ALEC-- The Biggest Threat To America Since The Nazis... And A Very Similar One
Lately we've been doing a lot of reporting on the history of American fascism in the '30s and '40s and how the far right's activism back then planted the seeds for current developments in the Republican Party. Wealthy families, business and media groups, phony churches and political committees today can trace their roots directly back to antecedents who helped facilitate the rise of Hitler and Mussolini and who worked for their success, some even after the U.S. went to war against Germany and Italy.
On Saturday, for example, we looked at the power of the one of America's preeminent fascist dynasties, the DuPonts, and how they used one of their fascist front groups, the National Manufacturers Association, to push an anti-union, anti-regulatory, anti-family agenda that sounds exactly like the kinds of programs being pushed by current fascist-oriented Republicans like Scott Walker (R-WI) and John Kasich (R-OH). Walker and Kasich are both prominent alumni of today's most fascist-oriented GOP front organizations, ALEC (the American Legislative Excahnge Council), a private legislative organization responsible to no one but... the Koch Bros. Never heard of it? It's a much bigger threat to you and your family than al Qaeda ever was or ever will be. The website that tracks ALEC uses this warning as their introduction:Through the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council, global corporations and state politicians vote behind closed doors to try to rewrite state laws that govern your rights. These so-called "model bills" reach into almost every area of American life and often directly benefit huge corporations. Through ALEC, corporations have "a VOICE and a VOTE" on specific changes to the law that are then proposed in your state. DO YOU?
This week's Nation features an important exposé on ALEC by John Nichols that every American should read.“Never has the time been so right,” Louisiana State Representative Noble Ellington told conservative legislators gathered in Washington to plan the radical remaking of policies in the states. It was one month after the 2010 midterm elections. Republicans had grabbed 680 legislative seats and secured a power trifecta-- control of both legislative chambers and the governorship-- in twenty-one states. Ellington was speaking for hundreds of attendees at a “States and Nation Policy Summit,” featuring GOP stars like Texas Governor Rick Perry, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Convened by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)-- “the nation’s largest, non-partisan, individual public-private membership association of state legislators,” as the spin-savvy group describes itself-- the meeting did not intend to draw up an agenda for the upcoming legislative session. That had already been done by ALEC’s elite task forces of lawmakers and corporate representatives. The new legislators were there to grab their weapons: carefully crafted model bills seeking to impose a one-size-fits-all agenda on the states.
Founded in 1973 by Paul Weyrich and other conservative activists frustrated by recent electoral setbacks, ALEC is a critical arm of the right-wing network of policy shops that, with infusions of corporate cash, has evolved to shape American politics. Inspired by Milton Friedman’s call for conservatives to “develop alternatives to existing policies [and] keep them alive and available,” ALEC’s model legislation reflects long-term goals: downsizing government, removing regulations on corporations and making it harder to hold the economically and politically powerful to account. Corporate donors retain veto power over the language, which is developed by the secretive task forces. The task forces cover issues from education to health policy. ALEC’s priorities for the 2011 session included bills to privatize education, break unions, deregulate major industries, pass voter ID laws and more. In states across the country they succeeded, with stacks of new laws signed by GOP governors like Ohio’s John Kasich and Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, both ALEC alums.
The details of ALEC’s model bills have been available only to the group’s 2,000 legislative and 300 corporate members. But thanks to a leak to Aliya Rahman, an Ohio-based activist who helped organize protests at ALEC’s Spring Task Force meeting in Cincinnati, The Nation has obtained more than 800 documents representing decades of model legislation. Teaming up with the Center for Media and Democracy, The Nation asked policy experts to analyze this never-before-seen archive.
There are 5 analyises of those documents available through The Nation, blueprints for a corporatist takeover of the United States; that's a polite way of saying a fascist takeover:
“Sabotaging Healthcare,” by Wendell Potter
“The Koch Connection,” by Lisa Graves
“Rigging Elections,” by John Nichols
“Business Domination Inc.,” by Joel Rogers and Laura Dresser
"Starving Public Schools,” by Julie Underwood
Happy Bastille Day!
The reason history repeats itself is that there are always people who think the course of history has gone wrong when it comes to the defeat of, say, fascism, Nazism, or the Confederacy. These people, when left in power (i.e., not tried and jailed, etc.), can continue to plan and conspire for decades until they rise again to try to enslave and control the majorities by any means possible. They are the reason for the repeated fall of once great societies and cultures because their policies are unsustainable and detrimental to all but themselves.