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Forum Post: Smart 'ALEC' ; "Lobbyists, Guns and Money", by Paul Krugman (NY Times).

Posted 10 years ago on March 26, 2012, 3:47 p.m. EST by shadz66 (19985)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Recently a well respected 'forum-poster' linked to the following article, which deserves re-posting, hence :

OP-ED COLUMN : Lobbyists, Guns and Money,

by PAUL KRUGMAN ; Published: March 25, 2012.


Florida’s now-infamous Stand Your Ground law, which lets you shoot someone you consider threatening without facing arrest, let alone prosecution, sounds crazy — and it is. And it’s tempting to dismiss this law as the work of ignorant yahoos. But similar laws have been pushed across the nation, not by ignorant yahoos but by big corporations.

Specifically, language virtually identical to Florida’s law is featured in a template supplied to legislators in other states by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a corporate-backed organization that has managed to keep a low profile even as it exerts vast influence (only recently, thanks to yeoman work by the Center for Media and Democracy, has a clear picture of ALEC’s activities emerged). And if there is any silver lining to Trayvon Martin’s killing, it is that it might finally place a spotlight on what ALEC is doing to our society — and our democracy.

What is ALEC? Despite claims that it’s nonpartisan, it’s very much a movement-conservative organization, funded by the usual suspects: the Kochs, Exxon Mobil, and so on. Unlike other such groups, however, it doesn’t just influence laws, it literally writes them, supplying fully drafted bills to state legislators. In Virginia, for example, more than 50 ALEC-written bills ( http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/13/opinion/the-big-money-behind-state-laws.html?_r=1 ) have been introduced, many almost word for word. And these bills often become law.

Many ALEC-drafted bills pursue standard conservative goals: union-busting, undermining environmental protection, tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy. ALEC seems, however, to have a special interest in privatization — that is, on turning the provision of public services, from schools to prisons, over to for-profit corporations. And some of the most prominent beneficiaries of privatization, such as the online education company K12 Inc. and the prison operator Corrections Corporation of America, are, not surprisingly, very much involved with the organization.

What this tells us, in turn, is that ALEC’s claim to stand for limited government and free markets is deeply misleading. To a large extent the organization seeks not limited government but privatized government, in which corporations get their profits from taxpayer dollars, dollars steered their way by friendly politicians. In short, ALEC isn’t so much about promoting free markets as it is about expanding crony capitalism.

And in case you were wondering, no, the kind of privatization ALEC promotes isn’t in the public interest; instead of success stories, what we’re getting is a series of scandals. Private charter schools, for example, appear to deliver a lot of profits but little in the way of educational achievement.

But where does the encouragement of vigilante (in)justice fit into this picture? In part it’s the same old story — the long-standing exploitation of public fears, especially those associated with racial tension, to promote a pro-corporate, pro-wealthy agenda. It’s neither an accident nor a surprise that the National Rifle Association and ALEC have been close allies all along.

And ALEC, even more than other movement-conservative organizations, is clearly playing a long game. Its legislative templates aren’t just about generating immediate benefits to the organization’s corporate sponsors; they’re about creating a political climate that will favor even more corporation-friendly legislation in the future.

Did I mention that ALEC has played a key role in promoting bills that make it hard for the poor and ethnic minorities to vote?

Yet that’s not all; you have to think about the interests of the penal-industrial complex — prison operators, bail-bond companies and more. (The American Bail Coalition has publicly described ALEC as its “life preserver.”) This complex has a financial stake in anything that sends more people into the courts and the prisons, whether it’s exaggerated fear of racial minorities or Arizona’s draconian immigration law, a law that followed an ALEC template almost verbatim.

Think about that: we seem to be turning into a country where crony capitalism doesn’t just waste taxpayer money but warps criminal justice, in which growing incarceration reflects not the need to protect law-abiding citizens but the profits corporations can reap from a larger prison population.

Now, ALEC isn’t single-handedly responsible for the corporatization of our political life; its influence is as much a symptom as a cause. But shining a light on ALEC and its supporters — a roster that includes many companies, from AT&T and Coca-Cola to UPS { http://www.opensecrets.org/news/2011/09/alec-corporations-are-big-spenders.html }, that have so far managed to avoid being publicly associated with the hard-right agenda — is one good way to highlight what’s going on. And that kind of knowledge is what we need to start taking our country back.


fiat lux ...


