POLITICAL CORRUPTION IS A NATIONWIDE ISSUE AFFECTING ALL OF US. ALABAMA RANKS #5 AS THE MOST CORRUPT STATE. *DOJ 2007 stats
Something is very wrong in the Land of Cotton


PERTINENT ENVIRONMENTAL AND CORRUPTION ISSUES IN OTHER STATES ARE ALSO DISCUSSED


NO OTHER COMMUNITY, RICH OR POOR, URBAN OR SUBURBAN,BLACK, BROWN,RED, YELLOW OR WHITE SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO BECOME AN "ENVIRONMENTAL SACRIFICE ZONE."

Dr. Robert Bullard
Environmental Justice Movement Founder

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Power & People - The Koch Brothers and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)

*Updated November 4: Salon.com "The Third Koch Brother?" (VIDEO)

There’s a cancer spreading through Alabama--a cancer that's poisoning our political and judicial process with the ideologies of the Koch Brothers. It advances unchecked through their legislative arm known as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the ubiquitous Koch political heavy Grover Norquist, author/enforcer of the "No New Taxes Pledge" signed by overwhelming amounts of republican and Tea Party candidates.

Alabama has 35 confirmed signers of Norquist's 'I own your political future' oath.

The Koch's, Norquist and ALEC disseminate their ill ideas primarily through the Tea Party, but the GOP frequently acts in conjunction with the metastasizing of this sickness through the powerful political kingmaker and Jack Abramoff associate Norquist.  

The sweep of the Alabama state house and all three branches of Alabama's government by the republicans in 2010 was not a fluke. Maybe the best question to ask is : Was it a Koch induced event?

Let's review on who these forces are that are dominating the US and state political landscapes:
"ALEC and the Kochs often pursue parallel tracks. Just as ALEC “educates” legislators, Koch funding has helped “tutor” hundreds of judges with all-expenses-paid junkets at fancy resorts, where they learn about the “free market” impact of their rulings. But ALEC also operates like an arm of the Koch agenda, circulating bills that make their vision of the world concrete. For a mere $25,000 a year, Koch Industries sits as an “equal” board member with state legislators, influencing bills that serve as a wish list for its financial or ideological interests.
It’s a pittance for the Kochs but far out of the reach of working Americans. Ordinary citizens rely on our elected representatives’ efforts to restore what’s left of the American Dream. But through ALEC, billionaire industrialists are purchasing a version that seems like a real nightmare for most Americans."
The Nation--August 2011 "ALEC Exposed: The Koch Connection"



Here's another glimpse of ALEC's 2011 New Orleans Convention, at least as much as they would allow anyone to see that is:


Democracy as we know it faces a grim prognosis. Alabama's fate of true representative government fares no better with the explosion of these forces in our political system.

ALEC's Alabama Influences

In the early 2000's, state political members of ALEC were low (at least in the public eye) and confined to the verification of the only two confirmed members: State Senator Jabo Waggoner-R and previous Alabama State Representative Bob McKee-R (former ALEC State Chair.) There were probably others in that time frame, like ALEC lifetime member *"the Godfather" State Representative Victor Gaston AL-D 100 and Steve French-R, the former senator from Mt. Brook, but for the most part, ALEC's presence in the state seemed to really explode in the mid to late 2000's.
*(section three--"Victor Gaston to Mike Hubbard: Shape Up"

That's right about the time the republicans, through House Speaker Mike Hubbard and the ALGOP, began to concentrate their efforts in earnest to unseat the state house from 136 years of democratic rule. The birth of the Tea Party in 2004 aided these often clandestine maneuvers by aligning themselves with (and essentially taking over) ALGOP operatives to ensure that Tea Party minded candidates dominated the 2010 state elections.

It was a plan that was years in the making and executed with all the precision of a well-honed (and funded) political machine that had phenomenal payoffs. It also heralded in a quick buyer's remorse--voter dissatisfaction has steadily increased with the newly anointed kings in the state house fast and loose playing with accountability.

