Populist Daily

Politics, Culture and American Life

Populist Daily header image 1

ALEC and the Corporate Takeover of America

May 14th, 2012 · No Comments · Capitalism, Corporations and Industry, Fascism, Lobbying, Politics, Populism

Our government at local, state and national levels is being confiscated by huge corporations. It is happening every day in state legislatures all over the country.

Our major corporations belong to a Right Wing organization called the American Legislative Exchange Council, more commonly known as ALEC. Their job is to advance their goals at the expense of your goals.

There are hundreds of pieces of legislation being introduced as public interest legislation. But it is actually written by ALEC, paid for by ALEC member corporations. It is handed over to paid state legislators all over the country to introduce into their state legislatures.

This isn’t stuff that is good for you. It is legislation that is good for corporations. It is a huge operation with people in all 50 states. Here are some of the bills that they have introduced or are introducing. Democrats are fighting a huge battle just to keep American citizens from losing the battle against pollution, clean air and water, civil rights, voting rights, pensions…even the right to join a union to bargain for better wages.

For example, the “Paycheck Protection Act” eviscerates unions by making union executives criminally liable for engaging in political acts. It makes it illegal not only for unions to collect money for political purposes through payroll deduction, it is illegal even for the union member to do it voluntarily. This is clearly a union-busting bill and it has been introduced all over the country. There are dozens of similarly titled bills just for legislators to use to break unions in order to reduce workers wages.

Unions are particular targets of ALEC because they represent political power that can balance the economic power of billionaires and multi-billion-dollar international corporations. These corporations want two things. First, they want to reduce regulations that make them clean up messes rather than leaving it for the tax payers to clean up, sometimes at a cost of tens of millions of dollars. Second, they want to reduce wages. Labor is the chief cost in business. Reducing wages to the lowest common denominator means that corporations make more profit for their large stockholders.

Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin has made it impossible for public unions to collect dues by simply disallowing the unions from collecting dues altogether. Instead, state employees would have to deposit checks in their own banks, then have banks send union dues to unions, or they would have to write a monthly check and mail it to the unions. What possible reason could there be for doing such a thing to inconvenience the workers? All other deductions from pay were permitted. The goal is to break up unions.

There are over 50 different pieces of anti-labor, anti-worker legislation from ALEC. That fact alone leaves no doubt that there is a concerted effort to use turncoat lobbyist-legislators to hurt the very people who send them to the state legislature. This is not a Red versus Blue state issue. This is in all 50 states and it is the rich versus the poor and middle-class.

Further evidence of that is tort legislation. Hundreds of bills have been submitted to state legislatures limiting damages and making the recovery of costs from corporate-caused accidents and product liability more difficult to obtain. One bill limits class actions only to citizens of the state where the action is brought.

The same bill limits class action lawsuits only to people who are not seeking monetary awards for damages. Another hold damages to $250,000 no matter how bad the damage. Another limits how much attorneys can charge, to make it less attractive for consumers to be able to get an attorney.

The Product Liability Act makes it much more difficult for consumers to bring a tort action for damages against a company. Imagine, if you will, a state legislator voted in to protect his community and yet has sold out to big corporations who want the freedom to damage those same citizens with impunity.

Privatizing schools is a big deal for ALEC. In fact, education in all its aspects is a target of ALEC legislation. They have clients who are private school systems. They don’t really care, except in order to get contracts, to make profits for shareholders—whether they are educating children.

They push legistlation like the Parent Trigger Act which basically says that if parents in a school district can be lobbied to do so successfully, they will have the right to close their school and hire a firm to create a private charter school for their kids. Or they can opt for school vouchers for about 75% of the cost of the tuition of the private school. This is a way to shut down school systems and hire teachers for less money. It is always about cutting salaries an benefits for workers.

