3.29.2012 Leave a comment
3.29.2012 1 Comment
ALEC is the acronym of the American Legislative Exchange Council, a self-proclaimed non-partisan think tank which drafts legislation which is often made into law by the various states. For instance, ALEC wrote for and promoted the “kill at will” or “stand your ground” legislation that recently resulted in the Trayvon Martin killing. As a consequence of its efforts in this matter, ALEC has become a focal point for the Justice for Trayvon Martin movement. ALEC has earned this critical attention for the Martin killing and for much else, including Scott Walker‘s attack on the state of Wisconisn.
Krugman’s description of ALEC is both accurate and critical in intent:
What is ALEC? Despite claims that it’s nonpartisan, it’s very much a movement-conservative organization, funded by the usual suspects: the Kochs, Exxon Mobil, and so on. Unlike other such groups, however, it doesn’t just influence laws, it literally writes them, supplying fully drafted bills to state legislators. In Virginia, for example, more than 50 ALEC-written bills have been introduced, many almost word for word. And these bills often become law.
Many ALEC-drafted bills pursue standard conservative goals: union-busting, undermining environmental protection, tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy. ALEC seems, however, to have a special interest in privatization — that is, on turning the provision of public services, from schools to prisons, over to for-profit corporations. And some of the most prominent beneficiaries of privatization, such as the online education company K12 Inc. and the prison operator Corrections Corporation of America, are, not surprisingly, very much involved with the organization.
What this tells us, in turn, is that ALEC’s claim to stand for limited government and free markets is deeply misleading. To a large extent the organization seeks not limited government but privatized government, in which corporations get their profits from taxpayer dollars, dollars steered their way by friendly politicians. In short, ALEC isn’t so much about promoting free markets as it is about expanding crony capitalism.
ALEC — the well-funded defender and promoter of crony capitalism, desiccated democracy, political opacity and unaccountability as well as the socio-political environment which nurtures economic predation. In the last instance, it appears that Trayvon Martin was just unlucky prey for ALEC and some of its tools (George Zimmerman, the Florida state legislators linked to ALEC who passed
Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, etc.). But it is wise to keep one’s attention on the fact that Trayvon Martin was prey because the most Americans are prey.
- Shining A Light On ALEC (themoderatevoice.com)
- Paul Krugman on Lobbyists, Guns, and Money (polentical.com)
- Lobbyists, Guns and Money – NYTimes.com (elmsprogressivemedia.wordpress.com)
- The Role ALEC Played in Trayvon Martin’s Death (crooksandliars.com)
- Paul Krugman: Lobbyists, Guns and Money (economistsview.typepad.com)
- The Corporations Bankrolling ALEC, which Has Promoted the “Stand Your Ground” Gun Law as a “Model” Bill | Center for Media and Democracy (aboriginalpress.wordpress.com)
- Progressive Groups Ask ALEC Funders to Drop Out in Wake of Martin Death and ‘Shoot First’ Laws (crooksandliars.com)
- Paul Krugman: ‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws Increase Incarceration by Reducing It (reason.com)
- Trayvon Martin’s shooter may go free because of corporate shenanigans (thegrio.com)
- Exposed: The Corporations Behind the Law That May Let Trayvon Martin’s Killer Go Free (the2012scenario.com)
- Rally for Trayvon Martin Tomorrow in Front of ALEC Headquarters | Center for Media and Democracy (aboriginalpress.wordpress.com)
- ALEC Politicians – SourceWatch (therealwithdarylanddevon.wordpress.com)
- ALEC Exposed in Wisconsin (seattleducation2010.wordpress.com)
- Occupy movement targets corporate interest group with ties to legislators (guardian.co.uk)
- Florida Republican Submits Anti-Corporate Tax Bill Without Removing ALEC Mission Statement (browardsblog.blogspot.com)
- Occupy Rallies Against Powerful Right-Wing Group You’ve Never Heard Of. (isellerfinance.wordpress.com)
- “ALEC: Exposed” Wins September Sidney Award (bigthink.com)
- F29: National Day of Action in Protest of ALEC (occupynewbrunswick.org)
- Lawmakers Propose ALEC Accountability Act In Arizona And Wisconsin (huffingtonpost.com)
- ALEC Climate Change Denial Model Bill Passes in Tennessee (desmogblog.com)
- Oops: Florida Republican Forgets To Remove ALEC Mission Statement From Boilerplate Anti-Tax Bill (kaystreet.wordpress.com)
- A Video Tutorial For Sunday Morning Political Talk Show Hosts (bigthink.com)
- Oops: Florida Republican Forgets To Remove ALEC Mission Statement From Boilerplate Anti-Tax Bill (thinkprogress.org)
- Corporations Wrote a Law Requiring Climate Denial be Taught in School. Tennessee Just Passed It. (treehugger.com)
- Yet Another Reason to Defeat the GOP Across the Board (beavercountyblue.org)
- Blocking the Vote: A Look at Who Is Behind Republican Efforts to Erect Voting Barriers in America (jonathanturley.org)
- ALEC Model Bill Behind Push To Require Climate Denial Instruction In Schools (desmogblog.com)
- Occupy Takes Bolder Actions Against Unjust Immigration Policies (alternet.org)
3.29.2012 Leave a comment
Mohammed Merah, the gunman who killed seven people including three Jewish children, may have been a protected asset of French Intelligence, Il Foglio, an Italian newspaper reported today, raising further questions about whether authorities may have had a chance to prevent the attacks.
