Inside the ‘ALEC Universe’

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Representative Chris Taylor is a Democrat elected to the Wisconsin legislature in 2011. Last week, she attended the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) annual conference in Chicago. Writing about her experience at The Progressive magazine’s website, she describes her experience inside the “ALEC universe” and writes: “ALEC members have been quietly working out of the public eye to develop their agenda so that when given the opportunity, they are ready to start creating an ALEC nation. That time has come. And they are ready.”

We caught up with her by phone back in Wisconsin to talk about what she found out about the conservative policy-making machine.

Riley: Why did you want to attend the conference? What did you hope to achieve there?

Taylor: I’m very new in the legislature. I came in the middle of last term. So I missed a lot of the Act 10 [debate]. I was working on various issues when all of that was going on. But I wanted to learn more. I wanted to have a better understanding of the group, so that I could, when I needed to, fight some of these very regressive policies better.

I think it’s so incredibly important for people to understand where these [model] bills are coming from and try to understand the rationale. I was quite blown away by the extent of where [Wisconsin] policy is coming from, because so much of it is coming from this group.

Riley: ALEC conferences are known for being very security conscious. Were you incognito? Did you wear a badge with your party affiliation?

Taylor: No. I did wear a badge with my name and that I was a Wisconsin legislator. Every person there had a badge on. When you registered you had to present ID, which is really unusual. I mean I’ve been to conferences throughout my whole life, I’ve never had to present an ID. There was a big assumption that I was a Republican. Every person I talked to assumed that I was a Republican.

Riley: And were you open with the fact that you weren’t, or –

Taylor: No, if somebody asked me I was not going to lie. I really was there just to listen and to try to figure out where some of these people were coming from.

One guy I was talking to, who was from one of these right wing think tanks was saying we need to curb Obama’s reckless power with these administrative regulations, and he wanted a federal constitutional amendment saying Congress has to approve federal regulations. I said, I don’t think most people are going to want to amend the Constitution for that. I don’t think that ignites people. Maybe it does on the far right, but most people don’t really care about that. And he said, “Oh, well, you really don’t need people to do this. You just need control over the legislature and you need money, and we have both.”

That sentiment was underscored so many times to me, that they don’t want people involved in the political process, or in the policy process. And that seems to be the intent in a lot of ways: You have a think tank in every state and all they do is come up with these very, very regressive policies, you have corporations who are going to benefit so they fund it all, and then you have the legislators as your foot soldiers to carry out the tasks.

There were a couple of instances where legislators actually did challenge some of the policies, but they always lost. The legislators were admonished many times during this conference for not doing enough and for not standing up to the federal government more.

Riley: One of the think tanks that we’ve reported on, the Heartland Institute, sponsored a breakfast. They are a climate change denial think tank. Did you go to that?

Taylor: I did.

Riley: What was the presentation like?

Taylor: It was incomprehensible. I could not follow it. It was so zany and weird. He said CO2 was not that bad for us because crops grow bigger with a lot of CO2. My husband’s an environmental historian, so I asked him, “Is that true?” He said, “Yeah, but it doesn’t mean CO2’s good for you.” The whole premise was you need to challenge the left, that there’s many, many holes in global warming, and we don’t do enough to challenge them.

We also had a presentation on the Endangered Species Act at a lunch sponsored by the Texas Oil and Gas Association. The presenter said that the Endangered Species Act threatens the economy of every single state in the nation. It’s leading to high unemployment rates, threatens local economies, it doesn’t allow growth, etc. — that this is a matter of life and death, to get rid of the Endangered Species Act, because every state’s economy is going to topple if it remains in effect.

I wasn’t very impressed by the environmental presentations, frankly. I didn’t think they were very good.

Riley: What were you impressed by?

Taylor: I was really impressed by their infrastructure. I mean, we would never duplicate something like this on the left because, first of all, we would never take instructions from corporations, but the coordination that they have between these policy think tanks, the money and the legislators, in terms of just driving an agenda, it’s incredible. I’ve never seen anything like it. I’m fascinated by it because I’ve never seen anything like it from the left. I was the public policy director at Planned Parenthood, so I’m very familiar with building infrastructure. We did a lot of that in the state of Wisconsin. But we have nothing that I know of on the national front that connects all these things.

It is a well-oiled machine. They’re really organized, they’re really coordinated and they have the resources. And they’re not afraid to push it when they have the opportunities. Now they have 24 state legislatures that are Republican controlled and they have Republican governors. So they’ve had incredible success. They’ve had 71 bills introduced just this year that make it harder for most people who are injured to access the courts. We’ve certainly seen that here in Wisconsin. That was one of the first things that Walker did when he came in was push this tort reform through.

They have been waiting for 40 years to do some of the things they’re doing right now. They’ve been developing these model policies, making these connections and building these relationships, and when they had an opportunity, like right here in Wisconsin, they pushed it. They did not hesitate to push their extreme agenda, even though it hurts people. It doesn’t help the average person. It hurts people to say we’re not going to invest in public education. It hurts people to deprive the government of revenue by these massive tax cuts to mostly rich people.

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  • Suzie

    Wow, this ALEC group is a really scary bunch. I hope Rep. Taylor can get help from more of the Democrats to stop this group from moving forward with their very self-serving agenda. The fact that they have so much money, and they are buying these legislators with it, is just so damn wrong. We have to fight back against these people so we and our children can live in a safe and healthy environment. Go Rep. Taylor, and thank you for your hard work. We need many more like you.

  • LordGod Reagan

    It will trickle down…

  • Bubbs

    I hope someone remembers to ask her if there was a record of who else was in
    attendance at this top secret conference, so we can discover who from among our representatives was there!!!

  • Anonymous
  • JohnS

    the vast right-wing conspiracy Hillary spoke of so many years ago… why is she so silent on the subject now? Doesn’t want to ruin her chances to grab for the golden ring?

  • DavidW

    This is essentially economic totalitarianism, where those with the money and its affiliated power can dictate policy with little to no oversight by the people. Why is this not as dangerous to society as the political totalitarianism we fought during the cold war?

  • TSatyr

    Because the American mindset is that freedom is best exemplified through personal success — and success is best recognized through monetary gain.

  • Bubbs

    Thanks!!

  • DRS

    She isn’t saying anything because she and her husband are and always have been corporatists. For the most part, I loved Pres. Clinton’s policies. However, he made two big blunders that were nothing but giveaways to greedy CEOs: NAFTA and giving China most-favored nation status. Both decimated the auto industry, did serious damage to both us and our southern neighbors’ economies, gutted the UAW, and overlooked human rights abuses in China.

