proclaimed "conservative advocacy group" the Center for American Freedom:
"In that piece, recent college grad CJ Ciaramella focuses on Beau Hodai, a freelance reporter who has written for the Center for Media and Democracy, In These Times, Prison Legal News, Extra! (a publication of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting), and the investigative news publication he founded, DBA Press...

"...Notably, the WFB attack job does not find any material errors in any of Beau's extensively documented reports on ALEC, but focuses on misdemeanor court records. It dwells on the fact that his legal first name is Mohamad. Beau has been nicknamed "Beau" since birth. (It is worth noting that "CJ" is not Ciaramella's legal first name but the nickname he uses instead of 'Carl.')"

You should read this important article by Lisa Graves here...
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Reposted from Bob Sloan by Bob Sloan

BREAKING NEWS FROM DK's Abolish ALEC Group (VLTP) - Reposted from VLTP.net

Earlier this year two complaints were filed against the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) by Common Cause and Clergy Voice, alleging major violations of IRS Code lobbying prohibitions committed by ALEC, a “charity” which enjoys a 501(c)(3) tax exempt status with the IRS.

ALEC claims their activities are all related to educating lawmakers and that none are related to lobbying for or against legislation or a particular candidate.  Nearly all of their activities, however, appear to be directly related to creating thousands of pieces of model legislation and lobbying for passage of each one in most U.S. states.  ALEC openly boasts a success rate of 17% of “their” model legislation becoming law.

The first two complaints address issues of lobbying and soliciting contributions from corporations, businesses and other organizations.  The contributions are then used to reimburse ALEC state legislative members for their travel, lodging and incidental expenses related to attending any of ALEC’s three annual events (Summits or Meetings).  The money is requested by ALEC’s state chairmen and when received they forward the funds to ALEC to “hold” until an event is concluded.  Then state legislators submit requests for reimbursement for the costs of their attending, and ALEC disburses the held funds.

A third issue involves state lawmakers strategizing with corporate lobbyists or representatives at these annual meetings to develop proposed legislation in one or more of nine (9) ALEC task forces.  Once adopted by ALEC these model bills are sent back to states with ALEC members who are required by ALEC’s by-laws to ensure introduction of any legislation adopted by ALEC.

Poll

In your opinion, do the actions described in the diary violate IRS Code(s) or federal law(s)?

82%46 votes
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| 56 votes | Vote | Results

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Reposted from Bob Sloan by Bob Sloan

A DK "Abolish ALEC" Special Report, reposted from Monday...

Last month I began a two part series that began with "ALEC, the Koch Led CABAL & "The Amicus Project" - Fed Court Interference." The first segment dealt with identifying and exposing ALEC's Koch funded cabal interfering with our judicial processes by filing hundreds of "Amicus Briefs" to state and federal courts in pending cases.  These were cases involving issues under the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th and 14th Amendments and other rights - and submitted by numerous cabal members, such as ALEC, Heritage, Heartland, Chamber of Commerce, National Federation of Independent Businesses, CATO, Mackinac, etc.

When they file these briefs it is not sufficient to simply join together and file one comprehensive "brief" or argument in support of whatever position the cabal's side is advocating for.  No, they file separate briefs making it appear that there is a groundswell of support on the cabal's side of an issue.  I described this as the "front door" access the cabal uses in their attempts to influence outcomes in judicial cases involving legislative and related pursuits of the cabal.

This diary will introduce everyone to the cabal's "back door" access to and influence upon state and federal judges through seminars and conferences provided by the cabal members...to in effect "program" judges to rule favorably in key cases.  These seminars are used to "educate" our judiciary as to the positions held by corporations and other matters important to businesses and their wealthy owners.  These seminars are provided to judges prior to important case reviews...the amicus briefs are "reminders" to the judges of what they "learned" through these seminars that were provided along with luxury vacations paid for by many corporations that may eventually wind up as a party before one or more of these judges.

The seminars take place at truly plush resorts (many of them the same used by ALEC for their annual meetings involving legislators) during all expense trips provided to the judges by a number of Conservative funded organizations; the Foundation for Research on Economics and Environment (FREE Foundation), George Mason University's Law and Economics Center, Northwestern University's Northwestern Law Judicial Education Program, James Madison University's Center for the Constitution at Montpelier and several other, smaller organizations.

