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Who is ALEC?

What is ALEC? Where is ALEC? Vinnie Barbarino from Welcome Back Kotter couldn't ask it any better. Most people haven't heard of ALEC, but if any large group has, I'd expect to find it here. I was introduced to ALEC (A.L.E.C.) back in January, and I no like-y.

For the uninitiated, you can first read about the innocuously named American Legislative Exchange Council on their own site. Now I can't say they're clandestine, cause they have their very own website! To be fair, it is pretty revealing. In the History section, you can read about the up and coming politicos who founded ALEC: Henry Hyde, Paul Weyrich, Lou Barnett, Robert Kasten, Tommy Thompson, John Engler, Terry Branstad of Iowa (I leave this in for personal bias), and John Kasich. If you've noticed a common thread among these men, give yourself 10 points. This is not anything like the National Council of State Legislatures, an actual 501c3 organization, which is largely bi-partisan. Yes, there are current Democratic who are members of ALEC, but they are in a tiny minority of the legislative membership. So, the legislatures make up one faction of ALEC, and corporations and their lackeys comprise the legislation writing faction.

Seems fishy? Why yes! You'll get more of the low-down on this 50 headed hydra that has been extending its tentacles into state legislatures since 1973 by heading over to ALEC Exposed. This isn't for the faint of heart. The corporations write legislation and distribute it to legislators at special meetings, held in favorite corporate locations such as Scottsdale, AZ and Amelia, FL. For a mere $50 a year (free if you're in the Iowa House, so you need to opt out if you don't want "in"), you too can be wined, dined, play golf, and have your kids' daycare taken care of while you attend meetings - some closed and some not - where corporate representatives hand you model legislation. Well, nowadays, it's probably given to lawmakers via email or some computer file, but sometimes the reps forget to edit the documents! Some of these fools are as bad as students who copy papers from the internet and just print directly from the web page. Yeah, it's that blatant.

Here's the deal: corporations were frustrated with the inability to move some of their ideas through U.S. Congress and Senate, and they realized that the state legislatures were more easily manipulated. Not only that, but once state lawmakers were groomed for the task, they could take this amazing work ethic with them as they climbed the political ladder. You might've noticed some of the founders moved up the political ladder in the past 38-39 years.

Here are the subjects of ALEC's model legislation:

Democracy and Voting (voter ID bills? ALEC) Privatizing Education (Connections Academy? Most charter schools? ALEC) Repealing Labor Rights (Open ballot union voting? ALEC) Health and Tobacco (you name it: ALEC) Limiting Environmental Protections (we can't have corporations burdened by regulations on the environment can we?) ALEC and Climate Change (rinse, repeat) Immigration Corporate Prisons

Some of the legislation is more subtle than others, but the premise is consistent in that they are pushing to privatize as much of out lives as they can. Even if you agree with some of the bills, ask yourself 1. If the diversion of tax dollars away from the public service to give tax breaks to the corporations or even to "help" the subject of the bill is worth it and 2. If you think it's ethical for corporations to be writing the bills. Shouldn't legislation be the idea of we the people? If you don't think there are paybacks, think again: corporations sponsor their active legislators, either directly, or more likely hidden in PACs. ALEC also has other ways to rate states, such as the ALEC report card for education. Think this is based on education or test scores (hah! I don't consider those 2 to necessarily be the same)? Think again. A comparison of the ALEC report card with legislation passed in the stated will reveal how the assessments were made.

This Wednesday, February 29th, lovely leap day, there will be a national call to action. At least 76 cities have actions planned to expose ALEC to the general public. Des Moines and Minneapolis are scheduled to happen simultaneously. This is designed to be only the beginning, because the task of dismantling and dismembering this pernicious entity is Herculean.


 

Comments

Here's an interesting tale.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/27/corporate-personhood-supreme-court-alien-tort-statuten1305226.html

"Corporate Personhood Case Forces Supreme Court To Hack New Path)

Seems the Supreme Court is now faced with a piece of the tangled web they wove when asserting personhood for corporations in Citizens United.

"...On Tuesday morning, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument on whether corporations, like real people, can be held liable in American courts for international human rights violations.... Having voted in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission to extend to corporations the First Amendment right of actual people to independently spend unlimited sums in this country's elections, they will in the current case have refused to hold corporations responsible, as real people are, for their roles in atrocities abroad."

INCORPORATION. That's the key. If we incorporate ourselves, then we magically become PEOPLE with rights again! AND, with no responsibility for our actions. Not only that, but no Corporation type person has to get a vaginal probe. Not to mention, Corporations never get dissed for taking government subsidies. None ever talk bad about them for being on the dole.

Here's a question. IF A CORPORATION IS A PERSON, IS A BANKRUPTCY AN ABORTION? Is old Mitt liable for advocating infanticide to trying to kill Detroit?

I think Mitt be trying to pull the plug on grandma by offing Detroit! :~)

Betty Jo, there is a "Move to Amend" to overturn Citizen's United. You might google this along with the name of your home town or state and join efforts there. This corporate creep has been going on ever since reasonable regulations were placed on corporations (remember anti-trust laws? They seem so quaint nowadays) way back in the 20th century.

re: "I think Mitt be trying to pull the plug on grandma by offing Detroit."

You're right, Death Panels are a better analogy than infanticide. Wait! If bankruptcy is a death panel, and "The Donald" has declared bankruptcy numerous times on his way to self-aggrandizement, then is Donald Trump a Zombie? T'would explain a lot.....

Trump, Romney, and Santorum are zombie-bots to me. This totally makes sense - more so than thinking they are human beings! Gingrich is a vampire. Paul is a John Galt wannabe.

How did you hear about ALEC? they are a "shadow" organization.

I have heard about them recently as they have a role in several of the items being considered for the Minnesota Ballot.

I heard ALEC through my behind the scenes (read - generally minimal) role with Occupy Des Moines. We formed a working committee to research the bills in Iowa that are obvious ALEC bills; another person and I worked on the education side - not a pretty picture.

Are you involved in any actions to help expose the bills? It's been interesting to lobby legislators on this organization - those who deny deny deny, and those who are against ALEC out-right.

For me and my homies, the Des Moines press conference went well; however, local media reports are focused on the introduction of 2 gun bills - 1 straight from ALEC model legislation - by the House GOP. Don't know if they sprung those bills today on purpose, since they were aware of our press conference, but with the Dems walking out of the capitol today, attention has at least been temporarily diverted. sigh We'll see what this evening and tomorrow's reports will bring.

During the continuing research, I noticed that The Nation, Daily Kos, even Terry Gross with Fresh Air has been bringing ALEC to the fore. So even though this Trojan Horse has been in the news, it hasn't been front and center. It also seems that people are too busy trying to make a living or being numbed by typical news fare to notice, and I'll have to put myself in with the 1st lot.

I'm hoping that the 70 (not 76) events held today have an impact. It's long past time for ALEC to be brought down. Minneapolis and Salt Lake City had actions today. Did you catch wind of anything in the twin cities?

I have been aware of some press events/releases in past weeks that I think tipped off some of the national press, but I have been busy this week so didn't catch on to any recent events.

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