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ALEC-Process Prime Tool for Assault as Corporate Dollars Drown DemocracyOp-Ed by Henry Clay Ruark Salem-News.com
Sponsors, Supporters Playing Irrational Assassin-Role.
(SEASIDE, OR) - The major measure of ALEC-process damage to our democracy is its own success in isolating and assaulting the legislative role in every state, achieved through the complex protocol for preparing and passing many proposals into new binding laws.
Recent authoritative non-partisan investigative groups and leading national magazines have joined in a chorus of deep-digging reports pointing out the strong influence in all state legislatures of the ALEC-produced legislative "models" cunningly (and too often semi-surreptitiously) injected into the initiation, development, final decision and then implementation of new law bearing heavily on key issues.
(Last-count of my report- list was 35, available on request. Nearly every well-recognized journal of opinion and political-issue sense is included; there are NO positives for ALEC-process.)
Supporters find in the ALEC-written and neatly-wrapped "models" an easy, entrancing way to take full credit for achieving difficult-issue propositions for their own state:
Simply adopt and adapt one of the thousands of existing specially-prepared ALEC "models", cunningly contrived and completely ready for foundation draft as new law, with very minor (very seldom major !) changes in the legal/political jargon required for draft law.
But professionally-required (read: honest) credit to ALEC or an ALEC-"model" is far too often missing; in fact, ALEC's own information illuminates precisely such missing responsibility.
Thus In a number of states, first-step in remediation already underway is to demand of legislative authors a clear, clean and very direct reference to any ALEC usage, sometimes even to the percentage of ALEC-initiated content; and from sponsors of new legislation, a demand for clear statement of knowledge concerning ALEC involvement in the bill sponsored.
Supporters of ALEC anywhere earn great credit for legislative achievement while perhaps sometimes unwittingly, irrationally playing "the assassin role for their own vote-selected group", led astray by their own ethical blind-spot.
Ongoing professional analyses of such ALEC/end-product new-law proposals across the nation are revealing many irrational and highly sensitive situations totally overlooked and unrecognized by legislators hard-pressed by the overwhelming torrent of legislative business demanded by the current economic and social situations.
But there is evidence as well, despite corporate contrivance to conceal ALEC contiguity and consequential impacts over the past several decades --as well as especially and most carefully obscured (read: hidden) evidence of corporate and private-gain policy and protocol at work in every state, with ALEC-"models" as always-present potent tools to shape the foundations of far too many new-law proposals. (To unveil such hidden corporate injections demands very sharp examination of the entire dialog-discussion-debate process, proudly proclaimed as an ALEC-strangth, as one more way to protect its cunningly contrived outcomes.)
The simple brute-fact is that corporate monies can, do and always have provided the very highest levels of law and legislative insights, employed by the monied interests to write in, uphold, support, protect and preserve their own private-gain interests.
Our vote-selected, private-lived legislators --unless they sacrifice all else to become most unusual public-interest/driven fanatics-- find it exceedingly difficult (read: impossible for most) to compete and complete the inevitable struggle(s) successfully.
Any examination of today's current situation in Oregon will find more than one example of badly-needed reform or progressive development stymied-in-place. (For space reasons we have chosen one egregious example: What happened to the whole-process preparation for changes-sought in recycled-paper disposal involving Koch-funded mills. See story re Oregon Working Families painful experience: "They killed the bill" at firstname.lastname@example.org)
There are many others, to appear in our Oregon list now in preparation.
We expect that list to match the 90-count publication reports list already supplied here and sent to every legislator to make sure they "had the word", complete and unbiased, as reported so widely by so many prestigious publications, beginning so long ago --and surely still continuing as any examination of the Center for Media and Democracy ALEC Exposed will document. (www.ALEC Exposed.com)
Do NOT forget that ALEC's own organization claims to have injected 750 to 1,000 new state-law proposals annually, with some hundreds passing into new state law each year --since 1973 !
Please also note the widespread major-issue influence of ALEC, very clearly directed to GOPster-gang long-continuing efforts to deny registration and delay or deny the American right to vote, in many states across the nation.
Similar efforts have been directed to right-to-work laws, to the strong efforts of a whole group of GOPster-elected state governors to reduce and restrict the influence of public-sector workers, and to delay, deny and dismantle the impact of all legislation controlling campaign finance laws.
In fact, it was that strong but misguided, mistimed and misplaced destructive effort by Governors Scott Wilson of Wisconsin, John Kasich of Ohio, and Janice Brewer of Arizona that forced these longtime ALEC-led diversionary and direct-destruction activities into the public eye --becoming one of the strong influences on the rapid, massive and still-mounting public perception of the gigantic attack on our election system led by renewed reliance on floods of corporate money freed through Super-Pac and Supreme Court perversion of the basic concept of "personhood".
Is it possible to have a free and honest Presidential election when the entire legislative process, as well as our election system, in every state, is under such continuing attack at the very foundation root of state-law ? (For much more detail and due documentation via universally-found fact, demanding too much space for similar coverage here, see: "Can We Have a Democratic Election ?", by Elizabeth Drew; New York Review of Books 3/23/12, pp. 45-47.)
ALEC and its distorted, perverted, potently-promising yet ill-conceived "models" --long manipulating state legislatures to their well-wrapped, cunningly-planned and malignly conceived super/conservative principles -- are perhaps the leading and surely destructive edge of a now-renewed political perversion, precisely provided to pressure and perform the painful transition to a corporate-monied and managed "new American system" --far removed from what our Founders left us as their "invention which reshaped the world" --which has brought us nearly 250 years of benefits beyond count.
At age 94, Hank continues to define, dissect and delineate the most serious issues of our time, and then summarize some of the solutions, seen from that long-perspective and sources discovered over those decades. At 21, Henry was Aroostook Editor for the Bangor, Maine DAILY NEWS, covering the upper 1/4 of the state. In the ‘40s, he was Staff Correspondent, then New England Wires Editor at United Press-Boston; later Editor for the Burlington, Vermont 3-daily group owned by Wm. Loeb, later notorious at Manchester, New Hampshire UNION LEADER for attacks on Democratic Presidential candidates.
Hank returned to Oregon to complete M. Ed. degree at OSU, went on to Indiana University for Ed.D. (abd) and special other course-work; was selected as first Information Director for NAVA in Washington, D.C.; helped write sections of NDEA, first Act to supply math, science, foreign language consultants to state depts. of education; joined Oregon Dept. of Education, where he served as NDEA administrator/Learning Media Consultant for ten years.
He joined Dr. Amo DeBernardis at PCC, helping establish, extend programs, facilities, Oregon/national public relations; moved to Chicago as Editor/Publisher of oldest educational-AV journal, reformed as AV GUIDE Magazine; then established and operated Learning Media Associates as general communications consultant group. Due to wife’s illness, he returned to Oregon in 1981, semi-retired, and has continued writing intermittently ever since, joining S-N in 2004. His Op Eds now total over 650 written since then.
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