Sunday, July 22, 2012

Wimmer (UT-ALEC) - Duped or DOPE?

ALEC member Carl Wimmer wrote an editorial in a Utah paper that was published last night and it is – to say the least – the most bizarre thing I have read in recent days from pro-ALEC people and organizations.

A little bit about Mr Wimmer
Before we get into the editorial some bits and pieces about Carl Wimmer (UT-ALEC).
Rep. Carl Wimmer (R-52)[9], ALEC Public Safety and Elections Task Force Member [17]
Member of the kill at will, voter ID, immigration ALEC task force.

Rep. Wimmer's latest piece of legislation, the Criminal Homicide and Abortion Revisions, which charges women and girls with murder for having miscarriages caused by an "intentional or knowing act," was signed into law this week by Utah Governor Gary Herbert. The original bill would have also included "reckless" behavior, but Rep. Wimmer removed that word to guarantee the governor's signature.

I was just on a radio show in Ohio; we're all over the country with this thing. I'm a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and it was my intention to take this bill and present it there as a piece of model legislation that other states can adopt.

In addition to chairing the Utah Family Action Council Team, Rep. Wimmer is co-founder of the Patrick Henry Caucus, an organization whose mission is to "restore and uphold the sovereignty and rights of the individual States as guaranteed by the tenth amendment of the United States Constitution."

In a 2009 rant he did about Obamacare was republished on a French Facebook page .
ALEC members embarass the US around the world.

Why do the feds believe they are the only ones who can solve the health care problem, when they have not solved much of anything recently? Utah has already begun comprehensive health care reform and we didn’t need Washington D.C to tell us how to do it.

Under the 10th Amendment to the Constitution, states are free to regulate themselves within reason. This has not been happening, and thus the balance of power has shifted drastically. We now have a large, centralized national government, and smaller subservient states. This lack of balance is indeed one of the primary causes for the bitter political divide we have in this country. Much of the discontent could be alleviated if states simply had more authority to determine their own destiny. If states could set certain reasonable policies for themselves, each individual state could better reflect the value structure of the people who live there.

In December 2009 and June 2010 and August 2010 he reimbursed himself for travel to ALEC meetings from his campaign fund.  (Won’t go any further – there is a definite trend here.)
Didn’t ALEC pay for this also through the Corporate Profit Sector members “scholarship fund”?
I wonder how much his trip to the ALEC Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City, UT is going to cost.

And there is this piece which focuses on the takeover of federal lands - so that ALEC state legislators can turn them over to ALEC Corporate Profit Secotr members for whatever purpose they want. 

Literally so – as it could lead, perhaps only after a U.S. Supreme Court decision, to nearly all of the federal land in Utah becoming state land, controlled by the Legislature, the governor, and a new public land commission.

Those lands could be tilled for planting, mined for coal, or sold or leased into real estate development.

That’s right, millions of acres of BLM and monument land being turned over to the state for administration, and developed in a fair, measured way, even sold into private hands if that is its best use.

Ivory’s bill will be unique to Utah, the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, has turned his bill into model legislation that other western land states can use.

While ALEC is a conservative legislative/business group, Ivory says he hopes to get Utah Democrats onboard with this new effort.

In the comments section you find this:

The Patrick Henry Caucus (founders are Ken Sumsion, Chris Herrod, Carl Wimmer, Stephen Sandstrom, and Keith Grover) has been working on this for years; it's nice to see other people jumping on the bandwagon.

On to the Editorial by ALEC Member Wimmer
I was going to give you snips – but I can’t because the snips would make no sense – because the editorial is so bizarre. 

So here’s the whole thing with comments.

By Carl Wimmer
Published: Sunday, July 22 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

Recently, some groups have criticized the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, for providing a forum where elected officials can discuss various proposals with representatives from the private sector. In these critics' view, these "secretive" meetings are inappropriate since ALEC's private sector members bear the lion's share of the cost for this forum.
Not only to the ALEC Corporate Profit Sector members bear the lion’s share of the cost – if you take the time to review the “model” legislation introduced at ALEC meetings over the course of the last two years (posted on Common Cause) the ALEC Corporate Profit Sector members author and submit the lion’s share of the legislation that is introduced at ALEC meetings.

