The Trayvon Martin tragedy

The Zimmerman Verdict Is a Wakeup Call to Address the Deep and Structural Injustices in America By Makani Themba,  AlterNet, July 15, 2013   Makani Themba is executive director of The Praxis Project.- …The legal argument that led to this verdict, which is centuries old, could not exist without de facto acceptance of racism as legitimate motive and Blackness itself as life threatening…law is so much more than cases.  Law is a fluid amalgamation of principle – ideals like freedom, liberty, equality; public perception and meaning – how we come to understand what principles mean in our current context; code – the nitty gritty words and technicalities that make up how these principles are implemented to and for whom; and coercion and intimidation – we follow laws that don’t work for us because we’d rather not deal with the consequences. The Right understands the importance of all these elements in the forging of law and social norms…Yes, we should support efforts to bring Zimmerman up on civil rights charges. Yes, we should support efforts to bring Zimmerman up on civil rights charges and boycott the companies that fund groups like ALEC that are responsible for the law that made his acquittal possible.  We also need a DOJ investigation and suit to address the blatantly racist patterns in the application of stand your ground type laws and extrajudicial killings in general.  .….…. We must also be more adept at leveraging human rights tools at our disposal to take our efforts beyond the limited framework of the Constitution  and reimagine remedies at a macro-systemic level including, yes, even reparations. Ending this tragic history of murder and mayhem; ensuring that there are no more Trayvons or Oscars or Vincents or Addie Maes requires an upending of the deeply entrenched structures that led to their deaths in the first place.  Let’s hope that this latest wakeup call will inspire more of us to take on the deeper work of structural transformation to make tragedies like these a thing of the past. full text

The Zimmerman Acquittal: America’s Racist God by Anthea Butler, ReligionDispatches.org,  July 14, 2013 - The lamentation of the African-American community at yet another injustice, the surprise and disgust of others who understand, stand against this pseudo-god of capitalisms and incarceration that threaten to take over our nation…While many continue to proclaim that the religious right is over, they’re wrong. The religious right is flourishing, and unlike the right of the 1970s, religious conservatism of the 21st century is in bed with the prison industrial complex, the Koch brothers, the NRA—all while proclaiming that they are “pro-life.” They are anything but…As a historian of American and African-American religion, I know that the Trayvon Martin moment is just one moment in a history of racism in America that, in large part, has its underpinnings in Christianity and its history. Those of us who teach American Religion have a responsibility to tell all of the story, not just the nice touchy-feely parts. When the good Christians of America are some of its biggest racists, one has to consider our moral responsibility to call out those who clearly are not for human flourishing, no matter what ethnicity a person is. Where are you on that scale? I know where I am. Full text

The Spiritual and Political Warfare of the New Religious Right by Bill Berkowitz for Buzzflash at Truthout, July 9, 2013 — …the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), the charismatic evangelical political and religious movement… …  [Lou Engle] and his organization have also become deeply involved in U.S. politics, especially in anti choice and antigay organizing,” …Engle calls for massive “spiritual warfare” that will result in a complete worldwide “political and social transformation” …To achieve its goals, the NAR aims to have its apostles seize control over every important aspect of society, including, the government, military, entertainment industry and education.” If the NAR falls short of world denomination, it intends, as a minimum, to “turn America back to God.”… full text

The American Legislative Exchange Council Is Hard at Work Privatizing America, One Statehouse at a Time, BillMoyers.com By Bill Moyers, June 22, 2013 - A national consortium of state politicians and powerful corporations, ALEC — the American Legislative Exchange Council — 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. Using interviews, documents, and field reporting, “United States of ALEC — A Follow-Up” explores ALEC’s self-serving machine at work… full text

The American Legislative Exchange Council Is Hard at Work Privatizing America, One Statehouse at a Time

BillMoyers.com By Bill Moyers, June 22, 2013 

Excerpt

A national consortium of state politicians and powerful corporations, ALEC — the American Legislative Exchange Council — 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. Using interviews, documents, and field reporting, “United States of ALEC — A Follow-Up” explores ALEC’s self-serving machine at work…

Full text

A national consortium of state politicians and powerful corporations, ALEC — the American Legislative Exchange Council — 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. Using interviews, documents, and field reporting, “United States of ALEC — A Follow-Up” [3] explores 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.”

