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The Founding Fathers & the Tea Party
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“How would the founding fathers view the Tea Party?
George Washington would have called out Federal troops, squashed the movement and arrested the baggers.”
“He won, get over it racist moonbats.”
Let's look at his own words....
“Government is not reason, it is not eloquence. It is force, and like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master
There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily.
Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth.
It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.
It will be found an unjust and unwise jealousy to deprive a man of his natural liberty upon the supposition he may abuse it.”
“There you go using logic on the moonbats, again.”
“So Strat - As a big admirer of George Washington, how do you feel about how him calling out Federal troops to squash an anti-tax rebellion?”
“hey, uh, v, you do realize you advanced their argument, not yours, dont you?”
“reported for using names
“I trust his judgment, Vio-weenie. For you to pretend that he would be against the Tea Party movement, based on that event is ridiculous and you know it. He was the leader of the original Tea Party.
Period and the end”
“stovie reported for not knowing the difference between name and initials”
“cb reported for being silly”
“trolls are not a race”
“I want to see what the baggers do when Nov. doesn't go that well for them. They'll be for more than a second-ah-mending their wounds.”
“umm .... It's not a football game where your teams wins or else you don't wear their jersey for a year.”
“Mutt, that dude giving the photo-bomb cracks me up. (back right)”
“I never even noticed - LOL”
“I want to see what the baggers do when Nov. doesn't go that well for them. They'll be for more than a second-ah-mending their wounds.”
“troll reported for making a homosexual slur”
“...not that there's anything wrong with that...”
“How so crash?”
“stovie reported for being an embarrassment to the homosexual community”
“implying he doesnt make them proud”
“TPers voted for tax cuts for the rich.
TPers are the whack job fringe faction of the Republicans that opine for the Rich.””
“You're not talking about people like this. 91% until they all run out of food stamps.http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2011/01/29/2011-01-29_he_made_137m_a_day_in_2010_hedge_fund_king_raked_in_a_record_5b.html”
“Ten more of these guys and you'll want to move to Egypt.”
“Non- whack jobs support citizens paying higher taxes ... ?
“15% cap gains just causes bubbles, housing for example had every person in this country building a house to sell because of the 15%. No body will loan money to small biz cause the full income tax rate. 15% cap drains and dividends just favor large corps that give more to buy out government. People who are paranoid of taxes are also paranoid of government and life itself. Maybe some of you don't need more hedge fund thieves to drive you to Egypt or Ireland, the land of low taxes, Haha.”
“TPers are the whack job fringe faction of the Republicans that opine for the Rich.”
“That's very insightful.”
“......Our founding fathers wanted to get richer and the whack job farmers died in their own fields for them....”
“Even though it took a long time to realize, the FF's wanted two groups to run this country, the IRS and the NRA. The IRS to keep the rich from paying their share of taxes and the NRA for population control.”
“I'm a Tea Partier.”
“don't you mean tea bagger?”
“Tea Parts, like in Tasseography (reading tea leaves).”
““I'm a Tea Partier.”
Wow! Tell us more! Did you meet Sam Adams?”
“The Foundering Fathers were caught trying to sneak their bathtub through the Suez Canal. The protesters throw rocks at them and broke all the whiskey bottles they used for oars.
last edited: 2/04/11 3:45:45 PM”
“Is this Jesse Trump or Donald Ventura?
Senator Reid has called you extreme for wanting the government to cut 2.6 pennies out of every dollar the federal government spends. They think 2.6 pennies is extreme. They wound up only voting for 1 penny in every tax dollar to be cut. We are confident that Senator Reid and Senator Schumer will look for ways to continue to paint us as extreme. Do you think Sens. Reid and Schumer and others like them are out of touch with the vast majority of Americans who understand that the extreme government spending must be brought under control? Do you think it is extreme behavior for US Senators to mock and publicly criticize average, hard-working Americans?”
“When both sides want to get into the military spending, foreign aid, means testing for social security, Medicare fraud and riding the tax code of loop-holes for the corPOORations and the rich, I'll listen, but neither side wants to do what is really needed and yawl 'NO' it.”
“I notice you didn't mention NPR, Planned Parenthood, and a lot of other liberal favorite give aways. I suppose that was just an oversight. Right?”
“I mention the ones that aren't yet being talked about and won't as long as they own the whole congress and especially the corporate shills who call themselves tea parts.”
“The last day of the Tea particles is here, they caved into the Mitt Chit and just a bad memory.”
“I like to refer to the right-wingers over at the American Legislative Exchange Council as "smart-ALECs." The phrase "Smart-Alec" derives from a mid-19th century con artist named Alec Hoag who worked with his wife to scam money and jewelry from hundreds of men in Manhattan. Alec's wife would pose as a prostitute, and Alec would steal her "customers'" belongings while they were distracted. The couple avoided arrest by bribing two local police officers.
Given the impact that ALEC's legislative proposals have on every day Americans, the dishonest ways in which ALEC sells its policies, and the level of virtually bribery that occurs in our political system, the use of the phrase "Smart Alec" to describe ALEC seems especially appropriate.
