Monday, March 04, 2013

Bloody Kansas... Again


So catastrophic were the Republican policies of the 1920s-- basically the Republican policies at the core of what the party was then and what the party still is today-- that FDR even won blood-red Kansas in 1932 and 1936. After those two cycles, though, Kansans were back to their default position-- voting for Republicans. The one brief interlude was in 1964 when Lyndon Johnson beat Barry Goldwater in a national landslide. Kansas gave Johnson 54.09% of its vote. He was the last Democratic presidential nominee to win the state. This past November, Romney won every one of Kansas' 105 counties except Wyandotte (Kansas City) and Douglas (Lawrence), beating Obama statewide 59.71- 37.99%.

Kansas, headquarters of Koch Industries, is pretty hopelessly captured by the John Birch Society wing of the GOP. The Koch's control the state's politics. In the video above you see the Koch's own personal member of Congress, Mike Pompeo talking about how the Sequester is a home run for Republicans. One of the other GOP spokesmodels in the clip is another Koch shill and Kansas extremist lunatic Tim Huelskamp. It seems that whenever we're looking at a Kansas Republican-- from deranged Governor Sam Brownback, his Agriculture Secretary Dale Rodman or virulently racist Secretary of State Kris Kobach to the newest right-wing cutie-pie Rick Brattin, sponsor of the latest bill to teach religion instead of science in public schools, we're looking at the defenders of the past against the unwelcome encroachment of progress and reality. That's Kansas!

And if you're unfortunate enough to be poor in that state and need public assistance, the Republican rulers are going to rub it in your face. They're in the process of mandating drug testing for anyone who applies for welfare... or even unemployment benefits!
Although Democrats were unable to stop a drug-testing measure that supporters say is aimed at preventing state dollars from being used to buy illegal drugs, they were able to insert an amendment in the version that passed the state Senate Thursday intended to better achieve that goal: drug-test lawmakers, also. The Kansas City Star reports:
The proposal calls for drug tests whenever state officials have reasonable suspicion that someone receiving or applying for welfare or unemployment benefits is using drugs.

Suspicion could be raised during addiction screening by the Department for Children and Families or by missed meetings or criminal records. A proposal pushed by Democrats to also test any lawmaker suspected of drug use was added to the bill.

Suspicion of drug use by lawmakers could be identified by the Department of Administration based on criminal records or other complaints.

Benefit recipients who fail the test would lose state assistance until they complete drug treatment and job skills programs. Lawmakers who fail would also have to enter treatment and job skills training.
Of course, there are several gaping differences between the requirements for welfare recipients and lawmakers, including the circumstances that will trigger a drug test, and the fact that lawmakers who fail a test don’t lose their state funding-- their salary-- while they complete drug treatment. But the intent, as Democratic Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau said, is to assert that “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.” Holding lawmakers to the same standard is not something a proponent of Florida’s drug-testing law was willing to do.

The federal appeals court decision blocking Florida’s mandatory drug-testing law made clear that blanket testing of public assistance applicants is likely unconstitutional. In fact, blanket testing of legislative candidates has also been deemed unconstitutional, as is most suspicionless drug testing, absent significant public safety concerns. But the Kansas bill, like legislation passed in several other states over the last two years, is somewhat more selective. It requires “reasonable suspicion”-- the required constitutional standard for performing a police “stop” under the Fourth Amendment-- before a drug test can be performed.
If anyone requires "reasonable suspicion" whether or not Kansas politicians are on drugs... just take a look at statements like Pompeo's about what constitutes a home run. And it isn't like Kansas is immune from the effects of Sequestration. Friday. when President Obama announced that the Republicans refused to stop it he mentioned that Washington is just making things harder for working families and small businesses. "At a time when our businesses have finally begun to get some traction-- hiring new workers, bringing jobs back to America-- we shouldn’t be making a series of dumb, arbitrary cuts to things that businesses depend on and workers depend on, like education, and research, and infrastructure and defense. It’s unnecessary. And at a time when too many Americans are still looking for work, it’s inexcusable... [N]ot everyone will feel the pain of these cuts right away. The pain, though, will be real. Beginning this week, many middle-class families will have their lives disrupted in significant ways. Businesses that work with the military, like the Virginia shipbuilder that I visited on Tuesday, may have to lay folks off. Communities near military bases will take a serious blow. Hundreds of thousands of Americans who serve their country-- Border Patrol agents, FBI agents, civilians who work at the Pentagon-- all will suffer significant pay cuts and furloughs. All of this will cause a ripple effect throughout our economy. Layoffs and pay cuts means that people have less money in their pockets, and that means that they have less money to spend at local businesses. That means lower profits. That means fewer hires. The longer these cuts remain in place, the greater the damage to our economy-- a slow grind that will intensify with each passing day. So economists are estimating that as a consequence of this sequester, that we could see growth cut by over one-half of 1 percent. It will cost about 750,000 jobs at a time when we should be growing jobs more quickly. So every time that we get a piece of economic news, over the next month, next two months, next six months, as long as the sequester is in place, we’ll know that that economic news could have been better if Congress had not failed to act."

