Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Missouri Madness

The horrible implications of this story are truly breathtaking.

JEFFERSON CITY — A year after Republicans took control of state government, conservative lawmakers are promoting a wide range of social legislation designed to rein in sex and unshackle the Bible.

From new limits on sex education classes to penalties for living in sin, the proposed laws would remake Missouri’s public life in myriad ways. They would sanction prayer in public schools, subsidize religious schools and allow the Bible to be taught in school. [...]

Other bills would:

■ Deny alimony to ex-spouses who live with a boyfriend or girlfriend.

■ Ban all abortions.

■ Provide tax credits for contributions that help kids in lousy school districts to attend private schools.

■ Propose a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to pray in schools and on other public property.

■ Allow pharmacists, insurance companies, doctors and hospitals to deny treatment if the procedure or medication offends their moral values.

■ Propose a constitutional amendment to allow the Ten Commandments to be displayed on public property.
It's frightening to think we've been so fully infiltrated by the Christian Taliban that they feel they can completely set back the clock and negate a half a century's worth of political process. They worm their way into the political process, take an election win and claim it as license to remold the nation into their own image. I can't think of anything more unChristian, not to mention more undemocratic, than creating conformity by fiat. If these are really the end times, then these so-called Christians are the false prophets.

Link via GuyK. He and I differ on some really major points of policy, but he nails it here.
This kind of Taliban legislation needs to be stopped and stopped now. The hi jacking of the GOP by the Christian Right Wing is leading us down the same path that the Muslim Mad Mullahs led Islam. Who is going to speak out when they come for you?
All that being said, I have to add, if these were citizen initiatives, I would support their right to put the proposals to a paper ballot. I have to believe the good citizens of Missouri would reject that level of government interference in their lives.

If not -- fine -- let all people of like mind move to Missouri because other states will surely reject such offensive governmental intrusion. And if one or two states fall to the religious extremists, it could motivate the 63% (or whatever it really is, I made that up) of America that doesn't vote to get to the ballot box.
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16 Comments:

Blogger Left of Center said...

Allegiance to the State is fundamental to achieving a better society. Your activities will be reported,

10:28:00 PM  
Blogger Bostonian Exile said...

Philosphical question:

If you are willing to resign the state of Missouri after the enactment of citizen initiatives to this effect, why are you so upset over the legislature acting this way? That is, the state (like all of the others) is a republic, with elected representatives ostensibly to put forward their constituents' interests. If the constituents don't like these measures, they can throw the bums out -- in all likelihood well before the injunctions sure to block the enforcement of these laws are lifted.

So, I guess what I am really trying to understand is why rail against one and resign another when the ends are the same? Perhaps it's just easier to express one's vehement disapproval against a small, distinguishable group? I don't know...

9:35:00 AM  
Blogger GUYK said...

"All that being said, I have to add, if these were citizen initiatives, I would support their right to put the proposals to a paper ballot. I have to believe the good citizens of Missouri would reject that level of government interference in their lives."

I disagree-then you would have tyranny by a majority. Under a constitutional republic such as the USA the rights of the minority are protected from this kind of tyranny--we are a republic-not a democracy. Our votes are to elect a government that will govern under our constitution and our constitution cannot be changed withour our ( the voters ) approval--but the courts and congress do seem to want to do so with more regularity than one can get from x-lax and with the same results.

9:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Libby said...

Good points all and I thought about the seeming contradiction in my position before I posted that. You see, I don't believe the legislators are representing the will of the people. Not unlike Bush, they're taking their political victories -- often by small margins, although I admit I don't know what kind of plurality these guys had -- and claiming it as a mandate to advance the agenda of their funders. I don't believe the people who voted for these thugs realized what they were going to do and I find it difficult to believe that given a choice, the majority of the residents there would agree.

The Christian fundies have a lot more power than their numbers would suggest is possible. They are not a majority within our population but they vote and so they got their agents into office. I don't feel like searching for the exact number, but a majority of the country still doesn't vote. That's how these things happen. If it takes that kind of atrocity to motivate them, so be it. It would solve one of the biggest problems with the current system. Non-participation in the process.

