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DAVID ROSMAN: Who's to blame for the fools on the hill?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CST; updated 2:26 p.m. CST, Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Monday, Dec. 31, 2012, and as of 8 p.m., Congress has avoided a "Thelma and Louise." The car is slowing down, an agreement was reached with four hours to spare, the can is being kicked for another two months when the 113th Congress is in session. Won’t that be a terrible waste of a 1966 T-Bird rag-top. Ka-boom!

The good news? We are going to see new faces under the federal and state domes in a couple of days. The bad news? We will not see new politics.

Worse news? Trickle-down political stup ... silliness, from federal to state, does work. We have been prepped for more Republican and Democratic in-fighting and out-fighting on their way to another unproductive session.

We have some idea of what the Missouri 2013 session will give us and one of the stup… silliest is the state constitutional amendment proposed by state Rep. Jason Smith, R-Salem, and Rep. Kenneth Wilson, R-Smithville, to "enshrine" the rights of farmers to "agricultural technology and modern livestock production and ranching techniques" or prevent any law that would "unreasonably restrict hunting, fishing and harvesting wildlife or the use of traditional devices or methods." Do we need this?

Why is this stup … silliness legislation? If you are a regular reader of my diatribes, you can guess. For those who are not, I oppose any proposed state or federal constitutional amendment that does not speak directly to the workings of government or to extend the rights of all citizens.

Yet Wilson admitted that there is no reason for this amendment. Missourian reporter Fedor Zarkhin reported him as saying that Missouri farmers' and hunters' rights aren't being threatened now but that it's necessary to prevent their rights from being taken away in the future. Really?

The enemy? Why, it is those commie-pinko, tree-hugging animal-rights groups: the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the Humane Society of the United States. Maybe I need to buy an assault rifle to protect myself from these socialist revolutionaries.

So why waste the taxpayer’s time and money?

Partly to prevent real work from happening, and to get our minds off the important work that has not been done, like the federal sequestration or “fiscal cliff,” even at the state level.

The 112th Congress had 16 months to work this out — 16 months since Congress decided to procrastinate and "kick the can down the road." (I really hate that euphemism.)

I did a quick online search for "sequestration" and "fiscal cliff" and found the earliest reference of the current “fiscal cliff" was made by Ben Bernanke in February 2012. The warning was made and with 10 months to go, Congress did … nothing.

So another can, another kick, and it will all be left to the 113th Congress to fix.

Sequestration is an example of absurd political philippic rhetoric at its best, effectively using Abraham Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Need” as the platform. Let’s get the voters on our side by saying the other side is threatening physiological needs by threatening our homes. Take away our safety needs by frightening us about a mass reduction in military effectiveness. Hammer a bigger wedge between “us” and “them,” effectively removing any sense of community. Bully the public’s self-esteem by reducing funds available to go to college.

On the Missouri state level, last year’s passing of the “Missouri Public Prayer Amendment” is another example of nonsense being passed off as a threat to liberty and well-being. It did nothing to improve the religiosity of Missourians, prevent prayer or nonparticipation in our schools, or say anything that is not already said in the Constitution of the United States and the Missouri Constitution.

Will Smith and Wilson’s proposal change anything? Will it stop some wrong? No. But it gets them free publicity by conjuring up a new threat that does not exist. It’s like magic.

Really, this stup … this silliness must stop. No, stupidity is the right word. And we, the voters, are to blame. We shot ourselves in the foot. It was us who hired the fools on the hill.

David Rosman is an editor, writer, professional speaker and college instructor in communications, ethics, business and politics. Questions? Contact Opinion editor Elizabeth Conner.


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Comments

Michael Williams January 2, 2013 | 8:43 a.m.

I don't agree that Smith and Wilson's bill is stup...silly.

We recently went through an initiative vote supported by HSUS and other animal activists. I remember the rhetoric and, after reading about the goals of these groups, I'm certain agriculture and hunting are in their crosshairs. Indeed, I think anyone who believes otherwise is stup...silly.

Without a statement of rights enshrined in the State's constitution, these organizations can pound the citizenry with initiatives and lawsuits...year after year after year. If they fail this year, they can repeat the effort next year. We're "between" years for now, which is why Rosman can say there is no (current) threat. But, even he knows that a dormant volcano can quickly turn otherwise...which is why I think Rosman's "no threat" comment is disingenuous. I think his REAL complaint is finding himself cut off at the pass.

Personally, I like the "ounce of prevention is a pound of cure" approach to many things...this is one of them.

PS: Voter ID is another.

PSS: I also like to follow the 2008 Democrat lead and "make hay while the sun shines". Veto-proof majority, dontcha know...

(Report Comment)
David Rosman January 2, 2013 | 12:22 p.m.

Mr. Williams, thank you for your comment. Very conservative of you and I always the words of the opposition.

Allow me to address two of your statement, though I know you will disagree, and make one correct.

Your comment, "We're "between" years for now, which is why Rosman can say there is no (current) threat," is not correct. There simply is no real threat. The humane treatment of farm animals helps ensure our hamburger did not come from a cow or turkey which was diseased. The treat is not to the farmer. It is putting the farmer and producers on the front lines of product safety.

Voter ID - There is no threat here. The idea concerns in-person voting only, not absentee-ballots, mail-in and Internet voting. The problem is not at the voting booth, but by the misdeeds of the persons and organizations taking the registrations. We saw this this year with the GOP in Florida and in years past by both parties. Even the conservative True the Vote cannot give numbers for actual and potential in-person voter fraud. (http://www.truethevote.org/news/how-wide... do, on the other hand, note wide spread problems with voter registrations and weeding the voter registration files.

Finally, the Dems may have had a "veto proof" 111th Congress but they were not immune to the power of the filibuster.

Query - Why when the Dems filibuster in the Senate is it wrong, but if the GOP takes this action...

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams January 2, 2013 | 3:02 p.m.

Dave: Taking them in order....

(1) The main problem with meat is at the packing houses, not on the farm (however, I WILL acknowledge that misuse of certain antibiotics, especially ones given chronically to avoid a problem, is something that needs regulation). Very few folks get sick from steaks and roasts; they get sick from hamburger and eggs/poultry...mainly from contamination at the slaughterhouse and those who manipulate/package those products.

And those who cook it.

I fail to see how what I consider to be unreasonable rules on the farm has much to do with product safety.

Pasteurization has taking care of most milk problems; any problem with milk mainly happens upon storage or at home...not on the farm.

Most food-borne problems of which I am recently aware mainly occur with organic and non-organic veggies. I'll never forget the knucklehead that thought a good method for fertilizing organic, hydroponic bean sprouts was to dose them with a slurry of fresh cow dung. Cool.

HSUS et. al., are and remain a threat to agriculture (albeit relatively dormant for now, although the magma still seethes beneath the mountain). I am unable to see how anyone could think otherwise given past actions, commercials, and writings. I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on this one...and vote accordingly.

(2) I view "voter ID" as one small part of making our voting fraud-free. I am in agreement with you that other forms of fraud are more prominent. While I would NOT like to see voting as a hard thing to do, I do not believe it should be as easy as many try to make it. Privileges require an effort, imo. And a good I.D.

(3) I didn't say it was. There is a difference between "not liking something" versus "wrong". Perhaps rephrase your question?

(Report Comment)

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