  • Anonymous

    chilling stmt: “Oh, well, you really don’t need people to do this. You just need control over the legislature and you need money, and we have both.”

  • Don Eichelberger

    ALEC is right about one thing. As Nader said, the most manageable unit of people power is the legislative district, both local and national. That is where political energy is best spent, and ALEC succeeds there.

    More activists need to shape the local elections, and keep challenging gerrymandering and excessive money in politics.

    As well, people power electing local water agencies, city governments, more local the better.

  • Jan Jacobs

    Seems to me the key is in “a well oiled machine” and highly organized. There is nothing wrong with having something along these lines on the Left, it’s the reason why the Republicans and the Tea Party folks have successfully outshouted everyone else.

  • divinemessenger

    I agree that the pushback on this takeover of the U.S. economy begins on the local level. That is where progressive thinkers have been strongest in the past. If we don’t have the money, we must recruit the people!

  • Jack Hammer

    That is an answer formulated from a spiritually undernourished society. While we are material beings, we are also spiritual beings. But in modern society, materialism, rather than be the antithesis of spirituality, has become the spirituality of the masses. How else can you explain people professing to followers of Christ, yet being selfish, hateful, finger pointing bigots that lack a shred of compassion for other? Of course, I’m not speaking of all Christians. While not a member of any organized religion, I often find spiritual guidance in the words of Christ and some of his followers. In particular, Pastor Rick Warren, who when asked how to be a good Christian, replied “simply love others and hate the sin in yourself”.
    But as to the the idea that monetary gain equals true freedom, if your freedom is dependent on wealth or possessions, most likely, you are enslaved by the most prevalent manifestation of fear that exists: greed. And that is what is destroying us.

  • Jack Hammer

    sure. When? It hasn’t yet. I know, do you?

  • Jack Hammer

    This group has been around for a long time and are entrenched. While I agree with what you say about them in your comment, it is almost too late to stop them. They have been operating out in the open and we ignored them, at our own peril.

  • Gloria Curnutt

    “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Are we there yet?

  • Anonymous

    Sounds like the money bags would be held out to both sides and likely are. Just take yours and don’t question our agenda like the KeystoneXL. It takes more than money and influence to do the right thing and say no for the children and our future but yet we have not heard a clear NO to KeystoneXL. As a crime against humanity ALEC pushing the Keystone, Stand Your Ground etc. seems critical people understand the depth of the evil on both sides.

  • Suzie

    I didn’t know of them, because I was busy raising a family, until recently. We need to open our eyes and ears more, and I am trying to do that now. I hope your comment about it being too late is wrong. We have to do whatever we can to help educate people on the very scary truth!

  • RAY FRISTROM

    well in keystone for example….congress from both sides bought stock in this venture so you see alec is not good for the country either is congress when they do this. should be more stringent rules applied to congress. they all should be investigated and not by themselves.

  • Jack Hammer

    I hope I’m wrong as well. And that is one of the things they do count on, that we are too busy with our lives to notice what they are doing. I, like you, was too busy to notice until about a year ago. Now that the kids are grown, educated and have families of own, I have time to catch my breath occasionally.
    I also agree with your statement that we need many more people like Rep.Taylor (as well as my modern political hero, Elizabeth Warren) and where we have the most chance to fight ALEC is getting involved in supporting candidates that will say NO! to them.

  • RAY FRISTROM

    he also deregulated the banks which caused the meltdown in 07-08

  • Ericka

    And don’t forget the repeal of Glass Steagall. I was a big fan of Clinton’s policies too, but you’re right on about those “blunders.”

  • Jan

    Thanks for doing this. It really scares me.

  • Rebecca Jones

    Until We the People come together to push back against this force, we will see ALEC and corporate interest gain strength and momentum. Their interests are in direct opposition to ours, the peoples’, and it is only through trickery and manipulation that they have been able to gain the power they have: convincing people to vote against their own interests by manipulating peoples’ deep seated fears and bigotries, for instance, and using the “divide and conquer” tactics that worked for the coal industries in the 20′s. We have to put aside our perceived differences and realize we all gain from public education, from CO2 and toxin regulation, from policy and infrastructure that makes our country a great place to live and work. We have to start standing up for each other, push back against their insidious forces and take back the government and the constitution.

  • Anonymous

    “I was really impressed by their infrastructure. I mean, we would never
    duplicate something like this on the left because, first of all, we
    would never take instructions from corporations.” Oh you’ve got to be kidding honey?! If you don’t think the Dems are up to their eyeballs in the gravy train, you really are new at this, particularly at the Federal level. They’re possibly just more discreet about it. However, I’m glad you took the time and trouble to infiltrate. That was pretty brave. You could have been tarred and feathered. They don’t take kindly to spies as is evidenced by the security precautions.

  • Barbara Blough

    The tank is at the gate.

  • Barbara Blough

    True, but TSatyr is correct because of the mindset of a lot of folks on the right.

  • Lynne

    He signed the Bill–which was passed by Congress, which was set on its erroneous path by Sen. Phil Gramm (R) Texas, husband of Wendy Gramm, who wrote it, and then went on to become part of the Board of Directors of Enron. This was a bi-partisan effort. And We the People were not paying attention

  • Lynne

    I agree–but it will take much more than just supporting candidates. We really have to pay attention to everything about a candidate: where their support comes from, what they have done in the past, whether they have weaknesses that can be exploited by their enemies, and possibly even most important: who are their enemies. Case in point: Eliot Spitzer. Do you really think his indiscretions were unknown to his enemies? He fought big Wall Street crooks for years as NY Atty General, and left behind a good organization that was making serious progress against them, but when he was elected governor, and had greater power to use against them, they swooped in and cut him off. The governor who came in then was useless. Sounds like a plan to me.

  • Anonymous

    Yes Gloria, We Are There…

  • Lloyd

    Unfortunately, there isn’t the vast funding available for this type of enterprise on the Left. It has been tried, but without the deep pockets of corporations, it is not sustainable.

  • RAY FRISTROM

    how can these people get away with this stuff. we are not living in a free and fair society. I guess to get ahead we need to become ruthless SOBs

  • Anonymous

    I admit that, when I read that part of it, I stopped, went back and read it again. It isn’t that I didn’t believe it. It is more that, at some level, I have known how they do it and yet never been willing, I guess, to just say it out loud. When this young woman did, the very idea of it and the implications of it were writ large for me. “We the people” seem to be little more than props on the stage of Big Business’ play.

