Sunday, July 17, 2011

Smart ALEC

Kenneth M. O’Brien

America’s (genuine) cowboy humorist, Will Rogers, famously remarked,” I am not a member of any organized party — I am a Democrat.”

That observation is as true today as it was when it was made over seventy years ago. Herding cats is easier than getting Democrats to fall in line.

On the other hand, Republicans are notorious for conformity. I am not going to debate this. It is common knowledge and those who wish to dispute it overlook the various mechanisms that the Republican cult has created to excommunicate the unfaithful. As things stand today, even Ronald (on your knees, may his name be praised) Reagan would be declared anathema (after all he raised taxes 11 times and the debt ceiling 17 times during his eight years in office).

Hillary Clinton was ridiculed for her statement in 1998 about a “vast right-wing conspiracy”. (An amusing aside, if you google the terms “quote hillary clinton vast right wing conspiracy” you get an almost entire page of right-wing denials. I encourage those who understand how google prioritizes search requests to explain why this is the case.)

However, with the passage of time, the bricks are falling into place. 

The first was the memo uncovered by Gawker’s John Cook and widely reported by Rolling Stone that proved that Roger Ailes, the major domo of Fox News was involved in the conceptualization of a seemingly objective news outlet that would, in fact, be an outlet for Republican and right-wing propaganda.

Rolling Stone went on elsewhere to illustrate the devious pattern by which this enterprise was realized and expanded.

Just because you call it fair and balanced, it is no different than saying that Chesterfield cigarettes are good for you as Ronald (on your knees, may his name be praised) Reagan once did.

The newest brick in the wall is the organized right wing movement at the state level to launch legislative initiatives that have several priorities:
1.      Voter suppression;
2.      Removal of union collective bargaining rights;
3.      Restrictions on choice regarding women’s reproductive rights.

The 2010 elections resulted in the largest gain of state legislative seats by Republicans in the U.S. since 1928.

This was a direct result of the astroturf Tea Party movement spearheaded by funding of political PACS by such conservative luminaries as Dick Armey and the Koch brothers.

Having achieved the desired electoral results, which were supposedly based upon a dissatisfaction with the economy,  Republican Governors and state legislatures launched a spate of initiatives that had little to do with job creation but rather a reshaping of and expansion of regulations to restrict individual freedoms and rights.

The vehicle for this second phase of the “invisible hand” of wealthy conservative exploitation of a duped public was a little known forty-year old organization named the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

On its website ALEC describes its origin as follows:

in September 1973, state legislators, including then Illinois State Rep. Henry Hyde, conservative activist Paul Weyrich, and Lou Barnett, a veteran of then Gov. Ronald Reagan's 1968 presidential campaign, together with a handful of others, launched the American Legislative Exchange Council. Among those who were involved with ALEC in its formative years were: Robert Kasten and Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin; John Engler of Michigan; Terry Branstad of Iowa, and John Kasich of Ohio, all of whom moved on to become governors or members of Congress. Congressional members who were active during this same period included Senators John Buckley of New York and Jesse Helms of North Carolina, and Congressmen Phil Crane of Illinois and Jack Kemp of New York.”

Unlike the dubious “connect the dots” conspiracy theories of Glen Beck and his ilk, this, just like the Roger Ailes “GOP TV News Network” now known as Fox News, is a longstanding organized effort with a forty-year history of surreptitious activity and self-serving corporate funding to enact a legislative agenda to undermine the middle class and the poor while increasing societal control by the wealthy. While protesting regulation of business, they perpetuate regulation of personal liberties. All of this is being accomplished through the cynical messaging tactics pioneered by the Madison Avenue advertising magnates of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s.

Clearly the progeny of the “Mad Men” of that era have succeeded in becoming the corporate “Bag Men” of the current generation.

For more information visit ALEC Exposed or The Nation.


  1. I can explain how Google search rankings work. One of those pesky things I do for money is search engine optimization & search marketing.

    Typically I charge money for this sort of information, but I could possibly be convinced to give you a brief tutorial if I think I can maybe get a beer out of you. (I would also potentially accept coffee, but only if it's really, really good coffee.)

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Maybe something you should watch


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