Florida Senator Durell Peadon, an ALEC member, introduced the law in his state and it passed in early 2005; the NRA was behind the bill and its lobbyist Marion Hammer reportedly "stared down legislators as they voted." After Governor Jeb Bush signed it into law, Hammer presented the bill to ALEC's Criminal Justice Task Force (now known as the Public Safety and Elections Task Force) months later.SourceWatch has a good description of the relationship between ALEC and the National Rifle Association (NRA). For example, an NRA representative was the co-chair of ALEC's Public Safety and Elections Task Force for a number of years. Thousands of people attended a rally in Sanford, Florida last Thursday. Brando from Occupy Sarasota was able to attend and provided this report. Although George Zimmerman has yet to be arrested, there is some movement on the case. The Sanford, Florida police chief has temporarily stepped aside. Governor Rick Scott is convening a task force to study the matter. And, the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice is looking into the case.
March 24, 2012
March 21, 2012
What is the Occupy Movement planning for the Spring?
- Fight BAC! Foreclose the Banks. Instead of letting the bank foreclose on us, we’re going to foreclose on the bank. The first nationwide actions were on March 15. Two subsequent actions are planned for April 15th and May 15th.
- Southeast Regional Convergence (SERCO). Occupiers from the southeastern US and the Caribbean will be gathering March 23-March 25 in Gainesville, Florida. The goals include coordinating on campaigns and actions across region; supporting a culture of resistance, freedom, justice, and mutual aid; and begin scaling up our community efforts as preparation for national and global assemblies; and creating structures of direct democracy over geographic distance. Throughout the Spring, there are state-wide and regional events happening all over the country.
- National Occupation of Washington, DC (NOW DC). People from across the country will gather for an American Spring in Washington, DC. Starting March 30, and continuing for a full month, NOW DC aims to unite occupations in a focused nonviolent campaign to demonstrate to elected officials in Washington, DC, and K Street and corporate interests that the people no longer trust or accept their rule, that a radical transformation to a participatory democracy operating under the rule of law is essential. Check out their calendar for updated schedules.
- May Day General Strike.Occupy organizers across the country have been mobilizing for months toward a one-day general strike in May.
- May Days 2012 in ChicagoOriginally, the G8 and NATO were going to hold simultaneous summits in Chicago this May. Occupy Chicago was ready and willing to host Occupiers from around the country to pull off the biggest occupation of a summit meeting ever. The White House ran for cover and announced their plan to move the G8 summit from Chicago to Camp David.
March 20, 2012
The People's Budget Review kicked off their campaign with a press conference on the steps of City Hall. The assembled group included representatives from the Florida Public Service Union, Sierra Club, League of Women Voters, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Agenda 2010, Council of Neighborhood Associations, and Awake The State. Like the Occupy Movement, this campaign is a return to a more direct form of democracy. So, it was no surprise to see participants from Occupy St. Pete in the crowd. The People's Budget Review is making use of online technology to give thousands of regular folks the chance to tell their city government how they wish to spend their tax dollars. Their sense of historic purpose rings out in their words.
The goal is to gather 10,000 surveys from citizens of all stripes. So many times, citizens respond to their government when they are upset. They show up with complaints. Here is an opportunity to participate in government in a positive way. There will be on-the-street and door-to-door interactions to find 10,000 residents who want to share their opinions about the budget. After the press conference, I walked with a couple of folks canvassing on Central Avenue at lunchtime. They spoke with random people on the street, who were, by and large, all interested in the topic, with the exception of two tourists (beware of mega-street-noise) -
The survey itself is more nuanced than you might think. For example, in addition to raising taxes, there is consideration for tapping into reserves. If you are a St. Petersburg resident, you can fill out the survey here.
March 15, 2012
Paul T and Leslie T comment on F(oreclose) The Banks
Maryellin concludes that, ultimately, the voters should take the lions share of blame for the 2008 sub-prime disaster and the resulting financial meltdown. But, here I have to disagree. The idea that individually, we can use our vote to affect how our representatives vote is idealism, at best. Beyond such idealism, what does the research show? In Economic Inequality and Political Representation, Larry Bartels, of Princeton University, looked at how U.S. senators responded to rich and poor constituents.
In every instance, senators appear to be much more responsive to the opinions of affluent constituents than to the opinions of constituents with modest incomes. On average, my estimates suggest that constituents at the 75th percentile of the income distribution have almost three times as much influence on senators’ general voting patterns as those at the 25th percentile, and several times as much influence on specific salient roll call votes. The preferences of constituents near the top of the income distribution are even more influential, while those in the bottom fifth receive little or no weight, especially from Republican senators.The Occupy Movement has provided a forum for large swaths of the public to express their anger that our elected government representatives are not, in fact, representing us. I would add that our representatives are doing an admirable job representing corporate interests, such as those of Bank of America.