FROM Sheila Krumholz
The American Legislative Exchange Council: Who Is ALEC? When George Zimmerman admitted killing Trayvon Martin but he was not arrested, Florida's " Stand Your Ground " law became a household word. Then it turned out that 24 other states had similar laws. How did that happen? The answer is the American Legislative Exchange Council . We hear the pros and cons of the group called ALEC.
A New Look at the Sausage Factory Where Laws Are Made The Trayvon Martin killing has sparked a national firestorm over Florida's " Stand Your Ground " law. Now it turns out that 24 other states have similar laws because of a little known group called the American Legislative Exchange Council. " ALEC " brought state legislators from around the country together with lobbyists for the NRA to agree that Florida's law would become a model for other states. What other measures has ALEC originated? Is it democracy in action, or a way to enact special interest legislation without public scrutiny? Note: ALEC declined our invitation to participate in this program.
The Convention at the Grassroots In today's Reporter's Notebook, we look at two less examined aspects of the convention. Presidential campaigns are governed by limits on financial contributions, but when it comes to party conventions, the story is very different. Corporations and labor unions can write checks for millions of dollars right out of their treasuries, and the money is tax deductible. That's according to Sheila Krumholz of the nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics. In Los Angeles eight years ago, an appearance by Rage Against the Machine led to violence, tear gas and multiple arrests outside Staples Center, where the Democrats were in convention. Today, that same rock-protest band is performing in the Denver Coliseum, far across town from the Pepsi Center. In the 1960's Todd Gitlin, now professor of journalism at Columbia University, led protests against the Vietnam War. He was in Chicago for the infamous police riot at the Democratic convention of 1968.
Trump's ethical conflicts pile up as transparency diminishes President Trump's refusal to reveal his income tax returns is just one example of a lack of transparency that could be hiding conflicts of interest. Other conflicts are already obvious from his appointments. And he's being sued for using his job to increase his profits.
Truth and Lies in Trumpland Donald Trump is using mis-information like no President has before him. It's an unprecedented challenge to the news media, and a potential threat to democracy. We hear how the "leader of all the people" is dividing Americans and confusing the rest of the world.
Why Don't Facts Matter? "Fake News" may have a long history, but social media and 21st Century politics have brought it front and center. One reason for its appeal and its power is the tendency of so many people to cling to their beliefs — even when confronted with contradictory evidence. Today, another look at the Emotional States of America.