If you were wondering where a lot of the terrible laws and attacks on our rights are coming from, meet ALEC. From the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance…
“ALEC” is the American Legislative Exchange Council, and it may be the most powerful organization you (probably) never heard of. There’s a good chance ALEC already has impacted your life. And if it hasn’t yet, give it time.
ALEC describes itself as an organization that “provides a constructive forum for state legislators and private sector leaders to discuss and exchange practical, state-level public policy issues.” Others have called it a means for powerful corporations and interest groups to influence legislation to enrich themselves at the public’s expense.[...]
Let’s look at specific examples. Insurance companies wanted off the hook from mesothelioma claims, so ALEC came forward with a model bill to protect corporations from asbestos exposure liability. The bill quickly was introduced in Ohio, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Texas, West Virginia, and at the federal level. The Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act would require asbestos victims and their families to publicly disclose all manner of personal information before receiving compensation. This information could be used to deny credit or employment and make the victims vulnerable to identity theft. The point, obviously, is to intimidate people from filing claims. No such disclosure is required of companies that exposed employees and customers to asbestos.
In fact, liability protection is a major focus of ALEC bills. As of August 2013, this year at least 71 bills crafted by ALEC have been introduced around the country that make it harder to hold corporations accountable for death or injury. Many have misleading names, such as the “Full and Fair Noneconomic Damages Act,” introduced in two states, that limits the amount a corporation has to pay to compensate people it has injured.
Go read the whole article and beware!
I’m enjoying watching the reaction from Republicans to President Obama’s incredible second inaugural speech. I especially like their whining about the President not reaching out to them.
They way I see it, the Republicans are speeding towards the edge of the cliff and now they want the President to grab their outreached hands and save their tea party asses before the “momentum of their ideology” flings them into the canyon. Sorry dudes, this is your runaway mess. Enjoy the ride.
It takes a special kind of crazy to spend four years walking in lockstep against our President and slapping his outreached hand at every turn, only to cry about him not reaching out to them in the second inaugural. It has become obvious to anyone who is honest with themselves that the Republican Party is bankrupt, out of ideas and has no foundation remaining. They are a reactionary party now, and they don’t seem to be doing that very well either.
Beyond that, they are also becoming a party of whiners. Recent articles by Charles Krauthammer, Michael Gerson and David Brooks give us the best examples of this. Krauthammer started the trend that is best summed up by Smartypants as “conciliatory rhetoric as ruthless strategy”. Here is a piece of Krauthammer’s whine, via Smartypants…
He’s been using this, and I must say with great skill–-and ruthless skill and success–to fracture and basically shatter the Republican opposition… His objective from the very beginning was to break the will of the Republicans in the House, and to create an internal civil war. And he’s done that.
Michael Gerson, former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, came up with yet another great expression for us liberals to use, in bold.
The debt ceiling is a form of leverage they can’t responsibly use. A partial government shutdown or full implementation of the sequester are less toxic alternatives but of questionable utility. [...]
Given this weak Republican position, Obama must be tempted by a shiny political object: the destruction of the congressional GOP. He knows that Republicans are forced by the momentum of their ideology to take positions on spending that he can easily demagogue.
For a noted Republican to admit that the Republican Party is out of control, careening towards the cliff, is pretty astounding. I have very little sympathy for them, since we all watched as Republican leaders let the Tea Party take the wheel of their party while they stood on the curb cheering.
It’s more likely that today’s majority party is going to adopt a different strategy, which you might call Kill the Wounded. It’s more likely that today’s Democrats are going to tell themselves something like this:
“We live at a unique moment. Our opponents, the Republicans, are divided, confused and bleeding. This is not the time to allow them to rebuild their reputation with a series of modest accomplishments. This is the time to kick them when they are down, to win back the House and end the current version of the Republican Party. [...]
“Then he could invite a series of confrontations with Republicans over things like the debt ceiling — make them look like wackos willing to endanger the entire global economy. Along the way, he could highlight women’s issues, social mobility issues (student loans, community college funding) and pick fights on compassion issues, (hurricane relief) — promoting any small, popular spending programs that Republicans will oppose.
That last paragraph is just hilarious considering the reality that we all just witnessed.
I frequently ask myself who the Republicans think they are appealing to with this whining strategy. Do they think that the base of their party wants to hear them cry about those mean ole Democrats? I’m sure more than a few Republicans are calling them some choice names for that.
Do they think their whining appeals to Democrats who just worked their asses off to defeat their party? If anything, it makes us gleeful as we watch them form a circular firing squad and then argue about who gets to go first.
Maybe they think all that crying and whining will appeal to independents in the country. I suspect there are a few of those who will sympathize with them, since that swath of “independents” or “undecideds” aren’t the brightest bulbs in the bunch – see the CNN focus groups after the debates.
I probably shouldn’t get so much pleasure from seeing all this, but I do hope this Republican sideshow gets picked up for another season.
Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles
H/T to Smartypants for the links!
