A coalition of unions, national and community groups managed to hit the trifecta--beating ALEC-backed deregulation bills in three states.
Fighting bills backed by the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has been, at times, like a giant game of whack-a-mole.
The entire strategy of the corporate front group is to push its “model” legislation in as many states as possible at once, feeding its member legislators—mostly Republicans, but some Democrats as well--ready-made bills that were written (for a fee) with the input of the country's biggest corporations.
After the controversy around Florida's “Stand Your Ground” law and the shooting of Trayvon Martin, ALEC said it was backing off such bills to focus on “business-friendly” legislation, but its business-friendly work does plenty of damage too. ALEC pushes deregulation, union-busting, privatization, and tax loopholes for big businesses, allowing corporations like AT&T, Koch Industries, and Verizon to essentially write the laws that regulate them.
ALEC-backed telecommunications deregulation bills hit New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut recently, in a one-two-three punch combination designed as a quick knockout blow that consumers and workers would be powerless to fight. But a coalition, including the Communications Workers of America (CWA), the Working Families party, and the AARP, managed to stop the bills, which would've resulted in cost hikes, lost jobs, and service cut-offs for “less profitable” customers—disproportionately senior, rural, or low-income customers who use basic phone service.
“We're up against quite literally armies of lobbyists from the phone companies,” Matt Wood, a policy expert with Free Press, told AlterNet. “That's the thing about ALEC and their approach, they can push things in so many different states at once, if not with no coverage, certainly with less coverage on the national level.”
Deregulating and Denying Service
Telecom policy is an area in which legislators very often don't have a lot of expertise and are vulnerable to talk of fancy new technologies—and to big money. Politicians from both parties love to boast of their investment in high-tech, after all, and so when lobbyists are telling them about their fancy new service, throwing around terms like VoIP (Voice over IP, essentially phone service over the Internet, which is what you have if you get your home phone through your cable company or Verizon FIOS), it's easy enough to convince even those politicians who aren't predisposed to deregulating everything in sight. Yet deregulating the fancy new technology has an impact even on those who use traditional services.
“Some company comes to you and says this is going to be great for investment. Exactly what will they be investing in?” Bob Master, political and legislative director at CWA District 1, asked. “Being deeply familiar with the industry, there's no job-creating investment that's happening in telecommunications, it's all job-destroying investment. Verizon is contracting out, outsourcing our work, offshoring our work, trying to do everything wirelessly. That's where the investment is going and no wires means no workers.”
But it's not just jobs that the telecoms would like to eliminate—it's service to people who don't choose to use the fancier products or can't afford expensive service, or maybe who live in a rural area. In Connecticut and New Jersey, the deregulation plan would have eliminated “carrier of last resort” protections, which require them to provide service to anyone who reasonably requests it in their coverage area. Matt Wood explained, “Phone companies have always had special rights and privileges granted by the state, so they've been expected to provide service to everybody. They have taken the true statement that broadband service is different to extremes and said that it is so different that you shouldn't regulate it at all.”
When it comes to VoIP, for instance, Wood pointed out that what sounds like an arcane technology is actually commonplace these days—and the claim that it's too new to regulate actually just gives companies like AT&T and Verizon an excuse to deregulate their whole network. “That takes away a a lot of protections on services, the reliability of the network,” he said.
And Lindsay Farrell of the Connecticut Working Families Party noted, “To give [telecoms] the ability to say 'This part of the state isn't as profitable, we don't want to serve them, we want to serve people here where they can afford higher rates,' that leaves a lot of people in silence.”
As always, with ALEC, the narrative behind the push for deregulation is that competition among phone service providers will keep the industry honest and result in benefits for consumers—but like all tall tales about the invisible hand of the marketplace, this one doesn't come true. “We also look to the results,” Wood said. “Say you do have two, three, four, six competitors, is that resulting in lower prices? No. They're not competing on price, they compete on the device or other bells and whistles but don't really feel the need to compete on price.”
Instead, according to a report issued by the nonpartisan think tank Demos [PDF], the bill (specifically in Connecticut, though you can see from the original model bill at ALEC Exposed that they're all much the same) would send phone rates through the roof, as well as destroy consumer protections and transparency in the industry, preemptively deregulate VoIP as more companies are beginning to use the technology, and of course, let corporations who directly benefit from deregulation write the laws regulating them.