[This article is copied verbatim under "Fair Use" from : http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/26/opinion/krugman-lobbyists-guns-and-money.html?_r=1 ]



Read the Rules
[-] 4 points by shoozTroll (17632) 10 years ago

Here's some more on the "castle doctrine".

Is there anything good about ALEC?


[-] 1 points by pewestlake (947) from Brooklyn, NY 10 years ago


[-] 2 points by shoozTroll (17632) 10 years ago

I've been looking for while and have yet to find a single good piece of legislation written by them.

[-] 1 points by pewestlake (947) from Brooklyn, NY 10 years ago

Like the Council on Foreign Relations or the US Chamber of Commerce, they're just another working group of the 1%.

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 10 years ago

I was speaking of ALEC, but if you find one good piece of legislation written by the ones you mention, please post it............:)

[-] 2 points by pewestlake (947) from Brooklyn, NY 10 years ago

They've all written "model" draft legislation at some point. ALEC is the one that got itself caught with their name still on the legislation. But they all do it and I see them all as working groups of the 1%.

[-] 2 points by shoozTroll (17632) 10 years ago

There's nothing to argue there............:)

pLease don't hit me.....I'm bOOmer.............................LOL

[-] 2 points by pewestlake (947) from Brooklyn, NY 10 years ago


I'm not THAT bad! ;-)

[-] 2 points by shoozTroll (17632) 10 years ago

You came on a bit hard, but I understood and concur with most of what you said.

I know some of those jerks......................:)

[-] 1 points by pewestlake (947) from Brooklyn, NY 10 years ago

Thanks. :)

I'll deny we had this conversation should you require it in future. ;-)

[-] 1 points by Odin (583) 10 years ago

Too late...I've recorded it and filed it in my OWS archives! :-)

[-] 4 points by gnomunny (6819) from St Louis, MO 10 years ago

Great post, shadz. I say boycott all corporations with an obvious hard-right bias. These corporations consider the 'consumer' (their lifeblood, by the way) 'the enemy' and have said as much in internal memos and at board meetings, where they devise clever ways to suck yet another dollar out of our wallets. The (mostly) men that run these businesses are clinically insane.

[-] 2 points by shadz66 (19985) 10 years ago

'gno($i$)' : Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions ... will be an essential 'm.o.' in many social movements on myriad matters in future because http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7dBBCHYcZs !!

respice ; adspice ; prospice ...

[-] 3 points by shoozTroll (17632) 10 years ago

More stuff on castle laws.

The problems with it's interpretation are only just beginning.


[-] 2 points by shadz66 (19985) 10 years ago

Again, thanx for this really solid link for people who are serious about these matters.

fiat lux ...

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (23615) 10 years ago

Thanks for posting this, Shadz66.

For someone of Krugman's stature (whether you like him or not) to link back Trayvon Martin's death and the "Stand Your Ground" law to Alec and the Koch's, we'd be fools not to pay attention. The American people must take a stand and regain control over the direction this country is going in.

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 9 years ago

"The Rise of a New Fascism - Understanding the Latest Leaks'', by John Pilger:

''In his book, 'Propaganda', published in 1928, Edward Bernays wrote: "The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country."

''The American nephew of Sigmund Freud, Bernays invented the term "public relations" as a euphemism for state propaganda. He warned that an enduring threat to the invisible government was the truth-teller and an enlightened public.''

ALEC is all in favour of the above & thus : ''The American people must take a stand and regain control over the direction this country is going in.'' & ditto bw <furrowed brow and sad sigh>

e tenebris, lux ...

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (23615) 9 years ago

"Control and dominance are the two words that make sense of this. These are exercised by political, economic and military designs, of which mass surveillance is an essential part, but also by insinuating propaganda in the public consciousness." From Pilger.

Ain't that the truth.

