+

We all love a good David and Goliath story. Maybe that's why hating on corporations is so easy. (And fun!)

But the fact is that corporations, like people, aren't innately bad. (Can we go ahead and agree that they're not actually people though?)

If we're being technical, corporations are simply groups of people authorized to act as a single legal entity. And while it's easy to use for the word "corporate" to take on a pejorative meaning in casual conversation (hey, I'm totally guilty of it), it's not exactly fair or accurate.


Except in the case of these corporations who are totally The Worst and have this one thing in common:

Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Most of the corporations that you hear the horror stories about have a longstanding history with the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC.

Again, if we're being technical, ALEC is simply a nonprofit organization dedicated to free-market capitalism. But if we scratch the surface (like, just the tippy top), it becomes glaringly obvious that ALEC's primary function is to help corporations write fill-in-the-blank laws for congresspeople to sign and pass.

Basically everything you've ever heard or suspected about American political corruption starts with ALEC.

You can find their fingerprints all over the prison-industrial complex, voter disenfranchisement, privatizing education, undermining consumer protections in the Affordable Care Act, "stand your ground" laws, pollution and anti-environmental initiatives, and more.

Here are just a few of the corporations that are still in cahoots with ALEC:

Photo by Fibonacci Blue/Flickr.

1. Anheuser-Busch

In addition to sponsoring the open-bar cocktail hour at the 2015 ALEC annual conference, beverage giant Anheuser-Busch is also a member of ALEC's Commerce, Insurance, and Economic Development Task Force — responsible for numerous anti-worker and union-busting initiatives. So, why not consider getting your drink somewheres else? (Uh, also: no big loss. Their beer tastes like pee.)

Photo by Dorisal/Wikimedia Commons.

2. AT&T and
3. Sprint Nextel

In case you were wondering why your cellphone bill is so impossibly convoluted or why your supposedly "public" utilities look a lot more like a group of private companies that put profits over people, it might have something to do with the insane-o ALEC-sponsored legislation that AT&T and Sprint Nextel have pushed through Washington. For example: Ever wonder why your local public utility commission still hasn't laid any high-speed fiber-optic Internet cables in your town? Yep: ALEC.


Photo by Mike Mozart/Flickr.

4. Comcast Corporation and
5. Time Warner Cable

Like our friends above, Comcast and Time Warner Cable use ALEC to help them maintain oligarchical control over Internet and television utilities. They're also responsible for throttling your download speeds on certain websites, and — oh yeah — making it impossible for you to switch services because there are no other available competitors in the area.


Photo by Shane Dwyer/Wikimedia Commons.

6. ExxonMobil

OK, this one isn't much of a surprise. I mean, they're an oil company. Are you surprised that ExxonMobil has contributed more than $1.5 million to ALEC's hardline climate-change-doubting agenda over the last 17 years?


Photo via Coolcaesar/Wikimedia Commons.

7. FedEx and
8. UPS

How's this for cozy? UPS's vice president of corporate public affairs is the second vice chairman of ALEC's private enterprise advisory board. Meanwhile, FedEx has at least one lobbyist on the executive committee for ALEC's Commerce, Insurance, and Economic Development Task Force. Good thing can we still rely on the U.S. Postal Serv ... I can't even type that sentence with a straight face, ugh.


Photo by Andreas Lischka/Wikimedia Commons.

9. Pfizer and
10. Novartis

Both Pfizer and Novartis benefitted greatly from ALEC's Data Quality Act, which made it legal for corporations to validate and regulate their own scientific data (thus enabling them to get away with using cheaper chemical shortcuts in products that cause damage to human beings as well as the environment). They've also played a major part in fighting against health care reform and in protecting pharmaceutical companies from liability lawsuits.


Photo by Editor182/Wikimedia Commons.

11. The Wall Street Journal

So much for free press, huh? It might be acceptable for media companies to have corporate relationships, but not when they disguise ALEC propaganda as independent editorial content. (Perhaps not that surprising, considering that The Wall Street Journal is also owned by Rupert Murdoch.)


Photo by Steve Rainwater/Flickr.

But recently, ALEC's schemes have gotten so bad that some supposedly awful corporations have cut ties with them.

In March 2015, oil giant BP — yes, that BPfinally pointed at ALEC and said, "Hey, we've done some bad stuff in our time. But at least we're not those guys." Harsh.


Photo via Dirtyharry667/Wikimedia Commons.

