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Reposted from Karen Hedwig Backman by Karen Hedwig Backman
American Legislative Exchange Council

Date: November 2011

Purpose: to educate and engage its membership on more efficient state budget approaches to drive greater student outcomes, as well as educate them on beneficial ways to recruit, retain, evaluate and compensate effective teaching based upon merit and achievement

Amount: $376,635
Term: 1 year and 10 months
Topic: Advocacy & Public Policy
Region Served: Global, North America
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Washington, District of Columbia
Grantee Web site:

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Reposted from AnnieJo by AnnieJo

This diary is a re-post from my personal blog Elvis Sightings.  I wasn't going to diary, seeing as how Papuska already did an excellent (first!) diary on the rally this morning.  But with that diarist's encouragement, and since I'm home today with bronchitis anyway, I'll go ahead and put it up.  Note that the original audience is folks familiar with my family: me & Mr. AnnieJo, and my daughters Rose (age 9, typically-developing) and Joy (age 7, who has autism & other developmental issues).

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You won't have heard about it in the national news, because they didn't care to cover it.  Not a single national news truck was there; the only national news figure was Ed Schultz, and he was there to march with the firefighters (though I imagine he said something about it in his Monday show.)  UPDATE: Sure enough, he did: very nice segment.

Besides, there was no riot.  In fact, there wasn't a single arrest.

Somewhere between 25,000 and 40,000 protesters converged on downtown Madison Saturday to fill the Capitol Square -- and the Capitol Building -- with a determined reprise of our gatherings this past February.

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Sat Nov 26, 2011 at 04:57 PM PST

Privatizing Evil for Profit

by swellsman

Reposted from swellsman by Azazello

I’ve been thinking a long time about the privatization of public services and some of the inherent dangers that go along with such schemes.  I would not say that I am anti-privatization in all cases (I suppose I can imagine some scenarios where turning over a government service to a private company might make sense), but there is one entire class of services that it seems obvious to me the government should never privatize – and yet it does.  It is the class of services I call “Necessary Evils.”

“Necessary Evils” are the services a society needs that – in an ideal world – it would never wish to have.  Things that we have to do that we wish we didn’t.  Two obvious examples of such Necessary Evils are (i) our prison system, and (ii) our military.  In an ideal world, we wouldn’t be locking people up because we wouldn’t need to lock people up.  In an ideal world, we wouldn’t have a military because we wouldn’t need to have a military.

But we don’t live in an ideal world.  We live in a world that contains some dangerous people, and both for the sake of punishment (we gave up a long time ago on rehabilitation in this country; about the time Ronald Reagan was elected, we committed ourselves to an Old Testament – not a New Testament – approach to crime) and for the sake of public safety some people must be locked away.

And we live in a world that requires (although a whole lot less, in my opinion, than our political leaders seem to think) that we be able to defend ourselves militarily.  So we have to have a military.

But when we privatize these government services we attach a profit motive to the provision of these services.  In other words, we create circumstances that argue in favor of locking up more people or argue in favor of more military action (here, I'm thinking about outfits like Blackwater).  We create conditions that further the promotion of Necessary Evils and – sometimes – just plain Evil, no qualifier required.

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Sat Nov 05, 2011 at 04:39 PM PDT


by Ron1951

Reposted from Ron1951 by Azazello

The Occupy Movement, as exemplified by OWS and emulated in so many cities worldwide shows me one thing—people are no longer satisfied to live a no longer livable life.  Expressing the entire 99% concept and the way it frames the lives of so many was a major accomplishment.  Perhaps you remember George Carlin ranting about why “Nobody Cares About You”.  If not, please go to the footnote (1)   and watch it on YouTube.  You’ll swear it was written last night.

Or if you are old enough to remember William Holden in Network.  “I’m a human being, god damn it, my life has value.  So get up out of your chairs and go to the window, open it, then stick your head out and yell “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!” (2)  


By their actions as described in this article, ALEC is:

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Sat Nov 05, 2011 at 04:39 PM PDT

Shelby County, Alabama

by Karen Hedwig Backman

Reposted from Karen Hedwig Backman by Karen Hedwig Backman Editor's Note: I expect to encounter further links between WRF (Wiley Rein & Fielding) and ALEC. -- Karen Hedwig Backman

Billed as

the fastest growing county in the State of Alabama

Nestled right splat on the belly button of the State of Alabama, things are a happening there, like a voter rights case, a battle over constitutionality (a favored argument these days in the deep South) pending in the beginning of 2012 in the U.S. Court of Appeals, Washington DC on account of because Shelby County retained a high-powered DC lobbyist legal firm, Wiley Rein & Fielding, which would guarantee a DC appellate circuit hearing.
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Reposted from Ohiodem1 by Ohiodem1