A home run in whatever crazy world Mike Pompeo and Tim Hueslkamp hail from. When the president added that "I do know that there are Republicans in Congress who privately, at least, say that they would rather close tax loopholes than let these cuts go through," he wasn't talking about Pompeo or Huelskamp, of course. The week before, the White House had sent a message specifically to Kansas about what the impact of Sequestration would be for people in that state this year.
Teachers and Schools: Kansas will lose approximately $5.5 million in funding for primary and secondary education, putting around 80 teacher and aide jobs at risk. In addition about 7,000 fewer students would be served and approximately 40 fewer schools would receive funding.

* Education for Children with Disabilities: In addition, Kansas will lose approximately $5.3 in funds for about 60 teachers, aides, and staff who help children with disabilities.

Work-Study Jobs: Around 310 fewer low income students in Kansas would receive aid to help them finance the costs of college and around 140 fewer students will get work-study jobs that help them pay for college.

Head Start: Head Start and Early Head Start services would be eliminated for approximately 500 children in Kansas, reducing access to critical early education.

Protections for Clean Air and Clean Water: Kansas would lose about $1.8 million in environmental funding to ensure clean water and air quality, as well as prevent pollution from pesticides and hazardous waste. In addition, Kansas could lose another $772,000 in grants for fish and wildlife protection.

Military Readiness: In Kansas, approximately 8,000 civilian Department of Defense employees would be furloughed, reducing gross pay by around $36.7 million in total.

* Army: Base operation funding would be cut by about $78 million in Kansas.

* Air Force: Funding for Air Force operations in Kansas would be cut by about $1 million.

Law Enforcement and Public Safety Funds for Crime Prevention and Prosecution: Kansas will lose about $149,000 in Justice Assistance Grants that support law enforcement, prosecution and courts, crime prevention and education, corrections and community corrections, drug treatment and enforcement, and crime victim and witness initiatives.

Job Search Assistance to Help those in Kansas find Employment and Training: Kansas will lose about $322,000 in funding for job search assistance, referral, and placement, meaning around 11,130 fewer people will get the help and skills they need to find employment.

Child Care: Up to 400 disadvantaged and vulnerable children could lose access to child care, which is also essential for working parents to hold down a job.

Vaccines for Children: In Kansas around 1,240 fewer children will receive vaccines for diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, whooping cough, influenza, and Hepatitis B due to reduced funding for vaccinations of about $85,000.

Public Health: Kansas will lose approximately $273,000 in funds to help upgrade its ability to respond to public health threats including infectious diseases, natural disasters, and biological, chemical, nuclear, and radiological events. In addition, Kansas will lose about $610,000 in grants to help prevent and treat substance abuse, resulting in around 900 fewer admissions to substance abuse programs. And the Kansas State Department of Health And Environmnt will lose about $65,000 resulting in around 1,600 fewer HIV tests.

STOP Violence Against Women Program: Kansas could lose up to $61,000 in funds that provide services to victims of domestic violence, resulting in up to 200 fewer victims being served.

Nutrition Assistance for Seniors: Kansas would lose approximately $209,000 in funds that provide meals for seniors.
Home run? Pompeo was reelected in November against token and unfunded Democratic opposition-- Robert Tillman raised $22,044 (against Koch-backed Pompeo's $1,915,080)-- 62-31%. Tim Huelskamp didn't have an opponent. And neither did another Sequester champion, Kevin Yoder (whose district includes Kansas City).


Labels: , , ,


At 11:55 AM, Blogger John said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 11:59 AM, Blogger John said...

Quote ... "President Obama announced that the Republicans refused to stop it." (i.e. the Sequestration.)

Of all the hideously stupid bullshit.

The time to "stop it" was when it arrived on his desk for signing. (Eerily reminiscent of the way to "stop" the budget busting Bush tax cuts that apparently was too difficult [or was that terrorist coddling]: DO EFFing NOTHING.)

The time for the speech was when the murderous bill is vetoed, not now when the useless, empty, insulting words are simply more proof of conspiratorially murderous, gross ineffectiveness.

John Puma


Post a Comment

<< Home