[-] 2 points by shadz66 (19985) 9 years ago

"Noam Chomsky : Obama Is ‘Running Biggest Terrorist Operation That Exists’!'' by Andrew Kirell

''Noam Chomsky told GRITtv that this administration is “dedicated to increasing terrorism” throughout the world via its own “terrorist” drone strikes in foreign lands. Speaking with GRITtv host Laura Flanders about the National Security Agency snooping scandal, Chomsky remarked that “the Obama administration is dedicated to increasing terrorism; it’s doing it all over the world.”

fiat lux et fiat pax ...

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (23615) 9 years ago

There's a lot of money for the 1% in the "anti-terror" program.

[-] 3 points by TikiJ (-38) 9 years ago

Over 1 Trillion a year.

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (23615) 9 years ago

War and capitalism go hand in hand. It's all about the money.

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 9 years ago

How & why does a stinkle come to pass here ?! I used up my twinkle here yesterday already BUT when comments like above get stinkled on The OWS forum ... well you can bet your ass that Corporate Shills and faux progressives and grudge-bearing PoS's like 'ProblemSolver' and his now at least 7 monikers do actually stalk these threads. To hell with them and to follow Pilger & Chomsky above, I append below :

nihil illegitimi carborundum ...

[-] 4 points by beautifulworld (23615) 9 years ago

War and capitalism go hand in hand. It's all about the money.

(There is value in repetition.)

[-] 2 points by TikiJ (-38) 9 years ago

War and any "ism" go hand in hand when the populace is willing to sit by and watch it.

Lots of tech and many many people mean no draft. Voluntary sign up for economic benefits- all systems go to shit eventually- and lots of propaganda.

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 9 years ago

"Follow the Money: The Secret Heart of the Secret State'', by Chris Floyd :

''The pattern is exactly the same in every industry, from farming, to manufacturing, to every aspect of transportation, to the health insurance scam, to anything else you can name. In one common version, already vested interests go to the State demanding regulation and protection from "destabilizing" forces which, they claim, threaten the nation's well-being (by which, they mean competitors who threaten their profits). The State enthusiastically complies, the cooperative lawmakers enjoying rewards of many kinds and varieties. Then they'll have to enforce all those nifty regulations and controls. The State will do some of it but, heck, it's complicated and time-consuming, ya know? Besides, some of the (US) State's good friends in "private" business make a killing doing some of the enforcing. Give it to them! Etc. and so on.

''The real money is elsewhere -- in, for instance, foreign policy itself. You probably thought foreign policy was about dealing with threats to "national security," spreading democracy, ensuring peace, and whatever other lying slogans they throw around like a moldy, decaying, putrid corpse. The State's foreign policy efforts are unquestionably devoted to maintaining the U.S.'s advantages -- but the advantages they are most concerned about are access to markets and, that's right, making huge amounts of money. Despite the unending propaganda to the contrary, they aren't terribly concerned with dire threats to our national well-being, for the simple reason that there aren't any: "No nation would dare mount a serious attack on the U.S. precisely because they know how powerful the U.S. is -- because it is not secret."

sub rosa ?

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (23615) 9 years ago

It is all about the money, all the belligerence and fear mongering. I was explaining this to someone yesterday who just couldn't understand why the NSA is doing what it is doing. When I explained it is all about the hoards of money that is made, a light went off in this person's head. It is the ONLY reason why they make wars and create a fear mongering society, MONEY.

[-] 2 points by shadz66 (19985) 9 years ago

''The Citizens United Catastrophe'', by EJ Dionne Jr :

And sad sigh re. your comment bw. A different world IS possible.

multum in parvo ...

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (23615) 9 years ago

"But ascribing an outrageous decision to naivete is actually the most sympathetic way of looking at what the court did in Citizens United. A more troubling interpretation is that a conservative majority knew exactly what it was doing: that it set out to remake our political system by fiat in order to strengthen the hand of corporations and the wealthy. Seen this way, Citizens United was an attempt by five justices to push future electoral outcomes in a direction that would entrench their approach to governance."

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 9 years ago

''The most important thing about the Zimmerman verdict is that it's a clear demonstration of how the American legal system is only about law. It is not about justice. It is not even about the consequences of killing another person.

''The verdict demonstrates that, despite the protestations of the law that it is about justice, that's only a pretence to cover the reality: that when the law produces justice, it's a fluke, an accident, a surprise. The law is only about the law.

