This week I helped produce a segment on ALEC for Angie Corio’s new radio show In Deep the show airs Friday night in Monterey KRXA 540am http://krxa540.com 8-10p, tomorrow (Sat)10a-12noon in DC WPWC 1480am http://weactradio.com.
What if you are so outraged at ALEC’s hidden activities with corporate lobbyists that a simple call, click or letter though the usual channels isn’t enough? I’ve got some ideas for you.
One thing I’ve found in my years on your planet is to recognize people’s unique talents when you ask them to help you. I’m a communications guy with an understanding of media, technology and corporations so I use those skills for the causes I support. But there are lots of different activist methods for people with unique skills they can use to fight the right. So let’s match some skill sets and interests to ways you can get involved.
1) Are you the performer type? Do you enjoy speaking in public? Do you run to the microphone to ask questions at lectures?
You can be the “talent” who is the focal point of a citizen activist team’s video story.
2) Are you a filmmaker and knows how to put together a short edited video with a few titles and load it up on YouTube?
You can be the “director” who films the “talent” and preps a video to go viral.
3) Are you a researcher and writer? Do you know exactly what to say when someone is “answering” a questions with words that are clearly a dodge, a lie, or an obfuscation on a topic that you know something about? But would you rather write these pithy, witty responses down on your computer than say them out loud to someone in public?
You can be the “screen writer” who educates the “talent” on the issue for their questions in a public forum and ensures the “director” has a solid narrative and a point of view.
4) Are you a connector? Someone with lots of friends and followers on social media. Do you know how to throw a good party to support a cause or fight back?
You can be the “producer” who introduces the “talent” to the “director” and “screen writer” and suggests they work together.
I’ve been training small teams like this to go to town halls and other locations. It really can be an amazingly powerful group. As you can see, I use the terminology of Hollywood because in our current environment so much of what gets covered by the media is theater. Politicians are always performing, saying what they think the audience wants to hear. Their people know how to stage manage events. They know what people like to see, they want to “control the box” by dictating the venue, the attendees, and if they are pretending to be open, only the “right” kind of media are allowed in. They will use all the methods at their disposal to block teams like this because they have the potential to create Macaca Moments. [cont’d.]
There is a huge opportunity for teams like this in all sorts of situations, not just the events that are scheduled and stage managed by organizations like ALEC. ALEC has a hilarious “media policy” which, if actually enforced equally, even Fox News couldn’t attend. If you are interested in training sessions for people who want to participate in these teams contact me at spockosemail AT gmail. com.
But what if your talent isn’t in any of these areas and you still want to help?
Boy can you be helpful! I know some CFOs and accounting GAAP experts who know all the tricks on how to legally hide things, which means they also know how to force some errors and look for others to fall into the loopholes they fixed.
Corporations donate millions of dollars to ALEC. They often hide their donations. What kind of methods can you suggest that can uncover these donations? Has a company revealed info in a quarterly document that nobody noticed? Might you suggest a method of questioning of the corporations in shareholder meetings about these expenditures? Sure some institutional shareholder fund managers understand that buying politicians and legislation has a great ROI for the long term, but maybe they want that cash this quarter. Maybe they are a corporation that says one thing in public, but funds the opposite in private by giving to ALEC. Shouldn’t the CEO be asked about the apparent disconnect between their stated mission statement and where they are spending the shareholders money?
Two of my favorite financial writers are William Black and David Cay Johnston but I’m sure there are other people working in finance (or retired) who could educate someone enough to know what to look for and ask about in a forum where it can’t be ignored. Maybe you need to team up with some “talent” and a “director” to get the story out there after someone asks your questions. This is necessary because you can be pretty sure that the financial press or the main stream press aren’t going to ask those questions.
Well have I got something for you! Right now there are a couple of bills going through the Florida House that have ALEC fingerprints all over them (maybe they remembered to take the header off this time.)
The title of these two Florida “Education” bills are designed to be misleading. They play on parent’s feeling of loss of control over their kid’s education while taking any semblance of local democratic control away. They do this because not many people would vote for the:
“We Will Steal Your Kid’s School, Remove Your Local School Board and Replace them with Unelected for-profit Corporate Executives Who Have A Fiduciary Responsibility to Enrich The Corporation Bottom Line Instead of Provide a Quality Education To Your Kids While Setting Up A Potentially Worse Performing School that Your Kids Probably Can’t Get into Anyway Because of Their Low Test Scores” bill.
So they call them House Bill 1191, or the Parent Empowerment Act — and HB 543, or the Parental Involvement and Accountability in the Public Schools Bill.
Now right now these bills are at the stage where they are supposed to get public comment. That’s you! So if you are in Florida, call your legislator now.
And I’ll bet there are ALEC Bills coming to your state too! Follow @ALECexposed for updates or go to ALECexposed.org for more details.
All of these skills can be used if you actively want to challenge, defund and hamper the funders and leaders of an organization like ALEC.
Spocko is a media activist who trains people to tell their stories to the press and public.