Tampa 2012: The Rise Of The Aging, Angry White Guy


 

The Republican National Convention is set to convene in Tampa this week, natural disasters notwithstanding. And while the formal job of the convention is to set a platform and nominate a presidential candidate, somehow the party is going to have to manage the deepening split between the hard right Tea Party activists and establishment Republicans. An early look at speakers and the party platform shows the Tea Party activists are winning.

To start, the party is set to adopt the most conservative platform in modern history. Notable policy positions include a constitutional amendment granting personhood to embryonic cells and banning abortion without exception while giving a high-five to those states who have adopted perverse “informed consent” laws that mandate transvaginal ultrasounds prior to an abortion. The platform also explicitly denies statehood to Washington D.C. while loosening gun restriction in the District, explores a return to the gold standard and bans women from serving in combat and protects against the ever-increasing threat of sharia law.

Republicans also endorsed a broad replication of anti-immigration laws modeled after Arizona’s SB1070 and refuses to recognize same-sex couples.

The exact language of the platform has not been released yet, and delegates were slated to approve it on Monday, but that was before the first day of the convention was postponed due to Hurricane Isaac. And the speakers lined up to warm up the crowd Monday included former Arkansas governor and rape apologist Mike Huckabee, Sen. Rand Paul, House Speaker John Boehner and Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a sure sign the party planed to start hard to the right and not come back.

Other notable speakers lined up include former candidate Rick Santorum, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

And don’t forget the video tribute to Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX).

If you’re noticing a lack of a strong female presence at the convention, that would be because early reports indicate other than Ann Romney, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and Condoleezza Rice the convention will be dominated by aging, angry white men.

Most importantly from conservatives’ point of view, this is the make it or break it moment for their presumptive nominee. Mitt Romney will need to capture both the blood-thirsty racist, misogynistic base and appeal to any independent voters who happen to tune in. Can Romney juggle both? So far the answer has clearly been no.

Related Stories:

Romney: Hooray For Whiteness!

GOP Will Adopt Constitutional Abortion Ban In Party Platform

 

ALEC’s Corrosive, Corrupt influence on the GOP and the 2012 Presidential Election


 

Thanks goes to Pancho for submitting this excellent piece on ALEC,  the American Legislative Exchange Council which is one of the most dangerous organizations driving the right wing to destroy America. The GOP is literally selling everything they possibly can to turn a profit including the educational system, police and fire departments, library’s, parks, post offices. You name it, the reason they hate government is because they see something they can profit from!!! Wake the hell up Republicon’s and Teabaggers, your party is destroying everything that made America a wonderful country.

Granted many Democrats are just as bad, but at least the whole damn party hasn’t taken an oath  to Grover Norquist.  The only oath your representative should be taking is to serve YOUR best interest, not to protect the tax’s of corporations and the wealthy. There’s plenty of information about ALEC on the left under the Rise of Fascism in America category,  please educate yourself and wake up to the fact the Republicon party has accomplished nothing but huge deficits, wars and hate.  That’s their track record.

If you plan on voting Republican next year you’re insane, because Ron Paul won’t get the nomination. Which leaves nothing but a bunch of game show contestants who are nothing but corporate shills. The really sick thing is you’re so brainwashed to hate Obama you’ll vote against your best interests and the interests of the nation.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mr. Hodai was considered to be a persona  non grata from the (Koch-funded ALEC) conference (management).”

Toronto Star
Olivia Ward
Dec. 18, 2011

SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ.—There’s something rotten in the air. A muggy,
oniony, chemical smell that wafts over the lines of uniformed riot
police, paddy wagons and metal barriers that are holding back a
straggle of protesters waving slapdash placards reading “Shut Down
ALEC.”

“Get back ma’am, for your own safety,” a courteous voice warns me.
“They’re gonna start pepper spraying.”

Pepper spray?

It’s a surreal touch at the lush, sprawling Westin Kierland Resort,
where the air is scented with fragrant flowering bushes and the
aromatic lotions of the spa.

But the protesters are at the gate, and inside, hundreds of state
legislators from all over the U.S., their wives and entourages are
meeting with corporate leaders for a three-day annual policy summit.
Or, to their banner-bearing foes, a cradle of “corporate profiteering
at the expense of our communities.”

“Today only,” blazons a sign hoisted by a silver-haired protester,
“Buy One Senator Get One Free!”

The target of this anger is the American Legislative Exchange Council,
or ALEC — a benign, user-friendly acronym that fits the friendly turf
of Scottsdale, where the grass is always greener and everything is for
your comfort and safety.

I’m here to learn more about this increasingly muscular organization,
formally an educational non-profit — and one that shuns the “L” word,
lobbyist. It puts state lawmakers together with representatives from
some of the country’s most powerful corporations to advance their
legislative agendas. And it’s the most influential organization the
majority of Americans have never heard of.

As the coming federal election sucks all the oxygen out of America’s
political room, it’s easy to ignore the power of the states, and the
changes that are quietly taking place across the country independent
of — and often hostile to — the federal government. But, for
understanding grassroots America, ALEC, here in God’s golf country, is
a good place to start.

