Is Rick Perry a 'sucker,' or was he just lying?

Here’s a good catch by Kevin Drum, by one of his readers in Iowa, and then by the Des Moines Register:Rick Perry Gets Suckered by an Urban Legend.”

From Kevin’s reader:

I was at the Iowa State Fair today and caught Rick Perry’s speech. He started talking about this stupid new regulation that would require farmers to get commercial drivers licenses if they drive their tractors across the road. I remember reading about this very issue on your blog so I yelled “That’s not true” a couple of times (as can barely be heard on the video at the link) and later asked the Des Moines Register’s political editor to fact check the story.

I exchanged emails with her tonight and she sent me a link to their story.

That’s pretty awesome. My only quibble is Kevin’s headline — “Rick Perry Gets Suckered.”

That’s the most charitable possibility — that Perry didn’t know what he was talking about and passed along a right-wing urban legend as truth. But it doesn’t seem to be the most likely possibility.

It seems far likelier that Rick Perry wasn’t himself “suckered,” but rather that he was just trying to sucker Iowans into believing what he knew to be a steaming pile of nonsense.

Here’s what Perry said:

You need to free up the employers of this country to create jobs. Get rid of the regulations that are stifling jobs in America. Free up this country from these stifling regulations. Let me give you just an … this is such an obscene, crazy regulation. They want to make … if you’re a tractor driver, if you drive your tractor across a public road, you’re going to have to have a commercial driver’s license. Now how idiotic is that?

Maybe he really believed that. Maybe the single example of “stifling regulations” that he chose for his stump speech was some wild rumor that, despite being a state governor, he never bothered to check into or to have an aide check into. Maybe he is as naive and gullible and prone to misplaced knee-jerk indignation as the Facebook fools denouncing stories from The Onion thinking they’re true.

But for that to be true, Rick Perry would have to be really lazy and really gullible.

It seems far likelier that Rick Perry was just assuming that his audience was that lazy, that gullible, that naive and that prone to misplaced, knee-jerk indignation.

It seems far likelier, in other words, that Rick Perry didn’t get suckered by this urban legend, but was retelling it to his audience in order to sucker them — to sucker them into supporting his candidacy, to sucker them into thinking that government is always their enemy, and to sucker them into thinking that unfettered, unregulated giant corporations are their friends.

The likeliest explanation for Rick Perry telling this foolish falsehood at the Iowa State Fair is that Rick Perry was lying and that he has so little respect for the decency and common sense of Iowans that he thought he could get away with it.

The presumption of charity teaches us not to presume that someone is lying just because they said something that isn’t true. That presumption works much like the presumption of innocence in criminal court — innocent until proven guilty, or misinformed until proven mendacious.

There’s an impressive circumstantial case against Perry here. He ought to have known better and could easily have found out the readily available truth. He claims to be upset about this, but he never did what any reasonable person would reasonably be expected to do if upset about such a thing — he never checked into it. And he had motive — his falsehood benefited him personally and benefited the interests with which he is allied and benefited the corporate donors who have enriched his campaign.

So I’d ask the jury to consider which is more likely: That Perry is merely gullible and lazy? Or that his self-serving falsehood was deliberate?

There remain two more pieces of evidence that should settle that question. First, will Perry correct his earlier falsehood? And second, will he continue to repeat it?

If he never corrects it, and especially if he continues to repeat it after being corrected by the Register, then I think the presumption of charity can reasonably be replaced with a conclusion of guilt.

  • FangsFirst

    eat fried butter on a stick.

    Oh god. I saw a picture of that. I normally have a very strong stomach, but the idea of that still kind of makes me want to vomit if I do not carefully control it.

  • Inca

    “The presumption of charity teaches us not to presume that someone is
    lying just because they said something that isn’t true. That presumption
    works much like the presumption of innocence in criminal court —
    innocent until proven guilty, or misinformed until proven mendacious.”

    I think this has to be pointed out more, including the other side of it. When someone high up in office speaks an untruth, it can be lying, but it can be something other. However, the ‘something other’ means that someone is displaying incompetence in that task. If someone is telling untruths about something they *ought to know* the alternative to lying shouldn’t be seen as favorable. It means they are not doing their job well. And since this is not about a local shop salesperson that doesn’t know the price of item x, but someone who wants to run for *president* that is a major issue!

