What is ALEC?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by georgephillip, Jul 14, 2011.

  1. georgephillip
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    georgephillip Gold Member Supporting Member

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    "WASHINGTON - July 13 - Today, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) made available over 800 'model' bills and resolutions secretly voted on by corporate and legislative members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

    "ALEC has become the premier institution for crafting and promoting model legislation and resolutions that largely benefit its corporate members. Until today, it has been difficult to trace the controversial and oddly uniform bills popping up in legislatures across the country directly to ALEC..."

    Center for Media & Democracy Unveils Trove of Over 800 ALEC "Model Bills" Secretly Voted on by Corporations | Common Dreams

    Behind closed doors, ALEC allows corporations to write changes in state law that directly benefit the corporate bottom line.

    "Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations.

    "Participating legislators, overwhelmingly conservative Republicans, then bring those proposals home and introduce them in statehouses across the land as their own brilliant ideas and important public policy innovations—without disclosing that corporations crafted and voted on the bills.

    "ALEC boasts that it has over 1,000 of these bills introduced by legislative members every year, with one in every five of them enacted into law. ALEC describes itself as a 'unique,' 'unparalleled' and 'unmatched' organization.

    "We agree.

    "It is as if a state legislature had been reconstituted, yet corporations had pushed the people out the door..."

    What is ALEC? - Alec Exposed

    ALEC boasts 2,000 legislative members and more than 300 corporate members (often registered lobbyists) sitting as equals on nine task forces where they have a "voice and a vote" on model legislation.

    Like the austerity bills currently impoverishing states like Wisconsin, Ohio, and Michigan.
     
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  2. georgephillip
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    georgephillip Gold Member Supporting Member

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    Is ALEC a policy making program uniting the public and private sectors in a dynamic partnership based on "Jeffersonian principles" or just another corporate pay-for-play operation where "state legislators and their families get to go on industry funded junkets and major corporations get to ghostwrite model laws and pass them on to receptive politicians..."?

    "Corporations pay hefty fees for the opportunity to discuss policy with legislators at ALEC's conferences, and they also host banquets, open-bar parties and baseball games.

    "Legislators, on the other hand, pay a nominal membership fee, and can be eligible for 'scholarships' that pay for their conference attendance.

    "When the legislators bring the model bills back to their state capitals, the role played by ALEC—or by the corporations—seems to be rarely, if ever, disclosed."

    Stay tuned.

    A Discreet Nonprofit Brings Together Politicians and Corporations to Write ‘Model Bills’ - ProPublica
     
  3. dblack
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    dblack Gold Member

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    Heard about this in Fresh Air today, and followed up on the website. This pretty much confirms whats I've been claiming was going on for the last twenty years. Gotta say, in this instance, it sucks to be right.
     
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  4. georgephillip
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    georgephillip Gold Member Supporting Member

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    Apparently Paul Weyrich created ALEC in 1973 after convincing Joseph Coors to fund the Heritage Foundation. Three years later, Weyrich collaborated with Jerry Falwell to found the Moral Majority.

    Paul is credited (in Wiki) with coining the phrase "Moral Majority."

    I guess my first Big Question is whether or not ALEC is a lobbying organization?
    From ProPublica:

    "Crucially, ALEC says it is not a lobbying organization, and thus because of its nonprofit status, it does not have to disclose its donors or the amount of their donations. (The Times says Common Cause is trying to challenge ALEC's nonprofit status.)

    "Perhaps the most striking example of this process is the involvement of officials from the Corrections Corporation of America, the nation's largest private prison company, in the creation of Arizona's immigration law.

    "As NPR reported last year, officials from Corrections Corporation were in the room when Arizona State Sen. Russell Pearce discussed his ideas about immigration at a 2009 ALEC conference.

    "Reports from Corrections Corporation reviewed by NPR indicated that their executives saw immigrant detention as their next big market, and that the company expected to bring in a 'significant portion' of their revenue from Immigrations and Custom Enforcement."

    A Discreet Nonprofit Brings Together Politicians and Corporations to Write ‘Model Bills’ - ProPublica
     
  5. dblack
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    dblack Gold Member

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    I've seen so many legislative 'trends' over the last couple of decades and wondered how it worked; how things like mandatory insurance laws, phony 'privatization' campaigns, seat-belt laws, drug prohibition, smoking bans (etc, etc, etc ...) and all the other regulations that protect corporate interests, were being so consistently implemented across the country, state-by-state. Organizations like ALEC (and I'm sure there are others) fill in that blanks.

    If there's any sense of justice left in our country, any legislator associated with this group will be shamed out of office.

    That's a big 'if'.
     
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  6. zzzz
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    zzzz Just a regular American

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    It is not surprising that the capitalistic (was going to say industrial but Walmart is even in ALEC) forces use every means to further their agenda to make money. After all that is what the stock holders want, returns on their investments. Sometimes its like a dog chasing its own tail.

    ALEC Exposed: The Koch Connection | The Nation
     
  7. georgephillip
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    georgephillip Gold Member Supporting Member

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    I hadn't made the connection between mandatory insurance and phony (crony?) privatization campaigns. With the exception of smoking bans which I see as a legitimate public health concern, it's becoming more clear how the corporation and limited liability limit our public space to militarized law enforcement and sham elections every two years.

    I don't think shame stands a chance when it comes to disenfranchising elected Democrats OR Republicans.

    There are enough established third party candidates already appearing on enough states' ballots to FLUSH hundreds of incumbents from DC in a single news cycle.

    I suspect mostly Democrats would avail themselves of that "nuclear" option in 2012
    .
    Which means we could wind up with Republicans in control of congress and the White House two years from today.

    Then what?
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2011
  8. georgephillip
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    georgephillip Gold Member Supporting Member

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    Do you think it's possible we've reached a level of technological evolution where capitalism, with its concern for profit above all else, is no longer able to provide a job to every US worker who needs one?

    Finance capitalism in particular seems to have completely removed itself from its historical mission of providing funding for productive enterprises, it's even been alleged a substantial majority of trades in financial markets today are made by high-speed computers in securities held for fractions of a second.

    Six Ways to Liberate America From Wall Street Rule | Truthout
     
  9. uscitizen
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    uscitizen Senior Member

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    Why do we need to produce anything?
    We just need to play around with investments, money, etc and "make" our money that way?

    then just buy everything produced in other countrys.

    It is a large part of our current path.
     
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    Last edited: Jul 22, 2011
  10. zzzz
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    zzzz Just a regular American

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    It isn't about jobs, its about profit. The ideal business model would to have no human workers just robots. No unemployment taxes, no health insurance, no sick days, no injuries, no lackadaisical efforts no meal rooms, no wages or other human entitlements. Of course if no body works then nobody can afford to buy anything so it is a "Catch 22" and there has to be a point of equilibrium between the optimum production of product, (just robots) and the need for (jobs) consumers. The trend has been toward production and away from total employment. What is the point of equilibrium? There is no simplistic answer but it appears that in the US we are looking at high unemployment rates as the norm and extreme unemployment rates occasionally in economic downturns.

    The future looks bleak for the average American. It is the average American who pays taxes, who are losing their jobs, whose living is started to become threatened by rising prices. The more industries rely on technology and the elimination of the average worker the more the average American is threatened. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer, the big business pay no taxes, get tax abatement's by local governments seeking to keep the few jobs they promise, and continue to put cash into their coffers. What is the answer? I do not know. The point of equilibrium between production and consumer has been crossed but how far will it go till the pendulum swings back?
     

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