This will be a short diary which only reports a bit on the Ohio effort to overturn, or exercize the People's Veto over Ohio SB5, an ALEC inspired attempt to break public employee unions, demonize public employees, most particularly school teachers, fire fighters and EMT's, and police officers.  The backers for the side to retain the law have raised a firestorm with GrannyGate, an ad which twists the words of 78 year old Marlene Quinn, who was featured in a Repeal SB5 ad concerning fire fighters who saved the life of her great grandaughter Zoey, and made it appear that she supported SB5.  Marlene was far tougher than the radical republicans imagined she might be, and with the help of the repeal group, We Are Ohio, made all of Ohio, and indeed, most of America know that the radical republican support group "Building a Better Ohio" just how unprincipled radical republicans can be.

In a front page story with the headline "Poll:Issue 2 sinking", the Columbus Dispatch, a very Republican newspaper reports that a Quinnipiac poll shows the Repeal SB5 campaign leading by 25 points, 57 to 32.  Further, the internals show only Republican voters opposed to repeal.  Among every other grouping of Ohio citizens, SB5 repeal leads by large margins.  The internals are in a block quote below the fold.

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Reposted from semiAdult by Azazello


It was the first time we saw a real organized effort, close enough to get involved with, to gather caring people and hear about ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, in great detail, from experts. We had to go. "All About Alec" was a spectacular success put together by Oregon Area Progressives in Fitchburg, WI (no they're not lost... this Oregon is a local community). Great speakers, superb content, and an outstanding bunch of wayyyy more than 200 folks showed up!

Getting on the road from Saint Paul at 3am was the easiest thing to do, because we thought it would be a great thing. We weren't quite right... it was BETTER!

Here's a rundown on the conference, plus links to information and sources.

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Reposted from Bob Sloan by Bob Sloan

Like most of you I had never heard of the Atlantic Bridge charity.  It was founded and designed to promote the "special relationship" between the UK and the US.  Over the past couple of days the Guardian has been covering a scandal involving Liam Fox, UK's Defence Secretary.  I won't bother you with the detail of this scandal, except to say that it has been discovered that the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) backed the Atlantic Bridge Charity along with Hedge Fund millionaire, Michael Hintze.

The story is full of mystery, corruption, corporate manipulation and involves many names (corporate, individual and political) we read about in the paper - including former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.

Of interesting note is that when stories about ALEC and the Koch's hit the news, ALEC's website goes down for "Maintenance".  In this case it went down yesterday as the Guardian's articles were published, exposing their involvement in the Atlantic Bridge Charity.  I have screen prints of what I find now when trying to access ALEC's site over the past 24 hours below the fold.


Do you believe the activities of ALEC contribute to the problems being protested now in Occupy Wall Street?

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Reposted from ej25 by Azazello

On September 28, as part of its series on immigration detention, the New York Times addressed the scandal of seemingly uncontrollable immigrant abuse by the multinational prison industry in an article entitled "Companies Use Immigration Crackdown to Turn a Profit."

... a handful of multinational security companies have been turning crackdowns on immigration into a growing global industry.

Especially in Britain, the United States and Australia, governments of different stripes have increasingly looked to such companies to expand detention and show voters they are enforcing tougher immigration laws.

Some of the companies are huge — one is among the largest private employers in the world — and they say they are meeting demand faster and less expensively than the public sector could.

But the ballooning of privatized detention has been accompanied by scathing inspection reports, lawsuits and the documentation of widespread abuse and neglect, sometimes lethal.

As Bob Sloan (contributor to ALEC Exposed, which just won the Sidney Award for Excellence in Socially Conscious Journalism) noted three weeks ago, 50% of all imprisonment in the U.S federal system this year was immigrant detention!

More below the squiggle...

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Reposted from Joan McCarter by ManfromMiddletown

New York University School of Law's Brennan Center for Justice released a new study Monday detailing how widespread voter suppression has become as Republicans took over statehouses across the nation.

Here's the breakdown of those five million potentially disenfranchised citizens (from the report overview [PDF]).