  • Anonymous

    You know what is really interesting in a macabre sort of way is that ALEC, and the greedy in general, have been planning this takeover of our society for a long time….back when it was a vital and thriving thing. To get to their takeover they had to decimate that and now what they will actually “take over” will be a sick, dying society that will no longer be capable of sustaining their greed. Sad for us, bad for them, and just plain stupid all around.

  • Larry

    Yes, David. And there’s a name for this economic totalitarianism, it’s fascism and we fought WWII to defeat it in Europe.

  • Larry

    Here in Massachusetts, every city and town has a Democratic committee which operates year round every year with monthly meetings (except June, July, and August). Come election time, the members of these committees form the base of phone bankers and door knockers, and recruit others. The result is an army of citizens who talk with their neighbors about the candidates and issues. One-to-one conversations between real people are much more effective than robo calls. This, I think, is how we’ve been able to elect people like Elizabeth Warren, despite the right-wing media propaganda and mountains of cash spent by the forces of regression. BTW, it’s a lot of work. Maybe you have them in your state, and maybe you could join.

  • Anonymous

    You people wear ton foil hats. Why would ALEC let her in if they didn’t welcome opposing views?

  • Anonymous

    Because they thought she was an insider… and one person is not a threat.

  • Anonymous

    The U.S. According to ALEC dvd is worth watching. Another insider view.

  • http://savagemike.tumblr.com/ savagemike

    Those ton foil hats must be why my neck hurts so much.

  • Anonymous

    Those were not blunders John,They Were Cold, Calculated, Intentional and Extremely Profitable Decisions For The Clinton’s and their 1% Corporate Friends and Allies Around the World. The sad truth is that neither the Completely Bat-Shit Crazy Republican Party or the Lesser of two Evils Democrat Party are interested in working for what’s best for the People, Their only concern is, who get’s full axes to the power, prestige and the automatic flow of obscene wealth that comes along with being an insider middleman to the richest and most powerful people on the Planet. Until The People reject this Corrupt Corporate Owned Duopoly and start supporting Third Party Candidates we will just continue to lose more and more of our freedoms as we circle the drain at an ever increasing rate.

  • rimstrip

    What do you suppose would happen if ALEC’s membership was suddenly swollen by large numbers of stealth Democrats? Since it promotes itself as a forum for legislators, would it suddenly show it’s true colors by instituting a GOP-only membership requirement? A significant minority of dissenting members could make for some very interesting annual conferences.

  • Jim Young

    I left the Republican party in 1996 because a fund raiser told me we had to fight dirtier than Democrats. Newt Gingrich’s 1996 GoPac Memo. “Language: A Key Mechanism of Control” is as disgusting to me as what I believe was the Cato Institute recommendation to use such “Leninist tactics”. I believe my old party had gotten at least 6 times dirtier than Democrats (counting just operatives like DeLay, Abramoff, who now works against them, and others who went to prison at about that ratio in the late 90s and some years after). Reince Priebus, present Chairman of the RNC, sickens me with his attempted extortion of networks that won’t do his bidding over a planned program on Hillary Clinton (as if they wouldn’t be upset by Democrats doing the same for any potential Republican candidate), and back in the 2000 election, the Wisconsin State Republican organization declaring all funds donated by anybody, even moderate Republicans would only be spent supporting the most conservative ones. The, to top it off, I think they used funds to actively sabotage moderate Republicans. I think the they should be investigated under the RICO act (using NSA data they say they don’t collect, but which seems to show up in corporate cases against other “real live’ citizens). What an insult to our intelligence.

  • Cory James Hinman

    Tsk. Didn’t you read the interview?

  • Cory James Hinman

    Taylor said “We on the left”. She never said “Democrats”.

  • Jim Young

    What is wrong with it is they do it in secret and have tried to corner the market on all media (or use what I would call extortion against any that would hire or listen to any other lobbyists, etc). The media may love all the extra money they got during the fights but the hyper escalation of money means that legislatures have to spend such a huge portion of time trying to raise it that they can’t do what they were elected to do. If they do succeed in some small fight, they go after them with far more money to make sure they are either primaried out or defeated (even if it by a Democrat that presents less bother for them). They are especially ruthless with any within the party that oppose them). They are one of the worst political machines in modern history, and very far from what Reagan claimed should be their purpose (Reagan himself, wouldn’t meet their corrupt standards).

  • Paul

    If “we on the left” are so concerned, and so incensed at what people like ALEC are doing, why is it that we are not organized as well as they are to push back? One of the problems we have in Wisconsin if Scott Walker runs for governor again, is who will the Democrats have to oppose him? Will the same Democrat who has now lost 3 times running for governor of the state, run again because he is the only Democrat with statewide name recognition? Democrats sort of chuckle about their lack of organization, but if we really do care about the issues and people we claim to care about, it would seem organizing might be in our best interest rather than bellowing about the injustice of it all, and conducting rear action maneuvers once the horse is out of the barn.

  • Jim Young

    You are right about it not being sustainable. It shouldn’t be allowed, either, at the very least without the enforcement of existing disclosure laws.

    Full disclosure must become the law established by a Constitutional Amendment the Supreme Court can’t distort.

    While we are at it, we need to get the 14th Amendment clarified so the law intended to give emancipated slave recognition as people, is no longer used by corporations using it as cover for their fictional person-hood.

  • Jim Young

    I was paying attention. To me, many comments about the Clintons being corporatists are correct, but they didn’t do quite as much damage to the productivity of the rest of us. The greater damage has been done by the even further swing (started, to be sure, by the Rubin cabal during Clinton) towards favoring the overpriced but under performing ( in real value) financial sector. They are not the real strength of this country, a strong, productive middle class that produced the goods and services, as well as acted as responsible stewards of the land are what gave currency its “real” value. We are in another gilded age, with a thin veneer over a larger but more hollow shell, than when Mark Twain described the earlier gilded age.

  • Jim Young

    Thanks, in addition to finding 24 Republicans who quit it, with the almost unanimous exodus of many more Democrats that believed Reagan, and tried it, I appreciated the following:

    …Rep. Robert L. Theberge (D-4) – Theberge told the Progressive Change
    Campaign Committee, “It is true that I was a member of ALEC several
    years ago. My intention was to bring forth a different perspective on
    issues. However, I quickly learned that the voice, of what I believed to
    be reason, did not prevail. I was also concerned about the make-up of
    the members where businesses and corporations had a direct voice and
    vote on national issues. In particular, pressure was placed on members
    to put forth legislation and provided with boiler plates for legislation
    to that end. In conclusion, I am no longer a member of ALEC, nor do I
    support their views. . . . The organization is protected by the First
    Amendment, and hearing opposite views hopefully gives everyone food for
    thought. The latter apparently does not resonate with ALEC’s
    membership.”…

  • Jim Young

    Looks more like it flooded up

  • Jim Young

    “Were operating in the open”, but now they copyright their material and try other legal means to prevent outsiders from finding out what they are passing around. It reminds me of the “copyright” protection tactics hampering access to the EPA library records that the bad actors were prevented from destroying all of. Guess who doesn’t want us to publicize previous environmental data where they want to frack, claiming there are no records (that might not show what they claim to be natural methane sources). Standard tactics of relentless deceivers, as far as I’m concerned.

