Archive for corporate b.s.

First evidence that ALEC effort to rebrand as being legislator-driven is “sham”

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ALEC general

ALEC is a topic I write about often. Allow me to refresh your memory:

ALEC  (American Legislative Exchange Council) is an organization of state legislators which favors federalism and conservative public policy solutions. They literally write legislation for Republican Congress members, who then do whatever they can to pass it. The Nation:

Of all the Kochs’ investments in right-wing organizations, ALEC provides some of the best returns: it gives the Kochs a way to make their brand of free-market fundamentalism legally binding.

Now that you have some background, here is some good reporting by Madison.com that should hopefully inspire you to vote (Koch-owned) Republicans out in November and get others to do the same. It involves Wisconsin Sen. Leah Vukmir, R-Wauwatosa who "voted on a policy allowing only lawmakers, and not lobbyists, to introduce model bills":

At the same meeting, she sponsored a model bill under the direction of a lobbying group, according to documents released Thursday following an open records lawsuit that cost state taxpayers $15,000 to settle.

Brendan Fischer, a lawyer for the liberal Center for Media and Democracy, which filed the lawsuit, said the more than 100 pages of documents provide the first evidence that an effort by the American Legislative Exchange Council to rebrand itself as being legislator-driven is “just a sham.”

“This demonstrates that ALEC is really a lobbyist-driven organization,” Fischer said. “The lobbyists are the ones calling the shots. The legislators are just following along.”

That's what we in the bloggy biz call a big oopsie. And it's about time someone went very public about how legislators are nothing more than puppets with people like the Koch brothers pulling the strings. I mean other than Harry Reid:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

In one email, Christie Herrera, vice president of policy for the Florida-based Foundation for Government Accountability, a conservative think tank with a registered lobbyist, wrote to Vukmir and three other legislators from other states thanking them for sponsoring a resolution opposing the expansion of state Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act and coaching them on what to say.

More details here.

Kochtopus

Speaking of legal issues, here are a couple of good Progressive lawyers, should you ever need one: Barry Scheck and Seth Price. We have a complete list of those we like to occasionally recommend at the bottom of our right sidebar.

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Warren: "Soon you'll have a Supreme Court that is a wholly owned subsidiary of big business."

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supreme court justices corporate

Senator Elizabeth Warren is worried about our very corporate Supreme Court. She's worried that they will rule in favor of Hobby Lobby, just as they decided in favor of Citizens United. And that decision has been a disaster.

To quote one of my favorite analysts, Dahlia Lithwick at Slate, SCOTUS will rule on "whether the religious rights of a for-profit corporate entity allow it to refuse to provide for employees insurance that would include certain forms of birth control. In so doing, the court may now be forced to reckon with the question of whether the same corporate personhood that includes the right to free speech also encompasses rights to religious conscience. In other words, Corporate Personhood is back! And this time, it’s got God on its side."

Case by case, this Supreme Court is, indeed, out to legalize corporate personhood.  Conservative extremists have spent decades shaking their political pom poms to cheer zygote personhood.  What next, hypocrisy personhood? But when it comes to actual people personhood, American citizen personhood, voting rights personhood, women's and gay rights personhood, they scurry off to Faux ChristianLand where Fox News [sic] feeds them their next "my belief system trumps reality" talking points.

And now these same zealots are (incredibly) being given credibility by the highest court in the U.S.A.

The following email from Senator Warren landed in my inbox today. As is made painfully obvious by K.C. Boyd's weekly "Upchucks" guest posts here at TPC, the separation of church and state is narrowing daily. This growing trend is serious and is endangering our dwindling democracy. We need to organize our voices and protest immediately, loudly, clearly, and constantly.

Bolding is mine:

Laffy,

Hobby Lobby doesn't want to cover its employees' birth control on company insurance plans. In fact, they're so outraged about women having access to birth control that they've taken the issue all the way to the Supreme Court.

I cannot believe that we live in a world where we would even consider letting some big corporation deny the women who work for it access to the basic medical tests, treatments or prescriptions that they need based on vague moral objections.

But here's the scary thing: With the judges we've got on the Supreme Court, Hobby Lobby might actually win.

The current Supreme Court has headed in a very scary direction.

Recently, three well-respected legal scholars examined almost 20,000 Supreme Court cases from the last 65 years. They found that the five conservative justices currently sitting on the Supreme Court are in the top 10 most pro-corporate justices in more than half a century.

And Justices Samuel Alito and John Roberts? They were number one and number two.

