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This morning the Center for Media and Democracy published an article "One Year Later: The First ALEC Protest in Cincinnati" heralding the first anniversary of the fight against the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

With their permission I am copying the full article below the fold for Kossacks to read - if you haven't already seen it yet.  Last month I spoke with Lisa Graves, Executive Director and Editor-in-Chief of CMD.  She expressed the idea of an article about the hard work, research and activism that evolved here on DK over the last couple of years on ALEC.  Since then myself and other Kossacks were interviewed for the story.

Because many of you voted for me in the Democracy For America Netroots Nation scholarship contest, I received one of the scholarships funded by DFA!  At NN 2012 there is a panel on ALEC.  Lisa Graves will be on the panel and I will be attending - though I haven't been asked to be a panel member - and will record the entire presentation for a diary when I return.

Kudos to all of you who have invested your time, research and helped fund our efforts of abolishing ALEC.  A few months ago none of us could possibly have anticipated or even hoped for such an outpouring of media and organizational support on the ALEC issue.  Today there are dozens of articles, interviews and media reports on every aspect of ALEC's activities, corporate and legislative members, legislation they have written secretly and passed along to our states and their use of a "charitable" IRS exemption to avoid paying taxes and being defined as a lobbyist corporation...

Before reading the article, take the time to watch this 12 minute video about ALEC from The Young Turks' Cenk Uygur.  He lays it out so everyone completely understands why it is important to eliminate ALEC and the companies who have enabled them for so long...and why it's important to identify which of your representatives are members of ALEC and vote smart in 2012 and beyond.

Please take a moment to visit CMD and leave comments on the article so they'll know how much we appreciate their efforts to factually report on the hard work, dedication and effort that we here at DK put into exposing and now abolishing ALEC.

__________

One Year Later: The First ALEC Protest in Cincinnati

by Sara Jerving — April 27, 2012 - 7:00am
Topics: Activism, Corporations
Projects: ALEC Exposed

With all the national media attention on the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) over these past several weeks, few realize that a campaign to lift the veil on ALEC’s operations and agenda began almost one year ago. This week marks the anniversary of the first public rallies in opposition to ALEC. This is the story of the power of ordinary extraordinary individuals to stand up, speak out and make an enormous difference in defense of democracy.  

In early April 2011, a group of college students at Miami University in Ohio came across a blog post written by a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor on a little-known group that brings together legislators and corporations to vote on “model” legislation. Soon after they began mobilizing for the first national protest against this shadowy organization, ALEC, which was set to meet in Cincinnati at the end of the month. These early days of activism led to a snowball effect of exposure of ALEC resulting in a shift of the national dialogue on how laws in the United States are written and what forces are influencing their outcome.

Professor William Cronon, a professor of History, Geography and Environmental Studies in Madison, wrote the blog post which stirred public awareness of ALEC. He had written it during the unprecedented moment in Wisconsin when thousands occupied the Capitol building opposing the extreme legislative agenda of newly-elected Governor Scott Walker. Cronon’s piece was a cautionary note on ALEC, suggesting that the crop of identical “un-democratic” legislation such as "voter ID" laws that make it more difficult for American citizens to vote and efforts to break apart public-sector unions sprouting across the country could be sourced back to ALEC.  

The post on Cronon’s personal website, as well as an op-ed he wrote in the New York Times that was critical of the new governor, so riled the Wisconsin GOP it filed an open records request to gain access to the professor’s emails. This move sparked a national discussion about academic freedom and underscored concern that perhaps there was something to hide about ALEC. The organization had been the subject of a number of reports by public interest groups over the past decade but the press had paid little attention to concerns that had been raised. The Wisconsin battle and similar labor uprisings in other states, facing a wave of copycat legislation, helped ignite interest in the possible sources of this extreme agenda being rammed through in state after state.  