Governor Walker has been a strong proponent of weakening school systems. He has cut over 2,500 teachers in Wisconsin. In Kenosha county alone 358 teachers were notified that, among that group, over 200 would be laid off. And new teachers are being hired for as little as $25,000 with no benefits. This in what had been one of the best school systems in the nation. In one year, Walker has brought it to its knees. But he succeeded in his task, paid for by Koch Industries and others on the ALEC board…he broke the union.

The Higher Education Sunshine Act requires that state universities (though not private religious universities, like, say, Liberty University or Bob Jones University) must have “intellectual diversity.” What does that mean? That the state legislature can essentially harass university professors if they seem to “Liberal” and that they can introduce “diversity” into the curriculum, such as, for example, Creationism.

The big oil companies and mining companies are leading the way among ALEC supporters. Some of the legislation tries to make states repeal their commitments to clean energy. They are proceeding with legislation to remove regulations on clean water standards after natural gas fracking.

ALEC is working hard for the dirty energy suppliers as well. The Energy Independence and Security Act would allow “dirty fuels” like those being developed from the Bakken Shale—dozens of times more polluting even than regular gasoline–to be used in government vehicles.

ALEC encourages more spending in election campaigns and less transparency. The Resolution in Support of the Citizens United Decision is a blockbuster in support of Citizens United. Sponsored by the National Rifle Association, it opposes any disclosure of who is spending the money to influence people about candidates.

It opposes any attempts by shareholders to know how a CEO or influence how a CEO of a corporation is spending money on political donations. The Resolution says that disclosing top funders or which foreign countries are contributing is an “enormous burden” and should be done away with. And voter fraud is their new bogus problem.

The Voter ID Act says that, in order to vote a person must have a valid, not expired, driver’s license or a state-issued ID. It is no longer good enough to have a piece of mail with your name on it or a piece of mail plus several credit cards or other IDs. Once again, the Neo-Fascist government of Scott Walker has gone further, requiring that, even if the ID is valid, there must be proof that this is the person’s current address.

These anti-vote programs are meant to drive away the elderly and student voters. Voter fraud is less than a fraction of even one-half of one percent of the votes cast. But ALEC has at least 23 different pieces of voter-fraud legislation that they are using to try to disenfranchise more liberal voters like students and those on Medicare and Social Security.

The goal is to elect politicians who will cut services to the needy. The result of that will be less government, which means lower taxes on the rich and fewer regulations on corporations. And that is what ALEC is all about.

Taxes are an important thing to some people and corporations who pay lots of taxes. Many of those people pay lots of taxes because they have devoted themselves to making lots of money. Some who make lots of money…amounts so large that many Americans cannot even imagine…make huge fortunes because of pure, simple greed. So it is no surprise that they focus on avoiding taxes.

The Super Majority Act is something that ALEC has been working on in many states…already in effect in the Neo-Fascist state of Wisconsin under Governor Walker…which says that in order to pass anything to do with raising taxes or fees there needs to be a Super-Majority which is normally two-thirds of the legislative body in question.

The Taxpayer Privatization Act would establish a commission in the state involved for the purpose of investigating departments that can be privatized and then privatizing any that can be converted. This is quite possibly the most blatant attempt by Republicans to turn government over to friends in private business. Contrary to what they claim, many if not most of these private firms cost more, not less, than the comparable government department.

Numerous bills have been introduced by a special organization designed merely to write such legislation, the Evergreen Freedom Foundation, another Koch-Family-funded lobbying group, to reduce taxes on global corporations. These bills would require the state to prove that a physical presence of that corporation exists in the state before taxes could be collected. So, if the corporation has headquarters somewhere else, or only has an affiliate in that state, they could get away tax free, even if doing billions there.

Kraft foods which sells you items that go into your children’s bodies sponsored a bill to reduce or eliminate taxes on smokeless tobacco.

There are at least 93 bills that have to do with lowering taxes on corporations or on wealthy individuals. There are some that are obvious, like the Capital Gains Elimination Act, and the Taxpayer Right to Appeal Act and the removal of taxes on telecommunications. All these kinds of bills are being pushed by ALEC through their bought-and-paid-for state legislative agents.

