exploitation and manipulation

ALEC Experimental Privatization Agenda: Public Policy Failure, Corporate Success

While ALEC legislators still insist on implementing ALEC experimental policies and legislation claiming they are cost effective.  But, at the same time, the public is being inundated with more and more research that privatization of governmental agencies does not benefit anyone – except the ALEC corporate profit sector member who gets the state contract or buys state assets.

Two of the on-going experimental legislative projects that ALEC has pushed for several decades include:

  •     Privatization of governmental goods and services
      “government cannot provide goods or services as cheaply as the private sector can.”

and

  •     Turn Capital Assets into Financial Assets: Sell or Lease Government Assets and Enterprises
    states own over $226 billion in infrastructure assets that could be sold to the private sector.”

A current case in point is the on-going privatization issue: More →

DeMint’s Bold Plan for Heritage: How to Lie More Effectively

Former Sen. Jim DeMint, hero to the overlapping Tea Party and Religious Right wings of the Republican Party, was kindly granted space by the Washington Post to tell us what he plans to do in his new job at the Heritage Foundation.

DeMint, a former ad man, promises to launch a “conservative revival” by figuring out how to do a better job selling conservative policies to the American public. That’s not exactly a big shift for the folks at Heritage, which is and always has been a giant marketing operation for right-wing “ideas.”

The most revealing thing in DeMint’s column is his use of a thoroughly debunked lie that Republicans tried to use against President Obama in last year’s campaign.  Says DeMint of President Obama, “He disabled welfare reform last year, when he took away the work requirements that were at the heart of that law’s success.”

That false claim earned politicians like Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum “Pants on Fire” ratings from Politifact and similar ratings from other fact checkers.  It’s a gross distortion of an Obama administration decision to give states more flexibility to come up with new ways to meet the law’s work requirements – something sought by Republican governors.  Even some Republicans, including one architect of welfare reform, called the charge false when the Romney campaign made it.

As we know from his climate change denialism, DeMint isn’t as concerned about truth as about creating his own reality — the way Fox News and the right-wing echo chamber have tried to do.  “One lesson I learned in marketing is that, for consumers and voters, perception is reality.”

Maybe reporters should start referring to Heritage as a “perception tank.”

this article was re-posted from Right Wing Watch, a publication of People For the American Way at
http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/demint-s-bold-plan-heritage-how-lie-more-effectively

by Peter Montgomery

Dick Armey Dishes On FreedomWorks’ Deals With Beck & Limbaugh

Former chairman says group wasted money paying Beck $1 million last year for fundraising

“…Armey said he was told of the Beck arrangement when it first began, but that it would only cost the organization about $250,000 a year. “Once that was approved by the trustees, it then took on a life of its own, it got bigger than we understood it to be. All of a sudden it was we are paying Limbaugh as well as Beck.” FreedomWorks did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

“Beck has been reading on-air appeals for FreedomWorks since at least April 2010. In June of that year, Media Matters reported that the organization was using Beck’s endorsement to raise money. Politico highlighted the relationship as an example of a conservative group “paying hefty sponsorship fees to the popular talk show hosts” in exchange for “regular on-air plugs.” The FreedomWorks document leaked to Mother Jones states that their fundraising relationship with Limbaugh began in 2012….”

“…Armey also said the relationship with Beck expanded to include rallies that were co-sponsored by Beck and FreedomWorks, and included appearances by FreedomWorks President and CEO Matt Kibbe.

“…Armey said he objected to these events, dubbed FreePACs, because they often charged admission to FreedomWorks activists.

”  review of promotional information for the events found $20 was a standard donation requested at some of the locations, while a Dallas, TX, FreePAC last summer charged prices as high as $971.”

To read this entire article at Media Matters–and there’s a lot more to read, please click hereThey also provide a link to see the FreedomWorks Dec. 2012 Board Of Directors Meeting Documents, which you should review.