  • Matri

    “Run for president”? They want to run your life!!

  • http://mordicai.livejournal.com Mordicai

    People keep bringing up Colbert, but it was the Daily Show that had the better break down of stuff like this:

    “Evil?  Or Stupid?”

    Either is plausible.  Either is damning.

  • Tonio

    It would take a lot for me to believe that they actually believe
    anything they say, rather than just say whatever the people who pay
    their bills want them to.

    My suspicion of willful ignorance involves neither one of those. If I understand Fred’s old columns, they know on a subconscious level that what they say isn’t true, but they choose to believe it anyway. It’s not an honest type of belief. They could be doing this because what is true conflicts with their worldview. But they could also be doing it to convince themselves that they aren’t paid mouthpieces.

    Looking at people like Limbaugh and Beck, they were Top 40 radio personalities for years before finding more lucrative gigs. The idea that they and their counterparts are merely handed the morning’s talking points and a stack of Ben Franklins by their secret masters – that’s too simplistic and cartoonish. But also simplistic is the suggestion that they don’t believe their schtick. My theory is that they always leaned conservative and found an aspect of themselves and their performing styles that resonated with audiences, and it grew from there. Of course, it resonates because it’s demagoguery.

  • http://aaron.acephalo.us Aaron

    “Accounting tricks?” I realize you’ll call me a troll and ignore me for asking, but what’s wrong with those figures?

  • Anonymous

    I think it’s a lot less ‘evil’ than this, Fred.  You’re assuming Perry is working alone and making all this shit up on his own.  He’s not.  This is some story told to him by one of his flunkies who lines up the talking points.  That flunky got it off some email or right-wing blog or something, and didn’t fact check it.  He reads whatever he’s given, because he assumes that the folks working for him have checked everything out & there’s no reason for him to believe otherwise.

    I think the worst that he’s probably guilty of is believing something vaguely outrageous because it conveniently fits his world-view, in the same way that I believe Sarah Palin’s husband was an official in the Alaskan secessionist party.  I don’t know this to be true, and haven’t really fact checked it myself, but it’s certainly something that is outrageous, yet it fits my world-view (and tickles my fancy), so I choose to believe it.  Also, I’ve seen it in a couple of places, so it *must* be true… right?  :)

    I’m not defending him as a person.  He scares the shit out of me, and if he’s elected I may become an ex-pat.  But, in this case, I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt, because that really seems like the most likely situation.

    Peter

  • Anonymous

    I’ve a friend who lives in El Paso– she says Perry is actually just about the worst they’ve had. I can’t think of everything he’s done, but just off the top of my head, he tanked sex education in schools, cutting it down to “abstinence!” and when people pointed out that teen pregnancy rates were skyrocketing in the communities it was tried in, he sort of went “No, it works!” and that was the end of THAT.

  • Lori

      Remember: keep calm and don’t respond.  

     

    Someone really needs to photoshop this onto one of those little signs. Sort of like this one, but more troll specific:

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    I’m surprised that Fred seems to treat deliberate lying as the only alternative. What about a third option, willful ignorance? He’s written eloquently that RTCs invest themselves in a worldview that doesn’t conform to reality, describing how they regularly reject reality to some degree in order to hold onto the worldview. I strongly suspect that Perry is engaging in that practice. He’s smart enough to know better but chooses to believe the tractor story anyway because it confirms his worldview. If true, I think that would be worse than gullibility or deliberate lying, because few things would be scarier than a President who chooses to wall him/herself off from reality.

    We (Catholics) have a whole section of moral theology devoted to ignorance. I find the idea of culpable ignorance interesting and useful–including in the notorious debate about the moral strength of good intentions.

    In the examples Fred often raises where a public figure makes an ignorant statement that has negative implications or effects on other people, I’d argue that if the statements *are* ignorant (which we mostly can’t know for sure) they look like cases of culpable (or vincible) ignorance to me.

  • Anonymous

    The idea that they and their counterparts are merely handed the morning’s talking points and a stack of Ben Franklins by their secret masters – that’s too simplistic and cartoonish.

