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Will Potter: What Is Big Ag Trying to Hide? (ALEC bills criminalizing anyone who exposes wrongdoing)

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highplainsdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-24-11 11:45 AM
Original message
Will Potter: What Is Big Ag Trying to Hide? (ALEC bills criminalizing anyone who exposes wrongdoing)
Will Potter links to this opinion piece from his own GreenIsTheNewRed.com blog

http://www.greenisthenewred.com/blog/huffington-post-wh... /

but to read the entire piece you have to go to HuffPo:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/will-potter/animal-cruelt...

Will Potter
What Is Big Ag Trying to Hide?
Posted: 04/22/11 02:58 PM ET


Undercover investigations by the Humane Society, Mercy for Animals and other groups have exposed systemic animal cruelty at factory farms. The video footage has led to criminal convictions in Iowa, voter referendums in Florida, and consumer outrage at the most egregious animal welfare abuses.

Rather than put an end to these practices, though, corporations and agriculture industry groups have hit back with another plan: criminalize anyone who exposes their wrongdoing.

Iowa, Florida and Minnesota are all considering bills that specifically target anyone who documents the mistreatment of animals. In Minnesota, for instance, the bill criminalizes the recording, or mere possession, of an "image or sound" of animal suffering in a sweeping list of "animal facilities" and "crop facilities."

-snip-

The language in the Iowa, Florida, and Minnesota bills is quite similar to provisions in model "eco-terrorism" legislation created by a corporate front group. The American Legislative Exchange Council is a non-profit funded by corporations, who contribute tens of thousands of dollars in exchange for having a say in drafting model bills. The bills are then introduced by state lawmakers across the country. ALEC's model bill is so broad that it includes undercover investigations, photography, videotaping and non-violent civil disobedience as "eco-terrorism."

-snip-



Please read the entire piece. Potter points out the corporate influences behind this legislation and how long they've been trying to get these laws passed.

These bills are also mentioned separately in various replies in the long compilation topic on the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). But this new opinion piece by Will Potter is the best overview I've seen of what's going on now.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-24-11 11:49 AM
Response to Original message
1. Soylent Green is People
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DBoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-24-11 12:27 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. What does Soylent Green taste like?
Depends on the person
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-24-11 12:37 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Pork, I Suppose
or maybe the fake-pork soya?
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MineralMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-24-11 12:40 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. Long Pig. 50 points to the house of the first person to identify
Edited on Sun Apr-24-11 12:51 PM by MineralMan
the American literary allusion.
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drm604 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-24-11 12:58 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Long Pig.
Edited on Sun Apr-24-11 12:59 PM by drm604
I know that it's been claimed that the term was used by Polynesian cannibals to refer to human flesh. I'm not familiar with any literary allusions.
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MineralMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-24-11 01:06 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. The word was first brought into American Literature
Edited on Sun Apr-24-11 01:07 PM by MineralMan
in Herman Melville's 1846 novel, Typee, which was a fictional account of a story set in the Marquesas Islands. Pretty obscure, unless you were an English major, I guess.
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drm604 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-24-11 01:20 PM
Response to Original message
7. This is proof of the corporate origins of some legislation.
What possible reason is there for such bills other than to prevent the documentation of ag companies' practices?
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highplainsdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-24-11 01:36 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. ALEC exists primarily to let corporations write legislation. NONE of the
model legislation that their public-sector legislator members introduce in their state senate or house (copying the bills either word-for-word or with slight tweaks) can get final approval until after it's first been approved by private-sector task forces made up of corporate representatives, as well as public-sector task forces made up of legislators.
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hootinholler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-24-11 01:56 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. It's a national agenda
Implemented as a network via the various state legislatures.

I'm not sure what we can do about it either.

-Hoot
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highplainsdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-24-11 02:56 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. We can try to make sure people know about it. Most voters don't want their state legislators
Edited on Sun Apr-24-11 03:02 PM by highplainsdem
introducing cookie-cutter legislation written by corporations as a "solution" to problems, especially at the state level. Which is why ALEC doesn't disclose its member list, and why Tom McMillin in Michigan keeps dodging questions about his involvement with ALEC. And the more that becomes known about corporations' role in ALEC, the more likely they'll try to be more secretive about where this legislation originates.

But there's already a lot of information out there, including copies of some (not all) of the model legislation, press releases from ALEC praising state legislators for bills they've introduced, etc.

It's important to make sure people know that ALEC is NOT just a national association of state legislators. Even John Boehner, a former ALEC member, made it clear when he spoke at an ALEC event a couple of years ago that what's most important about ALEC is the private sector role. ALEC represents lobbying on a scale grander and more organized than most people realize can exist, even though it claims to be just an "educational" "charity."

So it's important to identify legislation from ALEC, and label it for what it is. Make sure ALEC is mentioned as often as possible when the legislation is mentioned. Ask local reporters to check on which bills are ALEC bills and bring that up in news stories.

We do seem to have more attention like this on ALEC in just the last couple of months. I think Professor Cronon's Scholar As Citizen blog about ALEC -- both the attention his study guide got, and the additional attention resulting from the McCarthyite misuse of an open-records request by the Wisconsin GOP -- had a lot to do with that. (And his blog posts got lots of replies with links, including some I posted, including a couple of comments with links outing two of his critics for their association with ALEC and right-wing think tanks.)

I'd like to see ALEC mentioned much more often on cable news, too. Rachel's mentioned it, but I think only once. I don't recall Ed ever talking about it. Or Lawrence. Keith had mentioned it, just a couple of weeks before he left MSNBC. I don't recall Anderson Cooper or anyone else at CNN ever saying anything about ALEC.
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Quantess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-24-11 11:50 PM
Response to Original message
11. Sick.
K & R
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