As those of you who live in Texas know too well, State Farm jacked up their insurance rates by about 28%(?) last year. They are facing a law suit in Texas wrt their insurance rates. This year, some say because they are trying to raise cash for the law suit, they jacked up rates again by about 25%.
We've been with State Farm for homeowners insurance for around 40 years and in the last few years we've bundled in auto insurance.
A few months ago I called the State Farm public relations department at their head office in Bloomington, Illinois (309) 766-2311 to question the comany's realtionship with ALEC. After a cordial 40 minute conversation with a PR executive, I came away with the strong impression that the Board of Directors of State Farm has very little understanding or concern that ALEC policies are racist, anti-worker and pro the financial elite at the expense of financial stability and fairness.
Had that conversation not taken place, it might have taken me a little longer to look for another insurer after being with my agent for so long. But the nagging ALEC connection gave me the boost I needed to feel very comfortable saving a few bucks and starting with a new company.
The other day, I called State Farm's Public Relations Dept again after canceling my insurance policies with my State Farm Agent and I spoke with a woman who said that her department reports to the Board of Directors of State Farm and she would inform them of my concerns. I told her that, until my recent cancellation, my customer relationship with my local insurance agency and the head company for nigh forty years. I told her that State Farm had also been one of my customers when I sold municipal bonds for a regional securities firm before retiring several years ago. I told her that when I called on State Farm I had developed respect for their conservative investment policies and for using what I felt was good judgment in evaluating secure municipal credits. But I told her that State Farm's allegiance to ALEC represented support for a racist, anti-worker, anti-environment, right wing set of policies that are bad for this country and that therefore State Farm is part of the problem.
A couple of days later, after I completed the move to a new insurance company, I called the woman who runs our State Farm Agency in Houston. I expressed once more my appreciation for her excellent service and how much I enjoyed working with the people at the agency. I told her about my conversation with State Farm Public Relations about ALEC. I told her how right wing, anti-labor, anti-environment their legislative agenda is and that the State Farm Corporate office stubbornly continues to pay to support that agenda.
She knew nothing about ALEC and appreciated my phone call to State Farm because the agencies can complain but the company needs to hear from customers about how they feel about their insurance choices. She said she and the agent who owns the State Farm franchise consider people who have been with them so long as family. I told her that I was sorry to break off the relationship for now and that her service was exemplary and had nothing to do with our decision and that I told the corporate office that the service I received locally was excellent. She said she appreciated my call and learning these things. I mentioned to her that the Congressman, John Culberson who we continue to reelect is a hand maiden for ALEC. She didn't know that and neither had I just until a few days ago.
So a few days ago I received an e-mail that invited me to check on whether my Congressman was a member of ALEC.
Indeed I found that John Culberson, R, TX Congressional District 7 is a member of ALEC.
I called his Washington office to ask if that was correct and "Yes" they checked and found that he is.
John Culberson offices in the same building in Houston where George H W Bush offices and John Culberson was elected to the Congressional District seat that George H W Bush once held. At the Common Cause web site below, one can read that George H W Bush is one of the "honored" people who have received a rare award from ALEC. hmmmm. Just because the tone of the Bush family can be a softer, gentler tone, make no mistake, they have the same delusional, entitled perspective that Governor Romney has. George W Bush, in spite of having some experience working with Latinos and despite his jocular, friendly demeanor now that he's out of office, is a man stuck in the belief that he is part of the entitled class. And no matter what the Republican Party says about Jeb Bush and his strong Latino ties (his wife is Latino) and even if he is "smarter" than George W., Jeb is just as delusional and convinced of the trickle down entitlement to his core.
John Culberson is an idiot but a dangerous one. He dutifully held town hall meetings during the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld dog and pony show in late 2002 to drum up a preventive attack on Iraq. When I spoke out against that war Culberson yelled at me to never make a statement again at one of his town halll meetings while his goon who rushed up to stand next to me counted down the seconds as I was speaking.
John Culberson is much like the other ALEC members of Congress, a mindless puppet of the ALEC line. I used to wonder where he got his marching orders from because on every single issue he can be counted on to be reactionary.