The first step to stopping the insidious influence these smart-ALECs have on our democracy is to shine some sunlight on their activities. And one way to do that is to ask your state legislators if they are members of ALEC, if they have attended any of ALEC's all-expense paid training sessions for state legislators, and whether they have sponsored any legislation ghost written by ALEC. If they have, report it to the Center for Media and Democracy, and write a letter to your local newspaper asking why your state legislator is doing the bidding of ALEC, rather than of the voters he or she is paid to represent.
March 25, 2012 at 7:20 p.m.RECOMMENDED417
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Another avenue which could contribute toward containing the corruption might be (and should be) better transparency. Every legislator should be required to list all meetings with friends, etc. and their businesses, etc. so that voters can see where they are getting their ideas about various issues. This would have to be done on a daily basis. That probably should include staff members also.
March 26, 2012 at 6:10 a.m.RECOMMENDED4
MYBIRTHDAYISFRIDAYBootiful Asheville, NC
To Richard, To campaign for anyone but good candidates is adding a step that is actually silly. I work for getting good candidates in office. The better the candidate the less having to push them to do the right thing at every vote. The outside organizations will just be lobbyists for good and will never have the bankrolls to combat against the lobbyists of the bad. So campaign for good candidates, and employ Roberts ideas as well.
March 26, 2012 at 6:27 a.m.
Yes, as you once wrote, writing your comments in your column is a very large responsibility. There has been such a huge public outcry and vast media attention about Treyvor Martin's killing. That you are shouting out what the Center for Media and Democracy discovered about the link between ALEC and Stand Your Ground Law and further map out action to unveil ALEC is beneficial for all of us in this country.
Thank you, sir.
March 25, 2012 at 8:01 p.m.RECOMMENDED289
Eugene V. DebsKansas
The Center for Media and Democracy has done a wonderful job in exposing the Kochs and ALEC, but one thing they've done hasn't been noted.
They've been tracking the Koch front groups, propaganda factories masquerading as "think tanks," that parrot their line and pretend it's legitimate "research."
If they show even the slightest resistance, such as the old guard at Cato has, the Kochs give them a smart jerk on the leash.
The stooges include the Heartland institute, the Kansas Policy Institute (formerly the Flint Hills Center for Public Policy), the Reason Foundation, the Mackinac Center, the Goldwater Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Evergreen Institute, the Independent and the Independence Institutes, the Rio Grande Foundation, the Commonwealth Foundation and scores more.. All 501(c)3s, so they can dodge taxes as well, while spending the majority of their efforts lobbying by another name.
March 26, 2012 at 1:40 a.m.RECOMMENDED204
Well, America still has 6 months to wake up. Not much is needed, with equally divided now, America only needs 5-10% of population to get it and to shift the power!
March 26, 2012 at 5:18 a.m.RECOMMENDED9
Trayvon, not Treyvor.
March 26, 2012 at 5:18 a.m.RECOMMENDED1
Thank you Dr. Krugman for following this story. I have not heard or seen any mention of ALEC in any major media outlet. This organization does not care in the least about the damage and the suffering their bills cause. The 'Stand Your Ground" law in Florida, and the other 'Castle' laws passed in other states help gun dealers and manufacturers by limiting their liability when men like the Florida shooter walk away free of culpability.
March 25, 2012 at 8:02 p.m.RECOMMENDED280
I agree. This is worth a Pulitzer to go with his Nobel.
March 25, 2012 at 8:31 p.m.RECOMMENDED229
Actually, Paul Krugman does not have a Nobel Prize since there is no such thing as a Nobel Prize in Economics.
According to Alfred Nobel's testament, there are five prizes: chemistry, literature, medicine, peace and physics. They have been given out yearly since 1901.
The so-called "economics" prize was created by the Swedish Treasury in 1968 and the prize money is funded by Swedish tax payers.
The prize has a long, convoluted name (Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel) that clearly separates it from the actual Nobel prizes.
March 26, 2012 at 5:18 a.m.RECOMMENDED5
Karen GarciaNew Paltz, NY
The corruption in all branches and at all levels of government is so endemic that it doesn't even raise many eyebrows any more. Scandals have lost their power to scandalize. Big Money rules politics.
In one memorable passage from his recently published "Republic, Lost", Lawrence Lessig quotes former Tenn. Rep. Jim Cooper as saying that the real definition of Congress is "The Farm Team of K Street".
“They expect to work for six to eight years making a salary just north of $160,000 a year," Cooper told Lessig. "Then they want to graduate to a job making three to 10 times that amount as lobbyists. Their focus is therefore not so much on the people who sent them to Washington. Their focus is instead on those who will make them rich in Washington."
Both parties are complicit. Congress just passed a hilariously named JOBS Act that does nothing to create jobs -- it just makes it easier for start-ups to bilk small investors. President Obama has signalled he'll sign it, even though former NY Gov. Eliot Spitzer says the bill should really be named the "Return the Fraud to Wall Street in One Easy Step Act."