''And it's no wonder, when you stop to think about who makes laws and why. Justice is one of the last things on the legislative mind, if it ever gets there at all.'' Linking your excerpt, current situations and circumstances with this forum-post and excerpted from :

multum in parvo ...

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (23615) 9 years ago

George Zimmerman, Son of a Retired Judge, Has 3 Closed Arrests

"Did George Zimmerman have help from his father, a retired judge, in clearing his name in three separate arrests?"


Justice is above the law. Morality is above the law.

R.I.P. Trayvon.

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 9 years ago

''NSA Collected US Email Records In Bulk For More Than Two Years Under Obama'' by Glenn Greenwald and Spencer Ackerman :

Market sensitive and 'marketing information' is as much sought after as any 'hum-int' !

Parking this here as if ''The Revolution Is Love'' then 'The Counter-Revolution Is Fear' surely !!

We know that there is perfunctory selection and targeting rather than huge sweeps and trawls and data retention for later mining - but all the information will drive then mad but like you say ''MONEY'' mad !!!

e tenebris ...

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 10 years ago

Succinctly true 'bw' !

The 'smart ALECs and KOCH's suckers' in American Politics have to be exposed and dragged out into the light, where they and their 'dark intentions' will wither in the Light of Love and Logic !!

Sorry for the language ... i'm feeling a tad belligerent !!!

fiat lux et fiat justitia ruat caelum ...

[-] 2 points by shoozTroll (17632) 10 years ago

With ALEC, it's not only about guns.

Is ALEC the real cancer of our Nation?


Not surprisingly, there's been a resurgence here of denialists.

[-] 2 points by shoozTroll (17632) 10 years ago

We can never have enough threads on the malfeasance of ALEC.

Thanks for another.......:)


[-] 2 points by shadz66 (19985) 10 years ago

Thanx for the link, further to which I proffer this somewhat historic yet highly relevant video from http://www.democracynow.org/ :

"Secretive Corporate-Legislative Group ALEC Holds Annual Meeting to Rewrite State Laws" : http://www.democracynow.org/2011/8/5/secretive_corporate_legislative_group_alec_holds .

e tenebris ...

[-] 2 points by shoozTroll (17632) 10 years ago

Let's keep ALEC high on our lists......................:)

They have become a monster in our democratic republic.

[-] 2 points by shadz66 (19985) 10 years ago

I concur. 'Lobbyists and Lobbying' have long been a major source of corruption and corrosion on the body politic of The U$A but 'ALEC' has taken this silent and creeping menace to the next level !

Is The U$A and more precisely it's long suffering 99.99% the victim of a 'slow motion' coup d'etat ?!!

et ... cui bono ?!!!

[-] 0 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 10 years ago

lobbyist should post their actions publicly

if they can lobby the congressman,

they can lobby the people

[-] -1 points by Spade2 (478) 10 years ago

Lobbying needs reform, not destruction. It's a 1st amendment right for God's sake.

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 10 years ago

What's G0D got to do with it ? & That sounds like a 'Corporate Double Speak Talking Point' to me !

The "1st amendment right" was NOT ever by any stretch of any imagination, envisioned to be apply to anyone who was not a 'natural born person' !!

No matter how many 'Corporate Lawyer Dual Think Mendacities' you wish to employ and manipulate ...Corporations Are NOT People !!!


veritas vos liberabit ...

[-] 1 points by Spade2 (478) 10 years ago

I'm actually an athiest but "for God's sake" is just a saying. I never said corporations are people (they're not) but lobbying is still important.


[-] 2 points by shadz66 (19985) 9 years ago

''United States of ALEC'' (Bill Moyers) :

Appended in compliment, to follow (and precede) your excellent ''follow-up'' link above and from your contextualising 'Alternet link', I excerpt :

''A national consortium of state politicians and powerful corporations, ALEC — the American Legislative Exchange Council — presents itself as a “nonpartisan public-private partnership”. But behind that easy mantra lies a vast network of corporate lobbying and political action aimed to increase corporate profits at public expense without public knowledge.

''In state houses around the country, hundreds of pieces of boilerplate ALEC legislation are proposed or enacted that would, among other things, dilute collective bargaining rights, make it even harder for some Americans to vote, and limit corporate liability for harm caused to consumers — each accomplished without the public ever actually knowing who’s behind it.''

