I've been concentrating on ALEC so rigorously of late, that many articles, facts and stories involving prison privatization and slave labor have been put on the back burner. Today I'm going to put the links and a brief description of each in the diary Though the American Legislative Exchange Council is not mentioned in some of these articles - their presence is felt, through their pursuit of legislation to allow expanding their Prison Industries Act and push for more privatization.
Over the past few years former Governor Richardson took some serious heat about being in the pocket of those operating private prisons in New Mexico and giving out lucrative contracts to companies maintaining the state's prisons. Well, seems like these companies aren't making enough legally, so they just simply overbill the state and hope it isn't caught: http://www.forbes.com/....
Here's a link to videos on issues of private prison exploitation and obscene profits, the Koch brothers and voter suppression from an LSU student project: http://slaplsu.tumblr.com/
Pennsylvania was slammed by ALEC in their Rich States Poor States report last week. This report is written by Arthur Laffer, Stephen Moore and Jonathan Williams, die hard ALEC"Economy" experts (yeah, right). Many may have heard of the now infamous "Laffer Curve" used by Conservatives for years to argue that lowering taxes to corporations increases job creation (again, yeah right). However, the fact that Laffer and Moore have been discredited by everyone but staunch conservative factions, doesn't stop Republican media and Governors from citing this current "Report" as fact, and going on to tell their citizenry that they need to vote to lower taxes on the wealthiest and corporations to increase the economy. Here is an article about that from Pennsylvania: http://www.poconorecord.com/... - claiming that states without income taxes do much better than those with such tax policies.
"Real savings needed for private prisons" is an article from Florida on the privatization efforts down there led by Governor Scott (holder of one of the lowest approval ratings on record for a Governor). This story reports that even in the face of no clear evidence that privatization saves money, Scott's current plan is to privatize another 15,000 to 20,000 prisoners in Florida's 18 southern counties. Not just the inmates, no he wants to also privatize healthcare, parole, probation and peripheral services for the entire south end of the state. What a friend he is to corporate America.
Republican controlled Florida is not the only state pushing for privatizing of their state prisons. "Proposals could be submitted for private prisons" is about the new effort of allowing privatization in Minnesota. Here is a link to the actual bill. Privatization is also being introduced and pushed by Conservatives in Maine, Ohio, Michiganand expanded in Arizona. When will we as a society begin to realize just how much this prison privatization is costing us - morally and financially?
"Inmates help pick up highway trash" is an article about New Jersey Governor Christie approving the use of inmates to help clean up New Jersey's highways and roads: http://www.dailyrecord.com/.... Another case of why hire out of work civilians when free labor is available from state prison inmates?
"Martori Farms: Abusive Conditions at a Key Wal-Mart Supplier" is the latest on Arizona women inmates being forced to work on a huge private owned and run farm in Arizona. The conditions are deplorable, the women mistreated and the end products are purchased by consumers nationwide through Wal-Mart stores. For those not already aware of it...Wal-Mart is one of the Private Enterprise members of ALEC. Of course as the article tells us, Wal-Mart has a stated policy that informs they will not/do not buy any of their products from a distributor that uses forced or prison labor...but here we are, with the facts in black and white: http://www.truth-out.org/.... I have to warn some of the conditions these women are faced with are not for the faint of heart...
"Gov. Brownback starts faith-based program for parolees" is an article written about Kansas Governor Brownback - and for those who don't know how much he likes ALEC, he wrote the forward to the 2011 "Rich States Poor States" report mentioned above. Everywhere we turn of late, there is the word "faith-based" being used in connection to prison, parole and crime. Possibly those of "that" particular brand of evangelical faith should be in prison, on parole or accused of crime: http://www.kansascity.com/.... Kansas is also one of the states where Bill Robinson has attempted to build his own private prison...staffed entirely by evangelicals, with an attached prison industry where they can work the inmates when they're not being ministered to...
