Sunday, June 25, 2017

ALEC Chairwoman...and oh yea, Republican State Sen. Leah Vukmir includes Faculty, Regulating "Free Speech."

I guess I'll have to wait a little bit longer to hear a talk show host introduce State Sen. Leah Vukmir as not just a Republican, but the national chairwoman of ALEC, a group that writes and promotes extreme right wing legislation nationwide. Her influence and position at ALEC isn't something we should ignore.

Especially since ALEC is now targeting our First Amendment free speech rights on public college campuses, with Chairwoman Vukmir's own proposed ALEC legislation. Here are just two ALEC topics from their site:

ALEC Chairwoman Leah Vukmir offered these purely anecdotal "reasons" for regulated free speech (sounds weird doesn't it?), reasons Republicans have called 'mob rule" since the 60's protests. Her press release states:
“Across the country, free speech rights are under assault. Students, professors and administrators are using intimidation tactics to silence those they disagree with. Now is not the time to treat this issue lightly; well thought-out legislative action is required. This must end.”
BIG GOVERNMENT REPUBLICANS: Unconstitutional, yes, but requiring "legislative oversight" with a "strict disciplinary system?" Vukmir is not just the targeting of protesters, but campus faculty as well:
The proposal would explicitly outline protections for free speech in statute for students, faculty and staff on both university and technical school campuses. With legislative oversight, the UW Board of Regents and Technical College System Board would implement a strict disciplinary system for those who infringe on others’ free speech rights.
From Upfront with Mike Gousha (goo-shay), Vukmir feigned concern with her urgently framed second-hand anecdotally based talking points of "victimized" conservatives afraid to speak out on campus. Someone should ask for proof sometime, that isn't subjective:
Vukmir: "And I've talked to college kids across the state of Wisconsin on the we have students who are fearful of speaking..."

Turning Government into a Racket: Besides allowing conservative speakers to sue colleges so they can receive thousands of dollars in taxpayer money just to settle, Vukmir's bill drains taxpayers pockets again for "security," a scheme many speakers use to boost their conservative reputations.
UW System President Ray Cross testified there are circumstances where a university might not allow an invited speaker on campus because they couldn’t protect his or her safety. This bill also creates a statute to preserve a speaker’s ability to come to campus in those cases.
Here's the legislation that forces taxpayers to pay for right wing security:
The bill also requires administrators to make all reasonable efforts and make available all reasonable resources to ensure the safety of individuals invited to speak on campuses. If administrators determine that they cannot ensure an individual's safety, the bill requires that the individual must be allowed to speak in spite of that determination. 
And even though you might have a right to protest...well, probably not (highlighted below as separate issue):
The bill also prohibits a person from threatening an invited speaker or threatening to organize protests or riots or to incite violence with the purpose to dissuade or intimidate an invited speaker from attending a campus event.
Not only does a protester lose the right to oppose a speakers appearance, but it normalizes radical politics, with no way to alert the public.

Looking up a little background on ALEC chairwoman Leah Vukmir, I found this at Urban Milwaukee:
recent story in Milwaukee Magazine by Matt Hrodey reports, fellow Republicans “sometimes called Vukmir ‘Nurse Ratchet’ … The Shepherd Express did a 2009 story entitled “Why Republicans Dislike Leah Vukmir,” complete with a cruel caricature that managed to make the attractive legislator look like a gorgon. Earlier that year Marc Eisen interviewed a range of Capitol insiders to pick the state’s best and worst legislators for Milwaukee Magazine and Vukmir made the list of the ten worst.

Only 14 percent of her huge campaign war chest of $446,910 came from donors living in the district.

In June 2013, the liberal Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) sued Vukmir, contending she had violated Wisconsin’s open records law by not turning over records related to her involvement with the American Legislative Exchange Councilthe conservative group bankrolled by corporations that creates and promotes model legislation to benefit these companies. Vukmir stonewalled and then responded to the CMD suit by claiming she could not be sued while in office. As the Wisconsin State Journal reported, a process server hired to notify Vukmir of the lawsuit says “a Vukmir aide assailed him with abusive language, chased him and pushed him to the ground outside the Capitol.”  The emails showed Vukmir was championing a model ALEC bill opposing the expansion of state Medicaid programs under Obamacare. 

Vukmir led the effort to eliminate the nationally acclaimed non-partisan Government Accountability Board with one controlled by legislative leaders.
ALEC’s Campus Free Speech “Resentment” Campaign: Since the 60’s war protests, conservatives have wanted to right that wrong and end once and for all any signs of public protest. They think they’ve found a way to do that with their massive state majorities across the country:
Taxpayers hand over their hard-earned money each year via appropriations to pay the salaries of university presidents, directors of student services, and campus police chiefs in every state. Until legislators hold university presidents, administrators and campus police accountable, they will continue to live the same day over and over again, just like Phil Conners in the 1993 film “Groundhog Day”. It is time to get it right and end the nightmare.

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) seems to be more interested in turning education majors into liberal activists … a required class for students wishing to become teachers … to persuade students to a certain political view. The course will feature … discussions regarding the vocation of teachers, social justice, dis/abilities, bilingual education, social class, poverty, sexuality, gender, race and community membership.
Sounds good…except ALEC thinks social justice, social class, poverty, sexuality, race, and community membership aren’t conservative values at all.  
Thus, the class is intended to change the self-perception of these future educators … as advocates of progressive ideas. UNCG forces future educators to study a political agenda disguised as a lesson on education.
ALEC Confused, Contradicts Own Agenda: While ALEC loves the idea of using vouchers in religious schools teaching Christianity as the only religion, it trashes that same idea below. In a head spinning contradiction, ALEC even suggests a political bias where there is none:
One of the class assignments (at the end of the semester) is to write a “Personal/Professional Commitment Statement” … to social justice (7-8 pages), given all the new knowledge(s) that the course participants generated every week. What stood out? What did you learn about yourself … what’s your personal/professional commitment to social justice? 
Heck, a conservative as well as a liberal could answer that in any way they want, yet to ALEC…
These future educators must act like liberal social activists … flies in the face of academic freedom.  
To make their point, ALEC makes this contradictory argument, which by the way makes a great case against taxpayer funded vouchers to religious schools:
To put this issue in another context, it would be equally outrageous if a world religion teacher required students to exclusively read material meant to promote the viewpoint that Catholicism is the only true religion. Then, in order to pass the class, the students have to write a paper about how this class has brought them closer to the Catholic Church.

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