Thursday, March 31, 2016

ALEC- What You Don't Know Will Damn Us All

You Don’t Know ALEC

There’s a creepy organization that has been socially engineering our Country since 1973. It’s called ALEC , a relatively benign name for an Organization which operates in the shadows. ALEC works behind the scenes, and very intelligently,  they create their biggest influences starting on the local level, at the County Supervisors’ and Land Planning Commissions, and working their way up to State level.  Bill Moyers’ expose “The United States of ALEC” quoted John Nichols as stating; “If you really want to influence the politics of this country you don’t just give money to presidential campaigns, you don’t just give money to congressional campaign committees. The smart players put their money in states.” According to their website  its’ Board of Directors –every single one a Republican- are Congressmen and Senators. ( )  The ALEC Federal Forum ( ) outlines the mission statement of this Organization as “build[ing] a productive bipartisan working relationship among current and former ALEC members at all levels of government. “  [sic] “all based on the Jeffersonian principles of free markets, individual liberty, Pro-Growth and limited government.”

ALEC really got going during the Reagan Administration, in 1981. Originally called “Conservative Caucus of State Legislators", and created to counter the EPA and all regulations designed to protect the American people from the affects of industrial accidents and safety violations, they changed their name to American Legislative Exchange Council because Conservatives had discovered that the word “conservative” was viewed negatively by the American public. They are a federally-registered non-profit organization which acts as a bridge between Conservative Legislators willing to trade their Votes and political influence for funding –HEAVY funding backed by such Corporate powerhouses as the Koch brothers- and private Multi-National Corporations and big Business interests. According to NPR, ALEC is a kind of “Dating Service” between Multi-National Corporations and Legislators, with the added bonus of the ability to introduce cookie cutter Conservative Bill templates. For an audio

ALEC focuses on several issues which affect American life. Their primary task forces ( are:

In April of 2012 their Public Safety and Elections Task Force; which focused on stricter Voter ID Laws, Narrowing Voter Accessibility, OutSourcing of Federal testing, and Stand Your Ground laws among other social issues; was eliminated. ALEC stated that “We are eliminating the ALEC Public Safety and Elections task force that dealt with non-economic issues, and reinvesting these resources in the task forces that focus on the economy. The remaining budgetary and economic issues will be reassigned," Frizzell said. “While we recognize there are other critical, non-economic issues that are vitally important to millions of Americans, we believe we must concentrate on initiatives that spur competitiveness and innovation and put more Americans back to work."  However, a brief look at the other nine Task Forces easily demonstrates how social issues continue to be a major focus with this Organization.

Some of the Legislation which ALEC has advocated for, or opposed includes:
OPPOSED: In the 1980’s, ALEC actively lobbied the Reagan Administration to cease all US involvement in the Disinvestment of South Africa. This Disinvestment was a series of sanctions designed to put pressure on that Country to end apartheid.  Since many of the Corporate sponsors of ALEC had controlling or significant interests in South African companies, they were adamantly opposed to any sanctions making business “less profitable” even if that meant human deaths and violations of human rights.

OPPOSED:  Civil Rights and Gay Rights. A 1985 ALEC Referendum states that “the Homosexual Movement” was a “lifestyle choice”, and leads to pedophilia. ( ) ALEC Exposed has a fairly comprehensive list of the Civil Rights violating legislation Bill models which ALEC has attempted to push through

SUPPORTED:  Stand Your Ground Financed heavily by the NRA, and indeed, written by them and then offered by ALEC as “model legislation”  the Stand Your Ground laws have spread to 23 other states besides Florida. Stand Your Ground Laws are often confused with the Castle Doctrine Law (  , but they differ in one important way:  Castle Doctrine ends at your door, with Stand Your Ground, unless you are a minority, you do not have the common law requirement to retreat if possible. 