Yet politicians continue to push for deregulation that would hurt their own constituents. Master noted that in New York, it only took a little bit of spending to get normally progressive legislators backing the telecoms' pet plan. “In what way would the low-income people you represent benefit from this?” he asked.
Stalling the Deregulation Agenda
“We believe that to the extent that phone companies are required by regulation to provide good service on a universal basis it's good for the consumer and the workers,” Master said, and so when CWA got wind of a deregulation bill in New Jersey in 2011, they moved quickly.
The bill, titled the “Market Competition and Consumer Choice Act” (you can't make this stuff up ) swept through the state assembly in short order, passing 66-7. CWA, the AARP, and other allies put together a campaign, including a website, “Don't Hang Up on New Jersey”, and calls with AARP members—they managed to generate about 20,000 phone calls in two weeks, and even New Jersey's famously right-wing, blustering governor, Chris Christie (who has a pattern of supporting ALEC's pet causes himself), took notice. On a conference call, he told 17,000 AARP members that he had “grave concerns” about the bill. From there, they were able to change enough legislators' minds to keep the bill from moving.
But it's not just Republicans who like deregulation and are vulnerable to some well-placed donations. New York's Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo, who values his reputation as a reformer, has also taken a lot of money from telecom companies over his political career. In his race for governor, Cablevision was Cuomo's top contributor, kicking in $125,600 to his campaign, along with $38,800 from Time Warner -- part of $250,516 overall from the industry.
So when VoIP deregulation made it into the governor's budget it shouldn't have been that surprising. Phone companies and cable companies, who both provide broadband internet service and VoIP service, were working together, pressing for New York State to give up its right to regulate VoIP in the future.
“I think there is in the Cuomo administration an inclination to do things that they believe will help to improve the business climate,” Master said. “In this case it was pretty glaring that there's a lack of awareness or understanding of what the impact on the consumer might be.”
Pressure from a similar coalition, including CWA and the AARP, as well as the Working Families party, got the language dropped from the budget, but not before they noticed legislators whose constituents would clearly be harmed by the policy taking the side of the big telecoms , which Master noted are very powerful in Albany. The state senate subsequently passed deregulation as stand-alone legislation, but so far it hasn't moved in the assembly. “We're being vigilant,” Master said.
But just when one bill dies, another appears. In the beginning of April, SB 447 appeared in Connecticut—another bit of deregulation, based on ALEC model legislation. ALEC's co-chair in Connecticut is John Emra, Executive Director of External Affairs for AT&T’s Connecticut operations.
One of the upsides, though, to these model bills being pushed in multiple states is that organizers know what worked and who is willing to join the fight. Again, CWA, AARP and the Working Families Party led the charge, but this time the coalition included groups like the Sierra Club, motivated by a provision in the bill that would allow cell phone towers to be placed in public parks.
Farrell noted that as they knocked on doors and made phone calls about the bill in Connecticut, they found people already wary of companies like AT&T. After Hurricane Irene and this fall's series of storms, utility companies, phone and cable companies took several days to restore service, leading to hearings by the state legislature. Canvassers found that citizens didn't trust utilities to take care of them, and understood the need for regulations to hold them accountable.
The ALEC connection helped in New York and Connecticut—in New York, radio advertising linked telecom deregulation to ALEC, and Farrell noticed a difference with legislators as ALEC's activities were held up to public scrutiny. But, she said, the broad coalition that defeated the bill wasn't solely motivated by beating ALEC. “AARP doesn't care about the ALEC aspect,” she said. “They're just worried about seniors who don't use VoIP, who don't have cell phones that they use frequently or at all, being cut off.”
The biggest lesson, perhaps, from the deregulation fights in these states is that organized people can, in fact, beat big money—that a ground campaign involving phone calls and door-to-door canvassing can actually motivate everyday people to take action on an issue that seems complex and hard to understand. Whether people had heard of ALEC and understand that there's an institution pushing for laws that will benefit big corporations and hurt workers and consumers, or whether they were just tired of watching their phone and cable bills creep upward each month, of having to pay for services they didn't need just to get a basic phone line, people didn't want corporate utilities without government oversight.