  • Robert

    Yes, Obama is a corporatist. Same goes for the Clintons. We don’t have a truly left wing or liberal party in the USA. Though, I do like Chris Taylor. She is smart a fighter and a doer and passionate. We need people like that to stand up to the bullies on the right. Shrinking violets are not needed at this time.

  • Jack Hammer

    Although you weren’t replying to me, your comment really hit home with me. I will do exactly what you suggest…it may be hard here in South Carolina, as something called a Democratic committee here would have to meet in secret for security reasons. The Tealiban has almost full control here.

  • Anonymous

    That may be, but she ran as a Dem, and is identified as one. If you’re part of a party machine, if you get funding from Dems, you’re a Dem. If she was truly progressive, she’d run as an Independent or a Green. I vote Green at every opportunity. I think we’ll be seeing a lot more campaigning by Independents and Green candidates next time around. I have Republican friends, dyed in the wool mind you, who are encouraging ME to vote Green. I call that progress!

  • Anonymous

    Republicans Against Reality; By PAUL KRUGMAN
    Published: August 4, 2013

    My reply concerning ALEC and its Tea Party

    This is not a thing of Christian or Conservative Values,
    any more than a thing of Liberal Human Decency. What I define as Family. The
    Republican and Democrat Parties. But this is what I have come to understand
    about what defined itself as the Ways of God and Man. In the prison cell of Existentialism and Ethnocentrism: in the Illusion of it’s the “Will of God”. What I call the Anti-Family of “Time and Mammon”!

    It all started with the illusions of the fundamentalist in the pushing of Anti-Christ and Armageddon! The Realm of Just Us preaching God wants you to be exclusively rich! God wants you to exclusively have the Abundance of Life! That the only attribute of God to Fear. Is the egocentric of pity and empathy? And a warm fuzzy feeling called the “Charitable Contribution” carried into “Collective Ideology”. Through the indoctrination of Anti-Christ, The justification and absolution of Sin in the misconceived notions, in understanding the core root of Ayn Rand.

    Ayn Rand in her own words: in an interview with Mike
    Wallace.

    “There were men: “industrialist” who uses Government power as a “club” to help them against their “competitor”. They were the original “collectivist”. And the regulations are creating Robber Barons. They are creating “capitalist” with government help [seizing domination] which is the “worse” of all economic phenomena”.

    Just what is Conservatism versus Liberalism all about today??? Government seeking to protect the well-being of good and honest living! Or government protecting, the well-being of the Robber Barons [existentialism and egocentrism]. The very thing Our Fore fathers fought against when it came to Marry Old England.

    As it all came to focus against “We the People and All Men are Created Equal” today! As it was “spoon feed” to our children. As the source of: Christian Values and Social Ethics today.

    While all Jesus ever asked a “world-view” to do. As he was murdered for it “Is to love thy neighbor, as you would love yourself!” As existentialism and egocentrism swallow up politics as a religious fervor. For the very sake of Anti-Christ! And guess where you can find fundamentalism today. “You can take it to the Bank. Through the globalization of “Mammon”!

    In the Bible, the personification of wealth portrayed as a false god. It’s what the fluttering eyes and wonderful smile of Joel Osteen and Glen Beck are telling us about Gold.

    God wants the well-being of Family! Not the “oppression” of existentialism and egocentrism portrayed as “The Divine Will and Destiny” from Our Most Noble Father!

  • Jim Young

    Every once in a while, like listening to John McCain’s concession speech in 2008, I get the idea that the new Republicans have really gotten what they wanted, someone else to take the heat for them., so they can get even wilder with their long dis-proven nonsense that didn’t work before the Great Depression, and still doesn’t. Perhaps Reince Preibus really wants Hillary elected so they can have the “milder” corporatist to rail against, distracting attention from all the backroom crap they pull through ALEC.

    Guess what, though, I’d take her anyway, over worse ones. I can’t even imagine who they would try to run against her at this point, but their choices sometimes amaze me. Perhaps a look back at their primary sabotage against one of their own would help. In 2000, they and Democrat Gray Davis, effectively teamed up to out primary popular moderate Republican Richard Riordan (whom I think would have handily beat Davis in the election. If you want to have a little fun, you can try what I did on my old party’s faithful, and ask them who the “vast right wing machine” picked to run against Davis. Even old party officers couldn’t remember who it was by the time Darrell Issa funded the start of the recall election (he tearfully had to drop out of when the new machine picked Arnold). I won’t say who it was, since it would spoil the fun when you ask any old supposed loyal Republicans.

    I will warn you, though, that you may lose friends, embarrassed at their lack of knowledge about dirty tricks the party ramped up beyond even Nixon’s. I had to quit doing it after I asked them about text from the ‘*9 inaugural speech (with a deliberate typo so they wouldn’t realize it wasn’t the 2009 speech but the 1969 speech). All my Republican friends were outraged by the words (to me, mindless automatic opposition to Obama) but were even angrier at me when they found out it was Nixon who said it.

    Wouldn’t it be nice to live in a world where it didn’t matter who said it, if it made sense that withstands the test of time?

  • Sorshasinead

    ALEC just celebrated its 40th year. The depth and scope of their infiltration of every state, of legislators completely bought and sold, of “model bills” that have decimated our most fundamental enfranchisement, VOTING, has been passed in multiple red states, environmental regulations gutted, unions busted, and all the while it is We the People who are deemed worthless.

  • charlie

    This would be more scary if we didn’t do anything to try to stop it

  • JonThomas

    Sorry Carol, while I agree with your sentiments, unfortunately history does not.

    Think of medieval Europe, or perhaps ancient Egypt. An ownership class ruling over a servant/worker class. We are already there, it’s already happened. Yes there is a small amount of movement between the classes, but that is no threat to the international ruling class of today.

    They have the wealth and power to do WHATEVER they want. If they want to have breakfast in Paris, and Dinner in California, it’s just a whim.

    As they rollick the servant/worker class, working a 40 hr week, is out making less than needed to survive, getting even further indebted.

    All the while, the mid-level lackeys, like those at ALEC, scamper, clamor, and hasten to do their master’s bidding. If they please the masters properly, they get a pat on the head and some choice bananas.

