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Yesterday it was announced by the Sidney Hillman Foundation that the joint Nation and Center for Media and Democracy Series; "ALEC Exposed"  was chosen as this month's winner of the Sidney award for excellence in socially-conscious journalism. Expert analysis on ALEC was delivered in a series of articles by Washington correspondent John Nichols along with Joel Rogers, Laura Dresser, Wendell Potter, Lisa Graves, Julie Underwood, Mike Elk, and myself.

The award ceremony is tentatively scheduled to be held at the Nation's HQ in NYC for some time next week, but has not been publicly announced as yet.

Many Kossacks know that much of the information and research on ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) originated right here at Daily Kos over the past year.  We put out the call for the Protest of ALEC in Cincy on April 29th that resulted in a whistle blower coming forward and providing all of ALEC's secretive documents to the protesters.  This leak was a basis for the actual ALEC Exposed.org release on July 13th.

While I am honored to share in this Journalism award, I want readers to know a lot of work went into this project by many Kossacks as well as others associated with CMD and the Nation but were not mentioned in the public announcement, though they were involved in making this happen.  I would like to take this opportunity to provide their names and ask that readers also give a huge "shout out" to them for their efforts which have led to hundreds of articles, documents and blogs on ALEC since the articles were released in July:

OhioDem1, MnDem999, Hector Solon, ManfromMiddletown, CincinatiBengali, Mentatmark, Bfealk and Ben Stockwell all participated in one way or another, protesting, writing, blogging, researching or all of the above - to help expose ALEC publicly.  Other groups  were also involved in exposing ALEC and their corporate and legislative member's activities;  Protest ALEC.org (organized the Cincy and New Orleans Protest), Beau Hodai (In These Times and DBA Press), Lee Fang (Think Progress) Ron Rabatsky (Resist the Privatization of America), NPR's Laura Sullivan and several others too numerous to mention.

ALEC represents the most dangerous and genuine threat to democracy in our lifetime.  With the funding and cooperation of corporations such as ExxonMobil, GE, PharMA, Geico, State Farm, Koch Brothers, the Scaife, DeVos and Coors foundations, ALEC has been buying their way to control of both state and federal control through copy and paste legislation written by lobbyists, disseminated to each state and supported by Conservative legislators belonging to ALEC and sympathetic to their agenda.

ALEC has been discovered to be behind the Pro-Life anti-abortion, voter ID suppression, pushing for discrediting teachers, collective bargaining, fair wages and Union busting efforts in the U.S. - along with dozens of just as oppressive measures designed to enrich corporations and bankrupt society and the federal government.

Since the mid 80's ALEC and their members have been responsible for writing the laws used to incarcerate millions of us, to keep us in jail and/or prison for the longest time possible and garner profits for their corporate members off of every minute each were imprisoned.  Lately they have used the same proven procedures that worked so successfully on criminal justice issues to change direction and begin to concentrate on imprisoning immigrants in the U.S.  Though (like crime rates) illegal immigration rates were down from 2004 through 2009, ALEC and their member Corrections Corporation of America teamed up to write SB 1070 that was passed in AZ. last year.  ALEC has similarly worked to introduce that same legislation in more than 20 more states.  The net result of this legislation is that for 2011 50% of all imprisonment in the U.S federal system was immigrant detention!  This was just published in a reportby the U.S. Sentencing Commission:

"According to the report, Latinos (both native-born and foreign-born) accounted for half (50 percent) of all individuals sent to federal prison during the first nine months of Fiscal Year 2011. Of these 28,468 Latinos, 16,964 (or 60 percent) were sentenced for immigration violations. Non-U.S. citizens (of any ethnicity or race) accounted for just under half (48 percent) of people sent to federal prison. Of these 28,648 non-citizens, 20,303 (or 71 percent) were sentenced for immigration violations. Overall, immigration offenses accounted for one third (33 percent) of all sentences handed down."

