Posts tagged alec
Posts tagged alec
Rooftop solar is a game changer that lets consumers generate their own power, reducing the need for a centralized power system and cutting to the heart of the utilities’ comfortable position of a guaranteed return. For more than 100 years, power companies have profited from a centralized energy model that distributes power from a fossil-fuel burning power plant out to users through a grid of power lines.
Rooftop solar transforms the system by letting residents and business owners generate their own energy and send extra energy to the grid to power their neighbors’ homes and businesses. It allows us to exercise greater control over how much energy we use and from where it comes. People with rooftop solar save on their energy bills, they offer clean energy to others around them, and they reduce demand on the overall power system. They also save communities the risks and costs that come with fossil fuels: climate change, toxic air pollution, water pollution, stresses on community drinking water supplies and more.
From California to Colorado to North Carolina and other states, many generators of centralized fossil fuel energy are trying to prevent individual Americans from producing clean, renewable solar energy on their own roof tops. They would deny us the opportunity to participate in the greater goal of shifting away from polluting, climate-altering fossil fuels.
Further, in their portfolio planning, utilities are deliberately undervaluing the benefits and overvaluing the costs of rooftop solar. Much of this is an orchestrated campaign by corporate lobby group American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to promote legislation that encourages continued fossil fuel use and discourages competition from renewable energy sources. The Guardian reported that ALEC sponsored at least 77 anti-clean energy bills in 34 states in 2012.
How many times have you read or heard in the news something along the lines of “a new report from the Institute of Free Markets and Liberty finds that giant corporations and billionaires create jobs if given tax cuts,” or how about your classic “Toxic Sludge Is Good For You“? Well guess what, a new report from an actual, honest think tank exposes a national network of corporate PR firms masking themselves as think tanks. The report calls these corporate-front PR firms “Stink Tanks.”
The Stink Tanks
The report, titled Stinktanks.org, exposes the State Policy Network (SPN), an $83 million web of right-wing “think tanks” in every state across the country. These organizations present themselves as nonpartisan, objective and scholarly, But instead of being actual, honest “think tanks” all of these organizations are funded by and/or work for groups like the corporate-backed American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Americans for Prosperity, the Koch brothers and other billionaire conservative and corporate funders like the Waltons, the Bradley Foundation, the Roe Foundation, and the Coors family. Instead of acting as honest “think tanks” they instead operate as PR firms. The “reports” and “studies” these organizations issue always support the legislative efforts of these conservative billionaires and corporations.
Denise Cardinal, executive director of Progress Now, said of these organizations,
“The bottom line is these organizations of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich are representing themselves as groups that are looking out for the best interests of everyday, working class Americans and it’s just a blatant lie. What we’re doing is trying to bring some transparency to the damaging work they’re doing on a daily basis. From policies that promote polluting the air and water to the destruction of our public education system and a tax system that benefits their rich donors, what these organizations are doing is shameful and it’s time that someone brought this to light.”
The first key point is that these PR/lobbying firms are claiming under tax laws to be objective, nonpartisan tax-exempt organizations when it appears they are actually corporate lobbying operations.
From the Stinktanks.org report:
How The Game Works
There is a certain credibility that comes from academic-sounding “studies” and “reports” from actual “institutes.” But in this case the self-serving “reports” that come from this network of organizations come from what appear to be corporate PR and lobbying firms, not real think tanks. These “studies” and “reports” provide credibility to the usual nonsense that the public, opinion leaders and legislators would otherwise dismiss as just more corporate PR releases.
The reports and studies are non objective, academic or scholarly at all. They just reach directed conclusions — they are written to say what the funders of the studies want them to say, to help persuade the public and legislators to support giving the corporations and billionaires tax breaks, subsidies and other benefits — at the expense of the rest of us.
These organizations also provide speakers masked as “academics” and “scholars” who go on the radio and TV, write op-eds for newspapers, and testify before legislative committees. The speakers are paid to provide pro-corporate lines like the minimum wage will “cost jobs” and tax cuts helps “job creators.” But because the organizations are labeled as “institutes” or otherwise masked as objective, non-partisan, tax-exempt organizations they appear to have greater credibility and authority than is given to PR and lobbying firms.
The Actual Think Tank That Exposed The Stink Tanks
The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) is an actual “watchdog organization” think tank. They also run PR Watch and the Sourcewatch Wiki. CMD is not funded by corporations. It does actual research — including a project that I worked on, Total Wall Street Bailout Cost. This project gathered all of the available information about the various bailout programs, explained each, calculated the total funds disbursed, funds “at risk” and funds outstanding. (The table is now out of date.) These are the people who exposed ALEC, did great work helping to expose Fix the Debt and the Pete Peterson anti-Social Security operation and lots of other great and important work.
