Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The War on Democracy: News from the Front

Watching the "Tea Party" backed Republicans in action, I've become convinced that rather than a shadowy monolithic conspiracy, they are an amalgam of reactionary social conservatives, economic supremacists and narcissists, which consciously or subconsciously seeks to create a rigid stratified society run by a subset of wealthy people.  This society would be throwback economically to 1870s America and politically to 1830s France. It would be obtained by the disenfranchisement of much of the population and shifting the from a government answerable to elected representation to services and regulations run by private entities.  More simply, they're anti-democracy.

Today in Ohio, the Republican-controlled House labor committee voted 9-6 to forward a bill to limit collective bargaining rights for 350,000 public workers, including police officers and firefighters

The senior citizen lobbying group AARP is suddenly under attack from Republicans due to its support for not just health care reform, but existing Medicare.

The Wisconsin Union-busting bill has been held up in court, nevertheless the Authoritarians have declared it to be in effect by publishing it in a public record, Legislative Reference Bureau. The LRB itself however declares that their record does not constitute putting a law into effect. As a result, the judge who issued the original stay reiterated in no uncertain terms and threatened sanctions for non-compliance.  However, the Republicans are making noise that they may still ignore the court order.

The Republican House Speaker in Pennsylvania thinks there's too much representation in the Commonwealth, so he wants to cut the size of the lower house by 50 members. Sam Smith of Jefferson County says, "We would be a more efficient body if the House of Representatives was smaller,"  Constitutional scholar Bruce Ledewitz of Duquesne University says the legislature was increased in size in 1874 to help prevent corrupt lawmakers from passing bills favoring special interests and corporations.  Similar bills have been proposed in other states.

The new governor of Florida, Rick Scott, is under fire for his shenanigans regarding the health care company Solantic. Scott was on the board of directors until this past January, but rather than divest himself to avoid a conflict of interest, he instead shifted his holdings to his wife. As Kris Boughton points out, the company may stand to gain form the new free-market health care and drug testing programs that Scott is pushing.

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