Thursday, March 29, 2012
So Much for Democracy
We’ve all been hearing a lot lately about a number of state laws that seem to have sprung up overnight. Suddenly, Voter ID laws are all the rage. Same for the so-called Stand Your Ground laws that enabled the murder of a teenager last month in Florida. Are all of our 50 states so in synch that miraculously the same laws are created, nearly at once?
Not even close. A group called the American Legislative Exchange Council, (ALEC) created these laws, and a number of others. ALEC founded by Paul Weyrich, Henry Hyde and other swell guys like John Kasich, Jesse Helms, Jack Kemp, and Tommy Thompson. It is populated almost exclusively by right wing conservatives. ALEC is a group of 300 plus corporations who work together to create model legislation. They are funded by corporate donations. They pass the model legislation on to their 2,000 some odd state legislative puppets at their annual all-expenses-paid luxury retreat where the legislators can hang out with captains of industry, and prepare to move on into the lucrative world of lobbying. The puppets go back home and introduce the corporate written model legislation.
ALEC estimates it has over 1000 bills introduced in state legislatures each year, and that one in five of them pass. Naturally these are laws that benefit ALEC’s corporate members. One of ALEC’s big funders is the NRA, which is how the Stand Your Ground laws turned up in so many places, including NH. This is why, suddenly, Voter ID laws were turning up everywhere, including NH. NH has few documented cases of voter fraud, but suddenly, thanks to the 40+ ALEC puppets in the NH legislature, it was all the rage. As it happens, SB 318, the NH Senate voter ID law’s main sponsor, is Senator Sharon Carson. Carson is one of ALEC’s NH legislators, obediently doing the bidding of her corporate overlords.
A number of the Free State Project members, serving as GOP state representatives are also part of ALEC, which is more than a little hypocritical, given the philosophies they claim to espouse. State Representatives Jordan Ulery and Gary Johnson are the ALEC state chairmen for NH. The website: alecexposed.org will provide you with a great deal of information about ALEC, and what they’re up to, including a look at the thousands of pieces of ALEC model legislation. This is government for the corporations, by the corporations – but hey, corporations ARE people after all. Just ask Willard.
The right to work law that the O’Brien junta worked so hard to pass last year was not a NH bill. It came straight from a special interest group in Virginia. Despite the trouncing that O’Brien took on that last year, he brought it back again this year, only to be trounced again. In other words, the legislature wasted more of our tax dollars and their time, on a bill that wasn’t going anywhere. So much for that laser-like focus on job creation.
The laser is still broken. This week, the legislature interfered in the business of women’s bodily autonomy and medical privacy, by passing HB 1659. The initial bill required a 24-hour wait for women to receive dishonest propaganda from an abortion provider, before she was able to have the legal medical procedure known as abortion. The bill was yanked back into committee, when they realized that they had nebulous threats of penalties, but that in their haste to ensure a lack of liberty for women, these felony charges had not been examined for legality or constitutionality. The provision for forcing literature explaining the link between breast cancer and abortion was removed – probably because the idea that our state would force women to hear anti-science lies became national news. The newly retooled bill was passed, and it still forces a woman to wait 24 hours to undergo a legal medical procedure. This means a loss of (at least) two days pay, and a great deal of repetitive traveling for women who live in the far reaches of the state. It’s also worth pointing out that this bill will cost NH taxpayers over $100,000 each year. Rep. Sandra Kearns of Rochester, proposed expanding the bill to include men with erectile dysfunction, but the Speaker claimed that was not germane. No man should have to wait 24 hours in his pursuit of a drug induced erection. It’s not proper, you see, to get between a man and his doctor. It’s also worth noting that the Free Staters and other faux libertarians who bleat non-stop about personal liberty all vote against it at every opportunity, when that liberty involves women.
Last week, Governor Lynch vetoed the unconstitutional House plan for redistricting (gerrymandering) the state. This week, O’Brien violated the state constitution to override a bill that violates the state constitution. This was by far the most blatant power grab made (thus far) by the O’Brien junta. The events included a last minute secret GOP caucus where a legal opinion was allegedly presented that gave the Speaker permission to override the state constitution’s strictures on providing proper notice. This act also violated centuries of established tradition. The minority party leadership was never given a copy of this legal opinion. The minority party asked for 15 minutes to caucus, but the Speaker refused. The real outrage isn’t so much that legislators didn’t get proper notice or a copy of the legal opinion. The real outrage is that we the people didn’t get any of this. By strong-arming the cowardly majority party and overriding the Governor’s veto, it is we the people who didn’t get a chance to address OUR elected representatives on this matter.
Ask your representatives why they all voted to bypass the constitution to override the veto of an unconstitutional redistricting plan – and make no mistake, in Carroll County, they all voted for this.
"To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men." Abraham Lincoln
© sbruce 2012
published as an op-ed in the March 30, 2012 edition of the Conway Daily Sun newspaper.
h/t to World Fellowship for the graphic
Posted by susanthe at 1:03 PM