Thursday, March 14, 2013

An Iowan's Screed About the ALEC Info Session

Everyday I let the internet take me to where I am supposed to be.

You folks know that I love it when bloggers or others give me fodder on the topic of ALEC and this morning was one of those gold mines – given to me like manna from the Universe.

I hope you enjoy.

About the Author
Jeff Patch
Jeff Patch is chief muckraker at He's a communications, political and policy consultant for causes, companies and candidates. Patch started his media career as a production assistant at the now-defunct FOX News affiliate in Dubuque, his hometown. He has written for the Telegraph Herald, The Daily Iowan, the Des Moines Register,, The Wall Street Journal and Patch has also worked as a press secretary for a Member of Congress, a fiscal policy analyst for the Cato Institute and as the communications director for a libertarian campaign finance think tank.]

Jeff Patch
He is pissed!!!!
Liberals came to Iowa and educated people about ALEC - how dare they - how dare they.

Major mistake - writing while you are pissed off.
His emotions got the best of him - and it shows in his article – there are some writing issues – which I can’t forgive him for because he’s supposed to be a professional journalist, a communications consultant.
Took him two days to write, edit, and then publish – after he cooled down – but there are still some issues.

Snips (and comments, of course) of his recent web article.

Written by: Jeff Patch

DES MOINES—Iowans should be outraged that an out-of-state group that doesn’t disclose its donors and aims to influence policy exists to bend the ears of state lawmakers, according to state Sen. Joe Bolkom, D-Iowa City—never mind that Bolkcom chairs a liberal counterpart based on Wall Street that also takes undisclosed donations to impact state policy.
His indignant outrage – is evident in the first line.
Rage over another organization supposedly doing exactly what ALEC is and does
“doesn’t disclose its donors and aims to influence policy exists to bend the ears of state lawmakers”
How funny!!!!!!  I could have written the exact same paragraph about ALEC and ALEC legislative members.  In fact I might plagiarize him some day – when I do.

Bolkom invited left-wing nonprofits with ties to the Obama Administration and organized labor to the State Capitol to bash the American Legislative Exchange Council, a nonprofit educational group that advances free-market principles through a public-private partnership of state lawmakers, business leaders and limited government activists.
Wow! that last part of this VERY long sentence musta come directly from ALEC.
Shoulda been two sentences – it’s a run-on sentence.

The group pitched their recent screed, “ALEC Exposed in Iowa,” to a crowd of about 40 liberal activists, Democratic legislators and statehouse journalists Tuesday.
“Screed” – really?????
And really – don’t Republicans get together with their activists, legislators and - corporate benefactors once in awhile??  So liberals aren’t allowed to do – what Republicans do?  Is that in the new Republican "What Dems Can't Do" rulebook?  Where’s the rulebook – will someone please give me the Republican rulebook?

A spokesman for ALEC called the effort an “ongoing smear campaign taking place in state capitols around the country.” The reports, all titled “ALEC Exposed in [INSERT STATE],”
“A spokesman for ALEC called the effort an “ongoing smear campaign taking place in state capitols around the country.”
Is that Bill - did you talk with Bill?
Please tell me Bill is here.
“The reports, all titled “ALEC Exposed in [INSERT STATE],”
Just replicating ALEC successful “copy/paste” procedure
They should be proud of us – isn’t imitation the sincerest form of flattery.

And oh goody – my new fav, Bill - the new guy at ALEC  - - - - - - - -
Oh, Yes!  Oh, Yes! Oh, Yes!...  Bill is here.
He’s such a nice looking young man – so sad he is affiliated with ALEC ugliness.
“ALEC promotes state-based solutions and pro-growth economic policies to create opportunity for all Americans through the academic exchange of ideas,” said ALEC spokesman Bill Meierling. “Council members participate in regular taskforce meetings to study and discuss public policy trends and relevant research to identify opportunities for model policy creation. Democracy is a participatory process where ideas are shared and the best ideas are advanced.”
Bill, Bill, Bill – oh my
State based solutions?????  Nope not so much – ALEC state legislators and ALEC corporate members are interfering at the federal level and at the international level.  You’re stretching it.  You know that Bill – you know that.  Gotta redo that talking point, Bill - cause the international aspect is gonna explode, soon - and international means - around the world (and you understand the meaning of that, Bill.)

