ALEC International Relations Task Force

05/05 Daily Report on Activities, Legislation and Initiatives of the ALEC/Koch Cabal

05/05 Daily Report on Activities, Legislation and Initiatives of the ALEC/Koch Cabal

By Bob Sloan

Below are today’s articles and materials related to ALEC and the Koch funded conservative cabal.  Included ALEC published material – if available.

Click on a link to view the complete article.

Scientific American: North Carolina legislators make end-run on science and renewable energy

From “The Raw Story”

North Carolina Republicans push through anti-renewable energy bill in ‘banana republic’ vote:

“Democrats in North Carolina say they could have defeated a bill to repeal renewable energy subsidies on Wednesday if Republicans had not pushed it through committee without counting the votes.

The state Senate Finance Committee debated the bill to end the state’s 6-year-old renewable energy program for over 40 minutes before Republican chairman Bill Rabon called for a motion. … “North Carolina is not a banana republic,” Sen. Josh Stein (D) complained following the hearing. “That was no way to run a proceeding.”

Environmental advocates have suggested that Republicans based the bill on model legislation from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Republican state Rep. Mike Hager, who authored the bill, is an ALEC member.

Moffitt skips House session to attend conservative conference

ASHEVILLE — Rep. Tim Moffitt skipped a session of the state House, along with Republican Speaker Thom Tillis, to attend a conference of a controversial pro-business group in Oklahoma.

Moffitt, R-Asheville, was recently appointed to the board of the American Legislative Exchange Council, a group that supports limited government and free markets. Tillis is also a board member.

Ag-Gag Laws Could Make America Sick

Against these criticisms, farm industry advocates argue that activists often misportray what actually happens on farms, turning isolated incidents into inflammatory narratives of routine abuse that further anti-meat-eating goals. The industry also portrays undercover video-taking as a violation of farmer rights.

“At the end of the day it’s about personal property rights or the individual right to privacy,” said Bill Meierling, a spokesman for the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative business group that drafted the model for many of the ag-gag laws, to the Associated Press. “You wouldn’t want me coming into your home with a hidden camera.”

Exposed: How Murdoch, Bill Gates and Big Corporations are Data Mining our Schools

Besides New York and Louisiana, inBloom has contracts with seven other states. All are part of the Shared Learning Collaborative, a pilot program set up by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) to help implement Common Core standards through the tracking of student data. The Council of Chiefs, also a non-profit, is composed of the heads of America’s state school systems who work together with corporations to collectively design education policy, in mold of the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC. 

North Carolina Republicans push through anti-renewable energy bill in ‘banana republic’ vote

“Democrats in North Carolina say they could have defeated a bill to repeal renewable energy subsidies on Wednesday if Republicans had not pushed it through committee without counting the votes.

“Environmental advocates have suggested that Republicans based the bill on model legislation from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Republican state Rep. Mike Hager, who authored the bill, is an ALEC member.

The Future of the Climate Debate Is in the Laboratories of Democracy

“A key fight over efforts to curb climate change is happening in the relative anonymity of various state legislatures. This week, Colorado voted to increase its use of renewable energy, while the North Carolina State Senate voted to do the opposite. But only one side won.

“Opponents in North Carolina were bolstered by support from various conservative groups, a number of which have made the repeal of renewable standards a key priority. The News & Observer notes that “American Conservative Union, Americans for Tax Reform and The Heartland Institute are among the organizations pushing to make North Carolina a testing ground for rolling back policies that favor renewable energy.” Those groups aren’t alone. The conservative American Legislative Exchange Council has similarly targeted the policies, prompting a number of renewable companies to end their memberships. Several of the organizations, including ALEC and the Heartland Institute have ties to the fossil fuel industry — which supports rollbacks of renewable energy standards for fairly obvious reasons.” 

Fossil Fuel Empire Strikes Back…At Clean Energy

Front Groups do the Dirty Work for Oil and Gas Industry

“So far, 29 states have implemented Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) programs that require increased production of energy from renewable sources such as solar, wind, geothermal and biomass. They’ve been adopted in red states and blue – from California to Texas to Maine – through democratic processes and with popular support. RPS programs have helped jumpstart an industry that is spurring economic development, creating American jobs, boosting energy independence and cutting our carbon footprint.