Concerned Americans Converge on ALEC Conference in Cincinnati

Simultaneously, a core group of Daily Kos bloggers, including some of these students, were piecing together what they could find about ALEC. It was an eclectic group, including a businessman, students, a minister, a former U.S. Department of Defense official, and a journalist, among others. They had examined ALEC “model” bills from 1995 to 2004 that were available on the website of the controversial Heartland Institute, which had worked closely with ALEC on numerous legislative initiatives. The bloggers worked to analyze ways in which ALEC’s influence had grown over the years. One of the bloggers, Bob Sloan, had been researching ALEC’s influence in the area of prison privatization. A former consultant to the prison industry, Sloan began focusing on ALEC's Prison Industries Act to a law that was enacted in Florida in 2000, based on what the Heartland Institute had touted.

These and other concerned Americans converged on April 29, 2011, when over one hundred people came to speak out against ALEC’s Spring Task Force Summit in Cincinnati. The day started off with teach-ins in the morning and a rally at Fountain Square, a centralized meeting point in the city, in the afternoon.

Over one hundred people showed up for this landmark demonstration from across the country. The protest began with street theatre -- the protestors built a 15-foot tall puppet, which was intended to represent ALEC, and then several protestors played out a short reenactment of ALEC's influence over democracy since the 1970's, when the organization was founded by extremist Paul Weyrich.

The crowd marched around Cincinnati's historic Netherland Plaza hotel, part of the Hilton chain, where ALEC corporate and legislative members were meeting. Some of the demonstrators shouted demands for greater transparency, while banging improvised five-gallon bucket drums. The rally was followed by more teach-ins in the late afternoon at a local school.

The protestors also sent a letter to Ron Scheberle, the executive director of ALEC and former lead lobbyist for Verizon, with a list of demands. They called for full disclosure of ALEC donors accompanied by the amount given, public awareness of which politicians are ALEC members, full access to “model” bills approved by legislators and lobbyists, and disclosure of which model bills have been the basis for legislation across the states. Scheberle did not respond to, or acknowledge, the letter.

The Snowball Effect

Before the protest, the organizers at Miami University had already been working on other issues, including efforts to organize a union for graduate assistants on campus and helping to fight Ohio’s Senate Bill 5, which would have limited the rights of public workers if it had not been repealed in November 2011. The students sent out a press release about the Cincinnati protest to media in Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky, but only heard one response from an independent news outlet in Cincinnati. Meanwhile, investigative journalist Beau Hodai was also digging deeply into ALEC’s role in prisons, immigration and other matters, following on his major investigation into these issues in 2010. (Hodai has since begun doing freelance investigative work with the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD).)

According to Adam Stant, one of the organizing grad students from Miami University, the students drew inspiration from the protests in Wisconsin earlier in the spring over the state’s budget and Walker's anti-worker agenda. “If there hadn’t been the series of protests in Wisconsin, I doubt we would have realized what was going on. The awareness happened like a snowball going downhill,” he told CMD.

Four students from Purdue University came down to Cincinnati for the protest after they heard a speech by one of the Miami students where she described ALEC’s influence. Three students from Louisiana State University (LSU), who had also been in contact with organizers in Ohio, also drove up to Cincinnati for the demonstration, as well as other groups from around the country. The Ohio organizers made arrangements for those from out-of-state to stay with people in the community who supported the protestor's message. Some of the protestors were trained to be “peace martials” to ensure the protest passed without violence.

“We had been learning about ALEC’s efforts that were anti-labor, anti-student and anti-environment and it inspired us to come to Cincinnati for the protest,” Nathan Anderson, a sophmore at LSU that attended the protest, told CMD. “This knowledge came to us during a time when disasters like the Arizona immigration bill and the BP oil spill were still so fresh in our minds. We always knew that corporations had an influence over our government, but we had never seen such a clear example of this before ALEC.”

When they returned home, the students from Louisiana began reaching out to area labor, civil rights and social justice groups to organize a demonstration at ALEC’s annual meeting in New Orleans in August 2011, which also brought together over a hundred Americans concerned about ALEC's corporate-funded legislative agenda and operations.

From Theory to Documentation on ALEC

A few months after the protests, in July 2011, CMD analyzed and made available over 800 “model” ALEC bills provided by a whistleblower. The bills, and CMD’s continued analysis of these bills on ALECexposed.org, have allowed other journalists and concerned people across the country to document what skeptics of ALEC have been positing over the years.