Yet he just won his District in Houston with 60% of the vote, even though Barack Obama won Harris County (Houston).
Here's the info on just exactly who in the Congress is a member of ALEC:
At least one Texas Democrat has as of the present, I believe, cut their ties with ALEC. It appears that Joe Manchin, D. WV is the only Democratic member of Congress who is currently a member of ALEC. I called his office last week and with some prodding they looked it up and confirmed that he is a member. I asked that he revisit this membership in light of the regressive, racist policies ALEC stands for.
Keep in mind that this "attitude" of David and Charles Koch didn't come out of nowhere. Their father and founder of Koch Industries, Fred Koch, helped found and fund the John Birch Society, the racist bigoted "anti-communist" organization from the 1950's that threatened the well being of Jews and Browns. He didn't like these people. hmmmmm.....
So then there's Exxon, a staunch supporter of ALEC along with the rest of the Seven Sisters or whatever the oil oligopoly that runs the planet is called. What's up with them?
At the present time, Exxon is running an annoying patronizing TV ad that's soooooo supportive of teachers and drones on about how verrrrrrry important teachers have been to the people who work for the oil companies. Is this ad meant to convince us that Exxon wants to support the public schools?
Well, "ALEC Exposed" argues, with much documentation, the opposite:
This page reveals how ALEC bills would privatize public education, crush teacher's unions, and push American universities to the right. Among other things, these bills make education a private commodity rather than a public good, and reverse America’s modern innovation of promoting learning and civic virtue through public schools staffed with professional teachers for children from all backgrounds. Through ALEC, corporations have both a VOICE and a VOTE on specific state laws to change the American education system. Do you?http://alecexposed.org/...
So, as one peruses the Common Cause web site and sees the hundreds of apparatchiks working to further ALEC's goals, including legislators and attorneys and think tankers and key Republican figures, one sees how far and deep the tentacles of this massive campaign go within the structure of our democracy.
Nothing bad that's been happening, it seems, happens without a boost from the Koch Brothers and ALEC.
I've been wondering why we have ignorant idiots like Tod Akin on the science committee. I didn't have to wonder long. Googling House Science, committee, I found Science, Space and Technology Committee, which led to the "Subcommittee on Energy and Environment". Surprise, surprise....
Here are the members of the U.S. House of Representatives Science Committee's
Subcommittee on Energy and Environment:http://science.house.gov/...
Andy Harris, M.D., MD, Chairman
Dana Rohrabacher, CA
Roscoe G. Bartlett, MD
Frank D. Lucas, OK
Judy Biggert, IL
W. Todd Akin, MO
Randy Neugebauer, TX
Paul Broun, GA
Chuck Fleischmann, TX
(all the usual suspects)
Brad Miller, NC, Ranking Member
Lynn C. Woolsey, CA
Ben Ray Lujan, NM
Paul D. Tonko, NY
Zoe Lofgren, CA
Jerry McNerney, CA
(PLEASE NOTE: as Pete Dunkelberg pointed out in a comment below the disrespectful Republican term "Democrat" Members instead of the correct "Democratic Members" is on the Science Committee web site. I had copied and pasted from the Science Cttee web site and I will leave the incorrect term followed by (sic). BTW -Thank you Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD), Chairman and
Rep. Ralph M Hall CHM Science Committee for your demonstration of disrespect that is all too typical of your Party these days.)
If you look for this stuff you just keep tripping over the connections to ALEC in every area of policy that impacts how much money the Koch brothers and other members of ALEC can extract from our economy.
What's really shocking is how much of our constitutional rights we have managed to cling to given the pervasive financial clout of ALEC and the existence both inside and outside the government of agents of obstruction, distortion, denial, lies, greed and ignorance. which all promote policies which fly in the face of sustainabllity, a level playing field, science based policy, justice, equity, fairness, honest government.
So, in sum, when one wants to know why there are people on, for example, Texas school boards, the U.S Congress, the U S Senate, conservative think tanks, alternative scientists, Charter School officionados, for profit jails, the drug war, faux climate science, renewable energy you name it, who are intransigent on their support for failed policies, perhaps the first place to look for a rock under which the answer can be found may be ALEC.