Former health care industry executive Wendell Potter [4] says, “Even though I’d known of [ALEC] for a long time, I was astonished. Just about everything that I knew that the health insurance industry wanted out of any state lawmaker was included in that package of bills.”

Following up on a 2012 report, this update [5] includes new examples of corporate influence on state legislation and lawmakers, the growing public protest against ALEC’s big business-serving agenda, and internal tactics ALEC is instituting to further shroud its actions and intentions.

“United States of ALEC” Executive Producer Tom Casciato says people who saw the first report [6] “might be surprised to learn that, despite more than 40 companies having dropped out of ALEC [7], the organization is still going very strong.” He adds, “ALEC doesn’t publish a list of its members, so covering will always be hard, but in a democracy it’s a good idea for people to know where their laws originate.”

In addition to watching the show, you should follow our “Eye on ALEC” blog [8] and see all of our features and articles [9] related to ALEC. Also, you can help us build a national map [10] of state representatives who are members of ALEC.

See more stories tagged with:

alec [11],

privatization [12]


Source URL: http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/bill-moyers-american-legislative-exchange-council-hard-work-privatizing-america

Links:
[1] http://billmoyers.com/
[2] http://www.alternet.org/authors/bill-moyers-0
[3] http://billmoyers.com/episode/full-show-united-states-of-alec-a-follow-up
[4] http://billmoyers.com/guest/wendell-potter/
[5] http://billmoyers.com/episode/full-show-united-states-of-alec-a-follow-up/
[6] http://billmoyers.com/segment/united-states-of-alec/
[7] http://billmoyers.com/2012/04/05/companies-respond-to-alec-boycotts/
[8] http://billmoyers.com/category/what-matters-today/the-united-states-of-alec/
[9] http://billmoyers.com/spotlight/eye-on-alec/
[10] http://billmoyers.com/content/interactive-map-is-your-state-legislator-a-member-of-alec/
[11] http://www.alternet.org/tags/alec
[12] http://www.alternet.org/tags/privatization
[13] http://www.alternet.org/%2Bnew_src%2B

6 Biggest Religious Right Threats to America

Church & State Magazine / By Simon Brown [1] January 3, 2013

Excerpt

1. Religious School Voucher Subsidies

2. Creationism In Science Classes

3. Prayer And Proselytizing In Public Schools

4. ‘Conscience’ Exemptions

5. State ‘Prayer’ Caucuses

6. Anti-Shariah Laws

 

Full text

Multiple courts have said “no” to states that want public schools to teach “intelligent design” creationism in science classes, but that doesn’t faze Montana State Rep. Clayton Fiscus (R-Billings).

Fiscus, a Tea Party favorite whose professional background is in real estate, asked the legislative services staff of the Montana House of Representatives in November to come up with a bill for the 2013 legislative session that would “require public schools to teach intelligent design along with evolution.”

Lawmakers like Fiscus often push their agenda in defiance of established constitutional law, and sometimes hope they can create a case to convince the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn previous decisions that contradict their personal beliefs. Americans Uni­ted combated a wide array of state-level leg­islative schemes in 2012 that sought to tear down the critical safeguards that keep church and state separate.

With most state legislatures starting their annual sessions this month, here is a look at some of the top threats to church-state separation expected in 2013, including school voucher bills, creationism ploys, “conscience” exemptions, anti-shar­iah legislation and so-called “religious freedom” and “prayer” caucuses.

1. Religious School Voucher Subsidies

Americans United anticipates proposals that benefit religious and other private schools to surface in many states this year, with major pushes expected in New Jersey, Wisconsin, Texas and Tennessee.