"JONES INTRODUCES BILL TO REIGN IN DOD USE OF PRISON LABOR AND BOOST AMERICAN JOBS" is an article about Congressman Walter B. Jones introducing legislation to remove the mandatory purchase requirement given to the Federal Prison Industries and opening up competition for manufacturers of DOD equipment, inclding clothing. His legislation would allow private companies to be allowed to compete for manufacture of needed clothing for the government: http://news.tradingcharts.com/....
"Do you know who is writing your legislation?" is an article written by a current NH Rep., Marcia Moody. It calls out ALEC for their model legislation and favoritism toward corporations and their profits. In response to her letter, another former Rep. Fran Wendelboe responded with a letter applauding ALEC's agenda, membership and model legislation. She insists that the National Council of State Legislators (NCSL) and the Council of State Government (CSG) are similar organization that also have task forces and offer members model legislation, and that Rep. Moody's letter implies ALEC is the only one promoting legislation favorable to business and corporate America, also claiming that many of ALEC's corporate sponsors also sponsor the NCSL and CSG.
There is a vast difference between these three groups in that ALEC cannot be so easily compared to the others. ALEC's efforts of legislation control is 100% pro business, while the other two propose legislation for the people - not corporations. You do not see the NCSL or the CSG signing on in support of the Voter I.D. fraud legislation...the discriminatory immigration bills...expanding privatization of select state government responsibilities (such as Education, prison, Utilities, etc)...or eliminating collective bargaining.
Wendelboe's letter refutes that ALEC's corporate members pay the way for state lawmakers to attend the Annual Conferences - such as the upcoming one in August in New Orleans. This is more disinformation - similar to that spewed previously by ALEC supporters. Here is the quote taken from Wendelboe's response:
"And to correct Ms. Moody's statement that the annual conference is all expenses paid, ALEC members pay a registration fee which helps cover meals, and also pay airfare and their lodging costs none of these are paid by ALEC. She mentioned the upcoming annual meeting in New Orleans and wondered what legislators would be going; the answer is "ones who pay their own way".
From: Debbie Lesko
Subject: ALEC Meeting in New Orleans Aug. 3-6
Date: May 12, 2011 4:33:38 PM MST
Cc: .HDEMSECS , .HMAJSECS
As the AZ ALEC public sector chairman, I'd like to invite you to join me in NEW ORLEANS at ALEC's annual meeting from AUGUST 3RD-6TH. READ ALL DETAILS BELOW:
1. ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) is a nonpartisan membership association for conservative state lawmakers who share a common belief in limited government, free markets, federalism, and individual liberty.
2. If you are an ALEC member, your airfare, hotel, ALEC registration, baggage, travel to/from the airport to the hotel, and airport parking will be reimbursed through an ALEC scholarship up to $1,900.00 per legislator.
You may share rooms if you so desire....it is up to you.
Early REGISTRATION ENDS JUNE 7TH. Go to ALEC.org
3. I have attached a list of current ALEC members with their expiration dates. IF your membership expired Dec. 2010, you NEED to renew your membership to attend the meeting. IF you are not listed as a member, you NEED to JOIN to attend the meeting. Go to ALEC.org The price is $100 for 2 years. The membership fee is NOT reimbursed.
4. I have attached the Task Force member list. If you are a primary task force member, you can vote on model legislation during your task force meeting. Alternate task force members will be able to vote if the primary task force member does not attend. All task force members should attend their task force. Task Force meeting dates and times are listed under the annual meeting AGENDA at ALEC.org
CONTACT my assistant, Patty Wisner, and let her know if you are attending at 602-926-5413 or PWisner@azleg.gov
5. To REGISTER for the meeting and hotel go to: ALEC.org
I suggest you do so soon to make sure there is room in the hotel. If you use the ALEC hotel you will be reimbursed $100 off your registration fee. 4 NIGHTS at the hotel will be covered. Check in Aug. 2nd. Check out Aug. 6th. ALEC meetings start Aug. 3rd. Hotel check in time is 3pm and check out time is noon.