In the view of CMD’s executive director, Lisa Graves, the documents revealed the depth, breadth, and duration of a coporate-fueled agenda to remake American law and life.  CMD’s effort to investigate the bills, corporations, politicians, and special interest groups involved helped create a platform for people to connect the dots about their concerns about legislation being pushed in the states and in Congress.  The “model” bills and resolutions undermine voting rights, advance climate change denial, make it harder for Americans injured by defective products to hold corporations accountable, and push environmental deregulation and the privatization of public schools, Medicare and Social Security, as well as limit the basic rights of workers to organize, among others.

“After the documents came out, the same newspapers that neglected to respond to our demonstration in Cincinnati, covered the story. The narrative on ALEC changed entirely from conspiracy theory to documented corruption,” Stant told CMD.

Since then, concerned citizens have rallied at other ALEC meetings in New Orleans and Arizona and at ALEC’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., demanding that the organization put an end to the extremist legislation it pushes in statehouses across the country.

Ordinary Citizens Making a Big Impact

Concerned citizens from across the country are still working tirelessly to shine a light on ALEC’s actions and agenda. When Sloan first wrote about ALEC on the Daily Kos on November 9, 2010, there were only nine articles tagged as related to ALEC. Now there are over 1,600. Some of the original Daily Kos bloggers recently launched the American Legislative Transparency Project which aims to educate the public on ALEC through writing, teach-ins and protests.

On February 29, 2012, the Occupy Wall Street movement held over 90 actions across the country in an effort to highlight the agenda of ALEC corporate members and special interests. According to reports, this day of action included numerous non-violent demonstrations at ALEC corporations in several cities and even a "Corporate Debutante Ball" in Salt Lake City.  Mock rats were lured out of the Wisconsin capitol by a "Pied Piper." Portland's march -- which included nearly 200 yellow ALEC umbrellas -- visited offices of ExxonMobil, McDonald's, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Verizon, FedEx, Taco Bell, and Walgreens.

While the number of newspapers and television and radio stations covering ALEC grew tremendously over the first ten months since that first protest in Cincinnati, the tragic shooting of Trayvon Martin and the connection between ALEC and its ratification of the law cited by his killer’s defenders as immunizing George Zimmerman of any liability -- as documented by CMD -- dramatically increased national attention and awareness. So too have the combined efforts of CMD with Color of Change, Common Cause, People for the American Way, Progress Now!, and numerous other national and local groups--as well as countless concerned Americans--exponentially increased public scrutiny of ALEC along with calls for corporations and politicians to leave ALEC.

To date, 13 companies have publicly announced that they are no longer funding ALEC -- including Procter & Gamble, Yum! Brands, McDonald's, Wendy's, Mars Inc., Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Kraft Foods, Intuit, Blue Cross/Blue Shield Association, Reed Elsevier, American Traffic Solutions, and the Arizona Public Service Corporation, and over a dozen elected officials have also left ALEC. But the campaign to expose ALEC and its role as a “charity” that focuses on giving corporations an equal “VOICE and VOTE” with elected officials on templates to change the law -- out of the view of the press and public -- continues to grow stronger.

“The exposure of ALEC was made possible through a chain of events that started with the activism in Wisconsin. It’s about normal people doing small things coming together in a way that makes a big impact,” Stant said.

_______________

"The Nation" magazine that helped launch "ALEC Exposed" has now launched a new site on ALEC: "Help Blow the Whistle on ALEC".  Check it out, tweet the site and email to your friends and put it on your Facebook pages so others will have an opportunity to join with us as we continue to work on our key task of "Abolishing ALEC."

ALEC's Spring Summit conference is in Charlotte, NC this year.  On May 10th in Charlotte, NC., our Voters Legislative Transparency Project, Inc. (VLTP) has organized protest events against ALEC.  Protesters are planning on meeting ALEC's members as they arrive at the airport and hold signs along the route to the hotel, asking them to "go home", "ALEC not wanted in Charlotte", etc.  On the following day there will be a planned press conference about ALEC, sponsored by those organizations mentioned in the CMD article and VLTP will be holding a rally and march to the Westin Hotel to protest ALEC's presence and activities.  On May 12th an all day teach-in event is planned with Lisa Graves and several others speaking about ALEC and sitting for panel discussions about key ALEC activities and policy initiatives.

