Closer To Home: What’s Happening In Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas

MISSOURI

Democrats in the Missouri legislature, the one or two left there, were successful in stopping an anti-gay measure (oh, excuse me, the “religious freedom” thing), with the help of a few courageous (courage is relative around here) Republicans. Same thing on the anti-union bill (oh, excuse me again, the “paycheck protection” thing). But, no doubt, both of those bills will be back next year and there may not be a Democratic governor to veto them.

Republicans, meanwhile, passed a budget that defunds Planned Parenthood. They passed a law that allows folks to carry concealed weapons. To go along with that gem, they also expanded our self-defense laws, which will now allow you to kill someone in a public place if he orHillary Clinton 2016 Blue Campaign Button (2.25" Round) she is sporting a Hillary for President button. Okay. It’s not quite that bad. But it’s close. All you need do to legally kill someone is believe a “reasonable” threat is present. For some folks around here where I live, a reasonable threat might be a Clinton presidency.

Meanwhile, our right-wing legislators managed not to do anything significant regarding their phony pet project this year: legislative ethics. Oh, they passed a six-month waiting period for legislators who want to become lobbyists after they’re done legislatin’, meaning that instead of instantly going from lawmaker to moneymaker, they’ll have to wait a little longer now. But there are—still—no limits on campaign contributions in Missouri. The rich can give as much as they want to our representatives. As much as they want, with no questions asked. And if any questions are asked, no one has to answer them. Lobbyists can also—still—shower lawmakers with gifts. Heck, a modest proposal to limit the gifts to forty bucks a day for food and drink and tickets to sporting events couldn’t get passed. Cardinal Nation lives on!

In any case, enough of the depressing stuff going on in Missouri. Here’s a little of what’s happening in the states nearest to Hooterville Joplin:

OKLAHOMA

Deciding that the state of Texas didn’t go far enough by enacting gross restrictions on reproductive rights (a case the Supreme’s will consider soon), anti-choice fascists in the Oklahoma legislature passed a bill that would, essentially, outlaw abortion in that state. CNN reported:

According to the language of the bill, anyone who is found to have performed an abortion — except in instances to save the life of the mother — will be found guilty of a felony and can receive up to three years in prison.

Welcome to Drumpf’s world, ladies. Good luck.

ARKANSAS

The United States, according to experts, has the largest hoosegow population in the world, with more than 2.3 million in federal or state prisons. And, effectively, we have the highest incarceration rate. These alarming statistics have even alarmed a few Republicans in Congress, who have sort of tried to get with Democrats to do something about it by reforming our criminal “justice” system.

But not Arkansas’ Tom Cotton. Senator Cotton says the problem isn’t that we have too many folks in jail—we don’t have enough. We need more. Missing the point entirely, he said at a conservative group-think tank:

Law enforcement is able to arrest or identify a likely perpetrator for only 19 percent of property crimes and 47 percent of violent crimes. If anything, we have an under-incarceration problem.

Later on he helped us understand him in, uh, context:

I saw this in Baghdad. We’ve seen it again in Afghanistan. Security has to come first, whether you’re in a war zone or whether you’re in the United States of America.

Well, he has a point. What’s the difference, in the age of Drumpf, between a “war zone” and “America”?

KANSAS

In my old home state, the dive continues. Without sufficient revenues, mostly due to cutting taxes on rich people, we get this headline from the Lawrence Journal-World:

Brownback signs Kansas budget and orders $97 million in allotment cuts, slashing KU funding

Slashing KU funding? Huh? OMG! Will that hurt my favorite basketball program, my beloved Jayhawks? Of course it won’t, but that reminds me:

Why Bill Self doesn’t pay Kansas taxes on about 90 percent of his earnings

I love me some Rock Chalk round ball. I even love me some Coach Self. But come on, peeps:

A report by public radio station KCUR noted that Self for years has had the bulk of his compensation paid into a limited liability company. Since 2012, that arrangement has become a tax perk, as Gov. Sam Brownback and the Kansas Legislature approved a new tax law that exempts Kansas income taxes on LLCs and other pass-through businesses. In total, about 334,000 Kansas business are receiving the tax break.

Get dis:

Self earns a base salary of $230,000 per year, according to a contract extension he and KU agreed upon in 2012.

In addition, Kansas Athletics pays Self’s LLC a minimum of $2.75 million per year for “professional services” rendered by the coach, according to the contract.

Sweet, ain’t it? Self has had his LLC since his coaching days at the University of Illinois in 2000. While I don’t understand the whole LLC thing, when it comes to college coaches and tax liability (I suspect, though, there is a rea$on for it), I do understand that Brownback has made it very easy on Self, when it comes to paying taxes on his compensation—the highest for any state employee in Kansas. The idea is, so goes the economic theory known as voodoo, to let Self keep his tax money and it will, like a cascade of kindness, magically fall down on everyone else in the form of jobs and increased revenue.

But what is falling down on folks in Kansas is pain, pain caused by the Brownbacks of this world:

Gov. Sam Brownback signed a budget bill into law Wednesday while at the same time ordering $97 million in allotment cuts, mostly through cuts to higher education and Medicaid funding.

Schools and poor folks. That’s who gets hit when Republicans hand out tax cuts to the rich. Always happens. That’s why, by the way, we have a crowd-drawing Bernie Sanders.

As noted in the headline previously, a large chunk—$10.7 million—of those “higher education” cuts will fall on KU itself. Maybe next fall, when the faithful students gather at Allen Fieldhouse to watch Kansas play, they can pass the hat to Bill Self and ask him to chip in a little. Who knows, he may have some spare change left over from all that job-creatin’ he’s surely doing with that extra money, right?

Speaking of passing the hat, if Republicans win this November, we will need lots of hats to pass around in order to help teachers, students, the sick, the poor, the working class, and other non-LLC owning folks survive the Browndrumpf's plan for womenbacking and Drumpfing of America.

And women will need lots of hangers.

And gays will need lots of closets.

And, of course, war-torn America will need lots of hoosegows.

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2 Comments

  1. Summing all this up as you have, Duane, just leaves me kind of speechless. That human nature can ignore these realities is dumbfounding. It’s kind of like some sort of mental disease. I saw the same thing in this morning’s Joplin Globe, a rant-letter to the editor laying all the country’s ills at the feet of president Obama. No substance, just rant. Do the schools even teach civics anymore?

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    • Teach civics? Ha. I don’t think so. And how would you teach about Drumpf anyway? They’d be afraid to tell the truth, which, as I posted today, is that a once-great political party has turned authoritarian on us, right before our eyes. Ain’t no teacher around here gonna say that and still have a job. It gets sadder by the day.

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