Melissa Harris Perry, host of MSNBC's MHP Show, on Saturday mornings, made a single comment that caused me to stop, reflect and return to the keypad to make some notes.
Her observation was that right wing efforts, successful in many states, to reduce opportunities for voters to go to the polls favoured the Republicans, because those restrictions are aimed directly at traditionally Democratic voters.
Earlier in the same discussion, one of Harris Perry's guests observed that Paul Ryan was now in the ascendancy, given the House passage of the latest attempt at a budget compromise. Ryan's being in the ascendancy happened given the fact that the budget deal does so much to restrict spending, forecloses on long-term unemployment benefits, and see the votes in the House of Representatives, formerly opposed to Ryan's proposals, now following in behind his lead.
However, it seems that:
- austerity spending restrictions,
- like voter repression, and
- like mandatory ultra-sound examinations for women seeking an abortion, and
- like restriction of doctors who perform therapeutic abortions to only those with privileges in neighbourhood hospitals, and
- like de-funding food stamps, and
- like state laws that make it ever easier to acquire a firearm and not more difficult following the Sandy Hook tragedy of one year ago today,
- like a failure to pass a comprehensive jobs bill, and
- like the refusal to produce and vote for a comprehensive immigration reform package
- like the relaxation of regulations on energy companies regarding fracking and
- like the refusal to close budget loopholes that favour corporate tax avoidance and
- like the avoidance of tax increases on the top 1% in order to offset the spending cuts
ALEC, the secret, right-wing-funded policy group actually writes bills favour the conservative agenda for state representatives who have neither the staff nor the income to hire research and legal staff to do that work.
It’s amazing how a little sunlight will change the behavior of some of the biggest names in corporate America — sunlight here meaning greater transparency and accountability.
It’s also amazing how the UK’s The Guardian is covering this changed behavior — and its potential consequences for every American — without much competition from US-based media. It seems that reporters in Washington in particular can’t be bothered.
Over the past several decades, one of the country’s most influential political organizations — the 40-year-old American Legislative Exchange Council — was able to operate largely under the radar. Never heard of it? That’s by design. Founded in 1973 by conservative political operatives, ALEC has been successful in shaping public policy to benefit its corporate patrons in part because few people — including reporters — knew anything about the organization, much less how it went about getting virtually identical laws passed in a multitude of states.
That began to change two years ago when an insider leaked thousands of pages of documents — including more than 800 “model” bills and resolutions, showing just how close ALEC is with big corporate interests and revealing how it goes about getting laws passed to enhance the profits of its sponsors, usually at the expense of consumers.
The Center for Media and Democracy, a nonprofit corporate watchdog organization, sifted through the documents and posted them on a dedicated website, ALECexposed.org. Those bills and resolutions, drafted by or in collaboration with industry lobbyists and lawyers, “reveal the corporate collaboration reshaping our democracy, state by state,” CMD says on the website.
By Wendell Potter, from Bill Moyers' website, December 11, 2013
This story was originally published by The Center for Public Integrity, which is a nonprofit, nonpartisan investigative news organization in Washington, DC.
So if anyone is wondering which ideological side is winning the battle for the hearts, minds and eventually the votes of the American voter, right now the score is 99-0 for the right wing agenda, while the Democrats are struggling to regain any semblance of influence over the domestic agenda of the American political scene.
And although the avoidance of a government shut-down is preferable to another such melodrama, if I were a current sitting member of the U.S. Senate, I would grudgingly vote against the House-passed Budget, with apologies to Patty Murray, the Democratic representative who "negotiated" with Paul Ryan, Chair of the House Budget Committee, to come up with this latest deal.
If the current trend, backed by millions of Koch Brothers' dollars, stashed with the millions of dollars from other donors with a similar agenda continues through 2014, the Democrats will lose control of the Senate, and effectually permit the complete emasculation of the President, for the remaining two years of his second term. And that would be a tragedy for the country, and the rest of the world, no matter how much success the President achieves in the field of international diplomacy.