[From a recent conversation with my Russian friend Sergei. We like to argue about which country is less democratic — America, or Putin’s Russia.]
No, Sergei, I’m not turning into a conspiracy theorist, and I’m not having one of my mood swings. There really is a secretive organization called the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), financed by huge corporations and billionaires, that is helping to bust unions, kill health care reform and environmental regulations, make it harder for Democrats to vote, eliminate government aid to the poor, privatize prisons, and pass “stand your ground” laws like the one that, so far, has kept Trayvon Martin’s killer from being arrested.
ALEC really has bought many if not most of the Republicans in state legislatures around the country and, I swear to God, it actually writes the legislation that these stooges pass into law. Almost two thousand of ALEC’s members are state legislators!
ALEC wrote 50 bills, practically word-for-word, for right-wing legislators in Virginia alone. Recently, in Tennessee, it wrote a bill ordering schools to tell students that climate science is merely a “theory.” (Forget that the polar ice caps are melting!)
No, Sergei, I did not drink too much Stoli. The corrupt morons in our state legislatures are outsourcing important work to corporate interests — to the same people who funded their election campaigns.
Don’t light that stinking cigar, Sergei, and don’t tell me how bad things are in Russia. America is pretty damn close to Russia when it comes to the gap between rich and poor, and when it comes to government serving the rich and powerful at the expense of everyone else.
No, I can’t say for sure why our media — aside from a few online publications and moderately leftist print publications such as the Nation — have reported almost nothing about ALEC. There was this, from a recent New York Times editorial:
…Lawmakers who eagerly do ALEC’s bidding have much to answer for. Voters have a right to know whether the representatives they elect are actually writing the laws, or whether the job has been outsourced to big corporate interests.
Yes, voters have a right to know. So where are the news stories about the legislators who are ALEC’s puppets? Where is the multi-page Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative piece detailing the growth of this ultra-right-wing organization? Why is ALEC only mentioned out of nowhere in an editorial, or in a column by Paul Krugman?
I’m having a mood swing. Pass me the Stoli.