Corporations can and will spend millions on lobbyists, blanketing statehouses and capitol buildings with their paid advocates, but in this case, it wasn't enough. Farrell is awaiting information on how much was spent lobbying in Connecticut, to compare with what the coalition was able to accomplish for a fraction of the cost.
Still, ALEC and its corporate backers aren't going to give up easily—AT&T and Verizon, Time Warner and Cablevision and many others still want deregulation and are willing to pay for it. The bills in the three states have stalled, but the fight is on in California right now. Master noted, “These people have infinitely deep pockets and they never stop.”
Link to original article from AlterNet
End Corporate Rule -
Over the telephone, in jail and online, a new digital bounty is being harvested: the human voice.
Businesses and governments around the world increasingly are turning to voice biometrics, or voiceprints, to pay pensions, collect taxes, track criminals and replace passwords.
“We sometimes call it the invisible biometric,” said Mike Goldgof, an executive at Madrid-based AGNITiO, one of about 10 leading companies in the field.
Those companies have helped enter more than 65m voiceprints into corporate and government databases, according to Associated Press interviews with dozens of industry representatives and records requests in...
The Guardian 20 Oct 2014 Hits:129 ECR Articles
Florida State University’s Board of Trustees recently selected a new president, Raw Story reported, going the controversial, political route by choosing Gov. Rick Scott’s campaign chairman, despite protests by angry students.
John Thrasher, 70, a die-hard conservative and former Florida Republican party leader, has no background in education whatsoever. On record, he will be the only public university president in Florida without a doctorate. He was chosen over three other highly qualified finalists, all of whom would have lead FSU by experience rather than with radical political interests.
Thrasher, like Gov. Scott, refuses...
Alex Chastain | Ring of Fire 20 Oct 2014 Hits:52 ECR Articles
Even by the anything-goes ethical code of the corporate jungle, Amazon.com's alpha male, Jeff Bezos, is considered a ruthless predator by businesses that deal with him. As overlord of Amazon, by far the largest online marketer in the world (with more sales than the next nine US online retailers combined), Bezos has the monopoly power to stalk, weaken, and even kill off retail competitors--including going after such giants as Barnes & Noble and Walmart, as well as draining the lifeblood from hundreds of small Main Street shops. He also goes...
Jim Hightower | Hightower Lowdown 05 Oct 2014 Hits:261 ECR Articles
The Justice Department has launched criminal fraud investigations of individuals at Wall Street firms, with the hopes of filing formal charges in the coming months, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said Wednesday.
“We are making good progress in these cases, which involve conduct that has undermined the integrity of our markets,” Holder said at New York University Law School.
The nation’s top prosecutor did not go into detail about the inquiries, but people familiar with the cases say the probes involve the possible manipulation of the $5.3 trillion global foreign-exchange markets.
At least seven...
Danielle Douglas | The Washington Post 21 Sep 2014 Hits:1050 ECR Articles
WASHINGTON — Today the Senate roundly defeated a Republican filibuster that had been preventing the Senate from moving to consideration of the Democracy For All Amendment. The Senate is expected to take up the Amendment following the expiration of post-cloture debate time. People For the American Way Executive Vice President Marge Baker released the following statement:
“Achieving a full Senate debate on the amendment is a historic step forward in the movement to take back our democracy from powerful corporations and billionaires.
“The American people are angry that their voices are being...
Marge Baker | People for the American Way Vice President 08 Sep 2014 Hits:438 ECR Articles
This Monday marks a momentous day: the U.S. Senate will vote on a constitutional amendment to reverse the U.S. Supreme Court's disastrous decisions in cases like Citizens United and McCutcheon.
"Billionaires buying elections is not what American democracy is about and it is not what our Constitution stands for," said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), writing in the July/August edition of The Progressive.
This vote is a victory for many in the movement that started calling for amending the Constitution four years ago, after the 2010 Citizens United decision opened the floodgates to...
The Progressive, Inc. 05 Sep 2014 Hits:455 ECR Articles
Andrew Sabin gave Republicans so much money in 2012 that he accidentally went over a limit on how much individuals could donate to federal candidates and party committees.
So Sabin, who owns a New York-based precious-metals refining business, was delighted when the Supreme Court did away with the limit in April. Since then, he has been doling out contributions to congressional candidates across the country — in Colorado, Texas, Iowa and “even Alaska,” he said.
