Tag Archives: ALEC

‘Alarming’: ALEC’s New Model Bill Would Penalize Banks for Divesting From Fossil Fuels

One critic called the proposal, which describes green investment policies as a form of “energy discrimination,” a “desperate attempt by fossil fuel companies and their lobbyists to maintain their profits.”

By Kenny Stancil. Published 12-8-2021 by Common Dreams

Marathon Petroleum’s Los Angeles Refinery in Carson, California, Photo: Marathon Petroleum

Progressives are sounding the alarm about a recently launched right-wing campaign that seeks to preempt green investment policies throughout the United States by portraying the financial sector’s potential turn toward clean energy as discriminatory—and introducing legislation that would punish banks and asset managers for divesting from fossil fuels.

The Koch-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which consistently pumps out reactionary bills mostly for state-level Republicans, held its States and Nation Policy Summit last week in San Diego. Continue reading

Share Button

Koch Network Infiltration of Public Schools ‘Harms Students, Teachers, and Our Democracy’: Report

“In their assault on public education, the network has taken actions to increasingly privatize and corporatize K-12 institutions.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 8-11-2021

Photo: Ted Eylan/Wikimedia Commons/CC

A new report published Wednesday reveals how the Koch network—a shadowy group of wealthy capitalists acting to push the U.S. in a more conservative direction—is methodically working to undermine and privatize public education for financial gain.

The report (pdf), entitled The Koch Network and the Capture of K-12 Education, was compiled by the advocacy groups UnKoch My Campus and Save Our Schools Arizona (SOSAZ) and examines tactics employed by the plutocrats’ cabal—which is led by billionaire Charles Koch, and whose members pay at least $100,000 per year—”to destabilize and abolish public education.” Continue reading

Share Button

Could the Next Standing Rock Be Brewing in Northern Minnesota?

The tension is palpable in northern Minnesota where a Native-led protest movement is getting ready to square off with Enbridge over the massive Line 3 oil pipeline being built to carry crude from Canada to the Great Lakes.

By Alan Macleod  Published 12-22-2020 by MintPress News

Water Protectors in Palisades, MN on December 14, 2020. Photo: Marian Moore/MN350/Facebook

Despite sub-zero winter temperatures, a conflict over a controversial new pipeline is threatening to boil over in rural Minnesota, turning it into the next Standing Rock. 22 people were arrested last week during protests in Aitkin County, around 120 miles north of Minneapolis, for trespassing against the construction of the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline. The pipeline project would carry more than 750,000 barrels of fracked Alberta tar sand oil through the United States.

Activists from environmental and indigenous groups are braving the snow to form a barrier to the construction of a pipeline that will traverse the Mississippi and pass through a number of delicate ecosystems, threatening many of the state’s famous rivers and lakes. Continue reading

Share Button

Report Exposes Right-Wing Effort to Ban Criticism of Israel in US Schools

“Fanatical Zionists are pushing U.S. state legislatures to pass sweeping new restrictions on free speech.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-17-2019

Concerns about state-level legislation outlawing anti-Semitism in U.S. public schools relate to a wide definition of anti-Semitism that goes beyond protecting Jewish people from hate speech. (Image: Shutterstock)

Human rights and free speech advocates responded with alarm Thursday to a Guardian report revealing that pro-Israel and right-wing lobbyists are encouraging Republican state lawmakers to pass legislation that could outlaw discussions about the Israeli government’s human rights abuses and occupation of Palestinian territory at all levels of the U.S. public education system under the guise of fighting anti-Semitism.

Concerns about the legislation relate to its wide definition of anti-Semitism that goes beyond protecting Jewish people from hate speech. According to The Guardian: Continue reading

Share Button

Convicts are returning to farming – anti-immigrant policies are the reason

Migrant agricultural workers kept out of the US by tough immigration laws are now being replaced by prison labor. Shutterstock

Stian Rice, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Prison inmates are picking fruits and vegetables at a rate not seen since Jim Crow.

Convict leasing for agriculture – a system that allows states to sell prison labor to private farms – became infamous in the late 1800s for the brutal conditions it imposed on captive, mostly black workers.

Federal and state laws prohibited convict leasing for most of the 20th century, but the once-notorious practice is making a comeback. Continue reading

Share Button

Anti-Pipeline Kayaktivists Hit With Felony Charges Under Louisiana’s New ALEC-Inspired Law That Criminalizes Protest

Activists battling the pipeline project say the fossil fuel company’s private security “abducted” the kayakers before they were charged by police

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-12-2018

Three kayaktivists who oppose the Bayou Bridge Pipeline in Louisiana were charged with felonies Thursday under a new state law that criminalizes peaceful protests of fossil fuel projects. (Photo: L’eau Est La Vie/Facebook)

Three kayaktivists who oppose construction of the Bayou Bridge Pipeline—the tail end of Energy Transfer Partners’ Dakota Access Pipeline—are reportedly the first people to be charged with felonies under a new Louisiana law that, like a model bill crafted by the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), criminalizes peaceful protests of fossil fuel projects.

The collective of activists fighting against the pipeline—who have created the L’eau Est La Vie (Water Is Life) floating resistance camp—said on Twitter Thursday that three kayakers were “abducted” by the pipeline company’s private security while boating through public waterways, and then arrested. Continue reading

Share Button

Trump’s HHS to enforce religious beliefs over health of US citizens

Screenshot: SNL/NBC

Ever since Donald Trump took office, we’ve been bombarded with news on a daily basis. News that would sink any other administration, or news that just makes you ask “WTF did I just read?”