    I would really like to say that it was also ‘bad for them,’ the karmic irony would be nice, but alas, history and practice do not agree.

    There was a small opportunity to effect change during the Global Collapse, instead the System was bailed out. Oh well, hope and patience, two of the greatest of allies…

  • Austin Ozburn

    Ya it’s pretty pathetic that we are laughing about how unprepared we are to go up against these RWNJs! Something needs to change and quick!

  • Anonymous

    The fact that ALEC has been around for 40 years illustrates that such people are dedicated, determined, persistent and patient. In all this time, they’ve been refining their narrow goals, their techniques, their system and their connections to money – money which they have very helpfully been facilitating the hoarding of by their “friends” at the top of the socioeconomic hierarchy.

    Now they seem to be getting more impatient. The funding and connections they have secured represent power – power they are willing to use in any and every way possible to get their way, regardless of the consequences to citizens, country or world. That’s why any impatience on their part is so troubling – it demonstrates an increasing lust for power regardless of the costs.

    The narrow focus of these conservatives is difficult for liberals to counter because the essence of liberalism is to embrace greater diversity. Diversity enriches life and greatly expands our possibilities for meeting the challenges we all face together, but it also limits the ability to focus with persistent dedication on narrow goals, such as enriching the coffers. Somehow, liberals need to learn how to better focus on preserving their right and duty to pursue a liberal agenda that supports and is supported by the richness of diversity.

    The only way to preserve the liberal approach is to focus more attention on accumulating more money and gaining greater power so the challenges of conservatism can be held at bay. Sometimes this will mean making seemingly unsavory alliances with sources of funding. The tricky part will be trying to do this while still always maintaining sight of the high ideals of liberalism and continuing to hold them high for all to see and rally around.

  • JonThomas

    Careful there Jim, integrity is a dangerous concept in today’s world. ;)

  • Lynne

    I wasn’t, Jim–not then. But I’m sure paying attention now. As my older son said to me, when I bellyached about “corporations running this country,” “Mom, Eisenhower isn’t president any more.” Things have been going down economically for the middle class since he was.

  • Nicky Altieri

    The “problem” with Democrats is that we are “too inclusive”, yes tongue in cheek. We are not so narrow minded and our focus is not so myopic.
    We have a big tent, we share ideas and work in a more collaborative manner. This leads to sharing of different ideas, etc, oops there goes a butterfly!
    OK, not that bad, but they “enjoy” a top down approach and a narrow view and a top down orderly, tell me what to do so I don’t have to think effort.

  • dkxkee

    Are they encouraging you to vote Green because that takes a vote away from the Democrats and helps Republicans to win?

  • Anonymous

    Ah but history does agree, my friend think French Revolution, Russian Revolution all revolutions. As soon as they have gone too far and once again destroyed things for everybody the rubber band snaps back in their face and we must all start over. I do not deny they enjoy some fine tips of the ole wine glass in their splendid surroundings, but it cannot be sustained. Simply put humans just won’t tolerate being treated like crap forever (although we do it longer than I would prefer).

  • Jim Young

    I trusted Eisenhower and have learned much more recently about who and how he was elected (despite the prevailing power structure in my old party back then). There are many different versions but I’m more interested in following up some connected to Jacki Cochran, Peter G. Peterson and Richardson(?)

    Some conservatives like Peterson may have had theories I don’t believe work in practice, unless you have as honest and effective a broker as Eisenhower. Almost any system can be corrupted, despite the best intentions of those who believe too much in the egalitarianism of their friends. Herbert Hoover (whom FDR wanted to run with as a President and Vice President ticket, perhaps with Hoover in the top spot) was dismayed by what he discovered too late as too many “anarchical capitalists.”

  • Jim Young

    I get the sense that our “bailout” (of the ones who burned down the house then collected the insurance) fooled or placated just enough people who still hoped it would help us restore a once strong and overall more productive middle class. I’d compare it to the British, who somehow squeaked through with just enough reforms, and just effective enough suppression, to keep from a revolution like those occurring in more impatient countries. Other than the Civil War, we were relatively free of the violence of other revolutions around the world over the 100 plus years following the end of our revolution (the length of which I’d put at up to 40 years, counting the start of the inevitable sequence of complaints and counter-productive attempts at suppressing it.

    We believed too much, and missed an early opportunity to stop the return to ideas that never worked in the long run, without the regulation of the small percentage who want no limit on their overall productivity destroying greed.

    I have no problem supporting even the wealthiest, if they used their talents like Franklin, to encourage, enable, and support the greater productivity of all that would work for fair returns on their own labor.

  • Don Eichelberger

    This is a sham argument put out since the day Gore lost the election. It discounts a legitimate candidate running in a free election on behalf of a large constituency for whom neither the Democrats nor Republicans gives a voice. It also discounts the criminal rigging of the Florida balloting by state officials, uncalled-for intervention by the US Supreme Court, and the fact that Gore lost his home state of Tennessee by four timed the margin of Nader voters there.

    The Democrat argument that Nader made Gore lose the 2000 election is undemocratic on its face. Democrats, get over it!

  • Don Eichelberger

    People like you give me hope for SC. There are definitely Democrats there, there is a link below. There is also a Green Party in Columbia if you really want to get radical.

    You can also go to campaign offices of any candidate or issue you support and ask to volunteer. Precinct walking, phone banking, outreach tables, voter registration are tools of democracy that more people need to (re)learn to use.

    http://www.scdp.org/resources/scdp-clubs/

  • TruNorth

    I really think that to get traction across a wide segment of society we need to stop describing things in terms of regressive/progressive, conservative/liberal, right/left, etc. Let’s just describe the situation, which should be anathema to people across the political spectrum. It will be confusing to people at first, because we have been trained to just think politically in terms of the left and the right. But this is a huge governmental structure designed by extremely wealthy people to benefit them and them alone. The motivation is profit. It should be clear to people by the school reform plan ALEC and the Business Roundtable have crafted and instituted without so much attempting to inform the public. They may talk a “conservative” line but their goal is NOT to support local control, but to centralize control, with them at the helm. The same people use one hand to gesture angrily at taxes while surreptitiously scooping tax dollars up with the other as they destroy public schools and then take them over to “turn them around.”

  • Anonymous

    ALEC at least does this a fairly transparent – if noxious – way. But look at how Geithner (with Obama’s blessing) delivered for the banks; look at crony capitalism where Rubin, Summers (both Democrats) pushed for deregulation while the Dem politicos refused to help finance debt reduction for mortgages under water – because Wall Street was opposed.