CMD worked with ProgressNow, a non-corporate-funded network of state advocacy groups, working to promote progressive ideas.
Take a look at Stinktanks.org.
Muckrakers and activists have been working to expose the brutality of industrialized meat production since Upton Sinclair’s writing of The Jungle in 1906. But an ALEC model bill known as “The Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act” would make it a crime to film at animal facilities — such as factory farms or slaughterhouses — with the intent to “defame the facility or its owner.” So-called “ag-gag” laws that appear inspired by the ALEC model have been passed in several states. This report, produced by Okapi Productions, LLC and the Schumann Media Center, Inc. looks at the effect of these laws on both our food supply and our freedom of speech.
Sounds Like More NSA
DBA Press and the Center for Media and Democracy
(DBA/CMD) have spent more than the past year gathering records, through state and federal open records/freedom of information laws, from various law enforcement agencies tasked with “counter-terrorism”/”homeland security” operations. The resultant stacks of documentation, numbering in the thousands of pages, form a grim mosaic of “counter-terrorism” agency operations and attitudes toward activists and other socially/politically-engaged citizens over the course of 2011 and 2012. As such, records show that methods employed by the nation’s “counter-terrorism” apparatus against these citizens has ranged from the use of undercover officers tasked with infiltrating activist groups, to constant monitoring and the use of advanced technologies in the tracking and identification of certain individuals.
Put simply, the pattern that emerges from these pages shows that heavily-funded municipal, county, state and federal “counter-terrorism” agencies (often acting in concert through state/regional “fusion centers”) view citizens engaged in movements of political and social dissent, such as Occupy Wall Street (and its regional incarnations), as nothing less than nascent, if not bonafide, “terrorist” threats.
What’s more, records obtained by DBA/CMD show that this view of activists, and attendant activist monitoring/suppression, has been carried out on behalf of, and in cooperation with, some of the nation’s largest financial and corporate interests— the very entities that the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement and others oppose as usurpers of American democracy.
Additionally, records obtained from the police departments of several cities show that, when possible, corporate interests, or other subjects of public protest, would purchase the services of off-duty police officers— armed, in uniform and acting under the color of law— outright. Our records indicate that, in at least one instance, police officers employed by corporate interests who explicitly stated a desire for protestor arrests and prosecutions were more than happy to not only provide the desired protestor arrests, but to also lie in official records, as well as to the news media, in order to facilitate prosecutions and cover their own actions.
Furthermore, records obtained by DBA/CMD from agencies active in state counter-terrorism “fusion centers— including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)— demonstrate the institutionalized blending of corporate security with “national security” through a number of public-private “counter-terrorism” intelligence sharing programs.
What has resulted is the wholesale criminalization of tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of American citizens who have dared to voice opposition to what is increasingly viewed as the undue influence of private corporate/financial interests in the functions
Legislators in four states have introduced bills in recent weeks supporting the controversial Trans Canada Keystone XL pipeline, with language that appears to have been lifted directly from a “model” American Legislative Exchange Council.
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC’s operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy’s ALECexposed.org, and check out breaking news on our PRWatch.org site.
Legislative puppets that should be removed from office:
Rep. Caleb Rowden (R), Missouri
Senator(s) Watson, McDaniel, Doty, Hill, Tindell, Sojourner, Lee, Montgomery, Smith, Wiggins, Massey, Jackson (15th), Polk, Moran, Gandy, Harkins of South Carolina.
Senators Ingebrigtsen; Rosen; Weber; Housley; Pederson, J. of Minnesota
Senators Proos, Pavlov, Kowall, Hansen, Robertson, Marleau, Caswell, Casperson, Walker, Green, Nofs, Jansen and Booher of Michigan
Legislators who use ALEC to ghost write their submitted bills are almost always empty headed corporate shills owned by the rich and powerful.
ALEC, American Legislative Exchange Council another ‘fancily named’ right wing propaganda outlet with animus for the people and love and affection for murder, corporations, racism, creationism and ignorance instilled in our children at an early age. ALEC is the synonym for evil.
It is hard to understand how human beings can be so callous;
conjuring up ways to turn a profit off the extreme suffering of others.
Yet it appears that is exactly what the Republican Party along with its
affiliates, are all about. If they are not exposed and stopped, our
nation will cease to be a Democratic Republic and we-the-people
will anguish at the hands of The Slave Masters.