If you live close please try and attend - urge your friends in NC to participate.  We continue to need all the support we can garner in putting these events together.  Please consider helping fund this event next month and a similar one planned for Salt Lake City in July at ALEC's States and Nation conference.  You can visit our site at www.vltp.net and contribute to the cause and events by donating through PayPal, check, credit card or debit card.  You will also be able to keep up with all the news on ALEC, their members and corporations and track their activities there.

Thanks for your help and all you continue to do to assist in this important task of wresting our democracy back from these corrupt legislators and their corporate handlers and enablers.

Originally posted to Bob Sloan on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 03:12 PM PDT.

Also republished by American Legislative Transparency Project, Occupy Wall Street, The Rebel Alliance, and In Support of Labor and Unions.

Poll

Before the first ALEC Protest last year, were you aware of this organization?

45%28 votes
48%30 votes
0%0 votes
6%4 votes

| 62 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Applause from Portland, Oregon (20+ / 0-)

    Keeping track of ALEC in Oregon

           "Last week, protests erupted around the country targeting the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and its corporate sponsors. The idea for the 'F29' protest began in Portland and spread to the rest of the country to highlight the increasing presence and influence of corporate money and power.  ALEC is a key part of the right-wing infrastructure to abuse the legislative system by pushing corporate-agenda driven policy that adds to wealth disparity, deregulates polluters, and attacks public employees." March 9
    Rep. Gene Whisnant (R-Sunriver)
    Rep. Gene Whisnant is not just any ALEC member, but the ALEC Oregon State Chairman.
    The rest of the ALEC Rats:
    Rep. Matt Wingard (R-Wilsonville)
    Rep. Kim Thatcher (R-Keizer)
    Rep. Wally Hicks (R-Grants Pass)
    Rep. Sal Esquivel (R-Medford)
    Rep. Bill Kennemer (R-Oregon City)
    Rep. Bruce Hanna (R-Roseburg)
    Rep. Tim Freeman (R-Roseburg)
    Rep. Katie Brewer (R-Hillsboro)
    Rep. Shawn Lindsay (R-Hillsboro)
    Rep. Michael R. McLane (R-Powell Butte)
    Rep. Jason Conger (R-Bend)
    Rep. Matthew Wand (R-Troutdale)
     Rep. John Huffman (R-The Dalles)

    Bring those still in Afghanistan home NOW or Those who fought that war will end it.

    by llbear on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 03:48:13 PM PDT

  •  In a sense, ALEC is just trying to resurrect (8+ / 0-)

    on the local and state and national governmental stage the concept of "in loco parentis," which got thrown out of the colleges in the 1960s. It's simply a matter of interpreting "representation" to mean that a few people are selected to act on behalf of everyone else, presumably based on some expertise, but in fact just based on having "sold" themselves, or having been sold by the moneyed interests.  Concomitantly, we're supposed to believe that the ability to collect donations is a logical substitute for academic or practical achievement.
    One could say that the announcement of the death of the salesman was premature.  However, real salesmen know their product and provide a useful service to their clients.  The politicians selling themselves as representatives have only one objective -- to exercise power on behalf of themselves and their donors, leading the sheep to slaughter.
    There's a good reason "in loco parentis" got thrown out of the colleges (it's still present in primary education where teachers can paddle students with parental consent).  The rules they were seeking to enforce were intrusive beyond belief and the services weren't commensurate. And, once students had to earn their own way, being dictated to by a bunch of old fogies just wouldn't do.  So the mentality, the desire to exercise control on the basis of no authority or expertise just moved into the hallowed halls of church and state, with the former looking to the latter for physical support.  The shared concern of both is "how can we control the people without doing anything for them"?

    People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

    by hannah on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 04:22:34 PM PDT

  •  geez, i hope i'm not lying: (6+ / 0-)

    it seems a lot longer ago than last year's protest that dkos was preparing informative posts on w/w/w/w/w wrt ALEC, so i voted yes.

    wwwww = who, what, where etc.

    the vanguard is usually in the vanguard, right ?

