Wednesday, March 20, 2013

ALEC is NOT About Strong Democracy

Oh my – the ALEC “educational session” last week in Iowa and subsequent media articles has got somebody’s panties in a bunch.
                   Greg Forristall  Chair - ALEC’s Education Task Force

The title of his “opinion piece” made me want to puke
     Iowa View: Strong democracy grows from ideas like those ALEC shares

I guess he and I have a philosophical difference here.
Democracy to Me:  A representative government of/for/by the PEOPLE
Democracy to ALEC: A representative government of/for/by the CORPORATIONS

Strong democracy in an ALEC kind of way means the corporations get the legislation that they want and need.
Strong democracy for everyone else means the general public gets the legislation that they want and need.

I guess I just don't agree with Mr. ALEC member Forristall's belief in regards to what a strong democracy looks like.

Because at the end of the day you can write and publish anything you want in the local newspaper  - but in the end it all comes down to your actions.
     Who do you really represent 
- the general public or the ALEC corporations?

Mar. 19, 2013 8:10 PM,   | 
Written by
Greg Forristall

     About the author:
     GREG  FORRISTALL is a Republican state representative from Macedonia. 
Note that he doesn’t state right up front that he is a proud member of ALEC.  Not only does he not acknowledge his ALEC membership - but get real - this guy is a task force chair at ALEC - where is that ALEC info in this "About the Author".
In fact throughout the entire "opinion piece", not once - does he state that he is a proud, card carrying, task force chairman member of ALEC - Ashamed to admit it?  - I would be.

In a March 18 guest essay, Matt Sinovic of the left-leaning Progress Iowa presents quite an inaccurate picture of the mission and work of the American Legislative Exchange Council (“Iowans Should Be Concerned About ALEC’s Quiet Role”). As an Iowa lawmaker, I’d like to correct Sinovic’s mischaracterizations of the council as “undermining our democratic process” or serving corporate interests over citizen concerns.
As a card holding member of ALEC  - I would like to spread some ALEC propaganda – because they told me to.

Democracy is a participatory process, where ideas are shared and the best ideas are advanced. In state legislatures around the country, constituents and groups foster ideas, participate in discussions and provide their points of view to lawmakers. This process is an important part of American democracy.
Democracy IS supposed to be a participatory process
Not to be done in secret, behind closed doors; in private with corporate lobbyists; outside the purview of the general public - which is the process at ALEC meetings.

ALEC is NOT About Strong Democracy  - At ALEC it is about secrecy and private deals behind closed doors.  That's not democracy in action.
ALEC is NOT About Strong Democracy  - ALEC does not want to hear from or talk with anyone that does not hold ALEC right-wing, ultraconservative, extremist views.
ALEC is NOT About Strong Democracy  -  ALEC is not about bipartisan compromise when writing legislation.  ALEC legislation is done the ALEC way and that's they only way.
ALEC is NOT About Strong Democracy

The general public are supposed to be part of the democratic process – they are supposed to have a say.  Because ALEC doesn't give the general public a say "up front" - the general public's only option becomes having to fight against ALEC legislation after the fact.
The democratic process is not just dedicated to ALEC legislators and ALEC corporate profit sector members in private, secretive meetings, behind closed doors.

The American Legislative Exchange Council is America’s largest nonpartisan, voluntary membership organization, comprised of nearly one-third of the country’s state legislators.
And that makes me cry every time I see it in writing.
    ALEC has 1/3 of the country's state legislators under their control.
    ALEC has 89 members of the US Congress under their control.
Just makes me sick knowing that.
Why people keep electing ALEC members is absolutely beyond me.

The other thing that bothers me is that somehow this group - which is no better than a fraternity of like minded politicians - has become a political force to be reckoned with.