Taxpayers are feeling shorted on the new state ethics laws. They don't believe they got what they paid for when former Governor Riley tapped their tills to the tune of an estimated $500,000 for a special session to enact this legislation in his waning days of office.

Ethics and Alabama politics wouldn't recognize each other if both of them were wearing  foot-high name tags. We take our corruption seriously here in Dixie and it's the way things have always been--pay to play, misbehave, violate the public's trust and you'll go far. Governor Riley became the first governor in the history of Alabama to become a federal lobbyist, and his client list includes some of the same interests he passed millions to while in office.

Another story broke in October of 2011, based on a report from the Center For Responsive Politics, that the Poarch Creek Indians (the only Indian gaming in the state) had funneled $550,000 to the state Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) for the 2010 state elections. $200,000 of that sum was donated in January of 2010, after the "platinum standard" new ethics laws were passed, supposedly outlawing that kind of political persuasion.

Were these new ethics laws an attempt to conflate republican and Tea Party public personas and enacted solely to further erode democratic power in Alabama? Judging from the after-the-fact movements of the new republican majority, the answer, in true Koch philosophy, seems to be 'yes.'

The republicans wasted no time de-fanging the political clout of the state teacher union (AEA), and ending numerous programs to Alabama's disadvantaged, cutting funding to child advocacy groups, while stumping for special interests wants. They gifted more tax credits to big business, and set about growing government through governor appointed committees galore, adding additional 'friends and donors' to the state payroll.

(And let's not forget that one big trick that House Speaker Hubbard and Senate President Pro Tem Leader Del Marsh tried, in the wake of the Gabrielle Giffords shooting, proposing to disallow citizens in the state house when the legislature was in session that really riled Alabamians. So much so, that Hubbard and Marsh were forced to quickly abandon the idea, but it was fine with them if the people were cut off from access to lawmakers.)

Former State Finance director David Perry echoes the words that the Koch's love to hear:
Perry defended the governor’s choice of appointees to the Commission on Improving State Government, which includes several CEOs and business figures, but no representatives from education or anti-poverty groups.
Some of “these CEOs have done more to help the poor than some of those advocates that have devoted 100 percent of their lives to helping the poor,” he said.
The new ethics laws also made sure that the AEA could no longer draft union fees from its member's paychecks. Republican control in Alabama had a nemesis in the form of former AEA head Paul Hubbert and he had to be neutralized. The republicans went a step further and forced out one of the most powerful men in Alabama politics. Hubbard later revealed he had debilitating health problems that played a large role in his "early retirement."

We think it's compelling to examine two of the players, who went along with that expensive special session, and rewriting the ethics laws, for the purposes of our discussion on ALEC and Koch influence.

Shelby County--Root of All ALEC?

State Senator Cam Ward-R AL-D 14 and the Alabama Policy Institute (involved with ALEC since 1992) both praised the calling of the special session by Bob Riley. Senator Ward is a confirmed ALEC member and the Alabama Policy Institute is a Koch brothers think tank, offering summer fellowships in the name of Charles G. Koch. Something interesting about the Alabama Policy Institute that we also discovered was their ties to the State Policy Network, Donors Trust and an affiliated group Donors Capital, Inc.
Senator Ward and Texas Governor Rick Perry getting acquainted in the Alabama State House 2011
The group that is helping Shelby County, Alabama *pay for their redistricting fight, the  Project on Fair Representation, receives money from Donors Trust. An affiliated group, Donor's Capital Fund, contributes to the Alabama Policy Institute, (IRS 990 filings amounts received by API from DCF: 2008-$315,000 2009-$170,000) which is under the umbrella of the Koch influenced State Policy Network:
*(NYT--"Is Anybody Watching?" paragraphs 5 & 6)
State Policy Network (SPN), which is partially funded by The Claude R. Lambe Foundation. Charles Koch, one of the billionaire brothers who co-own Koch Industries, and his wife and children, along with long-time Koch employee Richard Fink, comprise the board of this foundation
Shelby County is Senator Ward's home district. Shelby County is also home to one of Alabama Power's five coal fired utility plants. Through the Alabama Power Foundation, Inc. 501(c)(3) 2010 IRS filing, we note a donation of $21,387 to the Alabama Policy Institute. What was that for exactly? Only "general operating" is noted as a purpose. (2008 amount from APCO APF, Inc. to API: $27,024.00, 2009--$16,300.00)

