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ALEC, Koch & the USA


By Suzi LeVeaux - Posted on 12 August 2011

November. 2, 2010 saw a radical group of Republicans swept into office in states across the country, and in Washington DC. When legislative sessions began in January, many were stunned by the tenacity of this new breed of the Grand Old Party as it began the process of breaking public employee unions, dismantling state governments and privatizing civic services.

The purported goal of this nationwide movement has been to reduce the state budget expenditures. These restrictions curtail the political power of public employee unions by cutting off funds for political campaign and lobbying expenditures. They also thwart attempts by public employee unions to resist privatization of government functions and to support candidates opposing elected officials who vote for corporate giveaways of public resources.

Hardly a day goes by without a conservative governor proposing some draconian anti-labor, anti-middle class law aimed at -- dare I say it -- destroying democracy in this country. Are we supposed to assume this is all one big coincidence? The truth is, a little known but politically powerful "conservative" organization is has been quietly flexing it muscles for years. Meet ALEC....The American Legislative Exchange Council.

ALEC has played an extraordinary role in crafting legislation.  A report titled "ALEC: Ghostwriting the Law for Corporate America" it was pointed out that "Behind the scenes at ALEC, the nuts and bolts of lobbying and crafting legislation is done by l[the] large corporate defense firm Shook, Hardy & Bacon." This "law firm with strong ties to the tobacco and pharmaceutical industries, ... has long used ALEC's ability to get a wide swath of state laws enacted to further the interests of its corporate clients." shaping pro-corporate legislation.

Over the years, the report noted, "the organization has promoted the interests of:

Oil companies to undermine climate change proponents;

Pharmaceudical companies arguing that states should not be allowed to import prescription drugs.

Telecom firms to block local authorities from offering cheap or free municipally-owned broadband;

Insurance companies to prevent state insurance commissioners from requiring insurers to meet strengthened accounting and auditing rules;

Big banks, recommending that seniors be forced to give up their homes via reverse mortgages in order to receive Medicaid;

The asbestos industry, trying to shut the courthouse door to Americans suffering from mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases;

Enron to deregulate the utility industries

ALEC has received significant funding from the Charles Koch Foundation (CKF), which also funds the Cato Institute, a "conservative" think tank. In 1974, Cato was originally incorporated as The Charles Koch Foundation. David Koch is currently on its board of directors.

David Koch is also a trustee of The Reason Foundation, a libertarian public policy institute and prominent ALEC member that promotes the privatization of government (and also receives CKF funding). Michael Flynn, Reason’s current director of government affairs, served as a director of ALEC policy and legislative activities/strategic initiatives for several years ending in 2003.

David Koch also currently chairs the Americans for Prosperity Foundation (AFPF), formerly known as the Citizens for a Sound Economy Educational Foundation (another prominent ALEC-contributor), largely funded by CKF and Koch Industries.

In 2003, AFPF incarnated two more foundations: Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks, and they paid U.S. House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas) $429,583, via FreedomWorks, as a "consultant"—his first year salary as chairman of FreedomWorks. Armey and the group’s president Matt Kibbe wrote an op-ed article in 2007 proposing the Boston Tea Party as a model for putting grassroots pressure on central government. Beginning in 2009, FreedomWorks was instrumental in creating the faux-populist Tea Party. This supposedly grass roots, but acutally astro-turfing, group has enabled, and put into office, and unprecedented GOP majorities in many states, and installed their corporate representatives in Congress.

And it all ties neatly to the Koch brothers and ALEC....This new version of the GOP really does have an agenda, and it's not for "We the people".  If sane and sensible people don't take control of the Republican party, it will self destruct.  Consider yourself warned.

There is a new, and very good, discussion group on FB. 

http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/groups/134722949953073/
The Silent Majority/MIDDLE America for Obama.

Like RFO, they encourage civil and thoughtful discussion.  For those of you who use FB, it's worth checking out, and  they would like to add more Republicans and/or former Republicans to the mix.

I'll think about it.

Bombast like this thread, I can do without.

And I'm also kinda pissed at Obama for not leading more forcefully. Yes, I know he has been set against by the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, but he should surely take arms against his sea of troubles. He needs to do a better job of standing up for what's right, and held to account when he does not. He needs to take a few pages from Harry Truman and Theodore Roosevelt. Conciliation is an important leadership trait, but so is standing up for what you really believe.

I know we rag on the tea partiers and GOP for their unwillingness to compromise (at all!) but right or wrong it definitely shows a certain strength and unity of purpose, a strength and unity of purpose that those of us who embrace the President's vision (and our vision) of government and country could well learn from and even in some ways embrace.

Because otherwise we just come across as weak and without answers. And that is the death of a thousand cuts for sure.

Tin, what in the world is bombastic about what I wrote?

I guess it's a lot easier to grumble about the President's lack of forcefulness (although I agree with you somewhat), than it is to take a hard, honest look at what is going on behind the scenes.  Perhaps this kind of "bombast", in actuality, is where their sense of unity comes from, and is the driving force behind their cohesiveness.   

