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Sep-28-2011 23:15printcomments

'Command' Approach Damages Legislature Role in Building State-Needs/Based Laws, Major Rules

Oregon ALEC-Leader Whisnant Built 23-Year Air Force Career in World's Largest, Most Costly "Command-Driven" Background. Part 5 in a continuing series.

Rep. C. Gene Whisnant
Rep. C. Gene Whisnant photo courtesy: oregonhouserepublicans.org

(SEASIDE, Ore.) - From long effort for "objectivity" in any report I do, I refrain from 'googleing' the background of the key persons involved --to make sure any odd information does not influence my own judgment of detailed impact on reported events. I much prefer to focus on what they do in the situation/circumstances so reported.

But when the report is written, then I check out the persons involved by any handy search method, having learned long ago (and painfully !) that is the wisest way to avoid surprise.

When Google-time arrived a day or two ago for Rep. C. Gene Whisnant, in re his massive insistence on ALEC as choice contact organization producing "model legislation" to guide Oregon's Legislature, his honorable Air Force record of 27 years, leading to retirement with the rank of Colonel, surely made him one of our unsung heroes whose active service in dangerous, complex and demanding assignments make world peace possible.

His assignments, in addition to those inherent building to retirement including both diplomatic duties abroad and Pentagon service on a very tough assignment heading up audiovisual and photographic developments demanding skills and knowledge built from his early degree in journalism -- have been exceptionally demanding.

His journalism degree is from a fine, strong, famed university and surely included emphasis on straight truth in reporting. He holds an advanced degree in international relations from U/Arkansas.

He is also well-trained and experienced in distorting and perverting mechanisms and methods involved in evaluating and creating propagandistic messages, too. That undeniably goes "for sure" for anyone with Pentagon experience at his level and assignments abroad.

Whisnant Specially Trained to Communicate

Oregon should be proud to have someone with the strong military record and accompanying negotiating and persuasive skills, demonstrated by retired Air Force Colonel Whisnant, in charge of ALEC-connected legislative activities leading to both new laws and current operational problems, such as reform of the state budgeting process and development of the state. As you can see, he is proven completely capable of understanding and action in complex matters and under "command attitude" stress.We must thus accept his stance on choice of ALEC over two non-corporate/driven agencies offering similar "model legislation" as a knowing and informed choice, for which he must stand responsible.

Colonel C. Gene Whisnant retired from the USAF in October 1993. In his 23 year career, he served in command, leadership, staff and diplomatic positions. He was born December 8, 1943, in Caroleen, NC. He was graduated from West Mecklenburg High School, Charlotte, NC in 1962. He earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1966 and a master’s degree in international relations from the University of Arkansas in 1976. Colonel Whisnant has completed Squadron Officer School, Air Command and Staff College, and the National Defense University.

Colonel Whisnant was commissioned in 1966 through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps Program. He was first assigned as an audiovisual officer at Vandenberg AFB, CA. In 1968, he commanded an audiovisual unit at DaNang AB, RVN, the photographically documented USAF activities in the Vietnam War. He flew on 32 combat missions as a combat photographer. In 1969, he commanded an audiovisual unit at Colorado Springs, CO. He returned to the Vandenberg AFB audiovisual unit in 1970 as the squadron operations officer. In 1973, he assumed the command of the audiovisual unit at Weisbaden AB, Germany, which later moved to Rhein Main AB, Germany. Next, he attended the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell, AFB, AL. After graduation in 1978, he was assigned to Headquarters Military Airlift Command, Scott AFB, IL, as a plans and programming officer. In 1980, Colonel Whisnant was assigned to the Air Staff, Washington, DC as an international political-military affairs officer in the Office of the Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force. He served as a liaison officer for foreign air attaches in Washington, DC. In 1985, he transferred to the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, International Programs and Technology, as a manager of international cooperative programs with the United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal, Greece, and Yugoslavia. He participated in negotiations with foreign militaries on cooperative agreements such as Strategic Defense Initiative and on certain agreements he led the US DoD negotiating team. After attaché training, he assumed the duties as the Defense and Air Attaché to Yugoslavia in June 1990. He was also responsible for the Yugoslav Security Assistance Program and served as the senior EUCIM military representative in Yugoslavia. His Unit was selected as the best Defense Attaché Office human intelligence collectors in 1991 based upon the unit’s outstanding and timely reporting of the Yugoslav War.

After his diplomatic duty, He returned to Washington, DC where he served as the American Forces Information Service Assistant Director for Defense Audiovisual Policy, under the Office of the Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs. He was responsible for visual information, audiovisual, and Combat Camera Policy and management oversight within the Department of Defense.