Take a look at the win rate of the national Chamber of Commerce cases before the Supreme Court. According to the Constitutional Accountability Center, the Chamber was winning 43% of the cases in participated in during the later years of the Burger Court, but that shifted to a 56% win-rate under the Rehnquist Court, and then a 70% win-rate with the Roberts Court.

Follow these pro-corporate trends to their logical conclusion, and pretty soon you'll have a Supreme Court that is a wholly owned subsidiary of big business.

Birth control is at risk in today's case, but we also need to worry about a lot more.

In Citizens United, the Supreme Court unleashed a wave of corporate spending to game the political system and drown the voices of middle class families.

And right now, the Supreme Court is considering McCutcheon v. FEC, a case that could mean the end of campaign contribution limits – allowing the big guys to buy even more influence in Washington.

Republicans may prefer a rigged court that gives their corporate friends and their armies of lawyers and lobbyists every advantage. But that's not the job of judges. Judges don't sit on the bench to hand out favors to their political friends.

On days like today, it matters who is sitting on the Supreme Court. It matters that we have a President who appoints fair and impartial judges to our courts, and it matters that we have a Senate who approves them.

We're in this fight because we believe that we don't run this country for corporations – we run it for people.

Thank you for being a part of this,

Elizabeth

scotus supreme court koch smaller

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Facebook doesn't feel that blatant death threats to Pres. Obama violate their "Community Standards"

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are you kidding me

Yesterday I wrote this up: Please report this Facebook page: "We now have authority to shoot Obama, i.e., to kill him." Here are a few excerpts from that page:

We now have authority to shoot Obama, i.e., to kill him.

The authority to kill Obama comes from the 2nd Amendment of our Constitution.

I would be very surprised, if Obama does not leave Washington DC today (Nov. 19th) ...never to return, if he is not dead within the month.

Open Group   3,755 members

U.P.R.O.A.R. (United Patriots to Restore Our American Republic) is dedicated to empowering our members to TAKE ACTION to RESTORE America to a Constitutional Republic as intended by the ORIGINAL INTENT of the Constitution of the United States of America. The Declaration Of Independence enlightens us to the TRUTH that it is the DUTY of EVERY CITIZEN to throw off the bonds of tyranny and to institute a government that will protect our rights. Inherent in that duty is the responsibility to be EDUCATED citizens that know our rights and understand that in order to ensure the continuation of Liberty Patriots WILL be called on from time to time to do UGLY things to SECURE those rights to the people, where they belong.

Please go to that page and report it, because, despite Facebook's apparent apathy, if enough people show them we're paying attention, maybe that message will eventually get through their thick, corporate, who cares what you guys think skulls.

Here is the response many of us got from Team FacePalmBook today:

Support Dashboard

Here you'll find the status of content you've reported, inquiries or requests you've made, or your content that someone else reported.

We'll let you know if we need any information from you or when we've made a decision.

History:

You reported United Patriots to Restore Our American Republic (UPROAR) for containing credible threat of violence.

Status This group wasn't removed
Details Thank you for taking the time to report something that you feel may violate our Community Standards. Reports like yours are an important part of making Facebook a safe and welcoming environment. We reviewed the group you reported for containing credible threat of violence and found it doesn't violate our Community Standards.Note: If you have an issue with something in the group, be sure to report the content (ex: a photo), not the entire group. That way, your report will be more accurately reviewed.We understand you still may not want to see this group. Here are a few things you can do:
Report Date Yesterday
Owner
Reason Credible Threat of Violence

Give Feedback

Needless to say, I gave them feedback. I reminded them that credible threats to the President of the United States should be taken seriously, and that their security standards are exceedingly low.

I also informed them that in the past 24 hours since I tweeted about this vile site, a huge number of people felt it violated Facebook's (and America's) "Community Standards" so severely that they contacted the Secret Service and the FBI.

This is but one more reason why I detest Facebook and only use it when I must.

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Climate Deniers Threaten the Lives of Our Children

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climate change children

Your Daily Dose of BuzzFlash at Truthout, via my pal Mark Karlin:

As BuzzFlash reported on September 13, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)...  is widely expected to issue a stern report about the dangers of ignoring human-caused climate change. [...]

But, as an article in the Guardian UK reports, it is the children of the planet who are going to suffer the most as a result of the current placation of global industry in regards to reversing global warming:

Children will bear the brunt of the impact of climate change because of their increased risk of health problems, malnutrition and migration, according to a new study published on Monday. And food prices are likely to soar as a result of warming, undoing the progress made in combating world hunger.... [...]

