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How ALEC Subverts Democracy

How ALEC Subverts Democracy

I just saw a nasty ad about Jay Nixon, the very popular democratic governor of Missouri, being paid for by an organization called United for Missouri.  Letunited for missouri me tell you they are not united for Missouri, at least not the Missouri we want.  It affects us all on a national level because it’s happening all over the country. I’m just using my home state as an example.  If you’ve wondered why your representatives never seem to be concerned about your issues and national politicians seem to blithely ignore what the voters say then you need to read this.

The Executive Director of United for Missouri and United for Missouri’s Future Carl Beardenis Carl Bearden, who is a Republican politician and also a member of ALEC.  He also runs a “consulting firm” in Missouri and I’ll guarantee you have some like this in your state too.  Both of these organizations are classified as non-profit even though through ALEC they probably see more money changing hands than we, and everyone we know, will see in a lifetime combined.  ALEC stands for the American Legislative Exchange Council so let’s look at what they’re “exchanging.”

Let’s start with the definition of subvert and you can tell me at the end if you think it appropriate in this case.

sub·vert

tr.v. sub·vert·ed, sub·vert·ing, sub·verts

1. To destroy completely; ruin: “schemes to subvert the liberties of a great community” (Alexander Hamilton).

2. To undermine the character, morals, or allegiance of; corrupt.

3. To overthrow completely: “Economic assistance … must subvert the existing … feudal or tribal order” (Henry A. Kissinger). See Synonyms at overthrow.

Briefly, ALEC is a clearing house where our elected officials (nearly all poster 12Republicans) get together with big business lobbyists to auction off our interests by letting them write the law in their favor including tax law, labor laws, regulations, etc.  There were more than 2400 state legislators as members in 2002, nearly a third of the nation’s total.  (Mother Jones, 2002)  In return they get megabucks thrown at their campaigns and who knows what other “perks.”

You can look for yourself to see who the members of ALEC are.  They are all of the companies destroying our economy and environment while they run away with the bank.  They are bankers, Exxon-Mobile, AT&T/telecom, big oil/energy, pharmaceuticals, insurance, the Koch brothers, etc.  Foreign interests are even represented, but you and I don’t have a voice there and we’re footing the bill.  That is the problem in a nutshell.

(editors note:  “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of State and corporate power.”
 — Benito Mussolini)

You’ll also notice that there are many members who aren’t actually businesses but right wing groups promoting their agenda such as the Cato Institute, Americans for Prosperity, the Heritage Foundation, Crossroads GPS, etc.  They kochtopusclaim to be non-partisan but I think it’s clear that they’re not and it’s all one big nasty batch of snakes twisted together with the Koch brothers.  Their tentacles reach all the way from the federal government down to local school boards strangling the voice of the people and choking the life from our democracy.

Some businesses bailed out of ALEC when it was first exposed but the others seem to think we’re too stupid to understand what’s going on—or too powerless to stop it. Here is a link that shows who the business lobbyists are, who they work for and which of our legislators are meeting them to sell out our interests.  Adding insult to injury, in at least 3 states they can do it on the taxpayers’ dime.  These are “the powers that be” that we’re so angry about.  This is who we need to “take our country back” from because they hold it in a vicious grip.  They are still controlling public policy in secret with money and influence to make sure they retain the money and influence.

Billionaires control the political conversation by staying hidden and paying others to promote their brutal agendas (The Guardian, 2013)

Anybody who is part of this organization is the problem.  They need to be targeted in their districts and thrown out like the sold-out scum they are. If you don’t know for sure about your legislators call them and ask them if they are members of ALEC.

If we want to see government that listens to the people we have to get rid of all of these unprincipled, unethical, and subversive politicians be they Republican, Democrat or whatever.  Throw them out of office and let them go to work directly for their true bosses, like Scott Brown did, so we at least know who they’re representing.

There is nothing in the constitution that gives any elected official the right to meet in the dark to do dirty business with a select group of mega-rich people giving them power over the rest of us.  It’s a shame Nixon’s dead because slush funds are evidently legal now or might as well be.

Contrary to their opinion we are the government; we just need to take back the reins.