In the words of its manifesto, “ALEC provides its public- and
private-sector members with a unique opportunity to work together to
develop policies and programs that effectively promote the
Jeffersonian principles of free markets, limited government,
federalism and individual liberty.”

And the success of its efforts is in little doubt.

By its own record, it has created an arsenal of about 800 “model”
bills, templates or blueprints for future laws. They are tabled about
1,000 times a year across the country; about one in five are passed.

Some 2,000 state legislators belong to the organization, the vast
majority of them Republican, in spite of its avowed non-partisan
membership. And with Republicans now controlling half of all state
governments, they pack an added punch.

To the protesters, and the growing number of media and
non-governmental organizations who study it closely, ALEC is a factory
for legislative bills that replicate across the 50 states, with the
aim of undercutting the public sector and the role of government and
promoting free-market policy at state level, where it often counts the
most.

ALEC-backed provisions have opposed climate change legislation and
environmental regulation, stoked the effort to privatize prisons and
schools, pushed for rollbacks of workers’ rights, for limited voting
rights and tax breaks for the wealthy. The results, critics say, line
the pockets of corporations — a charge ALEC and its defenders insist
is misrepresenting its operating style.

“The benefits of ALEC are that you don’t have to walk through 50
different legislatures,” says Jeff Reed, an Indiana “school choice”
advocate who campaigns for developing alternatives to the public
school system. “You can share ideas with everyone in the same room.
But the people in the room are not in lockstep.”

But ALEC’s very success in advancing its policies has sparked a
backlash in states such as Ohio and Wisconsin, where police and
firefighters joined protests against anti-union legislation.

Recall campaigns have been launched to end the terms of conservative
lawmakers in several states. And the National Association for the
Advancement of Colored People petitioned the UN to protest restrictive
voting laws in 14 states, inspired, they say, by ALEC’s model
legislation.

“When a company needs a state bill passed,” writes the
far-from-radical Bloomberg Businessweek, “the American Legislative
Exchange Council can get it done.”

ALEC officials routinely deny it, insisting that in this “laboratory
of democracy” lawmakers, not corporations, have the final word on the
bills that emerge for approval: if companies have a hand on the
legislative tiller, it is not the upper hand.

The group’s 300-strong corporate members include some of the most
high-profile in America: among them AT&T, Wal-Mart, GlaxoSmithKline,
UPS, Pfizer, Bayer, Verizon, and Koch Industries — headed by the
Kansas-based billionaire brothers nicknamed “the Kochtopus” for their
wide-ranging financial and ideological influence.

Outside the wire, the protesters are growing weary, and police have
peeled off their sci-fi gas masks.

“We’ve arrested five,” mutters a close-cropped plainclothes man to his
phone, as I’m warned again not to venture beyond the barrier. Earlier,
an Arizona reporter narrowly escaped arrest for disobeying orders.

As the protesters begin to disperse, a stocky dark-skinned man stays
behind to harangue the police: “You and me, bro, we’re all part of the
99 per cent. ALEC is the 1 per cent. D’you get it, bro? Who are you
protecting here?” The front line cops glance at each other uneasily,
not moving.

“I was taking pictures and I stepped into a line between the police
and protesters,” Ezra Kaplan, a 23-year-old student activist, tells me
later. “The police moved in and I was trapped.”

Seventeen hours after he was thrown to the ground and arrested, Kaplan
says, he was released and his knapsack returned — “but not my camera,
which was worth $1,000.”

Like many of the protesters, he was drawn to this site by a conviction
that the political system is broken, and ALEC part of the wrecking
crew.

“You know that painting The Scream?” asks 51-year-old Diane D’Angelo,
another activist and protester. “That’s what it’s like for me most
days.

“I work, but I’m here for my friends who don’t have proper jobs or
health insurance. I know of some who have committed suicide in this
recession, but there’s no interest in people like them. Members of
ALEC seem to have forgotten what the Constitution means. They make
their own legislation.”

Inside the hotel’s vast conference wing all is calm and bright, in
spite of the numerous vigilant security guards. Here, in a parallel
universe of bonhomie, the men and women in suits who are liaising over
morning lattes are the 99 per cent, and the Occupiers, out of sight
and mind, the 1 per cent. It’s not the percentages, but the placement
that counts here.

Conference tables are strewn with soberly titled reports by right-wing
think tanks allied with ALEC: the Heritage Foundation, the Goldwater
Institute, the Franklin Center, the Tax Foundation and more.

They explain how poor states can become richer by cutting taxes, how
retiree health benefits can be reined in, how “school choice” can
create private alternatives to education. The evils of “Obamacare” are
laid out, along with articles inveighing against federal waste. An
anti-abortion group, Americans United for Life, hands out a model
legislation guide to “changing laws to protect human life, state by
state.”