  1. 3.2 million voters affected by new photo ID laws. New photo ID laws for voting will be in effect for the 2012 election in five states (Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin), which have a combined citizen voting age population of just under 29 million. 3.2 million (11 percent) of those potential voters do not have state-issued photo ID. Rhode Island voters are excluded from this count, because Rhode Island’s new law’s requirements are significantly less onerous than those in the other states.
  2. 240,000 additional citizens and potential voters affected by new proof of citizenship laws. New proof of citizenship laws will be in effect in three states (Alabama, Kansas, Tennessee), two of which will also have new photo ID laws. Assuming conservatively that those without proof of citizenship overlap substantially with those without state-issued photo ID, we excluded those two states. The citizen voting age population in the remaining state (Alabama) is 3.43 million; 240,000 (7 percent) of those potential voters do not have documentary proof of citizenship.
  3. 202,000 voters registered in 2008 through voter registration drives that have now been made extremely difficult or impossible under new laws. Two states (Florida and Texas) passed laws restricting voter registration drives, causing all or most of those drives to stop. In 2008, 2.13 million voters registered in Florida and, very conservatively, at least 8.24 percent or 176,000 of them did so through drives. At least 501,000 voters registered in Texas, and at least 5.13 percent or 26,000 of them did so via drives.
  4. 60,000 voters registered in 2008 through Election Day voter registration where it has now been repealed. Maine abolished Election Day registration. In 2008, 60,000 Maine citizens registered and voted on Election Day.
  5. One to two million voters who voted in 2008 on days eliminated under new laws rolling back early voting. The early voting period was cut by half or more in three states (Florida, Georgia and Ohio). In 2008, nearly 8 million Americans voted early in these states. An estimated 1 to 2 million voted on days eliminated by these new laws.
  6. At least 100,000 disenfranchised citizens who might have regained voting rights by 2012. Two states (Florida and Iowa) made it substantially more difficult or impossible for people with past felony convictions to get their voting rights restored. Up to one million people in Florida could have benefited from the prior practice; based on the rates of restoration in Florida under the prior policy, 100,000 citizens likely would have gotten their rights restored by 2012. Other voting restrictions passed this year that are not included in this estimate.

These are just the laws passed so far. As many as 34 states have introduced legislation in the last 2 years to require government-issued photo identification to vote. At least 12 have introduced legislation requiring proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate, to register to vote. As many as 13 states have introduced legislation ending same-day registration and limiting voter registration drives like those traditionally done by the League of Women Voters. At least nine states have introduced legislation to shorten early voting periods and four have tried to limit absentee voting.

The potential outcome of taking five million votes out of the mix in 2012? It could be the presidency, according to the Brennan Center.

  • The states that have already cut back on voting rights will provide 171 electoral votes in 2012 – 63 percent of the 270 needed to win the presidency.
  • Of the 12 likely battleground states, as assessed by an August Los Angeles Times analysis of Gallup polling, five have already cut back on voting rights (and may pass additional restrictive legislation), and two more are currently considering new restrictions.

And you know, of course, who is being disenfranchised: "young, minority, and low-income voters, as well as on voters with disabilities." In other words, people who generally vote Democratic. Which means it's a no-brainer that much of the legislation introduced and passed around the country is the work of ALEC, American Legislative Exchange Council, the Koch brother's toy for taking over the country.

Reposted from Bob Sloan by MNDem999

I normally would not do this, but this blog entry I read the other day sticks in my mind and is so descriptive of what we as American's are faced with today.  Of course as you no doubt suspect, it is about ALEC.

Posted by 2old2care at the above link of "Because I Can".  I think in one blog 2old2care caught all the nuances, agenda and end goals of ALEC and at the same time caught the difficulties we are faced with in refusing to present a united front in opposition to that agenda.

"Our President lives in a fairy land.

"Our President and all the Democrats (except Mark Pocan & Bernie Sanders [I] ) live in a fairyland.

"All of them are so busy chasing their tails that none of them are paying attention to what is really happening in America.

"Their ignorance and their refusal to act against ALEC will destroy the United States of America.

"Our ignorance and our refusal to act against ALEC will destroy the United States of America.

"No one is going to step forward and save our country.  We are headed for a “corporate state” – we will become a complete fascist state, probably within the next ten years - that's what ALEC wants and there is no one to fight them on it - (oops, better pull the covers over your head, put your fingers in your ears  - la, la, la, la, la, la, - there's that "f" word - god forbid I should upset the "offenderati" of political blogging).

"Those of us who see the phrase “American Legislative Exchange Council” (ALEC) and pull the cover over our heads are only delaying the inevitable truth.

"Those of us who see the phrase “American Legislative Exchange Council” (ALEC) and pull the cover over our heads denying the truth about what is REALLY happening to the United States of America – are supporting ALEC – giving them exactly what they want and need– our complacency."