And I think you can't be so fearful of the "tyranny of the majority" that you suppress the people's voice in the matter. If that's really the way they want to live, shouldn't they have a right to dictate their own rules? At the federal level I would find it more troubling but as a state's rights issue I have to support their right to choose their own rules. I don't know how I can support state's rights to enact medical marijuana laws without federal interference and not support a state's right to enact legislation I don't agree with. And if it is truly the will of the majority, then put them all in one place so we know where they are. If this ever passed I would have to think there would a mass exodus of those who are horrified by the laws and perhaps an influx of those from other states who want to live under that kind of tyranny. Better than having them dispersed willy-nilly throughout the country plying that poisonous mindset.

10:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Bronwyn said...

Allow pharmacists, insurance companies, doctors and hospitals to deny treatment if the procedure or medication offends their moral values.

Does this mean a pharmacist within a birth-control friendly company would have the right to confiscate/destroy/refuse to fill a b.c. Rx? If so, I call bullshit.

As I'm sure you've considered, it should be A-OK for a company or facility to deny a certain kind of treatment as policy. Then like-minded pharmacists and physicians could choose to work there. However, if those people choose to work for a permissive employer, they should be required to adhere to that employer's policy or risk termination.

I really don't understand this Legislate Everything bent that both sides of the aisle seem so keen on.

And a right to pray in public places? *sigh* I don't get it. If you wanna pray, fine. Just don't make me do it as a condition of my employment/attendance - in a public place, such as gubmint and public schools. Not that atheists such as myself have some alternative, potentially offensive, activity, but damn. Why does this have to be legislated?

You'd think these jackarses have nothing better to do.

10:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Libby said...

Yeah I agree Bronwyn. None of this conduct should be legislated and that's the heinous of the proposed regs. However, that provision has already been legislated and made legal in other states. If they tried to do it here, you could be sure I would be raising hell over it but you can't fight every battle.

I think it heartening though that WalMart recently backed off using that provision when they encountered consumer resistance. That reinforces my belief that these laws are being passed against the true will of the electorate.

Our representative republic is no longer working for the will of the people. Perhaps we need to become more of a democracy because what I believe we have here is the tyranny of a politically powerful minority over the majority.

11:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Bronwyn said...

I think it heartening though that WalMart recently backed off using that provision when they encountered consumer resistance.

I thought they were forced to provide it, not by consumer demand, but by government. Hm. I need to check on that.

If it was the former, then great. That's the market at work, and the way things should be. The owners of Wal-Mart (who, I think you know, are devout evangelicals) should have every right to put what they want on their shelves and to not put what they don't want on their shelves. That's the beauty of private ownership. As long as the public know what policy is, shoppers can make their shopping decisions as they see fit.

I think, however, that wal-mart was forced to put the stuff on their shelves, just as they're being forced to spend more on insurance for their employees. That's just not right.

As it is, it was a democratic initiative that allowed people on welfare to hold jobs and still get welfare. Now those same people are griping because walmart employees are on welfare. What?!? It just makes no sense. Walmart is being deliberately targeted by elitists who think they know what's best for poorer people. That's just as bad, in my mind, as the Christian agenda being forced down our throats.

argh. sorry. I shouldn't be ranting.

11:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Bronwyn said...

Oops. Didn't finish my thought there. If the owners of Wal-mart chose to go against their personal beliefs to supply the apparent demand, that's their prerogative. They should have an equal right to thumb their noses at market demand, at their own risk.

Yeah. Think I got it that time.

11:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Libby said...

Please rant away Bronwyn. I don't have all the answers, mostly only questions. I appreciate being challenged.

I'm not sure about the WalMart thing. I thought I read they simply rethought their position but it could have been due to government interference.

I agree it's terrible that we have to legislate humane business practices but it's a horribly complicated problem when these corporations have grown to such power due to leglislative interference on their behalf with tax breaks and relaxed regulations. I don't object to WalMart being forced to provide health insurance for instance because they benefit from the breaks at taxpayer expense and the taxpayer is paying for Medicaid and welfare while the owners are racking up the profits because they aren't providing reasonable benefits for their workers.

According to Forbes, the combined wealth of the Walton family at the moment is around 75 billion. They could personally afford to treat their workers better but of course that would mean they could buy less political favors.