“I heard there was some kind of protest out there,” says a portly man
with a jovial smile, who lines up alongside me to pick up ALEC
credentials, handily strung on an Arizona Association of Realtors
lanyard. “I guess those guys just don’t have anything better to do.
They’d be further ahead if they’d go out and get a job.”

The conversation ends abruptly as I’m handed my badge with the
radioactive label “Media.”

But in spite of reports of the group’s secrecy and antipathy to the
media, my application has been rapidly processed, and response to my
interview requests from its diligent young communications director,
Kaitlyn Buss, prompt and polite. And although some critics were
refused entry, a reporter from a Phoenix paper, who has written
sharply unflattering stories on ALEC, was admitted without question.

“There’s a big disconnect between what (the protesters) think happens
here and what’s outlined in our publications,” maintains Jonathan
Williams, one of ALEC’s senior strategists. “They think we’re a
secretive organization — but how do they know that? How do they know
we’re here?

“We have it on our website, very clearly, where our meetings are, what
our publications are. I write op-eds in the national press that are
open to everybody.”

Williams, an affable, articulate tax wizard who calls himself a
“centre-right kind of guy,” says ALEC’s agenda is much misunderstood.

Far from being a cheek-by-jowl elite of lawmakers and lobbyists —
“crusaders” who aim to shrink government to the size where they can
drown it in the bathtub — it creates “the best agenda for taxpayers at
large to create jobs and increase the overall standard of living
throughout the United States regardless of income group. At the end of
the day the best form of welfare is giving everybody a job.”

At a price.

The price includes doing away with the “ever-increasing federal
environmental and energy regulations” that are in ALEC’s crosshairs.
So are obtrusive unions, workers’ rights, and public pensions and
retiree benefits that are threatening states with “generational
theft.”

Taxing the rich is no solution to the economic dilemma, Williams
assures me. It’s a lose-lose to “demonize business.” Slap on the taxes
and “they’ll only move somewhere else” and take the jobs with them. In
a globalized world, nobody is safe. Competitiveness is the key.
Keeping jobs in America is vital — but China is just around the
corner.

Thomas Jefferson, Ronald Reagan and the Constitution. As lunch is
served in the cavernous ballroom, homage is paid to ALEC’s holy
trinity by an enthusiastic audience that is predominantly white and
over 40. Darker-skinned people carry the trays, an echo of 1787.

“Our patron saint, Thomas Jefferson, said that ‘my reading of history
convinces me that most (bad) government results from too much
government,’” intones a host, to resounding applause. “How true that
is.”

The Founding Fathers are dear to ALEC because they speak of a simpler
time when the federal government didn’t get in the way of the states,
or taxation and regulation in the way of progress. A time when “these”
United States took precedence over “this” U.S. of today.

“We’d like to see a shift of power,” William Howell, the gentlemanly,
silver-haired speaker of the house in Virginia, explains to me later:
“It would restore the states’ powers that (the federal government) has
usurped.”

Howell is ALEC’s federalism expert and a prominent backer of a
constitutional amendment to repeal federal laws to which two-thirds of
states object. Federal health-care legislation, for instance, should
be barred because “if the federal government can require you to buy a
product (i.e. health insurance) it can do anything.”

Howell’s vision for America is “50 thriving states. A much more
limited federal and state government.” A vision devoutly wished by
many of the legislative and corporate members here.

That is the Constitutional way, says Howell, the sort of favourite
uncle you would invite to a family dinner. “The Constitution was
authored by Virginians and we take great pride in it. It’s flexible
enough for 300 million people as it was for 13 million.”

Born in 1973, to a group of conservative state lawmakers and policy
wonks, ALEC can’t claim the provenance of the Founding Fathers. But
after a modest beginning during President Richard Nixon’s term, and a
slow ascendancy, it became a resounding hit in recent years, backed by
corporate heft.

Now thousands of the elect and the elected head for its conferences,
the latter assisted by ALEC’s “scholarship” funds. Some join the nine
task forces and legislative boards that create template bills,
alongside similar bodies set up for their corporate counterparts. The
final vote, ALEC says, has no input from the corporations. (Critics,
unsurprisingly, say otherwise. “Through ALEC, behind closed doors,
corporations hand state legislators the changes to the law they desire
that directly benefit their bottom line,” says the watchdog Center for
Media and Democracy.)

For Howell, and other lawmakers here, belonging to ALEC is a shortcut
to effective, winnable legislation.

“If I flew to Las Vegas I wouldn’t know anybody,” he explains. “We
have 50 laboratories to find out what they’ve all been doing. ALEC
provides a meeting point, and the distinguishing feature is they’re
very interested in liberty and the free market.”

The air of Scottsdale is free too, of pepper spray. I stroll back to
my room in the nearby Westin Kierland Villas complex, along the
manicured golf course and the limpid pond on which float a family of
ducks.

Overhead three helicopters hover. One breaks away and seems to shadow
my path. After the years I have spent in conflict zones helicopters
are not a good omen. I squint into the dazzling blue sky and wave. The
chopper wheels back and lazily retreats. Later, that night I fall into
a fitful sleep, pursued by a dark helicopter that always outflanks me.