OPPOSED: Anti-Gun Regulation, and all attempts to create a Federal Background Check system   or waiting periods The NRA drafted these anti-gun-regulatory Bills, and ALEC presented them as templates to their Representatives in Congress. Back in 2012, ALEC once again teamed up with the NRA to draft a model Bill making illegal gun show sales stings illegal.
OPPOSED: Abortion accessibility ( ) and Reproductive health care for Women (  ) including Bills aimed at the “Pre-Born” ( )  ALEC has been funding and supporting the Americans United for Life Organization, whose main purpose is to make abortions illegal, and to redefine a Zygote as a “Pre-Born Child With Constitutional Rights”
SUPPORTED: The Privatization of our Public School systems,,_Higher_Ed_Policy,_and_Teachers and has actively Lobbied to dismantle public schools. A List of ALEC Bill models are listed in the Common Cause-supported Library Wiki ALEC Exposed
Via online schools, where students may never see other students nor an Educator, and the voucher or charter system, which funnels tax payer dollars to fund private for-profit schools –often with Religious foci – ALEC and ALEC-sponsored corporate lobbyists have been attempting to make a profit for a few on the backs of our children. In 2013 alone, there have been 139 ALEC Bills promoting a Private, For-Profit Education Model. The research on the efficacy of the School Voucher Program is still on-going. However, there are some interesting points which have been uncovered. For example, recent studies have generally found no concise or clear academic advantage in student achievement for students attending private vouchers compared to their Public school counterparts. Voucher schools tend to be approx. 13 percentage points less integrated than Public Schools. Voucher schools tend to have less diversity, and students who remained in the voucher program through the duration of the study were much less likely to be African American or Latino than students within the public school system. Only 63% of current voucher users were minority students, compared with 82% to 89% of the public school comparison groups. Approx 70% of the Voucher schools are Religious in focus. The educational quality of teachers differs, as well. Nearly 51% of public school teachers have a master’s degree or higher, compared with only 18% of teachers in private voucher or charter schools. According to the National Education Policy Center “Overall, ALEC’s Report Card is grounded less in research than in ideological tenets, as reflected in the high grades it assigns to states with unproven and even disproven market-based policies. The report’s purpose appears to be more about shifting control of education to private interests than in improving education.” The Virtual School Program has fared even poorer in quality. In Virginia’s Carroll County, the School Board voted to close down K12′s Virginia Virtual Academy after 4 years of operation due to financial and administrative issues plus the fact that the Virtual Academy fared worse than traditional schools on 20 out of 22 measures. The Virtual Academies & the Voucher School Programs have little oversight, and are not held to the same standards as the Public Schools. The Integrity in Education Project recently published a report charging the Charter school systems of 15 out of 42 Charter-approved States of fraud, waste and abuse of over $100 million dollars in tax-payer funding.  Corporate Responsibility in clean-ups, long-term health risks to citizens, and litigation on behalf of injured parties is fiercely opposed, as it affects the all-important bottom dollar. To date, the Horizon Deepwater BP Spill in the Gulf of Mexico is STILL negatively affecting small businesses, tourism, and the health of citizens who live and work along the Gulf, not to mention the incredible loss of wildlife still occurring. The EPA estimates –as of 2002  – that over 8 million gallons of oil spillages occurs annually in the EPA-controlled inland waters. That does not include the off-shore spillages, which are controlled by the US Coast Guard. According to BOEM, (The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management) 227,374,392 gallons of oil and petroleum have spilled into our Oceans between 1964 through 2010 
denying US citizenship to American children born here if parents are undocumented; increase ability to detain immigrants for  ANY reason, even if there was no crime committed.  and detaining immigrants for prison profits
a List of ALEC model bills relating to Human Health 
OPPOSED: Any Bills attempting to raise the minimum wage, ( ) or effect a “Liveable Wage”.
For an update on Bill Moyers’ video, here’s the full episode

OPPOSED: Anti-Gun Regulation, and all attempts to create a Federal Background Check system   or waiting periods The NRA drafted these anti-gun-regulatory Bills, and ALEC presented them as templates to their Representatives in Congress. Back in 2012, ALEC once again teamed up with the NRA to draft a model Bill making illegal gun show sales stings illegal.

OPPOSED: Abortion accessibility ( ) and Reproductive health care for Women (  ) including Bills aimed at the “Pre-Born” ( )  ALEC has been funding and supporting the Americans United for Life Organization, whose main purpose is to make abortions illegal, and to redefine a Zygote as a “Pre-Born Child With Constitutional Rights”

OPPOSED: Equal Rights ALEC pretty much hit the ground running when it came to Equal Rights. They began lobbying against the ERA in 1974, just a short while after they were formed in 1973.