Whenever you see your elected officials engaging in one of their orgies of bipartisan self-celebration, pay attention. They're ignoring the Constitution and butchering civil rights, rewarding their cronies through endlessly creative scams and wars, sucking the life out of this once-great nation.
Let the Occupation continue.
March 25, 2012 at 8:09 p.m.RECOMMENDED358
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Carl Ian SchwartzPaterson, New Jersey
I guess "government" is the only placek (except for Nevada) that prostitution is either allowed or encouraged in this country. My definition of a politician--a prostitute that has to pay for sex. And that goes right back to the original Alec who helped coin the term!
March 26, 2012 at 5:18 a.m.RECOMMENDED10
If I am not mistaken, we give members of the Supreme Court of the United States lifetime appointments, on the theory that they will thus be incorruptable and above politics. A rational adult looking at the recent landscape, especially Bush v. Gore and Citizens United, might question how well that is working out.
March 26, 2012 at 5:33 a.m.RECOMMENDED33
"Not limited government but privatized government,"--this is real crime--not wearing a hoodie, or being bashed as a Islamic African socialist big spender spewing racial hate--the flag wrapped denials, blame, and slime the GOP uses to reinforce every misconception that conceals oppression and tyranny--this is real crime--and the GOP wants to make it legal and tight.
I noticed ALEC a year ago, when 20 GOP controlled states suddenly entered bills on the same issues (especially voter id!), that included expanding state executive authority to outsource, privatize, and abridge local government rights (expediting state takeovers of budgets, property, and systems with the absolute right to sell or outsource services without local input, approval, or legislative review!).
The first public case was WI's anti-union bill, quickly followed by OH. Adapting states best practices normally takes 3 - 5 years (witness changes in DUI blood alcohol limits, casino gambling, or gay marriage). Yet across the country, copy cat bills were appearing on legislative desks in 30 days, before any evidence was in to evaluate the bills--and were being rammed thru with limited debate.
As Paul cited, the GOP is a conscript for a conspiracy come to life: a real organization generating verbatim boiler plate legislation, stripping populist powers, taking away longstanding rights, altering legislative power, and privatizing the public treasury. This is tyranny preconceived, formatted, and rubber stamped.
March 25, 2012 at 8:28 p.m.RECOMMENDED329
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Robert Henry EllerMilan, Italy
Welcome to Italy!
Just minus the food, the landscapes, the art, the well-dressed people.
What's left? Berlusconi.
Or in our case, Rupert Murdoch, and a placeholder intermediary in the executive branch.
And the rest of the Federal toadies and parasites.
March 26, 2012 at 5:18 a.m.RECOMMENDED13
In truth, the Republican party is dead. It has been replaced by the undead. Politicians "elected" to office for that side of the aisle are employees of a small number of reactionary billionaires and corporations who have disdain and contempt for the democratic process. Yes, both sides are infected. However, the Democrats have yet to succumb to the disease. We can save them.
As for the formerly Supreme Court, they are a lost cause when their members attend events sponsored by these same front groups - doing so shamelessly, to boot. We know how they will decide most cases before they are even heard. Maybe giving them term limits should be on the table. Maybe we also need to call in UN observers for the November election.
The media screams "left, left, left, socialism! Beware!" The danger in this country has always been on the right. If we ignore it now, our time as a free country is done. I don't know which is stronger, my anger or my sorrow.
March 26, 2012 at 6:25 a.m.
ALEC has been polluting our political system since 1975. Its initial mission was to mobilize conservative state legislators on social issues like the Equal Rights Amendment and abortion rights but by the 1990's it was also fully engaged with corporatists and one percenters to reign in government programs, deregulation of all industries on a massive scale, privatizing entitlement programs and a constant war against taxation. When Mitt Romney says he wants to send most federal programs like Medicaid and education policy back to the states, that's really ALEC talking - so much easier to privatize federal programs at a state level where the legislators have already been completely bought and paid for.
Most of the suppress the vote legislation that Republican state legislatures have been ramming through statehouses since 2010 are usually written by ALEC. As far back as 1978, ALEC actively threw its support against granting voting representation in Congress to the District of Columbia. Thirty-four years later they still don't have it.
ALEC owns the Republican Party. Every year, the Republican platform is nothing more than ALEC's agenda. Google ALEC and you'll see what I mean. If Grover Norquist wants to make government small enough to drown in the bathtub, ALEC wants to beat it to death. As far as I'm concerned, ALEC will soon be running this country though I often suspect it already is.
March 25, 2012 at 8:43 p.m.RECOMMENDED269
Robert Henry EllerMilan, Italy
Actually, I am sure ALEC wants to keep the Federal budget quite large. Why? Because it's a lot easier to win contracts through bribery, than to have to fight for business in the private sector against competitors. And a lot more profitable, too.
That's right, US citizens. A crony capitalist is a phony capitalist.