Frankly, it's hard to believe that anyone takes these questions seriously. Under the First Amendment, Americans have the right to "peaceably assemble" "to petition the government." ALEC and its members are merely exercising these rights.
Which Americans are you talking about?
Most Americans have NO say in the ALEC process at all – NONE – Nada – Aucun – Keiner.
The ALEC process is ALEC legislators coming together with Corporate Profit Sector lobbyists representatives – behind closed doors with the public having NO access to the proceedings or the minutes of the proceedings.

But, let's assume the critics' concerns are more substantive. Perhaps their criticisms are more about making official decisions behind closed doors. If that's what happens at ALEC meetings, every Utah voter should storm ALEC's events. Not only would that violate Utah's Open and Public Meetings Act, but also any notion of openness or transparency.
Publicly inciting a riot – in a Utah newspaper?  That makes me fearful for what ALEC has planned for protestors.

ALEC legislators have re-written lobbying and open meeting statutes across the United States that rename ALEC meetings as “caucuses” and thus not regulated by Open Meeting Laws.  Over the course of the past 29 years ALEC legislators have made sure that the meetings and the money have been protected by introducing statues in their states that specifically exempts ALEC meetings and money from State laws.

A moment's thought exposes this concern as absurd. The Legislature is in session 45 days a year. They can't take any action after the clock strikes midnight on the 45th day. Anyone who has seen the frenetic pace of the final night is all too familiar with just how firm the midnight deadline is.

In extraordinary circumstances, the governor calls the Legislature into "special session." However, the Legislature can only consider the specific issues that the governor puts "on the call." In other words, Utah's public officials aren't casting any official votes at ALEC meetings.
I have no idea what in the hell he is trying to do with these paragraphs.  Somewhere in his sick mind I think he is trying to substantiate ALEC meetings as some type of extension of the state legislative process.  This may be how ALEC members really view ALEC meetings – but is doe not make it correct.  It is sick!

ALEC and its members discuss and evaluate public policy proposals from Utah and around the country. While Utah is a well-managed state, we certainly can't claim to be the fount of all wisdom. Utah should avail itself of lessons learned from other states, just as other states should avail themselves of Utah's lessons.
No – as mentioned before – ALEC legislative members discuss and evaluate public policy proposals presented by ALEC Corporate Profit Sector lobbyist members.  No state should avail themselves to this discourse.  Mr. Wimmer should be reminded that this is a democratic republic – representation of, by, and for the PEOPLE and NOT representation of, by, and for the corporations.

Perhaps the concerns about ALEC revolve around who pays for these meetings. If private companies fund ALEC, are these companies exercising undue influence? When money is introduced into the equation, it's tempting to see the specter of undue influence. If ALEC hold their meetings in the swanky Grand America Hotel, certainly ALEC's wining and dining of Utah elected officials will dupe them into benefiting ALEC's members at the expense of Utah, right?
There is so much wrong with this last paragraph.

YES – private companies funding ALEC is undue influence – look at the “model” legislation coming out of ALEC meetings.  The “model” legislation is pro-business in its extent, AT THE EXPENSE of the general public.

YES – When money is introduced into the equation – there IS undue influence.  Undue influence that the common constituent does not have available to them.

That is why in 1995 ALEC told American corporations
"I would say that ALEC is a good investment
Nowhere else can you get a return that high."

YES – “ALEC’s wining and dining of Utah elected official WILL DUPE THEM INTO BENEFITING ALEC’s Corporate Profit Sector Members.

UTAH - Please do not elect this guy to any other offices.
He does not belong in the service of the people and the commons.
He is not a public servant - he is a corporate shill.

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