His Military decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Meritorious Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Air Force Commendation Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, the German Federal Armed Forces Commendation in Silver, and the Joint Service Achievement Medal.

Then I realized he has been ignoring two other tested-and-proven organizations with fine long-term records --both with NO CORPORATE-side VETO and both with NO or very little CORPORATE/PRIVATE-INTEREST involvement in dialog, detailed development and final vote on key products of that process demanded as Oregon's needs in this current worldwide climate-near-chaos continue to be heavy and entirely different than in the past decades.

Regardless of that unquestionable fact, it is completely clear also that those very same experiences --living by, with, through, surrounded by, and acting only-- on the basic Armed Forces "command is all" structure erected some potential difficulties involved in his current role as civilian, citizen, volunteer, elected Representative seeking, by oath of office, the commonwealth good rather than the personal/professional rapid-choice demanded by that "command attitude" --and any personal political views.

Research on this whole general problem of the difficult shifts involved for anyone in that particular psychological, protocol, practice and problem-bind is scarce, and runs to the generalized themes one would expect from coverage of enlisted and lower-ranked officers, returning to peaceful life while suffering, often undetected and unknowingly, from a variety of difficulties so-created.

What does emerge (from entirely too-fast, too-shallow, too-narrow) search clearly indicates, however, that for most persons involved in the higher-command levels, the very demands so created force rapid decision amidst complex situation-components, often even at life-threatening stages, and occurring suddenly and surprisingly, despite any action to prepare for them.

When further shaped by "diplomatic" and "negotiating" major experiences such as depicted in detail in his military record, we begin to get the image of a very determined, skilled, dedicated person seeking to absolutely guarantee that his particular choice of instrument, group or mechanism to achieve what seems right to him are both extraordinary and perhaps open to some question on the place of corporate influence.

He seems to have forgotten or overlooked what Ike Eisenhower famously said about corporate impact on governmental affairs:

"In the councils of goverment, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist". (Farewell address, Jan. 17, 1961)

It then follows, it would seem, that perhaps that is what has shaped --and perhaps distorted somewhat-- the ALEC-connected decisions for which Rep. Whisnant stands responsible.

Basically, it seems to have been his decision --according to his own statement made to the Eugene WEEKLY in response to an article exposing ALEC deficiencies-- to make OF ALEC the chosen instrument for review, reform, redevelopment and forward progress on major state problems such as budgeting process and practice and privatization of major resources and agency actions, as well as other key Legislature areas --as outlined in his own article proudly published in the major ALEC magazine.

It should be noted that it was those particular and specific continuing actions which won him currently the major ALEC Award of Legislator of The Year 2011 demonstrate precisely the strong impacts he seems to have allowed for the ostensible "model legislation" developed through the ALEC-process now under such serious and even devastating attack by a whole group of national organizations.

Surely a trained command-level officer with a quarter/century of experience should understand that since Ike's Farewell Address the disastrous rise of corporate power in this nation is among the most commanding of changes in our society, and demands every possible way in which we can offset and remedy and remove it from our Constitutionally-imposed governmental system.

The Sidney Hillman Foundation selected the Center for Media and Democracy and The Nation magazine for its prestigious "Sidney Award."

Since 1950, the Hillman Foundation has been honoring journalists "who pursue investigative reporting and deep storytelling in the public interest." The award recognizes our work exposing the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which the Foundation called "an obscure but powerful conservative group that brings state legislators and corporations together to write laws."

For ALEC Exposed, we tapped experts to help us analyze over 800 bills voted on by ALEC corporations and politicians behind closed doors. We constructed a new website to house the bills. We developed dozens of tools to enable citizens to track ALEC politicians, ALEC corporations and ALEC bills moving in their states. The exposure fostered hundreds of new investigative articles, blog posts and contacts from citizen journalists.

Simultaneously, The Nation devoted a special edition of its magazine to breaking the story on ALEC Exposed, featuring expert analysis by CMD's Lisa Graves and Wendell Potter and by John Nichols, Joel Rogers, Laura Dresser, Julie Underwood, Mike Elk, and Bob Sloan. This was truly a team effort, and it was deeply rooted in Wisconsin, where ALEC politicians like Scott Walker have succeeded in jamming dozens of ALEC provisions through the legislature.

YOU KNOW A FREE AND INDEPENDENT MEDIA IS ESSENTIAL TO DEMOCRACY.

YOU HAVE THE POWER TO CREATE IT.