March 26, 2012 at 5:18 a.m.RECOMMENDED14
Carl Ian SchwartzPaterson, New Jersey
It appears that we've discovered a better way have a totalitarian state, albeit with the appearance of a democracy. Simply corrupt the political process until it becomes meaningless, and keep the fact hidden from the voters.
Then get rid of some of the voters in a manner that makes corporate profits ("premium support" instead of Medicare), rather than outright genocide which uses resources and manpower to transport and kill people the powers that be class as "undesirable." Heck, you can even make money on prisons and encourage unstable vigilantes to do the job for free (the "Stand Your Ground Law").
In 1938 Sinclair Lewis warned of the corporate state in "It Can't Happen Here." It has.
March 26, 2012 at 5:24 a.m.RECOMMENDED26
If not now, when?thankfully not in the US
"There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root." -- Henry Thoreau
It is nice to see that Professor Krugman is at last focusing his attention on the heart of the most societal problems and the reason so many Americans of all political persuasions are not getting what they would like from their government. He is in good company, David Stockman is preaching the same Gospel.
Until this problem of private monied interests controlling the government is resolved in favor of actual democracy, all policy discussions are futile and Americans will stray further from the ideals of the men who founded the nation.
Here's a little fact to chew. 200 individuals own more productive capital in the US economy than the aggragate wealth of the bottom 150 million Americans. There is simply no way to have a viable democracy with that kind of concentrated wealth and power. This is not a left vs. right issue, though that is the only way corporate media is going to frame it, for obvious reasons. People need to ignore the silly partisan nonsense that is created to distract them and focus on the real issue. Mr. Krugman is showing just one manifestation of the problem here.
March 25, 2012 at 9:22 p.m.RECOMMENDED192
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Thomas ZaslavskyBinghamton, N.Y.
It's a left-vs.-right issue by the nature of the left and the right. But better to avoid those terms, as corporatism, its government, and its propaganda arms have made "left" a dirty word through the past century.
March 26, 2012 at 5:18 a.m.RECOMMENDED8
Robert Henry EllerMilan, Italy
We had better vote the enablers out of office while we are still allowed to vote. The problem is, where do we find candidates for office who will not do the same thing.
The irony is, they are the same as the corrupted candidates. But we have to outbid ALEC, and the Chamber of Commerce. We have to pay our elected officials sufficient salaries to inoculate them against corruption. We also need to bid up and buy the best brains. Currently we are all but banishing intelligence from our government. What we are left with are the cunningly feral.
And we have to have swift, sure, no-second-chances punishment for corruption.
March 26, 2012 at 6:27 a.m.
L.R.Upstate New York
The key word to remember is not privatization - a better choice would be profitization. This is a systematic effort to convert government from a public resource into an apparatus for private gain instead of the public good.
Privatization suggests displacing the government from an activity that legitimately belongs in the private sphere. That's not what we have here.
Profitization is a deliberate corruption of the public sphere for private gain, aka Griftopia in Matt Taibbi's memorable coining. It's how the .1% have come to have such an outrageous hold on our government at all levels. The handing of pre-written bills to compliant legislators without public scrutiny or debate is how the Republicans have enacted so many sweeping changes in the states where they control the legislatures; it's why they don't bother with debates or public hearings. Scott Walker's Wisconsin is a prime example. You can see it in action in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
It's anti-democratic to say the least and it's how they roll, when not subject to recall elections. It's why they're working so hard to restrict voting.
Credit to Jill W. Klausen for giving us the proper word to describe this hostile takeover of our government.
March 25, 2012 at 9:27 p.m.RECOMMENDED173
Janet CampMilwaukee, Wisconsin
The really scary thing is that there is still strong support for Walker and the airwaves here are being saturated with Koch-fueled ads showing a "softer" image of Walker than was portrayed before the recall. He is re-running on his "success".
Those of us who have worked on the recall process have become very aware of ALEC. If you want to do something to start to reverse this, consider a contribution to UnitedWisconsin.com
I think I first read about ALEC in Mother Jones magazine. I certainly did not hear about it on the nightly news!
March 26, 2012 at 2:32 a.m.RECOMMENDED64
I like your suggestion. Profitization does more aptly communicate the intent and problem with corporate interests. Thanks for the suggestion. I will definitely use it.
March 26, 2012 at 5:18 a.m.RECOMMENDED7
Jerry McTigueFairfield, CT
Here's another incentive for privatized and for-profit schools to fail academically while raking in taxpayer money. The more ignorant their students turn out to be, and the less critical thinking they can do, the easier it is to dupe them into voting against their own interests. Same with Santorum demonizing higher education, and the G.O.P.'s mission to eliminate the Dept. of Education. They envision a nation of witless drones working at substandard wages to further enrich the upper class. And wicked though it may be, it's working. Scary.
March 25, 2012 at 9:30 p.m.RECOMMENDED126
Really scary stuff.
Conservatives will stop at nothing to game our system into a corrupt, crony playground. Both parties are guilty, but one is always the instigator while the other rubber stamps everything they want. No one is calling these people out or standing in their way, so they get more insidious and destructive every year.