Top Republicans have taken notice: Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) and Florida Gov. Rick Scott have paid him...
04 Sep 2014 Hits:250 ECR Articles
It would be a shock to most Americans when eventually 300million people realize that they have been and are being fooled and manipulated. If anyone were to say “the US Government is run by Wall Street, mega corporations, their lobbyists and the super-rich” they are certainly not far from the truth. The knowledge of this should drive home why countries are being invaded and companies end up gaining the contracts while placing their own American soldiers in harms way. It should also make people begin to realize why freedom of...
Shenali D Waduge | SinhalaNet 24 Aug 2014 Hits:738 ECR Articles
A Pentagon contract announced this week sheds new light on the controversy over corporate inversions, and how tough the federal government really will be on all those companies skedaddling to Europe to avoid paying income taxes.
Pentagon purchasing agents awarded Abbott Laboratories of North Chicago a $19.5 million contract for technology that diagnoses brain injuries, even though the medical products company recently cut a deal that will poke a hole in Uncle Sam's coffers. Inversions enable companies to escape relatively high U.S. corporate tax rates by reincorporating overseas through an acquisition.
Joe Cahill | Crain's Chicago Business 22 Aug 2014 Hits:309 ECR Articles
A Colorado lawmaker wants to end a long-running practice that fuels mistrust of the federal government.
After retiring from office or losing re-election, many congressional lawmakers — Republicans and Democrats alike — launch lucrative careers as lobbyists at law firms, lobbying shops, business and trade organizations, and other well-heeled interest groups, many of which are located on the infamous K Street.
Sen. Michael Bennet introduced a bill this month to ban that. The bill, which he introduced along with Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., would prevent former members from lobbying Congress permanently.
Raju Chebium | Coloradoan 03 Aug 2014 Hits:660 ECR Articles
With the recent rulings of this right-wing dominated Supreme Court, it was hard to celebrate our nation's 238th birthday this past July 4th. Indeed, the Hobby Lobby decision delivered a hard blow not just to women in the workplace, but to the basic rights of all Americans. Essentially, the five Roberts Radicals gave corporations the right to refuse to deliver coverage provided in the Affordable Care Act to female employees for contraception and access to reproductive healthcare if it conflicted with the religious beliefs of their employers. One might wonder...
Pearl Korn | Huffington Post 15 Jul 2014 Hits:449 ECR Articles
Constitutional amendments are often proposed but rarely advanced to the stage of serious debate. What moves any meaningful amendment from mere paperwork to serious consideration is the popular will of the great mass of Americans. And the popular will of the great mass of Americans have been abundantly clear since the United States Supreme Court struck down barriers to corporate control of democracy with its 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling.
Sixteen American states and roughly 600 communities have formally told Congress that the Constitution must be amended to...
John Nichols | The Nation 11 Jul 2014 Hits:315 ECR Articles
The US government does not represent the interests of the majority of the country's citizens, but is instead ruled by those of the rich and powerful, a new study from Princeton and Northwestern Universities has concluded.
The report, entitled Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens, used extensive policy data collected from between the years of 1981 and 2002 to empirically determine the state of the US political system.
After sifting through nearly 1,800 US policies enacted in that period and comparing them to the expressed preferences of...
Zachary Davies Boren | The Telegraph 17 Apr 2014 Hits:1034 ECR Articles
Companies do not have a right to lie to their shareholders, a German judge ruled this week. But sometimes, she added, lies are necessary.
And with that Carola Wittig, a judge in the state court in Stuttgart, dismissed a suit filed by a group of hedge funds that lost a lot of money when Porsche Holding, the owner of the Porsche automaker at the time, lied about its intentions regarding Volkswagen.
“It was hardly possible to react to public speculation about a takeover of VW except with a denial,” the court explained...
Floyd Norris | New York Times 23 Mar 2014 Hits:542 ECR Articles
Think of Dixie, and your mind probably conjures something like "Duck Dynasty" — bearded men bouncing along dirt roads in pickup trucks, raucously waving rebel flags.