“The groups may sound familiar: American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which is currently pushing legislation around the country that would mandate the teaching of climate change denial in public school systems, and The Heartland Institute, which ran a billboard campaign last year comparing global warming “admitters” to Osama bin Laden and Charles Manson. Both have long opposed sensible energy policies. And their funders will sound familiar, too: the oil, gas and coal industries and their owners like the Koch Brothers.” 

State House leaders off to ALEC

“As House lawmakers debated whether to halve the number of North Carolina children eligible for free pre-kindergarten, several key members were missing from the chamber.

“House Speaker Thom Tillis, Rep. Tim Moffitt, R-Buncombe, and Rep. Jason Saine, R-Lincoln, left early Thursday to attend the ALEC Spring Task Force meeting in Oklahoma City, scheduled for Thursday and Friday.

“According to Tillis spokesman Jordan Shaw, the only state funds spent were for registration fees – a practice also extended for legislators’ trips to other conferences, like the National Conference of State Legislators.

“ALEC, or the American Legislative Exchange Council, describes itself as a free-market, limited-government group.”

Nullification: How States Are Making It a Felony to Enforce Federal Gun Laws

“In mid-April, Kansas passed a law asserting that federal gun regulations do not apply to guns made and owned in Kansas. Under the law, Kansans could manufacture and sell semi-automatic weapons in-state without a federal license or any federal oversight.

“Kansas’ “Second Amendment Protection Act” backs up its states’ rights claims with a penalty aimed at federal agents: when dealing with “Made in Kansas” guns, any attempt to enforce federal law is now a felony. Bills similar to Kansas’ law have been introduced in at least 37 other states. An even broader bill is on the desk of Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell. That bill would exempt any gun owned by an Alaskan from federal regulation. In Missouri, a bill declaring federal gun laws “null and void” passed by an overwhelming majority in the state house, and is headed for debate in the senate.”

International:

More US companies looking to relocate to Britain to dodge corporate tax.

Firms rush to relocate in low-tax Britain

More than 40 multinational companies have inquired about relocating their headquarters to the UK because of the cuts in corporation tax.

Steve Varley, the UK chairman of Ernst & Young, revealed that the accountancy firm knew of the significant number of firms seeking to relocate from countries such as the USA, as well as from the Netherlands, Switzerland and Ireland.

The high figure will be a boost to George Osborne, the Chancellor, who has made Britain’s lower rates of corporation tax a centrepiece of Government policy. The advertising giant, WPP, recently announced that it would move back to the UK from its present headquarters in Dublin.

“I know of more than 40 multinational companies that have been looking to undertake global and regional headquarter relocations into Britain,” Mr Varley said.

Are renewables doomed to failure in Australia?

“Across the United States right now, a pitched battle is being fought over the future of renewable energy targets in the 29 states that have them. Already, 16 of these states are considering legislation – templated by a fossil fuel-sponsored lobby group, the American Legislative Exchange Council – to repeal or dilute the ambition of renewable standards.

“So far, the campaign – boosted by Tea Party radicals in the Republican movement – has not been successful. In the past week, North Carolina rejected the idea after leading utilities such as Duke Energy, and big data centre operators such as Apple and Google expressed their support for wind and solar projects.

“The new energy minister in WA, Mike Nahan, has upped the ante – possibly in anticipation of the Coalition winning the federal poll in September.

“Nahan is an interesting choice as energy minister. For supporters of renewable energy, he’s actually quite a frightening one.

“The American-born Nahan is a former executive director of the conservative, pro-market, anti-renewable think tank, the Institute of Public Affairs, which is so intertwined with conservative policy making that many Coalition politicians refer journalists to the IPA for comment on issues such as energy and climate.

“A collection of Nahan’s thoughts on climate and energy can be found on the IPA website as, like his contemporaries and successors, he was a prolific contributor to (mostly Murdoch-owned) newspapers. They give an interesting insight into his views on all things climate, energy and environment.”

ALEC: Pursuing Universal Stewardship – Part One

ALEC: Pursuing Universal Stewardship – Part One

VLTP Special Report logo

Editor’s Note:  Over the next few weeks VLTP will be publishing a series exposing the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) involvement with advancing their conservative agenda, model legislation and resolutions worldwide.  We have discovered and begun to monitor the activities of ALEC overseas as they pursue developing and  sponsoring legislation they favor in foreign countries. Unfortunately these activities are a two way street, in that ALEC has numerous foreign elected officials serving as full members, who come to America, meet with U.S. state lawmakers and develop new laws they favor for America’s citizens.  All this will be covered and exposed through this new series beginning today – Bob Sloan, Executive Director.

