Here at Occupy World Writes, we spend a lot of time discussing what we feel are crazy, short sighted and/or discriminating laws passed by the various state legislatures. However, we’ve spent hardly any time at all talking about the source for many of these laws: the American Legislative Exchange Council, commonly known as ALEC.
On their website, ALEC states that it’s “a nonpartisan membership association for state lawmakers who shared a common belief in limited government, free markets, federalism, and individual liberty.” We put this through our patented Bullpucky Translator program, and found that this actually means “an organization where corporations and conservative lawmakers who share a common belief in profits over everything else can get together away from the public eye.”
ALEC goes on to claim that it “has been the ideal means of creating and delivering public policy ideas aimed at protecting and expanding our free society. Thanks to ALEC members, the duly elected leaders of their state legislatures, Jeffersonian principles advise and inform legislative action across the country. Literally hundreds of dedicated ALEC members have worked together to create, develop, introduce and guide to enactment many of the policies that have now become the law in the states.”
What does the Bullpucky Translator say when fed this delicious word salad? “ALEC has been the ideal means of creating and delivering laws that cater to the 1%, at the expense of the 99%. Thanks to ALEC members, corporate fascism has become the norm in the states where we have a strong presence in the legislature. Literally hundreds of dedicated ALEC members have worked together to curtail voting rights, give huge tax breaks to the wealthy, lay waste to the environment and pass numerous other laws detrimental to the physical and emotional well being of the 99%.”
Considering the sources of ALEC’s financing, you might suspect that they’d be prone to downplay climate science – and you’d be right. This stance on climate has generated a startling but welcome backlash. In just one week, three of Silicon Valley’s brightest stars – Google, Facebook and Yahoo – severed ties with ALEC over their stance on climate change. Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google, said on NPR:
“Everyone understands climate change is occurring and the people who oppose it are really hurting our children and our grandchildren and making the world a much worse place, And so we should not be aligned with such people—they’re just, they’re just literally lying.”
Then on Friday, the nation’s fourth largest oil and gas company announced it was leaving ALEC. Occidental Petroleum cited concerns that it could be “presumed to share the positions” of other ALEC members, like the American Petroleum Institute and the Chamber of Commerce, on climate change and EPA regulations.”
How much of this is just lip service on the part of these companies is yet to be seen. For example, Google’s Senior Energy Policy Counsel participated in ALEC meetings as recently as July. Those meetings’ agenda included opposing carbon regulations and expanding natural gas exports. And, Occidental’s record of political donations show it supporting conservative candidates who largely oppose EPA action on climate change.
We can hope this isn’t the case. We find it amusing and rather fitting that even oil companies are running away from ALEC’s anti-climate science positions, and are scrambling to paint themselves as companies with a conscience. ALEC’s stupid head in the sand policies which deny the facts about climate change have come back to bite them, We consider this a good thing.