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

Posted 2 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.

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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 Amer