New documents indicate that just weeks after the first subpoenas were issued in Wisconsin's "John Doe" criminal campaign finance probe in October 2013, senate Republicans had begun working to change state law to legalize the activities under investigation.
On an almost daily basis, Miley Cyrus can be seen in grocery store lines on the cover of entertainment magazines and gossip rags. But now Cyrus is appearing in one place you might not have expected – on a billboard in Los Angeles denouncing higher wages.
The Employment Policies Institute (EPI), whose president is Richard Berman, the infamous PR flak dubbed "Dr. Evil" by 60 Minutes, reportedly purchased the image of Cyrus for a billboard attacking California's $9 minimum wage. Apparently, Berman's clients think that nine bucks an hour is just too much money for folks in Los Angeles, where the cost of living is skyrocketing.
The 72-year-old Berman may not know what twerking means, but he certainly knows how to exploit young people to advance his corporate agenda. Read the rest of this item here.
Grom Social, a new social media site for kids, is bursting with cuteness and commercial appeal—from the freckled 13-year-old listed as its founder, Zach Marks, to the cheerful cartoon characters on the site.
During a lunch-time presentation at Freedom Fest 2014 in Las Vegas, Zach's dad Darren explained that Grom not only allows kids to connect with friends and learn valuable lessons, it promotes a wholesome anti-bullying message and is safe, since parents monitor every click. But, best of all, according to Darren Marks, Grom is poised to cash in big by marketing products to children and parents alike, and by transforming public-education funds into profits for investors.
Walmart is in talks with Grom about advertising, the senior Marks told prospective investors in Las Vegas this month. And, the site will soon be pushing products using the subtly persuasive art of product placement and its cast of adorable cartoon avatar characters. Launched eighteen months ago, Grom has grown to more than a half million users. It is "an advertiser's dream,” Darren Marks said in Las Vegas.
As a historic drought grips the U.S. southwest, towns in Texas and California are taking action to make sure precious fresh water is not wasted and spoiled through fracking.
At the same time, some investment advisors are urging right-wingers at the annual libertarian "Freedom Fest" to view drought and skyrocketing water prices as a major investment opportunity. Read the rest of this item here.
One of the many outrageous aspects of the U.S. Supreme Court's McCutcheon v. FEC decision is how blatantly it served the interests of the very wealthiest. After all, the plaintiff, Shaun McCutcheon, was complaining that his free speech rights were being infringed because he was prohibited from spending more than $123,200 in aggregate direct contributions to politicians.
But who in America can afford to spend that much? Read the rest of this item here.
July 8, as announced on Amy Goodman's DemocracyNow!, the Progressive Inc. and the Center for Media and Democracy are publishing new information and analysis documenting that billionaire oil industrialist, Charles Koch, was an active member of the controversial right-wing John Birch Society during its active campaigns against the civil rights movement.
Many commentators have noted that the father of the controversial Koch Brothers, Fred Koch, was a leader of the John Birch Society from its founding in 1958 until his death in 1967. But, in fact, Charles Koch followed his father's footsteps into the John Birch Society for years in Wichita, Kansas, a hub city for the organization in that decade of tremendous societal unrest as civil rights activists challenged racial segregation.
Charles Koch was not simply a rank and file member of the John Birch Society in name only who paid nominal dues. He purchased and held a "lifetime membership" until he resigned in 1968. Read the rest of this item here.
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has vetoed a bill that included a drafting error copied-and-pasted from American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) model legislation, and criticized ALEC members for having "simply parroted ... the ALEC model act without alteration."
"While some may believe that such an error is 'close enough' for a model act, it cannot be allowed to become the law of this State," Nixon, a Democrat, wrote in his veto message. "Particularly in an area of the law that is the subject of ongoing litigation, a glaring defect such as this cannot be ignored."
Generation Opportunity (Gen Opp), the "millennial" group behind the "creepy Uncle Sam" ads which attempted to scare America’s youth away from health care coverage, is weighing in on the fight for control of the U.S. Senate in a big way. The "nonpartisan" group, which has received almost all of its funding from two conduits tied to the billionaire Koch brothers, has dropped nearly $2.3 million on TV ads since mid-June. The ads, attacking Senators Kay Hagan (D-NC), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), and Mark Udall (D-CO), indicate that the front group is going to spend a lot of money in the fight for control of the Senate.
For now, the group has shifted off its almost exclusive focus on the horrors of affordable health care to an old fashioned bashing of "tax and spend" democrats.
