ACA

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 →

INSOURCING Analysis – Prison Labor Competing For Your Job

In December 2010 I wrote the following article on prison labor and those involved in removing jobs from the private/public sectors and putting them in the hands of inmates.  Now that I look back even I am sitting here shaking my head at the names, companies, legislators and laws involved in this huge profitable enterprise.  I take little satisfaction in saying I tried to bring this subject to the attention of America’s workers, unions and lawmakers years before the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and their activities regarding American workers and exploiting taxpayers were exposed in 2012.  However, when you read this keep in mind the corporations and individuals who have by now become infamous for their membership in – or support for ALEC – and compare that list to what I provided in this Daily Kos post on December 6, 2010…and since then I discovered how the Dept. of Justice and the Bureau of Justice Assistance have teamed up to help transition our jobs from neighborhoods to prisons.

INSOURCING – Faith Based Prison proposal and links to Tea Party – Follow-up More →

Nationwide’s “On Your Side…?” Hey ALEC – How about some Clarity?

By Bob Sloan

Thanks to 2Old2Care @ BecauseICan Blog for research…

An article on October 10th from PRWatch updates and clarifies – to some extent – the discrepancy discovered related to Nationwide Insurance’s claim that they have not been involved with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) for over a decade now.  However Nationwide’s statement raises other important questions…

Nationwide claims that once it was revealed that the company’s Susan Valauri, who is currently Nationwide’s senior director of government relations, won ALEC’s “Private Sector Member of the Year Award” in 2008, the award was for activities prior to 2002:

“The 2008 award was for past service, and at the time she was not a member nor did she have any affiliation with ALEC.” The date of her award overlaps with the period that her former colleague, Smith, was managing ALEC’s day-to-day affairs.”

This claim by Nationwide’s current Director of Public Relations, Dace de la Foret makes no sense to most of us who have been following and reporting on ALEC’s activities for years.  I say that as the caption under the picture showing Valauri receiving the award, clearly states the award is given to the “2008 Private Sector Member of the Year .”  We have found no other instance where ALEC has issued or awarded such a prize to another individual or company more than six years after they left the organization.  They awarded their Jeffersonian award to former President Reagan after he left office but Reagan was never an ALEC member, and they’ve given awards to their legislative alumni.

Other questions raised regarding the ALEC Private Sector Member of the Year awards…how many private sector members are  chosen as “member of the year?”  Does every ALEC private sector member get one of these “prestigious” awards annually?  Are there limits to the number of identical awards ALEC hands out every year?

In 2002 ALEC handed out three “Private Enterprise member of the year awards”:

Alec’s 2002 Private Sector Member of the Year recipients include:

We have identified at least two for 2008.  In addition to Ms. Valauri and Nationwide, there is J.P. Wieske, the executive director of the Council for Affordable Health Insurance (CAHI), headquartered in Alexandria, VA.  CAHI claims to have been the ALEC 2008 Private Sector Member of the Year recipient – and Heartland Institute proudly reported Wieske as the award winner: Wieske co-authored ALEC and CAHI’s 2010 “State Legislators Guide to Health Insurance Solutions and Glossaryand CAHI and Wieske both came on-board ALEC after Nationwide and Valauri purportedly left, which calls into question why ALEC would honor a previous private sector member and her company over CAHI and Wieske?  We have Wieske’s co-author, Christie Herrera, ALEC’s former Director of their Health and Human Services Task Force, publicly lobbying against candidate Obama’s Healthcare platform in 2007and according to Nationwide:

“Ms. Valauri received the award from ALEC, when it was led by Alan Bronson Smith. He was Nationwide’s head of government relations from 1978 to 2002. Smith not only represented Nationwide on ALEC’s corporate “Private Enterprise” board a decade ago, but also a few years after leaving Nationwide he became the Executive Director of ALEC from 2008 to 2009.

In an ALEC Joint Board Meeting document from 1996, the Board determined – too many awards were being handed out, making them less “meaningful” – limits and provision for awards needed to be set.  The chairman of the Private Enterprise Board could nominate one private enterprise member . State Senator Dean Rhoads (R-NV) stated that the Awards Committee would provide its recommendations for these awards to the Executive Committee of the Board.  The Committee held:

“…legislator and private enterprise awards would be limited to ALEC members only and that non-ALEC members could be awarded certificates of appreciation for advancing an ALEC issue. He added that no legislator or private enterprise member should receive an award more than once…the criteria for receipt of a legislator or private enterprise member award should be work on a task force, work on behalf of the ALEC state delegation or work in leadership positions.

Obviously either Nationwide or ALEC is lying about the 2008 award in question – because ALEC’s rules only allow one annual award for private enterprise members and purportedly requiring the recipient be a current ALEC member and the award be based upon work on a task force, a state or for “leadership” work.  For 2002 ALEC had already given three such awards out to then current member companies and their representatives…yet we’re now led to believe that Valauri and Nationwide were a fourth recipient?  Receiving such an award “retroactively?”

The fact that the head of Nationwide’s government relations division, Alan Bronson Smith left the insurance giant and later returned to ALEC as their Executive Director…then left ALEC for another of the conservative cabal’s key members, Heartland Institute is a key part of the cabal’s “revolving door” policy.  The additional discovery that a Mississippi legislator, William Gardner Hewes, III is a Nationwide agent and member of ALEC holding a seat on ALEC’s International Relations Task Force (using his Nationwide email address at ALEC) leads us to believe the relationship between ALEC and Nationwide is much close than they would have consumers believe.