_____________________________________

By Susan Kraykowski

News of the death of former Conservative British Prime Minister, MargaretThatcher, on April 8, 2013, threw American conservatives’ idolatry of Lady Thatcher into a bright spotlight. It’s entirely appropriate, that President Obama speak to the nation upon the passing of important world leaders – especially those from our allies – and send an official Boehner at ALECdelegation to their funerals. Why, however, has House Speaker, John Boehner (R-OH), insisted upon a special resolution in Thatcher’s honor, as well as upon sending his own, hand-picked representatives to the funeralin addition to the official delegation? Why also is an American presidential library-style memorial to Thatcher – money almost entirely raised in the US – in the planning stages?

One might assume, given this evidence, that perhaps the “special relationship” between American conservatives and their cousins-across-the-pond is a bit more special than usual – and one would be correct in this assumption.

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has been busy in the United States for a couple of decades, writing the “cookie-cutter” bills that turn up in state legislatures all over the country – the bills which have practically identical wording in them and always seem to benefit corporations and conservative causes over ordinary individuals or community health, education and welfare funding. ALEC and its associated think tank, The Heritage Foundation – of which Lady Thatcher was patron – have recently been extending their tentacles into international territory.

Recently – over most of the past decade – interesting similarities in policy and in the wording of legislation have been turning up in the United Kingdom, especially in England, as well as in the European Parliament. ALEC member organizations have sponsored British MPs as speakers for ALEC events in the United States. Young British Conservative Party trainees – across the pond, one has a “traineeship” as opposed to an internship – attend CPAC each year in droves (one wonders exactly how their ALEC sponsors explain all our 2nd Amendment frothing-at-the-mouth to them). And, there are some strangely easy-to-obtain masters degrees in such disciplines as international relations and public policy from certain sub-institutions of higher learning, offered to British MPs who slip into the US through a loophole in the law that allows them to skip registration as foreign agents if they are in the country pursuing educational opportunities. That seems to be set up to work the opposite way, as well, for American ALEC members.

On the surface, none of this looks especially threatening. Neither does a special resolution in the House of Representatives, honoring MargaretThatcher, after the near-unanimous passage of which, Speaker Boehner declared the House in recess, so no other business could be transacted. That is part and parcel of his prime directive from ALEC, of course: pass no legislation favored by President Obama, even if Republicans originally proposed it and/or a majority of Americans support it. Of course, everyone knows that every dangerous iceberg has an innocuous looking tip, sticking out of the water.

Thatcher - JonesIn subsequent articles, we shall explore the international ALEC iceberg. For each of the above-mentioned issues into which ALEC has insinuated itself on the international stage, we will trace contacts, examine timelines and connect the dots between ALEC, its subsidiary organizations and shells, its members – both individuals and corporations – and the Members of Parliament in the UK and the European Union. MargaretThatcher, deceased though she now is, was one of the architects of the structure built over the years to advance international corporate interests over the interests of either national governments or the social well-being of the people governed. The most important point here is, unless registered as foreign agents, Americans influencing British and European domestic policy, are committing illegal acts. If foreign nationals attempt the same in the United States without registering as agents of a foreign power, they are also committing illegal acts.

 

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Acknowledgement to the following for providing research and materials used in the Expose –

Former VLTP Program Director, Ron Rabatsky

EU/UK Research team led by na~Saighneain

Where Has Color of Change Been All This Time?

saw this making its way around people’s inboxes yesterday:

postal worker cofc

A most worthy cause.  But, Color of Change, just as you were with ALEC–where have you been?  Must you wait and test the waters before capitalizing by joining in?