There’s something happening here. What it is ain’t exactly clear. . .

Back at the conference, a workshop on pension reform is winding up a
lengthy discussion of a proposed Public Pension Accounting
Responsibility Act. The act would force legislators to “tell the
truth” about state pensions, which ALEC supporters claim are
undermining (if not collapsing) state finances.

As the audience files out for a coffee break, I stay behind and wait
for the Fiscal Policy Reform Working Group to begin. It will drill
down on one the hottest issues in Washington, tax reform, and review a
model bill on opposing state bailouts by the federal government.

A friendly voice greets me: Kaitlyn Buss.

“I hope you’re enjoying the conference,” she says. “But I’m afraid
you’ll have to leave the room.”

“But I’ve just sat through another working group. Why is this one different?”

“Some are open, others aren’t. It’s just the rules.”

Night falls, and the tiny sports bar in the hotel basement is crowded.
A ruddy-faced man jumps to his feet, sweating, as touchdowns are
scored on the big screen. He volleys the results at a huddle of young
women who seem barely aware of the action.

Nor am I. I’m talking to a fellow hotel guest, Beau Hodai, a
journalist from the left-wing magazine In These Times who has written
probing articles on ALEC. Unlike me, he hasn’t enjoyed its
co-operation and credentials. His calls have gone unanswered, and he
has been turned back by the police and guards who firewall the
meeting.

The noise level in the bar rises and so do I. As I say goodnight, Beau
is summoned by hotel security and herded away toward the elevator by
uniformed police. Why? In Slobodan Milosevic’s Serbia, I was evicted
from my hotel by machine-gun-toting militias as the Kosovo war began.
But in America. . . ?

As I stand staring, two cops flank me: Do I know this man? Who is he?

Beau has disappeared now. Will anything I say be used against him? I
square my shoulders and think of my British mother: “How dare you ask
me such a question? Is this a morality charge? Are hotel guests of the
opposite sex forbidden to speak in a bar? Is this Iran or the land of
the free?”

We face off, not blinking. The questions continue. At last the
inquisitors give in. “Ma’am, you’re free to go.”

They are pointing me toward the lobby, and the front door. On cue, the
helpful young man at the bell desk calls the hotel shuttle to convey
me to the Villas.

At 11 p.m., some 45 minutes later, I call Beau’s number. He is now in
another hotel, his stay at the Westin Kierland terminated abruptly.

“They said they were throwing me out and that they would escort me to
the room to get my belongings,” he tells me. “I had to leave right
then and there — or be arrested.” Off-duty police, it appears, were
moonlighting as security for the conference, but no less determined to
do their duty as they saw it.

(Back in Toronto I reach the hotel’s managing director, Bruce Lang, by
phone and am told, “Mr. Hodai was considered to be a persona non grata
from the conference.” But he adds, “not by the hotel, not by the
police. . . He clearly presented a threat to the conference, based on
his history.”) That would be the threat of investigative journalism?

In the Phoenix airport I move through the tanned, jostling holiday
crowd toward the Air Canada gate.

What just happened here? I board the plane and settle back to watch
the Arizona landscape disappear. The dry, dusty beige and the achingly
lush green. The baronial resorts and the desert shacks. The conference
too has dispersed, and the hotel resumed the even tenor of its ways.
Business as usual. And I think of ALEC and the Constitution it
reveres.

The First Amendment.

“Congress shall make no law. . . abridging the freedom of speech, or
of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to
petition the Government for redress of grievances.”

The 99 per cent, and the 1 per cent. A nation divided under God.

ATTN Conservatives: People in Power – The Koch Brothers


Aloha to my Friends and Conservative readers!

 

Please take time to watch this very important short documentary on the radicalization of the Republican and Libertarian right wing. This should help people better understand the 30 year plan being implemented behind the scenes since Reagan took office and a plan that’s now coming to fruition. A small group of billionaires are all tied in with the same group that also owns mass media – our messenger – so that the right-wing conservatives have been controlling the message for so long that most Americans are like a frog in a boiling pot and haven’t been aware of the slow insidious shift to the far right end of the political spectrum.

 

Funny thing, while conservatives yell and scream about socialism and communism taking root under Obama,  why don’t they recognize the fascism that already has a stranglehold on our democracy from the right wing.  Ahhh maybe they haven’t been taught that fascism is when corporations have control of the reigns of power in government. This time it’s been bought and it’s exactly what’s been going on for 30 years with the Koch brothers cabal, as fascism has taken firm hold of the GOP and Republican right wing of American politics.