References

ALEC Thought of Non-Profit — Then Thought Not – Bloomberg. (n.d.). Bloomberg – Business, Financial & Economic News, Stock Quotes. Retrieved April 7, 2013, from http://go.bloomberg.com/political-capital/2012-12-13/alec-thought-of-non-profit-then-thought-not/

Biography of Missouri Governor Jay Nixon. (n.d.). Governor Jay Nixon. Retrieved April 7, 2013, from http://governor.mo.gov/about/Jay-Nixon.php

Carl Bearden | United for Missouri. (n.d.). United for Missouri | The Missouri Minute – covering grassroots and political issues in the state of Missouri. Retrieved April 6, 2013, from http://www.unitedformissouri.org/about/carl-bearden

Carl Bearden – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (n.d.). Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved April 6, 2013, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Bearden

clever, w. d., well-trained., dustbin, w. u., taxes, w. w., Anger, d. t., unions, t., et al. (n.d.). The educational charities that do PR for the rightwing ultra-rich | George Monbiot | Comment is free | The Guardian . Latest US news, world news, sport and comment from the Guardian | guardiannews.com | The Guardian . Retrieved April 7, 2013, from http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/feb/18/charities-pr-rightwing-ultra-rich

http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2013/02/28/173170193/after-tough-2012-conservative-koch-brothers-regroup

Olsson, K. (n.d.). Ghostwriting the Law | Mother Jones. Mother Jones | Smart, Fearless Journalism. Retrieved April 7, 2013, from http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2002/09/ghostwriting-law

subvert – definition of subvert by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia.. (n.d.). Dictionary, Encyclopedia and Thesaurus – The Free Dictionary. Retrieved April 6, 2013, from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/subvert

The separation of profit and state – chicagotribune.com. (n.d.). Chicago Tribune: Chicago breaking news, sports, business, entertainment, weather and traffic – chicagotribune.com. Retrieved April 7, 2013, from http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/sns-201302271700–tms–rkoehlerctnbk-a20130228-20130228,0,2907076.column

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This article is written by cherisplace and is posted at http://thebigslice.org/how-alec-subverts-democracy/

the big slice logo

 

The World Trade in International Corruption – ALEC International

The World Trade in International Corruption – ALEC International

‘If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich’
______________________________________________

ALEC International

_______________________________________________________________

advertisement:

After developing relationships over the past decade, XXX is able to offer the brightest and best activists in XXXX the chance to intern with the following organisations:

The Leadership Institute

The Heritage Foundation

The Young America’s Foundation

The Jesse Helms Center

The Competitive Enterprise Institute

The Independent Women’s Forum

The Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute

The Weekly Standard
_____________________________________________________________

Maybe you recognise the organisation that makes the above claim.  Maybe it’s operating in your State, working with your Senators, Governors and Judges.  Let’s have a look at one of the other claims they make:
______________________________________________________________

advertisement:

The XXXX is a non-partisan, not-for-profit educational, research and training organisation that promotes conservatism in schools, colleges and universities.

XXX identifies, trains, mentors and places philosophically sound activists in politics, academia and the media.
____________________________________________________________

When I see statements such as this I ask myself what would happen if, for example, a Trade Union or a left-wing organisation were to openly state that they are ‘placing philosophically sound activists’ into positions of authority.

I am not an American citizen nor a US resident but the organisation above, and many others like it, are what initially got me interested in keeping an eye on ALEC, Heritage, Cato, the Kochs etc. I will let the organisation introduce itself in its own words:
______________________________________________________________

young britons foundation logoThe Young Britons’ Foundation was entirely inspired by the success, drive and spirit of the American conservative movement.

First introduced to organisations such as the American Conservative Union, the Young America’s Foundation, the Leadership Institute, Collegiate Network and the Heritage Foundation at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), it was clear to co-founder Donal Blaney and Greg Smith that Britain was behind in the training and development of younger political activists.
______________________________________________________________

Yes, it’s a British organisation with extremely strong links to the Conservative Party, the party that Mrs Thatcher used to lead.

Having established the link between this UK organisation and US conservative groups I will now move on to establishing an explicit link between this organisation and ALEC.
______________________________________________________________

HANNAN DanielDaniel Hannan, President (president@ybf.org)

Daniel Hannan is the President of the Young Britons’ Foundation and has recently been ranked tenth by The Daily Telegraph in its annual poll of most influential centre-right figures in Britain.

In 1999, Dan was elected to the European Parliament and has represented the South-East since that time.
______________________________________________________________

Dan Hannan is, as they state, a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) and before I continue I think it may be of benefit to explain a little about the way Europe works.

