It surprises me to read an editorial like this in Deseret News. Thank you for
having the courage to write something that is right.I just hope that
Utah's voters will have a long enough attention span to remember this next time
we head for the ballot boxes. (Ooops, ballot machines.)The American
Taliban is alive and well in Utah and are doing the bidding of the Gadiantons.
Not a chance. No way. How could Republicans who want to limit government, and
give the people more say, put through two bills like this?I'm at a
loss for words. I would never have expected such deceit from Republicans. They
talk such a good game.
Jay - I'm usually one to disagree with you, but on this article we've
found common ground.The problem is, Republicans in Utah are lulled
into blindly thinking the GOP is the party of righteousness, a moral extension
of the LDS church, and will always CTR [Choose The Right] - in fact, many
believe the GOP is divinely following the Spirit and the will of God in their
legislating on the hill.Meanwhile, their leaders are caught time and
again again Hot Tubbing with minors and being arrested for DUIs and receiveing
standing ovations from the House floor.Raising Taxes on the poor and
the needy [Food], and giving $13 million in bogus construction projects who are
"friends".You said, "I'm also fairly certain most
members of the tea party would favor giving greater power to the
people."The Republicans do NOT, repeat do NOT, represent the
Tea Party anymore than Democrats do.They duped Tea Party members and
have used them once again for political power.That's why they don't
listen - they don't represent you.There's and Old saying -- Fool me once - shame on you, Fool me twice - shame on me.
Excellent editorial. It seems like every time the self called conservative
legislature meets, another first amendment right is restricted. I cannot
remember a one party legislature ever protecting,expanding or enhancing a first
This is no surprise. Republicans fear the power of the people, and so they want
to increasingly disenfranchise them. Republicans don't really want to
"limit" government, the want to emasculate the people and the
opposition party to increase their power. But, the good people of Utah bought
the ultra conservative Republican cool aid. Now they have to drink it just as
the public workers in Wisconsin now must bear the fruits of their unfortunate
Legislators want to restrict citizen initiative abilities because they're afraid
of what will happen if the ethics initiative gets on the ballot. They know that
it would pass and that their actions would face stronger scrutiny. They know
that their actions can't stand up to that kind of scrutiny.Further,
any kind of direct democracy provisions require public officials to be more
directly accountable to the public. People in the legislature, as well as some
county officials, don't want that- they feel they should only be answerable to
their party leadership in closed-door meetings and perhaps to the fringe of
people who end up at party conventions.Not only should SB165 be
rejected, but we should implement more rigid provisions for direct democracy,
slightly loosening the initiative requirements and by allowing for recall.
Recall provisions would have to be carefully crafted, setting the bar fairly
high and making the process fair. Even if it's extremely rarely used, though,
the existence of recall provisions will force legislators to rethink some of
their "muscle-flexing hubris of the kind that naturally follows one-party
dominance" and pay attention to public outrage like that over HB477.
It is clear the legislators do not want ethics reform, transparency, or
accountibility. Any of our legislators who support these terrible bills should
NOT be reelected. We need more transparency in government, not less.
@LDS LiberalI have to admit I rarely agree with your philosophies,
but read your replies anyway;-) In the case of this legislation it is just plain
bad.However, you over state the blind obedience mentality of the
sheep in Utah. The problem isn't just a Republican one. Consider this, most
folks, even in Utah tend to float nearer the center, well center for here
anyway. When the Dems float candidates with either extreme leftist views or
lifestyles that reflect the same most people here don't vote for the Republican
they just vote for the lesser of two evils. When the Democrats bring more
moderate candidates to the ballot box they have a good chance to win. Even in
heavily conservative areas. Can you say Jim Matheson?All that aside
wouldn't it be nice if the local Republican caucuses would allow more moderate
candidates? Which, in fact is the biggest problem. It still blows my mind that
Jon Huntsman was elected governor. But in a good way. I still think Sam Granato
would have been a fine Senator, this was just the wrong year.
Two words: Term Limits.
