A metaphor for our times (February 23, 2017)
A Senate Concurrent Resolution:
SCR 15 Designates August 21, 2017, as “Total Eclipse Day” in the state of Missouri
LR Number: 1818S.01I
Committee: Rules, Joint Rules, Resolutions and Ethics
Last Action: 2/14/2017 – Referred S Rules, Joint Rules, Resolutions and Ethics Committee
Journal Page: S261
A celebration of darkness. How apropos.
Nancy LeTourneau of the Political Animal Blog recently wrote a provocative article on the issue of morality in a pluralistic society. The gist of her argument is that conservative Christians, by making their deal with the devil, i.e. Donald Trump, have not only abrogated their claim to superior morality, but opened the door to a discussion of morality that is more in harmony with liberal pluralistic values. LeTourneau implicitly suggests the existence of a gap between the moral universe inhabited by liberals and that of conservatives. It strikes me that this gap is both more substantive and coarser than LeTourneau in her effort to be fair, suggests.
The difference between the two points of view was clear when the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) revoked an invitation for Breitbart provocateur, Milo Yiannopoulos, to speak at their annual meeting after tapes surfaced in which he seemed to speak approvingly of pedophilia. Just a few weeks earlier conservatives professed to be horrified when he was similarly disinvited to speak by UC Berkeley. The difference? The Berkeley protestors whose actions precipitated the cancellation of Yiannopoulos talk were disturbed by his “free” exercise of “hate speech, racism, misogyny and transphobia.” CPAC couldn’t handle Yiannopoulos speaking “freely” about sexual practices that they consider especially taboo.
Time and again, it seems that the only behavior that can get conservative morality roiling is sexual. Here in Missouri we have a legislature that is all but openly selling influence when they’re not busy slurping the swill ladled out by lobbyists. But it took a sex scandal – legislators hustling interns – to provoke a backlash and, temporarily at least, lend some force to discussions about the need for ethical oversight. The results were rules governing interns (including a widely ridiculed proposal to keep those young sluts from dressing provocatively – our state legislators, it seems, shouldn’t be expected to resist temptation all on their own), and a few limp efforts to address legislative corruption.
Get the picture? If it involves sex, conservatives get worried about morality. Bullying, vicious slurs directed toward groups that conservatives view askance, along with financial and political corruption, not so much.
It’s no accident that conservative and ostentatiously Christian Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO4) objected to the Women’s march as much because of the signs, which she characterized as “very pornographic,”as anything else. I saw lots of signs about the ACA, Social Security and the full range of economic justice issues. To be fair, I also saw signs that would have shocked my very sedate grandmother. Words like “uterus” and Hartzler’s avowed president, Donald Trump’s, favorite, “pussy,” were visible, along with statements that the organs in question were the property of the women holding the signs, and, consequently, not subject to the control of the patriarchs.
Hartzler had much less to say about the issues that brought all those the men, women and children with the “pornographic” signs out. She doesn’t, for example, give a tinker’s you-know-what about healthcare, an issue that motivated many of the marchers – that’s why she’s voted some fifty or sixty times to repeal the ACA – but she’s worried that people who do care about it showed their concern with what she believes to be pornographic signs. It’s all about sex with these folks.
Even the issue that represents one of the most persistent areas of moral disagreement between conservatives and progressives/liberals, abortion, hinges on differences between the way the two camps respond to female sexual behavior. Despite the hysterical evocation of “baby-killilng” and silly labels like “pre-born,” the relationship between abortion and the fear of unfettered female sexuality is, as Sara Erdreich, argues obvious when one considers the prevalence of arguments about whether or not victims of rape or incest “deserve” to get an abortion, but women whose sexual behavior is voluntary don’t. And don’t get me started on Catholicism, female sexuality, and abortion.
Progressives are frequently advised to frame issues in moral terms if we want them to have wide resonance. However, if our concept of what is morally most important differs so radically from the “other” guy, it leaves us with one simple question: How do we talk about the full spectrum of moral issues – which are often life and death issues – with people whose concept of what can be considered moral or immoral seems to be so limited?
No, that doesn’t work now. Everyone else already ignores him.
Oh, and tenther drivel, too.
SB 466 Adopts the Prosperity States Compact
SB 466 – This act adopts the Prosperity States Compact, an interstate agreement for the creation of political subdivisions (“districts”) which are exempt from state and federal laws not otherwise made continually applicable by the Prosperity States Compact or by federal supremacy. The Compact also places certain limits to districts’ authority to govern and raise public funds, in addition to those limitations that are ordinarily placed on political subdivisions, including a ban on the taxation of district residents.