 

Honestly, the venomous hatred toward Obama isn’t unprecedented in the modern era American politics. They called Clinton a rapist, a murderer and all kinds of things.  Right now all of the hatred toward Obama is a product of Koch brothers money and their grab for power, it’s probably also fueled with racism too. Yes, Obama has been a disappointment in many respects but our democracy and the government that represents is broke. The right wing has promised to destroy him by destroying America, by preventing anything good from happening that would turn the economy in the right direction. Like a JOBS BILL!!! For Gods sake people need to wake up to the manipulation from the Republicons and the fact they haven’t done one good thing for this country in 30 years!! They play politics real good, but the right wing doesn’t have a clue how to govern while representing the best interests of the people, the party #1 in betraying the public trust. Hell each time they leave office they leave the country in a deficit, but democrats leave it in a surplus.

 

Factually speaking 100% of Republicans and about 40% of Democrats are completely sold out to corporate interests, all they care about is your vote and you as an individual can go to hell for all they’re concerned. Oh and if they can find a way to shake you or you’re dying grandmother down for money, they’ll stand in line for that.

 

Waking up means educating yourself with facts, this isn’t about anything personal or “us vs them”. We’re all going through are own paradigm shift right now, a process that’s re-orienting our point of perspective so that we may all move forward together in unity – as opposed to the division that was forced on us long ago.  It’s about understanding and taking the side of the truth whether we like it or not, because it’s the right thing to do.

 

Also take time to learn about ALEC how they’re selling your public service job to the highest bidder and have designed cookie cutter legislation, made state politicians sign oaths to abide by them – and if they don’t abide they will be primaried and voted out in the next election.  And you can even research out these personal threats from Grover Norquist to do so.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Al Jazeera English narrator: Money has always played a key role in American politics. But is it now distorting the democractic process? That is the charge made against Charles and David Koch. With a year to go until the presidential election, could the koch brother’s fortune put a radical right [winger] into the white house?


http://www.nationofchange.org/people-and-power-koch-brothers-1319908875

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Al Jazeera English narrator: Money has always played a key role in American politics. But is it now distorting the democractic process? That is the charge made against Charles and David Koch. With a year to go until the presidential election, could the koch brother’s fortune put a radical right [winger] into the white house?

Beyond Dinner and a Movie: ALEC Actively Courts State Lawmakers


More ALEC exposed, and evidence that GOP representatives are wholly owned subsidiaries (employees) of transnational corporations and that Republicon & TeaParty members are not working on behalf of the best interests of the voters. Exposing the agenda to destroy America already moving ahead in states with a Republican majority the local governments are systematically being dismantled and handed over to corporate interests so they can make profits from work the government has always performed.
If you believe a corporation can school your kids, police your streets, put fires out, operate our libraries etc and do it cheaper and more effectively, you either live in a fantasy world0 or are uneducated. Fascism is taking over our democracy from the right-wing Republicans  and especially the new freaky TeaParty nut jobs who have absolutely no idea how to govern, they don’t understand the enormous complexity of American government or the responsibility we carry as the only superpower over other nations. And these freaks want to stop paying the bills,  either they’re crazy or controlled by their corporate masters who have something to gain by destroying America.
I often wonder how many people have even had a course in Government because people don’t seem to understand what fascism is, that it was the chosen form under Hitler’s Germany and Musselini’s Italy. I wonder how many people can define the differences between socialism, capitalism, communism and fascism, because anyone who sides with the GOP is supporting a fascist takeover of America and it’s already in control or Obama would have passed a health  care bill that would have rivaled anything in Europe. That’s what he wanted, but the right wing conservatives  along with a good number of Democrats owned by the insurance companies were in control of that decision. That’s fascism.
And all of this is happening because people don’t know about it, the news is dead. These same right wing corporations behind the agenda bought the ENTIRE global mass media so they can also control the message, and thereby control you.
This is a 30 year plan unfolding on a population with a 30 minute memory, hell people don’t even remember what President created all the debt and unemployment or who crashed the economy. The media is much to blame for this, but people also just sit back in their high chairs and get spoon fed their news from the TV or some right wing pundit shill.  All I’m asking people to do is educate themselves with facts instead of empty talking points that only incite emotion, do the mental gymnastics and research for knowledge instead of listening to someone getting paid millions of dollars a year to lie. Knowingly lie to you.
Remember, my education and professional background is in broadcasting so I know how these things operate and have watched the industry change as it became monopolized by less than a handful of people…what 3 companies own the global media and they are heavily invested in energy, oil.  All I’m trying to do is help people understand what’s going on and who’s doing what to who behind the scenes and people need to know who’s been controlling who.

The following report comes from a non-partisan site called Follow the Money,The Nation’s Most Complete Resource for Information on Money in State Politics.

http://www.followthemoney.org/press/ReportView.phtml?r=454

Report IconBeyond Dinner and a Movie: ALEC Actively Courts State Lawmakers
by Edwin Bender, July 20, 2011The Institute examined American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) member information recently posted at ALECexposed.org by the Center for Media and Democracy. Researchers cross-checked these names against our unique state-level donor database to see how much ALEC members contributed and received in state-level campaigns. Our compelling findings are listed in the report.