ALEC lobbys government and ALEC ghost writes legislation that supports right wing agendas and divides and destroys the people. ALEC is politically based and in no way should be considered a non profit no tax group.
Republican Party Is Pathetic Shit.
Score one for the good guys: After being pressured by Color of Change and other progressive groups, Coca-Cola has left ALEC - the cynical corporate coalition that has pushed a bevy of anti-democratic, anti-middle class, and anti-consumer initiatives.
The various attacks on public and private unions orchestrated across the states has clear, direct ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC. But did you know that a host of anti-science bills mandating the teaching of climate change denial or “skepticism” as a credible “theoretical alternative” to climate change is also an ALEC bill?
So far Texas and Louisiana have introduced education standards that require educators to teach climate change denial as a valid scientific position. Both South Dakota and Utah passed resolutions denying climate change and Tennessee and Oklahoma also have introduced legislation to open classrooms up to climate change deniers.
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 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.
In this case the ALEC model bill is called the “Environmental Literacy Improvement Act and is financed by the oil and gas industry. The Center for Media and Democracy traced the money behind the bill and discovered The Heartland Institute, run by the daughter of disgraced Watergate convict G. Gordon Liddy helped develop the bill. The Heartland Institute is heavily funded by ExxonMobile and Koch Industries.
It’s not just that corporations have extensive resources to pour into electoral politics via dark money, its that they simultaneously fund these astroturf groups that promote disinformation campaigns purely to promote their own economic gains. It’s a dirty, cynical way to conduct public policy and governance that is ultimately not compatible with a healthy, functioning democracy.
Other Links to educate about the harm that ALEC causes:
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?
So why haven’t we ever heard of this group? Because corporate America doesn’t want us to know. Close scrutiny reveals that ALEC is little more than a screen for hundreds of big corporations and trade associations to advance their legislative agendas in state capitals from coast to coast.
Take environmental protections. The Kochs have a penchant for paying their way out of serious violations and coming out ahead. Helped by Koch Industries’ lobbying efforts, one of the first measures George W. Bush signed into law as governor of Texas was an ALEC model bill giving corporations immunity from penalties if they tell regulators about their own violation of environmental rules. Dozens of other ALEC bills would limit environmental regulations or litigation in ways that would benefit Koch.
Since the organization claims to only “exchange” legislation, ALEC is not technically a lobbying firm, and does not need to register. However, ALEC’s tactics and operations are strikingly similar to those of registered lobbyists with corporate benefactors.
According to Corrections Corporation of America reports reviewed by NPR, executives believe immigrant detention is their next big market. Last year, they wrote that they expect to bring in “a significant portion of our revenues” from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency that detains illegal immigrants. ALEC’s role in turning it into “model” legislation to be submitted in states across the country.
ALEC, those that work for ALEC are terrorist and the GOP is SHIT.
Crafting laws to let us FUCK YOU the people.
- Privatized Prisons means a lot of money for those who jail immigrants…..profit, profit, profit and more profit straight out of Americans pockets into the hands of the greedy and the legislatwhores that are ruining America into the dirt. Nothing to do with justice or stemming crime - for the sake of pure GREED.
Last year, two men showed up in Benson, Ariz., a small desert town 60 miles from the Mexico border, offering a deal.
Glenn Nichols, the Benson city manager, remembers the pitch.
"The gentleman that’s the main thrust of this thing has a huge turquoise ring on his finger," Nichols said. "He’s a great big huge guy and I equated him to a car salesman."
What he was selling was a prison for women and children who were illegal immigrants.
"They talk [about] how positive this was going to be for the community," Nichols said, "the amount of money that we would realize from each prisoner on a daily rate."
- The 287(g) program, one of ICE’s top partnership initiatives, allows a state and local law enforcement entity to enter into a partnership with ICE, under a joint Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), in order to receive delegated authority for immigration enforcement within their jurisdictions.
- Somewhat more familiar is ALEC’s instrumental role in the explosion of the US prison population in the past few decades. ALEC helped pioneer some of the toughest sentencing laws on the books today, like mandatory minimums for non-violent drug offenders, “three strikes” laws, and “truth in sentencing” laws. In 1995 alone, ALEC’s Truth in Sentencing Act was signed into law in twenty-five states. (Then-State Rep. Scott Walker was an ALEC member when he sponsored Wisconsin’s truth-in-sentencing laws and, according to PR Watch, used its statistics to make the case for the law.) More recently, ALEC has proposed innovative “solutions” to the overcrowding it helped create, such as privatizing the parole process through “the proven success of the private bail bond industry,” as it recommended in 2007. (The American Bail Coalition is an executive member of ALEC’s Public Safety and Elections Task Force.)