Districts are municipal corporations with the power to form contracts and be party to lawsuits. Districts are led by a board of seven administrators who serve four year terms. A process is created for the board to create and administer district bylaws, ordinances, policies, and procedures. All of the board’s meetings and records are open.
The authority of the district government is limited to certain law enforcement activities, the furnishing of transportation, utility, and transmission infrastructure, the operation of a municipal court, the borrowing of money in accordance with other limitations placed upon borrowing by this act, the power to accept certain gifts of real and personal property, and other incidental activities that are necessary for government as determined by the board. The district government is prohibited from exercising any government function of taxation, eminent domain, civil property forfeiture unless the forfeiture is based in a criminal violation and the forfeiting party has been convicted of that violation, establishing or enforcing any monopoly or cartel, accepting certain gifts, delegating all or any portion of its authority in any manner other than which it is permitted to do so by the act, or permitting any other unit of government to exercise authority within the district, except as permitted to do so by the act.
You’ve just got to love some of the particulars:
(c) Governing Authority. The governing authority of every Prosperity District is strictly limited to the following powers, which shall be exclusive of the exercise of the same or like powers by any other governmental unit within the district’s boundaries, as they exist from time to time, and no other governmental unit shall within such boundaries exercise the same or like powers as are granted to the district under this subsection, except as expressly contemplated in this Compact:
(1) police power consisting solely of: (i) enforcing the Malum in Se Criminal Law, Common Law and Regulation adopted in its formation petition as contemplated…
By my reading of the bill spitting on sidewalks would be out.
Section 7. Preservation of Person Status for Artificial Persons. A corporation, trust, company, association, organization or other non-natural person entity (“artificial person”) that enjoys or is capable of enjoying certain duties, rights and powers of a natural person under law existing outside of the boundaries of a Prosperity District, such as the right to sue or be sued, contract or own property in its own name, shall be recognized as enjoying the corresponding duties, rights and powers, if any, of a natural person within the boundaries of a Prosperity District upon giving notice in such form and with such content as may be specified in the district’s bylaws to the managing board of the district of its intent to conduct operations, do business or establish a place of business or domicile within the Prosperity District.
Can you abort an artificial person? Just asking.
Read the whole thing. It’ll be worth the waste of your time, if only for the mocking laughter.
Ed Emery (r) sponsored this bill. As if it could be anyone else.
We live in the world the republicans have created. Unfortuntely for them, so do they.
Columbia Daily Tribune
Protesters urge Hartzler to meet with local groups
U.S. representative says town halls would not be a good use of time
Meeting with constituents opposed to Republican plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act would not be a good use of time, U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler said Wednesday.
“I want to hear their ideas but town hall forums have not been a good forum to get that accomplished, to have a productive dialogue,” Hartzler said. “So I invite their ideas, they can call my office, they can write, they can email me and I will listen.”
Hartzler has not scheduled any events to meet with the general public during the recess. Two members of Hartzler’s staff spent more than two hours answering constituent questions Friday in Ashland.
“You know, it wasn’t the most pleasant experience for them and I think there’s better ways to communicate,” Hartzler said.
In response to Hartzler criticizing how her staff was treated, Wiggs said she attended the Ashland session and disagreed with Hartzler’s description.
“That’s not true,” she said. “We were very fair minded and very upfront.”
Hartzler is trying to divert attention by saying a town hall meeting would not be productive, Wiggs said.
“I don’t buy into that,” she said. “I think she’s just a big chicken.”
That would pretty much describe most republicans in Congress right now.
This is now, that was then:
In August 2009 we covered a number of Senator Claire McCaskill’s (D) health care town halls in Missouri. The most dissonant ones were in Hillsboro and Jefferson City.
Across the country right wingnut astroturf organizations like Americans for Prosperity promoted their opposition to the health care bill.