SUPPORTED:   The Privatization of our Prison system. Including lobbying for mandatory minimum sentences even for small non-violent victimless crimes such as possession of drugs, and three-strikes sentencing requirements,_Prisons,_Crime,_and_Immigration and prison labor laws ALEC influenced and presented two major sets of Laws significantly easing the Federal requirement which stated that Prisons could not enter into competition with outside Businesses. Those two Laws are:  Prison Industries Enhancement Certification Program or PIE as it is colloquially known as. and the Prison Industries Act  According to the Law, prisoners must be paid prevailing wages, however, ALEC wrote in an end-around: “Diverts a portion of the money deducted from inmate pay to “private sector prison industries expansion accounts” that can be used to construct work facilities, recruit corporations to participate as private sector industries programs, and pay program management, implementation and oversight costs. As laid out in the 2004 version, this special fund receives the first $2 million of state deductions from inmate pay and half of any further amount.” Thus, inmates are usually paid approx. $1.oo per hour. VIDEO here: Nevada has recently passed Legislation demanding oversight and transparency of these “Prison Markets” in SB 478  Some of the concerns ranged from their “training programs” on-site on bridges and other constructions affecting the safety of Citizens, as well as the actions of Silver State Industries, where the Direction of the Nevada Department of Corrections candidly admitted that the Department had not been following regulations, requirements or protocols, and that there was a significant monetary loss which has yet to be explained or recovered.

SUPPORTED: Stricter Voter ID Laws and diminishing availability to Vote.,_Voter_Rights,_and_Federal_Power  This visual map shows the States which have followed ALEC’s lead, and those who continue to resist corporate influence: and here is an alphabetized listing of every State’s required Voter ID requirements as of 2013. Thanks to State and Federal Courts throughout the land, these are being struck down as Unconstitutional, including the Voter ID Laws in Pennsylvania  , Arkansas , Wisconsin , Texas There are still States whose Voter ID laws have yet to be overturned. Here is a Video briefly outlining ALEC’s contribution to Voter disenfranchisement.

SUPPORTED: Union-busting Right-to-Work Laws Workers’ Rights list of model bills 

SUPPORTED: NAFTA  and Supports TTP   For an Organization whose stated purpose was strengthening the American Economy, the support of both NAFTA and the TPP only positively affects the Corporations involved, not the economy as a whole. OutSourcing of American manufacturing and service has decimated the US Jobs force.

OPPOSED: The EPA and adamantly denies any negative ramifications of pollutants in the atmosphere, or climate change.  All Laws pertaining to clean air, clean water, and clean environment are considered to be tyranny on behalf of the Federal Government, because anything which regulates Corporations’ ability to extract, exploit, discard and pollute at will is considered by those Corporations as an affront to their Rights of Profit.,_Air,_%26_Land and,_Energy,_and_Agriculture

5 top anti-environment laws

OPPOSED: Regulations on humane animal care and agriculture,_Energy,_and_Agriculture including passing legislation protecting people’s free choice, and State’s Rights to pass legislation supported by its’ citizens. ALEC has come out in favor of the continued use of antibiotics in livestock feed, ; DNA-manipulated high-yield agricultural production by such Corporations as Monsanto, an ALEC Corporate sponsor as well as against the Rights of citizens to protest GMOs as ALEC supports activity by state governments to safeguard against local governments regulating agriculture biotechnology.  ALEC also has drafted the Ag Gag Laws, making it illegal to expose animal cruelty by Corporate Factory Farming under the guise of “Animal Terrorism Protection Laws”, these bills are so broad-brushed they include non-violent civil disobedience by environmental and animal rights activists as terrorism. This notable inclusion in the Animal Ecological Terrorism Bill should frighten every advocate: that anyone entering “an animal or research facility to take pictures by photograph, video camera, or other means with the intent to commit criminal activities or defame the facility or its owner” is hereby considered an act of terror.

SUPPORTED: Tort reform to protect Corporations –in particular the long-term Health Care Industry- from lawsuits in criminal neglect and abuse cases, making it illegal to use state health investigation records in state civil suits and makes such records inadmissible in criminal cases.  

SUPPORTED: Anti-Immigration Laws, stating that “Illegal Aliens” are destroying America. ALEC-introduced Anti- Immigration Bills  include such tasty tidbits as mandated local enforcement of Federal Immigration Laws and racial profiling;

OPPOSED: All renewable energy standards,   and SUPPORTS taxes on those who have installed alternative energy sources.  

SUPPORTS: Fracking, offshore drilling of oil and natural gas; and nuclear energy  The Koch Brothers have served as Corporate “Sponsor” Board Members of ALEC since 1995, and have controlling interests in such projects as the Keystone XP Pipeline , where they stand to gain over $100 billion dollars if the pipeline is built; Koch Oil Sands Operating ULC’s Tar Sands holdings in Canada where the refining of bitumen and its’ “PetKoch” (or “petroleum coke” ) storage systems –large 3 story piles of toxic coal ash- have negatively affected the health and environment of citizens in Detroit, Michigan, and Chicago, Illinois.  These massive piles of environmental hazards are then sent to China. As significant corporate sponsors of ALEC, it behooves the Organization to craft laws weakening regulations and storage requirements, while eradicating corporate responsibility to the Public.

