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Time of the Treason: Missouri Politics Provides Blueprint for Government Takeover

A brief but important comment published by Robert Reich at Salon (h/t Daily Kos):

Suppose a small group of extremely wealthy people sought to systematically destroy the U.S. government by (1) finding and bankrolling new candidates pledged to shrinking and dismembering it; (2) intimidating or bribing many current senators and representatives to block all proposed legislation, prevent the appointment of presidential nominees, eliminate funds to implement and enforce laws, and threaten to default on the nation's debt; (3) taking over state governments in order to redistrict, gerrymander, require voter IDs, purge voter rolls, and otherwise suppress the votes of the majority in federal elections; (4) running a vast PR campaign designed to convince the American public of certain big lies, such as climate change is a hoax, and (5) buying up the media so the public cannot know the truth.

Would you call this treason?

If not, what would you call it?

And what would you do about it?

Strong words. But maybe not too much so — simply consider these tidbits of recent Missouri political news:

1. First, the Missouri GOP pols' contribution to the effort to gum up the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). As we noted over the weekend, Senator Roy Blunt is prominently engaged in Republican efforts to sabotage the ACA, with shrill support from various Missouri House members like Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-4). The congressional chorus is backed up by an advertising campaign, chock full of blatant lies, and funded by the Koch brothers. Together the one percenters and their congressional GOP lackeys, including our Missouri guys, are attempting to launch a mini coup d'etat:

Instead of trying to make the law of the land work, instead of doing the hard job of governance — like seriously considering a recent business-backed bill that would've tweaked the employer mandate — they've chosen the path of partisan sabotage. They continue to attack the law [...], behaving as if it's still 2009 (when the cry of "death panels!" led the league in lying). Worse yet, they're actively working to prevent the public from learning more about what the law actually says.

2. At the state level, The Turner Report published a revealing report authored by State Representative Ed Emery (R-31) in which he discusses the role of the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in Missouri government:

Missouri has a representation on each of the [ALEC] task forces, and our involvement ensures that Missouri's interests and perspectives are a part of every deliberation. Federalism makes each state a laboratory, and ALEC involvement provides Missouri state government the best opportunity to develop effective government policies and avoid harmful ones. I hope you approve.

ALEC brings corporate lobbyists and state legislators together (on ALEC's dime) and has been behind much of the slew of anti-worker, anti-union, anti-teacher, anti-tax and pro-privatization initiatives produced by Missouri's legislators this session, at times even providing model legislation for our legislators to crib from. Emery may not be the brightest light in the room, but he is at least open about the role of the usually secretive organization and its influence buying operation — which may, of course, be exactly because he isn't the brightest light in the room.

3. The Turner Report also noted the $1.2 million dollars Rex Sinquefield contributed to a group dedicated to overturning Governor Jay Nixon's veto of legislation passed this session that would have cut Missouri's corporate taxes almost to nothing, decimating the revenue stream that ensures government functioning. This donation joins Sinquefield's other very sizeable donations to other groups that support his anti-tax, pro-educational privatization goals. Just this summer, Sinquefield has already put down almost two million dollars to bolster the down payment he's already paid out in his effort to purchase the state.

And bear in mind that these examples are the result of twenty minutes cursory searching. One can only imagine the length of this piece were I to try to be comprehensive. What is clear is that when Reich paints a picture of politicians doing the bidding of the very wealthy for the benefit of the very wealthy, selling out government to do what is best for corporations and at the behest of rich ideologues, and sabotaging laws that these rich poobahs don't like, Missouri's GOP political class could have provided the model.

My question? Are we sending traitors to Washington D.C. and Jefferson City, or just borderline felons? And along with Robert Reich, I wonder what we're going to do about it.
 

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