    Except we demonstrably know that’s what happens. It is indisputable that, at least as far as Fox News goes, that the reporters and commentators are handed this morning’s talking points and a stack of Ben Franklins. And if you pay attention to Republican politicians, well they all sound the same. Sorry, but dozens of politicians don’t endlessly repeat the exact same words (lies) unless they are handed this morning’s talking points and stack of Ben Franklins.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    I wonder if these people’s perception of reality couldn’t be summed up in something as simple as “Intent…It’s Effing Magic!”Think about it. Reality for them was spoken into existence by an all-powerful God. Therefore, when God says something, It Is So because God is the ultimate authority and he’s (supposedly) the ultimate good. Somehow this belief gets translated into the notion that anything that anyone says is True in a sense…not based on any factual reality, but based upon the Goodness and/or Authority of the speaker. Therefore, anyone that speaks on behalf of the Ultimate Speaker of Existence and Goodness, or anyone who follows the commands or even anyone who merely claims to follow the commands of the Ultimate Speaker is Automatically Right regardless of facts. Their intent makes them right, not their facts. Because when God (or a self-appointed mouthpiece) speaks, It Is So. Even when it isn’t. That’s how their world works. It’s all about Intent.

    I don’t buy this.

    First of all, I think you’re conflating morality of intent with an argument from authority, where the authority is “someone speaking on behalf of God”.

    But more significantly, a person who says that their message reflects the commands of God, and who displays evidence of good intent, but whose message is not right wing, socially conservative and nationalistic is rejected out of hand. Prominent Christians who speak out on issues of economic justice or environmentalism, for example, are scorned by the group I understand you to be referring to.

    It’s not about the speaker’s intention at all. It’s the message. If you have a message that conflicts with the economic and social worldview that people decide to hold, they don’t give two shits about your intent.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Or, what JohnK said.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    I’ve also heard that Perry is actually a worse governor than Bush.

    Who has the higher bodycount as governor?

  • Anonymous

    But … he doesnt care. He’s discovered that if caught in a blunder or lie, the thing to do in american politics now, is to repeat it, louder and more stringently, and reject/ignore all criticism. The political media are so inert or browbeaten, they will let candidates get away with this -all-the-time. If you doubt me, look at Palins career … or GWB’s for that matter.

  • Lori

     Who has the higher bodycount as governor?  

     

    I think this is one of those times when quality matters more than quantity. I don’t know whether there have been more executions under Perry than under Bush. However, Perry authorized the execution of a man he knew was actually innocent. Not “get off on a technicality” not guilty, but did not do the crime for which he was sitting on death row*. IOW, Perry’s a murderer. Bush was a scum who mocked a woman on death row, but at least Tucker had actually done the crime. 

    *Or any other crime for which he could have gotten the death penalty, even in execution happy Texas

  • Lori

     Who has the higher bodycount as governor?  

     

    I think this is one of those times when quality matters more than quantity. I don’t know whether there have been more executions under Perry than under Bush. However, Perry authorized the execution of a man he knew was actually innocent. Not “get off on a technicality” not guilty, but did not do the crime for which he was sitting on death row*. IOW, Perry’s a murderer. Bush was a scum who mocked a woman on death row, but at least Tucker had actually done the crime. 

    *Or any other crime for which he could have gotten the death penalty, even in execution happy Texas

  • http://plantsarethestrangestpeople.blogspot.com/ mr_subjunctive

    Playing the Is he Stupid? Or Evil? game is never a useful game to play.

    It isn’t? Please elaborate.

  • http://guy-who-reads.blogspot.com/ Mike Timonin

    Playing the Is he Stupid? Or Evil? game is never a useful game to play.

    It isn’t? Please elaborate.

    I think the issue might be that the answer is almost always “both”, rather than one thing or the other. The subject in question is both a floor wax AND an ice cream topping.

  • Jared Bascomb

    I know anecdotes aren’t data, but there was a letter in the LA Times last week (Sunday?) by a woman from El Paso who had been vacationing in CA. She implored Californians to wake up and *not* let their state become the disaster that is her Texas.

  • Jared Bascomb

    This reminds me of one of my favorite Lily Tomlin bits, when she was in character as Edith Ann, the five year old, and confronted with the accusation that she wasn’t telling the truth. Edith Ann’s response was [paraphrasing]: “No. I am not making things up. That is lies and lies are not the truth. But the truth can be made up if you know how.”