This publication was made possible by grants from:

Ford Foundation
Open Society Foundations
The Pew Charitable Trusts
Rockefeller Brothers Fund
Sunlight Foundation

Beyond Dinner and a Movie: ALEC Actively Courts State Lawmakers

Overview

For decades, some of this nation’s largest corporations have courted thousands of conservative lawmakers at annual conferences of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Along with the food, drink, and dancing, member attendance to the conference comes with access to hundreds of industry-drafted bills that their hosts would like to see passed by state legislatures and Congress.

And, like any good courtship, ALEC’s member corporations and associations were generous to their state-lawmaker partners when it came time to get serious about the relationship.

How serious?

An examination of campaign donations made by ALEC corporate members dating back to the 1990 election cycle shows that they contributed $12.2 million to state-level candidates who were ALEC members, with 98.4 percent of that money going to incumbent and winning candidates, many of whom could vote on proposed legislation. Additional analysis reveals that $11.9 million of the $12.2 million went to Republicans. Click here to download the database.

Over the seven (10 for some states) election cycles covered in a donor-data analysis by the National Institute on Money in State Politics, ALEC corporate members contributed $516.2 million to state-level politics: $202.1 million to state-level candidates, $228.3 million to high-dollar ballot-measure campaigns, and $85.8 million to state political party committees.

Half a billion dollars. A serious relationship. It seems ALEC is not afraid of commitment.

Companies with an interest in today’s high-stakes health-care debate are at the top of the list of ALEC members who gave generously to state political campaigns.

TABLE 1: Health-care Industry ALEC Members: Contributions to State Political Campaigns                                                
ALEC Member Amount Contributed to State Politics
PHRMA $76.4 million
Pfizer $21.2 million
GlaxoSmithKline $15.5 million
Johnson & Johnson $14.6 million
Merck & Co $14.5 million

ALEC members with a stake in environmental-regulation debates also donated generously.

TABLE 2: Oil Industry ALEC Members: Contributions to State Political Campaigns
ALEC Member Amount Donated to State Politics
Chevron Corp $52.2 million
ConocoPhillips $8.4 million
BP NorthAmerica $6.5 million
ExxonMobile $5.3 million
Koch Industries $2.5 million

Telecommunications policy? AT&T gave $39 million; Verizon, $13.2 million; Comcast, $8.6 million; Qwest Communications, $3.3 million; SprintNextel, $2.5 million.

The bottom line is, all sides of corporate America met willing partners at ALEC conferences, sat side by side with elected lawmakers to draft industry-friendly legislation, and helped those candidates win elections to ensure that their legislation had the best possible chance of passage.

The top recipients of donations from ALEC corporate members reads like a who’s who of state politics: ALEC “alumnus” Gov. Rick Perry of Texas received more than $2 million from 268 donations made by just 50 ALEC corporate members, far and away the most of any candidate in the decade of data analyzed.

Other top recipients include long-time Texas State Representative Tom Craddick, who accepted $878,110 from 198 donations made by 46 donors; Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels with $659,737 from 197 donations made by 51 donors; long-time California State Representative Mike Villines with $347,796 from 214 donations from 84 donors; and Illinois State Senator Kirk Dillard with $320,289 from 357 donations from 59 donors.

The Institute’s analysis of the $12.2 million in ALEC corporate-member donations to state-level candidates who are ALEC members reveals:

  1. Candidates in Texas received more than $3.8 million, or 31 percent of the total, well above the $922,761 received by candidates in California, the next-highest recipient state.
  2. State representatives received more than $4.5 in ALEC-member contributions and state senators more than $3.4 million, all from a total of just over 10,000 checks.
  3. Gubernatorial candidates received more than $4 million, from just 1,050 checks written by ALEC members.
  4. Incumbent candidates–those already elected once to public office and making decisions about public policy–received more than $10.8 million of the total, or 88 percent.
  5. Republicans received more than $11.9 million of the total (96.7 percent) that ALEC members gave in more than 12,000 donations. Democrats received $392,136 from 571 donations.

About ALEC

The American Legislative Exchange Council is a Washington, D.C.-based public-policy organization that supports conservative legislative candidates. ALEC was founded in 1973 by Paul Weyrich, a major New Right figure who also helped start the Heritage Foundation. Of the more than 6,000 state legislators in the United States, ALEC claims that more than 2,000 are members, including scores who hold key legislative leadership positions. ALEC’s 2010 model-legislation scorecard shows 826 bills introduced and 115 enacted, a 14 percent success rate. In 1995-96, model legislation crafted by ALEC and introduced in state legislatures totaled 1,647 bills. Of these, 365 were enacted into law, a 22 percent success rate. All this legislation emerged from task forces that included representatives from the private sector. Business foots much of ALEC’s $7-million operating budget and directly shapes its political agenda, as well, through its participation in these policy groups.

About the Data

The Institute examined candidate and ALEC-member information made available at ALECexposed.org  by the Center for Media and Democracy in July 2011. After retrieving the candidate name and sponsoring organization information from the site, Institute programmers matched the candidate names against those who have run for state-level office in the past decade to determine who were or are ALEC members. The Institute then ran the ALEC corporate-member names against the Institute’s comprehensive state-level donor information to see how much those ALEC members donated to state-level political campaigns.