In New Jersey, a voucher scheme is likely in the works thanks to the persistence of Gov. Chris Christie (R). Christie tried to implement a program in 2012, with a proposal that would have cost the state $825 million. It would have provided 40,000 eligible students with vouchers –$8,000 for elementary school and $11,000 for high school – the NewarkStar-Ledger reported.

Christie said in June of 2012 that the bill was dead for that year, but vowed “to continue to push for it,” the Teaneck Patch reported.

In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker (R) is expected to seek the expansion of an existing voucher subsidy program. He said in November that his agenda for the coming year includes doing more to push vouchers, though he didn’t go into specifics, the MilwaukeeJournal Sentinel reported.

Wisconsin Senate Minority Leader Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee) was quick to criticize Walker’s mission to “hyper scrutinize” public schools while giving more taxpayer money to private schools that are “unaccountable”  and have been shown in studies to produce students who perform no better than their public school peers, the Wisconsin State Journal said.

In Texas, meanwhile, a serious showdown is expected over private school vouchers, with sharp divisions even among members of the state GOP. State Sen. Dan Patrick (R-Houston), founder of his state’s Tea Party Caucus and chair of the Senate Education Committee, held a one-sided hearing in August featuring a parade of “school choice” advocates.

The Austin American-Statesman noted that Texas cut $5.4 billion from public schools in the last legislative session. Patrick seems to subscribe to a philosophy of siphoning even more money away from those schools and then blaming them for their supposed failures so he can turn around and fund private schools.

“No student should be locked into a poor performing school because that happens to be where they live,” he told the American-Statesman. “I’m a big supporter of public education, and we have a lot of schools that are doing a great job, but we must also recognize the truth that we have a lot of schools that are not performing at the level that they need to be.”

Patrick and Lt. Gov. David Dew­hurst (R) were expected at press time to announce their voucher legislation within a few weeks, but it seems they may not get the warmest reception for the plan – even from some fellow Republicans.

The American-Statesman reported in August that Rep. Diane Patrick (R-Arlington) said she is gearing up for a fight over vouchers. Texas, she insisted, should be focused on improving aspects of the public school system, such as bolstering magnet and charter schools, rather than dumping money into private schools.

“We’re on code red,” Diane Patrick said.

A November op-ed in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram penned by education experts also slammed vouchers.

“Many private schools are par­ochial, and the religious orientation may not be appropriate for some families, also raising the question of separation of church and state,” wrote Jamie Wilson, school superintendent of the Denton school district; Steven Waddell, superintendent in Lewis­ville, and Jerry R. Thomas, dean of the University of North Texas’ College of Education.

In Tennessee, a major drive for vouchers is expected. In 2012, Gov. Bill Haslam (R) ducked a political battle by setting up a task force charged with examining vouchers and making recommendations for the 2013 legislative session.

That task force offered its suggestions in November, calling for discussion about accountability, subsidy amounts and which private schools and students should be eligible.

Haslam asked the nine-member group only to study how Tennessee might use tax dollars to allow some public school students to attend private schools. Critics noted that study group members turned to voucher advocates for advice, which undermined the report’s usefulness.

“The task force seemed to rely on reports that made representations about the success of voucher programs in other areas, but seems to wholly ignore the steadily increasing avalanche of empirical evidence that goes the other way,” Americans Uni­ted State Legislative Counsel Aman­da Rolat said in a press statement.

Rolat told Church & State that she anticipates an uphill battle on this issue in Tennessee, which is why Americans United has reached out to friendly state legislators to get a better understanding of how AU can work with them.

Advocacy groups have worked hard to build support for vouchers.  StudentsFirst, the Memphis Commercial Appeal says, has given thousands of dollars to candidates in legislative campaigns in the last two years. The newspaper said that group donated $427,000 through its Tennessee PAC between January and November 2012 alone.

When it comes to pro-voucher spending nationwide, however, few can match the wealthy and powerful Betsy DeVos. DeVos, former chair of the Michigan Republican Party and wife of Amway fortune heir Dick DeVos, has poured millions into voucher advocacy.