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    The political media are so inert or browbeaten, they will let candidates get away with this -all-the-time. If you doubt me, look at Palins career … or GWB’s for that matter.

    Indeed.  This is precisely the problem with the press these days.  Whatever happened to Edward R. Murrow’s idea, “The job of the press is to sell papers and raise hell.”  These days, they just parrot back what is said to them with no fact checking to enforce accountability.  They are too scared of people who support the politicians being parroted tuning out to risk upsetting them with the truth.  

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GVT7C7S6IP2OC44PFUZGAJ4OBM JohnK

    California is on its way. They have an incredibly weird, unsustainable tax and spending structure that defies belief. People talk about the federal debt crisis but that’s largely a self-inflicted wound; California’s budget system really is a mess. I don’t know if it’s as bad as Texas (I don’t know much about Texas at all) but those Propositions are making it pretty much impossible to impose fiscal responsibility. You can’t raise taxes and you can’t cut spending — on anything.

  • Anonymous

    Your wish, my command, etc. etc. I had one before but Disqus eated it. EDIT: It eated this one too, apparently. Here’s a link.

    The Cameron Willingham thing is frightening. I wasn’t aware of it before.

  • Anonymous

    California’s primary problem is Prop 13 and the 2/3 requirement to raise taxes. Imagine all the gridlock of the Senate from 2008-2010, every year.

    We also have the idea that you can have a lot of services without paying taxes. And that undocumented immigrants deprive the state of – when adjusted for inflation – infinity dollars, and if we could just deport all of them then we’d be flush with cash again. Basically, California is a microcosm of the country as a whole, with a bunch of red districts blocking any attempt from the majority of blue districts to accomplish anything. It’s a very large state and quite ideologically divided between coastal blue cities and red inland areas.

    I could expound at greater length, but I’m kind of in crunch in one of the two jobs I have to replace the one old job I had that paid just as much.

  • http://www.nightphoenix.com Amaranth

    I see your point, and I may be conflating a bit of morality of intent with pure authoritarianism. I was thinking more of “perceived” intent rather than the actual intent of a speaker…and that perceived intent seems to rest entirely on a speaker’s ability to spout the right talking points.

    I guess my main point was that there seems to be a subset of people who, instead of accepting reality as True because, hey, it’s right here and I can see it…rather accepts reality as True because Someone said that it is. Because if ultimate reality was spoken into existence by God, doesn’t that mean that if someone with enough Authority says something enough times, it’s probably true? Words create Truth.

    That doesn’t at all explain how a person goes about choosing one worldview over another, or deciding who to follow as an authority…on that I got nothing :P But it might explain some of the blind trust in said authority figure’s words despite any amount of evidence to the contrary. Real Reality being all about what God says it is rather than what actually gets unconsciously translated down to other authority figures in one’s life.

  • Albanaeon

    Texas enacts a budget every two years. The last budget was enacted before the scope of the economic downturn was realized, which gave the illusion that it was doing well when in fact its budget wasn’t reflecting the reality of the situation. Texas’s unemployment numbers also aren’t great, and with a much bigger growing population, this is also going to create a bigger drag. Add in that even if they have better numbers than some states, it is still bought by extremely low spending on education per pupil and extremely low health insurance coverage. So, in summary, the touted numbers are not reflective of reality and they were bought originally by cutting services to the most needy. And let’s not forget that Texas, in the midst of it worst drought ever, it’s governor did not look at things like desalination plants and massive irrigation infrastructure, which would help both the drought and employment problems, but set up prayer rallies. Which, in addition to being dodgy Constitutionally, did nothing to solve the problem. Texas epitomizes the “SOL if your not one of us” mentality of the GOP, as well as the base deceit that they use constantly.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    California’s primary problem is Prop 13 and the 2/3 requirement to raise taxes. Imagine all the gridlock of the Senate from 2008-2010, every year.

    I live in Washington, and it always amazes me that every few years it seems like some anti-tax advocacy group tries to put up a proposition to limit legislators ability to alter tax rates.  It always has me frustrated, how can legislators actually do the job they are elected to do if they are so bound by voter restrictions that they can do nothing?  We cannot guarantee that we will know what the situation will be like in five years, let alone ten or fifteen, so how can we justify making restrictive regulations of our lawmakers which inhibit our local government’s ability to adjust to those new situations.  

