Who is the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)?

And why should we care? Turns out it’s a pretty big deal:

  • Lawmakers pay a small fee to join ALEC, which calls itself an educational non-profit.
  • ALEC receives massive contributions from major corporations for promotion. 
  • In return, ALEC organizes lavish junkets for member lawmakers (which are called “scholarships”) where they promote their clients’ ideas.
  • At the same time, ALEC writes model legislation at the request of those corporations, and they currently have hundreds of bills that are being followed, some verbatim, all over the country.

As an example, AZ State Sen. Russell Pearce discussed his ideas for Arizona’s controversial immigration bill at an ALEC conference, in the room with the largest private prison company, who then shifted their business focus onto detaining illegal immigrants. All of ALEC’s efforts involve attacking working people, consumer rights, and voting.

In their own words:  “ALEC provides you with sound policies and resolutions that offer limited-government free-market solutions for your state.  ALEC is pleased to present its new model legislation that was recently introduced at the 2011 Spring Task Force Summit.” 

To see what laws your state is considering that were drafted by ALEC, visit alecexposed.org.

If McCain Had Won

azspot:

Democrats were united on one issue in the 2008 presidential election: the absolute disaster that a John McCain victory would have produced. And they were right. McCain as president would clearly have produced a long string of catastrophes: He would probably have approved a failed troop surge in Afghanistan, engaged in worldwide extrajudicial assassination and kidnapping, destabilized nuclear-armed Pakistan, failed to bring Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu to the negotiating table, expanded prosecution of whistle-blowers, sought to expand executive branch power, failed to close Guantanamo, failed to act on climate change, pushed both nuclear energy and a “nuclear weapons renaissance,” opened new areas to domestic oil drilling, failed to reform the financial sector enough to prevent another financial catastrophe, supported an extension of the Bush tax cuts for the rich, ignored the poor, and failed to lower the jobless rate.

A lot of truth therein, but President Obama appointed two Supreme Court Justices — ponder upon who President McCain would have selected for those slots.

Not only that, he pushed through a healthcare package that’s more ambitious than social security was when it was first introduced, and designed to be built upon over time.

  • If we had President McCain, we’d be leading the charge in Libya to the cheers, not dismay, of the GOP.
  • We’d be emulating Hoover by slashing social programs to balance the budget without a stimulus bill.
  • We’d have no healthcare reform at all, unless you count limiting the ability to sue for malpractice.
  • We’d have VP Palin representing the US to the world, further destroying our credibility with our allies (and everyone else).
  • We’d have deregulation and tax cuts as a response to the financial meltdown, further rewarding those who got us into this mess. (You think there hasn’t been enough action? We’d be going in the other direction.)
  • We’d still have the voting rights division of the DOJ focused on deterring voting instead of on voting rights.
  • We’d still have a toothless EPA.
  • We’d still have an unprepared FEMA.
  • FDA wouldn’t have the power to control tobacco.
  • There’d be no Fair Pay Act.
  • There’d be no Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act.
  • Don’t Ask Don’t Tell would be strengthened instead of obsolete.
  • SCHIP wouldn’t have been expanded for 4 million kids.
  • We’d probably have no electronic medical record system begun.
  • We would definitely still have the Reagan travel ban on HIV-positive foreigners.
  • Medicare still wouldn’t be able to negotiate for cheaper drugs.
  • Two million more acres of wilderness and 15,000 more miles of rivers would not be under federal protection.
  • The White House would most likely still be rewriting environmental reports.
  • We’d probably still have a media blackout on return of fallen soldiers, and we wouldn’t recognize those who committed suicide.
  • There would be no federal 2020 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target.
  • States would still not be able to enact fuel standards above federal levels.
  • Carbon Dioxide emissions would still not be regulated.
  • There would still be no federal support for stem-cell research.
  • It’s possible nuclear nonproliferation talks would have been restarted but we don’t know.
  • We would not have reengaged in treaties to protect the Antarctic.
  • We would definitely not have reentered talks to curb global warming.
  • There would still be no family travel to Cuba.
  • All offshore tax havens would still be open.
  • We’d still have no-bid defense contracts.

I expect Republicans to say it doesn’t matter who you elect—they’ve been doing that for decades to encourage apathy and low turnout. That may be partly true when you’re talking about someone like Ben Nelson, but it’s not even close overall.

It’s supremely annoying when self-proclaimed liberals join the GOP equivalency bandwagon. It’s false, it’s stupid, and it needs to be called out as such.

—jron