ALEC Winter Meetings Next Week

6.5 minutes

As America prepares for Christmas, Republicans prepare to steal more from the 99%

If you are a Republican your party is on the verge of fulfilling the wet dreams of the wealthy since the day FDR was sworn in. With the senate on the verge of passing their so-called tax reform bill, Republicans will increase one of the greatest transfers of wealth in history from the poor and middle class to the very wealthiest. 

At the same time the FCC will be turning the internet into a version of the much disparaged cable TV. No doubt the telecom giants that will soon own the internet will view it as their duty to limit access to opposition sites. In short these are the glory days for Republicans as democracy gets suppressed.

What better time for Republicans at the state level to get their marching orders from the corporate bosses they work for? It is time for that annual carving of the public dollar known as the ALEC Winter Meetings.   (ALEC is the acronym for the American Legislative Exchange Council)

ALEC 2017 winter meeting

We never know which of our legislators are going. Both Iowa House Speaker Linda Upmeyer and Senate Leader Bill Dix are ALEC members. Upmeyer is a past chair of the group.

As you can see by the video ALEC seems to violate open meeting laws.

If you are wondering what effect a group like ALEC has on life in Iowa one only has to go back to the most recent legislative session where union rights were smashed, education cut, voting suppressed, kids carrying guns and many other items on the extreme right wish list. Yet more to come this winter when Republicans ramrod more extreme legislation through the legislature. Watch out for those pensions, folks.

Where do you think the Iowa legislature got such great ideas? Readers of this space know that ALEC has hundreds of bills looking for problems and all of them set to take away rights and funnel money to the rich.

So next week when the meetings commence in Nashville Iowans can surely expect that we will have a contingent there. Most likely we won’t hear a word about whoever is there since all meetings are behind closed doors and attendees are never recorded. Selling their votes to corporate interests is not something many legislators want their constituents to know about.

Since there are no public records of anything that goes on at an ALEC gathering we won’t know what the focus is for this year. However, generally you can figure that the corporations and wealthy will get more, unions will be busted some more, education throttled and workers screwed.

Thanks to these efforts under Republican control it was reported Wednesday on that Iowa had achieved dead last in GDP growth with a negative .7%. Looks like Republicans will need to make up this shortfall by taking away some safety nets, some public works, maybe cut pensions to state workers. You can bet they will have many options, none of them good for the Iowa worker.

Unfortunately, once the damage is done and bad laws are in place they won’t be easily changed. Once Humpty Dumpty is shattered, putting him back together will be a nearly impossible chore.

Former presidential candidate Martin O’Malley has put together a PAC to win at state levels.  As important as it is to stop the the worst president and congress ever, we also need to make sure that power in Iowa shifts away from the extreme right at the state level.

Make plans to check your voter registration early in the year. Make plans on when you will vote next year. Make plans to give money to your Democratic state legislative candidates next summer and fall. Make plans to work for your candidate if you can. Iowa has been run down as low as we can go. We need all the help that can be mustered to turn the ship around.

(57 minutes)

About Dave Bradley

retired in West Liberty
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