As Tea Party sentiment swept the country a few years ago, the media saw a new brood of young Republicans. Smooth and confident but also prone to anger and aggression, these budding "rock stars" of the movement held prominent positions in campus organizations bankrolled by the GOP. But it was an uneasy relationship. Their frat boy hijinks were often excused by party officials. After all, they were the future of the Republican Party. As for any misogynistic or xenophobic pranks, well, boys will be boys.
Sometimes, however, they went too far. Read the rest of this item here.
Federal Judge Rudolph Randa may have overreached when he halted the state criminal investigation into Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and allied groups, a panel of federal appellate judges suggested on Tuesday.
“This is a federalism issue,” Diane Wood, chief judge of the 7th Circuit court of appeals, said of the case. “Should a federal court step in and stop a state proceeding?”
“Federalism is certainly present…“ replied Wisconsin Club for Growth (WiCFG) attorney Mark DeLaquil, from the Washington, D.C. law firm Baker & Hostetler.
“Its predominant!” Wood interjected.
The case, an appeal of federal Judge Randa’s order from May halting the criminal campaign finance investigation, has major implications both for transparency in Wisconsin elections and for the future of Walker’s political career. Read the rest of this item here.
"We are here to fight back against a Supreme Court that says there is no difference between free speech and billions of dollars spent by the privileged few to swing elections and buy off legislators," Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said September 8, as the U.S. Senate kicked off a historic debate over a proposal to amend the constitution to limit the role of money in politics in the wake of Supreme Court decisions such as Citizens United.
"There are times when action is required to defend our great democracy against those who would see it perverted into one more rigged game where the rich and the powerful always win," she said. "This is the time to amend the constitution."
Late Monday night, the Senate voted to advance the amendment 72-18, meaning it will be debated in the coming days before a vote later this week. Many Republicans voted to advance the bill, highlighting the sensitivity of an issue that has widespread support among grassroots Democrats and Republicans during an election year. Read the rest of this item here.
A group of residents of the Cedar Valley area near Gold Beach in Curry County, Oregon say their properties were doused with pesticides by a helicopter aiming for privately-owned timberlands last October.
In what has been called a "severe sanction," the pesticide applicator and the aerial spray company he owns have been fined $10,000 each by the state and had their pesticide licenses suspended for a year for providing false information that misled investigators.
But at least one of those affected says this basically amounts to a big traffic ticket, when instead he believes the incident should be considered an act of "criminal trespass" linked to 45 illness reports. Read the rest of this item here.
Leaked audio from the latest Koch summit shows Charles Koch's "intellectual sounding board," Richard Fink, drawing a direct line between increasing the minimum wage and the rise of fascism, totalitarianism, and terrorist suicide bombers.
"So the big danger of minimum wage isn’t the fact that some people are being paid more than their valued-added," Fink told the gathering of donors and GOP operatives in Dana Point, California this summer, according to a recording obtained by The Undercurrent. Instead, he claimed, 500,000 people would lose their jobs, "putting them unemployed, making dependence part of government programs, destroying their opportunity for earned success. And so we see this is a very big part of recruitment in Germany in the 20s." Read the rest of this item here.
The chant “come on out, we’ve got your back!” echoed through the air at Taco Bell as peaceful protesters took the “Fight for 15” directly to the fast food giant, calling on workers to walk off the job.
Protesters were targeting McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Taco Bell with more than 150 actions across the nation. Taco Bell is owned by YUM! Brands. With $13 billion in annual revenue, the top five YUM! executives received $30 million in compensation in 2013. That is not what their workers are making in Madison, however, where the minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. Read the rest of this item here.
Leaked audio from an invite-only Koch donor summit highlighted the role of the billionaire brothers in boosting Scott Walker in Wisconsin -- and suggests that David Koch's Americans for Prosperity Foundation may have violated its charitable status during the state's 2012 recall elections.
Phil Cox, Executive Director of the Republican Governors Association (RGA), told a gathering of right-wing donors this summer that Americans for Prosperity (AFP) was a "tremendous partner" and "heavily involved" during Wisconsin's 2012 recall elections. He also thanked David Koch for "his very strong support of the RGA," according to a recording obtained by The Undercurrent. Read the rest of this item here.
Despite claims that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is not a "target" in the state's criminal campaign finance probe, newly-released documents demonstrate that prosecutors are indeed looking at potentially criminal activity by the first-term governor and 2016 presidential hopeful.
The latest round of documents released in Wisconsin's "John Doe" investigation shine new light on the stalled inquiry into alleged illegal coordination between Walker’s campaign and outside political groups like Wisconsin Club for Growth (WiCFG) during the 2011-2012 recall elections. Read the rest of this item here.
Wisconsin workers face a lousy jobs picture this Labor Day, according to a new report by the Center on Wisconsin Strategy (COWS).
The national labor market has only recently recovered enough to reach pre-2007 jobs numbers. Overall, as more workers seek jobs than seven years ago, the nation still faces high unemployment and sluggish wage growth.
In Wisconsin, the situation is considerably worse.
Overall, the state still falls 21,900 jobs short of where it was seven years ago--and about 58,000 jobs short of where it would be if it had kept pace with the national recovery rate. Read the rest of this item here.
When Governor Jerry Brown signs Assembly Bill 1522, California will join a growing number of states where temporary or part-time employees no longer have to face the excruciating dilemma: go to work sick, or lose pay or your job.
The bill, which allows workers to accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to a total of three days a year, passed over the weekend with a 52–25 vote in the State Assembly. With more than 6 million workers -- or 44 percent of the California workforce -- covered, it is by far the biggest expansion of paid sick days in the country. Read the rest of this item here.