Her American Federation for Children claims that hundreds of “educational choice” lawmakers were elected to state legislatures in 2012, many of whom were endorsed and funded by the group. This ensures that DeVos’ influence will not wane anytime soon, and she can be expected to continue funding voucher campaigns in many states.

2. Creationism In Science Classes

Every year, legislators attempt to introduce religion into public school science classes. In addition to Fiscus’ Montana creationism crusade mentioned above, an Indiana lawmaker is leading a similar effort.

Sen. Dennis Kruse (R-Auburn) proposed a bill last year that would have mandated the teaching of “creation science” alongside evolution in public schools. That measure passed the Senate but died in the House after some lawmakers realized that it was blatantly unconstitutional and would have led to lawsuits.

Kruse is back with a new proposal, and this time he claims his goal is to promote critical inquiry in the classroom.

“If a student thinks something isn’t true, then they can question the teacher and the teacher would have to come up with some kind of research to support that what they are teaching is true or not true,” Kruse told the Indianapolis Star.

But Micah Clark, executive director of American Family Association of Indiana, was a little more forthcoming about the bill’s true intent. He told the Star that he sees the proposal as a form of protection for teachers who want to discuss creationism and intelligent design.

Kruse is reportedly working on the measure with the Discovery Institute, a Seattle-based organization that advocates for creationist concepts in public schools. Josh Youngkin, a program officer for Discovery Institute, told the Associated Press that the law would stand up to legal scrutiny.

“The teacher would not be barred from saying: ‘Let’s look at both sides of the evidence and you guys can basically make a judgment,’ rather than just accepting passively or memorizing by rote these facts and stating back these arguments on a test which would eventually determine where you go to college,” Youngkin said.

Advocates for sound science and church-state separation, however, rejected the need for a supposedly “balanced” presentation of the origins of life on Earth. Religion, they said, should not be introduced into the biology classroom under the guise of science.

And public school advocates said students and teachers already have vibrant discussions.

“If Senator Kruse had education experience he would know that students across the country are already [questioning information] every day in the public school classroom,” Sen. Tim Skinner (D-Terre Haute), a longtime public school teacher, told Indiana Public Media. “[Students] question everything, and I think a teacher who’s actually doing their job will answer those questions.”

 

3. Prayer And Proselytizing In Public Schools

Legislators regularly come up with new schemes to allow coercive prayer and proselytizing in public schools, and Americans United staffers expect this year to be no exception.

In Virginia, a proposal was filed just ahead of the 2013 legislative session that would create a state constitutional amendment to “secure further the people’s freedom of speech and right to acknowledge God” on public property and presumably in public schools.

This could lead to numerous lawsuits if it passes. Advocates of church-state separation said it is somewhat similar to Missouri’s deceptive “right to pray” amendment, a problematic constitutional provision approved by the voters last year. It opens the door for coercive prayer and proselytizing in public schools, allows students to skip homework if it offends their religious beliefs and infringes on the religious liberty rights of prisoners.

4. ‘Conscience’ Exemptions

The news media has reported widely on the campaign by the Cath­olic bishops and the Religious Right to win “conscience” exemptions from provisions of the Obama health care reform, but this issue has also filtered down to the state level. Sectarian lobbies want to exempt religious institutions and individuals from a broad range of laws that ensure civil rights and civil liberties.

A leading proponent of this type of legislation is the Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC), a Washington, D.C., group that advocates public policy based on the “Judeo-Christian moral tradition.”

The EPPC is trying to create “religious freedom” caucuses in all 50 state legislatures by the end of 2013. As of press time, it had already established them in nine states – Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oklahoma and Tennessee. Although the effort claims to be bipartisan, that’s hardly the case in Kansas, where the caucus consists of 26 Republicans and one Democrat.

Critics say the campaign seeks to give conservative religious groups and individuals preferential treatment under the guise of “religious freedom.” They note that Brian W. Walsh, head of the EPPC’s American Religious Freedom Program, is a graduate of TV preacher Pat Robertson’s Regent University School of Law.