“Council members participate in regular taskforce meetings to study and discuss”
      Extremist, ultraconservative, right-wing pro-corporate
     policy trends and research.
“Council members”
     New way to hide corporate involvement at ALEC, clever move, Bill. 
     OR did Edleman give you that new ambiguous phrase - “Council members”
“relevant research to identify opportunities for model policy creation”
      From right-wing extremist think tanks funded by the Koch brothers
     and from right-wing extremist corporations who want/need a piece of
     ALEC “model” legislation written to increase sales and increase profit.

Notice how Bill is intentionally not mentioning the corporations that are ALEC members. 
And without corporations ALEC can’t exist
Corporations pay for the free trips for ALEC state legislators to attend ALEC meetings and those ALEC meeting “scholarships” are paid for by ALEC corporate lobbyists members who then help with the “model policy creation”.

There’s no doubt that ALEC’s legislative members lean right-of-center and promote conservative, market-friendly policies. But ALEC officials say that its critics should focus on promoting their own ideas instead of falsely smearing its opponents.
Oh Bill, poor Bill –
Right of center? 
Oh Bill, really Bill? –
I understand – it’s a new job and all
But honestly - - - - - -
ALEC isn’t anywhere near the “center”
     Extremist, ultraconservative, right-wing, pro-corporate

And Bill – it’s important for you to understand we are taking advantage of
“Democracy is a participatory process “
promoting our own ideas
– ideas that promote government of, for and by the PEOPLE,
– instead of “market-friendly” pro-corporate government

BTW, Bill
– If ALEC - - - - -TRULY  - - - - - - - - -TRULY  - - - -
believes in the “free-market”
     then they would have passed “model” legislation
     forbidding subsidies to ALEC corporate profit members. 
     Let the free-market decide who succeeds, not corporate welfare.
Put your legislative money where your pro-corporate mouth is.

So much to digest and report on with this next paragraph
 – please bear with me. 
One paragraph – so many responses.
“No person or group has a monopoly on good ideas,” Meierling said. “We welcome the participation of our detractors. We would rather they join in the conversation than levy baseless and inaccurate claims that focus on false political intrigue instead of proactive discussion about policy solutions.”
“No person or group has a monopoly on good ideas,”
  Bill, Bill, Bill – are you sure you shoulda taken this job?
  Bill – that statement is not going to go over well with the ALEC corporate muckety mucks.
  Bill – ALEC thinks they have all the ideas and all the answers.
  Bill – ALEC thinks they are god – otherwise they wouldn’t have hid in the shadows for so long.

“We welcome the participation of our detractors. “
                  Then quit calling it a “smear campaign”, Bill
Then let me come to an ALEC meeting 
– I’d love to meet you, maybe we could have a little “come to Jesus” meeting about career options.
I want to participate!!!
Invite me to the Chicago meeting – I’d love to celebrate ALEC’s 40th birthday party with you folks.
I could use a fully paid trip to a posh and luxurious hotel, wine and cheese parties, free meals, free entertainment – 100% paid for by corporations – just like the ALEC state legislators get.

Where are the “baseless and inaccurate claims”?

Who is making “baseless and inaccurate claims” in this article
Huh, Bill – who is making “baseless and inaccurate claims” in this article
  Oh, Bill – Your background hinted at so much possibility for you in your career.
        are you sure you shoulda taken this job?
Bill, I’m asking a question here - hello?  Hellooooooooooo?

“false political intrigue”
On the “detractors” side?
Oh my, isn’t that what the secretive ALEC meetings are all about? 
ALEC state legislators meeting behind closed doors at luxurious locations, with corporate lobbyists

Anyway – back to Mr Patch’s screed

Almost forgot about him – with Bill being here in the article

Then Mr. Patch starts his denigration of PSN for his right wing readers.
Progressive States Network, officially called the Progressive Legislative Analysis Network, (PSN) formed in 2005 as a liberal counterweight to ALEC. The 501(c)(3) organization—the same tax-exempt status as ALEC—provides “coordinated research and strategic advocacy tools to state legislators and their staffs.” Like ALEC, they aim to “get good policy passed into law and change the way issues are debated in the states.” The network’s operatives even “serve as surrogates for legislative staff members who need talking points.”
Lotsa writing issues with that paragraph.