    Money talks.

    What is helpful, however, is to out the corporations who sponsor wingnut “meetings”. They are well aware of the hits their image gets when they become associated with the wingnutia in the general public’s mind. So transparency is good.

  • Anonymous

    Sounds to me like collusion among these corporations.

  • Sanford Sklansky

    If you read Charlie Pierce, he seems to think that Walker wants to run for President in 2016.

  • Dan Williams

    “we would never duplicate something like this on the left because, first of all, we would never take instructions from corporations”

    Really? That’s cute. Visit Washington.

  • jake

    ALEC by definition is a facist orginization. It should be refered to as this everytime.

  • Jeraii

    Dan, would you please add an example or two to your quip?

  • MJ

    This is a great idea! This may very well be the way to do it, and at least if they shut down others from joining, they will be exposed.

  • Pithy Eponym Here

    5th columnists. The scary thing is they have been meeting in secret for so many years. Only within the past few years have we heard about these “buy a rubber stamp” Congressman. This is no different form Star Chambers and feudal lords holding serfs and freemen for ransom to get more lands and titles. Nothing changes, it’s human greed at it’s core.

  • Pithy Eponym Here

    It’s not Walker, Walker has been a feckless howdy-doody puppet for “Libertarian” puppetmasters like the Kochs, the Coors families. How funny is it that there is an Adolph Coors…oh I’m sure they guzzle that swill in Brighton Beach, not.

  • Pithy Eponym Here

    No, but that one person gets the word out to 2-3 people and it can snowball.

  • Scott Koontz

    I have visited Washington and seen the Right taking instructions from corporations. Now what?

  • Realgood

    These people who participate in ALEC, do they call themselves American? I only ask that because they sure are NOT interested in American democracy if everything they do is so hush hush behind the scenes or behind closed doors with checking ID’s (members only). It sounds like they are afraid of a democratic vote on their issues. To me, this is not what America is about. This is abuse of power, pure and simple – Elitism and plutocracy at its finest. If this keeps up, we are going to have to called our once democratic country, United States of ALEC. Very sad!

  • Stop Supporting ALEC

    ALEC was an entirely stealth enterprise, completely invisible to the public for nearly 40 years, until their existence came out due to the Trayvon Martin shooting and their Stand Your Ground law. Watch Moyers’ show, The United States of ALEC..

  • Frank

    Dan, why yes I have visited Washington a few times, lovely town nice avenues, beautiful and inspiring monuments, quite impressive really – now Dan, what does visiting Washington have to do with the subject at hand?

    Folks like me, well lets just say that we need a little more than a “cryptic” message to understand exactly what it is you are trying to say – could you please be specific?

    Like you are saying “That’s cute” – What is cute? Why do you find it to be cute?

    Then of course the initial comment to which you are replying – “we would never duplicate something like this on the left because, first of all, we would never take instructions from corporations” – Are you implying that Chris Taylor has taken instructions from some large commercial interest mega bank, big oil, chemical, pharma, or defense Corp? Oh my…

    Please be specific – it seems by your comment that you might be trying to indicate that both political parties are in fact equal and that both do the same thing for the same masters in the same manner.

    Inquiring minds want to know Dan… we await…

  • Stephen Murdock Cox

    My generation slept through the late 70′s, 80′s, 90′s and up until the 2nd Bush Administration. When the utter arrogance of Bush II, finally woke us up, ALEC and organizations of the same nature were already marginalizing and manipulating the Middle Class. The casino on Wall Street was gambling with our imagined upward mobility. The sub prime lending practices of major banks and underwriters disguised as continued upward mobility, devastated the working class in America. We now have, if statistics are true, six empty houses for every homeless family in our country. Still, the arrogant one percent ruling class tries to have it all, leaving nothing for the ninety-nine percent. They must not be allowed to destroy the nation for profit.

  • Anonymous

    I was there and interviewed the ALEC State Chair for Ohio, Rep. John Adams. Here is the interview…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zz6TuLBpzY

  • peggy

    be specific? ……two words…1..congress (in total) 2. lobbyist Lobbyist are supported by the corporations ….go figure

  • Rocketscientist80

    I can think of no better target for the likes of Anonymous or what’s left of the Occupy movement after the FBI went after them.

  • Sevans

    it has saddened me in the last few years how the right wing has dominated the debate, without effective reposte from the middle and liberal side. the techniques are obvious – the big lie with of course a small bit of truth, the use of inflamitory statements, and the manipulation of people through their emotions – and rarely are they called out when they spout total BS. about a week ago, the republican weekly address was reportedly about the “failure” of the current energy policy, when Obama has consistently supported the energy companies, including supporting fracing. for the first time in 40 years, america is close to energy independence – how is this a failure? and of course they brought up the Keystone pipeline again – with no challenge of their statements. The truth is the pipeline most likely will be approved, the south half is already under construction, the estimates of potential jobs created are wildly exaggerated, and the original route was had such negative environmental impacts that the Republican Governor asked Obama to stop the pipeline. Yet this is never discussed whenever the right wing spouts off.

    so they ride the emotional wave of their lies, about the quality of america’s health care system before Obama, about climate change, about their understanding of the economy (Finally – Obama is discussing the economic danger of the erosion of the middle class), about their true intentions, etc. the simple truth is they would turn America into a third-world like country of have and have-nots. In short, they hate America.

  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous

    and what, pray tell are YOU doing to “organize” and “push back?”

  • Anonymous

    BING! Johnny, tell rimstrip what (s)he’s won!

  • Anonymous

    the global backlash from this greedy overreach is going to be powerful and leftward. be prepared for a global progressive revolution.

  • poopookachoo

    Well if it is as Chris Taylor says, and I have no reason to doubt her there is a glaring hole in the elected officials oath to serve the Constitution and the People without mental reservation or purpose of evasion. On that alone the state Houses could be cleared of these conspirators. And for their trouble they could be prosecuted for acts against the People. This includes the Corporations that are members and sponsors. Taking their assets would be a sweet penalty for their actions in undermining democracy.

  • JonThomas

    I agree. I think it is beneficial for us to keep in mind that anyone reading and posting here on M&C is fairly well informed, or at least open minded. It’s easy for a free thinker to forget, or to under-estimate the strength of the indoctrination present in most Americans. I think the best we can hope for is to effect change where ever possible.

  • Anonymous

    Listened to the entire interview. He certainly seemed to have difficulty distinguishing between “lobbying” and the “sharing of ideas” he claimed as ALEC’s raison d’être. I also wondered about how a legislator qualifies for an ALEC “scholarship.” Your low-key approach was great.