Somebody is lying or deliberately muddying the facts to hide “something” from the public.  ALEC is under such scrutiny and their brand has become toxic to corporate members of late.  Because ALEC is so secretive about their members, activities and model legislation it may never be known what the actual facts surrounding the membership of Nationwide is/was in ALEC and if/when the membership actually ended.  Possibly it’s time ALEC answer questions posed instead of leaving the burden to their members by refusing to respond to legitimate questions posed by journalists.

Clarity, of course, has never been one of the character traits of ALEC so let’s not hold our breath until they come forward with facts…

Idaho Health Exchange Group Hears From Prominent Foes Of The Federal Health Care Law

BY EMILIE RITTER SAUNDERS at ID. Health Exchange

“Policy analysts from the Libertarian-leaning Cato Institute and the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council or ALEC spoke with panel members Wednesday about why Idaho should not create its own exchange.

Under the federal health care law, states can decide to create and operate their own exchanges, participate in a federally-established exchange, or let the feds create an exchange with the plan to eventually transition to a state-run model.”

Read the full article here

NPR, NBC Use One Guy for Small Biz Opposition to ACA and Fail to Disclose his NFIB Ties

[the incompetence of the media to research their “experts” is just pure laziness and sloppiness.]

When national news outlets want to know how ordinary small business owners feel about the U.S. Supreme Court upholding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act [7] (ACA), they apparently all turn to just one man: Joe Olivo, owner of Perfect Printing in New Jersey. In recent weeks, Olivo has been quoted by both NPR and NBC News as a representative small business owner concerned that the ACA will make him reluctant to hire more employees.

Olivo is a member of (and apparent spokesman for) the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), which was the lead plaintiff in the U.S. Supreme Court challenge to the Affordable Care Act. As the Center for Media and Democracy has reported, the NFIB is a highly partisan front group masquerading as representative of small businesses. The NFIB has received millions from Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS and has strong ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC.

To read more about this travesty of reporting–from highly respected news sources–please click here

What Hath Roberts Wrought?

But Roberts is a conservative, and a very smart, forward-looking one at that.  What Roberts accomplished on one issue was to enshrine two conservative ideologies — without the Democrats even noticing while they were cheering.  He did this by using the Court’s ability to turn metaphors into law. He accomplished this with two votes.

…First he was the swing vote that imposed the idea that Health Care Is A Product and set the stage for a possible general principle: The Interstate Commerce Clause governs the buying and selling of products and the government cannot force anyone to people to buy a product (real or metaphorical).

Second, Roberts was the swing vote on the ruling that saved the Affordable Health Care Act by creating a precedent for another metaphorical legal principle: A fee or payment imposed by the government is a tax. 

In short, in his votes on one single issue, Roberts single-handedly extended the power of the Court to turn metaphor into law in two conservative directions.

Don’t miss this fascinating explanation by George Lakoff about what was missed in the euphoria of the ACA last week,  please click here to read it in its entirety.

The Supreme Court’s Decision on Affordable Health Care – In Plain English

Even before the Supreme Court issued its ruling on NFIB v. Sebelius, the challenge to the Affordable Care Act, Fox News and CNN both announced that “Dewey Beats Truman”.  And the rhetoric from the right wing has only become more wrong, more obfuscating, more incredibly uninformed.  Of course part of this is just the GOP applying the Ailes doctrine of “repeat it enough times and people will believe it”.  They can’t win the bout on points, so they are resorting to low blows.

But this, like so many things about the entire right wing strategy as devised by their think tanks depends on one critical factor–an uninformed public.  “The best disinfectant is sunlight” is how Justice Brandeis put it.

With all the misinformation and purposeful disinformation out there, and I’m not a lawyer, how do I get to understand what the Supreme Court ruling means?  Well, first of all it needs to have an impartial writer.  Secondly, the impartial writer needs to be able to take complex constitutional issues and transform them into plain old English.

So I turned to a site that I heard about that only does one thing–report on Supreme Court actions.   It went methodically through the ruling so that even I could understand the subtleties of all of the issues involved.

So if you will click here, when you are confronted by the B.S. of those who don’t know, or those who don’t want you to know, you can take them to school.

 

 

Obamacare Decision: Supreme Court Upholds Individual Mandate, Major Victory for Obama and America

From Policymic by Chris Miles

“In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court has ruled to uphold the individual mandate and declare Obamacare legal.

“The decision is complicated and we are reading it now, but the bottom line is the entire ACA was upheld, with the exception that the federal government’s power to terminate states’ Medicaid funds was narrowly read. Chief Justice Roberts joined the liberal majority and declared the individual mandate constitutional as a tax.”

This decision by the SCOTUS is an important one for all Americans, but especially for those of us who have been exposing ALEC.  The featured photo accompanying this article is of the cover page of the ALEC SCOTUS “Amicus Brief” filed with the court supporting the GOP pursuit of overturning the Affordable Patient Care Act (ACA).  An aspect of this case that many are unaware of is that when Candidate Obama announced his platform as President would be to pass universal healthcare, ALEC immediately went to work crafting legislation to prevent it.  They openly lobbied against it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmcfocz9ld4&feature=player_detailpage back in October 2007.  They have spent tons of money, time and effort into opposing and pushing for the ACA to be overturned.  When it was obvious it would pass in Congress ALEC worked to get the best deal for their insurance and pharma members.

In an upcoming segment on ALEC, VLTP will be exposing dozens of such briefs filed by ALEC and their Koch funded cabal in key cases over the past decade.

Read the full article at PolicyMic here