- Although a wide variety of goods have long been produced by state and federal prisoners for the US government—license plates are the classic example, with more recent contracts including everything from guided missile parts to the solar panels powering government buildings—prison labor for the private sector was legally barred for years, to avoid unfair competition with private companies. But this has changed thanks to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), its Prison Industries Act, and a little-known federal program known as PIE (the Prison Industries Enhancement Certification Program).
- Jobs! Taken from American’s given to those who work for nothing. A really 1% idea.
ALEC calls itself an open organization that exists simply to advance “principles of Jeffersonian democracy.” Facing recent scrutiny by the media, one prominent ALEC member told the Daily Iowan that there’s “nothing sinister, there’s nothing secretive about [ALEC].” However, the incident today underscores the suspicion that the organization is a secret conduit for corporate lobbyists to literally write legislation for state lawmakers without having their fingerprints on the bill. To maintain this secrecy, ALEC appears more than willing to kick out media and close their doors to the public.
Behind the scenes at ALEC, the nuts and bolts of lobbying and crafting legislation is done by large corporate defense firm Shook, Hardy & Bacon. A law firm with strong ties to the tobacco and pharmaceutical industries, it has long used ALEC’s ability to get a wide swath of state laws enacted to further the interests of its corporate clients.
ALEC’s campaigns and model legislation have run the gamut of issues, but all have either protected or promoted a corporate revenue stream, often at the expense of consumers. For example, ALEC has worked on behalf of:
ALEC is SHIT.
Tort reform (Corporate paid for, Republican pushed) isn’t one single idea or law. Instead, it’s a group of ideas and laws designed to change the way our civil justice system works. While each tort reform law is different, they all share one or more of the following goals:
Tort cases are relatively rare - they make up only 6 percent of the entire civil court caseload, and are declining — but they are effective. Tort liability is why defective cribs are no longer strangling infants, why flammable children’s pajamas are no longer on the market, and why carcinogenic asbestos no longer insulates our homes and poisons our lungs.
While “tort reform” is allegedly premised on the notion of “individual responsibility,” the real theory behind the effort is “individual responsibility for you, but not for corporations.” The ALEC “tort reform” bills help ALEC corporations escape responsibility for wrongdoing, help ALEC insurance companies limit payouts (and increase profits), and prevent Americans wrongfully injured or killed from receiving just compensation.
American Legislative Exchange Council = Corporate Appointed statute writers for Republicans who can’t read or write.
ALEC claims to be guided by principles of “free markets” and “limited government,” but its opposition to a robust tort liability system contradicts those alleged goals. Under the tort liability system, free market economic pressures check corporate misbehavior. The possibility of a lawsuit, and the associated financial liability, provides an economic incentive for manufacturers, hospitals, builders, and other corporations to be more safe and responsible, and it does so without government regulation and enforcement. By pushing its “tort reform” bills, ALEC is not advocating for “free markets” and “limited government,” but enlarging government to protect corporate interests from free market pressures.
ALEC is a tax-exempt front group for the legislative agenda of global corporations.
ALEC drafts bills that comport with the ideological and corporate agenda of the Kochs and its allied funders. These bills favor corporations and include proposals to weaken the rights of employees and the ability to secure a healthy environment, which it shares with state and local politicians. The National Resources Defense Council and Defenders of Wildlife have called ALEC “corrosive, secretive and highly influential” and a “tax-exempt screen for major U.S. corporations and trade associations that use it to influence legislative activities at the state level.”
The organization has been semi-secretive (makes knowing its members difficult information to find), has been highly influential, has operated quietly in the United States for decades, and received remarkably little scrutiny from journalists, media or members of the public during that time.
The National Resources Defense Council and Defenders of Wildlife have called ALEC “corrosive, secretive and highly influential” and a “tax-exempt screen for major U.S. corporations and trade associations that use it to influence legislative activities at the state level.
When ALEC began, it comprised only a handful of right-wing legislators; by 1991, it had grown into a clearinghouse of information for 2,400 conservative officeholders in 50 states, almost one third of the 7,500 state legislators in the country. It has tried to cultivate “moderate” legislators to expand its influence.
Companies “like Enron, Amoco, Chevron, Shell, Texaco, Coors, Koch Industries, Nationwide Insurance, Pfizer, National Energy Group, Philip Morris, and R. J. Reynolds pay for essentially all of ALEC’s expenses. Sourcewatch.org
ALEC is primarily responsible for ghost writing the legislation used by GOP Governors in Wisconsin, Florida etc to destroy unions and education.