Institute researchers filtered the data to show which corporate members donated to ALEC members who were candidates for state office.

Because ALEC has kept its membership information shielded from the public for years, it is difficult to determine whether the leaked information on the ALEC Exposed site is complete, or if the candidates and corporations were members during the entire period covered by this analysis. Given that caveat, however, total numbers generated by the Institute for amounts given and received by ALEC members is likely conservative.

This report was posted on July 20, 2011 by Edwin Bender.
Let us know what you thought! Click here and give us some feedback.

Americans must choose while they still can


If you understand the meaning of the last paragraph, then you will probably agree that American’s live in an armed madhouse. The Republicons have set it up so regardless what Obama does, he can’t win and in turn they’ve been sabotaging America in this way since 2008, then turning right around and blaming Obama for it.

How can anyone ever in good conscious vote for right wing politicians who are intentionally and purposefully destroying this country, people who have proven time and again they lie every time they open their mouths and can’t be trusted? Because they listen to people like Limbaugh, Beck and Hannity who take sport in watching American’s suffer, watching this hate game they created destroy lives from coast to coast. These people are paid corporate shills who make millions of dollars lying to Americans, for the very same corporate interests turning the US into a third world country. Wake up, the LimBecks and air heads at Fox fake news are lying to you and laughing all the way to the bank.

Please understand I’m not attacking right wing voters who are misinformed,  my degree is in broadcasting and my first professional position 20 years ago was at a talk news radio station, so I understand how media works. I understand where it came from and how mass media news deteriorated into the pathetic state it’s in today, my only intention is to help people understand the insanity taking place in media and politics.  The two are strange bedfellows which I’ve spent a great deal of time trying to understand how both arena’s operate so as to pass the knowledge on to you.

But, I am attacking the leadership of the GOP and their masters: The banks, transnational corporations and military industrial complex who they answer to. Nothing in the constitution mentions these entities, so why are they neglecting best interests of their own constituents in favor of these crooks?

Americans must choose while they still can

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The right wing complains constantly about the Welfare State and there is a kernel of truthiness in what they’re saying. Two dollars of every ten that makes up the average American’s income is some form of government benefit be it unemployment, social security, food stamps or disability payments. The fact is that after 30 years of falling wages and the theft of middle class wealth there are simply a large number of the formally middle class around (also know as poor people).

The percentage of income that comes from government benefits would be far less if incomes reflected real productivity as well there would be a smaller need for benefits if Americans received their due for their work. But as the super rich receive an ever larger portion of the national income they don’t use their money to “create jobs” but rather to buy up assets and take them out of production. Efficiency of scale means less people making good wages and moving into the roles of the working poor. Jobs that are outsourced contribute nothing to our economy and reduce the money available to pay those who do work.

Then there are people like Mitt Romney that simply crate up factories and ship them to China. In fact the few large-scale steel construction projects that are being built in the US are being fabricated in China and shipped here to be installed by Chinese workers on American soil. The American officials authorizing these projects don’t have much choice as even if they could get away with politically or legally having a “buy American” policy there simply are no large American steel companies that they can buy from.

The next big emerging problem is that with no real economic recovery we have no choice but to keep providing money to the large segment of newly poor Americans or face the economic consequences. Funding for extended unemployment will stop December 31 and a couple of million people will fall from being merely poor to desperately poor. Throw in the cuts Republicans want to make to other programs as well as to the government payroll and this will cause the economy to go right off the cliff in 2012.

Obama appears to be beating the Republicans over the debt ceiling but he can’t defy gravity and the Republicans have already pushed the country off the cliff. We’re just standing in mid-air like a cartoon coyote and at the end of the year we will have no choice but to look down. Already people who could spend money aren’t because of uncertainty. I don’t mean corporate uncertainty, they are certain about what they are doing, except for retailers corporate profits are at all time highs and their bank accounts are incredibly fat. I mean the real creators of jobs, people who buy things. Everybody from the welfare recipient who simply doesn’t have money to spend to the middle aged person who heard Obama say he might agree to raise the age of Medicare still higher and simply stops spending money out of fear he won‘t be able to pay the doctor.

But is Obama the Coyote or the Road Runner? The day of reckoning is now pegged at August 2nd and Obama said today that the benefit checks like Social Security and for payments for Veterans that are due the very next day WILL NOT  be forth coming without an agreement. The hard math is that 44% of the current budget authorized by Congress comes from borrowed money. The popular lie in the corporate media is that money comes from China but I’ve yet to see a Government check payable in Yuans, the borrowed money really comes from rich Americans and their corporations who pay no taxes.

Obama must, according to the 14th Amendment pay the debts of the United States “without question” so that means 50% of the spending of the non-debt obligations authorized by Congress cannot be met without further borrowing. Obama could take the 14th Amendment that to mean he must “spend” the money authorized by Congress and ignore the debt ceiling but he seems to take the meaning to be he must now choose what debt obligations to meet and what people to leave destitute.