Southern Company, the parent company of Alabama Power, counts itself among the ALEC membership according to Sourcewatch.org records "ALEC Corporations." Alabama Power is also the go-to money source for Alabama politicians and lobbyists--they spend millions of dollars in campaigns, influence peddling and are as firmly entrenched in the political and economic structures of the state as kudzu is on the southern landscape.

No matter which way you turn in this tangled labyrinth all roads lead back to a Koch.

Senator Ward is also on the Alabama Senate leadership committee that voted to keep the controversial Senator Scott Beason, sponsor of the Koch DNA infused HB-56, the harshest anti-immigration law in the country, in his position as head of state legislative agenda.  US District Judge Myron Thompson excoriated Beason and his other wire wearing politicos as 'racist and opportunistic' in an October 20th ruling issued in the wake of the Alabama bingo trial earlier this year

The state chair for ALEC lives in Shelby County: Representative Mary Sue McClurkin, who was appointed to that position, following Representative Jim Carns departure for the infamous Jefferson County Commission.
L-R: Charles Koch, Mary Sue McClurkin, David Koch

McClurkin's voting record reflects a true believer of the radical beliefs instilled in her by the brothers Koch and ALEC. She even voted against repealing the food tax on groceries, an unfair tax burden that hits low-income Alabamians the hardest. It's been a topic of scorn for years, adding fodder to the critics decrying of Alabama's regressive tax system which works against the disadvantaged in favor of the advantaged.

When you live in a gated community that's 98% Caucasian, with a median home price of $341,879 dollars, it's not difficult to imagine how you may become a little out of touch with the average working stiff. But it's tragic nonetheless that Ms. McClurkin is so consumed by ideological thinking, that her self-professed strong Christian principles don't allow her a bit more empathy for her fellow man when voting on legislation that has real consequences for a large segment of the population.

Financial Planning--Corporate Alabama Is Covered. Are you?

We're curious about McClurkin's ALEC corporate co-chair, Rosemary Elebash, State Director of the National Federation of Independent Business--what's the relationship between Elebash, Greg Powell and wealth growing? It seems a tad off-putting and odd that a state employee is involved with a financial planning outfit.

Perusing Fi-Plan Partners Greg Powell's "giving back" list we see a few obligatory feel-good entries: Camp Smile-A-Mile, Special Equestrians are among them. It's what's above the fold that's troubling: Birmingham Business Alliance and Business Council of Alabama to name two of them. Both of these groups have strangleholds on federal, state and community purse strings (and politics) and exert far too much influence over local elected leaders for most Alabamians comfort levels. 

Still, it's not unexpected these two, Elebash and Powell, would align themselves together. Alabama's "Big Mule" team always has room for more governor appointed lackeys and lock-step mules to join the state economic swindle development team. Especially when they get to get their picture taken with the governor on the steps of the capital to boot, touting the "Full Employment Act of 2011" which provides "tax credits and tax incentives to NFIB/Alabama members."
Governor Bentley introduces the Full Employment Act of 2011 at a press conference at the State Capitol today.  From L to R, Rosemary Elebash, State NFIB Director; Greg Powell, President and CEO of fi-Plan Partners; Governor Bentley; State Representative Blaine Galliher; State Senator Arthur Orr.
It's a great concept, but with Alabama's Right to Work status who really benefits in this scenario? Governor Bentley claims that "small businesses are the backbone of Alabama's economy." It's almost obscene that giant corporations like Thyssen-Krupp and Alabama Power are among the businesses that qualify as 'small.' Both of these companies have received millions in "corporate welfare" from Alabama, and now they'll get a little more if they throw the folks a $10.00/hr job here and there.

Are we beginning to see a repeating pattern here?