    Especially since for so many of those anti-tax activists, it is not as though their tax rates are particularly encumbering, or limit their ability to do business and live lives.  They seem to operate on a basis of “tax == bad” without regard for context or affordability.  

    Basically, California is a microcosm of the country as a whole, with a bunch of red districts blocking any attempt from the majority of blue districts to accomplish anything. It’s a very large state and quite ideologically divided between coastal blue cities and red inland areas.

    It has been my observation that is true of all the states on the west coast.  It certainly is in Washington, and it seems to be so from the friends and relatives that I have in Oregon.  Sometimes I wonder if it would be better to split all three states into two states each.  At least that way the political cultures do not end up having to wrestle with each other so much and might actually get something done.  

  • Lori

     Your wish, my command, etc. etc. I had one before but Disqus eated it. EDIT: It eated this one too, apparently. Here’s a link. 

    Thank you!

     The Cameron Willingham thing is frightening. I wasn’t aware of it before.  

     Isn’t it? Did you watch the PBS thing on it (I think it was a Frontline episode). That broke my heart and made me want to smack the every loving crap out of a whole bunch of folks, Perry right up there on the list. The fact that so many people would rather murder an innocent man than admit to having been wrong is just terrifying and enraging. 

  • MD

    “Brad – Texas really seems to be doing very well.  As a Texan, or just a
    person (but on the ground experience is always nice), can you explain
    why it isn’t?”

    Not Brad, but the story of exactly what has been going on in Texas under Rick Parry’s governorship is scattered throughout the internet-o-sphere. For example:

    “Despite being one of the loudest critics of President Obama’s stimulus,
    Perry used billions of dollars of federal money to patch Texas’ budget
    shortfalls, and was thus able to create and maintain lots and lots of
    public sector jobs. In fact, if you look at net job creation between
    2007 and 2010, it’s clear the only thing keeping Texas buoyant was
    government jobs.” (http://tinyurl.com/3w9yud5)

    Or:

    “But that doesn’t mean that all is well with employment in the Lone Star
    State. Texas leads the nation in minimum-wage jobs, and many positions
    don’t offer health benefits. Also, steep budget cuts are expected to
    result in the loss of more than 100,000 jobs. …
    Factoring in that population growth means Texas would need to create
    another 629,000 jobs, or 5.6% more positions, just to reach its
    pre-recession employment level, according to the Economic Policy
    Institute. …
    Going forward, the Lone Star State will have to work even harder to
    create jobs. That’s because Perry signed a budget in May that slashes
    $15 billion in government spending over the next two years. Also, the
    federal stimulus funds that poured into the state since 2009 have
    largely dried up.”

    So, Parry balanced the TX budget using stimulus funds (sorry, “job-killing socialism”) and now that he’s run out of federal dollars to pad the bottom line, his budget had a $15B hole he had to fill.

    The A is for America. Also for IowA.

  • MD

    Sorry, second source: http://tinyurl.com/3vcnjto

  • Lunch Meat

    There’s also the fact that while some Texas cities are doing really well–Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio were ranked by Newsweek among the cities that are resisting the recession and recovering the best–most cities here are small towns that are experiencing zero or negative growth. In Abilene, for instance, a good sized town, some of my friends with master’s degrees couldn’t get jobs. Most of the jobs that you can get there are minimum wage or part time. And Abilene is not unique in that respect.

  • Tonio

    With politicians, yes, they obviously get their talking points from lobbyists. My point wasn’t about the politicians or the Fox News staffers but the independent commentators.

  • Mr. Heartland

    You’re really onto something here.  It stands to reason that authoritarians would be able to comprehend honesty or dishonesty in any other context except that of either lying to avoid punishment or meekly accepting it.  Dishonesty is therefore at root disobedience, just like every other bad behavior.  While honesty is at root a show of loyalty, just like everything good.   