 

Instead of attacking the messenger, attack the message.

You didn't answer my question.....What is bombastic about it?

It's just another one of those conspiracy thingies, like 9-11 truthers, etc. I don't buy it at all.

Just because these guys support their political beliefs and causes with their time and money (like a lot of people here seem to do) doesn't mean that there's some kind of "secret cabal" behind it.

I think there is a considerable difference from 911 Truther conspiracy theories to well-documented groups such as ALEC when there is clear evidence that laws they have proposed come ready-made in multiple state legislatures where Republicans just achieved majority in January, and these bills came out in February with no indication of prior discussion or work.  People might not have paid much attention to a Univ. of Wisconsin political science professor Bill Cronon (a political independent and definitely not a Democrat) and his blog post about ALEC until the Wisconsin Republican Party immediately made an Open Records request for his state employee emails.   http://scholarcitizen.williamcronon.net/2011/03/15/alec/

Thanks Minn...I totally agree. I'm one who loves to debunk conspiracy theories, but this hardly falls into that category.  There is no "grain of truth" filled in with "what-ifs".   You're right....no one was paying attention, and they got a lot of their agenda accomplished.  The lines of connection are very clear, there for anyone willing to look for them with an open mind.  Knowledge can be power. 

Thanks for this link....It's great, and I wish I'd had it when I was doing my research.  I'm bookmarking it for future reading.  

Tin, if you don't want to believe it, thinking it's a conspiracy theory, that's fine with me. *shrug*   But that's hardly what "bombast" means.   You had me wondering what in the world was pretentious about it!!! 

I did a lot of research, for weeks, checking things out and following leads, including attempt to debunk everything I posted here.  Every single thing I wrote is factual.  Whether it has overtones of a cabal is up to each person to decide...although I don't think they want to over throw the government...they want to TAKE it over.  

Were you paying attention when the Koch brothers swarmed into WI when the protests broke out, and the legislation was being questioned?  Do you know who wrote the legislation?  Did you read any of the links in my blog?  I could give you many other links showing how most, if not all, of the very right wing "think tanks" ect are all linked to the same group of people, and manipulating the under-informed and/or ignorant with fear and hate.  Do you really believe the Tea Party just came into being on it's own?  Do you know how much right wing legislation is written for the states by ALEC, and why?  Do you know how ALEC makes their money?

  There is a BIG difference between supporting your beliefs and causes, and deliberately forcing them into existance for profit and power.  I wish you would be a little more open minded and at the very least, curious.

Sorry, it's just as bad as blaming Soros and Acorn for everything that's wrong on the left.

So no, I doubt I'll be very open minded about it. And sorry for my poor choice of words, maybe I should have said "demogoguery" instead. Or at least "hyperbole". Or maybe there's yet a better word.

As it's neither incendiary nor exaggerated,  I think the word you're looking for is "disagree"

With the Soros and Acorn accustions, the proof doesn't exist....at least not where I could find it.  I looked.

I'm not likening the work of the people to the the Illuminati or the New World Order, for heavens sake.  LOL  

If it's just a case of superior organization and disicpline like latrece says below, then I can accept that and I apologize.

But that's not how I read your posts originally. You made it (or my own reading made it) sound like something sinister and underhanded was going on.

You read something into it that wasn't there, Tin, as that wasn't the intent.  See my post to Latrece below for more explanation.

I also think it's time for the President to be much more aggressive. He was and is afriad of being painted as an outsider, but at this point he has a real chance to paint Perry and Bachman as outsiders-- especially now that Congress and the Tea Party are getting such low scores, and 77% of Americans think the wealthy should pay more in taxes. 

If Obama isn't willing to take a harder line, I almost think it'd do everyone a little good for him to get a primary challenge from a fire-breathing liberal. At least then it'll give people a real contrast and throw some new possible solutions into the jobs and deficit debate.

Two prominent Republican governors – Bob McDonnell of Virginia and Rick Perry of Texas – mingled with other GOP notables and some of the wealthiest conservative donors in the country at the annual summer retreat organized by the Koch brothers that began Sunday near Vail, Colo 

It marked at least the eighth time McDonnell has attended one of the Koch conferences, which typically bring together about 200 conservative business titans and dignitaries hand-picked by the Koch brothers and their operatives to discuss free-enterprise conservative causes and raise millions of dollars in contributions to political groups such as Americans for Prosperity, and other non-profits favored by the Kochs.

The Koch conferences are organized and paid for by the Koch brothers’ oil and chemical company, Koch Industries, and have taken place twice a year since 2003, with the winter meetings typically in the Palm Springs area, and the summer meetings in Colorado – so selected for their proximity to homes owned by the Koch brothers.

Those who attend are warned not to mention the meetings publicly, and – until January’s meeting in California – every previous meeting had gone off without a word in the press.