If Obama were to meet the debt payments and the entitlement obligations of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the alike, then the rest of the Government would cease to function. Soldiers, FBI agents, Border Patrol, CDC doctors, VA personnel and the like will go without pay for awhile but at some point reality must hit home. Mitch McConnell says no deal is possible with the current President of the United States. He must seriously believe that the government will simply live off the land like Sherman’s Army for the next 18 months? Will they loot and pillage towns selected by zip code in a lottery? I personally prefer singling out red states for utter devastation.

In fact Republican Senate Minority Leader McConnell has a uniquely political solution that tops anything Republicans have come up with so far. He would support a resolution that authorizes Obama to raise the debt ceiling unilaterally so that Congress plays no role in it and technically condemns it. Obama will uphold the Constitution, carry out the will of Congress, save The Republic and the world economy but Republicans will condemn him for it in the very authorization do the deed. Only in a madhouse, or in America, or are the two that the same thing? Americans must choose while they still can. www.prairie2.com

The New American CULT Called the Right Wing


Politics in America has gone bat crap crazy and way to the extreme, now it’s exhibiting very frightening characteristics that are beginning to resemble fanatic cults. The right wing has been using peoples feelings of uncertainty, anger and fear to incite angry emotions and get people to believe in things they normally wouldn’t consider. They use talking points and two word soundbites to mislead and misinform the public and now they’re going so far as to use oaths and pledges to bamboozle the public. This is not the conservative party of my grandfathers day, which wasn’t bad – I was born and raised Republican. Unfortunately over the years, times have changed and the GOP has gone off the deep end in it’s fervor to beat Obama at any cost, even at the risk of America’s destruction.

Instead of helping people focus on the issues, they’re signing oaths and pledges that have nothing in order of providing solutions to America’s problems. It’s really time to wake up because oaths and pledges are what cults use to indoctrinate victims.  When I heard about this new Oath by the right wing  I had to pinch myself, what they have an oath now?  Geez politics is getting just a bit too surreal when  the Republicon’s create oaths to sign and pledge their….what, obedience?!

This is insane, the link below is to the Marriage Vow oath Michelle Bachman , Rick Santorum and others have signed – just another distraction from the real issues plaguing America. Republicon’s love bright shiny objects in one hand to distract voters, while the other hand picks their pocket…

The Pledge That Bachmann & Santorum Signed

Yesterday one of my readers got upset because I posted something relating to politics, well if you read the title this blog is called “2012 The Awakening” and it’s purpose is to help others awaken to the truth about the world they live in. Most people in America, right and left, aren’t well educated in government or who owns media and how it operates. They don’t understand whats happening, they see loss of freedom, rights and jobs; a declining economy and they’re looking for someone to blame. The politicians, especially the right wing has worked overtime to divide the country and they know most people don’t understand how government works, so they use that against us to their advantage.

The right wing owns the media, hence the message and have literally let the wolf into the chicken coop by selling government out to corporations.  Democrats aren’t much better, but at least they still represent the public to a greater degree than the GOP. The real problem is we have got to get corporate money out of government to fix the system, what we don’t need are a bunch of fanatic wackodoodles who are nothing but corporate shills, running the country.

They advocate here for “robust breeding”, what this bigoted, racist document really means is they want white people to make as many babies as possible.  Because basically they’re losing voters with increasing black and Hispanic populations, so they’re encouraging their constituency to have “monogamous, heterosexual” sex. They’re also capitalists who want more consumers to profit off of and are attempting to eliminate child labor laws so they can have plentiful cheap labor.

Check this out, and be sure to read between the lines. Then tell me, is this something that political party’s should be involved in or if it sounds more like a cult to you.  What’s amazing is there’s nothing in here about creating jobs, building infrastructure, creating revenues, reducing defense spending and bringing our troops home…hmmm, all kinds of solutions to our real problems seem absent.

http://www.thefamilyleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/themarriagevow.final_.7.7.111.pdf

Bachmann, Santorum sign onto social conservative pledge

Phrase suggesting black families stronger under slavery removed from Bachmann, Santorum pledge

The Man Behind the Marriage and Family Vow

And the biggest adulterer of all has get in the action too, Newt!

Gingrich Seeking To Tweak ‘Marriage Vow’ — From Iowa Conservative Group

All of the above information is courtesy of the Randi Rhodes show, who brought this oath to our attention today. Randi’s one of the most well informed, down to earth women in talk radio. She’s really done her homework, she also lived in Washington DC, knows the players and how the politics  game works. Randi’s one of us, always on the side of the working people and she’s is also an expert on media and why the news is dead and mass media can’t be relied on for the truth.

Very entertaining to listen to, she’s been compared to Howard Stern meets Joan Rivers and I encourage everyone to give her two weeks of your time, doubt you will walk away without learning a lot. Most people really don’t understand government, history and how it all works, but they sure have strong opinions on how it all should work.

http://www.randirhodes.com/pages/homework.html?feed=364336&article=8821220