ALEC Executive Director Caught LYING about NRA

WELL – ALEC is doing what they do best again – LYING

An editorial by Executive Director Ron Scheberle included the following misleading statements (my emphasis):

“I wish that our critics would conduct themselves similarly. Instead, liberal activist groups like Color of Change have used this tragedy to falsely accuse ALEC of collaborating with the National Rifle Association on model legislation. The truth is that ALEC has no affiliation with the NRA, which is not a member of ALEC.

“ALEC is a partnership between state legislators, members of the nonprofit and private sectors, and the general public that works to support the fundamental principles of free-market enterprise, limited government and federalism at the state level. ALEC does not have any model legislation involving the NRA.”

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. More →

Michigan Right to Work Law Was the Brainchild of ALEC, The Most Dangerous Group in Politics

From article written by Bob Sloan and published on Policy Mic...

Fact: 282 bills were passed in Michigan during the lame duck session. 42% of all the bills passed in the last two years were in this last lame duck session, with 180 votes taken on the last day of the 2012 session alone.

Fact: In the session from Dec 13 to Dec 14 (ending at 4:29AM), 180 roll-call votes were held. This took place in the 18 hours leading up to the ending of lame duck.

No sooner had the GOP secured total control of Michigan in 2010, holding majorities in both houses and winning the governorship, than the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a right-wing ultra-conservative “bill mill” and THE source of money and corruption in politics today, lept into action. ALEC wasted no time in sending many of their most onerous “model legislation” bills to Michigan. These included the Emergency Manager law, , expansion of charter schools, HB 5221 (Voter ID Act), which required voters to provide proof of citizenship when registering to vote, and HB 4305 with language similar to ALEC’s model “Immigration Law Enforcement Act.” More →

Turning State Legislatures into Brothels

VLTP Op Ed by Bob Sloan

The Corrosive Effect of the Koch/ALEC Cabal on U.S. and World Governments

In a perfect world, we as citizens in a representative democracy would elect those who best represent our views on issues critically important in our lives.  In the context of that perfect world, our elected  representatives would work tirelessly pursuing legislation that would benefit their constituents and thus earn the respect of voters and ensure their re-election.  In America, this IS the basis that formed the foundation of our government.  Unfortunately, we do not have a “perfect world” with regard to those who represent us, far from it.  Today, we elect those who will take office and then essentially sell their votes to corporations and special interests which are not allowed to vote for elected officials in our democracy, wealthy or powerful entities in whose interest it is to keep these captured legislators in office, term after term.  Many elected officials take office and ignore the needs of their constituents in favor of the desires of corporations or special interests, and often ignore requests for legislation beneficial to the community they are supposed to represent– until those constituents are needed in subsequent elections, and sometimes even then officials count on voters not being aware how they’ve been sold out.

Some ask: how this has come to pass?  Who is responsible for undermining our democracy and corrupting our elected representatives? More →

ALEC Alum Gov. Niki Haley Appoints fellow ALEC Alum to U.S. Senate

Last June I wrote an important piece on the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and exposed the “Legacy” or lifetime memberships held by current or former ALEC state legislators.  Nearly 100 of the alumnae are currently members of the U.S. House and Senate – and at least one is the sitting Governor of South Carolina, Niki Haley.

In the article linked to above, I documented that not only was Governor Haley a possible lifetime member of ALEC, but also another SC lawmaker was seen at an ALEC meeting wearing a badge identifying him as an “ALEC Legacy Member”.  Today it is possible to see the impact of GOP controlled states upon our Congress and nation.  With Privatized Education, Right to Work (for less), voter ID and other ALEC written model legislation being shoved through in IN., WI., MI., AZ. and TX. we can all clearly see how the expansion of the ultra-fringe ideologies are spread from these pockets of extreme conservatism.

With the resignation of Senator Jim DeMint (R SC) from the U.S. Senate to accept the position of President of the Heritage Foundation (an ALEC member), ALEC saw an opportunity to strengthen their presence in the Senate by increasing the number of ALEC alumnae from nine to ten.  One less ALEC member in the House where currently out of 435 Representatives ALEC has 87 alum (20%) won’t be terribly missed, but it will increase ALEC’s Senate presence to 1 in 10 (10%). Haley’s choice was Rep. Tim Scott, who will move from the House to the Senate to take DeMint’s vacant seat.

