Friday, March 16, 2012

ALEC is Like a Pimp - An Analogy

I am going to take some artistic license (don’t you love that phrase) here, becauseican.

An analogy is a comparison of certain similarities between things which are otherwise unlike.

In education, teachers commonly use analogies to introduce something new to students. They compare the new material to something the students already know and understand.

Here is an example of an analogy:
A street light is like a star. Both provide light at night, both are in predictable locations, both are overhead, and both serve no function in the daytime.

Meetings of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) include analogies, as noted here in an article by Mark Pocan titled Inside the ALEC Dating Service

At a workshop I attended, one Texas legislator, who moderated the forum, went as far as to say that we are a big football team. The legislators are the football players and the corporate lobbyists and special interest group presenters are “our” coaches.

ALEC's analogies - are much more subtle than where I am planning on going with this entry.
But then everything that ALEC does is subtle and they are much more dangerous than anyone or anything I know.

Anyhoo - here – we go –

Definition of PROSTITUTE
1a : a woman who engages in promiscuous sexual intercourse especially for money : whore b : a male who engages in sexual and especially homosexual practices for money
2: a person (as a writer or painter) who deliberately debases his or her talents (as for money)

Definition of DEBASE
transitive verb
1: to lower in status, esteem, quality, or character

So if you were to use Definition #2 of the noun and further clarify it with definition #1 of the transitive verb you could, with artistic license, view the world in a different way. 

You see… I am of the thought (in most cases) when someone turns over their free-will to another, with or without the exchange of actual cash – they are lowering their status, their self-esteem, and their character - they are debasing or prostituting themselves.

Thus, it is possible to surmise  that members of the American Legislative Exchange Council could be perceived as debasing themselves
by turning over independent free-will and thought to ALEC;
and because of that - choosing a corporatist pro-business atitude toward legislation, rather than the consituent focused legislation that they are being paid to produce; 
by irrationally accepting “model legislation” turned out of this “corporate bill mill” and
by accepting “scholarships” to posh hotels/locations paid for by ALEC corporate lobbyists member representatives   

IF you were to accept that proposition – you might accept the premise that ALEC members are "prostituting" themselves - debasing themselves - by ignoring the needs of the constituency they were elected to represent -  and working on behalf of ALEC private sector / corporate enterprise members - through de-unionization, privatization of public services, profitization of public services, and de-regulation of necessary statutes that were put into place to keep an eye on corporate greed and corporate disregard for the public and public spaces. 

Our legislators are suppose to be working for us - to keep the corporations from ripping us off and destroying our commons - but, unfortuantely ALEC legislators don't see it that way.  And that is probably due to their close association with corporations through their affiliation with ALEC.  It is possible that if they did not belong to ALEC - they would not do what they do - which is so destructive to our government - which is meant to represent the people.

IF you were to accept that proposition, than the next step might possibly be to ask – who is facilitating or pimping these "prostituting behaviors", as none of these legislators act as free agents – so to speak - setting up meetings themselves with corporations, to write, review, revise and pass pro-corporate legislation.

So to take this one step further I went looking for a legal definition of pimping.
An analogy is a comparison of certain similarities between things which are otherwise unlike

I found one – and after de-emphasizing the sexual connotations (after all, we definitely DO NOT want to imply or accuse ALEC members of actually having sex with corporate lobbyists representatives - this is an analogy) ... anyhoo - here’s what we have.

1. The Legal Definition of Pimping and Pandering
Although "pimping and pandering" may sound like one offense, pimping and pandering are actually two separate California sex crimes that revolve around Penal Code 647(b) California’s prostitution law.

The purpose of California’s pimping and pandering laws is to discourage people from trying to increase the number of available prostitutes.

1.1. Penal Code 266h California’s pimping law
Simply put, you are guilty of "pimping" under California Penal Code 266h when you either

1.  "solicit" prostitution...that is, find customers, known as "Johns", for a prostitute and then collect a fee from that customer and/or some or all of the prostitute’s pay, or
2.   collect some or all of a prostitute’s pay even though you played no part in finding the customer.

A "prostitute" is a person who engages in sexual activity for hire. Basically, you are the boss and the prostitute is your employee.

You violate California’s pimping law whenever you "pimp" a prostitute...that is, advertise his/her services...
·   from the street corner,
·   in print, such as in a newspaper, magazine, or the phonebook,
·   over the Internet on a website such as Craigslist, or
·   in a "house of prostitution", more commonly known as a brothel.
And it doesn’t matter whether you have a gentle, volatile or even violent relationship with the prostitute. The fact that you act as the prostitute’s agent and collect compensation is enough to convict you of this offense.

So if you look at ALEC’s webpage recruiting corporate membership it says:
One of ALEC’s greatest strengths is the public-private partnership. ALEC provides the private sector with an unparalleled opportunity to have its voice heard, and its perspective appreciated, by the legislative members.

