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Will ALEC Control Your Future?

caltrek2

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 2654

Report this Apr. 07 2012, 8:29 am

http://www.pfaw.org/rww-in-focus/alec-the-voice-of-corporate-special-interests-state-legislatures


When state legislators across the nation introduce similar or identical bills designed to boost corporate power and profits, reduce workers rights, limit corporate accountability for pollution, or restrict voting by minorities, odds are good that the legislation was not written by a state lawmaker but by corporate lobbyists working through the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).  ALEC is a one-stop shop for corporations looking to identify friendly state legislators and work with them to get special-interest legislation introduced. It’s win-win for corporations, their lobbyists, and right-wing legislators. But the big losers are citizens whose rights and interests are sold off to the highest bidder.


http://www.thenation.com/blog/167269/dont-just-pressure-alecs-corporate-sponsors-name-and-shame-alec-legislators


Coca-Cola quit ALEC Wednesday. PepsiCo revealed the same day that it had quietly decided to let its membership lapse. Intuit Inc. confirmed that it is exiting ALEC. And Kraft Foods has announced that: “Our membership in ALEC expires this spring and for a number of reasons, including limited resources, we have made the decision not to renew.”


Translation: Kraft -- like other corporations that produce consumer products and, thus, must appeal to the great mass of Americans -- no longer wants to be associated with a shadowy group that links corporations and legislators in order to advance extreme (and extremely unpopular) agendas.


Since the Center for Media and Democracy's "ALEC Exposed" project was developed last summer in cooperation with The Nation, millions of Americans have become aware that ALEC uses corporate money to craft one-size-fits-all "model legislation" that its member legislators then propose and pass in the states.


The "ALEC Exposed" project revealed the backstory of how this 40-year-old group uses an elaborate system of corporate-guided "task forces" to promote:


* Restrictive Voter ID laws and array of related initiatives that threaten to suppress voting by residents of rural regions, students, senior citizens and people of color.


* Anti-labor laws designed to limit the ability of Americans to organize and have a voice in their workplaces and the public life of their communities, states and nation.


* Tort "reform," deregulation and corporate tax-slashing schemes that eliminate tools to assure multinational corporations act responsibly and contribute to the communities and states where they operate.


* Money-in-politics initiatives that seek to remove barriers to domination of elections by corporations and billionaire right-wing donors -- such as longtime ALEC supporters Charles and David Koch.


* Privatization schemes that undermine public education and public services, posing particular threats to rural communities and urban neighborhoods that rely on strong public institutions.


* Kill-at-Will laws that prevent police and prosecutors from effectively investigating shootings such as that of Trayvon Martin in Florida, Bo Morrison in Wisconsin and others who have been killed since states began to enact so-called "Castle Doctrine" and "Stand Your Ground" laws.


The response to revelations regarding the role ALEC has played in warping the legislative processes of the states has been remarkable.


Civil rights groups such as the NAACP and the Urban League have focused on concerns about the damage done voting rights issues, unions have focused on concerns about attacks on labor rights and threats to economic fairness, immigrant rights groups have raised issues. And, following the Trayvon Martin shooting, ColorofChange began to challenge corporations to reconsider their association with ALEC.

Responsible corporations -- or, at the very least, corporations that do not want to lose market share in the face of consumer boycotts -- are exiting ALEC.


But the group's most extreme backers are doubling down. A representative of the Koch Companies announced that, "Yes, we plan to continue our membership in and support of ALEC." That decision, along with indications from tobacco and drug companies that they will stick with ALEC for now, have the potential to keep the group going.


 


 


caltrek: Comments?


 

chr33355

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 1551

Report this Apr. 08 2012, 5:46 am

Meh they have the same level of worry for me as the Apollo Alliance. I still don't get liberals hating all monopolies except labor unions.

caltrek2

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 2654

Report this Apr. 08 2012, 10:24 am

Quote: chr33355 @ Apr. 08 2012, 5:46 am

>Meh they have the same level of worry for me as the Apollo Alliance. I still don't get liberals hating all monopolies except labor unions.


Labor unions function as democratically led. Other monopolies are based on economic power.


As Americans, we sometimes suffer from too much pluribus and not enough unum. - Arthur Schelsinger, Jr.

chr33355

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 1551

Report this Apr. 08 2012, 2:32 pm

Quote: caltrek2 @ Apr. 08 2012, 10:24 am

Quote: chr33355 @ Apr. 08 2012, 5:46 am

>

>Meh they have the same level of worry for me as the Apollo Alliance. I still don't get liberals hating all monopolies except labor unions.

Labor unions function as democratically led. Other monopolies are based on economic power.