    It may be that they are unable to conceive any such thing as honest assessment of statements and facts, or honest examination of their own beliefs, because outside the ‘hand in the cookie jar’ scenario they do not see honesty as existing by itself but only as part of the unified, absolutist, One True Way encompassing all wisdom and virtue, which naturally includes belief in the Christian God and the superiority of the United States.  Anyone who loudly loudly and aggressively states his belief in these things is therefore entitled to trust, and any claim that they are wrong on their facts will be fiercely opposed not on reason but as a matter of loyalty and honor.   

  • Tonio

    The “stupid or evil” dichotomy is confusing to me because it appears to deal with motivation, but many people seem to treat it as though it deals with accountability. But people are accountable for their words and actions no matter what their motivations are. I’m interested in motivations from an empirical standpoint, meaning the question of why Person X would say something that’s obviously false. Human beings being combinations of good and bad and indifferent and it-seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time, there are many motivations that don’t fit neatly into the dichotomy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jeff-Lipton/100001171828568 Jeff Lipton

     Sometimes I wonder if it would be better to split all three states into two states each.  At least that way the political cultures do not end up having to wrestle with each other so much and might actually get something done.

    I’d prefer to create three separate states: A coastal strip the runs up to the Cascades, the desert area east of the Cascades, and a Libertopia in Orange County.  (OC really doesn’t fit with either part of California).  Any of the Proposition maps prepared by the Secretary of State would show the dividing lines quite clearly.

    (We might actually want to have the third state be LosSaniajuana.  The Southern half of Cali skews much more conservative than the Northern half.  Although I wouldn’t mind letting SoCal in with NorCal since we’d get Hollyweird and Pacific Beach.)

    (All the East Coasters and non-Americans are going “Huh????”)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jeff-Lipton/100001171828568 Jeff Lipton

     Sometimes I wonder if it would be better to split all three states into two states each.  At least that way the political cultures do not end up having to wrestle with each other so much and might actually get something done.

    I’d prefer to create three separate states: A coastal strip the runs up to the Cascades, the desert area east of the Cascades, and a Libertopia in Orange County.  (OC really doesn’t fit with either part of California).  Any of the Proposition maps prepared by the Secretary of State would show the dividing lines quite clearly.

    (We might actually want to have the third state be LosSaniajuana.  The Southern half of Cali skews much more conservative than the Northern half.  Although I wouldn’t mind letting SoCal in with NorCal since we’d get Hollyweird and Pacific Beach.)

    (All the East Coasters and non-Americans are going “Huh????”)

  • Hawker40

    “Cascades”? “Orange County” as Libertopia?

    Living in Southern (Very Southern) Cal distorts my view of course, but the “liberal Coastal Strip” starts in Venice Beach (Just South of the People’s Republic of Santa Monica) to the Oregon Border. South of there, it slowly gets more Republican, maxing out behind the Orange Curtain, dropping until Oceanside/Camp Pendleton, then increasing again until you hit Point Loma to drop back down slightly in OB. Going inland tends to get more conservative, with the exception of Imperial County (Liberal, but only compared to San Diego).

    The biggest distortion of California in perception comes from this simple fact: Los Angeles is the 3rd largest city in the country. San Diego is 6th. San Fransisco isn’t in the top ten.  San Fransisco and Oakland combined aren’t as big as San Diego.  San Fransisco, Oakland, San Jose, Fresno, and Sacramento combined aren’t as big as Los Angeles.

  • Lori

     I live in Washington, and it always amazes me that every few years it seems like some anti-tax advocacy group tries to put up a proposition to limit legislators’ ability to alter tax rates.  It always has me frustrated, how can legislators actually do the job they are elected to do if they are so bound by voter restrictions that they can do nothing?  We cannot guarantee that we will know what the situation will be like in five years, let alone ten or fifteen, so how can we justify making restrictive regulations of our lawmakers which inhibit our local government’s ability to adjust to those new situations? 

    This is one of the main reasons that the balanced budget amendment is such a terrible idea. People complain the Congress isn’t doing its job (which is true) and then try to pass a law (probably unconstitutional) that makes it impossible for them to do the biggest part of their job (not a smart response to the problem). 

  • Lori

     I live in Washington, and it always amazes me that every few years it seems like some anti-tax advocacy group tries to put up a proposition to limit legislators’ ability to alter tax rates.  It always has me frustrated, how can legislators actually do the job they are elected to do if they are so bound by voter restrictions that they can do nothing?  We cannot guarantee that we will know what the situation will be like in five years, let alone ten or fifteen, so how can we justify making restrictive regulations of our lawmakers which inhibit our local government’s ability to adjust to those new situations? 