Ultimately we all pay price for their incompetence and cronyism just like we all paid for the financial crisis which still hasn’t be resolved through tougher laws or the judicial system.
I’m sure this is just the tip of the iceberg as most of us are kept in the dark. Just mention the Koch brothers and you know they are undermining our system for their own nefarious interests.
With corrupt politicians and leaders pushing failed ideologies and masquerading as good, it’s only a matter of time when our nation reaches a point of no return. That time is fast approaching and when it does, things will get real ugly.
March 25, 2012 at 9:34 p.m.RECOMMENDED65
Mark ThomasonClawson, Michigan
I had never heard of ALEC, and I am sure its methods and goals are just as you write.
However, drafting model laws and pushing them in state legislatures is an old and very effective method. It is expensive to draft laws, and requires professional resources of a high level of skill in lawyers and experts. That burden has been the main limit on this in the past. At one time this was much more limited, a function provided by the American Bar Association in its Model Codes which was a big help with state uniformity. Now it is run wild.
You might note other groups that have taken up this method of private lobbying. It is now become common. The NRA does it for guns, and AIPAC does it backed with its "asks" and its letters signed off by masses of those lobbied, and AARP does it for its issues, and there are many more.
March 25, 2012 at 9:41 p.m.RECOMMENDED12
Diana MosesArlington, MA
What about the issue of conflicts of interest? With lobbying groups now doing what the ABA did for other reasons, something has changed. Why should a group be able to submit laws for its own gain? And why aren't legislators, who presumably know what is going on, uncomfortable with having delegated their responsibilities and reputations to third parties? If legislators had to draft their own laws, maybe we'd get a different pool of candidates.
March 26, 2012 at 4:19 a.m.RECOMMENDED6
D. MartinVero Beach, Florida
Just before the Trayvor Martin case went nationwide, thanks in part to Charles Blow, The Christian Science Monitor (CSM) ran a group of stories on "gun nation."
The CSM reports a lot of genuine grassroots sentiment for extreme gun-carry and self-defense legislation. Perhaps most alarmingly, CSM reports a spreading notion that it's not right to restrict law enforcement to paid professionals, part of a broad new distrust of local and state governments. This sort of distrust is certainly on display in much of Florida, not just sections that are culturally part of the South.
Lest it seem that local governments are about to fade away and be replaced by vigilantes and homeowners' associations, Florida right-wingers are bothered that a group called The New Black Panthers publicized their private bounty for whoever finds (detains?) the man who shot Trayvor Martin.
It's creepy that ALEC provides prototype legislation that appeals to the Republican Florida legislature, but possibly a bigger problem is that the Florida Democratic Party is nearly irrelevant despite its big registration lead over the Republicans. In our one-party system, legislators don't have to worry much about offending constituents and legislative leaders can cater to their more extreme supporters. But at least the latest legislative session wasn't much interested in privatizing prisons. Maybe there's a bit of hope.
March 25, 2012 at 9:47 p.m.RECOMMENDED25
One of your most timely and important columns. Privatization leading to profitization is a dangerous threat to our country. It has been under the radar of the main TV media.
There’s little discussion about Alec exept on progressive radio and a few publications like the Nation with John Nichols.
The main TV media has got to start exposing and explaining this privatization trend to the public . This is a movement to take over the public functions of our country, and then restrict access in various ways to those who can pay fees for what should be tax supported and thus available to all at reasonable cost.
Private prison corporations tell their shareholders that more and more inmates will increase profits. A Pennsylvania judge was prosecuted for taking kickbacks for every teenager he found guilty and sent to jail, even for small infractions. He was able to do this after working to remove the prison from the public system, and turn it over to a corporation he made a deal with.
March 25, 2012 at 9:49 p.m.RECOMMENDED104
Eugene V. DebsKansas
Actually, it was two judges that took at least $2.6 million in bribes for sending kids to jail who in other times and places would have been kept after school to clean erasers.
The business model of for-profit prisons is nothing short of larceny. They charge top dollar, deliver as little as possible in services, and pay off right and left to keep it out of the public eye. Dozens of corrupt legislators, officials and executives have gone to prison on federal charges from many states around the country. However, the ones that get caught are but the tip of the iceberg. In the absence of diligent monitoring, only whistleblowers or accidents cause the thieves to be outed.
March 26, 2012 at 1:12 a.m.RECOMMENDED42
The main TV media is alas, owned by the same interests. Political ads of every stripe, (especially the ads of the friendly oil and gas companies' constant barrage of pro-fracking/drilling/pipeline ads) are profitable to the main TV media. Until the FCC again requires fair and balanced coverage, that is until it represents the best interests of regular people, that will not change. It is not against the law to lie in political ads, and even if it were it would not matter.. This country is not a democracy or a democratic republic. It is a plutocracy that bribes or puts in place our elected people, spend billions to unseat any elected person who dares to call them out. The takeover has already happened. Huge income inequalities will get worse and it seems there will be no way to avoid the upcoming unpleasantness in the streets. Serious campaign finance reform is needed but which bribed elected person would vote for it?