The European Parliament is similar in some ways to the US Federal Government with MEPs elected by voters in 27 different nations including Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Poland and the UK. The number of MEPs elected in each country is based on population and, together with the Council of Ministers and the European Commission, the Parliament, although having limited powers, is one of the three power bases within the EU.

Although stating that MEPs have limited powers their influence should not be under-estimated as the EU is the world’s biggest free trade area covering some 500 million people in 27 countries and the European Union and the United States have the largest bilateral trade relationship in the world.
Dan Hannan as a Conservative Party MEP sits with like-minded politicians in a Parliamentary group, the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, set up by the leader of the Conservative Party and current Prime Minister, David Cameron. It should be noted that the UK Conservatives are the only mainstream ‘centre right’ party in the EU to take part in this group.

Most of the MEPs in the following list are members of the ECR:
______________________________________________________________

Richard Ashworth – British ConservativeRichard Ashworth

Committee on Budgets

Delegation for relations with Australia and New Zealand

Adam BielanAdam Bielan –                  POLAND

Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection

Delegation for relations with the countries of Southeast Asia and the    Association of  Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

Martin Callanan – British Conservative, Chair of the ECRMartin Callanan

Conference of Presidents

Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety

Delegation to the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (Africa Caribbean Pacific – European Union)

 

Philip ClaeysPhilip Claeys – BELGIUM

Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs

Delegation for relations with the countries of Southeast Asia and the Association of  Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

 

Niranjan Deva  – British ConservativeNirj Deva

Committee on Development

Subcommittee on Human Rights

Delegation for relations with the countries of South Asia

 

Christofer FjellnerChristofer Fjellner – SWEDEN

Committee on International Trade

Delegation for relations with Belarus

Delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly

 

Daniel Hannan  – British ConservativeHANNAN Daniel

Committee on Constitutional Affairs

Delegation to the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly

 

Roger HELMERRoger Helmer  – UK Independence Party (formerly British Conservative)

Committee on Employment and Social Affairs

Committee on Petitions

Delegation for relations with the Korean Peninsula

Syed Kamall – British ConservativeSyed Kamall

Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs

 

Michal Tomaz KaminskiMichal Kaminski –  POLAND

Committee on Development

Delegation for relations with the Mercosur countries

Delegation to the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly

Miroslaw Piotrowski –  POLANDMiroslaw Piotrowski

Committee on Foreign Affairs

Delegation for relations with Japan

 

Ivo StrejcekIvo STREJCEK – Czech Republic

Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs

Delegation for relations with the People’s Republic of China

 

Robert Sturdy – British ConservativeRobert Sturdy

Committee on International Trade

Delegation to the Cariforum — EU Parliamentary Committee

Delegation to the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly

 

Konrad SZYMANSKI – POLANDKonrad Szymanski

Committee on Industry, Research and Energy

Delegation to the EU-Armenia, EU-Azerbaijan and EU-Georgia Parliamentary Cooperation                                            Committees

Delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly
______________________________________________________________

The reasons for listing the above? They are ALL members of ALEC and NONE of them declared this in their Register of Interests last year despite the Code of Conduct stating, extremely clearly:
______________________________________________________________

2. The declaration of financial interests shall contain the following information, which shall be provided in a precise manner:

(d) membership of any boards or committees of any companies, non-governmental organisations, associations or other bodies established in law, or any other relevant outside activity that the Member undertakes, whether the membership or activity in question is remunerated or unremunerated,

(g) any support, whether financial or in terms of staff or material, additional to that provided by Parliament and granted to the Member in connection with his or her political activities by third parties, whose identity shall be disclosed,

(h) any other financial interests which might influence the performance of the Member’s duties.
______________________________________________________________

Due to their failure to register their membership of ALEC, a situation since remedied by SOME of them, a formal complaint was made to Martin Schulz the President of the Parliament. Several months on there has been no response to the complaint.

You must admit that having these ALEC members inside European Parliamentary Committees able to pass information to US colleagues within hours of meetings taking place and long before decisions are reached is potentially a pretty useful tool for lobbyists.

In addition to the MEPs listed there are two members of the British Parliament who are, or were, ALEC members.

Chris Heaton-Harris is the Member of Parliament for Daventry and was, prior to his election in 2010, an MEP and is a close colleague of Roger Helmer.