In order to understand the foregoing statements and how on point they are we must look back more than a decade to Paul Weyrich (ALEC Co-Counder) and one of his disciples, Eric Heubeck.  Weyrich is also co-founder of several other Right Wing foundations, organizations and groups.  At the core of Weyrich's thinking was to completely change America's culture and make Progressive politics and processes illegitimate.  Weyrich outlined his theories and ideologies in a "training" manual disseminated to Conservatives.  In 2000 Heubeck compiled all of Weyrich's instructions into one document and published it as "The Integration of Theory and Practice: A Program for the New Traditionalist Movement".  A lengthy diatribe perhaps, but a must read if we are really to understand what the agenda is, how they designed it to work and tools they would use to accomplish eliminating the Progressive element from politics completely.

Below I have copied some of the more important sections revealing the philosophy and mechanics.  It is simply time to take the gloves off and call this Conservative agenda exactly what it is - corporatocracy or by the more familiar term fascism.  Time for political correctness has ended.  Cover your ears, avert your eyes or do the la, la, la, la,la thing described above.  Sadly, none of those actions will make ALEC and their activities go away.  They and the Cabal and joint agenda will not disappear.

After reading take a moment and think back over the past decade and see if the pattern set forth in this document was literally put into action...

As Heubeck proclaimed in 2000 - and Weyrich a decade earlier:


Should tax exempt charitable organizations be prohibited from participating in any political event, activity or operation?

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Reposted from Joan McCarter by Ohiodem1 Editor's Note: Just another bit of Koch hypocrisy. Appropriate for Exposing ALEC. -- Ohiodem1
social security card

The Nation has a fantastic exclusive demonstrating the depths of Charles Koch's hypocrisy. To set the scene: It's 1973, and Koch is the newly-appointed president of the Institute for Humane Studies, a libertarian think tank that was sort of a precursor to Koch's Cato Institute. He's trying to lure Friedrich Hayek, "the leading laissez-faire economist of the twentieth century," from his home in Austria to the Institute as "distinguished senior scholar." Hayek originally refuses, on the basis of having had some serious health concerns, and wanting to be in his home country—with its generous social benefits and health protections.

Eager to have Hayek come to the Institute, staff there began researching options for his health coverage, finding out that he had paid into Social Security when he had lived in the U.S. and taught at the University of Chicago in the 1950s. From there it gets really fun.

On August 10, 1973, Koch wrote a letter appealing to Hayek to accept a shorter stay at the IHS, hard-selling Hayek on Social Security’s retirement benefits, which Koch encouraged Hayek to draw on even outside America. He also assured Hayek that Medicare, which had been created in 1965 by the Social Security amendments as part of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs, would cover his medical needs.

Koch writes: “You may be interested in the information that we uncovered on the insurance and other benefits that would be available to you in this country. Since you have paid into the United States Social Security Program for a full forty quarters, you are entitled to Social Security payments while living anywhere in the Free World. Also, at any time you are in the United States, you are automatically entitled to hospital coverage.”

Then, taking on the unlikely role of Social Security Administration customer service rep, Koch adds, “In order to be eligible for medical coverage you must apply during the registration period which is anytime from January 1 to March 31. For your further information, I am enclosing a pamphlet on Social Security.”[...]

Publicly, in academia and in politics, in the media and in propaganda, these two major figures—one the sponsor, the other the mandarin—have been pushing Americans to do away with Social Security and Medicare for our own good: we will become freer, richer, healthier and better people.

But the exchange between Koch and Hayek exposes the bad-faith nature of their public arguments. In private, Koch expresses confidence in Social Security’s ability to care for a clearly worried Hayek. He and his fellow IHS libertarians repeatedly assure Hayek that his government-funded coverage in the United States would be adequate for his medical needs.None of them—not Koch, Hayek or the other libertarians at the IHS—express anything remotely resembling shame or unease at such a betrayal of their public ideals and writings. Nowhere do they worry that by opting into and taking advantage of Social Security programs they might be hastening a socialist takeover of America. It’s simply a given that Social Security and Medicare work, and therefore should be used.[...]

This is a grand swindle played on a trusting, gullible public, a scam whose goal is to con America's dying middle class into handing over their retirement money to the richest 0.1 percent, convincing them that in doing so, they’re “empowering” themselves and protecting their “individual liberty.”

Hayek did end up, in 1974 and again in 1977, as a resident scholar at IHS. The Nation has filed FOIA requests to find out if he took Koch's advice and took advantage of the Social Security and Medicare benefits to which he was entitled, but hasn't yet received a response. But the entire story, very much worth the read, really demonstrates the basic hypocrisy of the libertarian underpinnings from which the tea party, and modern Republican party, have grown: "[E]very man for himself; selfishness is a virtue."

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