March 26, 2012 at 3:34 a.m.RECOMMENDED35
Richard LuettgenNew Jersey
And when have we NOT had crony Capitalism, benefiting both major political ideologies; or neither, benefiting only itself? Actually, from before the beginning of our republic?
If ALEC is doing something illegal, it should be investigated; if it's not, perhaps people should look to the motivations rather than being distracted by the medium. We've always had such organizations writing legislation and regulatory language, for state legislatures as well as Congress -- from the Sierra Club writing mining regulations to Darth Vader facilitating oil regulation via Exxon Mobil. Each side has its favorite ghost writers. If we prohibit this, under-staffed and inadequately experienced legislative staffs might take ten years to draft laws instead of as many weeks. Expect it to continue.
"Stand Your Ground" laws reflect the insistence of millions of Americans that they have the right to protect themselves, rather than being forced to surrender their dignity to predators. If they're too broad, then re-write them to guard against the tragedy in Florida with Trayvon Martin. But, if you think those millions are going to give up the right to protect themselves after having won it, think again.
The problem is the insistence on "taking our country back", as if it's any less the country of those who disagree with you. We need less polarization, more mutual understanding of the other side's concerns and interests, and more "let's work together to build a country both sides can call ours".
March 25, 2012 at 9:54 p.m.RECOMMENDED15
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Yes, corporations need more mutual understanding and cooperation,
Congress seats have to be orderly allocated according to their market
March 26, 2012 at 5:18 a.m.RECOMMENDED4
T NorrisWeymouth, MA
"We need less polarization, more mutual understanding of the other side's concerns and interests, and more "let's work together to build a country both sides can call ours"."
When you figure out how to do this, please post here. And then apply the method to Congress, as well as the small number of extremely wealthy people who have an influence on this country inversely proportionate to their numbers and directly proportionate to their self-interest.
March 26, 2012 at 6:27 a.m.
"What this tells us, in turn, is that ALEC’s claim to stand for limited government and free markets is deeply misleading. To a large extent the organization seeks not limited government but privatized government ...."
I'm having trouble understanding this distinction. Those in favor of limited government are not in favor of abolishing all the services that governments currently provide, they simply want to find alternative ways to deliver these services more effectively.
You mentioned UPS today. If UPS can deliver mail more cheaply, more quickly, and more accurately than the US Post Office, shouldn't they have a chance to do so? The USPS, after all, is on track to losing over $100 billion over the next 10 years. That is not a typo.
Ending the government's postal monopoly via a partial privatization wouldn't abolish snail mail, but it would result in a smaller public sector and larger private sector. How bad could that be?
March 25, 2012 at 9:59 p.m.RECOMMENDED3
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The simple answer is that UPS doesn't want to deliver mail everywhere the USPS does. USPS gets a monopoly because it delivers unprofitably to virtually all Americans.
The market should not be the measure of everything.
March 26, 2012 at 5:18 a.m.RECOMMENDED15
Richard LuettgenNew Jersey
UPS has absolutely no interest in becoming the USPS: their profit would disappear quite rapidly if they were required to deliver to every mailbox in the country, and maintain all those one-person postoffices in one-horse towns three inches from being blown away by a good breeze off the prairie.
March 26, 2012 at 5:18 a.m.RECOMMENDED13
MeredithNew YorkNYT Pick
Privatizing the federal post office is part of this. It must now fund pension costs so far into the future, that unborn future employees would be covered. We’ve seen rising costs of private health care and college leaving more people uninsured and less educated. If schools, prisons, social security, medicare,etc are profitized, our control is gone, & more power moves away from the majority to the top few. We are left without access unless we can cough up whatever they demand.
Our right to vote means little if few politicians run against this trend. But with powerful corporate funding of our elections how can they? This should be our number 1 issue front and center.
The under funding of public agencies by congress weakens them and private profit can then dictate the rules. Once a financial crash wrecks an economy thru unregulated big bank crime, with a feeble SEC and Justice Dept, the govt and public sector is weakened. Predatory vultures swoop down and take over, and society be damned.
The propaganda of for profit private business increasing efficiency in all services is accepted by many voters. They don’t realize this adds layers of costs to what should operate for free and for all, by tax support. There are studies showing that tax supported public services enable better results with much lower costs, in many areas. We must have a balance of both private and public, for society to operate, but the balance is getting dangerously distorted now.
March 25, 2012 at 10:18 p.m.RECOMMENDED62
Eugene V. DebsKansas
Actually, the Post Office, for all the constraints put on it by reactionaries in a Republican Congress, does a heck of a good job.
I live in a very rural area, 15 miles from the nearest store. I have missed my mail due to inclement weather exactly one day in the last 13 years, despite living way out on muddy roads, nearly inaccessible after heavy rains.