You probably wouldn’t think of black-tied bankers cavorting in the plush ballroom of Manhattan's St. Regis hotel. But were you to peek inside the recent gathering of a secret Wall Street society, you’d have witnessed investment banking tycoon Warren Stephens taking the stage in a Confederate flag hat, performing an ode to finance to the tune of “Dixie." "In Wall Street land we’ll take our...
Lynn Stuart Parramore | AlterNet 27 Feb 2014 Hits:625 ECR Articles
Talk about revenge of the C students! The nation’s biggest telecom company, Comcast, which took over NBCUniversal a year ago, wants to buy the second biggest company, Time-Warner Cable, to create an empire of 30-million subscribers. That’s a third of all American homes with cable for its TV, internet service and telephones.
The merger has to be approved by federal regulators as being in the public interest and not a monopoly. How Comcast, the world’s largest media company and one of America’s most reviled companies threads that needle will be a...
Steven Rosenfeld | AlterNet 14 Feb 2014 Hits:919 ECR Articles
Sen. Al Franken launched a petition on Tuesday calling for the overturning of the U.S. Supreme Court decision known as Citizens United, the 2010 ruling that has been widely held responsible for allowing an unprecedented influx of anonymous corporate money into local and national politics.
By Friday, the site-based petition had received nearly 229,000 individually verified signatures on MoveOn.org, including a lengthy list of outraged and pleading comments.
“In Citizens United, the Supreme Court ruled for the first time that corporations are guaranteed the same free speech rights as real people to...
Carey L. Biron | Mint Press News 20 Jan 2014 Hits:1670 ECR Articles
JESSICA DESVARIEUX, TRNN PRODUCER: Welcome to Real News Network. I'm Jessica Desvarieux in Baltimore.
A toxic spill in West Virginia's Elk River has left 300,000 local residents without water for the past week. The leak came from a storage facility for chemicals used to process coal, and it's left many wondering if industry regulations are too lax, especially for the company responsible for the leak, Freedom Industries.
Let's take a look at what the president of the company had to say after being pressed by a local reporter about mapping out a...
Jessica Desvarieux | The Real News Network 20 Jan 2014 Hits:669 ECR Articles
Hobby Lobby, a chain of crafts stores, closes on Sundays, costing its owners millions but honoring their Christian faith.
The stores play religious music. Employees get free spiritual counseling. But they do not get free insurance coverage for some contraceptives, even though President Obama’s health care law requires it.
Hobby Lobby, a corporation, says that forcing it to provide the coverage would violate its religious beliefs. A federal appeals court agreed, and the Supreme Court is set to decide on Tuesday whether it will hear the Obama administration’s appeal from that decision...
Adam Liptak | The New York Times 25 Nov 2013 Hits:895 ECR Articles
The European Union said it plans to close a loophole in the corporate tax code that allows some companies to pay little or no tax by routing profits abroad, amid a mounting furor over the tax practices of major corporations such as Apple Inc. and Google Inc.
The proposal by the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, aims to boost tax revenue for national budgets at a time of biting austerity and ensure that companies pay a fair amount of tax.
“We can no longer afford freeloaders who reap huge profits in...
Tom Fairless | The Wall Street Journal 25 Nov 2013 Hits:762 ECR Articles
The conservative American Legislative Exchange Council is wading back into election issues, as it considers supporting a bill that would increase the role of state legislatures in the election of U.S. senators, chipping away at the powers vested directly in the people under the 17th Amendment.
ALEC circulates model legislation to state legislators, and its bills have resulted in states passing laws related to voter ID, so-called Stand Your Ground issues and the elimination or reduction of state income taxes.
In early December, a group of ALEC members are scheduled to consider...
Amanda Terkel The Huffington Post 15 Nov 2013 Hits:710 ECR Articles
The American people created the post office. The American people can still save the post office. But we need to do something right now.
In July 2011 the United States Postal Service (USPS) management announced it would rapidly close 3600 local post offices and eventually as many as 15,000. And shutter half the nation’s mail processing centers.
A frenzy of grassroots activity erupted as citizens in hundreds of towns mobilized to save a treasured institution that plays a key and sometimes a defining role in their communities. Only when Congress appeared ready...