With ALEC you jumped in to the campaign to expose them long after so many Daily Kosother researchers had been already doing the research.  People like the Daily Kos writers who have been writing and exposing ALEC for a few years now.  People like Lisa Graves who ALECexposedhas devoted so much of her time and effort to be the face of this movement, someone whose research you take and use to raise funds and increase your membership.  People like Bob Sloan, our executive editor, among the first people to start posting about ALEC.  People like the other researchers who have been identified by ALEC as “to be avoided at all costs”.

the fold

Your claim to fame was getting corporations to quit ALEC.  You fell over yourselves promoting your work,  capitalizing  from it.  Well, how did that workMONEYPOWERANDALEC out?  VLTP has shown how half of the corporations that have quit ALEC did not do so because of their concern about ALEC’s politics.   In fact, they are giving their money to other radical right organizations funded by many of the same people and corporations that fund ALEC.  You can take a look at http://www.vltp.net/?p=4929  to see What Happened to the Corporations Who Quit ALEC.  I wonder which were forced to quit by you, and how many by the socially responsible money managers we have been reporting about?

And now you are finally, finally getting on the bandwagon trying to save the USPS.  A very worthy cause.  But where have you been since Bob Sloan exposed the plan to kill the USPS-LogoUSPS?  I know you are aware of ALEC, but where is mention of it in your donation letter?  Did you not read his special report on the ALEC/Koch Cabal Pursuing Privatization of the US Postal Service for UPS and FedEx…at http://www.vltp.net/?p=122  It was published almost 11 months ago.  Certainly you’ve had time to research how your interest in ALEC is connected to your new interest in the USPS?

No?  You were not aware of it?  Why not?  Given the tens of thousands of hits that this article has received–and continues to receive every day–how did your researchers miss this?

save america's postal service
Welcome to the fight to save the USPS.  We very sincerely applaud your efforts to raise awareness of the plight of the USPS–especially their unionized workers of all skin colors.  And we sincerely hope that you run this campaign to help save the USPS for as long as it takes.

But if you want timely information about issues that have been affected by ALEC – and the “other ALECs”, what we have called the Cabal – you should be looking at the researchers who lead the field in grass roots reporting on these issues.

You might even want to learn about ALEC’s involvement in the rest of the ALEC Internationalworld.  ALEC cannot be stopped simply by fighting them here.  Their offshore operations–funded by many of the same corporations that fund ALEC here–are there to pick up the slack.  You can read our exposure of that in our newest expose–The World Trade in International Corruption – ALEC International, posted here at http://www.vltp.net/?p=5093

Or, you might try working with everyone who is working to expose ALEC without participating in any boycotts of specific groups or people.
if we are fighting each other we can't fight the enemy

Prospective Charter Schools Applications Surge Into Raleigh

A short while ago we posted The Assault on Public Education Continues in NC which noted the growth in Charter school applications in NC.  Here is a follow up article expanding on the subject.

This post is from the Carolina Journal Online, published by the John Locke Foundation–Art Pope’s think tank here in NC.  A well formed and influential magazine that supports radical right wing dogma.  They are part of the conservative echo chamber by which they overwhelm the public with “expert” supporters for the rad-right agenda.  This is a site worth looking at for no other reason than to see how it promotes this agenda.  I encourage you to learn about the John Locke Foundation by clicking here (once you have read the rest of this blog, I hope).

[Just for background for those who have not been following our blogs on NC:  Art Pope, is an ex-member of ALEC – might still be, we don’t know for sure–yet) and has been involved in Americans For Prosperity with, among others, David Koch.  Pope is said to use brother Charles Koch as a role model.  On the smaller stage of North Carolina as opposed to the international stage of ALEC, Pope has been incredibly influential in NC politics and is widely given credit for the super-majority that conservatives have in the state capitol.

Thom Tillis, who will be referred to later, is the Speaker of the House.  He is also a member of ALEC and was ALEC’s 2011 Legislator of the Year.  He is involved with their International Relations Task Force (chaired by NC’s Tim Moffit and the Philip Morris Corp.).  VLTP has written about ALEC’s international influence before, and is working to connect some final dots showing how multinational corporations are at the heart of a major amount of ALEC Model Legislation.]

The article is entitled Prospective Charter Schools Applications Surge Into Raleigh, and subtitled “But critics fear that state regulators will stifle innovation“.  Well framed as talking ponts–conservatives do this so well.  Sounds interesting, and it is–for the wrong reasons:

RALEIGH — Potential charter school operators, including two that would operate online, flooded the state with 154 letters of intent to open in fall 2014, punctuating a growing appetite for alternatives to traditional public education.
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