Fed Ex has only started delivering to us in the last few years. We used to have to drive to town to pick up packages sent to us that way. DHL was even worse. After holding a mailed computer for almost a week, they finally mailed it to us after not being able to find our house. UPS is better than that, but not cheaper, even though they're creaming business. The PO delivers ever single piece its given, refusing none.
I wanted to send a package from here in the Midwest to Maine, last year. I needed to get it there in a hurry for a legislative committee hearing. I went to the P.O. and found it would cost $75 for overnight delivery. But Fed Ex wanted $125 and would only guarantee two-day service.
March 26, 2012 at 1:27 a.m.RECOMMENDED45
Take a look at "Ill Fares the Land" by Tony Judt. You will have to go far to find a more concise, cogent analysis of what is wrong with privatization. How it works is by cherry picking the lucrative part of the business and sticking the government with the less profitable but mandated parts and at premium terms of taking the spoils if the private business succeeds but protections if the business fails. Then they turn around and criticize the gutted industry as inefficient, and let needed services die. FedEx and the USPS is the textbook example.
March 26, 2012 at 3:24 a.m.RECOMMENDED29
Jeffrey WrightMadison WINYT Pick
We in Wisconsin have had to suffer with ALEC since Scott Walker won as governor. None of the bills that came up after his election addressed Wisconsin issues (not even conservative’s issues). They seemed to come out of nowhere, from voter suppression, to deregulating mining, to union busting.
These were very polished bills that were clearly not written in Wisconsin by Republican Wisconsin legislators. All were written by ALEC. The result was that the voter suppression law violated the Wisconsin constitution and even Republicans did not want to deregulate mining. Union busting is not popular and a recall of Walker is underway.
Thank you for bringing ALEC’s crony capitalism up to a national audience.
March 25, 2012 at 10:38 p.m.RECOMMENDED130
Tom McMahonMillis Ma
Nice to see the the exposure you're giving to ALEC, this organization has been the talk of the underground internet for a few years now and only now with the plethora of legislation sweeping the nation written so closely from one state to another is a larger group of people becoming aware of the hijacking of government from the public by those with billions to spend. Be they trying to reduce voter turnout, repeal womens reproductive rights, privatize whatever government institutions they can for profit, ALEC and the NRA along with the Koch Bros and the unethical, immoral CEO's who finance them all need to be neutralized. Not exterminated but rendered powerless. If this group does not prove how money needs to be removed from the political system, our system is doomed to revolution, people can only be pushed so far, then they push back. Every reaction is usually far worse then the action preceeding it, when the first one was terrible to begin with. I feel like I'm watching history repeat itself.
March 25, 2012 at 10:42 p.m.RECOMMENDED75
Judy AllenBeaumont, Texas
As the popularity of contracting services previously handled by employees of an agency or a private company exploded in the last 15-20 years, for the life of me, I could not understand the attraction.
How in the world could a contracted job save the agency money?
After all, the contractor has to make a profit, on top of the cost of providing the service or job.
Of course, the jobs that usually replaced agency jobs didn't offer benefits such as health insurance, workmen's compensation, retirement, etc.
So I guess that's how the agency or company contracting the service saves money.
The contractors make so much money, they pool their resources and corrupt Congress so they can continue to enjoy the largess of the public trough.
This simply has to eventually be outlawed.
Otherwise our nation is doomed to be subverted by the monetary stench from within.
Even our lives and the lives of our children and friends are at risk, whether from guns or from tar sands pipelines leaking into our acquifers and streams.
March 25, 2012 at 10:48 p.m.RECOMMENDED66
Part of our problems arises from folks believing in free markets & capitalism in a religious fashion, forgetting that Adam Smith, & say, Hayek, were not prophets but observers of human actions in the same sense as Darwin or Goodall were observers of the natural world. An ideology has been built around economics that isn't justified by the predictive power of economics in the sense that I believe in physics because microprocessors work as engineers predict.
Many people's religious faith in markets won't let them see that markets in the U.S. don't fit the models taught in intro econ. The invisible hand doesn't always provide optimal outcomes.. When I had a heart attack, my wife did not call around for the best deal for my care. See Arrow.
Another case is the relationship between defense contractors & the DoD. I cannot easily start a company & enter the market of providing goods to the DoD, unlike the scenarios in Econ 101 about easy entry into markets. These markets are closed.The particular manner of these markets (captive customer, oligopolistic suppliers) is more sophisticated than the average citizen can comprehend especially given the propaganda about free markets.
As citizens we should work towards breaking down concentrations of wealth that lead to crony capitalism.
March 25, 2012 at 11:03 p.m.RECOMMENDED71
twilson1bWashington DC USA
Mike--correct. In nature the analogy would be that lions require antilopes to run more slowly so the meals can be prepared with less effort
March 26, 2012 at 5:26 a.m.RECOMMENDED1
Facebook groups have been sharing information on ALEC for quite awhile now; I'm happy to finally see something in the MSM about this organization. And especially when it's a MSM columnist with the readership and credentials to make an impact on efforts to uncover this organization's hidden agenda.
Thank you, Dr. Krugman.