 A labor union is still a monopoly that so called anti monoploy liberals are okay with.  And no they really are not democratically as the paying members often have no say who the union leadership spends campaign money on.


caltrek2

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 2654

Report this Apr. 08 2012, 4:03 pm

Quote: chr33355 @ Apr. 08 2012, 2:32 pm

Quote: caltrek2 @ Apr. 08 2012, 10:24 am

Quote: chr33355 @ Apr. 08 2012, 5:46 am

>

>

>Meh they have the same level of worry for me as the Apollo Alliance. I still don't get liberals hating all monopolies except labor unions.

Labor unions function as democratically led. Other monopolies are based on economic power.

 A labor union is still a monopoly that so called anti monoploy liberals are okay with.  And no they really are not democratically as the paying members often have no say who the union leadership spends campaign money on.


Oh, I can understand how outside groups can get irritated with the fact that unions can involve themselves in the political process. Especially if such outsiders are "pro-management".


Yes, there are aspects of a union that operate in the same way as a monopoly. Still, their leadership is democratically chosen. You may not like who laborers chose as their leaders, and you may resent their ability to go on strike for better wages, but they are still democratically run organizations. (Or, if you insist, they act in the same way as republican forms of government.) Their leaders are chosen and delegated with such tasks as representing workers during grievance procedures, bargaining for compensation packages, etc.


Labor unions have often been effective at improving working conditions so that the work place is a safer and healthier environment to work in. Another reason liberals support labor unions. If it takes their power as a monopoly to do so, then so be it - at least that is why liberals are not so concerned about that aspect of how labor unions work.


As Americans, we sometimes suffer from too much pluribus and not enough unum. - Arthur Schelsinger, Jr.

chr33355

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 1551

Report this Apr. 10 2012, 2:33 pm

Quote: caltrek2 @ Apr. 08 2012, 4:03 pm

Quote: chr33355 @ Apr. 08 2012, 2:32 pm

Quote: caltrek2 @ Apr. 08 2012, 10:24 am

Quote: chr33355 @ Apr. 08 2012, 5:46 am

>

>

>

>Meh they have the same level of worry for me as the Apollo Alliance. I still don't get liberals hating all monopolies except labor unions.

Labor unions function as democratically led. Other monopolies are based on economic power.

 A labor union is still a monopoly that so called anti monoploy liberals are okay with.  And no they really are not democratically as the paying members often have no say who the union leadership spends campaign money on.

Oh, I can understand how outside groups can get irritated with the fact that unions can involve themselves in the political process. Especially if such outsiders are "pro-management".  Many times the union leaderships makes it seem that the management is the enemy when it isn't.  Students of management aer taught if the workers want to unionize you are doing something wrong.

Yes, there are aspects of a union that operate in the same way as a monopoly. Still, their leadership is democratically chosen. You may not like who laborers chose as their leaders, and you may resent their ability to go on strike for better wages, but they are still democratically run organizations. (Or, if you insist, they act in the same way as republican forms of government.) Their leaders are chosen and delegated with such tasks as representing workers during grievance procedures, bargaining for compensation packages, etc.  In all ways unions act as a monopoly forcing higher prices on labour for the same quality of work similar to a buisness monopoly forces higher prices on goods or services for the same or lower quality.  And many unions are closer to organized criminal organizations then democratic or republican organizations.

Labor unions have often been effective at improving working conditions so that the work place is a safer and healthier environment to work in. Another reason liberals support labor unions. If it takes their power as a monopoly to do so, then so be it - at least that is why liberals are not so concerned about that aspect of how labor unions work.  True but now they seem more interesting in protecting jobs of low quality or uncaring workers than anything else.


caltrek2

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 2654

Report this Apr. 12 2012, 5:47 pm

caltrek:   Oh, I can understand how outside groups can get irritated with the fact that unions can involve themselves in the political process. Especially if such outsiders are "pro-management".  


chr: Many times the union leaderships makes it seem that the management is the enemy when it isn't.  Students of management aer taught if the workers want to unionize you are doing something wrong.


caltrek: That is because they probably are doing something wrong. Eliminate unions and you no longer have that yard stick for comparison.

caltrek2

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 2654

Report this Apr. 12 2012, 5:49 pm

chr: And many unions are closer to organized criminal organizations then democratic or republican organizations.


caltrek: ...and many times democratic and republican organizations are closer to organized crime than are unions.


 

ColPeg

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 911

Report this Apr. 13 2012, 1:20 pm

Speaking of which - MY UNION AFGE Local 4041 had this to say about ALEC in the weekly newsletter.