ALEC was 'enabled' by the right-wing SCOTUS in the atrocious 'Citizens United' decision and right there a 'Corporate Putsch' of the US was given a final sanction. Indeed, 'Coup d'Etat' is not too strong a term & I strongly recommend both the links here to anyone still in the dark about ALEC.

e tenebris, lux ...

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 9 years ago

It's an issue that should not fade away, until ALEC fades away, along with ALL of it's legislation.

[-] 2 points by shadz66 (19985) 9 years ago

ALEC is a cancer killing what's left of deMOCKERYcy in The U$A !!!

fiat lux ...

[+] -4 points by mikechex (-5) 10 years ago

Citing a op-ed by Krudman has no cred. He's an idiot. Nothing more than a Lefty ideologue who tends to wrong all the time.

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 10 years ago

All said whist your pre-programmed head is jammed far up your Corporate (x) !!!

Maan, that's quite a talent !!

D'you juggle too ?!

nosce te ipsum ...

[+] -5 points by VantagePoint250624 (-51) 10 years ago

The people have a Constitutional Right, AND EVEN OBLIGATION, to lobby/petition congress........ however, when doing so requires money, it is no longer democratic lobbying or petitioning, is is nothing more than Bribery.

Of course, it's admirable and honorable when done on behalf of the other side, at least that is what the majority of forum addicts here would like for everyone to believe. The other side only does it because the wrong side makes them.

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 10 years ago

So 'VP', further to your comment - what "other side" are you talking about ?!!!

Are you living in some kind of dualistic, 'Manichean' parallel reality where you believe that there is some kind of substantive and meaningful difference between "Republocrat and Demoblican" and between those who own and pay for them both ?!!

WTF kind of "Vantage Point" can you have with your 'Corporate Owned Head' jammed so far up your 'Corporation Loving' (..x..) ?!

So again : "No matter how many 'Corporate Lawyer Dual Think Mendacities' you wish to employ and manipulate ...Corporations Are NOT People !!!"

Geddit Mr. 'VP from NumptyCorp. Inc.' ?

et nosce te ipsum ...

[+] -4 points by VantagePoint250624 (-51) 10 years ago

Oh yes of course!

Just vote D/O and everything will be ok!

Seriously, it must be true, I've read it here countless times with R's actually acknowledging them as if their dominance of a corporate owned DC will cure things.

Now don't type ugly and hurtful things to or about me or I WILL cyber shove my massive fist and forearm about a foot down your esophagus.

[-] 2 points by shadz66 (19985) 10 years ago

So, V.P. of PR & BS from 'NumptyCorp.' - IS that a threat ?

Maybe you should learn to spell first before you get such ideas above your station !

Gnothi Seauton ...

[+] -5 points by VantagePoint250624 (-51) 10 years ago

Really Daddy? You will show proper respect for the CEO of the Planet, ME!

Now off your knees and stop suck polishing my jack boots.

[+] -7 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 10 years ago

Nice post. Sure to be a favored target for the trolls once they see that it is not going to fade away.

Good food for thoughtful consideration by the sane.

Thanks again for bringing good stuff to the table.

[-] 2 points by shadz66 (19985) 10 years ago

Trolls ?! I'll munch 'em for 'the lulz' !! Only problem is they stick in the teeth ... or is that 'craw' ?!!! ... and the indigestion - oooohh :-( ... ilol!

verum ex absurdo ...

[+] -8 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 10 years ago

Careful I've heard they are toxic worse than blowfish.


[-] 2 points by shadz66 (19985) 10 years ago

They sure do sting on exit as well !

However, they do then end up in the right place !!

"Toxic" is Absolutely The Right Word, though, bro' !!!

caveat actor ...

[+] -8 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 10 years ago

LOL - survival and a following need for preparation-H, ouch. Strain on sewage treatment no doubt too.

[-] 3 points by shadz66 (19985) 10 years ago

But there's the hope that their 'broken down mulch' may nourish the 99.99% ...

because Resistance Is Fertile !!!

dum spiro, spero ...

[+] -8 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 10 years ago


Good antibacterial E-coli killer?

Recommended use no stronger than .01% topical.