The National Catholic Register reported that the “religious freedom” caucuses comprised a total of 120 state lawmakers as of mid-October. Arizona Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Glendale) was described as the group’s legislative “brain trust.” She authored a law that permits the state’s religiously affiliated employers to opt out of the new federal contraception requirement.

Americans United’s Legislative Department is very concerned that these conscience exemption measures will be overly broad and undercut the rights of other Americans.

AU has strategized in the past with the ACLU, Catholics for Choice, Planned Parenthood, Human Rights Campaign, National Council of Jewish Women and the Anti-Def­amation League on how best to defend church-state separation against this type of threat and will continue to work with such organizations in 2013.

 

5. State ‘Prayer’ Caucuses

A similar movement to the one orchestrated by the EPPC is under way thanks to the efforts of U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.).

Forbes, a Religious Right favorite, is head of the Congressional Prayer Caucus. Through the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation (CPCF), attempts are being made to establish “prayer caucuses” in every state legislature.

The CPCF website indicates that at least eight states currently have a prayer caucus – Maine, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Kentucky, Michigan, Virginia, Colorado and Mississippi. It says the goal of the organization is the “successful collaboration of prayer and action at the state level, [which] will accelerate the rate at which religious freedom is secured at the national level.”

That may not sound so sinister, but critics say it’s every bit as misleading as the EPPC “religious freedom” caucuses. The CPCF claims to encourage state lawmakers to “partner with churches and para-church organizations, and ultimately preserve faith in God as lifeblood of America.”

In fact, church-state separation supporters say the campaign intends to pervade government with religion.

The CPCF has shown its influence of late, having scored a major victory last year when the deceptive “religious freedom” amendment, officially known as Amendment 2, was added to the Missouri Constitution. It was authored by Rep. Mike McGhee (R-Odessa), who chairs the Missouri Prayer Caucus.

The CPCF backed McGhee’s proposal, calling it a necessity in a press statement and claiming that there are “anti-God groups bent on erasing God, prayer and Judeo-Christian influence from the public square.”

 

6. Anti-Shariah Laws

The U.S. Constitution already prohibits government enforcement of religious law, but right-wing groups are insisting that legislatures take the extra step of banning shariah – Islamic law.

As of press time, anti-shariah legislation had been pre-filed for the 2013 legislative sessions in Alabama and Florida. Texas has pre-filed a bill proposing a ballot measure to amend the state’s constitution to prohibit enforcement, consideration or application of any “religious or cultural law.”

An anti-shariah bill has also been sitting dormant in Michigan’s House Jud­iciary Committee for over a year, and some state lawmakers were pushing for a vote on that legislation at press time.

Critics say measures of this kind are proposed without a credible threat from Islam and seek to stigmatize a single religion and its adherents.

These bills have been on the rise of late. They have evolved slightly, thanks in part to a ruling by the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in January 2012, which declared unconstitutional an Oklahoma ballot measure that sought specifically to ban shari­ah law.

As a result, more recent anti-shariah bills have been slightly subtler, forgoing specific language targeting shariah in favor of banning courts from applying “foreign law” generally. For example, the Michigan legislation would “limit the application and enforcement by a court, arbitrator, or administrative body of foreign laws that would impair con­st­itu­tional rights.”

“These laws are a solution in search of a problem and motivated by sheer animus toward a perceived Muslim threat,” said AU’s Rolat.

Will The Religious Right Succeed?

Americans United expects the Religious Right and the Catholic hierarchy to lobby state lawmakers heavily in 2013, and these sectarian pressure groups may find particular success this year thanks to a changing party lineup.

The New York Times reported recently that the office of governor and the majorities in both legislative houses will be controlled by one party in 37 states this year, the most in 60 years. Twenty-four states will have GOP control of the legislature and the governor’s office.

The Times noted that this is a marked change from just two years ago, when 30 states were split. The report speculated that more bills will be passed and fewer of those proposals will be moderate as a result of single-party control.

Americans United’s Lynn said that sort of environment plays right into the hands of the Religious Right.