David Morris | On the Commons 05 Nov 2013 Hits:695 ECR Articles
Way under the radar screen of Big Media, which is too busy wallowing around in every flaw of the early glitches of healthcare.gov to notice anything else going on no matter how important, is a hugely consequential Senate confirmation fight happening this week. This fight may well have a bigger impact on our economy than any other confirmation this fight. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has not had an official chief for years now, but after too long a delay President Obama nominated a solid, well-respected North Carolina congressman...
Mike Lux | Huffington Post 30 Oct 2013 Hits:652 ECR Articles
In its landmark 1976 decision Buckley v.Valeo, the Supreme Court affirmed the constitutionality of laws aimed at “the prevention of corruption and the appearance of corruption spawned by the real or imagined coercive influence of large financial contributions on candidates’ positions and on their actions if elected to office.”
In that light, let’s take a look at the record of campaign contributions to Spencer Bachus, a Republican congressman from Alabama and a prime example of the interaction between special interest campaign contributions and the legislative process.
For all intents and purposes, Bachus,...
Thomas B Edsall | The New York Times 18 Oct 2013 Hits:735 ECR Articles
As the federal government shutdown continues, Secretary of State John Kerry heads to Asia for secret talks on a sweeping new trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The TPP is often referred to by critics as "NAFTA on steroids," and would establish a free trade zone that would stretch from Vietnam to Chile, encompassing 800 million people — about a third of world trade and nearly 40 percent of the global economy. While the text of the treaty has been largely negotiated behind closed doors and, until June, kept secret from...
Amy Goodman | Democracy NOW! 18 Oct 2013 Hits:999 ECR Articles
The latest wrecking ball flailing around in the rubble of America’s election and campaign finance laws, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, will be argued in the Supreme Court on October 8. Once again we can expect counsel and some members of the Court to be on the lookout for deviant, “forbidden” thinking about money and democracy.
As in Citizens United in 2010, the Arizona public funding case in 2011 (American Free Enterprise Club’s Freedom Club PAC v. Bennett), and the Montana challenge to Citizens United in 2012 (American Tradition Partnership v. Bullock),...
Jeff Clements | ACS 08 Oct 2013 Hits:901 ECR Articles
Every week the Truthdig editorial staff selects a Truthdigger of the Week, a group or person worthy of recognition for speaking truth to power, breaking the story or blowing the whistle. It is not a lifetime achievement award. Rather, we’re looking for newsmakers whose actions in a given week are worth celebrating. Nominate our next Truthdigger here.
The extreme want of coverage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal in even the independent, alternative press is a testament to the near-complete domination of politics and the news media by transnational corporate interests....
06 Oct 2013 Hits:794 ECR Articles
That's over and above our payments to the big companies for energy and food and housing and health care and all our tech devices. It's $6,000 that no family would have to pay if we truly lived in a competitive but well-regulated free-market economy.
The $6,000 figure is an average, which means that low-income families are paying less. But it also means that families (households) making over $72,000 are paying more than $6,000 to the corporations.
1. $870 for Direct Subsidies and Grants to Companies
The Cato Institute estimates that the U.S. federal...
Paul Buchheit | Common Dreams 30 Sep 2013 Hits:1060 ECR Articles
To quote famed short seller David Einhorn: “No matter how bad you think it is, it’s worse.” On the “corruption among what passes for our elites” front, this story about self-dealing in the privatization of the Postal Service gives an indication of how bad things really are.
By way of backstory: the Postal Service is being plundered through the device of a completely fabricated financial crisis. The mail provider has been widely declared to be broke, but that’s utter hogwash. Congress has created the appearance of financial ill health via a...
Yves Smith | Naked Capitalism 26 Sep 2013 Hits:987 ECR Articles
An amendment dubbed the "Monsanto Protection Act," which currently allows large agriculture and biotech corporations to ignore court orders involving the safety of genetically modified seeds, has been stripped from Senate's spending bill that could be voted on as early as Wednesday afternoon.
Following an organized campaign against the provision in recent months, its removal was being cheered by food safety and environmental activists as a victory.
The Monsanto Protection Act, otherwise known as the Farmer Assurance Provision rider, was wedged into a stop-gap budget bill that passed earlier this year and signed into law...