Little Known Right Wing Group That Writes State Laws: Whether suppressing the right to vote, union busting, promoting school and prison privatization, or weakening the new health care law and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), this little known right wing group has done it all. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) was founded by the same guy who founded the Heritage Foundation, Paul Weyrich. It’s funded by big corporations and the usual suspects like the Koch brothers and Exxon Mobil. According to a recent study by ProgressVA, ALEC writes model legislation on various subjects that reflect right-wing agenda and cater to campaign donors in dozens of states. In 2009, for example, 826 ALEC bills were introduced in statehouses, and 115 were enacted into law. In Virginia alone, over 50 ALEC-drafted bills have been introduced, many word for word, in the Virginia General Assembly over the past few years. A bill that makes it more difficult for the poor, the disabled, and minorities to vote has passed both chambers. A bill that undermines the individual mandate under the new health care law has been signed into law and become a basis for the lawsuit against the federal government. Eleven other states have enacted ALEC-drafted bills to repeal the new health care law. Lawmakers who are members of the group can log on to its Web site and find hundreds of bills to copy on various issues. It also has publications such as EPA’s Regulatory Train Wreck, which lays out strategies for state legislature.

In Solidarity,


"If Man is to survive, he will have learned to take delight in the essential difference between people and cultures" -Gene Roddenberry -=-=-=-=-=-=-=- Col. P. A. Stevens CO, USS Code Talker NCC-1195

caltrek2

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 2654

Report this Apr. 27 2012, 7:37 am

ColPeg,


Than you for that interesting take on ALEC. Below is a link to an article written by Katrina Vanded Heuvel, editor of The Nation. It looks at ALEC and takes a broader perspective on the work of regressive right individuals and institutions such as ALEC and its extremist supporters. Below that link are excerpts from that article.


http://www.thenation.com/blogs/katrina-vanden-heuvel


As Bill Moyers describes in his Nation cover story “How Wall Street Occupied America,” the late Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell’s confidential memorandum in 1971 to his friends in the US Chamber of Commerce was “a call to arms for class war waged from the top down.” It was a blueprint for what is now coming to fruition with the phenomenon of the Koch brothers, Citizens United, and a right-wing activist Supreme Court ready to roll back decades of New Deal jurisprudence.


Moyers lays out how “the Powell Memo”—in response to bipartisan support for new regulation of air quality, lead paint, pesticides and the creation of the EPA—urged corporate America to “fight back and fight back hard. Build a movement. Set speakers loose across the country. Take on prominent institutions of public opinion—especially the universities, the media and the courts. Keep television programs ‘monitored the same way textbooks should be kept under constant surveillance.’ And above all, recognize that political power must be ‘assiduously cultivated; and that when necessary, it must be used aggressively and with determination’ and ‘without embarrassment.’ ”


In his memo, Powell called for the creation of think tanks, legal foundations and front groups aligned through “careful long-range planning and … consistency of action over an indefinite period of years, in the scale of financing available only through joint effort, and in the political power available only through united action and united organizations.”


Moyers notes that corporate PACs and lobbyists subsequently multiplied, as did “other organizations united in pushing back against political equality and shared prosperity": for example, the Business Roundtable, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, the Manhattan Institute, Citizens for a Sound Economy (precursor to what we now know as Americans for Prosperity).


“They triggered an economic transformation that would in time touch every aspect of our lives,” writes Moyers.


Now the Koch Brothers have become a symbol of something that is corrosive and dangerous to fulfilling the great possibilities of this country. They are the poster boys for the 1 percent...


Most of these activities are devised to deploy the Koch’s political agenda. Sure, people have a right to fight for the political society they want to live in. But when the concentration of power and wealth is so great, and what Robert Reich in his new book calls “the Regressive Right” is so strong, we are in peril of losing our democracy.


... Take Social Security, which the Koch Brother are working to dismantle by funding an echo chamber of think tanks. Brave New Foundation researchers reveal a $28.4 million Koch effort that has manufactured 297 opinions and commentaries, 200 reports, 56 studies and six books distorting Social Security’s effectiveness and purpose.


“The Koch Brothers are funding think tanks spreading an enormous amount of disinformation about Social Security,” Senator Bernie Sanders says...


Koch-backed groups are also pushing onerous voter ID requirements on minorities and the poor. They have funded efforts to potentially thwart 21 million Americans from voting by writing and proposing voting suppression bills in thirty-eight states.


“The Koch Brothers support laws that are the most aggressive attempt to roll back voting rights in this country that we’ve seen in over a century,” says Benjamin Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP.


...


Corrupt corporate forces are trying to buy our democracy, with disastrous consequences,” says former Senator Russ Feingold.


As Americans, we sometimes suffer from too much pluribus and not enough unum. - Arthur Schelsinger, Jr.

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