Thursday, July 14, 2011

ALEC-- The Biggest Threat To America Since The Nazis... And A Very Similar One


Lately we've been doing a lot of reporting on the history of American fascism in the '30s and '40s and how the far right's activism back then planted the seeds for current developments in the Republican Party. Wealthy families, business and media groups, phony churches and political committees today can trace their roots directly back to antecedents who helped facilitate the rise of Hitler and Mussolini and who worked for their success, some even after the U.S. went to war against Germany and Italy.

On Saturday, for example, we looked at the power of the one of America's preeminent fascist dynasties, the DuPonts, and how they used one of their fascist front groups, the National Manufacturers Association, to push an anti-union, anti-regulatory, anti-family agenda that sounds exactly like the kinds of programs being pushed by current fascist-oriented Republicans like Scott Walker (R-WI) and John Kasich (R-OH). Walker and Kasich are both prominent alumni of today's most fascist-oriented GOP front organizations, ALEC (the American Legislative Excahnge Council), a private legislative organization responsible to no one but... the Koch Bros. Never heard of it? It's a much bigger threat to you and your family than al Qaeda ever was or ever will be. The website that tracks ALEC uses this warning as their introduction:
Through the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council, global corporations and state politicians vote behind closed doors to try to rewrite state laws that govern your rights. These so-called "model bills" reach into almost every area of American life and often directly benefit huge corporations. Through ALEC, corporations have "a VOICE and a VOTE" on specific changes to the law that are then proposed in your state. DO YOU?

This week's Nation features an important exposé on ALEC by John Nichols that every American should read.
“Never has the time been so right,” Louisiana State Representative Noble Ellington told conservative legislators gathered in Washington to plan the radical remaking of policies in the states. It was one month after the 2010 midterm elections. Republicans had grabbed 680 legislative seats and secured a power trifecta-- control of both legislative chambers and the governorship-- in twenty-one states. Ellington was speaking for hundreds of attendees at a “States and Nation Policy Summit,” featuring GOP stars like Texas Governor Rick Perry, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Convened by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)-- “the nation’s largest, non-partisan, individual public-private membership association of state legislators,” as the spin-savvy group describes itself-- the meeting did not intend to draw up an agenda for the upcoming legislative session. That had already been done by ALEC’s elite task forces of lawmakers and corporate representatives. The new legislators were there to grab their weapons: carefully crafted model bills seeking to impose a one-size-fits-all agenda on the states.

Founded in 1973 by Paul Weyrich and other conservative activists frustrated by recent electoral setbacks, ALEC is a critical arm of the right-wing network of policy shops that, with infusions of corporate cash, has evolved to shape American politics. Inspired by Milton Friedman’s call for conservatives to “develop alternatives to existing policies [and] keep them alive and available,” ALEC’s model legislation reflects long-term goals: downsizing government, removing regulations on corporations and making it harder to hold the economically and politically powerful to account. Corporate donors retain veto power over the language, which is developed by the secretive task forces. The task forces cover issues from education to health policy. ALEC’s priorities for the 2011 session included bills to privatize education, break unions, deregulate major industries, pass voter ID laws and more. In states across the country they succeeded, with stacks of new laws signed by GOP governors like Ohio’s John Kasich and Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, both ALEC alums.

The details of ALEC’s model bills have been available only to the group’s 2,000 legislative and 300 corporate members. But thanks to a leak to Aliya Rahman, an Ohio-based activist who helped organize protests at ALEC’s Spring Task Force meeting in Cincinnati, The Nation has obtained more than 800 documents representing decades of model legislation. Teaming up with the Center for Media and Democracy, The Nation asked policy experts to analyze this never-before-seen archive.

There are 5 analyises of those documents available through The Nation, blueprints for a corporatist takeover of the United States; that's a polite way of saying a fascist takeover:

“Sabotaging Healthcare,” by Wendell Potter

“The Koch Connection,” by Lisa Graves

“Rigging Elections,” by John Nichols

“Business Domination Inc.,” by Joel Rogers and Laura Dresser

"Starving Public Schools,” by Julie Underwood

Happy Bastille Day!

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At 4:34 PM, Anonymous bill said...


At 9:13 PM, Blogger Sherlock said...

“Mr. Hodai was considered to be a persona non grata from the (Koch-funded ALEC) conference (management).”

Toronto Star
Olivia Ward
Dec. 18, 2011

SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ.—There’s something rotten in the air. A muggy,
oniony, chemical smell that wafts over the lines of uniformed riot
police, paddy wagons and metal barriers that are holding back a
straggle of protesters waving slapdash placards reading “Shut Down

“Get back ma’am, for your own safety,” a courteous voice warns me.
“They’re gonna start pepper spraying.”

Pepper spray?

It’s a surreal touch at the lush, sprawling Westin Kierland Resort,
where the air is scented with fragrant flowering bushes and the
aromatic lotions of the spa.

But the protesters are at the gate, and inside, hundreds of state
legislators from all over the U.S., their wives and entourages are
meeting with corporate leaders for a three-day annual policy summit.
Or, to their banner-bearing foes, a cradle of “corporate profiteering
at the expense of our communities.”

“Today only,” blazons a sign hoisted by a silver-haired protester,
“Buy One Senator Get One Free!”

The target of this anger is the American Legislative Exchange Council,or ALEC — a benign, user-friendly acronym that fits the friendly turf
of Scottsdale, where the grass is always greener and everything is for your comfort and safety.

I’m here to learn more about this increasingly muscular organization,
formally an educational non-profit — and one that shuns the “L” word,
lobbyist. It puts state lawmakers together with representatives from
some of the country’s most powerful corporations to advance their
legislative agendas. And it’s the most influential organization the
majority of Americans have never heard of.

As the coming federal election sucks all the oxygen out of America’s political room, it’s easy to ignore the power of the states, and the changes that are quietly taking place across the country independent of — and often hostile to — the federal government. But, for
understanding grassroots America, ALEC, here in God’s golf country, is a good place to start.

In the words of its manifesto, “ALEC provides its public-and-private-sector members with a unique opportunity to work together to develop policies and programs that effectively promote the Jeffersonian principles of free markets, limited government,
federalism and individual liberty.”

And the success of its efforts is in little doubt.

By its own record, it has created an arsenal of about 800 “model”
bills, templates or blueprints for future laws. They are tabled about
1,000 times a year across the country; about one in five are passed.

Some 2,000 state legislators belong to the organization, the vast majority of them Republican, in spite of its avowed non-partisan
membership. And with Republicans now controlling half of all state
governments, they pack an added punch.

To the protesters, and the growing number of media and
non-governmental organizations who study it closely, ALEC is a factory for legislative bills that replicate across the 50 states, with the aim of undercutting the public sector and the role of government and promoting free-market policy at state level, where it often counts the most.


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