The 23-year-old, who was a French citizen of Algerian origin, also killed three Muslim soldiers, before being killed at the end of a 32-hour standoff in an apartment in Toulouse.
- Toulouse gunman was informant of French intelligence? (seeker401.wordpress.com)
- Toulouse gunman was informant of French intelligence? (rt.com)
- French killer linked to fr secret service? (disclose.tv)
- Italian Newspaper: Merah was French Intelligence Asset (usapartisan.com)
- Why Algeria refused to let French gunman to be buried there (csmonitor.com)
- Algeria doesn’t want French gunman’s body, Muslim leader says – Fox News (foxnews.com)
- France struggles with how and where to bury Toulouse shooter’s body (theglobeandmail.com)
- Questions emerge over police handling of Toulouse, France killings (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- The Father Of The Gunman Who Shot 7 People Is Suing The French Police For Killing His Son In A Siege (businessinsider.com)
- Creating Fake Evidence of Connections To A Non-Existent “Al-Qaeda” Underground (therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com)
3.28.2012 Leave a comment
A video taken by the Sanford PD , which ABC News obtained and broadcast, shows an apparently uninjured George Zimmerman exiting a squad car and entering the Department office complex (h/t Phoenix Woman):
- Video: George Zimmerman on Night of Trayvon Killing – No Injuries! (littlegreenfootballs.com)
- George Zimmerman Showed No Sign of Blood or Bruises Immediately After the Shooting (skydancingblog.com)
- New Police Video Shows George Zimmerman Unscathed On Night Of Trayvon Martin Shooting (mediaite.com)
- ABC Exclusive: Police Surveillance Video Shows No Blood Or Bruises On Zimmerman (alan.com)
- Trayvon Martin Shooter, George Zimmerman Free to Walk? [Video] (inquisitr.com)
- George Zimmerman’s Attorney Speaks Out about Trayvon Martin Killing (streetknowledge.wordpress.com)
- Police Reveal George Zimmerman’s Side of the Trayvon Martin Shooting (newsfeed.time.com)
- Trayvon Martin Shooting: George Zimmerman Says Trayvon Decked Him, Then Began Hammering His Head, Police Say (annem040359.wordpress.com)
- Florida Family Seeks Justice After Unarmed Teen Shot by Neighborhood Watch Captain – ABC News (abcnews.go.com)
- Trayvon Martin Death: Friend on Phone with Teen Before Death Recounts Events – ABC News (abcnews.go.com)
- Cops Admit Missing Possible Racial Slur in Trayvon Martin 911 Call (abcnews.go.com)
- Neighborhood Watch Shooting: Cops ‘Corrected’ Witness (abcnews.go.com)
- According To a Friend, George Zimmerman ‘Couldn’t Stop Crying’ After Killing Trayvon Martin [Video] (gawker.com)
- Trayvon Martin: George Zimmerman’s story may not hold up to scrutiny (thegrio.com)
- Would you be scared? Black Panthers demanding capture of George Zimmerman or else (bazaardaily.com)
- Trayvon Martin family attorney says listen to 911 call, Zimmerman aggressor (examiner.com)
- FBI, Justice Department to Investigate Trayvon Martin Killing (abcnews.go.com)
- Trayvon Martin Killing: George Zimmerman’s Attorney and Friend Speak Out (jhaines6.wordpress.com)
- Zimmerman’s Lawyer Bolts Before MSNBC Interview [Video] (inquisitr.com)
- BREAKING: Witness Says Trayvon Martin ATTACKED George Zimmerman (VIDEO) (blippitt.com)
- Video: George Zimmerman’s Friend Joe Oliver Grilled on ‘The Last Word’ (littlegreenfootballs.com)
- Trayvon Martin Killer George Zimmerman’s Black Friend Defends Him (hellobeautiful.com)
- New witness says George Zimmerman basically beat Trayvon Martin to death (bazaardaily.com)
- Geoge Zimmerman’s attorney abruptly backs out of latest interview (bazaardaily.com)
3.28.2012 1 Comment
Having escaped from New York with his person intact, although a civil trial remains a real possibility, our hero returned to France only to soon find himself implicated in and briefly imprisoned because of the Carlton Affair:
Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s lawyer said it was wrong for his client to be prosecuted for “simple libertine activity” after he was charged with helping to run a prostitution ring last night.
