Exposing ALEC in Pennsylvania
Scales of Justice

Alec Baldwin is a star of the large and small screens. He is good and funny. ALEC, on the other hand, is no laughing matter. And there is nothing good about ALEC, unless you’re one of the big companies that funds its work and benefits from its efforts to curtail individual rights.

Most of us knew nothing about ALEC – the American Legislative Exchange Council – until the Trayvon Martin controversy. ALEC led the way in Florida (and other states) lobbying for passing a Stand Your Ground law, which is now the basis for George Zimmerman’s defense against charges he shot shot dead an unarmed teenager.

If you don’t know much about ALEC, you should and a good place to start is a new report, issued earlier this month by the group Take Back Our Courts, a project of the Pennsylvania-based Keystone Progress. The report, “Justice Denied in Pennsylvania,” examines ALEC’s background and its agenda as well as its influence on Pennsylvania legislators. http://takingbackourcourts.org/justice-denied-in-pennsylvania/

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Monsanto Goes to College — And Buys the Professor, the Student Center . . .
College Campus

If you need a science expert to support your cause and you have unlimited cash, what better way to find an expert you can trust than to buy the university where the scientist works?

When it comes to food and agricultural policy, it is hard to know which raging debate burns hotter. Ballot initiatives and grass-roots campaigns in several states, including California, would require labeling on food products containing genetically modified components. Food products falsely claiming to be “natural” or to have health benefits face challenges in court. Policymakers receive more intense scrutiny over the way millions and millions of dollars are spent in subsidies and tax breaks for industrial agribusinesses.

When the media or litigators or regulators tackle one of these issues, they will look for experts in the agricultural “field” of interest, so to speak. That is where the rights and interests of consumers are vulnerable.

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