Who else in Alabama administers the bad medicine of the Koch's and ALEC?

According to Sourcewatch, these members are confirmed:
Alabama House of Representatives:
Former Rep. Greg Canfield (R-58; resigned July 11, 2011 to accept an appointment to Governor Robert Bentley's administration)
Rep. Richard Laird (D AL-D-37)    
Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin (R-AL-D 43), State Chairman    
Rep. Jack Williams (R-AL-D 47)  Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force
Rep. Greg Wren (R-AL-D 75)    
Rep. Howard Sanderford (R-20) Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force
Alabama Senate:
Sen. Steve French-R
*(Thanks to sourcewatch for updating the page on Nov. 2 with additional Alabama legislators!)

We've located the additional members of Victor Gaston and Cam Ward (mentioned previously) and three other members listed on the ALEC Alumni page:
US Senator Richard Shelby-R
US Representative Spencer Bachus-R
AL State Senator Michael "Mike" J. Rodgers-R AL--D 3 

Why should we be afraid of ALEC? 

An article published by The Nation from July 2011 gives us enough clues to make proponents of citizen's rights shudder: 
In the world according to ALEC, competing firms in free markets are the only real source of social efficiency and wealth. Government contributes nothing but security. Outside of this function, it should be demonized, starved or privatized. Any force in civil society, especially labor, that contests the right of business to grab all social surplus for itself, and to treat people like roadkill and the earth like a sewer, should be crushed.
ALEC believes that anything the government does is wrong and everything private enterprise can do is better--so privatize everything--and "starve the beast" of government to brittle bare bones. Anyone who is dependent on the government for anything is out of luck because "it's their own fault they aren't rich" according to Tea Party madman and republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain.
A bespectacled and (maybe begrudging) Bill Armistead (ALGOP Chair) peers out from Cain's tour bus (on Cain's R shoulder) at a recent stop in Homewood, Alabama. Credit: Linda Stalter
ALEC's National Chair also has southern roots and comes from the hugely successful money machine of the Southern Governors Association, who has an ALEC economic report from June of 2011 displayed on their site. Southern governors are skilled loot raisers (i.e. Haley Barbour, Rick Perry, Bob Riley etc.) and the only thing that gets them more excited than money is economic development schemes (read: more money.)

NPR's Fresh Air correspondent Terry Gross interviewed John Nichols of The Nation magazine on July 21, 2011 about ALEC:
"Legislators in ALEC pay a minimal fee to join the group, while corporations pay much more — up to $25,000," Nichols says.
"But once they're in, they sit at the same table," he says. "On the board of ALEC, you have an equal number of legislators and corporate members. ... They then set up task forces to deal with topics like health care, education, election law, and you have an equal number of legislators and corporate and/or interest groups [and] think tanks in each grouping. They have to agree on any model bill or model resolution."
Terry Gross conducted a follow-up interview with ALEC's National Chairman, La. State Representative Noble Ellington, who came to the defense of ALEC and took issue with The Nation's report:
"I work for the taxpaying public, so don't assume that they're not [at the table] because they are. And we represent the public and we are the ones who decide. So the taxpaying public is represented there at the table because I'm there."
Mr. Ellington repeats the idea of a 'mandate to legislate'-something we often hear from our own elected officials, whether they are local community politicians or state leaders. The problem with that thinking is that politicians in Alabama really believe that the voter's gave up their right to complain or speak out once they pulled the lever in the voting booth.

Numerous readers of our site have told us of the great difficulties they experience trying to reach their representatives, especially if it's to complain about their representative's stance on an issue. Emails go unanswered, phone calls are serially ignored, etc. More than one citizen has relayed to us that after taking the time to visit Montgomery, once they are in their representative's office, they have had to compete with television stations blaring Fox News as they sat in front of their elected official trying to communicate with them about a concern.

(On the subject of unanswered emails: Why do Alabama politicians use their personal and business email accounts for citizen correspondence, and refuse to use a state email address, claiming they "don't have one?" Is this their way of avoiding traceable public record electronic communications that can be examined at a later date?)