I think this is root of the corporatocracy problem. You have to break the cycle somewhere and since they used the government to get where they are, it's seem right that the government should require they give something back since they refuse to do it voluntarily.

The big thing in my mind is we're talking about enriching a handful of people at the expense of everyone else. The Walmart shareholders aren't doing as well as the Waltons and their top minions are. From what I understand profits are down.

In my mind it's greed or maybe not even greed so much as power lust. It may sound looney but I believe these people really are trying to take over the world.

12:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Bronwyn said...

I agree it's terrible that we have to legislate humane business practices but it's a horribly complicated problem when these corporations have grown to such power due to leglislative interference on their behalf with tax breaks and relaxed regulations.

Here's where we're in complete agreement. We differ in that you suggest that more legislation be added to compensate for the effects of previous legislation.

I prefer a solution that goes in the opposite direction: eliminate corporate welfare.

Unfortunately (for me) the more likely result will be the one you're looking for, even though it conflicts with some of your other beliefs (keeping the government out of our private lives, for example I'll refer to your mention of abortion and birth control, and public prayer).

My solution, on the other hand, is relegated to Pipe Dream status because it's inconCEIVable (heh) that anyone in our government would ever deliberately give government less power.

From a principled standpoint, it should be all or nothing on these issues.

1:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Libby said...

From a principled standpoint, it should be all or nothing on these issues.

You're right on Bronwyn and I agree the ideal would be to eliminate corporate welfare altogether. If we could establish a true free market, all this legislation would be unneccessary.

However, from a pragmatic standpoint, you have to work with the system you have while you're trying to build the system you want. I don't know what the solution is. All I know is we have to start somewhere. I don't love the idea of legislating responsible corporate conduct but I just don't see another viable response to the current status quo, at least for the time being.

1:23:00 PM  
Blogger Bostonian Exile said...

If we could establish a true free market, all this legislation would be unneccessary.

I didn't understand your comparable statement at DetNews the other day, and I don't understand this one.

If we had a pure free market, it would not - by definition - bear the burden of any government regulation. No minimum wage. No health and welfare regulations. OSHA would not exist. And so on. I have a very hard time imagining that you would support that type of economic model for your protestation about shortcomings in corporate social responsibility. A free market, in its truest form, is by its nature amoral.

How is it, then, that you support a "true free market?"

2:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Libby said...

That's a good question Exile, and you bring up points I'm wrestling with in my mind. I'm going to do a post on this soon because you're not the only one who has asked it. I'm still defining what I think it is, or should be. So far I've only nailed down what it isn't.

But I'll venture this much of response here. A free market system should be amoral I think. The problem with the model is not the system, it's with the immoral owners who run it.

2:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is one of the happy incidents of the federal system that a single courageous State may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country. - Supreme Court Justice Lois Brandeis

If the citizens of a State fail to intelligently exercise their sovereign franchise of voting and, by default, allow a highly organized and disciplined minority that has its' own agenda and is intent upon ramming said agenda down the throats of their fellow citizens via the political system, then who is to blame?

Likewise, if some of those citizens find that the minority has made their home State a theocratic nightmare, they are free to up and leave for another State that is not so cursed. The drain of tax revenue caused by the exodus of those who do not share that minority's convictions or beliefs will soon have an impact upon that State in such a way that said minority may well find itself unwelcome.

But it will have to be The People who make that realization. The sad fact of history is that that determination is usually only made after a terrible period of history occurs, and the survivors grimly determine that the phrase "Never again!" become their watchword. I'm afraid that the US will have to suffer such a time before the danger of allowing any such minority to grab the reins of power; as it would seem, education about the rise of fascism in other countries is not enough.

3:12:00 PM  
Blogger No Blood for Hubris said...

Time to oust the Taliban American theocracy that has become one with the Republican party.

Republicans are dead, crashed and burnt with good reason.

That leaves Democrats, and Greens.

So be it.

10:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Libby said...

The Christian Taliban will go too far but without verified voting, I don't know how we're going to stop them. They own the machines. As for the Dems, they seem to be less than useless these days.

Funny, I've been hearing people predict the revolution for 40 years. I've never believed it could really happen, until now.

Dark days for our republic. Here's hoping we live to see the light at the end of this tunnel.

9:42:00 AM  

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