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Velderman Manages to Write About ALEC Without Using the Word “Lobbyist”

EAG’s Ben Velderman recently posted a defense of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), blaming “government school apologists” and “other leftists” for crediting ALEC for the national rash of anti-union and anti-public school legislation. Velderman uses “private sector leaders” to describe the over 300 major corporate lobbyists who, together with conservative think tank staffers, write legislation that is introduced in state legislatures over 1,000 times every year. Legislation that is written by and designed to benefit its corporate sponsors.

ALEC produces model bills written to improve profits in a long list of markets. The bills:

Weaken environmental regulations and deny climate change;

Support school privatization;

Undercut health care reform;

De-fund unions and limit their political influence;

Restrain legislatures’ abilities to raise revenue through taxes;

Disenfranchise voters;

Increase incarceration to benefit the private prison industry;

Weaken gun laws.alec-rtw-language

ALEC came into the national spotlight when a Stand Your Ground law, written by the NRA and sold to Florida legislators by ALEC, resulted in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in 2012.

ALEC was established in 1973 after the success of the Heritage Foundation and its impact on national policy making. Among those who were involved with ALEC in its formative years were Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin, John Engler of Michigan, Terry Branstad of Iowa, and John Kasich of Ohio.

In fact, the Michigan Right to Work bill is taken from the ALEC model. That model language was written by Michigan’s Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a conservative think tank located in Midland, Michigan.

Velderman assures us all that there’s nothing wrong with this: “If an individual lawmaker chooses to introduce one of ALEC’s “model” bills in the state legislature, the bill still has to go through the entire legislative process – just like any piece of legislation – where it is subjected to numerous votes and revisions.”

Writing from Muskegon, Michigan, Velderman no doubt was paying attention when none of this happened in December 2012, when the Mackinac Center/ALEC Right to Work law was enacted in 5 days without a single public hearing or committee vote.

Kyle Olson, School Reformer, on Cow Farts

It hard, some days, to think of a way to take a shot at teachers unions and public schools, but Olson recently made a unusually thin complaint, even for him.

Kyle Olson Education Action Group Foundation EAGTruth

Complaining that too many schools have instituted meatless Mondays, Olson recently co-posted on the Breitbart Big Government site and the ultra Republican Townhall.com that these events are part of a campaign to get HIV tests and condoms on Mondays. Not that these campaigns are actually related in any way to school vegetarian days, they both take place on Mondays, and that’s enough for Olson.

But what’s the agenda? Less cholesterol? Fewer fatsos? Perhaps, but a “K-12 Tool Kit” lists several other benefits of “Meatless Mondays,” including:

Reduce carbon footprint: The UN estimates the meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that accelerate climate change.

Outrageous! The UN! Again the problem is that this tool kit comes from the Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health and its battle against obesity; it doesn’t come from any of the schools Olson complains about.
But then this kind of paranoid conspiracy theory is what BigGovernment readers want. As one of Olson’s fans writes:

Meatless Monday is intended to facilitate the indoctrination of our children and their parents into acceptance of  U.N. Agenda 21.  Meatless Monday is just a tiny piece of a HUGE Global Agenda of Eugenics, Earth Worship, and Utopian-ism.

And Olson still sells EAG as ” a non-partisan non-profit organization … promoting sensible education reform …”

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Kyle Olson Venarates Andrew Breitbart

EAG recently launched its 1st Annual Andrew Breitbart Memorial Essay Contest, a “patriotic essay contest” for K-12 children by offering $500 to kids entitled “What Does American Mean to You?” because EAG considers the  deceased Breitbart a near saint for his success working the press.

Kyle Olson Education action group foundation EAGNews

Olson on Fox News complaining about politics in the school house.

His best known success involved the ACORN pimp videos, where Breitbart protégé James O’Keefe posed as a pimp that got financing advice from ACORN staffers.  It turned out the whole thing was a hoax:

But it was all a hoax. And for weeks now, ever since the trick was highlighted by blogger Brad Friedman, Breitbart has been wrestling with the glaring contradiction and struggling to explain his own role in the hoax.

Even more troubling is Brietbart’s doctoring of a video of USDA official Shilley Sherrod, painting her falsely as a racist:

Conservatives including David Frum and Ann Coulter have acknowledged that the video Breitbart posted is a fraud. But Frum, a former speechwriter in the Bush White House, wrote that he has seen this act too many times to expect Breitbart to apologize for “distributing a doctored tape to defame and destroy someone.”

Sherrod was fired. Her defamation lawsuit against Brietbart continues.

So naturally Kyle Olson wants to paint the godfather of press manipulation as a saint by equating him with great Americans. He is actually reserving a $500 prize for 100 word essays written by kids between kindergarten and the 5th grade, even though he has long invoked the evils of the political manipulation of our youth. In fact, he wrote the book on it.

Olson wrote the book on political manupulatin of school kids

Olson wrote the book on non-conservative manipulation

One blogger was so offended by the contradiction, he encouraged protest entries. Penn State Altoona professor Dr. Timothy Slekar, who maintains @ The Chalk Face, suggested his readers write submissions that reflect the real Breitbart rather than the revisionist history version.

EAG reacted in its usual fashion by attacking the man rather than the argument. Not being able to defend Breitbart, they attacked the critic:

Slekar is yet another radical professor who despises everything that the patriotic Breitbart stood for…Leave it to radical leftists to try to hijack a children’s essay contest and subvert an opportunity for students to tell why they value America. Can’t these desperately unhappy misfits just leave kids alone?

Agreed. Lets just leave the kids alone.

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Chicago Parents and Kyle’s Breitbart Connection

Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel  recently agreed to sit for a EAGNews interview, which was used in a YouTube video  narrated by Fox News’ Juan Williams. Williams described the Chicago teacher’s union as ““radically politicized” and “repeatedly providing terrible examples for Chicago’s schoolchildren.

The reaction was immediate and negative, leading Emanuel to issue a press release stating that he didn’t share those views of the union, but the controversy of a sitting major of a major city aligning himself with a right wing union-bashing out-of-state group continued.

An organization of concerned parents, Parents 4 Teachers formed as a result. Founder Erica Clark, said:

“We’re upset with all the teacher-bashing that’s so fashionable today,” said Erica Clark of Parents For Teachers.  “It’s a complete distraction from the real issues facing our schools.”

“If you listen to the rhetoric of so-called school reform, you would think there are no good teachers in the system,” she said.  “But if you talk to parents – if you look at the data CPS collects in the surveys where parents rate schools and teachers – there’s a lot of support for teachers.

In the video, Williams  refers to Chicago charter schools as a “Chicago miracle” and a solution to poorly performing public schools, although state achievement test data released last year showed charters schools performed nearly the same as neighborhood schools. Chicago charter schools are not unionized.

The Truthout news report took the time to do some research on EAG before filing its story and reported that:

EAG’s leader, Kyle Olson, blogs on the Big Government website of journalist-provocateur Andrew Breitbart, whose exploits include doctoring video to make U.S. Department of Agriculture official Shirley Sherrod look like she was fomenting racial division.

Two years ago Olson was forced to apologize after he was exposed for videotaping an interview with Frances Fox Piven, the activist academic who was a frequent target of Glen Beck, under false pretenses.

Context means everything.

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