One especially troubling account that we've heard was from a citizen who took the day off from work, and drove over 200 miles to meet with their representative in their state office. A television was on the entire time. When asked to turn off the television so the conversation could proceed without distraction, the newly elected senator stated: "I have to have the background noise" right before he cut the meeting short to attend a meeting with a lobbyist.

We know the people don't have much of a voice in legislation, and they surely do not have the voice that corporate and business interests enjoy, including their lobbyists, despite what Mr. Ellington claims. We genuinely hope, through this article, that people have a better understanding of what else is adding to that problem.

John Nichols has it exactly right--"the people deserve to know where the ideas for legislation come from"--whether it's a turkey blind Kansas--or an upcoming ALEC Arizona Conference in November 2011--the secrecy employed by ALEC suggests there's more to hide than reveal to the public. Nichols also says that "politicians like to be put in the same space with folks who have the ability to give money." The average citizen doesn't have the buying power of corporate interests, and as a consequence, their 'value' to politicians is relegated to election cycles.

It makes us sick as a collective whole, Alabama. Terribly, horribly and pervasively. And we may never recover if we don't excise these peddlers of Koch cancer before it's too late.

Plain talk isn't always straight talk

Our Governor, the former dermatologist, is quite the fancier of folksy sayings, and he believes, as most politicians do depending on the audience or region they're addressing, it endears him to the masses. 'Kitchen table issues' and plain talk are hard to disagree with, they fit comfortably in most ears and politicians are keenly aware of the power of the right presentation.

Governor Bentley has been schooled on the ability to appear simpler in his public persona--he carefully plays up his 'country doctor' demeanor for full effect. He's especially enamored with one phrase that he repeats, (ad nausea) to disarm his listeners, and play up his physician background giving him cover for snake oil peddler he really is: "Alabama needs a doctor and I am going to be that for the citizens of this state." 

Governor, if only the citizens of Alabama had known what your brand of medicine really was, before we elected you and your team of interns, we may have gotten a second opinion first.
* Note to readers--We realize this is a lot of information and 'heavy sledding.' 
Please bookmark, return and absorb the material. These issues are important!

30 comments:

  1. Capital Rivals: Koch Brothers vs George Soros

    Looks like it's a push overall.
    Or is it since Koch dominates the current crop of lawmakers?

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  2. Am I surprised that our lawmakers have another wealthy special interest group to party with? Functions are exempt from the ethics laws y'know.
    How's that commercial go with the biily goat chewing up paper? Nah...nah...nah.

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  3. Whoa! The team has been busy, busy, busy spider killing again I see.
    Might be your best one yet Max.

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  4. I might be a Tea Party member but one thing I'm not is a damn fool! To hell with it. I'm out!

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  5. Never fear Ed you aren't the only one who has been disillusioned, finally seen the light and decided enough is enough.

    http://www.truth-out.org/goodbye-all-reflections-gop-operative-who-left-cult/1314907779

    Welcome to reality. Now if we could just get term limits and overturn CU...sigh....

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  6. What's the difference between Amy Winehouse and republicans?
    None.
    Neither believes in rehab.
    (no offense to the late great Winehouse)

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  7. I think it was Ron Casey who wrote that "Alabama's racist Constitution should be torched and we should all dance on the ashes."
    Casey was a jewel of advocacy journalism we'll never see again. He was right about almost everything he took on.
    I bet he is rolling in his grave at the prospect of the Koch's sitting as shadows in any rewrite of Alabama's albatross of a Constitution.
    Anybody remember this article?
    Governor Robert Bentley today appointed three members to the Constitution Revision Commission. The appointees include former Alabama Governor Albert Brewer, Vicki Drummond, and Becky Gerritson. The Commission will examine and explore changes and updates needed to the Alabama Constitution.

    “This commission has a lot of hard work ahead of it as the members address constitutional reform in this State,” said Governor Robert Bentley. “Governor Brewer is a respected statesman and brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to this commission. Vicki Drummond and Becky Gerritson have a dedicated passion and vision for exploring the need to reform the Alabama constitution. I appreciate the willingness of all three to serve on this very important commission.”