In the past, the meetings have drawn an A list of participants – politicians like Sens. John Cornyn (Tex.) and Jim DeMint (S.C.) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.), as well as leading free-market thinkers including American Enterprise Institute president Arthur Brooks, talkers Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck and even Supreme Court justices to mingle with wealthy donors who make up the bulk of the invite list


Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0611/57888.html#ixzz1UvQy1uxU

Good Morning! I really enjoyed the write up that Suzy wrote regarding the ALEC & KOCH and USA  involvement in the tea Party development  and their strategic push for very Conservvative  legislation. I think the " take away point" from Suzy's write up is in order for the progressives or Moderate republicans to gain gorund in this political process and environment, we must be very astute and aware of the calculated strategic ploy from the far right party. "We The People" can not afford to be taken by surprise in this very delicate time. I am sure the far right party is examining every detail and strategy  that is being developed from the left. As a matter of fact, they are attempting to sqash any and all strategies from the Left before it is even Fully developed!!   Their goal is to keep the left in survival mode; they will dsirupt any plan or ideas the left comes up with. So what is so wrong with being completely informed regarding the far right strategy?? 

Unfortuantely, we have to dig beneath the surfaces in order to compete with the oppositon party. Not only does the American people and moderate Democrates/Republicans have to come up with good ideas, but we have to be aware of our opponent's plan so that we can  have a strong rebuttal!!  Ignorance is not an option anymore. 

On the other hand, I agree with Tin's and other's frustration with the President's handling on some things; however, we can not allow our frustrations to side track us from what the bigger picture is all about. I share you'll disappointments,  discontent  and dissatisfaction with the leadership. I really do feel that there were some missed opportunities that the President could have taken but nontheless, it is hindsight, so let us move forward in unity!! Have a great day!!

 

 

I'm glad you grasped what I was saying, Latrece.  

We have all been concerned by the corporate takeover of our government.  Where there is big money, there is power.  And with money and power comes the ability to strategize in a very long term, and effective way.  I tried to lay that out by showing the connections.  There are other big money people and corporations involved, (and a couple of Supreme Court justices to a lesser degree) but I didn't want to make people's eyes glaze over. ;-) 

We cannot fight that which we do not know.  Actually, we (average people) don't have the ability to fight this on their home turf.  What we DO have is the ability to make the strategy known, and let people see what's at work...especially those who are being manipulated for profit and corporate power.   I have to admit I was greatly disappointed in the response, and lack of it, to this.  Not because I wrote it, but because the information is quite important.  As you said, "they are attempting to squash any and all strategies from the Left" and also from any moderate.  We see this in the states, and in Congress.  

Thank you for not being apathetic, Latrece, and for being willing and able to see the big picture. 

No problem Suzy!!-- Your statement was so well written and eloquent;  I learn so much from reading everyone's perspective here.  I hope I don't offend anyone because that is not my intention. However,  Republican Rick Perry  Presidential nominee is looking like a  very viable candidate because he fits a certain comfort zone with a lot of Mid Americans.  I am not sure what his appeal is but his words are contrary to what the American people needs. Dissolving the Entitlements are not productive in the short or long term future for the American people. Somehow his debonair looks and charm are swaying people LOL-- Sadly, I think people are looking for that "Great White Hope"  my apologies if I offend anyone; not intended.  Because people are hurting economically, they want to be "rescused"  not lead by a decisive leadership.  A lot of people will be voting based on their pain and desperation, not based on the facts. Whatever message makes them feel good, they will sway in that direction sadly. 

 

I hope people will be able to see that this fight is about the haves and the have nots. Anytime you have government degrading systems that helps the poor, you have a government that is not for the people. Some of the comments that Rick Perry made was very bold and insensitive.  He is showing his true colors by telling the American people what he will do when elected as President; he will rid America of wasteful spending by eliminating some or all of the entitlements for the poor! like really??  Are we going to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear and just look at what so called mediocre jobs he created?? !! Why do we tend to Major in the Minor?? It was extremely expensive and time consuming to elect  President Obama. It is going to take a miracle for a second term.  The United States has been shaken by the most Powerful political players who are not even elected in office. The system is being influenced by Big Rigs and Corporations who could care less about the working class and poor! I have never seen such bashing of the poor !! In this season, I am hearing the media and presidential nominee come out and ridicule systems that impact the poor; comments are being  made about how the poor is so comfortable here in American but that they contribute little to society!!

I am so amazed at how people can be so short sighted and soon to forget how vigilante the far right  has been in removing the rug and safety nets out from underneath the working class and poor! --- Their Moto is down size the Government but increase the corporations for the Rich!!  They want to expand corporations and look for more loop holes to make major profits.  Expanding major corporations, doesn't necessarily mean more jobs for Americans because the jobs are being outsourced but the corporations are profiting despite where the jobs are located!!  This is called INNOVATION!! --- People have to wake up! and see what is REALLY going on! They are not making Government small because they are concerned about the debt but  TPTB want Government small so they can continue to profit from these Global expansions and International deals; the less money they have to waste on systems   impacting the poor;  the more money they can put in their pockets!  Well I hope the working class becomes very vigilante and progressive in this election process!! 

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