Dateline 2.20.09 by AzBlueMeanie
(War correspondent AzBlueMeanie is embedded with the Freedom Fighters of the Arizona Democratic Resistance in the occupied state of Arizona. This dispatch is filed from an undisclosed location within the liberated territories of Baja Arizona)
Our neighbor to the west, California, finally passed a budget plan on Thursday after weeks of being held hostage by the anti-tax and anti-government GOP Taliban. California, like Arizona, has a provision of law which requires a two-thirds super majority vote to increase taxes or to reduce or eliminate tax exemptions or tax credits. The GOP Taliban held just enough seats in the state senate to hold up the budget deal negotiated by a Republican governor and the Democratic and Republican leadership of the California Assembly. The GOP Taliban had gone so far as to remove their own senate leader on Wednesday, the closest thing to a public execution by the GOP Taliban, for having had the temerity to agree to a budget deal that included new taxes. The GOP Taliban rallied around their "no new taxes" pledge, swearing fealty to their oath of loyalty to their leader, Grover Norquist.
The budget plan must now be approved by California voters in a special election in May.
The Los Angeles Times, a conservative newspaper, nonetheless was extremely harsh in its asessment of the conduct of the GOP Taliban The end is near!:
Republicans still cling tenaciously to the third of each house they must retain in order to stay relevant. But they know that in four years, or eight, they could lose it. This budget battle may be their last opportunity for sweeping structural changes while they still have leverage far out of proportion to their numbers.
Yet to the extent that California Republican lawmakers articulate a vision for the state — and they seldom do, except to demand lower taxes and less regulation — it's not shared by voters, who consistently demand environmental protection, high-quality higher education, first-rate (and free) roads and freeways, and a competent network of hospitals.
A steadfast belief in Armageddon may be self-fulfilling, and California is now witnessing the beginning of the end — an avoidable economic collapse, as construction projects to build things we need and to inject money into the economy come to a halt, and as Sacramento's ineptitude and Republican intransigence obliterate confidence and dissuade investment. This is self- inflicted self-destruction, a fiscal apocalypse foisted on the state by a nihilistic Republican minority.
The bitter budget battle has inspired a progressive uprising in California. The Courage Campaign is an online organizing network for over 600,000 grassroots and netroots activists who push for progressive change in California. About the Courage Campaign
The Courage Campaign has begun a "Stop the Insanity: Restore Democracy to California" campaign to repeal the two-thirds super majority law. As described on its web page Stop the insanity: Sign the pledge to repeal the 2/3rds rule:
California is in crisis – and Republicans are using it as an opportunity to advance their radical right-wing agenda.
The rule requiring a 2/3rds vote of the legislature to pass a budget allowed a small cabal of extremist Republicans led by Senator Abel Maldonado to hold the state hostage to their demands, as they have done year after year. As Rachel Maddow explained on her show, this is part of a pattern of Republican obstruction across America.
We have to stop the insanity. The only way this madness will end is if we eliminate the 2/3rds rule.
Please join the Courage Campaign and CREDO Mobile in signing the pledge to repeal the 2/3rds rule. Then forward this link to your friends:
We, the undersigned, are united in our determination to fix California's government and stop those who use the 2/3rds rule to hold public services, public workers, and Californians hostage to their demands.
We pledge to repeal the 2/3rds rule and restore democracy to California.
To all of the progressive organizations in Arizona, the time has come for you to form your own chapter (or version) of the Courage Campaign and organize to "Stop the Insanity: Restore Democracy to Arizona" by repealing the two-thirds super majority constitutional provision, Article 9, Section 22 of the Arizona Constitution (Prop. 108, 1992). It is the only way to end the madness of the GOP Taliban holding this state hostage to their "no new taxes" pledge, which prevents any substantive discussion of comprehensive tax reforms that are badly needed and long overdue in this state.
There have been some very preliminary discussions of an initiative to repeal Article 9, Section 22 (Prop. 108). I am told that our Democratic leadership is lukewarm to hostile to the idea because they fear this measure would only turn out the GOP Taliban on election day. (Hence, the "Courage" Campaign – get some). In case the leadership has not been paying attention, the GOP Taliban always turn out and they're not voting for Democrats.
But Democratic voters and the equally large number of independent or no party affiliation voters will vote for this intiative in order to save public education and health care programs in this state, and to restore sanity to the Legislature. By the time the November 2010 election rolls around, the GOP Taliban butchers will have turned the Legislature into a slaughterhouse killing off every useful government program that does not directly benefit the Ayatollahs of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce. These butchers will be soaked in the blood of innocents. And the voters of this state are going to be enraged and seeking to exact revenge on the GOP Taliban butchers who are responsible. There will never be a better time or opportunity to repeal this undemocratic and highly destructive law.