    Governor Albert Brewer served as Alabama’s 47th governor from 1968 until 1971. He is a distinguished Professor of Law and Government at Samford University where he teaches courses in Alabama Constitutional Law. Governor Brewer also serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama.

    Becky Gerritson of Wetumpka has spent most of her life volunteering with church and community activities. She is a graduate of the University of Northern Colorado and is currently President of the Wetumpka Tea Party. She and her husband, Air Force Security Policemen, Eric Gerritson have one daughter, Shelley.

    Vicki Drummond, of Jasper, is an active member of the Alabama Policy Institute and the Heritage Foundation. Drummond has a B.S. in English and a Master’s in Counseling and Guidance from the University of Alabama."

    If this new group of Judeo Christian corporatists get their hands on any rewriting, we'll all be the worse by it.

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  8. Apples and freight trains compare more sensibly than John McMillan's editorial "Bullish On Alabama" based on an ALEC economic report.
    'Rich States, Poor States' is bullish on Alabama (Insight)
    Published: Sunday, September 25, 2011, 5:50 AM

    John McMillan may be a affable sort of man. He's not a great orator by any stretch of the imagination. On the editorial pages he plays one though aided in part by a pr writer hiding behind the McMillan and feeding him the right lines.
    Shame on him for giving in to the will of corporate Alabama, something he learned during his tenure as a lobbyist for big timber, and shame on the MPR ED for publishing this ALEC propaganda as truths.
    Nice work putting the pieces together Max.

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  9. BarT eloquent as usual.
    Closer to home, Jefferson County's reluctance to declare bankruptcy and ALEC's economic agenda.
    Make sense to you?
    It does to me.

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  10. Here it comes kids MEDIA DOMINATION NATION.

    Right wing funds state news source Franklin Center November 1, 2011

    As newsrooms across the country shave staff due in part to slipping ad revenue and corporate media conglomeration, the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity is rushing to fill the gap. The group has 43 state news websites, with writers in over 40 states. Its reporters have been given statehouse press credentials and its news articles are starting to appear in mainstream print newspapers in each state. Who funds Franklin, and what is its agenda?

    The Franklin Center was launched with the help of the Sam Adams Alliance, which calls itself “SAM.” The CEO of SAM, Eric O’Keefe, has been featured at events funded by David Koch’s right-wing group called “Americans for Prosperity” (AFP). As the Center for Media and Democracy/PRWatch.org has previously noted, O’Keefe frequently and positively profiles the tea party and attacks health care reform and other progressive ideas. He also helped launch the “American Majority” group, which trains conservatives to run for office. He sits on the board of directors of the Club for Growth Wisconsin, which ran divisive ads in support of Scott Walker’s radical overhaul of collective bargaining rights for Wisconsin workers. He previously worked for David Koch’s AFP predecessor group named “Citizens for a Sound Economy,” among other roles.

    O’Keefe’s latest enterprise, SAM, gets part of its funding from the State Policy Network (SPN), which is partially funded by The Claude R. Lambe Foundation. Charles Koch, one of the billionaire brothers who co-own Koch Industries, and his wife and children, along with long-time Koch employee Richard Fink, comprise the board of this foundation. SAM is named after Founding Father Sam Adams, one of the leaders in the Boston Tea Party tax protests.

    Read more: http://host.madison.com/ct/news/opinion/column/article_262d0061-ee13-51c6-8035-1f14a4ce0bff.html#ixzz1cTHPBr5N

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  11. Statehousenewsonline.com is one of Franklin's outlets.
    So is Watchdog.org
    ABC and Fox News run their propaganda too.
    "Control the media Control the people"

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  12. I'm with Ed.
    Fool me once shame on you.
    Fool me twice and I get a lot upset.
    A lot of my friends are independents anyway.