No - the employee / employer relationship is not there - but for an analogy - perfect isn't the intent.
An analogy is a comparison of certain similarities between things which are otherwise unlike 

Now ask yourself these questions:
If ALEC did not have legislators to provide to ALEC corporate lobbyists representatives, do you think corporations would pay up to $25,000 for a standard ALEC membership and then pay an additional fee up to $10,000 to be in task forces with ALEC legislators?

If ALEC did not have legislators to provide to ALEC corporate lobbyists representatives, do you think corporations would pay into ALEC’s “scholarship” fund?

If ALEC did not provide the opportunity to go to “posh hotels”, basically for free, do you think legislators would pay $50 a year – or in the case of “ALEC Legacy” membership $5,000 - to belong to ALEC?

In addition it appears their registration fee is paid for also – which leaves one to ask – what doesn’t the ALEC corporate lobbyist representative NOT pay for?
In correspondence sent regarding an ALEC Annual Meeting
The (State) Scholarship fund WILL reimburse for the regular registration fees …

After the Annual Meeting this correspondence was sent out:
Attached are a list of organization, companies and lobbyists that sponsored (State) Night at the ALEC Annual Meeting this month.
If you get a chance, please take the time to thank them for their generous donations and for making the trip to San Diego possible!

And then there is this "real" ALEC Correspondence about the San Diego Annual Conference
Remember that all expenses for your registration, lodging and travel will be reimbursed by the (State) ALEC Scholarship fund, so there will be no expense to you for this event [Annual Meeting].

What a deal - I wish I could go to San Diego for a measly $50 a year membership fee.
In its 2010 filing with the IRS, ALEC describes its scholarships in the following way: "Scholarships are payable, upon approval by the relevant state chair, to state legislators to reimburse them for travel expenses incurred attending meetings of ALEC." The money corporations contribute to the scholarship funds are deposited in a "trust" held by ALEC, but "the State Chair retains the exclusive right to determine the expenditures."

ALEC advertises the availability of their product (legislators) through their magazines, their internet site and on almost every publication that comes out of the ALEC offices.

They are basically saying to any corporation:
Through ALEC – you too, can buy hundreds of legislators – for a dinner, for a meeting, for the weekend.

And of course – ALEC gets to keep some of that money.

An analogy is a comparison of certain similarities between things which are otherwise unlike

1.2. Penal Code 266i California’s pandering law
"Pandering" is very similar to pimping. You violate Penal Code 266i California’s pandering law when you "procure"...that is, give, transport, provide, or make available...another person for the purpose of prostitution by intentionally encouraging or persuading an individual to become (or remain) a prostitute.

Whether you use promises, threats or violence to convince the individual to become a prostitute is irrelevant. Similarly, whether you give or receive money for giving, transporting, or providing a prostitute is not the key issue. All the prosecutor needs to prove is that you
1.  encouraged or persuaded someone to engage in prostitution, and
2.  made that person available for the purpose of prostitution.

And, again, this law applies to anyone involved in giving, transporting, or providing another person for the purpose prostitution. This could be done over the Internet, over the phone, on the corner, in a brothel, or via some other act or means of communication.

ALEC encourages legislators to join, to recruit others & to attend ALEC meetings (for free), thus making legislators "available" to ALEC corporate lobbyists representatives.

Whenever ALEC members go to a posh hotel to meet with ALEC corporate lobbyists representatives - it is FREE -  ALEC members are reimbursed for their registration, airfare, their hotel, and their parking from the corporate sponsored "scholarship" fund.

ALEC procures the money for the registration, hotel, airfare, parking reimbursements directly from the corporations “to transport, provide or make available” ALEC legislative members to posh hotels to meet with ALEC corporate lobbyists representatives.

ALEC's "private-public" partnership is different from any other organization out there that legislators belong to. 
ALEC's "private-public" partnership does not exist in any other organization that legislators belong to.
NOWHERE is there another organzation like ALEC that brings together ALEC corporate lobbyists representatives and legislators in posh hotels to spend days together - to write, review, revise and vote on pro-business "model legislation".
This is not democratic - this is anti-democratic.  And like prostitution - it should be illegal.

 An analogy is a comparison of certain similarities between things which are otherwise unlike

We definitely DO NOT want to imply or accuse ALEC members of actually having sex with corporate lobbyists representatives - after all this is an analogy.

It is all about pimping and pandering to corporate interests to "provide and make available "legislators -

legislators who debase themselves by destroying the very democracy they were elected to promote -

a democracy based on representation of, by and for the people and -

turning the US into representation of, by and for the corporations.

Oh, by the way - that football analogy I noted earlier on - is really sick in light of what happened at Penn State.  They probably won't use that one again.

But come on folks - from an analogy point of view:
Pimping, pandering, prostituting and johns????

That's the stuff B movies are made of - all we need now is criminal investigation, prosecution, and jail time for someone to move this up to a primetime movie with ALEC private sector member advertising

An analogy is a comparison of certain similarities between things which are otherwise unlike

ALEC is like a pimp.
Both traffic human beings,
both have a third party payer, who pays the first party to make the second party "available",
both complete their business transactions in similar locations,  
and both serve no function in our society.

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