Unicef estimates that 25 million more children will suffer malnourishment because of climate change, with a further 100 million suffering food insecurity, where they and their families are on the verge of running out.... [B]abies and small children are more likely to die or suffer heatstroke because they find it difficult to regulate their body heat. [...]

UNICEF argues that, although children are more vulnerable to the effects of global warming, they have been largely left out of the debate. [...]

Many of them will be, in the not distant future, collateral damage to the profit margins of corporations who recklessly and criminally endanger future generations.

Please read the entire post here.

climate change Jack and Jill

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Part 2: How Facebook makes it impossible to prove you are who you say you are

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are you kidding me

Yesterday I posted "Facebook continues to take my money as it denies me service and customer support."

The good news and the bad news: I can finally access my account again. (I'm seriously trying to wean off of Facebook and rely more on Google Plus and, of course, Twitter.)

But I have a rather remarkable update that was just brought to my attention.

First, it's important to recap part of my excruciatingly frustrating experience of being locked out of my own account. They told me I was forced to prove who I was because I'm using a "stage name," and they had to decide if they were cool with that. I was led to believe they will accept my user name, Gotta L. Aff, but meantime, I had to jump through a few impossible hoops to get back in, including having to identify at least 3 “friends” from Facebook out of five sets of three images each presented to me.

The photos appeared to be from each user’s photo collection. Someone, anyone, please tell me how to I.D. someone under these circumstances:

1. I have 2000 or so “friends,” most of whom I don’t know by name, nor could I possibly remember them; most are Twitter pals who connected with me on Facebook, so I know them by their Twitter handles. ...  By the way, when I finally did remember 3 names, up came a message telling me I took too long to respond, so time to start all over again with new sets of fuzzy photos.

2. The images that were sent to me included a set of three news photos of President Obama, several cartoons, and a couple of funny meme images.

3. Other photos were grainy images of family vacations, gatherings, parties, action shots that nobody would be able to I.D. Here’s one of the five “challenges” they sent. Challenges indeed.

fb ID smaller

4. Each photo in the set of three was a different person. Three different people. Who was I supposed to I.D.?

I happened to send a link to my story to one of my twins. He called me just now.

Are you ready?

That screen grab above? The one of many that I just happened to capture? My son informed me that it is from his Facebook page.

Yes, that one is from my own son's page. There was no way I could identify the people in his personal photos, but the point is, they are not him. It is his name I'd have to enter, not theirs.

See the choice in the middle? The young woman who would seem the obvious person to I.D.? Newsflash, Facebook: That's not my son.

So Facebook's prerequisite for entering my own page was to prove I know every one of my nearly 2,000 "friends" by name. And then figure out that someone I did not know is a pal of one of my children featured in one of his photo albums, a person I could not possibly recognize, who is not him.

And because I didn't know a person whom I never met, who is part of my son's life but not mine, and because I should have known it was my son's page and his name that I was supposed to enter, I was not given permission by Facebook to access my own page.

Please note, many of our readers rely on Facebook to get TPC news stories and commentary from my personal account, plus I cannot be an administrator on our TPC Facebook page unless I have an account. So my ability to sign in is pretty crucial to what we do here.

Feel free to share this post. I'd like more people to know what they're up against.

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Facebook continues to take my money as it denies me service and customer support

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unfriended

I realize this is one of those long, talky posts but please bear with me; this has consumed most of my time and energy since early yesterday.

As many of you know, I cannot use my real name online any more. I had a stalker a while ago that came way too close, going so far as to send me a Google Map of my neighborhood. Since then, I only use the name GottaLaff on the radio shows I do, in my writing, in every venue, on Twitter, everywhere. I've also done what I can to scrub my real name on old accounts, and requested that my friends refrain from using my real name on Facebook, Twitter, or any other public site.

I take all threats very seriously, and I know for a fact that many on the right have it out for me and have threatened to hack and/or try to steal my identity. One "liberal" who has harassed me for years has also threatened to hack our site in order to disable it. As a result, I bend over backwards to stay as anonymous as possible.

My Facebook name is Gotta L. Aff. Yesterday I was refused access to my account unless I jumped through impossible hoops. (I'm guessing one of two things happened: Either trolls massively accused me of having a fake account or suddenly FB didn't like my user name.)

Those hoops included reproducing a Captcha word, which I did correctly at least ten different times. Why so many? Because each time I did that, a message popped up saying it was an incorrect match. Wrong.