    Addington's Perpwalk: TRAILHEAD of Accountability for Bush-2 Crimes.
    Give: NETROOTS FOR THE TROOPS 2012 * Join: OBAMA'S TRUTH TEAM

    by greenbird on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 04:33:01 PM PDT

    •  great links, bob. (6+ / 0-)

      especial thanks for them.

      Addington's Perpwalk: TRAILHEAD of Accountability for Bush-2 Crimes.
      Give: NETROOTS FOR THE TROOPS 2012 * Join: OBAMA'S TRUTH TEAM

      by greenbird on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 04:34:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Don't get me wrong (0+ / 0-)

      I'm glad that there has been a lot of writing on Daily Kos about ALEC, but.....

      I'm not pleased with the way that Bob and his organization have tried to insert themselves into this story in order to solicit donations.

      The Voter Legislative Transparency Project (VLTP) was not involved in any way in the organization protest which happened last April.  Bob was invited by the group that did organize the protest about prison labor issues, but that was the extent of his involvement in that protest. I'm greatly disappointed to see that Mr. Sloan and his organization have tried to appropriate the work of a large number of unpaid college students and community residents in the Cincinnati area in order to raise funds for their own organization.  Which it should be noted has not secured its own non-profit status, operating instead through an agency fee agreement that diverts 10% of donations to the non-profit whose tax ID the VLTP is using.

      I'm simply sick of hearing Bob, Ron, and the gang over at VLTP try to rewrite history, harass Lisa Graves and the CMD (Who have been doing great work on this), and hit people up for money (like when they demanded $1 million for a "bus tour" that VTLP was planning from various labor groups on a conference call in August of last year.

      http://www.economicpopulist.org

      by ManfromMiddletown on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 04:54:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Great response from a Kossack who worked (5+ / 0-)

        for an ALEC corporate member here in Indianapolis, left them and enrolled at Purdue and immediately filed a formal Federal Elections Commission complaint against Candidate Obama, your college, Professorial staff and fellow students at Purdue in Jan 2008...

        "Meanwhile, Obama is facing much more serious problems here in Indiana. A day after blogger Scott Fluhr filed a complaint with the Indiana Election Commission for offering Dave Matthews concert tickets to IU students in consideration for registering to vote, a Purdue student, Adam Stant, has leveled even more serious accusations against the Obama campaign on the Purdue University campus. A blog entry by Stant at Blue Indiana, a liberal Democratic blog, makes some damning allegations against Purdue and student employees of the university working on Obama's behalf.
        The complaint made by ManfromMiddletown (Stant)reads, in part:
        "A secretive cadre of Purdue student employees organized and operating on behalf of the Barack Obama for President Campaign are using their positions in order to divert University resources from their workplace into the Obama campaign. Led by Laurent Wrzesinski, a Chicago native trained by the Obama campaign to act on its behalf on the Purdue Campus, the group has been operating in violation of both university policy and federal law. Worse, by carrying out these actions while in the employ of Purdue University, they have breached the University's obligations as an IRS 501 (c) 3 tax exempt organization. This breach, if fully prosecuted, would cost the University $140 million annually in tax exemptions, $3,500 per student at the West Lafayette campus.
        Also according to ManfromMiddletown,
        According to the Blue Indiana post, Dr. Steven Akers, Purdue's Executive Associate Dean of Students, knew of Wrzesinksi's activities and had warned him to stop using university resources for the benefit of Obama's campaign. There is also this damning bit of information on Obama's voter registration efforts at Purdue. "During the month of March, Wrzesinski has begun an effort to encourage out of state students who have already voted in the Democratic primary in their home states to re-register to vote in Indiana in order to cast a vote in the primary in this state," the post reads.
        You should have also informed the readers of this diary about why you were forced to leave Purdue and what you did when this information was discovered by myself and other journalists...the diary you wrote to preempt your exposure, against Beau Hodai and In These Times...(Yes I have screen shots of that diary though you took it down hours later).

        Most here at DK are fully aware of the work I and those belonging to VLTP and the DK ALTP group have done since 2010 on the ALEC issues.  You became involved and helped organize the Cincy Protest...and now want to accuse others of trying to capitalize off of the work of others? All of us at ALTP left the Exposing ALEC group because your were the administrator and changed our status so we couldn't post to the group about what we found out about your FEC complaint and duplicity, ManfromMiddletown.

