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Ear to the Ground

Corporate Front Group Burns Americans

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Posted on Aug 1, 2011
Flickr / the-father

ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, is a secretive association of corporations and state legislators that has been crafting public policy to suit corporate interests since 1973. The organization is not new, but the opportunity to review approximately 800 of its internal documents, thanks to a leak published by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) and The Nation magazine last month, is.

Each of those files contains a piece of model legislation handed to lawmakers in recent decades, documents that were previously available only to the group’s 2,000 legislative and 300 corporate members, and policy experts have been busy analyzing them. They include proposals for laws governing nearly all aspects of social organization, including health care, education and telecommunications.

To get acquainted with the basics of ALEC, read John Nichols’ introduction to The Nation’s reports here. Next, study the Center for Media and Democracy’s FAQ section. Then read Joel Rogers and Laura Dresser’s profile below on how the organization has blunted states’ revenue, pushed for the privatization of public services and savagely attacked labor unions. And if you’re feeling especially ambitious, read this introductory letter from Lisa Graves, the executive director of the CMD, then dive into the files yourself.

If anything like the conspiracy theorists’ Illuminati exists, this is it. —ARK

The Nation:

ALEC has long sought to limit the ability of states to raise or collect taxes or fees. Before this spring, it had already succeeded in getting more than thirty to adopt such limits, often hard-wired into their constitutions or requiring supermajorities to change. Its varied model legislation to this end includes the Capital Gains Tax Elimination Act, Use Tax Elimination Act, Super Majority Act, Taxpayer Protection Act and Automatic Income Tax Rate Adjustment Act. Its model resolutions oppose such things as mandatory unitary combined reporting (the chief way states get corporations to pay any taxes at all) while supporting such things as the federal flat tax and efforts to extend the Bush tax cuts permanently.

... Privatization is so central to ALEC’s agenda that it has built a fake board game, Publicopoly, on its website, where the curious can find model legislation and other resources on privatizing basically everything, from transportation (Competitive Contracting of the Department of Motor Vehicles Act) to the environment (Environmental Services Public-Private Partnership Act). Critical to ALEC’s agenda are the foundational bills that set up the rationale for privatizing government services: the Public-Private Fair Competition Act creates a committee to review “whether state agencies unfairly compete with the private sector,” and the Competitive Contracting of Public Services Act requires “make or buy” decisions to encourage privatization.

... The fiercest attacks this session were reserved for public sector unions, especially in the once labor-friendly Midwest states of Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin that went deep red in November. ALEC has a sweeping range of model antiunion laws, the broad aim of which is to make it harder to be a union and easier for workers not to pay the costs of collective bargaining or union political activity. The Right to Work Act eliminates employee obligation to pay the costs of collective bargaining; the Public Employee Freedom Act bars almost any action to induce it; the Public Employer Payroll Deduction Act bars automatic dues collection; the Voluntary Contribution Act bars the use of dues for political activity.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, August 3, 2011 at 7:59 am Link to this comment

ALEC Exposed: Milton Friedman’s Little Shop of Horrors promoted the prioritization of everything according to an article here; http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/07/19-2 evidently Naomi Kline’s premise of Disaster Capitalization may be on the rights love of the money, we are looking at disaster politics which supports it and the promoted fear used to drive it.

It boils down to people who would blindly support the Republicans and Tea Party, who would destroy unions and privatize every part of government for profit. I suspect the Republicans do not believe in public services, but why? Of course money!  One thing I have a question on, are the Democrats really opposed to the ALEC Exposed: Milton Freedman’s Little Shop of Horrors concept of privatization or they just playing the game? 

In Wisconsin the Democrats seem sincere in their support of the common good, the rest of the nation needs to be made aware and catch on to the big sell out.

By the way Milton Freeman was from the University of Chicago,... sounds a tad close to home for some of the folks in the White House, are they connected in some way?

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By litlpeep, August 2, 2011 at 10:41 pm Link to this comment

It is a puzzle to me why so many act as if the rise of fascism in the USA is new!

Nixon loved it.  Ford loved it.  Reagan loved it. All the Bushes love it.  All the bipartisan big rolling campaign funders love it and have since anybody alive can remember.

Somebody help me see through the puzzling surprise about all this very long-standing crap.

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By berniem, August 2, 2011 at 10:10 am Link to this comment

Can anyone doubt the insidious rise of fascism in this nation’s political system?

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By SarcastiCanuck, August 2, 2011 at 9:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You forgot to mention ALEC’s Freedom to Lose your House Act and Its Patriotic to Go Poor Act.These are two of thier most successful Acts.Coming soon,Act 3,the Your All Going to be Screwd Act.

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By TDoff, August 2, 2011 at 9:27 am Link to this comment

U.S. corporations will not be satisfied until their current plans come to fruition. They have funded the major pharmaceutical firms for the development of a drug which can be surreptitiously added to the nation’s drinking water, which will cause citizens to rapidly grow thick coats of wool instead of body hair.

This will cause so much discomfort among US citizens in the rapidly warming climate, that they will submit eagerly, on a weekly basis, to the shearing pens the corporations will provide for a modest charge of only 50% of their weekly wages.

(DIY shearing will be outlawed by a new Act of Congress, on penalty of death, as passed unanimously by both houses).

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By Gene O'Pedia, August 1, 2011 at 11:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

ALEC is so insidiuous, it seems like one of the players in “1984”. Who would believe such a thing exists? And it’s existed for a long time. You can find a great survey of the early days of ALEC in this post from March of this year:

http://zenoferox.blogspot.com/2011/03/publish-and-perish.html

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, August 1, 2011 at 10:12 pm Link to this comment

Daye, my sentiments also, ALEC has been on my radar along with the Koch Brothers, even before The Nation article. The Red states and their draconian agendas were obviously sponsored by someone and I had suspected the Koch Brothers, but it is deeper than just them. Then I found out the Koch Brothers are on the board at ALEC?

People should be aware of the lopsided anti democratic representative underpinning done by ALEC. ALEC who are not lobbyists, but who in the name of their sponsors manipulate government policy by their bought and sold politicians.

I was beginning to question why Truth Dig had not covered anything on ALEC, as one will not find ALEC in the Mass Media, unless it is some happy advertising like the Oil Companies seem to be always doing with our subsidizing money, on how great they are for people and the nation.

People need to call their politicians on this crap, I am not sure, but the Tea Party folks seem like they are payroll employees and get their marching orders from ALEC, like Wisconsin Walker!

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Daye's avatar

By Daye, August 1, 2011 at 6:39 pm Link to this comment

At last - Truthdig found the true story of this
place & time, which I’ve studied for some time
now, as a pathologist explores the habits &
horrors of a plague.

Essential reading, about America’s psychopathic,
filthy rich savages, both financial & political,
from the nations’s White House down to its
teams of assassins, torturers & black site
prisons,  wrapped in their sable & mink bits, &
brass bound uniforms, wielding stone clubs that
in addition to breaking our skulls so that they
may eat our brains & children - as they as a
social company have always sought to do in all
societies - have funded a secret mob of
nauseous frothing scum with full intent to make
us all live in caves on this Earth that is their
estate & theirs alone.

O Brutus, O Jesus, O Orwell, where art thou.

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