So as you can see from the current efforts of ALEC and the cabal they are a part of, they enjoy much successes in their pro-corporate anti-democratic efforts.  Unless we prevail, more and more will needlessly wind up in prison, working in prison industries to earn corporations profits, more will sit idly behind bars in federal detention centers awaiting a day in court for immigration transgressions.  The federal immigration judge's dockets are so backed up that instead of taking 20 days to resolve the legality of an immigrant's presence in the U.S. now averages more than 420 days and costs taxpayers $62,000.00 for each detainee held that long.  Most are now held in private detention facilities owned by CCA, Geo Group and Management Training Corp. (MTC) and each are raking in millions in profits from such detention...just as they've been able to do on state prison operations for nearly 30 years.

More is yet to come on ALEC, Koch, Education, Judges and documents to be released in subsequent exposes. Their insidious activities are so vast and consuming that it is simply impossible to report all of it at one time - and most readers would be able to cope with everything at once without wanting to resort to violence against all those involved.  Please stay involved, in the discussion and up on ALEC events and activities.  As the 2012 election cycle looms closer and closer, you are going to see Koch funded Conservative led manipulations to disenfranchise Democratic voters of all ages, initiatives to outlaw EPA regulations, privatize more and more schools, imprison more Americans and immigrants.  Each of these initiatives they succeed at enriches them more and provides funding for them to put other initiatives together - and contribute to Conservative politician's campaign accounts to keep those enablers in office.

2012 has to be the year we stop this in it's tracks and take America and our democracy back from this cabal.  If we fail, one only has to look back a couple of days to the last Republican debate to see what is in store for all of us...as you remember that debate keep in mind that of those in that debate, four are clearly ALEC Alumni or affiliates: Bachmann, Gingrich, Perry and Cain.  If one of them prevails and makes it to the general election, ALEC and Koch money will be just steps away from the oval office.

To me that's the scariest scenario possible.  Remember, November 30 to December 2nd ALEC is holding their annual State and Nations meeting in Phoenix.  We plan to again Protest, march and educate the public outside while they meet behind closed doors to decide what laws we will live by in the future.  Join us, contribute or support as you can.  Visit ProtestALEC.org for more info or to contribute.

Originally posted to Bob Sloan on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 02:51 PM PDT.

Also republished by Earthship Koch and Exposing ALEC.

Poll

Can the ALEC/Koch cabal be stopped?

71%27 votes
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2%1 votes

| 38 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Keep digging Bob and watch for ALEC's successor (7+ / 0-)

    groups and splinter groups.  

    They may be scattered from ALEC, but their leadership won't be giving up on forming and maintaining invisible or low visibility strategic and tactical alliances to influence government, media, other corporations, schools, and ultimately the consciousness of this nation.  Global elite interests won't stop trying to own our government simply because we call them on it.

    When life gives you wingnuts, make wingnut butter!

    by antirove on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 03:12:53 PM PDT

  •  Keep going till the beast is done. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    terabytes, denig, zett, Shakludanto, Gustogirl

    And everyone knows of its crimes. I'm new to studying the prison industry, and without your diaries and those of your compatriots ALEC would be a mysterious acronym to me. Thank you for your continued hard work to exposing this.

    "I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones." -Albert Einstein

    by Kazmarov on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 03:34:56 PM PDT

  •  What was once the experimental laboratory (5+ / 0-)

    for good ideas in governance (the 50 states) has become, under ALEC's pernicious influence, 50 echo chambers for bad ideas.  In some ways, state powers over their own affairs is a good idea.  But with ALEC, when they can't win in enough states or it's too costly to fight in all 50, they introduce with their allies like the NRA anti-state's rights bills like the so-called concealed weapon reciprocity bill at the federal level.  And ALEC itself is actually an anti-state organization in essence.  They believe in state's rights every time a federal agency they don't like (like the EPA) intervenes, but they don't when they get a chance to force all 50 states to enact one of their bad ideas.  Either states should be separate and equal actors in areas outside federal jurisdiction, or they should not be.  ALEC is not consistent except in pursuing corporate and ideological interests across state boundaries.  It is, in truth, not a legislative support organization for state legislatures, but a propaganda arm of big business, another tentacle of the giant octopus of big globalized businesses that want to socialize losses and privatize profits.