“…I just hope that the word goes out that every member of Congress can and should have these kinds of meetings. I don’t think we should shy away from public discourse just because it gets a little rocky…”
Senator Claire McCaskill (D): open forum in Hillsboro – photos (August 12, 2009)
Senator Claire McCaskill (D): open forum in Hillsboro – press conference (August 12, 2009)
“…No, I mean I’m hearing many of the same questions. I mean there’s a lot of misinformation out there about, you know, what’s in the bill, what isn’t in the bill. A lot of distrust about government being further involved in people’s health care. So, no, there wasn’t anything that I heard today at this particular forum that, there, there’s some common themes that are coming up. There are people that are frustrated that want, feel like that Barrack Obama won the election and the Democrats control Congress. Get it done already. And then there’s other people who feel very strongly that Congress needs to back away and do absolutely nothing. And everything in between…”
A healthcare town hall done right (August 25, 2009)
“…I think, by and large, most Missourians are pretty well mannered. I think, by and large, the proponents of health care reform had been sitting on the sidelines. And then all of a sudden, you know, because it was raucous and conflict and the last time I looked you guys liked that stuff, it got a lot of coverage because it was good visuals and it was different and it was big crowds. So all of a sudden everybody sittin’ at home who wanted health care reform go wait a minute, we, we want health care reform. And I think they’ve woken up now. I think they’re showing up. I think they’re getting more engaged. And I think it, it, I will be surprised if we don’t continue to see, I think there’ll be town halls that’ll be pretty rough, depending on where we are. But, it was interesting to me here in Warrensburg, I wasn’t shocked in Kansas City where you have a, it’s generally a more Democratic area of the state. But, today was, I thought was interesting that, that the proponents outweighed the opponents…”
Senator Claire McCaskill (D) – health care town hall – Warrensburg (August 26, 2009)
Gee, Steven Walsh, who else is in that picture. Kind of ironic, don’t you think?
“…You know, they, there were clearly a lot of people here that were more interested in disrupting and showing their anger than listening or having any kind of discourse. But that’s okay. You know, this is, we have this great big giant healthy First Amendment in this country. I just, I feel for the people who come that want to listen. They can’t when people start screaming out and, it is bad manners. And by the way, I don’t think it’s particularly persuasive. I don’t think, being the loudest doesn’t make you right. And it generally doesn’t work very well in terms of convincing other people. So, but they have a right to do it, and I respect their right to do it, and, you know, there were moments of very, did you notice, there were times it was very quiet? I got the sense that maybe people actually were learning some things they didn’t know and even if there are just a couple of those it certainly makes it worth it…”
That listening to and directly engaging constituents thing is so old school. Apparently it’s not in the republican political play book.
Yep, we’re pretty certain Claire’s been smiling a lot this week. And maybe taking a happy dance step or two.
A bill, introduced today:
Requires the Missouri State Museum to include a display on the history of abortion
Sponsor: Moon, Mike (157)
Proposed Effective Date: 8/28/2017
LR Number: 1932H.01I
Last Action: 02/22/2017 – Introduced and Read First Time (H)
Bill String: HB 1014
Next Hearing: Hearing not scheduled
Calendar: HOUSE BILLS FOR SECOND READING
Ladies and gentlemen, the priorities of your right wingnut controlled Missouri General Assembly.
Eric “The Kid” Greitens may be gunning for MU. A couple of weeks ago Missouri’s new, young Governor took out his budget spleen on Missouri’s higher education system, hitting already lean institutions with the loss of a considerable amount of state support – while planning even more of the corporate and higher bracket income cuts responsible for the budget shortfall that prompted the cuts in the first place. Recently he announced the appointment of three new members to the University of Missouri Board of Curators, two of whom come from the business community. In his comments he remarked that higher education needed to be “improved,” specifically by encouraging “more intellectual diversity,” and bringing “real world experience to the table.”
These three facts, budget cuts, loading the university governing structure with business people, and pointedly stressing “intellectual diversity” – shorthand in rightwing circles for inculcating conservative viewpoints in higher education – reflect the influence of both the shadowy and the more overt conservative supporters of Kid Greitens, the folks he needs to please if he expects them to fund his future presidential aspirations.
Intellectual Diversity: While intellectual diversity in academia is an admirable value, the phrase itself has taken on a life of its own in conservative circles. Most notably, it has been popularized in rightwing circles by the reprehensible bigot and conservative provocateur, David Horowitz – who is funded by the Scaife family foundations, the Koch brothers’ DonorsTrust, and the Bradley Foundation, all of which, according to Jane Meyer in her book, Dark Money, have attempted to establish conservative beachheads in American universities. Horowitz has used the term to justify witch-hunts to eliminate what he deems undue leftist influence on campus as well as his demands for what amounts to affirmative action for conservative academics in humanities and social sciences faculties.
In the mouth of Kid Greitens, recipient of over two million dollars of that same “dark money,” likely from one or the other of the same spigots that fund folks like Horowitz, the phrase should raise the hackles of all fair-minded advocates for higher education. Responsible apologists for conservative thought such as Mark Lilla have noted that the “hysteria” whipped up by the intellectual McCarthyism of those like Horowitz who agitate for one-sided “intellectual diversity” contributes “to the dumbing down” of higher education.