Liam Fox was a member of ALEC until at least June 2011 which overlaps his period as British Secretary of State for Defence, a position he held from May 2010 until October 2011.

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This article is an introduction to a series that I hope, over the coming period, to contribute at VLTP.  In coming pieces I hope to look in more detail at the activities of ALEC, ALEC members and affiliated groups in Europe and to expose the influence being exerted by legislators from Europe and elsewhere on US policy making.

If there are any comments or questions arising I will be more than happy to attempt to respond to them.

– na-Saighneain

 

The na-Saighneain Definition of Corruption :

If you are paid by the public to carry out a public duty and receive money from any other source, WHETHER YOU DECLARE IT OR NOT, in order to do those duties, or to do them better, or to carry them out for the benefit of some to the detriment of others – YOU ARE CORRUPT.

If you carry out public duties but fail, without good cause, to explain your work by hiding behind, for example, ‘Commercial Confidentiality’ we will treat you as if you are corrupt – you are responsible to us not vice versa!

If you pay public servants to carry out work in your behalf for which they are already in receipt of public money – YOU ARE CORRUPT.

If you are a political party and you refuse to disclose the name of your donors and the amount of their donations – YOU ARE CORRUPT.

If you are a THINK TANK or LOBBYIST  seeking to influence Public Policy without declaring the source of your funds or the amount we will treat you and those donating such funds as corrupt.

If you claim charitable status whilst receiving anonymous donations we not only consider you corrupt but thieves.

If you receive contracts paid for through public funding and fail to declare the details of the contract, without good reason, we will treat you as if you are corrupt, if you any engage in any of the other activities listed YOU ARE CORRUPT.

If you are working in a legislative, judicial, quasi-judicial or executive role and de not remove yourself from such a role in which you have personal interests YOU ARE CORRUPT. In the recent debate on the National Health Service in England OVER 200 OF THOSE WHO VOTED HAD A FINANCIAL INTEREST!

If you work in the media and use the special status accorded the press and knowingly mislead the public because of another position you hold YOU ARE CORRUPT.

If you are a member of a political organisation and have knowingly misled or misrepresented, putting partisanship above truth – YOU ARE CORRUPT.

We know these are extreme standards which is why we do not wish to place ourselves in a position where we would be in breach of our own standards by, for example receiving money from those whom we may wish to criticise or whom others may think we should be criticising.

We WILL NOT censor any information but we WILL do our best to correct any errors, acknowledge sources (except where they request anonymity). We WILL publish, in full, all correspondence from official sources (we may redact personal information). We WILL NOT allow IP, Copyright and other similar legislation to be used to prevent us from publishing anything whatsoever.

We WILL respect anonymity 100% where it is requested and agreed to in advance.

We will NEVER publish anything we receive from third parties unless we can corroborate it to our satisfaction.

Where we are criticised for failing to meet the high standards we are trying to set for others we WILL publish the criticism along with any procedures we adopt to prevent such failures on our part.

na-Saighneain

The Paul Weyrich troika is alive–unity among ALEC, Heritage Foundation, and the Republican Party

a super article from Brendan Fischer at PR Watch.  Absolutely a must read!

Three right-wing organizations founded nearly forty years ago by conservative activist Paul Weyrich are rediscovering their shared origins. The Republican Study Committee, a caucus of 169 right-wing Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives, is establishing a partnership with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the controversial “corporate bill mill” for state legislators, and their first meeting is scheduled at the Heritage Foundation headquarters. Each of those three organizations — the RSC, ALEC, and the Heritage Foundation — were founded in 1973 by Weyrich.

…Weyrich famously observed that with regard to the conservative movement “our leverage in the elections goes up as the voting populace goes down.” Today, ALEC and the GOP are pursuing his vision with a voter suppression agenda that includes strict voter identification bills introduced in 37 states across the nation since 2011, purportedly to crack down on phantom “voter fraud.”

ALEC boasts on its website that in 1981, President Ronald Reagan formed a national Task Force on Federalism, which included ALEC’s then-National Chairman Tom Stivers of Idaho, and “would come to rely heavily upon members of ALEC for expert testimony.” According to ALEC’s history, ALEC members like “State Senator [now Governor] John Kasich of Ohio and Senate President Robert Monier of New Hampshire regularly met in front of the committee.” ALEC also claims that it “worked directly with the administration on policy development issues.”

To read Brendan Fischer’s complete article, I highly recommend that you click here. .