And thankfully, it make have sparked a trend: Fellow oil giant Royal Dutch Shell also cut ties with ALEC in August 2015, and they actually had something sensible to say about it: "We have long recognised both the importance of the climate challenge and the critical role energy has in determining quality of life for people across the world," a spokesman said. "As part of an ongoing review of memberships and affiliations, we will be letting our association with ALEC lapse when the current contracted term ends early next year."

Granted, Shell still forged ahead with their plans to drill for oil in the Arctic despite the potentially disastrous environmental impact and only stopped when they decided it wouldn't be profitable enough. But still; we'll take it.


Photo by Stefan Kühn/Wikimedia Commons.

ALEC may still have a stronghold on politics — but we can still vote with both our ballots and our dollars.

What can you do in the face of seemingly endless political corruption and board rooms building built-to-fail schemes to keep the sway of power in their favor? Simple: Refuse to play their games. They can't win if there's no one to play against.

For starters, you can refuse to support the ALEC-affiliated corporations above. Be a conscientious consumer and take your business elsewhere whenever possible. If there's no alternative, you can always sign this petition to pressure companies to cut their ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council.

And finally, refuse to give your vote to any politician who still has ALEC's dirt on their hands. It won't fix everything, but it's a darn good start.

via Chewy

Adorable Dexter and his new chew toy. Thanks Chewy Claus.

True

Every holiday season, millions of kids send letters asking for everything from a new bike to a pony. Some even make altruistic requests such as peace on Earth or helping struggling families around the holidays.

But wouldn’t the holiday season be even more magical if our pets had their wishes granted, too? That’s why Chewy Claus is stepping up to spread holiday cheer to America’s pets.

Does your dog dream of a month’s supply of treats or chew toys? Would your cat love a new tree complete with a stylish condo? How about giving your betta fish some fresh decor that’ll really tie its tank together?

Or do your pets need something more than mere creature comforts such as life-saving surgery?

Keep ReadingShow less
Photo by Jeremy Wong on Unsplash

Teen raises $186,000 to help Walmart worker retire.

In America, many people have to work well past the age of retirement to make ends meet. While some of these people choose to work past retirement age because it keeps them active, some older people, like Nola Carpenter, 81, work out of necessity.

Carpenter has been working at Walmart for 20 years, way beyond most people's retirement age just so that she can afford to continue to pay her mortgage. When 19-year-old Devan Bonagura saw the woman looking tired in the break room of the store, he posted a video to his TikTok of Carpenter with a text overlay that said, "Life shouldn't b this hard..." complete with a sad face emoji.

In the video, Carpenter is sitting at a small table looking down and appearing to be exhausted. The caption of the video reads ":/ I feel bad." Turns out, a lot of other people did too, and encouraged the teen to start a GoFundMe, which has since completed.

Keep ReadingShow less

Philadelphia is taking the city back to the past.

Remember when calling your parents, a tow truck or a friend when you were out and about meant digging in your pocket for a quarter to make a pay phone call? Well, a Philadelphia-based collective, PhilTel, is jumping into the past with a modern twist, by installing free-to-use pay phones throughout the city.

Of course, the pay phones that many of us grew up were removed from public places years ago. There no longer seemed to be a need for them when most people had a phone in their pocket or in their hand. But it's easy to forget that not everyone has or wants that luxury. For some people, staying that connected all the time can be too much and for others, it's simply financially impossible to own a cell phone.

Keep ReadingShow less

This article originally appeared on 07.22.21


As if a Canada goose named Arnold isn't endearing enough, his partner who came looking for him when he was injured is warming hearts and having us root for this sweet feathered couple.

Cape Wildlife Center in Barnstable, Massachusetts shared the story on its Facebook page, in what they called "a first" for their animal hospital.


Keep ReadingShow less
popular

Think all cats are the same? These pictures prove they each have their own personality

Photographer Nils Jacobi shows how cats aren't nearly as aloof as one might think.

All images used with Nils Jacobi's permission. @furryfritz/Instagram

Catographer purrfectly captures cats' purrsonalities.

People often mistakingly attribute a singular personality to cats—usually the words "aloof" or "snobby" are used to describe them. At best, they might be given the "evil genius" label. But in actuality, no two cats are alike. Each has their own distinct ways of being, whether that’s silly, sophisticated, affectionate, downright diabolical or somewhere in between.

This photographer has the pictures to prove it.

Nils Jacobi, better known online as furryfritz, the catographer, has photographed literally thousands upon thousands of cats—from Maine coons who look like they should be in a perfume ad to tabbies in full-on derp mode.
Keep ReadingShow less