“Those who oppose church-state separation thrive in extreme political environments,” he told Church & State. “The more extreme the makeup of legislatures becomes, the more likely it is that a bad bill will become law. We expect to have our hands full.”

http://www.alternet.org/print/belief/6-biggest-religious-right-threats-america

Grover Norquist – Romney Will Do As He’s Told

By Fay Paxton, cross-posted at The Pragmatic Pundit, posted on winningprogressive.org, October 10, 2012

Excerpt

At the conservative “Defending the American Dream Summit” in Washington, Grover Norquist, the Republican tax-cut Svengali said about Mitt Romney:

“All we have to do is replace Obama. … We are not auditioning for fearless leader. We don’t need a president to tell us in what direction to go. We know what direction to go…. We just need a president to sign this stuff….Pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to become president of the United   States…. His job is to be captain of the team, to sign the legislation that has already been prepared.”

The summit was sponsored by Americans for Prosperity, a front group started by oil billionaire David Koch of Koch Industries. The AFP funds the “Tea Party” and special interest groups that work against Democratic initiatives, opposing protections for workers, the environment, labor unions, health care reform, stimulus spending, and cap-and-trade legislation.

Regarding the “legislation that has already been prepared”, perhaps you also remember ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council). The corporate funded organization that rewrites the laws that govern our lives. Through ALEC and the model legislation written by the organization, corporations have a voice and a vote in our daily lives. You didn’t really believe Citizens United was an accident did you?…

Full text

At the conservative “Defending the American Dream Summit” in Washington, Grover Norquist, the Republican tax-cut Svengali said about Mitt Romney:

“All we have to do is replace Obama. … We are not auditioning for fearless leader. We don’t need a president to tell us in what direction to go. We know what direction to go…. We just need a president to sign this stuff….Pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to become president of the United   States…. His job is to be captain of the team, to sign the legislation that has already been prepared.”

The summit was sponsored by Americans for Prosperity, a front group started by oil billionaire David Koch of Koch Industries. The AFP funds the “Tea Party” and special interest groups that work against Democratic initiatives, opposing protections for workers, the environment, labor unions, health care reform, stimulus spending, and cap-and-trade legislation.

Regarding the “legislation that has already been prepared”, perhaps you also remember ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council). The corporate funded organization that rewrites the laws that govern our lives. Through ALEC and the model legislation written by the organization, corporations have a voice and a vote in our daily lives. You didn’t really believe Citizens United was an accident did you?

The Ugly Duckling

How and why do you suppose a candidate who was so poorly thought of became the celebrated nominee? Here’s what leading Republicans have said about Romney:

Rick Santorum: “”We need someone who’s bold and courageous, someone who’s willing to go out and say, ‘I’m for these things because they are my convictions,’ not because I put a finger in the air and that’s where the public is today…..Why would we pick someone who’s had a record that is as a liberal governor of Massachusetts to lead our country at a time we need fundamental change?”

Gingrich:This is a campaign of people power versus money power…. He understands a lot about finance, but finance is not the free market, and Wall Street is not Main Street, and giant businesses are not small businesses.”

Michele Bachmann: “If you look at Mitt Romney, he…has been very inconsistent on his positions. He has been on both sides of the abortion issue, on both sides of the issue of same-sex marriage.”“They (voters) want to know what’s the truth. They’re not interested in a chameleon.”

Rick Perry: “I happen to think that companies like Bain Capital could have come in and helped these companies, if they truly were venture capitalists, but they’re not…..They’re vulture capitalists.”

Rush Limbaugh: “ Mitt Romney is not a Conservative….Romney is a flip-flopper like John Kerry was; he’s gonna be saying one thing here when he gets to the White House is gonna turn into a moderate. I can think of things, like 2006 or 2007, Romney inMassachusetts says, “I’m not a conservative Republican, I’m a moderate.”

