A bawdy house of bad right-wing ideas

by Jim Hightower

If you’re wondering where Congress’ next truly bad idea will come from, keep an eye on a secretive far-right-wing outfit called ALEC – the American Legislative Exchange Council.
It’s a legislative bawdy house with an exclusive corporate clientele. The Koch brothers, AT&T, ExxonMobil, and other giants pay ALEC to hook them up with Republican state lawmakers who’re… well, on the make. In exchange for sponsoring the corporations’ special-interest bills, the legislators gain corporate sugar-daddies to fund their future campaigns. It’s a hanky-panky quid pro quo that produces litter after litter of bad laws.

Consider one that is an absolute corporate wet dream, for it would remove the people’s power to elect our United States senators, letting state legislators choose them. This maneuver to take power from the people and turn it over to for-hire legislators would return America to the days of outright auctioning of Senate seats. Until the people passed the 17th Amendment in 1913, senators were chosen in backroom deals between corporate bribers and crooked lawmakers, and ALEC’s draft proposal is bluntly succinct: “The seventeenth article of amendment… is hereby repealed.” Back to the future!

This idea of ripping off the people’s democratic power is being touted by such intellectual giants as Rick “Oops” Perry, the corrupt ex-governor of Texas who’s now turning tricks for oil and nuclear power conglomerates as Trump’s energy secretary. Perry wails that the 1913 law letting the public elect senators “took the states out of the process.” So now Rick and other corporate supremacists want to take the People out of the electoral process so the state can control it. The corporate state, that is.

To repeal this repeal effort by plutocratic extremists, connect with Common Cause: CommonCause.org.
Common Cause Article V
“ALEC Is Talking About Changing the Way Senators Are Elected and Taking Away Your Vote,” The Nation, July 18, 2017.

Should you have to pay to protest?

Ideally, elections are about ideas, but these days policy discussions are being shoved aside by raw partisanship and vitriol. Not only are good ideas ignored, but very bad idea can become public policy without the public knowing it.
For example, the Trump Team wants to snuff out your Constitutional right to free speech and assembly by putting an exorbitant fee on public protests in our nation’s Capitol City. In other words, you’d still be “free” to rally for or against any issue or policy – but not for free! Apparently meant to deter any more of the mass demonstrations against their policies on women, immigrant children, climate change, etc., they want each protesting group to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to the government for policing and other necessary costs of guaranteeing the public’s right to protest.

Corporations and billionaires would have no problem paying, but regular grassroots groups would be priced off the public lawn. Such historic protests such as Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 march and his “I have a dream” speech couldn’t have happened under Trump’s pay-me plan.
I’m guessing that a good 90 percent of Americans – Republican, Democrat, and otherwise – would shout “NO!” to this repression of a fundamental civic right. But I’d also bet that not a single congressional candidate has even mentioned it to voters in this year’s elections. Yet, in perverse Orwellian newspeak, the Trumpsters pushing the plan say it’s “designed to provide greater clarity about how and where demonstrations can occur in a manner that protects historically important land.”

I was born at night, but it wasn’t last night! This proposal is designed to protect nothing but the bad policies of the power elites from objections by riff-raff like you and me. To help stop their authoritarian power play, go to aclu.org.
“Officials broach idea of charging for protests,” Austin American Statesman, October 14, 2018.