It's not often that a state court hears a case that has global consequences. But it's about to happen, and the public will have a ringside seat to watch the fight.
This Friday, September 5, the Nebraska Supreme Court will hear arguments in Thompson v. Heineman, the state's appeal from the lower court decision that put Keystone XL on hold. The lower court held that the law the governor used to bypass the state's Public Service Commission and grant TransCanada eminent domain over private property for its proposed pipeline was unconstitutional. Read the rest of this item here.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren overturned Kaua'i County's law regulating the use of pesticides and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) this week. He ruled that it was preempted by Hawai'i state law, although not by federal law.
The county law, Ordinance 960, was passed in November 2013 and would have gone into effect this month. It requires buffer zones between fields spraying pesticides on GMO crops and sensitive areas like schools and hospitals. It also requires chemical companies and large farms to disclose types and quantities of pesticides they spray as well as the location of fields growing GMO crops.
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The governor’s race in Wisconsin between the Republican incumbent, Scott Walker, and his Democratic challenger, Mary Burke, is coming down to one issue: jobs, jobs, jobs.
This summer Walker launched aggressive ads against Burke, charging that her family’s giant bike company, Trek, had outsourced jobs, an unusual line of attack for a pro-trade Republican who once sported a Chinese-U.S. flag pin. The Walker camp also dug out a failed economic development grant from the time she was the head of the state Department of Commerce.
The Walker team is cleverly trying to hit Burke where Walker himself is most vulnerable. It was not Burke who bungled a promise to create 250,000 jobs, then presided over one of the worst jobs creation records in the region. It was not Burke who created a scandal-plagued jobs agency, which has come under fire from federal officials and state auditors.
In November 2010, Scott Walker was elected governor of Wisconsin on his jobs pledge and on his slogan to make Wisconsin "open for business."
On January 3, 2011, Walker was sworn into office and immediately called the legislature into a special session to get to work on his jobs agenda. One of the first bills Walker introduced privatized the Department of Commerce’s economic development functions. Walker made himself the chairman of the board of the public-private hybrid, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).
In response to the increasing media interest around the business practices of America's largest employer and retailer, the Center for Media and Democracy launched a new web resource on Walmart that fact checks the company’s advertisements and statements. Using the model of AlecExposed.org, Walmart’s profile in SourceWatch details Walmart’s employee pay and policies, its PR on veterans, its lobbying and political contributions, environmental impact and its spin on domestic sourcing. The site also includes a section analyzing the impact that the company’s business practices on shoppers.
Read the rest of this item here.
Visit the Walmart SourceWatch page for more!
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Excerpt from a longer SourceWatch article on Generation Opportunity:
Generation Opportunity (GenOp) is a non-profit 501(c)(4) organization based in Arlington, Virginia funded by Freedom Partners, a multimillion dollar Koch-tied funding vehicle. On the group's website, its describes itself as "a free-thinking, liberty-loving, national organization of young people promoting the best of Being American: opportunity, creativity and freedom." According to OpenSecrets, "[i]n the three years for which tax information is available, Generation Opportunity has raised almost 86 percent of its funds from just two Koch-linked nonprofits." In 2014, Generation opportunity has spent big money in Senate races against three Democrats: Senators Kay Hagan (D-NC), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), and Mark Udall (D-CO). Mary Bottari reported on prwatch.org that, "Gen Opp spent a total of $900,000 against Udall, $825,000 against Hagan, and $550,000 against Landrieu, bringing the ad buy to $2.275 million."
2014 Election Cycle Ad Buys
”Shopping spree” ad that ran against Sen. Mark Udall in Colorado.
Generation Opportunity, a 501(c)(4) organization, has launched ad buys in several targeted Senate races in 2014, including ads against Senators Kay Hagan (D-NC), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), and Mark Udall (D-CO), costing over $2 million.
The organization has launched two basic ads in multiple states. One ad, used against Landrieu and Udall, caricatures the senators. In the ad, the two are played by actors and are depicted as children in a shopping cart, who appear to be gleefully overspending on unnecessary items. The ad criticizes their votes on government spending, claiming they are footing younger generations with the bill.
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.
CMD has unveiled 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 this corporate coup.
"Sinquefield is one of the top right-wing political funders in the country, and the single top political spender in Missouri, where he has spent at least $31.5 million since 2006 seeking to reshape Missouri laws, legislators, and policies according to his own ideological mold," said co-author Brendan Fischer of the Center for Media and Democracy/The Progressive.
"A truly impressive project based on cutting edge web technology."
—David Korten, author of When Corporations Rule the World and The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community.
"The troublemakers at the Center for Media and Democracy, for example, point to dozens of examples of "greenwashing," which they defined as the "unjustified appropriation of environmental virtue by a company, an industry, a government or even a non-government organization to sell a product, a policy" or rehabilitate an image. In the center's view, many enterprises labeled green don't deserve the name.
—Jack Shafer, "Green Is the New Yellow: On the excesses of 'green' journalism," Slate.
"As a journalist frequently on the receiving end of various PR campaigns, some of them based on disinformation, others front groups for undisclosed interests, [CMD's SourceWatch] is an invaluable resource."
—Michael Pollan, author of The Botany of Desire
"Thanks for all your help. There's no way I could have done my piece on big PR and global warming without CMD [the Center for Media and Democracy] and your fabulous websites."
—Zoe Cormier, journalist, Canada
"The dearth of information on the [U.S.] government [lobbying] disclosure forms about the other business-backed coalitions comes in stark contrast to the data about them culled from media reports, websites, press releases and Internal Revenue Service documents and posted by SourceWatch, a website that tracks advocacy groups."
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