“TheMassachusettshealthcare law that then-Gov. Mitt Romney signed in 2006 includes a program known as the Health Safety Net, which allows undocumented immigrants to get needed medical care along with others who lack insurance. Uninsured, poor immigrants can walk into a health clinic or hospital in the state and get publicly subsidized care at virtually no cost to them, regardless of their immigration status.”

Mike Huckabee: “I think a lot of people are deceived, and you have to ask do people want to elect a president who has been dishonest in order to get the job and said things about his opponents that simply aren’t true?”

Sarah Palin: Romney should both release his tax returns and substantiate his claim that Bain Capital created 100,000 jobs.

Senator Marco Rubio: “There are a lot of other people out there that some of us wish had run for President, but they didn’t.”

Sheldon Adelson: “He’s not a bold decision maker…”

Former GOP Virginia Rep. Tom Davis: “He may not be Mr. Personality, uh, you know, this is a guy who gives a fireside chat and the fire goes out.”

Rudy Giuliani: “I’ve never seen a guy change his position so many times, so fast, on a dime.”

Former Reagan OMB Director David Stockman: “I don’t think that Mitt Romney can legitimately say that he learned anything about how to create jobs in the LBO (leveraged buyout) business. The LBO business is about how to strip cash out of old, long-in-the-tooth companies and how to make short-term profits. All the jobs that he talks about came from Staples. That was a very early venture stage deal. That, you know they got out of long before it got to its current size.”

David Frum: “…..the problem is that Romney hasn’t shown backbone to stick with his positions.”

George Will: “Romney, supposedly the Republican most electable next November, is a recidivist reviser of his principles who is not only becoming less electable; he might damage GOP chances of capturing the Senate… Republicans may have found their Michael Dukakis…”

And last but not least:

John McCain: compiled a 200 page Romney opposition research book which is available online thanks to BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski.

Now they all support Romney for President? Flip-flopping must be contagious. But then again, like Grover Norquist said, “….We just need a president to sign this stuff….a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen…. His job is to be captain of the team, to sign the legislation that has already been prepared.”

http://www.winningprogressive.org/grover-norquist-romney-will-do-as-hes-told

Money in politics

The power of money trumps the power of democracy todayDemocracy Should Be a Brake on Unbridled Greed and PowerBill Moyers

financiers who presided over the market collapse… could have and should have seen it coming.…the financial crisis was not an accident and they were not powerless. The crisis was the result of irresponsibility and misjudgments by many people…Congress’s efforts at financial reform appear to be weakened daily by politicians who are more concerned with campaign donations than regulating the financial system. Who’s Not Sorry Now? Editorial, New York Times, April 11, 2010 

 

“You and I don’t have a lobbyist and so we are not represented in this melee. There is no balance here. There’s a drastic imbalance between the people who created the problem and the people who had to pay the problem and it has not been addressed.”  Gretchen Morgenson, How Big Money Bought Our Democ­racy, Cor­rupted Both Par­ties, and Set Us Up for Another Finan­cial Crisis

 

 

 

Billionaire Koch Brothers Spending Millions To Deny Health Coverage To Low-Income Americans 

The Koch Brothers’ “Samson Option”

Some People Are Making Big Bucks Sabotaging Obamacare

Crony cap­i­tal­ism is about the aggres­sive and proac­tive use of polit­i­cal resources, lob­by­ing, cam­paign con­tri­bu­tions, influence-peddling of one type or another to gain some­thing from the gov­ern­men­tal process that wouldn’t oth­er­wise be achiev­able in the mar­ket…Money dom­i­nates pol­i­tics. As a result we have nei­ther cap­i­tal­ism nor democ­racy. We have crony cap­i­tal­ism.” David Stock­man, for­mer bud­get direc­tor for Pres­i­dent Reagan

 

O Little Town of Washington by Michael Winship, Bill Moyers.com, August 23, 2013

When Election Regulators Are Mocked By THE EDITORIAL BOARD, New York Times, April 13, 2013