But, while we’re being distracted by the outlandish behavior and statements of the Pretender in Chief, there’s usually something more sinister that slides somewhat under the radar. A case in point: this announcement published last Thursday on the HHS websiteContinue reading

Share Button

Conservatives Plot Their Course on the Rising ‘Sea of Red’ in State Capitals

Meeting in private, enthused activists promise that the growing Republican dominance in state government will unleash a wave of laws to cut business taxes, restrict unions and expand school privatization.

By Robert Faturechi, Pro Publica. Published 1-7-2017 by Common Dreams

The Kentucky State Capitol. Photo: Seifler (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Shortly after the November election, with the nation’s political attention focused on the Trump transition, an influential advocacy group met outside Washington to discuss how to leverage the extraordinary shift of power to Republicans in the rest of the country.

The American Legislative Exchange Council — a nonprofit better known as ALEC — briefed its members and allied groups on the bright future for its agenda now that Republicans will effectively control 68 of the nation’s 99 state legislative bodies, as well as 33 governor’s mansions. Among other things, group members said they would push bills to reduce corporate taxes, weaken unions, privatize schooling and influence the ideological debate on college campuses. Continue reading

Share Button

Pro-Democracy Group Warns of Secret Right-Wing Push to Rewrite Constitution

‘This is a national train wreck that must be stopped,’ says Common Cause

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-2-2015

"This is total constitutional terra incognita," one reporter said of an Article V convention. (Photo: Kim Davies/flickr/cc)

“This is total constitutional terra incognita,” one reporter said of an Article V convention. (Photo: Kim Davies/flickr/cc)

Under the radar of corporate media and general public, a “dangerous proposal” is bubbling up in state legislatures throughout the country—one that could trigger “political chaos that would make past upheavals like the Watergate scandal and the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton seem tame by comparison.”

So warned the grassroots, pro-democracy group Common Cause on Wednesday, in a new report entitled, The Dangerous Path: Big Money’s Plan to Shred the Constitution (pdf).

The threat comes in the form of a constitutional convention, assembled under Article V of the U.S. Constitution, one of several mechanisms that enables future amendments. Article V requires Congress to call such a gathering once 34 state legislatures submit petitions to do so; new constitutional amendments agreed to at the confab would then be sent back to the states for ratification. Continue reading

Share Button

Shell Cuts Off ALEC, But Greenpeace Says PR Stunt Won’t Save Arctic

Oil giant cuts ties with right-wing lobbying group, still plans to drill for oil in the Arctic

Written by Nadia Prupis, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-7-15.

Activists surround a Shell drilling rig in Seattle as the oil company attempts to move its vessels into the Arctic for a drilling operation. (Photo: Backbone Campaign/flickr/cc)

Activists surround a Shell drilling rig in Seattle as the oil company attempts to move its vessels into the Arctic for a drilling operation. (Photo: Backbone Campaign/flickr/cc)

Royal Dutch Shell on Friday announced that it would not renew its partnership with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), citing the corporate lobbying organization’s continued denial of climate change, in a move that environmental groups say does nothing to absolve the oil giant from its destructive business model.

“ALEC advocates for specific economic growth initiatives, but its stance on climate change is clearly inconsistent with our own,” said Shell spokesperson Curtis Smith on Friday. “We have long recognized both the importance of the climate challenge and the critical role energy has in determining quality of life for people across the world. As part of an ongoing review of memberships and affiliations, we will be letting our association with ALEC lapse when the current contracted term ends early next year.”

For decades, ALEC has pushed against federal efforts encouraging private companies to invest in renewable energy sources. Shell follows BP as the latest oil giant to abandon the controversial right-wing group after a campaign led by the Union of Concerned Scientists. According to the Guardian, the Canadian National Railway—a major coal transporter—also quietly severed its financial ties with ALEC on Friday.

But while the campaign against ALEC helps highlight the group’s role in spreading climate science denial, simply ending partnerships with it is not enough to salvage the fossil fuel industry’s reputation among environmental activists—particularly as Shell continues its controversial mission to drill for oil in pristine Arctic waters.

As Greenpeace spokesperson Travis Nichols said on Friday, “It’s a bad sign for the climate denial movement that ALEC’s rhetoric is too extreme even for a cynical exploitative corporation like Shell. It’s also clear that Shell’s ill-conceived Arctic drilling plan is causing a PR panic, but this move won’t fix Shell’s bad name.”

“It’s completely absurd for Shell to claim it wants to confront climate change while engaging in this destructive plan to drill in the Alaskan Arctic,” Nichols continued.

Charlie Kronick, a senior campaign adviser with Greenpeace, told the Guardian: “Shell is being dragged kicking and screaming out of [ALEC] due to investor and public pressure. But they have a long way to go to bridge the massive gap between the reality of their business plans, most notably their catastrophic plan to drill in the Arctic, their other anti-climate lobbying, and their claimed leadership on climate change.”

Added Nick Surgey, director of research at the Center for Media and Democracy: “It’s obviously a positive step for Shell to stop funding [ALEC] and its climate change denial. Other oil companies should join them. Unfortunately this is another occasion when Shell’s positive language about climate change doesn’t match their actions. Drilling for oil in the Arctic might turn a profit for Shell, but it must be stopped if we want to avoid catastrophic climate change.”

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

Share Button