Lisa Graves is the Executive Director of the Center for Media and Democracy, the publisher of PR Watch, SourceWatch, and BanksterUSA. She previously served as a senior advisor in all three branches of the federal government, as a leading strategist on civil liberties advocacy, and as an adjunct law professor at one of the top law schools in the country.  Her former leadership posts include:

  • Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Policy/Policy Development at the U.S. Department of Justice (serving under both Attorneys General Janet Reno and John Ashcroft)
  • Chief Counsel for Nominations for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee
  • Senior Legislative Strategist for the American Civil Liberties Union (on national security and surveillance policies)
  • Deputy Director of the Center for National Security Studies
  • Deputy Chief of the Article III Judges Division of the U.S. Courts
    (including oversight of the Financial Disclosure Office for judicial
    ethics)

Graves has testified as an expert witness before both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives.  She has also appeared as an expert on CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, CNBC, BBC, C-SPAN, and other news programs and on numerous radio shows, including National Public Radio, Democracy Now!, Air America, and Pacifica Radio. Her analysis has been quoted in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Boston Globe, The Associated Press, Reuters, USA Today, The Nation, Vanity Fair, Congressional Quarterly, Roll Call, National Journal, Legal Times,Newsday, Wired, and Mother Jones, among others, as well as online in The Huffington Post, Talking Points Memo, and other blogs.

CONTACT: Email: Lisa (AT) PRWatch.org | Phone: (608) 260-971AAA

We do not --perhaps cannot-- really know the stresses, strains and pressures felt by one who --used to instant obedience due advanced rank-- now finds himself forced to make sure every step he takes, every action involving others now of equal rank as citizens, is NOW shaped, supported and governed by entirely open, honest, democratic dialog, leading to the legal consensus demanded for action by any legislating agency.

What evolves without question from the current national organization mutual exposure of the ALEC-process distortion and possible perversion of far too many state laws during their Legislative development must greatly concern every citizen.

Those laws, become the rules of life and sometimes even of death when properly enacted via Constitutional and Legislative plan, patter, protocol and long-tested and proven procedures, control. reward and punish what ordinary people do in both ordinary and extraordinary circumstance.

The project, protect, propound and provide the everyday, every-way rules of the road and of the society by which people must live.

Even with the best of intent, and properly administered process for pure development as needed within each state, to build the best of laws requires the best of process, to be proven by undistorted/unperverted product precisely and near-perfectly tuned to what was determined as needed by the Legislature in each state.

I.e. by elected representatives chosen to explore, dialog, find consensus and plan together for action --all in full concentration on commonwealth concerns.

WHY would Rep. Whisnant settle for solid, continuing, extremely concentrated attention to ALEC affairs and influence on Oregon law-making, when these two other groups stood as ready and surely as willing to assist in a broad utilization of their resources, singly, mutually, or in any combination ??

HOW revealing is it that he writes --in the ALEC magazine yet-- admiring and detailing his own administering of the ALEC Budgeting Tool Kit; and HOW it has guided recent approach to Oregon budgeting in the Legislature.

He also outlines specific Oregon legislation into which he has built materials from the ALEC models.

WHAT may be the results of Oregon laws shaped to interests and values of the corporate and private-interest groups so strongly evident in ALEC ?

That's the final question posed inevitably by this whole situation, demanding further state-level attention not only from many Oregon citizens, now well informed re ALEC and its exposed distortions, but also from the Legislature and state agency officials.

Whether or not there have been distortions and/or perversions built into any current Oregon law should surely demand exploration and review by the state's top leaders and divisions.

Other states are already at work reviewing recent-year legislation for undue and perhaps legally questionable corporate influenced action.

If Oregon is really to "Fly With Her Own Wings", we surely should not be the last to act.

Part One: ALEC' UN-Elected, Writing U.S. Legislation Under Koch-Influenced Direction In Many States

Part Two: Corporate Interests Imposed On State Law/Drafts With Veto Power 'Worth King's Ransom' to Whole Crowd of Corporate Powers

Part Three: Oregon's ALEC Leader Rep. Whisnant Reluctant to Dialog On His Reasoning

Part Four: Op Ed: ALEC Proven Corporate-Dominated: Two Other State-Oriented Groups Bar Private-Interest Membership Influence

______________________

At 21, Henry Clay Ruark was Aroostook Editor for the Bangor, Maine DAILY NEWS, covering the upper 1/4 of the state. In the ‘40s, he was Staff Correspondent, then New England Wires Editor at United Press-Boston; later Editor for the Burlington, Vermont 3-daily group owned by Wm. Loeb, later notorious at Manchester, New Hampshire UNION LEADER for attacks on Democratic Presidential candidates.