The former head of the International Monetary Fund – who quit his post last year over charges, later dropped, alleging he sexually assaulted a hotel maid in New York – denies a charge of “aggravated procurement in an organised gang”.
Mr Strauss-Kahn was released on a €100,000 (£83,000) bail last night. He is understood to have admitted that he attended orgies in what has been dubbed the “Carlton Affair”, named after the hotel in which the sex parties took place. But Mr Strauss-Kahn maintains that he was unaware prostitutes were involved.
The case also revolves around suspicions that some of his business associates were among those running the ring and were misusing corporate funds while doing so.
- Dominique Strauss-Kahn Busted Over French Prostitution Ring (inquisitr.com)
- Dominique Strauss-Kahn Charged in Prostitution Case (blippitt.com)
- DSK lawyers fight prostitutes claim (cnn.com)
- Non-Rapist Dominique Strauss-Kahn Referred to Sex Party Prostitutes as ‘Gifts’ and ‘Luggage’ [DSK] (jezebel.com)
- Strauss-Kahn Civil Case Opens in NYC (myfoxny.com)
- Strauss-Kahn on vice-ring charges (independent.co.uk)
- Dominique Strauss-Kahn on formal sex ring investigation (direcmood.wordpress.com)
- Dominique Strauss-Kahn Charged With ‘Aggravated Pimping’ [Sex Crimes] (gawker.com)
- Strauss-Kahn charged with ‘aggravated pimping’ (cnn.com)
- URGENT: Strauss-Kahn charged in prostitution ring (foxnews.com)
3.28.2012 Leave a comment
Trespassers will be dealt with roughly and thoroughly. This is one theme of an article written by John Feffer, a Co-Director of Foreign Policy in Focus, a section of the Institute for Policy Studies. Feffer begins by briefly recounting three acts of witless bloodshed:
The note left next to the bloodied body of Shaima Alawadi read “go back to your country, you terrorist.” Alawadi, who died on Saturday after being taken off life support, was an Iraqi-born mother of five living outside of San Diego. Someone had delivered a similar note to the family earlier in the month. It was likely the same person who returned with a tire iron and struck her repeatedly on the head. Alawadi had lived in the United States for 17 years. Several family members reportedly provided cultural training to U.S. soldiers deployed to the Middle East. In a very sad coda, Alawadi is indeed going back to her country — to be buried.
There were no notes that accompanied Trayvon Martin’s death at the end of February. But he was also killed for a perceived trespassing. An African-American teenager, Martin was guilty of “walking while black” as he carried iced tea and Skittles through the Florida community of Sanford. The self-appointed head of the community’s neighborhood watch, George Zimmerman, identified Martin as a threat. Zimmerman didn’t wait for the police to arrive. He chased after the young man and, in circumstances still very murky, shot him dead. Because of the “stand your ground” law that permits shooting in self-defense, the police did not arrest Zimmerman.
In the middle of March, Mohamed Merah went on a killing spree in Toulouse, France that left seven people dead. The victims were a rabbi, three Jewish children, and three French soldiers. Two of the soldiers were Muslim. Merah, who identified with Islamic extremism, specifically targeted Muslim soldiers for being “traitors.” The French-born Merah better fit the profile of a serial killer than a political extremist. But his Muslim victims are an important reminder that ordinary, everyday Muslims, even more so than Jews or Americans, figure as the most potent threats to the worldview promoted by al Qaeda and its ilk. The overwhelming majority of al Qaeda and Taliban victims are Muslims.