Those believing that due to the ongoing pressures from activists and non-profit organizations, ALEC or their cabal is going to lessen their legislative activities or tone down the rhetoric – are in a word, wrong.  ALEC has a 40 year head start and they are completely entrenched in our politics and legislative policies.  This latest move by Governor Haley clearly demonstrates that while numerous progressive and liberal media outlets, activists and journalists are pursuing ALEC nationwide, ALEC is concentrating on continuing – and doing it by expanding their influence where it counts, in Congress.

ALEC is To Blame!

Everywhere we turn – we see the destruction and havoc that ALEC and ALEC legislators are perpetrating on the USA.  In every state – on every topic –the fingerprint of ALEC is there – ALEC legislators armed with ALEC “model legislation” can be directly related to the damage being done to our society, to our people.

I’m referring here to a guest column by Lee Raudonis in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (1)  which is excerpted below. Mr. Raudonis is a former executive director of the Georgia Republican Party. He also worked for Paul Coverdell in the Georgia Senate, state GOP and U.S. Peace Corps. A former private school teacher, Raudonis is now a communications consultant and writer whose clients include political candidates, public officials and the Professional Association of Georgia Educators.   

Mr. Raudonis wrote “To better understand what I mean, think about the terms “public housing’, ‘public hospital’, and ‘public school.” More →

Privatized Prisons used for U.S. low-cost labor

This video, featuring an interview with Prison Industry Investigative Consultant, Author, and VLTP Executive Director Bob Sloan, and an NCIA video which is posted at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUJHaELZQrc tells about how U.S. companies are using prison labor–in competition with private enterprise–to offer the lowest cost production.

Back in 1979 The Prison Industry Enhancement Certification Program eased restrictions on the use of prison labor by private companies.  It took out the loopholes and the provisions which were meant to prevent unfair competition, to the benefit of private corporations.  This was watched over by a private sector prison-industries-oversight-committee made up of shareholders appointed by the governor—and it dramatically expanded the situations in which prison labor could be used.

The result—to quote House member Bill Huizenga, a Michigan Republican – and a member of ALEC–who is the lead sponsor of proposed overhaul legislation “This is a threat to not just established industries; it’s a threat to emerging industries….“If China did this — having their prisoners work at subpar wages in prisons — we would be screaming bloody murder.” More →

Privatizing Government Services in the Era of ALEC and The Great Recession – Section 1, Introduction

PRIVATIZING GOVERNMENT SERVICES IN THE ERA OF ALEC AND THE GREAT RECESSION

by Ellen Dannin 1

I. INTRODUCTION

In Max Barry’s 2003 novel, Jennifer Government,2 there is no public sector:  The world is run by American corporations; there are no taxes; employees take the last names of the companies they work for; the Police and the NRA are publicly traded security firms; the government can only investigate crimes it can bill for.

Hack Nike is a Merchandising Officer who discovers an all-new way to sell sneakers. Buy Mitsui is a stockbroker with a death-wish. Billy NRA is finding out that life in a private army isn’t all snappy uniforms and code names. And Jennifer Government, a legendary agent with a barcode tattoo, is a consumer watchdog with a gun.3

Events in 2010 through 2012 suggest that Jennifer Government might accurately predict our national trajectory. During that period, a number of states, including states with a long history of public-sector collective bargaining—Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Washington, and Wisconsin—limited or proposed eliminating or limiting public-sector collective bargaining rights.4 A 2010 “Quinnipiac University poll found that three-fourths of [Connecticut] state voters supported a wage freeze for state workers, and 61% favored layoffs.”5 Public anger also developed in New Jersey as a result of the state’s failure to properly
fund public employee pension benefits by $53.9 billion. Ironically, that anger led to demands that More →