Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Taking ALEC to Task

ALEC, one of the banes of my existence, has been in the news a lot recently, as people are starting to realize that they're behind every conservative conspiracy to screw over some segment of the population.  As I've reported on before, the industry has helped to write and push laws that have dramatically increased our country's prison population and funneled taxpayer dollars to private prison companies.  The group is also behind a lot of the anti-reproductive rights legislation sweeping the country, the anti-union measures that passed in places like Wisconsin, Maine, and Ohio, voter suppression measures like anti-fraud legislation (which was a solution in search of a problem), and the "Stand Your Ground" law in Florida that's one of the focuses of the Trayvon Martin case.  So basically, ALEC is the manifestation (and source) of the anti-democratic forces directing conservative ideology.

So I was happy to see that a journalist of such a high caliber as Paul Krugman took them to task for promoting privatization efforts that threaten to dismantle many democratic institutions. He focused only a small part of his article on the group's work with the private prison industry, and mentioned how SB1070 came out of an ALEC conference.  But CCA's intimidation PR machine came out in full force, demanding an apology from Krugman for implying that CCA lobbied on behalf of SB1070.  CCA, as a company, did not lobby or donate on that bill.  But multiple members of its executive board did, something CCA's shill Steve Owen seems to always coincidentally forgetThe company is clearly trying to intimidate Krugman and others who would potentially disparage the good name and reputation of the industry, and prevent negative press.

Folks, this is only a small taste of what a truly free market would be capable of.  As groups like ALEC erode the foundation of civility and equity on which our country has thrived, by promoting privatization of public assets and destroying the democratic party's voting base, we, the common people, lose.  Thankfully there are still reporters with some cojones who tackle these important issues, but they seem to be getting fewer and farther between.  ALEC is an absolute menace to the 99% of people who don't stand to benefit from an even greater concentration of political power and wealth.

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