These deaths are, on the face of it, quite different: a hate crime, a serial killing, and an act of vigilantism. But underlying these three tragedies is a notion of violated borders, of trespass. The message behind all three is this: you should not be here, you are not one of us, and your death shall serve as a warning.
After recalling the bloodshed during the enclosure movement in early modern England, Feffer concludes with the following observations:
The European Union was supposed to be a borderless space. But the old dream of an ever more prosperous and economically equitable regional arrangement has come up hard against economic downturn and polarization. The United States was supposed to be a country without the class barriers of feudal Europe. But the old dream of a growing middle class and the relatively stable politics that accompany it cannot survive in the austerity liberalism and anti-government conservatism of the 21st century. When our notion of the common good, of commonwealth, begins to disintegrate, all that is left are tribes defending their turf, standing their ground, enclosing their land.
We are living now in a new world of enclosures. We are building our fences ever higher. We are patrolling our borders with ever more sophisticated weaponry. And we are punishing any and all who trespass. The victims of these recent killings are the collateral damage of these border wars.
Welcome one and all to the Balkans….
- Widower addresses Iraqi’s death near San Diego (kansascity.com)
- Al-Jazeera receives video of Muslim gunman’s deadly attack at Jewish school (nj.com)
- Chief: No conclusions in Iraqi-American death case (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- French teacher urges ‘minute’s silence for jihadist’ who slaughtered Jews and French Soldiers (atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com)
- Woman Who Fled Iraq Suffers Brutal End (myfoxny.com)
- The Death of Shaima Al-Awadi: A Social Media Case Study (jazarah.net)
- Remembering Shaima Alawadi & Trayvon Martin (makinghealthmatter.wordpress.com)
- Iraqi Woman’s Death Sparks Online Movement (mashable.com)
- The thug-ification of Trayvon Martin: Smear campaign distracts from the case (thegrio.com)
- Off The Top Of My Head…Trayvon Martin (christopheraharper.wordpress.com)
- Trayvon Martin : If Obama Had A Boy This Is What He Would Look Like (theroycroftreport.com)
- News Framing & Xenophobia: How Can a Hijab be a Threat? (sutradharsmarket.wordpress.com)
- Muslim Mother Shaima Alawadi Brutally Beaten To Death (thefrisky.com)
- Trayvon Martin Family Attorney Tells Bill O’Reilly: ‘We Are Not Seeking An Eye For An Eye Here’ (mediaite.com)
- Trayvon’s Mom Trademarks Teen’s Name, Slogans (newser.com)
- How the street failed Trayvon Martin (mnn.com)
- Smear campaign against Trayvon Martin continues in the press and by Zimmerman’s crooked Lawyers and friends (bonjupatten.com)
- Trayvon Martin Dead: Can Justice Be Served? (omnipotentpoobah.com)
- Of Michelle Goldberg Part 10: To Her Justice For Trayvon Martin Means Ignoring Facts, Inventing Myths – And Stirring Racism (neosecularist.com)
- Lead Cop Wanted Zimmerman Arrested (newser.com)
3.27.2012 Leave a comment
As we know, Mitt Romney wants to replace his $12 million mansion in La Jolla, CA with a new and bigger mansion. To this end, Romney hired a lobbyist to see that his will shall be done as intended. The proposed mansion has one feature which most homes lack: An elevator for cars!
- Romney to build La Jolla mega-mansion (lansner.ocregister.com)
- Mitt Romney needs all those cars because of all those mansions (dailykos.com)
- Mitt And the Common Man (themoderatevoice.com)
- Flat Ruthie Visits La Jolla (travel-monkey.me)
3.27.2012 2 Comments
Writing for In these Times, Roger Bybee reports that General Electric was both shocked and troubled by reports which showed that the transnational corporation earned billions in profits in 2010 but paid no income taxes. Bybee then critical analyses some of GE’s propaganda pieces, showing them to be whitewashes meant to cover a realities GE would want to remain hidden. Those realities: GE exports jobs from the United States, attacks unions and union wages and benefits, invests in China, and, implicitly, avoids public accountability.
Click on the GE logo to experience the web version of this propaganda campaign.