From the NRA to George Zimmerman, via ALEC

Paul Krugman writes about a connection between FLorida’s “stand your ground” law and the infamous ALEC.

Specifically, language virtually identical to Florida’s law is featured in a template supplied to legislators in other states by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a corporate-backed organization that has managed to keep a low profile even as it exerts vast influence (only recently, thanks to yeoman work by the Center for Media and Democracy, has a clear picture of ALEC’s activities emerged). And if there is any silver lining to Trayvon Martin’s killing, it is that it might finally place a spotlight on what ALEC is doing to our society — and our democracy.

ALEC, of course, is also behind a lot of anti-union, anti-consumer protection and anti-environmental protection bills that have been popping up in state legislatures by the truckload. ALEC is funded by several big corporations — including Koch Industries — and interest groups. It invites state legislators and their families to all-expenses-paid “conferences” at luxury resorts, gives them the boilerplate of bills it wants to become law, and even coaches the saps how to sell the bills to constituents and other legislators. This accounts for a rash of nearly identical bills being introduced in many state legislatures at once. (See, for example, four ALEC bills vetoed by the governor of Minnesota last month.)

Krugman continues,

But where does the encouragement of vigilante (in)justice fit into this picture? In part it’s the same old story — the long-standing exploitation of public fears, especially those associated with racial tension, to promote a pro-corporate, pro-wealthy agenda. It’s neither an accident nor a surprise that the National Rifle Association and ALEC have been close allies all along.

And ALEC, even more than other movement-conservative organizations, is clearly playing a long game. Its legislative templates aren’t just about generating immediate benefits to the organization’s corporate sponsors; they’re about creating a political climate that will favor even more corporation-friendly legislation in the future.

Did I mention that ALEC has played a key role in promoting bills that make it hard for the poor and ethnic minorities to vote?

Do read all of Krugman’s column, because he provides a lot of details we all need to know, and I don’t want to re-run the whole column here. Just go read it.

Sorta kinda related — be sure to also read “The Outsourced Party

14 thoughts on “From the NRA to George Zimmerman, via ALEC

  1. Btw – here’s the link to Krugman:

    At least the corrupt, bought and paid for, state and national legislators used to write their own corrupt, bought and paid for, bills.
    Now, they’re too lazy to even do that?
    WTF are we taxpayers paying you for?
    Why not just collect corporate cash directly, and leave us out of it?

    I think we need to force some ‘truth through advertising’ on our state and local legislators. Make them wear labels for their corporate sponsors like NASCAR drivers do.
    Corporations should hand them out like merit badges, after a legislator successfully passes their ALEC-written law.
    On C-SPAN soon:
    “Oh, and here’s Congressman ABCDEFG (R – Reactionary Corporatist Whore – GA), he’s gotten the law passed whereby corporations have unlimited access to private property to drill away. And here come the lobbyists from the Oil Drillers and the Gas Drillers lobbies, to pin on his merit badges. With this law passing, he now has more than any other Congressman! And here’s Congressman HIJKLMN (D-Corporatist F’in Hack – OH), with another ALEC-written law. One more, and he ties Congressman ABCDEFG! He’s approaching the podium…”

    I think this country is done.
    I think this planet, with humans on it, is done.
    Maybe we should hope that that asteroid hits us sooner, rather than later? Or, let’s nuke the entire planet?
    Let the real rodents and roaches take their turn – they can’t do any worse than we already have. The rats and insects we have in Congress, and at the heads of corporations, aren’t anywhere near as useful as the real things.
    I’m glad I’m 54 and closer to the end than the beginning. I feel sorry for the children and young adults in this county. And this world.
    Maybe they can do something constructive.
    They’d better hurry, though…
    Corporations are probably writing laws for their ALEC’S, where, every child born owes corporations $500,000 dollars. And, until they pay that off, they can be bought and traded like slaves, with no input from them. They won’t be known as slaves, though. I think “Good Corporate Citizen” has a nice ring to it, don’t you?

  2. I just had another thought:

    If corporations are now people, that must mean that we real live people aren’t people anymore.
    So, what ARE we?
    “The help?”

  3. Jeb Bush, after signing the Stand bill in Florida, made the comment to the ever-present NRA

  4. What just happened (above)? To continue – (paraphrased) “what else could I do. The NRA

  5. Happened again – to continue – got my brother elected.” I mention this because Jeb is the candidate-in-waiting for the Republican presidency. (Phew, that was arduous.)

  6. Here in cheeseland, it’s all about the Alec. Local professor at UW-Madison has been all over this. What is especially awful is that the state pays for the state representatives and their travel to the Alec conferences. Get rid of collective bargaining; big Alec initiative. Voter ID; Alec. And it goes on.

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  8. BB – let me have the link to the blog for the prof at Madison, please. I think I read something he wrote, which was quite good, and now I cant find it. He got a knee-jerk response from the GOP, if I recall, for naming ALEC and the way the game is played.

  9. Doug: he had a blog but stopped posting on it, now he’s on Facebook with frequent postings. His name is Bill Cronon. Great posts, er, statuses on FB.

  10. Felicity…I’ve been having the same problem. It seems that when I got an atuomatic update to explorer 8 my troubles all began. It’s frustrating.

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    • Will it still be considered “justice” (should a trial ensue) and Zimmerman is found not guilty?

      That depends on what facts come out at trial.

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