    Thanks for doing the interview, and for posting the link here.

  • JonThomas

    Well, I do understand your point, and at one time in my life I would have been in the front lines(well I was.)

    However, I now have a different view. I won’t go into my own philosophy right away, and I enjoy the opportunity to expound on our discussion.

    Just like the medieval period was different from the Egyptian, and the Roman from the Greek and Babylonian, our period of time, and the conditions present, I contend, do not present as ripe for a revolution along the lines which you pose.

    Many things have changed, and many, many lessons were learned by the ruling classes.

    No longer are borders static. No longer is one nation isolated from others. Yes, the ruling classes are the same as they have been for eons, but no more is nationality a factor.

    For example…in the American, French, and Russian Revolutions, there were clear targets. The Monarchies were an everyday presence and reminder. There was no denying who was benefiting from the imposed conditions.

    But what of now? Who will a violent revolution overthrow? What will it overthrow? In those past revolutions, a political system… Monarchy, was overthrown. Will a new American revolution overthrow Democracy? Should it?

    Who will it target? The police? The army? Your neighbors? Keep in mind that the ones who manipulate the current system do not need moats and castle walls for protection. They do not have to rely on horses and wooden sailing vessels to escape.

    They no longer have dominion only over the nation in which they reside, nor do they only reside in one nation.

    Is it Capitalism which you want to overthrow? What would you replace that with? Do all the revolutionaries agree?

    Also, would beg you to not fool yourself into thinking that the American people want change.

    The technological, and thus the ‘loyalty’ landscape is vastly different. Mass psychological conditioning is at a level never before seen in the world.

    Even the lowest, poorest ditch digger is easily manipulated into going to war. Why? Because Americans want to believe that their country is somehow better than any other. This has been pounded into their heads, and constantly reinforced. It is tapped into every time change is presented.

    A coup, whether done purposely or through a confluence of opportunity, was even accomplished during the Bush-Gore Election and Americans were easily manipulated into accepting the results.

    Please do not misunderstand my intent. I am not trying to discourage you from seeking change or making the world a better place. I am however, trying to suggest that anyone who does want to see something better, needs more focus than just discontent. Discontent can be good, but it needs a focused outlet. Discontent is simply an opportunity to awaken.

    Just a word on my own philosophy…I have come to understand that it is spiritual change which has the only hope of making a difference. The war against evil is indeed the only battlefield that has ‘heart.’

    Yes, battles come in physical form, but rarely do they, nor should they, materialize in violent manifestations.

    Now if you can help people to learn that, then everything else can begin to fall into line.

    You want to fight a revolution? Then just make wise choices, and teach others to do the same. To educate is to arm. Making wise choices is to fight. Having the strength to say “yes” or “no” in the proper situations, is to have courage. Seeking wisdom is walking along the path to a better system.

    Sound like a no-brainer? Here’s the rub…most people don’t want change. Even the people who you think are allies and who want change in this physical world, will not support you.

    But, good luck…I do hope that your path is clear before you, and that you persevere. :)

  • Mary Hebblewhite

    scarey times.

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/joannedixon underwriter505

    DJean, she didn’t say “Dems,” she said “we on the left.” Dems in general are not on the left. What Dems in general are is the only thing standing between us and something much, much worse. And particularly in the States rather than at the Federal level. See http://action.democraticgovernors.org/page/content/realchangeisinthestates/

  • Mary Hebblewhite

    The pipeline leads to Saudi and Dutch owned refineries in othe Corpus Christi area, where these companies have invested tons of capital — clearly THEY think the pipe will flow. Als, acc to Greg Pallast’s book entitled something like ‘Ballots, andits, and Billionaires,” the Kochs oown a refinery in the area, that that’s the main motivator behind the money flow of Kochs to R. Perry campaign (he wasn’t going to win ght GOP nomination, and they also contributed some to other candidates), but then when he predictably returned to govberrn TX,he fired his DNR chief. This chief had supervised the eco assessment that rejccted the Keystone pipeline crossing the Ogalla aquifer, too risky to that large aquifer. So the new DNR chief reversded those findings and OK’d the aquifer. Pallast is a muck raker type, with that kind of sarcastic language etc, but he is apparently known mostly as a BBC reporter too investigative to fit in with American main media. Truthout has his book, or did. It is n’t clear to me whether the Kochs own a third refinery (3rd after counting the Saudi and Dutch ones), or hold interests in one or both of the other 2. The article on Saudi and Dutch was not Pallast’s. The Kochs want to dumb doen public ed, indoctrinate schools with anti climate science doctrine even they don’t believe themselves, greatly shrink any and all kinds of gov’t regulatory power and taxation, own and manage media mininformation, reduce union bargaining power, generally thrive off an underclass that’s more desparate and misinformed, and a libertarian ideology thserves them and their capitalist fellows and Wall St and petro/gas/fellows, and does not serve its blue collar and other believers…Somebody tell me, how did othey resurrect Ayn Rand??!! Someplace I read that Greenspan was an AR believer. Oh, scarey.

  • Anonymous

    I wasn’t going to join this until I read this comment. Did you really think that Cheney just woke up from his huge salaried job at Halliburton and decided to dabble in politics? HE WAS SENT FROM HALLIBURTON TO DO WHAT HE DID! You think they picked that weakassed excuse for a man to be president for nothing? PEOPLE, YOU HAVE TO START THINKING! If 911 was real, why was the evidence buried in one month and why is the wreckage buried under 4 feet of concrete? Do you really believe that we attacked Afghanistan because of terrorists; or Iraq because Saddam was a “bad guy”? That they killed one and a half million people against 5000 Americans and it was a good fight and had to last 10 years?

  • Jim Young

    I agree, “A coup, whether done purposely or through a confluence of opportunity,
    was even accomplished during the Bush-Gore Election and Americans were
    easily manipulated into accepting the results.”

    I recall thinking we could impeach the team I so deeply regret voting for in 2000, simply over the Enron scandal, manipulation of FERC (Federal Energy Regulation Commission) which helped destroy the California economy ($15B surplus) and FEMA funds gross mismanagement. all before 9/11. I was stuck trying to figure out how much was due to the Dot Com bubble vs Cheney/Bush corruption (in not fixing things I started to see going wrong during the Clinton administration). I decided the Cheney/Bush corruption was the worse factor because of the changes they made that made things far worse instead of mitigating some of the mistakes.

    I believe we could have made a case for impeachment before 9/11, and that they got a “get out of jail free card” in the aftermath. I don’t believe in conspiracy theories regarding them being involved (they seemed so flat-footed and genuinely surprised) but saw ways to take advantage of it too soon after. Remember, all this was before 9/11, and still could have been called a coup, John Yoo and his interpretations after 9/11 just blew the lid off pretenses that it wasn’t (IMHO).