Hank returned to Oregon to complete M. Ed. degree at OSU, went on to Indiana University for Ed.D. (abd) and special other course-work; was selected as first Information Director for NAVA in Washington, D.C.; helped write sections of NDEA, first Act to supply math, science, foreign language consultants to state depts. of education; joined Oregon Dept. of Education, where he served as NDEA administrator/Learning Media Consultant for ten years.

He joined Dr. Amo DeBernardis at PCC, helping establish, extend programs, facilities, Oregon/national public relations; moved to Chicago as Editor/Publisher of oldest educational-AV journal, reformed as AV GUIDE Magazine; then established and operated Learning Media Associates as general communications consultant group. Due to wife’s illness, he returned to Oregon in 1981, semi-retired, and has continued writing intermittently ever since, joining S-N in 2004. His Op Eds now total over 650 written since then.

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Hank Ruark October 9, 2011 3:30 pm (Pacific time)

Mike Rutlidge:
(This for the record here to document previous symptoms-mentioned of paid-attack, known to be underway by Far Right sources.)
You wrote:
"How about public school union influences? Seems they would be easy to measure simply by looking at (for example) past student performance in easily measured areas like math and reading comprehension, going back say 50 years ago and then look at each years' average scores up to the present, while also looking at how unions and their members were involved in teacher-student performance and projected expectations. In addition, we should take note how the tests and psychometric assessments altered over time. My observations are that they became easier while performance continued to falter, as per communications with test designers and proctors.It has also been a matter of public record as per regular news reporting in all medium. Please note how teacher unions, for example in the Atlanta school district were caught cheating last spring by providing test answers to the students."

When time allows I try to read-again and respond to meaningful comments, as honest way to appreciate and encourage some and kill off the distorted and perverted ones sometimes found.
These words intentionally over-simplify and under-describe the reality of difficulties involved in the complex processes inevitable involved. No person who has ever professionally engaged in such work would string out the situations in such revealing display of ignorance coated over to sound profound and workable.
Please note MR, albeit referring to "my observations", gives us not one whit of documentation re any special reason to trust those deep observations, on the basis of training or experience --and adds the final fillip of distortion-obvious with reference to "communications with test designers and proctors" and distorted further statement about what truly exists in the public record.

See my Op Ed some numbers back re responsibility-side of using First Amendment; this is good example of open abuse detectable by those with sensibilities attuned to what's needed to do so...


Hank RUARK October 9, 2011 3:05 pm (Pacific time)

Tu all: Regret forced hiatus on this thread, due to circumstances beyond conrol. Watch for Part Six, due "up" later today. For remarkable documentation of hypocrisy closely parallel, see 'Koch to Hayek - Use Social Security", NATION, Oct. 17, revealing "grand swindle played on a trusting, gullible public, a scam whose goal is to con America's dying middle class into handing over their retirement money to the richest 0.1 percent, convincing them that in doing so, they're "empowering" themselves and protecing their "individual liberty. Musr read whole piece to truly then appreciate the absolute parallels found in this series.


Hank Ruark October 1, 2011 4:17 pm (Pacific time)

Mark:
Anyone deeply interested in education has know of ALEC and its ties to corporate sponsors and attack on the current organization and modern curriculum for at least five years. Most have also know of its inherent, unmistakable, unavoidable bias and one-party politicalized orientation.
That's why your uninformed and obvious attempt to use attack-exposed in mine re Whisnant caught my interest.

In effect, you abused the First Amendment by NOT checking for full detail re ALEC BEFORE you openly attacked my report...see mine several numbers back for detail on THAT.
By so doing you also revealed your malign intent via wide range of unanswerable personal political assertions, some built on unfounded and unchecked assumptions...


Mark October 1, 2011 1:12 pm (Pacific time)

I guess this ALEC organization has not generated much interest? I have not seen any mainstream info on it, nor from far left nor far right organizations. Maybe people are more interested in the economy and jobs? I have noticed when it comes to "influence" here in Oregon, the democrats have been in charged of the governors office as well as the state legislature for several election periods, so they own the state's economy, and it has been their elected influence that got us here. So did they shoo ALEC away from influence? Seems a echo in the teapot, but maybe not.

Editor: Well Mark, it's like this: there has been a good deal of coverage over the years, but not enough.  This is why we are covering it, because Salem-News.com is not encumbered by the same affiliations as other media.  We do not accept advertising from any of the groups that are poisoning the well, and therefore we are not under the thumb of anybody.  Believe me, there is a large organization that exists to educate people about ALEC and I believe Hank's series has been a real eye opener.  Now, I'm really sorry I have to say that this is about the economy and jobs, hopefully you actually do know that, but please...


