Monday, August 5, 2013

ALEC Speakers for Aug 9-11 at Palmer House: Who's Who of Plutocorporatists


ALEC is coming to Chicago to celebrate its 40th birthday.  Let’s help them out:

RALLY: At noon on Thursday, August 8, a coalition of groups, spearheaded by the Chicago Federation of Labor, is calling on people to gather outside the ALEC conference at the Palmer House Hotel, located at 17 East Monroe Street for a march and rally.August 8th.

Roster of ALEC Speakers:

Governor Jeb Bush: According to Sourcewatch, the brother to Dubya was instrumental as Governor of Florida in founding reform groups in education such as Chiefs for Change and the Foundation for Education Excellence, “which both promote the business interests of their corporate for-profit funders” (Sourcewatch – Jeb Bush).  Not everyone is happy about the former Governor's educational initiatives.  One editorial claimed the following: "Former Governor Jeb Bush has an undeserved reputation as an education reformer.  Florida's recent educational progress has come not from implementing Mr. Bush's policies but from cleaning up after them" (VerSteeg.  Palm Beach Post).

Governor Mary Fallin:  Republican Governor of Oklahoma and previous Republican member of U.S. House of Representatives. “Mary Fallin has voted in favor of big oil companies 83% of the time on important oil-related bills. Among these bills, she voted for Iraq War Funding, against ending oil subsidies, against the 2007 clean energy bill, against a Climate Change Committee, and against a Clean Energy Tax” ( 

Art Laffer, Economist:  A previous speaker at the 2011 ALEC gathering, Laffer is famous for his dogged determination promoting supply side economics and slashing state income taxes.  His infamous “Laffer” curve was a cornerstone in the economic theories that fueled the Reagan administration’s business policies.

Governor Terry Branstad:  Iowa Governor Terry Branstad abhors the sight of animal cruelty on farms or in slaughterhouses so much that he, in fact, has signed legislation to prevent your ever having to suffer visuals from some misguided whistleblower.  Such laws are nicknamed Ag-Gag laws in Iowa and other states, and in Branstad’s state they “prohibit anyone from producing, possessing, or distributing a record of a “visual or audio experience occurring at [an] animal facility” (Sourcewatch - Terry Branstad).  Governor Branstad signed the bill into law in March of 2012. 

Susan Combs, Texas Comptroller:  In a state awash in oil money, Susan Combs has planned the annual “no sales tax” holidays for Aug 9 – 11 while she’s speaking in Chicago.  Of course, the state and local villages will lose nearly $74.1 million in income, but Ms. Combs is famous for underplaying the amounts of oil money expected to arrive in her office at the end of each fiscal year.  In addition, when asked by Texas U.S. Congressman Gallego to update information from the State to assist in the development of a federal immigration bill, one regarding the income benefits of immigrants to the state, Ms. Combs refused to do so.   

Joe Bastardi, Meteorologist and FOX News Contributor:  The headline of a recent Forbes article tells us all about Joe, and why he’s a scheduled guest speaker for the ALEC gathering: “Meteorologist Joe Bastardi: Blaming Turbulent Weather on Global Warming Is Extreme Nonsense.”  The article, which hands Joe accolades of scientific importance for being on the O’Reilly Factor, of all places, adds “many companies across a multitude of industries use his analytical services which correlate similarities between current and historical weather patterns to predict likely developments” ( - see Joe Bastardi).  ALEC companies?

Connor Burns, MP UK:  Member of Parliament Connor Burns is a Gay legislator from Ulster who, and ALEC will love him for this, has come out against same sex ceremonies in England.  In fact, his chief concern remained what legalizing such acceptance might have upon churches which could be forced to endure the shame of such rituals.  A close friend and idol of Lady T., gin & tonic, and Dubya; MP Burns should find a very receptive audience in the Palmer House.

Stephen Moore, Wall Street Journal and FOX News: If you’re looking for an economist who will decry the Romney 48%, you couldn’t do better than Stephen Moore.  Moore believes that the current Democratic administration is doing to the country what the same liberal, economic policies did to Detroit.  Moore is anathema to “Obamacare”: “It’s really a question of do you want the individual to make these kinds of healthcare decision or do you want someone else to make it. A government board, or a group of doctors, or an insurance company,” noted Moore. “And I come down on the side of the individual.”  Sure…

Lt. Governor Tate Reeves:  Wave hello to Tate Reeves, but don’t rush up for an autograph: he will likely be packing.  The Mississippi Lt. Governor is a darling of the National Rifle Association, applauded on NRA sites in Mississippi for his help in passing legislation which allows concealed carrying and the use of primitive weapons for the physically challenged.  That’s what I said…   Reeves receives an A rating from the NRA and an obvious place at the lectern in Chicago. Stand your ground, Tate.

*“ALEC is not a lobby; it is not a front group. It is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, behind closed doors, corporations hand state legislators the changes to the law they desire that directly benefit their bottom line. Along with legislators, corporations have membership in ALEC. Corporations sit on all nine ALEC task forces and vote with legislators to approve “model” bills. They have their own corporate governing board which meets jointly with the legislative board. (ALEC says that corporations do not vote on the board.) Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. Participating legislators, overwhelmingly conservative Republicans, then bring those proposals home and introduce them in statehouses across the land as their own brilliant ideas and important public policy innovations—without disclosing that corporations crafted and voted on the bills. ALEC boasts that it has over 1,000 of these bills introduced by legislative members every year, with one in every five of them enacted into law. ALEC describes itself as a “unique,” “unparalleled” and “unmatched” organization. We agree. It is as if a state legislature had been reconstituted, yet corporations had pushed the people out the door” ( .

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