    After meeting Mark Klein, his wife Linda, and reading “641A Wiring Up the Big Brother Machine.. And Fighting It,” I suspect they were correct in assuming the surveillance apparatus was being developed at least a few years before 9/11, which just became a great excuse to implement it and keep it even more secret. I might even have known some of the engineers that were capable of helping develop it, though most, if not all I knew, seem to have stepped away from being a part of it. I absolutely believe the capability was being developed, though, and could easily have become corrupted in the name of security, by those I don’t want to trust without some other internal form of review.

    If what is being seen by the majority of people as getting worse, and seemingly so consistently wrong in forcing whistle blowers outside for lack of trustworthy and effective internal channels, then why wouldn’t they expect pressure to rise for serious changes? I believe we are well short of violent revolutions, but hope they get more sensible quickly with real and effective reforms.

  • buythepeople?

    Sevans, you have just stated what I have been saying since 2001. All their actions demonstrate their hatred for America.

  • RKirt

    Election results do not have to be dependent on campaign funds. Informed and energized voting blocs have the power of render Citizen’s United and ALEC impotent. The push to register voters should be ongoing. The push to inform voters should also be ongoing. Only 50% of citizens vote, less during the off years. There is tremendous potential to get people registered and showing up at the voting booth. Most of our problems can ultimately be traced to us voters. Don’t know which is worse, ignorance and apathy or greed and corruption.

  • David L. Allison

    The State Department under Hillary Clinton and President Obama have been manipulating countries, including Mexico and several countries on the African continent to get them to use Monsanto “roundup ready” seeds and the poisons that are used on those crops as they sprout and grow.

    Also, both the US commerce department and State Department, along with both Democrat and Republican members of congress, have been negotiating “trade agreements” like the TransPacficPartnership agreement (TPP) in secret. The only non government people allowed in have been transnational corporations.

    Leaks show that these agreements will give more authority to corporations than to State governments on issues like social welfare, labor standards, environmental regulations, the duration of drug patents and similar matters.

    Even some members of Congress have been unsuccessful in getting the contents of the draft of the agreements. The reason, according to the trade officials “If we released all of these provisions there would be so much opposition from the public that we would never get the treaty done.” So now the trade officials are pushing for “fast track’ trade agreement that would not allow any amendments or changes. The congress would have to just vote yes or no.

    I Think those might have been some of the things to which he was referring in his brief and not so articulate post.

  • David L. Allison

    Please see the comment following his.

  • SW

    Brilliant Idea!

  • Anonymous

    The infrastructure of Alec is the best money can buy, I am not surprised it is over the top, but the message benefits a very exclusive segment of our society, and it continues to shrink, they are doomed, we have the numbers, the voices and the Karma.

  • Jim Easton

    It’s like I’ve been saying, “small government means, just them.”

  • Anonymous

    THE uber organization of ALEC , in constrast to the democrats, reminds me of Will Rogers’ quip ”
    I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat”.

    quick side note – we s/ all remember that a superior CAMPAIGN organization (different than ALEC which is about retaining power and influence), is how a little known jr senator w/ only one term in DC and a very short resume in IL, Obama, became president..TWICE.

    But then again, Obama is lefty and democratic in name only, like his dem predecesor who won twice, CLinton. hmmm…. organization wins; real dems don’t win. The last real democrat to win was JFK, and he won by a hair perhaps because of another kind of organization, the Boss Daley’s shop in chicago.

  • Anonymous

    Yep, why have we not taken them out of office for not serving the people and the constitution? We only seem to try when their sexual behavior becomes too much for us. Putting corporations back in line would be a heck of a lot easier as well with their co-conspirators gone from office. I once tried in my community to convince the people to give bush & co. the boot. I was ignored. Until we do this type of thing we have no hope of getting democracy back.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with you on some points. I agree Americans are not ready yet and that all answers are found from spiritual search.
    I am not so sure that there are no “clear targets”. While it is true that evil slithers and changes shape to suit its purposes as C.S. Lewis stated so profoundly in “The Screwtape Letters”, I think the stink left in its wake help us identify it again and again.

    As for revolution, you make the same mistake as so many people who equate it with violence only. The best revolutions are not violent. I personally am in awe with what MLK accomplished with non-violence. Yes evil has never left the scene after that revolution, and it needs to be re-fought again and again on that front and all the others, but that is the way it is. It is not reason to give up or abandon the ways used before to stop it. Adding more ways, of course, would also be useful. In that pursuit spiritual progression will be of great help.

    I also agree that discontent can be good. And to be that opportunity to awaken it must be spoken out loud which in my own small way I do on sites such as this, as do you.
    Do you have a favorite web site where you discuss the more spiritual side of things? I look and look but haven’t found one that actually incorporates the ideas of those visiting the site. I like conversations but the web is geared to a more “hit and run” level of communication.

  • Anonymous

    Gee, was Hillary right about the vast right-wing conspiracy?

  • Rodney Rudinger

    JFK was also the last President to be assassinated. Coincidence? You had the three leaders of the liberal or progressive movement assassinated in a period of five years, two of them in a six month period, and at a time when they were seriously threatening the status quo.

  • JonThomas

    I really only mentioned the violence aspect because the revolutionary examples presented were accomplished through those means.

    My hope and imagination allows for other options.

    Unfortunately, I too have not found a good website for discussing spiritual issues. Perhaps you and I should start one.

    If you have a comfortable contact option, let me know. :-)

  • Anonymous

    No I really don’t know such a site, I’m not online all that much. Mr. Moyers has some good discussions now and then on spiritual issues. Maybe we will see another here soon.

  • Katherine Hull

    Be careful-there are lobbyists for good (environmental, human rights, safety for workers, clean air & water, etc) we have ALWAYS sent paid representatives to speak on behalf of the People & the good of the Country. CORPORATE Lobbyists are merely hugely outspending us and the morals & integrity of many elected by gullible constituents are selling out to the greed of Corporations. Read the “Powell Memorandum”–written in 1971–it’s the roadmap &Bible of the Koch bros & groups like ALAC. Deeply scary nd (so far) highly effective. For over 40 years this has educated & indoctrinated the current “Greed is Good” mentality in young Business students. Powell was alarmed at the effectiveness of Progressive & Liberal advancement, and this long-range plan was to give the power back to Capitalism. It has so far worked brilliantly to the demise of the Middle class. Even Powell would be impressed.

  • Anonymous

    The question is whether in an age of black box voting you can actually blame voters.