In reality - ALEC is nothing more than a fraternity, for ultraconservative right-wingers - where the right-wing legislators go to party (paid for by the corporations) and sit in "educational sessions" with their food and booze hangovers, and suck up to the booster club members (the corporations).  A right wing social club - funded with corporate money - and  unfortunately for America, it has become so much more dangerous than the simple minded fraternity that it was and should be.

The exchange council and its eight task forces closely imitate the state legislative process. Resolutions are introduced and assigned to an appropriate task force based on subject and scope; meetings are conducted where experts present facts and opinion for discussion, just as they would in committee hearings. Discussions are followed by a vote. All adopted model policies are published at to promote the open exchange of ideas across America.
Why is ALEC "imitating legislative process"?  There is something just so inherently vile with that statement.  And the fact that he states it as a given makes it even more repulsive.  The state legislative process should happen IN THE STATE LEGISLATURE - not at ALEC meetings.

You forgot to mention that corporations write the majority of the resolutions and the legislation.  Are those the “experts” you are talking about - multinational corporate lobbyists giving expert testimony to support the passage of the legislation brought to ALEC by multinational corportaions?  I would like to think that the “experts” about what needs to be done in ANY state are the state constituents – NOT multinational corporations.

You lied – ALL adopted model policies – ARE NOT on the ALEC webpage. ALEC’s PR poobah Bill Meierling specifically told a reporter from the Des Moines Register that “a sample” of the policies are posted.

Council task forces serve as testing grounds to judge whether resolutions can achieve consensus and enough support to survive the legislative process in a state capitol.
I’m getting sick of this new PR stunt of referring to ALEC as “the council”.
Anyway - I would like to think that the “testing grounds to judge whether resolutions can achieve”  in ANY state – would be the state constituents – NOT multinational corporations.

While the council facilitates these educational discussions, council staff does not vote or control the process. Furthermore, legislators in Iowa and around the country are deeply invested in the democratic process and in our communities. My constituents are family friends, neighbors, teachers, and others I see and meet with throughout my community. I not only represent these Iowans, but they are my boss. The work I carry out at the Legislature serves my constituents and my community.
“council staff does not vote or control the process.”
Nope – multinational corporations  “vote and control the process”
ALEC is NOT About Strong Democracy - of/for/by the PEOPLE

"Furthermore, legislators in Iowa and around the country are deeply invested in the democratic process and in our communities"
Yeh - those legislators that DON'T belong to ALEC.

Nope – if you are an ALEC member corporations are your boss – they provide the scholarships to ALEC meetings, they provide the “expert” testimony on the legislation that corporations introduce.
I would bet – bet big money – YOUR co-called “constituents” don’t even come to mind when you are at the ALEC cigar reception hosted by the tobacco companies – drinking fine liquor and smoking fine cigars.

What I want, and what all Iowans want is a better, stronger Iowa with government that is responsive to people’s needs. I want people to contribute to our democracy by bringing ideas, not attacks and insults.
Corporations are people too, my friend
- is that what you mean by that last sentence?  Cause ALEC doesn't produce "copy/paste" legislation that serves the general public.

A responsive government of/for/by the PEOPLE is only going to happen if legislators DO NOT belong to ALEC.
ALEC is NOT concerned with the needs of a legislators “general public constituents”
ALEC IS concerned with meeting the legislative needs of ALEC Corporate Profit Sector members.
ALEC is NOT About Strong Democracy - of/for/by the PEOPLE 

When state legislators in Iowa work with the American Legislative Exchange Council, it is to share ideas with our counterparts from around the country, grow a stronger democracy and help make government work more efficiently and effectively. This recipe for growth and effectiveness moves government closer to communities and creates opportunity for all Iowans.
That’s bullshit – plain unadulterated bullshit – straight from the agri-businesses that you and Bransted protected with the Iowa AG-Gag Bill.

You notice something – anything????
Does he mention the role of corporations in the “democratic process” of ALEC.

You notice something else – anything????
Does he mention that he is a proud, card carrying member of ALEC.

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