I was shocked to see companies I use every day like UPS, FedEx, Reynolds, Bayer, Pfizer, Microsoft, State Farm (my insurance company), verizon, AOL and EBay in among the supporters of nasty ALEC policies along with Koch, Duke Energy and ExxonMobil. Aagh! ALEC pushes almost every kind of policy I hate. It's a racist, anti-environmental, gun-toting, union busting, anti-consumer, anti-free speech, Climate Change denialist, anti-democratic, secret money, behind closed doors power grab.
In sum ALEC is a dystopian nightmare.
Use the slider to find how many companies you patronize are big supporters of ALEC. Then, I suggest, you add your name to send protest letters to them.
... ALEC is technically a charity rather than a lobbying group.
That allows its backers - mostly corporations and conservative foundations - to make anonymous, tax-deductible donations. And it lets legislators attend ALEC events without declaring the lavish hospitality they receive.
One particularly pernicious bill, proposed by ALEC in 2003 and recently introduced in several states, sought to classify many forms of environmental protest as acts of terrorism.
It would also create a registry, similar to those used for sex offenders, to keep tabs on "ecological terrorists"; and bar campaigners from recording environmental, health or welfare violations at factory farms and research facilities.
In Washington state, ALEC's bill inspired legislation labelling as "terrorism" any activities that impede businesses' normal operations, and making it illegal even to publicise environmental protests.
Washington's bill died in committee. However Utah enacted a similar bill in 2012, and this year prosecuted a citizen journalist named Amy Meyer for filming the outside of a slaughterhouse while standing on public land.
The case collapsed, but that's hardly the point. "The only purpose [of these laws] is to punish investigators", Meyer told reporters. "These laws are intended to keep consumers in the dark."
Other measures on ALEC's books include
legislation, drafted by Exxon Mobil and already introduced in five states, that would grant broad "trade secret" rights to fracking companies, helping them conceal the chemicals they pump underground;
legislation, introduced in five states, requiring science educators to "teach the controversy" and present students with materials making the case for climate denial;... [emphasis mine]
Ruth, thanks for the information. I am reposting.
I gladly massaged the message a little (keeping the intent the same!) and sent it. Thanks for informing us!
Repeatedly throughout American history, our(?) government has used taxpayers' money to save America's predatory capitalism from itself.
One instance of many: the consumer protection laws enacted during the "progressive years" of the early 1900s. They included the pure food and drug laws, the child labor laws, the truth in labeling laws and more.
Another, the repeal of Glass-Stegal (spelling?) late in Clinton's presidency that let investment banks gamble with taxpayer-insured savings in savings banks. This led to the bailouts in the final months of 2008 by Bush and the early months of 2009 by Obama. The "too big to fail" banks are now even bigger.
The earliest American bailout?
During colonial times, England was reserving the "western lands" (the Appalachians) for native Americans. America's winning freedom from England in a revolution that would be paid for by taxpayers, made those lands available to land speculators among the founders who sold it to people who were moving from the Atlantic Coast states.
The "Yazoo Lands" story (late 1700s and early 1800s) tells of the earliest bailout I know of after the states ratified the 1787 Constitution. It's in histories of the early US House of Representatives. Some of it is in Wikipedia.
Paraphrasing Mark Twain? Corruption travels around the world before reformers put their socks on.
Was it President Coolidge who said the business of America is business?
The labor-management story in the US of A tells of a long "war" against working people by our(?) government. FDR's New Deal resulted in his being called a traitor to his class, and he bailed out capitalists.
Traditional socialism (government ownership of business) is no answer. The war will end when employees OWN and MANAGE the companies they work for. This is often done with ESOPs (Employee Stock Ownership Plans) but some of these plans keep management decisions out of the hands of employees.
The solution clearly is not government owned businesses; socialism and communism inhibit the human characteristics of initiative and ambition and does not reward enterprise.
Capitalism protects business and money interests at the expense of people, health and the environment. It is not the best system in the world in spite of all the propaganda that claims USA superiority over any other system. Capitalism supports greed as it ignores need.
I like the solution that I observed in the Scandinavian countries that utilize a two tier system,
1. socialism for the basic community needs of education, health care, child and elder care and care for the disabled, and developmentally unable to care for themselves. They have a system of life-long education through to a terminal degree, and education for changes of occupation. All have access to training if the student has aptitude, and the community needs the skills. The math skills of these countries surpass the skill levels of US students, and there is not a bias against women in math and science. I talked to teachers who told me women expect to excel in these subjects, and they do.
2. Capitalism for their industries, which include shipping and ship building, agriculture for domestic use, forestry, fishing, mining, and chemical, wood, and metal industries and North Sea gas and oil.. With their strong labor unions, and inclusion of women in politics and enterprise they utilize the full potential of men and women and protect those who produce goods and services as a basic right. .
Even though USA claims superiority in just about any dimension one can imagine, the fact is, capitalism and religiosity cripples our ability to advance into a new age of science and technology. These require excellent education, without the crippling influence of religious dogma.
"Scores in math, reading and science posted by 15-year-olds in the United States were flat while their counterparts elsewhere — particularly in Shanghai, Singapore and other Asian provinces or countries — soared, according to the results of a well-regarded international exam released Tuesday." Dec 3, 2013.
USA is held back by assuming superiority over other systems without knowing anything about any other way of governing. Strong restrictions inhibit even talking about any other system, even discussions that may enlighten our understanding.
I just found this at Daily Kos: a couple of years ago a Florida state representative introduced an ALEC bill word-for-word by which the Florida legislature would have urged Congress to cut the federal corporate tax rate -- and she forgot to remove ALEC's boilerplate mission statement at the beginning:
WHEREAS, it is the mission of the American Legislative Exchange Council to advance Jeffersonian principles of free markets, limited government, federalism, and individual liberty, and
Be It Resolved by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
That the Florida Legislature urges the United States Congress to cut the federal corporate tax rate.
"Oops!" She quickly withdrew it and introduced a more-carefully-edited replacement, but not before Common Blog discovered it.