Anyway  …. 
He forgets to note that unlike ALEC, PSN doesn’t produce “copy/paste” "bill mill" legislation that is written by and voted on by corporations!!
Legislation that has nothing to do with Iowans – hell ALEC legislators don’t care about Iowans when they are at an all-expense paid ALEC meeting with corporate lobbyists.  (ALEC gives a whole new meaning to all-inclusive – airfare, hotel, parking, meeting registration all paid for by corporations- - - what a deal)

(PSN) formed in 2005 as a liberal counterweight to ALEC
I wish!
If that was the truth ALEC would have been gone long ago – but just like almost every politician – PSN chose to ignore ALEC’s existence until activists forced them to pay attention in 2011.

“The network’s operatives”
There’s something cold war – 1950-ish about that phrase –
“The network’s operatives”
Where’s Khrushchev?  Oh yeh, he’s gone (rest his soul)
Really important fact to reiterate
Something that is consistently being left out of this article
   Corporate involvement in ALEC
Corporate involvement in ALEC is consistently being left out of this article
The real - - -
“false political intrigue”

Then he goes somewhere – where no one – repeat no one – with a brain would go when trying to defend ALEC.
The group, based on Wall Street in New York’s financial district, does not disclose its donors, but it receives funds from labor organizations, “netroots” groups and “key policy centers.” A foundation run by George Soros donated $300,000 to PSN in 2009, according to the Washington Free Beacon. From 2006-2010, the most recent year that tax records are available, the organization raked in about $6.3 million from liberal donors.
Not a good place for him to go –
From 1997 to 2010, the Kochs funneled $858,858 to ALEC.
Charles Koch’s Lambe Foundation donated $150,000 in 2011 to ALEC.
Koch brothers gave ALEC two loans of a about a half a million each to ALEC, when ALEC started to go belly up in the mid 90’s.

More than 98% of ALEC's revenues come from sources other than legislative dues, such as corporations, corporate trade groups, and corporate foundations.

98% of $6,271,633 of revenue in 2010 – ONE YEAR!!!!
According to ALEC's IRS filings, over the past three years it has raised $21,615,465 from corporations,
$21,615,465 from right-wing donors in only three years
$21,615,465 from right-wing donors in only three years
$21,615,465from right-wing donors in only three years
$21,615,465 from right-wing donors in only three years
And to be truthful - mostly from corporations

Then he goes on for seven incredibly boring paragraphs about how PSN has meetings attended by democrats and liberals – Whoopee, redundant from above.  He notes how the national Chair of PSN missed “ a couple of votes” on the floor cause he was at a PSN meeting  - funny how I haven’t hear any Republicans bitching about this:
From Jan 2007 to Mar 2013,Bachmann missed 561 of 5,206 roll call votes, which is 10.8%. This is worse than the median of 2.1% among the lifetime records of representatives currently serving..
And basically, these seven paragraphs show he couldn’t build a real argument against PSN except that it is a liberal organization – which he apparently hates.  Boo hoo!

Then he goes on for five incredibly boring paragraphs bashing Progress Iowa for their work during a couple of campaigns.
What appears to be his “ongoing smear campaign” against Progress Iowa.

And he ends with this:
Essentially, the message of Bolkcom and Progress Iowa is that nonprofits who don’t disclose their donors shouldn’t wage policy fights in states—unless they support left-wing policies, liberals and Democrats.
I'm pretty sure
that was NOT their message.

Makes me wonder if Mr. Patch was at the informational session - or if this article was based on second hand information?  OR maybe he left the informational sessions early to rush home and spend two days writing - and didn't hear the real reason why ALEC was Exposed in Iowa.

UPDATE (4 hours later):
Why was he so outraged?
Could there be a "scholarship" is in the mail for Mr. Patch?


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