        As to the other lame claims you've made in your comment: VLTP, Inc. is a duly registered 501(c)(3) with the IRS and with the state of Indiana - and has been since last November.  Though a young corporation our Directors and staff are all members of Daily Kos and have been for some time - preceding the formation of both ALTP and VLTP.  If you were as good at researching as you are at tossing false accusations, you'd know about our corporate status.  We have not harassed anyone MFM.  When attempting to set up our Bus Tour last year we approached everyone from Soros' OSI to CMD, Common Cause and others, trying to raise funding.  We did not ask for a million dollars from anyone - simply advised that was our projected budget.

        The "Agency fee" you describe is how we began our operations last year under a fiscal agency agreement - until we could get our IRS and Indiana corporate status completed.  Yes there was a fee of 3% not 10% as you again misinform...and it was through Bob Fitrakis' "Free Press" there in Ohio, operated by the Columbus Institute for Contemporary Journalism. who are active in progressive Ohio activism.

        My first diary on ALEC here on DK was my Corporatocracy series in November, 2010...when was your first ALEC article - or reference?  You were attracted to the ALEC issue and in comments on a diary in March of last year you saw myself and two other Kossacks talking about putting together a protest in Cincy while ALEC was there...and you went out and helped put that together.  The rest of us assisted, helped with scheduling the teach-ins, etc. and we came, spoke, marched, protested and held the teach-ins.  Now you want to claim all the credit?  Want to accuse those the Kossacks and myself of trying to "insert ourselves" into the ALEC fight?  That's just too friggin' rich.

        I understand now that I should have made all this public months ago when I first confronted you with the research about what you'd done at Purdue and you lied...then tried to run and hide from it.  Well it's out here now, you explain yourself to those you were trying to discredit myself, VLTP, ALTP and DK to...

        "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled" http://piecp-violations.com/

        by Bob Sloan on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 06:23:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Bob this isn't (0+ / 0-)

          about me, or you.  This is about your organization trying to claim credit for the work of community activists who actually planned and ran the protest in Cincinnati so they can make a quick buck. That's the sort of behavior that destroys activist movements.

          As for the FEC complaint Bob.  I am not allowed to disclose the details (Purdue would have to do that), but I can say that I feel vindicated by the conclusion reached.

          I don't suffer from situational ethics.  At Purdue I saw someone abusing their position with the university in order to divert resources intended for educational purposes into a political campaign.  I spoke up.  I have no shame for it.

          As for why I left Purdue, it has to do with the fact that my specialization within the department (comparative politics) was being told that it would be merged into another (American politics) and that would  make it impossible for me to complete my PhD in my area of study.

          http://www.economicpopulist.org

          by ManfromMiddletown on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 06:15:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  MFM I am not making this a me v you response. (0+ / 0-)

            I responded to sharp criticism about myself and others who are members or directors of DK's ALTP group or VLTP.

            As you are certainly aware, myself, OD1, MNDem999, HS, Azazello, Mentatmark and a handful of others have been pursuing ALEC for a couple of years or more.  That's well documented.  All of us were members of Exposing ALEC here on DK.  So we have those credentials and the fact that ALEC was monitoring the work of myself, OD1, HS and MnDem999 in March of last year - even mentioning our discussion on DK about putting together a protest in Cincy.  You were not targeted by ALEC, we were.  You were in the conversation discussing the protest and took the initiative to organize and present a damn good rally, teachin and protest march.  And at that event many of those mentioned above came from various states to take part, instruct, speak and march.

            You and many of us did that again in NOLA...and once you and the students decided to not pursue them in Phoenix we did it on our own; speaking at Occupy, marching in protest to an ALEC member company and placing ALEC under siege.  The core group of us have been involved longer than you've even known about ALEC...and that is the group who make up the Directorship of VLTP, Inc.  Yes the corporation is a charitable one and yes, it is relatively new, founded last November - by long time ANTI-ALEC DK members!

            You belittle our work and efforts and try and claim we're capitalizing off the work of unpaid students...leaving the impression we just recently stumbled upon ALEC and decided to "cash-in" on them  This is just not true and you know that, MFM.