OPPOSED: Health Care Reform ( ) and advocates prohibiting “health insurers from accepting federal subsidies under the Affordable Care Act that trigger the employer mandate. Health insurers accepting subsidies shall have their license to issue new business suspended for all business on exchanges established by the Affordable Care Act.” ( )

OPPOSED: Patient Rights, MediCare and Social Safety Nets

OPPOSED: paid sick leave bills, in Florida for example, it is actually forbidden for local governments to enact paid sick leave legislation. (  Apparently, “smaller local government” only applies if the “smaller local government” Votes as Corporate interests demand.

SUPPORTED: Anti-Taxes (Unless you have invested in renewable energy)

Just in 2011, the staggering number of ALEC-crafted, sponsored and presented Bills just on legal reform ! included 16 enacted Laws.  It’s even difficult to categorize which areas ALEC target, because in so many cases, they are linked as Riders to other unrelated Bills, or an integral part of a different series of Bills. So many of the ALEC Task Forces intertwine that sorting through them feels a great deal like a kitten getting lost in a yarn factory.
It’s hard to fight an idea, rather than a specific named issue. In particular, it’s difficult for non-political citizens to understand the workings of a huge Corporate-driven system designed to wrest control away from the People. ALEC is a Hydra,    and for every head we cut off, another grows in its’ place. If we have any chance of taking back our Nation from Special Interests and powerful wealthy Multi-National Corporations, we must get up and participate in the Democratic process. ALEC states it is a bi-partisan Organization, but there are no Progressives involved, so just how fair and balanced can it be?

What can we do?
Join Colors of Change
Join Free to Vote
Take Action. Join Common Cause

And while this may sound simple, hit them where they hurt the most: in the pocketbook. Contact the Corporations and Non-Profits still involved with ALEC  and tell them how you feel about their involvement in Politics. Double check to see if you regularly purchase from any of these Companies or support them in any way, and BOYCOTT THEM.  Make sure to let the businesses know what your intent is; make it public. Post on their Social Networking pages. Use the Contact Us option on their website. Call them on the telephone. We must make our voices and our hearts known. This is probably one of the most effective ways to affect change, since ALEC is all about the “Free Market” and how Corporations can squeeze out more profits. Thanks to Common Cause  and several other Progressive Watch Dog organizations,  ALEC’s Corporate members have been exposed to public scrutiny via a Freedom of Information Act request and an IRS Tax Whistleblower Act Complaint   which put enough pressure on some of their sponsors to drive them away . When Colors of Change  discovered in these documents how many Voter ID Bills have been specifically crafted to deny poor and minority peoples from participating in the democratic Voting process, they contacted these Corporations with a single question: “Just how much do you value your minority customers?”

As you can tell, ALEC represents Multi-National Corporate Interests, and affords owners of Corporations and Share holders TWO Votes; a Vote as a Person, and a Vote at the behind-the-scenes table between Special Interests and Legislators. This is a bastardization of our Democratic process, and cannot continue to remain in effect. Economics is not, nor should it EVER be, the moral compass of our Nation. American citizens have a Right to do business, but business is NOT our Guiding Principles: FREEDOM FOR ALL EQUALLY is. How can we have individual liberty when we allow corporate interests to drive our Government? How can individual liberty compete with Voodoo Vulture Capitalism? How can an Organization claim to desire limited Government, yet insists upon social engineering and inflicting its’ morality upon all US Citizens regardless of their individual and constitutionally guaranteed 1st Amendment Rights? How can Pro-Growth Bills which affect the very rich positively, and the Middle class and poor negatively, which as defined favors or advocates for the commercial development and/or exploitation of land –including Park lands and Public lands – and other natural resources, especially with minimal government restriction or regulation and with NO input from the Citizens of the US who have continuously supported protecting sensitive Park lands, wildernesses, and Public lands possibly be a fair use of those resources for all? In short, it cannot. ALEC’s claimed focus is diametrically opposed to the Constitutional tenets of a Free People. Let us take our Nation back, back to We the People. But in order to do that, we must get up and participate. We MUST Vote. ALEC is, and twice.

June 29, 2015 for my Blog and FB page
I am truly and deeply and broken heartedly shocked at the behavior of Political Moll. I wrote for them, and I will always be grateful for that opportunity.

They removed me as one of the writers without any ANY AT ALL interchange or communication, and that's OK< I understand that.

But I was about to go back and link my article to another post and I find this:

Note the author???

Here the Internet Archive from when the article was uploaded.

Note the author?

How is this at all ethical?

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