    This is one of the main reasons that the balanced budget amendment is such a terrible idea. People complain the Congress isn’t doing its job (which is true) and then try to pass a law (probably unconstitutional) that makes it impossible for them to do the biggest part of their job (not a smart response to the problem). 

  • P J Evans

    And he forced on member to resign from the board which could have stopped that execution, and appointed a new member from his own staff, in order to make it go forward. That makes Perry a murderer, in my opinion.
    (I’ve read a lot of statements about how much better Texas is than California. Having lived in both for time-measured-in-years, I can say that it isn’t so.)

  • P J Evans

    The redistricting should help. The new boundaries are actually an improvement, and cut out a lot of ‘safe’ seats. The Republicans are complaining loudly because hey don’t have a good shot at a majority, or at least enough of a minority to gridlock the legislature the way they have for the last couple of decades.
    (I’m hoping that at some point we can get the proposition passed that requires initiatives to get signatures from at least 10 percent of the registered voters. It will cut out some of the fringier stuff.)

  • P J Evans

    And a lot of the jobs that Gov Goodhair is touting are low-paying, in a state where the median income is already low. For Ghu’s sake, I was working for a city in Texas, 13 to 30 hours a week, for a couple of years, and I was getting only minimum wage after two years. (Some of that, I will admit , is due to the @#$%^&* city manager, whose budget style would probably make Perry very happy: he’d put stuff in the budget just so that he could take it out and say that he cut the budget. (He was willing to tell his kid how wonderful the public library was, at the same time he was trying to kill it. He had the fire and police departments mad at him, too.)

  • P J Evans

    Cities are competing for prisons, just to get jobs. That’s pretty bad, and Perry should be ashamed that prisons are a ‘growth industry’ in Texas.

  • P J Evans

    You should see the proposed split cooked up by a Riverside county supervisor. It would leave LA in with the north (along with far-more-conservative Ventura and Santa Barbara counties), but take the San Joaquin Valley as part of the south. (I think it has zero chance of going anywhere, especially once all the ag, industrial, and warehousing people realize it will put a state line between them and all the major sea and airports.)

  • P J Evans

    You should see the proposed split cooked up by a Riverside county supervisor. It would leave LA in with the north (along with far-more-conservative Ventura and Santa Barbara counties), but take the San Joaquin Valley as part of the south. (I think it has zero chance of going anywhere, especially once all the ag, industrial, and warehousing people realize it will put a state line between them and all the major sea and airports.)

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, redistricting should help a bit. It’s easy to tell, because the Republicans are threatening to sue to stop it. It’s interesting to see the new maps contrasted with the old on the LA Times’ website; my parents’ place was located in a snaking tendril from a district two cities east of them.

    It’s also a good way to see just how sadly segregated LA still is.

    As for me personally, I’d support an initiative to end the initiative process. It’s pretty clearly become either a knee-jerk reaction (prop 8, 187, etc.), or the tool of corporate interests. See Amazon this year trying to gather signatures so that they can continue to tacitly encourage tax fraud, for a prime example.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, redistricting should help a bit. It’s easy to tell, because the Republicans are threatening to sue to stop it. It’s interesting to see the new maps contrasted with the old on the LA Times’ website; my parents’ place was located in a snaking tendril from a district two cities east of them.

    It’s also a good way to see just how sadly segregated LA still is.

    As for me personally, I’d support an initiative to end the initiative process. It’s pretty clearly become either a knee-jerk reaction (prop 8, 187, etc.), or the tool of corporate interests. See Amazon this year trying to gather signatures so that they can continue to tacitly encourage tax fraud, for a prime example.

  • Albanaeon

    There is that too…

    It just pisses me off when people point to how successful conservative policies are when it’s based on fudging numbers and/or basically being shitty to everyone who is not privileged.

  • P J Evans

    I’d rather not see an end to the initiative process (it’s one way to get things done when the people in the sandbox refuse to do their job), but slowing it down, by requiring more signatures, seems like a reasonable start to getting it under control.
    (I only saw Amazon’s signature collectors once. That move seems to have fizzled nicely.)


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