I rebooted, and finally Captcha worked. The next hoop was to identify at least 3 "friends" from Facebook out of five sets of three images each presented to me. The photos appeared to be from each user's photo collection. Someone, anyone, please tell me how to I.D. a friend when:

1. I have 2000 or so "friends," most of whom I don't know by name, nor could I possibly remember their names; most are Twitter pals who connected with me on Facebook, so I know them by their Twitter handles. I don't use Facebook to socialize, only to answer comments on posts, rarely to chat, and very rarely communicate with family in emergencies. So remembering or identifying people who follow me/I follow is laughable. By the way, when I finally did remember 3 names, up came a message telling me I took too long to respond, so time to start all over again with new sets of fuzzy photos.

2. The images that were sent to me included a set of three news photos of President Obama, several cartoons, and a couple of pics similar to this one:

laughing knee slapper cat

How's that for laughable?

3. Other photos were grainy images of family vacations, gatherings, parties, action shots that nobody would be able to I.D. Here's one of the five "challenges" they sent. Challenges indeed. I wish I'd screen-grabbed the others, but by the time I thought of it and finally remembered one of the names I'd forgotten, they switched to different photo sets:

fb ID smaller

4. Each photo in the set of three was a different person. Three different people. Who was I supposed to I.D.?

So yes, someone, anyone, please tell me how to I.D. a friend when those are the options Facebook gives you.

Did I mention I faithfully use Facebook all day, every day to share The Political Carnival posts, that many of our readers depend on those, and, oh yes, that I pay money daily for ad promos for our The Political Carnival page? I've spent hundreds of dollars of my own money to expand our readership.

Facebook has no customer service to speak of. I tried to fill out a form to appeal, but a window popped up saying I couldn't do that because that option was only for suspended accounts and mine was still active. There were no "contact us" links.

So I tweeted Facebook repeatedly, and my Twitter friends piled on. No reply.

Finally one of my best Twitter friends connected me with a contact in the "product" department who said he'd forward my complaint to "support" [sic]. That was yesterday. I haven't heard back yet, and I still can't get on.

I changed my password in case I was hacked, but now I can't do that again either, even though Facebook insists repeatedly that I do it again. It won't go through nor will Facebook accept the temporary numerical password they emailed me.

Whether this is about Facebook's ineptitude and deplorable customer service practices or whether my account was hacked, the point remains the same: I am a "paying" customer who is getting no response from Facebook and no access to my account nor a service representative who can help clear this up.

We should be able to have direct customer service contact considering everything I've mentioned here. Yet they still take my money, but refuse me entrance and the courtesy of any kind of assistance.

To those of you who wonder why I still have an account there, I say this: I'd love to delete mine, but I need it to access a number of Progressive groups as well as people I can't reach in any other social media outlet. And I need to access our TPC page, since I'm an administrator.

Once I figure out how to get around all that, I will gladly end my "friendship" with Facebook, because if this is how they treat their "friends," who needs enemies?

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Group finds that ALEC falsified signatures on "stand your ground" letter to Sen. Dick Durbin

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alec

We've posted about ALEC a lot here at TPC. For example:

ALEC  (American Legislative Exchange Council) is an organization of state legislators which favors federalism and conservative public policy solutions. They literally write legislation for Republican Congress members, who then do whatever they can to pass it. The Nation:

Of all the Kochs’ investments in right-wing organizations, ALEC provides some of the best returns: it gives the Kochs a way to make their brand of free-market fundamentalism legally binding.

And as ALEC Exposed explains:

ALEC bills would privatize public education, crush teacher’s unions, and push American universities to the right. Among other things, these bills make education a private commodity rather than a public good, and reverse America’s modern innovation of promoting learning and civic virtue through public schools staffed with professional teachers for children from all backgrounds.

Now we have this, via Think Progress:

This week, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) sent Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) a letter that claimed the Senator’s investigation into ALEC’s involvement “Stand Your Ground” laws was a form of “intimidation.” The letter was supposed to have carried the clout of about 300 state legislators who signed onto it, but, according to an investigation by progressive group by ProgressNow, many of the signatures on that letter were falsified or duplicated. [...]

The group said it was signed by 293 elected officials. But, ProgressNow found, 55 of the signatures are “blatantly invalid.”

ALEC itself is "blatantly invalid," yet it still dictates legislation on behalf of Corporate America. Let's hope this tarnishes ALEC's image and helps more people to become aware of how they operate, eventually leading to its undoing.

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