At least ALEC has stopped pretending they do not exist anymore. It is almost refreshing to see them wiggle out from under their rocks into the clear light of day. The President has drawn them out this time, with his Clean Power Plan (announced today), designed to ultimately divest this nation as much as practicable from the deadly warming climatic effects of pouring unchecked CO2 into the atmosphere.
As The Washington Post Reports:
Opponents of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan prepared Monday for all-out war against the carbon-cutting regulation, blasting the measure publicly while accelerating behind-the-scenes efforts to stop its implementation.
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On the day of the rule’s official adoption, key lawmakers and industry groups sharpened their rhetorical attacks and vowed to battle the measure in Congress and in the courts.
The attacks came as other groups prepared to launch initiatives on the state and local level. In anticipation of the rule’s unveiling, a task force of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) — a conservative group funded in part by electricity producers and fossil-fuel interests — approved model legislation to be sent to state legislatures around the country. The model bill would give state governments special authority to “expedite approval of resources to challenge the EPA’s Clean Power Plan,” according to a copy obtained by The Washington Post.
More here from the New York Times.
These groups own the Republican Party. In addition, let us be clear, in fact, they are the Republican Party. The McConnells, the Inhofes, the Tea Party ilk who vote in lockstep at their bidding are nothing more than paid-off stand-ins. These organizations, ALEC in particular, are made up of industry lobbyists, executives and corporate lawyers who will actively and eagerly sell us all down the river in a heartbeat if it means more profits. When you cut to the bone of what the Tea Party really is, it’s this: a group of fat and irate fossil fuel corporations, who will pay any price to stop the U.S. government from checking their endless thirst for increased profits, increased drilling, increased mining. More than anything else, these shows why the Supreme Court’s Citizen’s United decision was such an abomination: it allowed people just like this to take over our country by buying out our political system. This time, however, what they are doing has life-altering consequences for us all. Moreover, right now there is only one person stopping them from doing that–the person in the Oval Office.
What is ALEC? This is ALEC:
ALEC is not a lobby; it is not a front group. It is much more powerful than that. Through the secretive meetings of the American Legislative Exchange Council, corporate lobbyists and state legislators vote as equals on ‘model bills’ to change our rights that often benefit the corporations’ bottom line at public expense. ALEC is a pay-to-play operation where corporations buy a seat and a vote on ‘task forces’ to advance their legislative wish lists and can get a tax break for donations, effectively passing these lobbying costs on to taxpayers.
Along with legislators, corporations have membership in ALEC. Corporations sit on ALEC task forces and vote with legislators to approve “model” bills. They have their own corporate governing board that meets jointly with the legislative board. (ALEC says that corporations do not vote on the board.) Corporations fund almost all of ALEC’s operations.
Participating legislators, overwhelmingly conservative Republicans, then bring those proposals home and introduce them in statehouses across the land as their own brilliant ideas and important public policy innovations—without disclosing that corporations crafted and voted on the bills.
This is what Democracy has come to in the United States of America. There are many words for it, Oligarchy, Corporatocracy, and Plutocracy. Whatever you want to call it, their already-organized response to the President’s proposed EPA Rulemaking fits the bill:
The proposed legislation seeks to direct state attorneys general to join lawsuits against the EPA to prevent “unlawful and costly obligations from being imposed on states,” according to the copy obtained by The Post. It also calls for transferring money into a special fund set up by participating states to underwrite efforts to challenge unwanted environmental regulations. The money would come from state appropriations as well as “any gifts, grants and donations” from outside groups.
In other words they’re planning to ram through legislation, through their bought and paid for Republican state legislators, through the same bought and paid for Republican “attorneys-general,” to create a slush fund solely for the purpose of rolling back regulations imposed on these polluting fossil fuel corporations, and permitting them to keep destroying the planet’s climate that protects all of us, until Hell quite literally freezes over, or more likely, the reverse. “State” appropriations means that taxpayers, at least in part, will pay for this. Think about that. It means corporations have devised a way to make the surplus population pay for the slow death of the planet, and all of the human suffering that will come with it.
This is what they’re fighting to stop: [In addition to its focus on Renewable Energy sources and reduction of Greenhouse Gas emissions] The Clean Power Plan, and other policies put in place to drive a cleaner energy sector, will reduce premature deaths from power plant emissions by nearly 90 percent in 2030 compared to 2005 and decrease the pollutants that contribute to the soot and smog and can lead to more asthma attacks in kids by more than 70 percent. The Clean Power Plan will also avoid up to 3,600 premature deaths, lead to 90,000 fewer asthma attacks in children, and prevent 300,000 missed work and school days.
Here is what President Obama said about his Clean Power Plan and the threat presented by Climate Change:
We have a moral obligation to leave our children a planet that’s not polluted or damaged. The effects of climate change are already being felt across the nation. In the past three decades, the percentage of Americans with asthma has more than doubled, and climate change is putting those Americans at greater risk of landing in the hospital. Extreme weather events – from more severe droughts and wildfires in the West to record heat waves – and sea level rise are hitting communities across the country. In fact, 14 of the 15 warmest years on record have all occurred in the first 15 years of this century and last year was the warmest year ever. The most vulnerable among us – including children, older adults, people with heart or lung disease, and people living in poverty – are most at risk from the impacts of climate change. Taking action now is critical.