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  13. Why won't any organization on the national level help us down here? We're not all hopeless and we'd like to be fairly represented.
    Hard concept to imagine because of our reputation as inbred backwoods fools.
    Thank you for adding to that illusion Senator Beason.
    How did we become so blind to what our politicians are doing to us? Worse yet, why don't we give a damn?

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  14. What we need more than anything else is more FBI agents and a justice department with teeth!
    That would put an end to the criminal element in Montgomery quicker than anything else.

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  15. Job creation in Alabama only exists when the state hands out piles of corporate cash and tax credits.
    Why does it take hand outs to get big business in this state to hire? It's a fair question to ask just how much each of these jobs are costing us.
    I don't expect the lame stream media to take on the issue, but if they did Alabama would be red alright-with righteous anger at the idiots in charge who think they have all of us fooled!

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  16. You are dead on C!
    Welfare is fine for big business.
    People not so much.
    Groups like the Koch's school the politicians and think tanks to spin out the message of misinformation to divide and conquer the folks. Pick a side as long it's the side we approve of. Tell your friends and neighbors how e-vi the other one is.
    Meanwhile pay no attention to the fact that we're sitting on piles of cash, not creating jobs, figuring out to get rid of more employees and latched firmly on the tit of state and federal money.
    Taxpayer money.
    Recent announcements of jobs in Alabama have been relatively small amounts when you compare them to the huge tax breaks and incentives being handed out like candy.
    We're not broke.
    They're lying to us.
    It's not about you and me.
    It's about them and how much they can gloat over near-empty accomplishments that don't help the rest of us in any measurable way. They're a big help to corporations though aren't they?
    Smoke and mirrors?
    You bet.

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  17. ALEC and Koch propaganda has invaded our universities and law schools.
    We shouldn't be surprised that most of Alabama is incapable of understanding the brainwashing that's been going on for years.
    Most people are blissfully happy being ignorant and too busy getting ready for the next vacation to the beach or football game to stand up for their freedom.
    Make no mistake, this is an assault on freedom in the worst and most diabolical way imaginable.

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  18. The Blaze catches the varmints in their own hypocritical web of lies about "federal spending is destroying the country."

    Letters from Cantor, Perry, West, Paul, Bachman, Enzi, Upton, Boehner, Issa, Mcarthy, McCain and King on official letterheads asking for millions in handouts.

    Ha!

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2011/10/30/conseratives-brought-nation-to-default-ask-for-govt-handouts.html

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/galleries/2011/10/31/fiscal-conservatives-with-a-taste-for-pork-the-letters.html

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  19. Oh my we are in some deep stuff...I'm still trying to digest all of this information.
    It's mind boggling to see the depth of special interests at work in Alabama.
    My level of respect for Montgomery runs at a new low.

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  20. Max needs to run for office and give 'em hell!

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  21. Boy, you are good Max. Thanks for this enlightenment--sobering, but essential.

    The Alabama Policy Institute has been exploited by the greedy corporate machine again???? Do the people that run that organization understand that they are being exploited, even to their own detriment? AL Policy Institute is supposedly run by Christians to benefit Christians. For a church-going person like myself, this makes me want to go from pew to puke!

    And Samford University, a Baptist college, recently hosted Herman Cain as a guest speaker. Uggh!

    By the way, maybe the state legislators like to have Fox News on in the background to make it difficult for a guest to record the conversation, and the "I like having background noise" is a lame excuse for a cover-up of the real reason.

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  22. Below is an excerpt from the Alabama Policy Institute's website, Note that it describes itself as "non-partisan".

    Alabama Policy Institute (API) is a non-partisan, non-profit research and education organization dedicated to the preservation of free markets, limited government and strong families, which are indispensable to a prosperous society.
    Established in September 1989, API bases its pursuits on the founding fathers' ideas of liberty and the equality of all people. These are the same ideas on which two of the greatest documents ever conceived by the mind of man are based-the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution. Those founding fathers knew that we are a nation of men and women created equal in the sight of God, and that our Creator endows every one of us with unalienable rights-rights for which we must take responsibility and be willing to defend.