6. Make your own flight arrangements.
7. You need to SAVE and SUBMIT copies of all receipts and turn them into my assistant, Patty Wisner, AFTER the trip. Reimbursement usually takes 2-3 weeks to process AFTER the trip and AFTER you turn in the reimbursement form and receipts. I have attached the reimbursement form.
8. CONTACT my assistant, Patty Wisner, at 602-926-5413 or PWisner@azleg.gov
to let her know IF YOU PLAN TO ATTEND. I need an idea of how many legislators will be attending in order to make sure we have enough scholarship funds.
Arizona-Legislative District 9
1700 W. Washington St. Suite H
Phoenix, AZ 85007
If anyone still has any doubt that ALEC does reimburse their members for attending the annual conferences, read this Diary by ManfromMiddletown that includes the actual 2008 filing by Governor Haley of N.C. (then Representative Haley) showing the reimbursement of her expenses for attending ALEC's Annual Conference - reimbursement from ALEC!
As demonstrated, ALEC members, former members or ALUMNI cannot be trusted to impart the truth on anything. This latest letter from a pro-ALEC former member from N.H. is simply an attempt to somehow legitimize their sleazy existence by comparing themselves - and their agenda to the NCSL and CSG. As shown the letter from Wendleboe is filled with fabrication and provides "facts" that are manufactured. Maybe she should be asked how many times her attendances at ALEC functions were reimbursed by ALEC?
"Coca–Cola – They’d Like to Buy The World . . . . Some Right-Wing Legislation? is a letter written by Jillian Barclay asking why Coca-Cola sits upon ALEC's board, supporting the Cabal's disenfranchisement of student voters while, selling Coke products on campuses nationwide? She suggests a boycott of Coke by American consumers. I suggest that since that legislation will specifically and unfairly impact college students, that they take the bull by the horns and create a national movement to do just that. College unions, student unions, fraternities and student groups should take up this fight by calling for removal of all Coke products from their universities, colleges and campuses across America. I believe that by doing this one of ALEC's key and long time corporate members and "benefactors" will be forced to choose between loosing sales and profits or withdrawing their membership in and financial support of ALEC.
Calling out ALEC's corporate members, one by one in this kind of activism will help reduce the money flowing into ALEC while raising citizen awareness of who belongs to ALEC and the harmful initiatives they pursue against the public, voters and true democracy.
"Wells Fargo: Divest From the Private Detention Industry!", "Texas Group Calls for Wells Fargo to Divest From Private Prison Corporation GEO Group", "Protesters expose G4S Wackenhut profiteering from migrants misery." and "CCA, Wells Fargo target of demonstration in downtown Nashville" are all articles exposing the huge investment in stocks of Corrections Corporation of America, Inc. and Geo Group (G4S) by Wells Fargo and other banks and investors. This "Divestment" campaign is driven by the families, friends and others concerned about the huge profits derived from incarceration of Americans and Immigrants alike. As they activists point out, corporate goals regarding privatization of prisons is to increase profits by imprisoning more and more warm bodies. Since the ALEC proposed "Model Legislation" enacted in AZ. last year, more and more ALEC state lawmakers have carried the same style of legislation back to their states, attempting to get similar laws passed in those states. The only benefit of continued mass incarceration are the private companies profiting off of those imprisoned. In addition thousands of those prisoners now work in prison industries for other corporations, making the products we buy and civilian American workers "used" to make. The Brave New Foundation is a leader in these anti-imprisonment and divestment demonstrations. They also have an ongoing effort of exposing the Koch brother's involvement in controlling our lives, jobs and legislation. I would urge readers to join their efforts on behalf of all of us and help save our democracy from becoming a Corporatocracy."
That's it for this update. There's so much more but I don't want to take up all your time, as DK has so many other important diaries that need your attention as well. Please continue to stop back here at Exposing ALEC and keep up with ongoing facts, articles and information about their activities.
Please consider donating to or attending the ProtestAlec.org demonstration in New Orleans in August. Many groups will be represented there: unions, students, activists and it will be a great opportunity to network on these and other issues important to Kossacks.