Market-based educational priorities: At least two of the appointees to the Board of Curators are drawn from the business world. Jeff Layman, who was also the finance chair for the Greitens campaign, is a senior vice-president at Morgan Stanley. Jamie Farmer runs a company that supplies materials for fracking operations. Both supported Eric Greitens’ campaign financially, and it’s safe to assume that they’re hunky-dory with his intimation that he wants to introduce “intellectual diversity” to the University, very likely to the detriment of the more traditional understanding of diversity, intellectual or otherwise.
It is also likely that, as at other institutions with governing boards that are top heavy with business types, they will try to move the University into more of a supporting role for business and corporate interests, giving priority to the training of engineers, accountants and other cogs of industry – and, incidentally, to disciplines where the dreaded “liberal bias” is less pronounced.
Another goal may be to decrease the institutional control of faculty and administrators who are viewed as untrustworthy by many wealthy conservatives. Greg Lewis at The Century Foundation observes that public universities are now predominantly governed by boards that skew toward businessmen and women who are often at odds with the values of the institutions they oversee. He claims that their approach fails to “reflect the broad diversity of fields and experiences at public institutions,” and instead emphasize decision-making that is hasty, top-down, often uninformed and reflecting market-driven rather than intellectual priorities.
Cracking the Budget Whip: So it seems that Greitens has hinted at his goals for MU: “intellectual diversity” that emphasizes conservative philosophy and values, the elevation of intellectually neutral, technical disciplines, and the devaluing of more traditionally liberal areas such as humanities and social sciences. His appointees to the board seem likely to find these goals simpatico. He only needs one more thing to facilitate the type of change he seems to be promising to initiate: a crisis.
Budget cuts can be just such a crisis. Lack of funds decreases options and makes institutions more open to rapid change. Fear of even more budget cuts are also effective when it comes to whipping recalcitrant administrators into shape. And finally, scarce state resources opens the door to conservative donors who have long been seeking to assert a stronger presence in public higher education. For example, John Warner observes that:
Arizona has reduced its spending on higher education by 41%, zeroing out its contributions to two community colleges entirely. Meanwhile, the libertarian Koch Foundation has stepped into the void, offering funding to Arizona State in return for favorable treatment of their ideas inside the institution.
Conservademia: Jane Meyer remarks in her book that the 1969 Columbia University protests by Afican-American students were the catalyst that helped initiate conservative efforts to turn American universities rightward. Similarly the complaints of the MU African-American Concerned Student 1950 group stirred latent racist indignation in the state and left Missouri right wingers fuming at what they saw as administrative capitulation to the demands of the Black students.
There are clear signs that Kid Greitens is going to try to ameliorate such conservative criticism of the university’s administration while furthering the educational agenda of his conservative supporters. Indications are that he will be just as willing to take aim at liberal campus culture and try to shift it rightwards as he has been to go gunning for labor unions. The guy who in his campaign ads literally aimed a big gun on what he metaphorically designated Jefferson City political culture, may soon declare open season on campus liberals.
With predictable results.
Yesterday, via Twitter, from Representative Vicky Hartzler (r):
Rep. Vicky Hartzler @RepHartzler
Happy President’s Day and Happy Birthday to the Father of our Nation, George Washington! Who is your favorite president? Tell us here!
6:36 AM – 20 Feb 2017
And some of the responses:
@RepHartzler I’ll tell you my favorite once you schedule a #TownHall.
@RepHartzler Vic! I’m worried about you, girl. It’s district work week and you’re nowhere to be found!
Ah, no open public town halls. Sad.
@rephartzler “Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.” -George Washington (George would say this about you & Trump)
@RepHartzler disappointed that you said the women’s March had pornography yet you support a president who has been immoral. Don’t be fake
Really? Representative Hartzler (r) said something like that?
@RepHartzler Barack Obama.
Yep. That was predictable. Well, she did ask.
@RepHartzler Barack Obama
@RepHartzler. When are you going to stand-up and tell the fake President to get to the business of running this country.
@RepHartzler I think my favorite was Harry S Truman.
Heh. Another Democrat.
@RepHartzler Obama! Rated 12th best President ever.
@RepHartzler I’m a Boomer, and parent of Millennials… In my lifetime, I have most respected Barack Obama, for his wisdom and integrity.
I sense a consensus.
Interestingly, dubya didn’t get a mention.