Think ALEC

Judd Legum of ThinkProgress reported that:

Police Chief Steve Bracknell, who is responsible for the Florida town where George Zimmerman resides, agreed in a series of emails that Zimmerman is a “ticking time bomb” and another “Sandy Hook” waiting to happen.

Bracknell expressed his views in response to two emails from Santiago Rodriguez, who reached Bracknell through a contact form on the police department’s website. Bracknell confirmed the emails’ authenticity to ThinkProgress and subsequently tried to distance himself from the remarks.

ALEC refers, of course, the American Legislative Exchange Council, a well-funded policy shop dedicated to promoting a reactionary politics (about which, see this) and the source (.pdf) of the “stand your ground” legislation which protected George Zimmerman after he killed Trayvon Martin.

Paranoia the destroyer

Not guilty

George Zimmerman entered a not guilty plea to second degree murder changes. Zimmerman had apologized to Trayvon Martin’s parents during his April 20th Bond Hearing, a act that drew criticism and another apology from Zimmerman’s lawyer.

George Zimmerman appeared in courty today

Zimmerman is expected to plead not guilty at his arraignment, according to an Associated Press report.

George Zimmerman was charged with second degree murder

The charge carries a 25 year minimum sentence for the convicted.

George Zimmerman will be charged this afternoon

Citing an anonymous source, the Washington Post reported that “Florida special prosecutor Angela Corey plans to announce as early as Wednesday afternoon that she is charging neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in the shooting of Trayvon Martin.” This report follows by one day the withdrawal of Zimmerman’s attorneys from the case. Zimmerman’s attorney’s suggested that Zimmerman is not now located in the state of Florida.

Paul Krugman on ALEC

ALEC is the acronym of the American Legislative Exchange Council, a self-proclaimed non-partisan think tank which drafts legislation which is often made into law by the various states. For instance, ALEC wrote for and promoted the “kill at will” or “stand your ground” legislation that recently resulted in the Trayvon Martin killing. As a consequence of its efforts in this matter, ALEC has become a focal point for the Justice for Trayvon Martin movement. ALEC has earned this critical attention for the Martin killing and for much else, including Scott Walker‘s attack on the state of Wisconisn.

Krugman’s description of ALEC is both accurate and critical in intent:

What is ALEC? Despite claims that it’s nonpartisan, it’s very much a movement-conservative organization, funded by the usual suspects: the Kochs, Exxon Mobil, and so on. Unlike other such groups, however, it doesn’t just influence laws, it literally writes them, supplying fully drafted bills to state legislators. In Virginia, for example, more than 50 ALEC-written bills have been introduced, many almost word for word. And these bills often become law.

Many ALEC-drafted bills pursue standard conservative goals: union-busting, undermining environmental protection, tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy. ALEC seems, however, to have a special interest in privatization — that is, on turning the provision of public services, from schools to prisons, over to for-profit corporations. And some of the most prominent beneficiaries of privatization, such as the online education company K12 Inc. and the prison operator Corrections Corporation of America, are, not surprisingly, very much involved with the organization.

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, in which corporations get their profits from taxpayer dollars, dollars steered their way by friendly politicians. In short, ALEC isn’t so much about promoting free markets as it is about expanding crony capitalism.

ALEC — the well-funded defender and promoter of crony capitalism, desiccated democracy, political opacity and unaccountability as well as the socio-political environment which nurtures economic predation. In the last instance, it appears that Trayvon Martin was just unlucky prey for ALEC and some of its tools (George Zimmerman, the Florida state legislators linked to ALEC who passed
Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, etc.). But it is wise to keep one’s attention on the fact that Trayvon Martin was prey because the most Americans are prey.

George Zimmerman on tape

A video taken by the Sanford PD , which ABC News obtained and broadcast, shows an apparently uninjured George Zimmerman exiting a squad car and entering the Department office complex (h/t Phoenix Woman):