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Wisconsin State Rep. Mark Pocan is attending the ALEC conference in New Orleans this year. He'd been on the ground in New Orleans only a few minutes when he overheard this:

“Yah, I’m down in New Orleans for the American Legislative Exchange Council meeting. We write legislation, and they pass our ideas. It’s the free market.”

What that means in practice is something like the current prison privatization mania:

ALEC has also worked to pass state laws to create private for-profit prisons, a boon to two of its major corporate sponsors: Corrections Corporation of America and Geo Group (formerly Wackenhut Corrections), the largest private prison firms in the country. An In These Times investigation last summer revealed that ALEC arranged secret meetings between Arizona’s state legislators and CCA to draft what became SB 1070, Arizona’s notorious immigration law, to keep CCA prisons flush with immigrant detainees.

All these companies care about is growing their market share and volume of business. It doesn't matter to them that society is worse off when more people are in prison, or that these private prisons are notorious for lax security, high turnover and greater rates of violence.

It's in everyone's best interest that we start working towards decreasing the prison population. It's in CCA's best interest that ever more people are put in jails they run, and they're increasingly writing the criminal code.

So what we get is more private prisons as states cut early education budgets along with the rest of the social safety net. Early education spending, by the way, has been demonstrated to reduce crime so well that, this year ...

More than 600 law enforcement leaders sign letter supporting early care and education, proven way to reduce crime and lower prison costs

At every turn, ALEC encourages legislators to turn the public goods of the many into the tightly hoarded profits of the few.

ALEC costs us public safety, education, health, energy modernization, access to the courts, transportation and good-paying jobs. ALEC costs the country its dignity, as we're transformed from a broadly prosperous, democratic society, into a place where tax dollars are siphoned off by a lawless aristocracy. ALEC costs too frakking much.

Originally posted to A Fighting Chance on Thu Aug 04, 2011 at 02:44 PM PDT.

Also republished by Exposing ALEC.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Moved from Exposing ALEC queue to Published (4+ / 0-)

    at 6:15 PM EDT.

    Nice diary.

    Republicans are like alligators. All mouth and no ears.

    by Ohiodem1 on Thu Aug 04, 2011 at 03:14:31 PM PDT

  •  nice diary. (5+ / 0-)

    ALEC is the source of so much of the crap leg weve seen in the states. I riding down right now with the protest alec crew, and tomorrow we will be living up to our team in new orleans!

    by ManfromMiddletown on Thu Aug 04, 2011 at 03:22:13 PM PDT

    •  Enjoy the protest, shine the light on (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Blueslide, natasha

      these anti democratic looters of the public treasury who work in secret to steal assets our states have taken literally centuries to acquire, and to leave our nation as a carcass, sucked dry by a group of people whose avarice knows no bounds.

      Be safe, shine the light, and have some fun watching ALEC scatter and try to cover their miserable asses.

      Victories in New Orleans this week and in Wisconsin next week will be the first major events to turn back the radical repuplican right's fifth column march against America, peopled by elected collaborators, a Vichy Government of radical republcian legislators and governors whose only goal is to loot our states.

      Our MSM who won't report on ALEC's Shadow Government of Unelected CEO's, Lobbyists and corporate lawyers who earn $500 per hour to hurt common Americans so they can get even richer and shift even more of the tax burden, and more and more risk to low and middle wage earners, and outsource our jobs to low wage countries, and insource other jobs to American prisoners who get paid less than peanuts to manufacture products that compete against Amerincan manufacturers who want to complete on a level playing field, but our colloborating legislators keep tipping that field more and more against honest hardworking Americans and entrepeneurs so their oligarchy can take more and more of the pie.

      Let's start to tip the field in the other direction, starting Friday.

      Republicans are like alligators. All mouth and no ears.

      by Ohiodem1 on Thu Aug 04, 2011 at 03:54:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  So is he disguised or what? (0+ / 0-)

    How can Mark Pocan just show up at an ALEC meeting? Are they open to just anyone? Won't they know who he is?  How often do these people meet? Can I go? Not to protest, I want to hear what they say.

    •  All you have to do is pay a bunch of money (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      natasha, Calamity Jean

      and pass a right wing bonafides background check and you can get a day pass.   Or you can become a corporate member for about, I think, $7 k, or you can buy a seat on a Task Force for about $25k.  Or, like Mark Pocan, you can pay your $50 one year dues and become a legislative member if you hold elective office.  See how that works, you let the legislator you want to wine and dine three times a year join for $50 bucks, and you pay $25,000 for the privilege of meeting with that and many other legislators in closed rooms while you hand your legislators laws you want him/her to pass so they can pollute your air, loot your state, make profit off you kid's substandard schooling, incarcerate you teenagers for profit, privatize your highways, create bail bond schemes that are paid for with public money (believe it or not! Bob Sloan has written on this scheme), bust your unions, frack your wells, evicerate your EPA, weaken child labor laws, weaken workplace safety regulations, you name it, these folks have an Act for it.


      Republicans are like alligators. All mouth and no ears.

      by Ohiodem1 on Thu Aug 04, 2011 at 08:36:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Check out Tweets from the event... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ... from Eric Carlson of the CMD.

    Been kicked out as press - no credentials (aling woth Al Jazeera, English reporter BTW) , kicked out of hotel for tweeting, on and on... with couple more days to go.

    Eric is clearly wearing an "off the rack" suit, which is easily spotted. Dress BIG, talk SMALL to blend in with this crowd.

    •  Sounds like ALEC is getting a bit prickly (0+ / 0-)

      Light must make them itch.

      Several different pressers from folks who are interested in showing just how nefarious this nasty little cabal is.

      ALEC doen't like playing defense, and they aren't very good at it.  Let't keep them off balance and playing a game they don't like.

      Republicans are like alligators. All mouth and no ears.

      by Ohiodem1 on Thu Aug 04, 2011 at 08:27:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tim McVeigh (0+ / 0-)

    ...where are you when we need you?


    Defending bad taste and liberalism since 2005.

    by jurassicpork on Thu Aug 04, 2011 at 07:44:29 PM PDT

    •  I thought about HR'ing this comment, but I want (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      folks to see it.  Exposing ALEC and its big media reflection is a 100 per cent, non violent movement to expose ALEC and its buying of legislation from sea to shining sea.  We don't advocate, nor joke about terrorists as a means to reach our goal of ending this right wing influence in our government.

      We want to defeat ALEC through the use of our right to free speech, publicity to ALEC's schemes, using public records to document how much money they spend to influence elections, the methods they use to gain access to thousands of powerful politicians who are not acting in the interests of the voters who elected them, they are acting in the interests of the corporations who bought them.

      Please take your comment somewhere else.

      Republicans are like alligators. All mouth and no ears.

      by Ohiodem1 on Thu Aug 04, 2011 at 08:14:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  this is exactly what's happening in FL (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ohiodem1, Calamity Jean

    ...where Pink Slip Rick Scott (the governor) would have privatized the entire prison system if he could have gotten away with it. As it is, Florida is privatizing 17 percent of its prisons with record speed.

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