            We have stayed in the ALEC battle after we left Exposing ALEC and I've already stated why we did that.  It wasn't only your Purdue FEC complaint, it was the Obama bashing articles you published at Economic Populist and elsewhere that made all of us decide to abandon your group - and you...in addition to the three stories you gave about the Purdue claims (grades for votes, it was really a drug ring run by Purdue faculty and it was the use of school resources for Obama that you used to try and rid the campus of these "students and staff".

            You could try being honest for once and call it like it is.  You know full well those of us at VLTP have been in this fight from early on - even after you and the unpaid students abandoned that cause after NOLA.

            "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled" http://piecp-violations.com/

            by Bob Sloan on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 04:56:22 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, I saw some of the Bob Sloan stuff last year (4+ / 0-)

        and thought that it might be overblown. And then I checked it out, and now I'm grateful.

        Hopefully we can meet in Salt Lake in a couple of months and I can thank him, et al. personally.

        There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

        by oldpotsmuggler on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 06:36:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  LOL Yepper...I began writing about ALEC way (6+ / 0-)

      back in 07 and here on DK in October, 2010 after Criminal Injustice Kos began cross-posting my blogs about them here on DK.

      So yeah, it's been longer that a year...but the students in Cincy got involved last March and much credit for the protesting has gone to them due to their organizing the first protest last April.

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled" http://piecp-violations.com/

      by Bob Sloan on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 05:04:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for the history lesson. (9+ / 0-)

    Though I had been aware of "model legislation" stories for the past year or so, ALEC was not on my radar until very recently.

    It is fascinating (and encouraging) to read about the history of the movement which is now achieving some success against this insidious threat to our democracy.

    The important and difficult job is never to find the right answers, it is to find the right question. For there are few things as useless–if not dangerous–as the right answer to the wrong question. -- P. Drucker

    by The Angry Architect on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 04:58:20 PM PDT

  •  The whole ALEC thing has been prevalent, just (4+ / 0-)

    under the radar, in Utah for so long that the boughten still believe that there is no need to stay under cover. It looks to me like the arogance is coming closer to being the downfall. They still meet amongst themeselves and shake hands, and slap backs, and divide up the spoils but there now seems to be an element of miscalculation in that.

    The awakening, even here, has started. The school voucher bill a couple of years ago passed overwhelmingly in the Leg, and then was repealed overwhelminly by the voters. Then we got a Bill to restrict public access to government records, and public reaction was so strong that not even a decent minority of Republican legislators would admit having ever really been in favor of it. And now we just had the deal where teaching of meaningful sex ed in school was absolutely banned - for a couple of days, and we're now in the phase where no one can really explain how the ban even happened.

    I mean, if even Utah kicks some ALEC butt on occasion, it may not be totally delusional hope that the tide is turning.

    There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

    by oldpotsmuggler on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 07:00:42 PM PDT

    •  Yer right but give Utah too little credit. Lots (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Larsstephens

      of folks out that way have caught on quicker than most in more populated states.  The educational pursuits are scary terrible...I mean deliberately trading good, quality ed for a watered down version where the quality is sacrificed for corporate profits and operating for-profit subprime (ITT, Kaplan, etc.) colleges with 80%+ drop out rates, is inexcusable.

      These 1%er's and the companies they own or run are addicted to greed and willing to sacrifice ANYTHING important, owned or respected by the middle class for another dollar in their wallets.

      Despicable and sadly hitting many states like Utah today.  Sooner they're gone the sooner we can start truly recovering our economy and our kid's future .

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled" http://piecp-violations.com/

      by Bob Sloan on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 08:33:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  congrats on the good work (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob Sloan, Larsstephens

    You guys have made a difference and that's what activism is all about.

    America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

    by cacamp on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 08:25:46 PM PDT

    •  Thanks but it's all truly been grassroots (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cacamp, Larsstephens

      activism by a huge number of folks who most are/were unaware of.  I'm thankful to Lisa and CMD for suggesting the article to celebrate the efforts of many who have to still remain unknown.

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled" http://piecp-violations.com/

      by Bob Sloan on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 08:36:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for all that you do Bob Sloan. Please (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larsstephens

    keep up the great work.