    America needs a UNION NEWS channel. We (unions) have the money, we have the talent. Don't buy 30 second time slots on corporate media, union leaders; fund your own cable news channel and tell the real story 24/7/365

    by monkeybrainpolitics on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 03:44:06 PM PDT

    •  You know your point is valid and I've often had (7+ / 0-)

      discussion where I argue that they insist on less government interference, fewer laws coming out of DC to force the states to comply with federal regulations and laws.

      Yet, ALEC - working out of DC - does the exact same thing, disseminate legislation out of DC to the states.  Difference is that where the federal government issues regulations beneficial to the citizens of a democratic society, ALEC's legislation is beneficial to businesses attempting to replace our democracy with corporatocracy.

      Same concept, two agendas issued from the Capitol of our nation - one for society and one for corporate interests.  Sadly, the corporatist have been winning for years now and  it won't be easy to defeat them and wrest democracy from their clutches.

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled" http://piecp-violations.com/

      by Bob Sloan on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 04:25:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sort of off topic (4+ / 0-)

    But I found a local State rep, a Democrat, on a recent list of ALEC associated legislators from my state. I posted the list to a random note on my facebook page, not sent to anyone and you would only click the title if you were already sensitized to ALEC any way. A few hours later this Rep sent me a message requesting I give her my phone number so she could ask me a question. This request struck me odd, why didn't she just ask the question in the message ? then I remembered our recent open records fight regarding electronic communications & e-mail. Sorta creeped out. Oh she's on the SGAC twitter list too.

    •  Dang... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ballerina X, Gustogirl

      I'm curious what she would have asked you! I wouldn't have been able to have let that opportunity go by.

    •  I had a similar response from a Dem ALEC (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lostinamerica, ballerina X, Gustogirl

      member here in Indiana, Peggy Welch.  She responded to an email I sent here office and told me she was an ALEC member but was "inactive" and provided me with her cell phone number if I wanted to discuss specific legislation she had sponsored.

      My email to her was to inform her I was working on an article about ALEC for publication.  When I wrote her back there was no response.  When I called the number she provided, I got the box and my calls were not returned.

      Obviously in every state they are very conscious about emails being made public through FOIA requests and use the phone tactic to keep any information or discussion out of view of the public.

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled" http://piecp-violations.com/

      by Bob Sloan on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 08:10:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Congratulations on the award. (4+ / 0-)

    I consider all of the recipients heroes.  And Bob, your diaries opened my eyes to stuff I had no idea was going on.  Thank you.

  •  Your hard work and persistence is (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gustogirl

    paying off - you are bringing nationwide attention  to the acts of this treacherous organzation.

    You deserve this recognition for you on-going efforts, Bob.  I am so happy that you were part of this award.

    Congratulations!

  •  Congratulations! (0+ / 0-)

    Not only is the award well-deserved, it is quite heartening to see these signs that all this critical, crucial information is really getting out there!

    Those statistics and other information about the effects this has had on the Latino community are astonishing!  But I see a possible silver lining in that this is a group that would naturally want to work with you.  I hope specific efforts can be made to inform this important community that is under such pressure from many directions these days.

    Just an aside, Bob - did you get the message I sent through DKos messaging?  No need to reply - but I just need to know that you did receive it.  Thanks :)

    Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth - Abraham Lincoln

    by Gustogirl on Thu Sep 15, 2011 at 06:58:05 AM PDT

    •  Gustogirl I received it and have passed it along (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gustogirl

      to tour organizers.  We are already looking into leasing a large RV for the tour, so that is how we intend to travel the nation.  If this could include Alaska we'll be up there as the same issues affecting us in the lower 48 are in place there as well.  Thanks for your help and offer of a few cots, a warm meal and invigorating discussion.

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled" http://piecp-violations.com/

      by Bob Sloan on Thu Sep 15, 2011 at 08:27:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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