"This is a case that has been resolved, not one but two judges have said is over," Walker claimed on Fox News the day after the bombshell release of documents alleging that the Wisconsin governor is at the center of a "criminal scheme" to illegally coordinate with dark money nonprofits. "In fact two judges, in both state and federal courts, have ruled that no laws were broken," he asserted the day of the release.
The case is not over, and his claims are not correct.
The campaign against Wisconsin’s “John Doe” criminal probe is being led by groups bankrolled by the Milwaukee-based Bradley Foundation, according to a new analysis by the Center for Media and Democracy/PRwatch.org.
The Bradley Foundation and its directors have given nearly $18 million to groups that are now connected to individuals involved in the John Doe investigation and the campaign against it. That high-profile probe is examining possible campaign finance violations during the 2011 and 2012 recall elections as Wisconsin Club for Growth and other nonprofit "dark money" groups spent tens of millions trying to protect the seats of Scott Walker and Republican legislators.
For Chris Kobayashi and her husband, Dimi Rivera, it all started with Japanese cucumbers. "In 1997 we said, 'OK, let's grow Japanese cucumbers, but let's grow it organically,'" Kobayashi tells me as we walk around her farm in Hanalei Bay on Kaua'i's North Shore. "You know, because they are crispy, crunchy, and yummy and you can eat the skin and everything."
The couple knew that it would be a tough vegetable to grow. Cucumbers (and melons) are prone to extensive damage from fruit flies in Hawai'i. So they covered every single cucumber that came up with plastic bags. "We'd charge a dollar for each at the farmers' market," says Kobayshi. "We set up a sign on that said 'Japanese Cucumbers, $1.' We offered samples and people got hooked because it's so crunchy. Then they started asking, do you have any kale? I was like, 'Kale? What is that?' So that's how we started growing other kinds of veggies. It was just all an organic thing that happened. None of this was planned." Today, Kobayashi's family's 10-acre Waioli Farm grows produce using organic practices. Read the rest of this item here.
The Kochs' Anti-Civil Rights Roots: New Docs Expose Charles Koch's Ties to John Birch Society
Watch the Video!
The Progressive magazine and Center for Media and Democracy have released new documents that show billionaire oil industrialist Charles Koch was an active member of the controversial right-wing John Birch Society during its campaigns against the civil rights movement in the 1960s. Charles Koch was following in the footsteps of his father, Fred Koch, a leader of the John Birch Society from its founding. Watch Lisa Graves talk about her new article, "The Koch Cartel: Their Reach, Their Reactionary Agenda and Their Record." Read the article here.
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Excerpt from a longer SourceWatch article on Freedom Partners:
Freedom Partners, formally known as the Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce (and previously the Association for American Innovation), describes itself as a "nonprofit, nonpartisan, 501(c)(6) chamber of commerce that promotes the benefits of free markets and a free society."Koch Industries issued a press release stating that Freedom Partners is legally separate from the corporation. Politico describes the group as "the Koch brothers secret bank." Additionally, a document discovered after the winter 2014 donor meeting revealed extensive one-on-one meetings between donors and "representatives of the political, corporate, and philanthropic wings of Kochworld."
Raising $256 million during the 2012 election cycle, it served as a "de facto bank" in the $400 million Koch network by "feeding money to groups downstream." It is run by former top AFP strategist Alan Cobb and wages "a behind-the-scenes push in state capitols for reforms consistent with the brothers’ small-government, free-enterprise philosophy, including possibly curbing union power and abolishing income taxes."
The Association for American Innovation was chartered as a Delaware corporation on November 2, 2011, according to Bizpedia.
Deceitful Campaign Advertising
"Pants on Fire" Attack Ad Against Rep. Bruce Braley
Freedom Partners aired this untruthul attack ad against Rep. Bruce Braley that was rated by fact-checkers as "pants on fire"
On April 8, 2014, Freedom Partners began a $1.1 million advertising campaign against Representative Bruce Braley (D-IA) and Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) that ran for three weeks. The ad claims that Braley took "tens of thousands from his friends in the health insurance industry" and gave them "special favors" by voting for the Affordable Care Act. Fact checkers determined that Braley has received "$20,500 from health insurance sources...about $2,000 for every year he’s served in Congress" and total "insurance donations account for less than 1 percent of all the cash Braley has raised during his political career."
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.
Outsourcing America Exposed
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.
The National Restaurant Association, the “Other NRA,” represents giant fast food chains like McDonald’s, Darden, and Taco Bell. NRA is a member of ALEC and a leader in the effort to stop minimum wage increases and paid sick leave ordinances.
"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.
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