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  23. Dark days in Dixie.
    It really makes you wonder what we are paying these legislators for.

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  24. The Koch's describe all of their tentacles as non-partisan. Just because they say it, does that make it so?
    I'll leave you with the following to ponder since you're pointing to historical references:
    "The Framers of the Constitution were obsessed with corruption and saw it as one of the greatest threats to democracy. They designed the system in such a way that corrupt leaders will not only loose their positions, but also their reputation. The Founding Fathers built mechanisms into the Constitution to safeguard democracy by ensuring transparency, accountability and citizens' participation in the political process. The independence of the political office holders from other special interests was of paramount importance to the Framers.
    The Framers defined political corruption to include "self-serving use of public power for private ends, including, without limitation, bribery, public decisions to serve private wealth made because of dependent relationships, public decisions to serve executive power made because of dependent relationships, and use by public officials of their positions of power to become wealthy."
    History has shown that when leaders put their self-interest above those who elected them, it undermines the trust of the people in the process and inevitably leads to collapse of the democratic system. The Roman and Greek empires are classic examples. The danger of democracies leaving political corruption unchecked is that voters will stop voting, people will stop running for office, and citizens will stop making serious efforts to read news and understand the public issues of their day, because they will believe that such efforts are futile."

    In this kind of atmosphere "non-partisan" special interests and their organizations fool the populace and corptocracy replaces democracy.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Yeah, how can an organization like API claim to be "non-partisan" when all it does is accept money from Republican/tea party interests and support Republican/tea party issues and candidates?

    An insincere, if not dishonest, way for the Alabama Policy Institute to describe itself.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Anon's defense of the indefensible should have come with a disclaimer.
    I'm too hopped up on tea to see reality.

    ReplyDelete
  27. i'myourhuckleberryNovember 2, 2011 at 3:06 PM

    Okay I'll bite on the anonymous commenter's claim.
    Let's have a full accounting audit of the Alabama Policy Institute and its money sources and what they use the money for.
    Should be fascinating.
    We can start with the Alabama Power donation and then move on to Donors Capital Fund donations.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I call complete crap on that so-called mission statement. What a way to use a lot of words to not really say exactly what you do other than carry the Koch's water!
    You right wingers are so predictable.
    It's always the liberals who are the bad guys, they're beholden to those horrible unions, ACORN, Soros and the rest of those socialistic bastards against democracy and f-r-e-e-d-o-m.
    We're the high and mighty republicans. We're here to save you. (When we're not driving the country into the ditch by obstructing Congress.)
    No carpetbaggers here, no sir.
    The Koch's? Oh, they're patriots, they're for us the little people. Their money is washed in holy water. They'll give us jobs (if they don't kill us first) and save us all!!! Yadda..yadda.
    Please.
    Get over yourselves!

    ReplyDelete
  29. API is "non-partisan?"
    Tea Party Jobs:
    Policy Institutes

    Acton Institute - Promotes a free society informed by religious faith and moral absolutes.
    Adam Ferguson Institute - An Ohio based policy institute supporting the voluntary, therefore peaceful, development of a free, beneficent, and prosperous civil society.
    Alabama Policy Institute - A conservative think tank addressing a wide range of emerging policy issues in the areas of economics, education, the environment, government, family and society.

    http://www.teapartyjobs.org/policy_institutes.html

    You're jesting with that non-partisan claim aren't you?

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  30. We should all be of the age where we no longer believe in fairy tales. Anyone who claims that the Alabama Policy Institute is non-partisan is either coming from someone wholly immersed in right-wing political agenda or much worse-someone who is utterly detached from reality.
    One of the favorite publications of conservatives is none other than The American Spectator and the favorite son of Alabama politicians Quin Hlilyer.
    Hillyer wrote an article earlier this year Don't Forget Alabama's Pain for the Spectator Blog that doesn't deny who the Alabama Policy Institute is.
    Both political parties are allowed their groups, however, to claim you're something you're not is simply a lie. With lies additional deception always exists.

    ReplyDelete

IP tracking & BS detector is enabled.
Don't set it off.