Jacob Chamberlain | Common Dreams 25 Sep 2013 Hits:729 ECR Articles
Today, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), publishers of the award-winning ALECexposed.org, launched OutsourcingAmericaExposed.org, a web resource devoted to helping taxpayers identify the corporations seeking to privatize public assets and services in their communities: including their schools, roads, prisons, drinking water, court systems, and more.
Once a week for the next several weeks, CMD will unveil corporate profiles of America’s most notorious corporations that are quietly working with state and local lawmakers to take over public services with little accountability, along with in-depth examinations of the CEOs personally profiting from...
Center for Media and Democracy's PRWatch 24 Sep 2013 Hits:785 ECR Articles
Discussions about removing government management of the U.S. air-traffic control system are the most serious in two decades, prompted by budget cuts and uncertain funding for converting to satellite navigation.
Leaders of the U.S. air-traffic controllers’ union and a private-pilot lobbying group, once fierce opponents of taking control of the system away from the Federal Aviation Administration, have endorsed talks on other ways to manage and pay for aviation safety.
“There are conversations taking place among the stakeholders,” Gerald Dillingham, civil aviation director of the U.S. Government Accountability Office, said in an...
Alan Levin | Bloomberg 24 Sep 2013 Hits:780 ECR Articles
In a letter to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke dated June 27, 2013, US Representative Alan Grayson and three co-signers expressed concern about the expansion of large banks into what have traditionally been non-financial commercial spheres. Specifically:
[W]e are concerned about how large banks have recently expanded their businesses into such fields as electric power production, oil refining and distribution, owning and operating of public assets such as ports and airports, and even uranium mining.
After listing some disturbing examples, they observed:
According to legal scholar Saule Omarova, over the past five years, there has...
Ellen Brown | Common Dreams 31 Aug 2013 Hits:953 ECR Articles
The Center for Media and Democracy filed a letter with the Texas Attorney General on Thursday refuting efforts by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to declare itself immune from…
Congressman Darrell Issa really is determined to end the United States Postal Service as Americans know it—indeed, as Americans have known it for more than 200 years.
Issa, the powerful chairman…
As part of our ongoing focus on the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, we checked in with health insurance executive turned industry whistleblower Wendell Potter to learn about ALEC’s efforts to influence…
For two weeks, protesters have been living in a tent city outside a post office in Berkeley, California. The participants are staging the sleep-in to save the post office from…
Student after student on Wednesday took to the podium at a public board meeting of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to deliver a unified message against efforts by Mayor Rahm…
When I learned last winter that I would have a seat on the Senate Banking Committee, I was very happy because I knew it would give me the opportunity to…
For Republicans who want to cut the number of food stamp recipients, here’s a helpful suggestion: Support the ordinance passed last week by the D.C. Council, which required big-box stores…
The global day of protest against the giant corporation Monsanto was a major success, as two million people showed up in cities around the world.
The global day of protest against…
A fundamental struggle for democracy is going on behind the scenes in statehouses around the country, as a handful of wealthy individuals and foundations pour money into efforts to privatize…
Contact us at:firstname.lastname@example.org
PDA is organized around several core issues. These issues include:
Each team hosts a monthly conference call. Calls feature legislators, staffers and other policy experts. On these calls we determine PDA legislation to support as well as actions and future events.
Listen to this month's call with special guest Marc Armstrong of BankAct, who spoke with us about the movement to create bank services through the United States Postal services and why it is important in the current climate of our corporate...
Listen in to this month's call as the team discusses the situation with the Udall amendment, along with possible ways to move it or similar types of amendments forward. There is a discussion about a possible march in New Mexico, the extraordinarily...
Listen to this month's call as plans are made to get the Udall Amendment passed in the United States Senate. We will be discussing the upcoming vote in the Senate, who is on the bill and who is not, our PDA letter drop, the ongoing work on other...
Listen in this month for exciting updates. The Udall Amendment is moving with a companion bill in the House. Postal office facilities are schedule to be closed. We also discussed where to go with the 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act of 2013,...
Listen for exciting updates on the Hobby Lobby case, the Udall Amendment's movement, Eric Cantor has stepping down form leadership, where we are going with the 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act of 2013, and more, plus what our next steps.
Join us this month as we discuss Hobby Lobby case, the actions we will be taking regarding the Udall amendment, movement on the Equal Rights Amendment, other constitutional amendments, and much more.