In each category that ALEC has delineated there is a company or companies that is trying to get its legislation enacted. Some companies want to pay no taxes, so they will ride in on legislation by tobacco companies that are trying to regain a foothold in the teen market, to kill more Americans.

They are destroying America…all the progressive legislation to keep Americans safe from cancer-causing pollution and the kinds of high energy prices that bankrupted hospitals and schools and individual elderly homeowners—some died—in California in the Bush ENRON era are returning.

One of the organizations most involved with ALEC is the National Rifle Association, now clearly one of the leading neo-Fascist organizations in the country, a blight on society of the worst kind. They have combined with the private prison industry to promote crime and punishment, including incarceration for illegal immigrants as a business. They sell guns to anyone who will buy them. Then they push for crime legislation to catch the criminals into whose hands the guns frequently fall.

A part of that is legislation for longer prison terms and prohibition of bail. The idea is to keep people in prisons as soon as possible and for as long as possible. And now, prision labor is being used to make products for companies like Microsoft. So it can truly be called prison-labor which is basically what the Nazis did in World War II.

To show how far the National Rifle Association will go, despite the many multiple killings by people with guns on campuses, instead of creating legislation to restrict guns, the Campus Personal Protection Act does the opposite. It would prohibit local campus police from keeping students or anyone else who might be wandering around campus from carrying a concealed weapon.

Then there is the Shock Incarceration Act. This is made to look like a boot camp for delinquents. But in reality it is another opportunity for private prison corporations, allied with the National Rifle Association, who sponsored it, to take first time, non-violent offenders and imprison them for 120 days at minimum.

As you can see ALEC has its tentacles into state legislatures with literally hundreds of pieces of legislation. We could only touch on a small fraction of them.

But the message is clear. ALEC has an agenda to limit workers rights, end consumer protection on such things as high credit card interest rates, undermine and decertify unions, create more “right to work” states, enhance free-trade programs that send jobs overseas and privatize many government services for the profit of their supporters.

Corporations see ALEC as an opportunity to repeal consumer rights legislation, to reduce or eliminate torts decisions for product liability and limit the rights of citizens injured or killed by corporations. Not only corporations but negligent doctors and health insurers as well as pharmaceutical companies have used ALEC to try to protect themselves from penalties for injury or death caused by their activities.

In addition to privatization legislation for elementary and high school classes, some educational legislation demands that anti-science and pro-religion classes be integrated at the university level, taking education back 50 or 60 years.

Their chief target is unions. Unions demand living wages, benefits and decent treatment for workers. In addition, unions come out in large numbers to vote and to work in elections to see that populist representatives are elected.

New energy developments like natural gas fracking and mountain top removal mining have created enormous problems for some communities, polluting streams and drinking water. ALEC legislation is designed to free them from the responsibility of cleaning up the large areas of devastation often caused by these methods.

AlEC’s basic goal is to undermine state protections to go around federal laws, create conflict that leads to delay to save them hundreds of millions of dollars that citizens them must pay. They create legislation to take away authority from local governments to manage and protect their own resources. They attack regulations on climate change, on nuclear power safety and hazardous materials handling. ALEC has launched a deliberate and deadly attack on the environment.

We’ve talked about Voter ID acts and other attempts to restrict the rights of citizens to vote. In any Fascist organization there are two basic principles. Get power by any means possible, even if it means trampling or abandoning the people’s right to vote. And while waiting for power use that smaller voting bloc to increase your percentage of the vote. Meanwhile, obstruct any legislation that you don’t like.

ALEC has gone one step farther. They have found a way, using the money of rich Right Wing, Neo-Fascist corporations to spend tens of millions, perhaps hundreds of millions to buy up the loyalties of many turncoat Republican legislators, traitors to their own constituents and to the American People.

Of course, in the end it is all about money and greed. One of the key aspects of ALEC legislation are the tax laws. They have basically hired disloyal Republican state legislators to ruin state finances by entering bills to prevent tax increases on the wealthy or on corporations. Many varied and different approaches mean that if they do not succeed at first, they can try, try again. And they do.