Hank Ruark October 1, 2011 10:43 am (Pacific time)

Mike:
You overlook fact that ALEC has been in business since '73 -- far preceding what you see erroneously as Obama-action, very obviously for your own distortional purposes.
You overlook action by world's largest association of working justice professionals, credited in Part ONE; and all those links to current group for whom we owe gratitude for Hillman Award winning exposure action.
You obviously did not check my own S-N articles or you would have found at least four in review reference to LNCB as negative influence forcing precisely the actions to which you first refer.

I,e, allathat is pattern for paid attack on S-N and series, known to me since I am long experienced in both sides of that industry.
SO stick it where when you twist it you feel it most strongly, sir ! AND do check link we give to ALEC Exposed just to see why I reply as I do here,,,,


Hank Ruark October 1, 2011 10:27 am (Pacific time)

Mike:
Your 2nd continues evasion and what from context and situation be intentional distortion. Every point you raise is simply diversion and departure from focus of our whole series, and so intended as context and repetition here surely prove.

That's standard Far Right action to attack and demean reality statement to which they have no answer. Your use of it here only proves our point --unless you wish to suggest that the top communications person of the British tea monopoly could and should have had influence in shaping our own Constitution !!
OR that Rep. Whisnant, after 27 yrs. of Air Force advanced training and diplomatic experience, did not know precisely what he was doing when he strongly supported ALEC.

Re Whisnant, Part One followed our offer of open, honest, democratic dialong, answered only by his statement to Eugene Weekly and link to his article in Inside ALEC which states in his own words what he did.

We show his communications training in detail to document his proven skill in understanding his own working situation, then compare that with knwn record of exposing combine winning famed Hillman Award for that action.

We suggest you peddle your smelly stuff somewheres else, and don't neglect to cash the check.


Mike Rutlidge September 30, 2011 6:15 pm (Pacific time)

It appears that national high office "crony capitalism" has bypassed any assertions that people like Rep. Whisnant have any real juice to influence outcomes that really impact like some other bad actors do. The latest "goings-ons" with the Whitehouse to the tune of billions of wasted taxpayer treasure clearly acknowldge that reality. Obama, the wise and smart one, supported a company that made a green product for $6 and sold it for $3. Then China even undercut that price, so the company goes belly-up and over 1,000 people lose their jobs. Now Obama, the smart one, is spearheading even more billions of dollars to so-called green companies that are expected to fold. Even the last administration's Dept. of Energy personnel gave a thumbs down to investing in the recently closed company. Suffice, when it comes to influence that impacts the taxpayers, rightly or wrongly, seems we have a new winner in the "wrongly" department. ALEC has been replaced by the Chicago way.


Hank RUARK September 30, 2011 4:30 pm (Pacific time)

Mike: After only minimum cogitation yours reduces to simple belief corporate values should supersede long-held American ones, protected by innovative system invented by our Founders and responsible for advances made for all over 250 years. Do you really believe unions should simply take over government and run it ? If so, why NOT simply so declare ? Rep. Whisnant simply bet on wrong horse, and got caught with law-development obviously threatening distortion/perversion for corporate interests --per solid standard national organizations-- further brightly illuminated by fact of Hillman Award, never lightly given, for that exposure of ALEC system.


Mike Rutlidge September 29, 2011 10:08 am (Pacific time)

Hank your statement:"Other states are already at work reviewing recent-year legislation for undue and perhaps legally questionable corporate influenced action. If Oregon is really to "Fly With Her Own Wings", we surely should not be the last to act." I agree we should investigate all influences that may be unfair/harmful to the taxpayers. How about publis school union influences? Seems they would be easy to measure simply by looking at (for example) past student performance in easily measured areas like math and reading comprehension, going back say 50 years ago and then look at each years' average scores up to the present, while also looking at how unions and their members were involved in teacher-student performance and projected expectations. In addition, we should take note how the tests and psychometric assessments altered over time. My observations are that they became easier while performance continued to falter, as per communications with test designers and proctors.It has also been a matter of public record as per regular news reporting in all medium. Please note how teacher unions, for example in the Atlanta school district were caught cheating last spring by providing test answers to the students. How horrible, a lousey thing to do to students. In essence, what has caused more harm to the taxpayers of Oregon? Corporate influence or some other source like the unions? Of course creating a positive/negative list would make for an interesting observation. For example, without corporations and the jobs and acompanying tax revenue they create, public unions would not exist. In fact not much would exist at all. Positive and negative influences may be hard to define in some areas, but in the public education arena, it's clear what harm has happened. We taxpayers are being ripped off don't you think? That is by comparing past performances with current ones and then simply look at the cost factors for time comparisons.

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