These seminars are a way for ALEC's corporate members and contributors to assist the cabal's pursuit of influencing judges to render pro-corporate decisions on important issues and cases.  Below the fold I'll provide some of the information, a video from 20/20 and other documents identifying how this entire "system" has been set up, the funders and backers and the impact these maneuvers have had upon our judicial system.

Poll

Should these judicial seminars provided by non-governmental entities be stopped?

95%22 votes
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| 23 votes | Vote | Results

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Reposted from Ohiodem1 by Bob Sloan

Ohio's state capital, Columbus dominates Franklin County, and is the swingiest part of the bellwether and swingy state of Ohio.  Frequently, we are national ground zero for presidential politics.  This year is no different, witness that two days ago, President Obama gave an education speech at Capital University, near downtown, and on Saturday, the Republican challenger Mitt Romney will do a fund raiser in Powell, Ohio, a northern suburb.

A couple of things caught my eye in today's online version of the Columbus Dispatch, the local Republican newspaper, and the only metropolitan daily in Columbus.

First, Secretary of State, John Husted, who is charged with running clean elections in Ohio, has reinstated the two Democratic Board of Elections members that he suspended last week for daring to propose and vote for . . . horrors! weekend voting in Montgomery County (Dayton).  Link.

Then a story about the U of Cincinnati and Quinnipiac polls show no bounce for Romney with the Ryan selection, and Obama still leads.Update 2:  No Ryan Bounce.

And perhaps more important, over the fold, it appears that the real estate market in central Ohio has turned around.

Update:  Jon Husted 2005 Federal Forum partial roster (2 images)


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Reposted from Bob Sloan by Bob Sloan

Last month I began a two part series that began with "ALEC, the Koch Led CABAL & "The Amicus Project" - Fed Court Interference." The first segment dealt with identifying and exposing ALEC's Koch funded cabal interfering with our judicial processes by filing hundreds of "Amicus Briefs" to state and federal courts in pending cases.  These were cases involving issues under the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th and 14th Amendments and other rights - and submitted by numerous cabal members, such as ALEC, Heritage, Heartland, Chamber of Commerce, National Federation of Independent Businesses, CATO, Mackinac, etc.

When they file these briefs it is not sufficient to simply join together and file one comprehensive "brief" or argument in support of whatever position the cabal's side is advocating for.  No, they file separate briefs making it appear that there is a groundswell of support on the cabal's side of an issue.  I described this as the "front door" access the cabal uses in their attempts to influence outcomes in judicial cases involving legislative and related pursuits of the cabal.

This diary will introduce everyone to the cabal's "back door" access to and influence upon state and federal judges through seminars and conferences provided by the cabal members...to in effect "program" judges to rule favorably in key cases.  These seminars are used to "educate" our judiciary as to the positions held by corporations and other matters important to businesses and their wealthy owners.  These seminars are provided to judges prior to important case reviews...the amicus briefs are "reminders" to the judges of what they "learned" through these seminars that were provided along with luxury vacations paid for by many corporations that may eventually wind up as a party before one or more of these judges.

The seminars take place at truly plush resorts (many of them the same used by ALEC for their annual meetings involving legislators) during all expense trips provided to the judges by a number of Conservative funded organizations; the Foundation for Research on Economics and Environment (FREE Foundation), George Mason University's Law and Economics Center, Northwestern University's Northwestern Law Judicial Education Program, James Madison University's Center for the Constitution at Montpelier and several other, smaller organizations.

These seminars are a way for ALEC's corporate members and contributors to assist the cabal's pursuit of influencing judges to render pro-corporate decisions on important issues and cases.  Below the fold I'll provide some of the information, a video from 20/20 and other documents identifying how this entire "system" has been set up, the funders and backers and the impact these maneuvers have had upon our judicial system.

Poll

Should these judicial seminars provided by non-governmental entities be stopped?

71%10 votes
21%3 votes
0%0 votes
7%1 votes

| 14 votes | Vote | Results

Continue Reading
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