March 25, 2012 at 11:04 p.m.RECOMMENDED53
The so called conservative want government to stay away from people, so that they can control the government purse, and people through legislation that benefit 1 percent of the population. But everyone must know that voting is the most powerful weapon to defeat the so called conservative.
March 25, 2012 at 11:08 p.m.RECOMMENDED30
Janet CampMilwaukee, Wisconsin
Why do you think that ALEC works so hard on voter suppression efforts?
March 26, 2012 at 2:57 a.m.RECOMMENDED28
Tommy BonesSt Louis, MO
Until the conservative power structure rigs the elections!
March 26, 2012 at 5:18 a.m.
So basically what you've posited is a plausible conspiracy theory that warrants the possibility of a system, put into place that projects people in possible circumstances of malfeance and mayhem in order to line the pockets of insensitive venture capitalists preying on an uninformed majority. ... That is disturbing even beyond most counts I could imagine on my own.
March 26, 2012 at 12:01 a.m.RECOMMENDED16
I am so happy I have my twin 7 year-old sons already thinking about emigrating to Canada, Europe, or another more progressive nation in the world. In fact, I was surprised the other day that one of my sons told me that, instead of living in Canada, he was considering Germany.
I wish for my two little sons -- and, actually, all those living who will see the future I will not see -- the opportunity to live in a place that, while far from perfect, at least will provide a respectable place to make not only a decent living, but a life. I concluded a number of years ago that that place is NOT the United States, though I once believed it was. Eventually "reality" overcame the delusion of "patriotism."
I hope, too, that other countries will continue to see through the charade the U.S.A. projects about itself, and will continue to learn from the gross mistakes that are, in this country, considered "normal." As this country continues to self-destruct, may there be other places where the great ideals of Western civilization will continue to be revered, striven for, and implemented -- no matter how "less-than-perfect."
Though it is another sad revelation, thank you, Dr. Krugman, for again telling it like it is. And for fulfilling the role you have been destined to play: that of a prophet. A prophet who, due to others' blindness and greedy self-interest, will continue to be ignored. Thus it has always been and, because of human nature, seemingly will remain for the foreseeable future.
March 26, 2012 at 12:43 a.m.RECOMMENDED26
Following Paul Krugman's link to the list of the 23 corporations that make up ALEC's "Private Enterprise Board," I wasn't surprised to see Altria and Reynolds America (the Number 1 & Number 2 tobacco companies), nor Peabody Energy, the largest producer of coal in the US. Koch Industries? No shock there -- I've already stopped buying Dixie brand paper cups and plates, Vanity Fair brand Napkins, and Brawny brand paper towels.
But I wasn't prepared to find Johnson & Johnson participating in ALEC alongside the makers of cigarettes and the coal mine owners who deny climate change science. J&J is a company I've trusted (until now) -- and their own website lists a glowing roster of environmental good works and community service. In fact, J&J's official company credo, adopted in 1943 "before anyone heard the term 'corporate social responsibility'" includes the following:
"We are responsible to the communities in which we live and work and to the world community as well. We must be good citizens--support good works and charities and bear our fair share of taxes. We must encourage civic improvements and better health and education. We must maintain in good order the property we are privileged to use, protecting the environment and natural resources."
How in the world can a health-oriented company that claims to be ethical support the destructive agenda pushed by the NRA, Big Tobacco, and the biggest anti-environment spenders in the country?
March 26, 2012 at 12:54 a.m.RECOMMENDED51
My understanding is that Johnson & Johnson has refused to participate in a round table with health orgs and other pharmaceuticals to reduce the cost of HIV treatments to poor countries. I've have already begun boycotting them.
I think we delude ourselves in thinking that voting is the best and only way to obtain our goals. It requires boycotting all companies that work against the public's best interest. The almighty dollar and bottom line are the only real weapons we have. Look at the changes in the automobile industry once gas prices went up, or how even Walmart is responding to people's demands for more ethical behavior. Apple has at least responded in part to people's concerns about working conditions.
If we don't want to be defeated by capitalism, we must use our greatest tool: how and where we spend our money. If we reduce the amount of energy we need instead of constantly expanding it and stop patronizing corrupt businesses, we can make a real difference.
Living in a country where people live better lives with much less money, I only wish it were possible for Americans to break out of consumer slavery and use their economic voice for the better.
March 26, 2012 at 4:38 a.m.RECOMMENDED12”
“There's no way I read all that spam, but what I did read was crap. If it's illegal to do business, then nobody has a job. If nobody has a job, how do you get food?”
Exactly toejam - No Chores
Dont wory toejam the 53 percenters have enough to keep the rest fed”
“Even Scott Brown, the original Tea Particle, is out 'LEFTing' Liz Warren.”
“Jane Fonda to play Nancy Reagan in up coming movie, Supreme Court, just 9 non-union political actors and just 90 miles SW of King Limbaugh's Castle, american sanctions still in place as we blame Cuba's leaders of not knowing how to run a country. Less than 90 miles from the biggest economy in the world.”
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