As the wheels on the Republican clown car keep flying off one at a time, our President and Vice President continue to prove that the Democratic Party is the only serious, adult political party in Washington these days. Even with the obstructionist GOP pulling every dirty trick in the book, the President and Democrats keep moving forward and fighting for all Americans.
I remember back to December of 2012 when Republicans started telegraphing their intention to try to use the debt ceilings as “leverage” to destroy the safety net that took generations to weave and I thought to myself that they clearly didn’t learn any lessons from the last election.
I laugh every time a Republican, or one of the media that parrots them, tries to make the lame ass argument that because the GOP retained control of the House, even though they lost seats, that somehow they won. Here is one example of that denial from Boehner the Blubberer…
“The American people want solutions, and tonight they responded by renewing our House Republican majority,” House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, who ran unopposed in his re-election bid, declared Tuesday night.
And of course Buzzfeed, a wannabe Politico, took the idiotic concept even further.
Americans, for all their griping, apparently really do prefer their government deeply divided and dysfunctional.
I almost feel silly spelling this out for people, but in our current state of political and media dysfunction, you really do have to spell it out in precise detail for the uninformed or Fox News brainwashed masses. We each vote for our individual representatives and senators and when the dust settles on the election, we find out which party came out ahead. I’ve never seen a line on a ballot that gave me the option of voting for who controls a branch of congress or a check box for “divided government”. It’s wherever the chips fall. It’s magical thinking to believe that somehow the American people coordinated their votes to reach an outcome.
I feel similar about the folks on the left saying that more people voted for Democrats than Republicans when you add up all the votes. Well, we don’t add up all the votes or if we do, it means absolutely nothing. I certainly agree with the people pointing out the gerrymandering that took place in order for Republicans to keep so many seats, but the fact that Democrats received more votes overall, shouldn’t be used in the same way Republicans are using the overall outcome in the House. Democrats should stick to the facts, we picked up seats in the House.
The changing metric of who won or lost an election in the Republican’s minds reveals just how pathetic they are. If the roles were reversed and Democrats retained the House while Republicans picked up seats, you know damn well that they would be saying they won because they picked up seats. The grasping for some kind of straw that they can use to say they won is comical to me and reveals just how easy it is to spin without push back.
This denial from the Republicans, which may be better described as a delusion, also makes them continue with the same crap that brought the American people out to smack them down on November 6th. The prime example is the Republican’s attempt to use the debt ceiling to take our economy hostage again. There is a huge difference between the 2011 debt ceiling crisis and the current one. In 2011, the Republican’s goal, as spelled out by many in the party, was to make President Obama a one term president at all costs. That included damaging the economy, preventing job growth and saying anything to mislead their voters and rile them up. And it was easy to get their partisans to go along with it, because after all, it served their prime goal.
When the idea of another hostage situation with the debt ceiling started creeping into the discussion before Christmas, I couldn’t believe that the Republicans would go there again. Not only is it idiotic for all the same reasons it was in 2011, but with the election behind us and the goal of defeating the President a mere memory of a wet dream, it raises the level of stupidity even higher. The President has played his hand masterfully. He is smart enough to know that the election is behind us and that Wall Street and big business is not into losing money unless it is planned for their benefit.
Newt Gingrich was one of the first in the GOP to point out the stupidity of the tactic and he is being joined by many others on the right side of the fence. Steve Benen gives us the latest defections from the stupid caucus…
Just today, Charles Krauthammer, a prominent conservative pundit, told Republicans they “won’t get” their ransom, they’ll have to “give in” eventually, and they should “forget about forcing tax reform or entitlement cuts or anything major.” Jennifer Rubin added, “The jig is nearly up…. [T]he threat of bumping up against the debt ceiling is not realistic and hence not useful.” [...]
It would probably be an overstatement to say Republicans are already surrendering, but let’s just say they’ve taken the white flag off the shelf, even if they’re not yet ready to wave it.
That said, it also appears the congressional GOP hopes to trade one hostage for another.
Even if Republicans now seem to realize they can’t follow through on their debt-ceiling threats — they really should have thought this through beforehand — GOP policymakers still appear committed to aggressive confrontations on automatic sequestration cuts and funding levels for the government itself.
Late Breaking News! While I was at lunch, apparently a new defection came to light that makes it inevitable that the GOP is going to cave on their idiotic ploy. Sen. John Cornyn made it quite clear in an interview with the Houston Chronicle…
“We will raise the debt ceiling. We’re not going to default on our debt,” Cornyn told the Houston Chronicle editorial board…. “I will tell you unequivocally, we’re not going to default,” Cornyn said Thursday.
Game, Set, Match!
Recorded on January 16, 2013, we pontificate about diversity in the President’s cabinet, Newtown & gun safety, the latest “Emo” opportunism, Lance Armstrong and the ongoing fun of watching the wheels come off the Republican party. Notice we now have an RSS Feed (upper-right column). Go on, give us a listen.