Plutocracy, Paralysis, Perplexity by Paul Krugman, New York Times, posted on CommonDreams.org, May 4, 2012 — …money buys power, and the increasing wealth of a tiny minority has effectively bought the allegiance of one of our two major political parties, in the process destroying any prospect for cooperation…the Republican Party is dominated by doctrines formerly on the political fringe…the real structural problem is in our political system, which has been warped and paralyzed by the power of a small, wealthy minority. And the key to economic recovery lies in finding a way to get past that minority’s malign influence…

How the Gun Industry Made a Fortune Stoking Fears That Obama Would Take People’s Guns & Ammo

America’s Duopoly of Money in Politics and Manipulation of Public Opinion

How Big Money Bought Our Democracy, Corrupted Both Parties, and Set Us Up for Another Financial Crisis By Bill Moyers, Moyers & Company, January 22, 2012 – posted on AlterNet.org - “Crony capitalism is about the aggressive and proactive use of political resources, lobbying, campaign contributions, influence-peddling of one type or another to gain something from the governmental process that wouldn’t otherwise be achievable in the market. And as the time has progressed over the last two or three decades, I think it’s gotten much worse. Money dominates politics.” Those are the words of [David Stockman] former budget director for President Reagan…“As a result,” Stockman says, “we have neither capitalism nor democracy. We have crony capitalism.” Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times business and finance reporter Gretchen Morgenson: “You and I don’t have a lobbyist and so we are not represented in this melee. There is no balance here. There’s a drastic imbalance between the people who created the problem and the people who had to pay the problem and it has not been addressed.”

What Shel­don Adel­son Wants — Editorial

Republicans and the Gun Lobby – Editorial, New York Times, April 13, 2012 April 13, 2012

Big Media Is Raking in Billions on Political Ads By Bill Moyers and Michael Winship, Alternet.org,  March 30, 2012

The Big Money Behind State Laws, Editorial, New York Times, February 12, 2012

A Bitter, Losing Fight Against the Power of Money by Rupert Cornwell, Independent/UK, December 5, 2010  - …amid the turbulent craziness of American politics, there is one constant: money rules….
It is the very rich who have done best out of those cuts pushed through by George Bush in 2001. Indeed, real take-home pay has stagnated for most people over that period, while the poor have, if anything, got poorer…
Republicans, however, are adamant; the cuts (which lowered the top rate of income tax from 39 per cent to 35 per cent) must be extended for the rich and super-rich too. Do otherwise, they challenge Democrats, and you will be forever branded the party that raises taxes. In US politics, there is no deadlier accusation…the fundamental law of American politics: money rules.

How the GOP Became the Party of the Rich by Tim Dickinson, Rolling Stone, November 24, 2011

ALEC: Facilitating Corporate Influence Behind Closed Doors  by Mary Bottari, PR Watch, August 15, 2011 – Through the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), corporations pay to bring state legislators to one place, sit them down for a sales pitch on policies that benefit the corporate bottom line, then push “model bills” for legislators to make law in their states. Corporations also vote behind closed doors alongside politicians on this wishlist legislation through ALEC task forces. Notably absent were the real people who would actually be affected by many of those bills and policies. With legislators concentrated in one city, lobbyists descend on the conference to wine-and-dine elected officials after-hours…ALEC’s power lies not only in generating corporate-sponsored “model bills” for state legislators to make law, but that it facilitates multiple levels of influence-peddling. ALEC itself has a $7 million budget and 32 staffers. In addition to this budget, ALEC technically acts as an intermediary for about a million dollars in travel “scholarships” that pay for many legislators’ trips to ALEC meetings…ALEC spokeswoman Raegan Weber notes that a piece of model legislation passed by the task force still must be approved by the 22-person Board of Directors, all of whom are legislators (and all of whom are Republicans.) Nothing that the legislative board votes on, however, gets to the board unless the corporate wing of each task force has voted in favor of it. The ALECexposed.org site launched by the Center for Media and Democracy in July demonstrates that over 800 bills and resolutions voted for by corporations have been ratified by the ALEC legislators selected for its board…

Koch-backed political coalition, designed to shield donors, raised $400 million in 2012