    PLEASE ☺ - Help Stop Mitt the Pitts Romney from Stealing ☻ the POTUS

    by laserhaas on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 09:47:08 PM PDT

  •  Bob Sloan is the best! (0+ / 0-)

    Truly

  •  The Big Picture (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ohiodem1, Bob Sloan

    I have to say I was really surprised to see a fight erupt in response to the article we wrote in an effort to praise the countless efforts of so many concerned people to stand up and speak out about ALEC.  

    Though we have seen some of the spotlight as the story about what ALEC is has finally broken through, we know we are standing on the shoulders of so many people whose names are not known or widely known, who have taken time off from work or away from families to confront ALEC by physically taking a stand at ALEC resort schmooze and booze fests, in front of ALEC corporations, and in firmly and tirelessly questioning ALEC politicians.  

    And there are so many bloggers and researchers who have flyspecked ALEC's online and print presence to help piece together the stories of how ALEC has sought to rework and wreck America through an array of templates to advantage corporations over ordinary families.  

    In the midst of such an enormous struggle with such a well resourced and well connected foe, friendships can become frayed, colleagues can become competitors, and our human frailties can fracture harmony at times.

    While I do appreciate the praise and defense, at the same time as a matter of courtesy I must protest.  That is to say, I cannot even begin to know or understand the multitude of interactions among all the colleagues in this fight to expose ALEC, on days when we are at our best or our worst.  And, although I have heard about some disagreements/arguments, I can only say to you all that I myself have only been treated with kindness by Bob, the ManfromMiddletown, Ron, Hector, Bruce, and so many others I have never met.

    Though I have at times felt exhausted in my attempts to encourage folks in various circles to not sweat the small stuff, to turn the other cheek on the big stuff, and stay focused on the tasks at hand, that is not something specific to any person. Rather, it is in the nature of a struggle of this magnitude by people from so many different backgrounds and perspectives and personal or professional pressures attempting to come together to take on the tentacles of a beast like ALEC.  

    Bob did lodge an impassioned objection with me that the letter to ALEC that coincided with the protest at its HQ was not as widely circulated as it should have been. And, it would have been great to have even more signers who have been shining a light on ALEC these many months and years, even though things were moving so quickly and literally changing from minute to minute. But those sorts of logistics are beyond my ken as sign on letters are not something I or my organization actually can take point on. Beyond that, it is fair to say that the relationships between the netroots, the grassroots, DC groups, state groups, big names and others is never easy or smooth, in part because we are all so busy that no one knows all the other things people are doing to make a difference and in part because of all the different circles folks are in, with different lingo, expectations, and approaches.

    From my perspective, without knowing or without wanting to know all the frustrations folks in a battle such as this have felt or might feel, rightly or wrongly, I would just implore each and every person involved in the effort to expose ALEC to please please please not take your eye off the ball.  

    We must remained focused on the enormous boulder that was launched at the heart of government bu the people, for the people, and of the people by Lewis Powell's memo, translated into action by Paul Weyrich, put into motion by Henry Hyde, elevated by Ronald Reagan and GHWB, given a head of steam by CCA, ABC, and the NRA, lauded and funded by the Kochs, the Coors, the Scaifes, and other greedy extremists, and now infecting legislatures from coast to coast with the institutionalization of an insidious form of corruption by which elected officials debase themselves by voting as equals with unelected corporate lobbyists behind closed doors on templates to limit our rights in countless ways. And, now with the disinfecting power of sunshine, ALEC is on the run, as more corporations and politicians flee it almost daily.  

    Accordingly, I would ask you all not to do battle with one another here in this forum under the watchful eye of the ALEC PR squad.

    And, to ALEC, since we know you have been keeping an eye on the activists at Daily Kos and elsewhere I say to you that we will not let minor disputes among researchers, activists, or others diminish our focus on uncloaking your extensive lobbying, unmasking your efforts to get loopholes to ethics rules to exempt your obvious legislative agenda or the corporate gifts you funnel to legislators through your ludicrously named "scholarships," and exposing the consequences of your numerous ill-conceived policies on hardworking taxpayers, students, elderly citizens, people of color, and the exponentially growing number of other Americans who are awakened to your corporate bill mill advancing an extreme agenda from coast to coast.

       

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