What Fresh Hell Is This?

March 26, 2012

Krugman Writes About ALEC

NYTimes Columnist writes about ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council:
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 have been introduced, many almost word for word. And these bills often become law.
Did you know that there are ALEC legislators here in Pennsylvania?

If you're a faithful reader of this blog (and who isn't?) you would.

But back to Krugman:
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.
Did you there are ALEC politicians pushing legislation making it "hard for the poor and ethnic minorities to vote"?

If you're a faithful reader of this blog you already know about ALEC legislator Daryl Metcalfe.

I'll give Krugman the penultimate word:
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, 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.
You really should read that Open Secrets piece.  It's an eye opener.

Oh and who do we have to thank for keeping ALEC afloat in its early years?  According to the Washington Post in 1999, that would be our good friend and owner of the Tribune-Review, newspaper magnate Richard Mellon Scaife:
ALEC makes a mark with its model legislation. The last time it counted (1995-96), 132 ALEC bills were enacted in various states, from charter school legislation to pro-business bills on environmental and regulatory topics. Many states used its version of welfare reform legislation.

ALEC is unabashedly pro-business. Its expert task forces, which write the model legislation, are composed of legislators and business representatives. About two-thirds of ALEC's $6 million budget comes from corporate contributions.

Scaife has given ALEC more than $2 million since 1975, keeping the group alive in its early years.
Thanks, Dick.


Heir to the Throne said...

Krugman pwned
Krugman, Brady, and Stand Your Ground laws

I mostly ignore the frothings of Paul Krugman in the New York Times, but his column today pursues a logic that’s insane even for him: in an attack on the right-of-center American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), he proposes that Stand Your Ground (SYG) laws tie into a trend of “growing incarceration” intended to line the coffers of private prison contractors. Earth to Krugman: SYG laws bolster criminal defendants’ rights, and your colleagues at the Times have been complaining that as a result it too hard for prosecutors to send people to prison for long terms. Next time, could you stop and think before hitting the send button?

EdHeath said...

So, HTTT, the Cato Institute, whose blog you link to, was started by Charles Koch and is currently funded by an array of private companies including the Koch brothers. Actually, as I read it, they do not even divulge all their funding. So we can dismiss anything they say as biased.

Actually, the Treyvon Martin case shows the "stand your gorund" laws have created an entirely new "activity". White gun owners will now by able to hunt young black men, and when they are alone the gun owners will shoot the black men and then claim self defense. And people like you, HTTT, will say you are waiting for all the facts to come in.

Conservative Mountaineer said...

@Ed.. Once again you're so full of bullshit your eyes are brown. I believe there's a LOT more black gun owners hunting other blacks or other whites than whites hunting blacks. Does the shooting at Mississipi over the weekend ring a bell? How about any random weekend in Philadelphia, Chicago, New York, Washington, DC?

Ol' Froth said...

The point, Mr. Heir, is that under "Stand Your Ground" laws, who ever the ultimate "victor" is can claim self defense. What if, say, after being followed and confronted by Ziimmerman, Martin shot and killed him, and then claimed self defense? Hey, he was being stalked after all!

EdHeath said...

So CM, if there's any crime anywhere, then apparently all is forgiven for Zimmerman. After all, it's not like he deliberately followed Martin or confronted him. And besides which, Martin had been suspended, which Zimmerman would have known and which gave Zimmerman every right to ....

Oh yes, and me saying these things makes me full of shit, to use your language.

Conservative Mountaineer said...

@Ed.. That's not what I'm saying and you know it.

EdHeath said...

Well, CM, you say there is crime elsewhere, and apparently we are supposed to conclude that relates to the Martin/Zimmerman episode in some fashion. Elsewhere you say that Trayvon Martin was no choirboy, due to his suspension for having an empty bag that apparently previously contained Marijuana (although I believe I have read that he was an A and B student, which I guess doesn't matter). Except that now I guess you say these things don't matter. Whatever.

The NRA has successfully pushed for felons to be able to own guns once they are out of prison. The "Stand Your Ground" law means that "Law Abiding Citizens" will now be able to shoot at people they feel are threatening, on the street, even if they go out of their way to confront such people (as Zimmerman did). In fact, strikes me as possible that "Law Abiding Citizens" will start taking shots at each other.

But my saying these things is misconstruing what you said, and in fact I am full of shit. Nothing I have said apparently is even close to being true.