Saturday, July 23, 2011

Connecting the dots: ALEC, Koch, Wisconsin, and why states don't matter

I shouldn't need to say too much regarding this topic, as it's been evident for quite a while that the crazy WisGOP regime in Wisconsin hasn't been taking its orders from Wisconsin (even though WMC is glad to help), but instead from right-wing shadow groups in D.C. and Wall Street. The revelations in the last few days have made these links even more obvious. Let's allow Wisconsin treasure John Nichols and Keith Olbermann explain it to you.

Bloomberg news had a strong article detailing how Koch Industries, Exxon, and other corporations write laws that end up getting introduced in state legislatures around the country.

Wisconsin has ended up being one of the most blatant of these testing grounds, but as this article shows, they are far from the only ones. Note the consistency of the anti-union legislation, usurpation of local governments, cuts in spending to social programs resulting in inevitable privatization to ALEC/Koch interests, and voter repression laws in these states. Why is it the same in these very diverse places. Well, the Bloomberg article shows why.
“Koch Industries has been a member and supporter of the American Legislative Exchange Council for more than two decades,” said Philip Ellender, the company’s president of government and public affairs. “As a non-partisan organization that includes both public and private-sector members, ALEC’s mission aligns closely with many of the principles to which we are committed -- economic freedom, limited government and individual liberty.”

Koch companies, employees, political action committees, and affiliated non-profit groups spent at least $5 million to help elect Republicans to Congress in 2010, according to Common Cause and the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group that tracks political donations.

According to the Helena, Montana-based National Institute on Money in State Politics, Koch entities have given $2.5 million to help elect state lawmakers since 1990 (from Jake: and that's just what is directly trackable. What about the Koch front groups like Club for Growth and similar organizations?). The institute’s analysis of a partial list of ALEC corporate backers found that their combined giving to state campaigns over the past decade amounts to $12.2 million. Of that sum, 97 percent went to Republicans.
It shows that the individual states' interests and differences don't matter in the ALEC/Koch/state GOP world, despite the fact that any kind of "good governing" would demand that the local people's voices and interests be the ones that should be listened to. They are not.

And Nate Silver's charts on the ideology of Republican governors bears this out. The "red dot" chart shows that regardless of whether the state is Maine, Wisconsin, South Carolina, or Idaho, Republican governors pretty much do the same thing and ask for the same laws. This is in clear contrast to Democratic governors, who seem to closer track the ideology of their home states (more liberal govs in New York, more conservative ones in Arkansas).

It shouldn't be surprising, because people like Scott Walker, Robin Vos, Leah Vukmir, and Alberta Darling (among others) aren't getting funded and helped through the ranks by everyday Wisconsinites. They're getting paid by the corporations and discredited ivory-tower types that make up ALEC. Check out ALEC's "Board of Scholars". The completely discredited Arthur "lower taxes raises revenue and lowers deficits" Laffer? The research director for Reagan's Commission on Privatization? Richard "the hell with public schools" Vedder? These people have nothing but failed ideas and no consideration for what local conditions are, but they're the ones calling the tune for what these legislators decide to put into law. Disgusting oligarchy that goes a long way towards explaining why 65% of Wisconsinites think that government backs big interests over real people.

This would be the Dems' best weapon over the next 10 months of recalls, if Mike Tate would stop playing with his slide rule and would just listen to the people who have made things happen here. Every Dem should say "I will work for the people of Wisconsin, to do policies that work for Wisconsin, and won't take any advice from the failures in D.C." Because last I checked, the Koch Brothers may send a lot of money to Wisconsin legislators, but those legislators have to answer to US, NOT THEM. 18 days till we start taking this state back from these selfish bastards who get paid by Wisconsin taxpayes, but truly don't care what's left of Wisconsin, because ALEC and other "think tanks" will give them plenty of cash after we blow their asses out of power

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