ALEC is doing more harm than simply creating legislation. The National Rifle Association, one of the leaders in ALEC legislation, has a sinister purpose that every city police department recognizes, whether they choose to admit it or not. The goal of this cynical organization is to sell as many guns, handguns and automatic weapons as they possibly can, the American people be damned.

We have more murders in just one of our large cities…Chicago, Houston, Detroit…than in all the countries of Europe in a year. They control guns. We do not, thanks to the lobbying efforts of the National Rifle Association. Now they literally want to bring guns into college classrooms, churches and public assemblies.

They want people to use guns and then be put in private prisons, staffed by their affiliated private prison corporations. Much of the legislation is about privatizing prisons. What a great idea! Let’s make encouraging crime and the solving of crime, just like the use of guns, a private business with motivations to expand criminal activity and then its punishments…for a profit. Let’s have more crime and more law enforcement and harsher punishments so that we can have millionaires and billionaires make a profit on prisons. And what do prisons need? Guards with guns.

Who is behind ALEC? It is going to shock you. The list of corporations and other organizations trying to take over your country, your state and your community is without question the largest attempted secret takeover of a country’s legislative bodies since the 1930s, when the Nazis, the Fascists in Italy and Spain, and the Communists in Russia surreptitiously acted to take government from the hands of the People.

The following group is merely the Board of Directors, or the “Corporate Board” as they call it.

CenterPoint 360 is a lobbying group that seems to have started with the tobacco companies. Atria is the former Phillip Morris company, tobacco and foods. The American Bail Coalition…self explanatory. AT&T telecommunications. Bayer is not only aspirin but other pharmaceuticals and chemicals.

Coca Cola is not only a soft drink company but a snack company based in Georgia, one of the Red States that has long been rumored to have allowed itself to be used as a front in Latin America for covert operations by the CIA. Diegeo is the largest international liquor company in the world. Its brands include Crown Royal, Johnnie Walker, J&B, Windsor Premier, Buchanan’s, Bushmills, Smirnoff, Ketel One, Ciroc, Baileys, Captain Morgan, Jose Quervo, Tanqueray and Guinness. Sales in 2011: $14 billion.

Energy Future Holdings is a Texas electicity generator with sales of $8 billion, owned by New York investment bankers,(speculators in energy) including Goldman, Sachs. Exxon Mobil, Koch Industries, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Kraft Foods and Intuit Corporation (Quicken Software.)

Also on the Corporate Board are Peabody Energy (coal), Pfizer, PhRMA (lobbyist for pharmaceutical companies), Reed Elsevier (publishing), Reynolds American (tobacco), Salt River Project (electric power utility, Arizona), State Farm Insurance, UPS, and Wal-Mart.

That’s just the board as of mid-2011. It may change from time to time. We don’t know. It doesn’t matter. As of less than a year ago they were out to get you. One can only assume that, no matter whether they are members or not, this indicates that they find you vulnerable and will take advantage of you with every dollar of profit they earn.

There are hundreds of corporations who are members of ALEC, all trying to get a piece of your state government. And what does that mean? No matter what they tell you, it means only one thing. They want to pay less or earn more of something that involves your state government.

This is a long piece and a lot to absorb. You should know not only which companies are members of ALEC but also the names of the specific state representatives who have turned against the people and for the corporations. Do not misunderstand. These are evil people, doing the bidding of corporations who are out to hurt you and help themselves.

For more information, go to the web site: ALEC EXPOSED. This will give you a list of all the corporations and all the state representatives and what is behind it all.

If you do not follow up on this or if you do not act against ALEC by showing your local representative that this kind of behavior will lose your vote, then you, and you alone, are responsible for everything…potential loss of state government assets, public education, higher prices and perhaps even much, much higher taxes and costs for water, sewer, electricity and many other government services.

Tags: ······

No Comments so far ↓

Like gas stations in rural Texas after 10 pm, comments are closed.