@LDS Liberal"many believe the GOP is divinely following the Spirit
and the will of God in their legislating on the hill."I don't
know any LDS people who think this. Judging by some of the things you say about
members of the LDS Church you must belong to one whacked out ward.
This year's legislative session has been a travesty. Our legislators have
pushed the envelope too far. They're driven by an agenda that I think most
Utahns disagree with, and they get away with it because Utahns have a habit of
electing representatives who don't really represent their views. Utah's current
dismal political situation is the unfortunate consequence of a handful of
conspiring factors:* a byzantine political system calculated to give
disproportionate power to a few well-organized groups at the expense of the
average citizen* a prevailing culture that promotes voting for
anybody with an R behind their name* a current trend toward
political extremism, which is sweeping through both major partiesUntil some or all of these factors change, we shouldn't expect Utah's
political outlook to get any better.
@LDSlib, you only continue to prove that you are far removed from the LDS church
or from any knowledge about the religion.Accusing all members of the
church as folliwing the GOP as though divinely inspired by God truly makes me
wonder why they don't deny your comments every time your profile name pops up,
hint hint.Other than that, I actuall agree with other parts of your
post.Just try cutting out the hateful LDS garbage, it impresses no one.
@ Here or ThereI dissagree with your notion that in this state the
Dems only float radically liberal candidates. In fact, in order for a Dem to
stand a chance in this state they simply must move closer to the conservative
side of the isle to be taken seriously. You mentioned Jim Matheson
as an example of an extreme liberal. He votes mostly pro life, he votes fiscally
conservative, voted against the Dream act and funding for Acorn, voted against
regulation of drilling and for extension of tax credits for energy companies,
voted for gun rights in DC, and against the health care bill, etc.. That's a
pretty conservative record, that is, unless your view of conservative is much
further right than other states.
Everyone is so afraid of America and Utah becoming socialist that instead they
@blue dot, go read Here or There's comment one more time. He/she didn't cite
Matheson as an example of an extreme liberal but as a moderate candidate who can
win even in a conservative area.
Are we a democratic republic or are we a pure democracy?Under the
mob rule of a pure democracy, a high profile, smooth talker could persuade
people that a 2,000 page bill only contained things good for the nation, then we
would have a problem where lies were hidden until experts combed through that
bill and showed us that it had been lied about and that the smooth talker had
totally misrepresented the bill.That is the problem with
initiatives, a smooth talking group of activists can make their initiative seem
to be something different than it really is.How many people blindly
signed the petition for the 26 page ethics initiative without reading it? How
many people blindly signed it because it used the words "ethics",
"in" and "government"? Citizens have a right to
pass initiatives, but the last election showed that ignorant citizens are easily
persuaded to follow the crowd. The politics of this State cannot be delegated
to mob rule where loud political activists have a larger role than the
Representatives who were duly elected to represent us in our Democratic
Republic.Until electronic signatures can be absolutely verified,
that must NOT be permitted.
The hubris of the super-majority in the State legislature is just staggering . .
. and sickening.There REALLY needs to be partisan balance in our
State legislature (and before some idealogue follows my post with, "Where's
your indignation over the Democratic super-majorities in other states, you
hypocrite!", yes, I do think there should be partisan balance elsewhere,
too; I just don't care as much because I live in Utah and not
"elsewhere"). These actions by the legislature intended to limit
their transparency and accountability are unconscionable.
I tire of battles waged with out of State money and media campaigns to a
populace largely ignorant of the issue at hand. Direct democracy SHOULD be very
difficult. It should be possible only with overwhelming and broad based
support.Win at the polls when we elect legislators. Or quite
Mike - From your posts and comments,I can safely assume you
are FOR both SB165 & HB477.Sad - I your ideology reminds of
someone else's....which goes something like this:"We
teach a party line made of the philosophies of Republicans, mingled with the
John Cotton, in a letter to Lord Say and Seale, in 1636 wrote this: Democracy I
do not conceive that God ever did ordaine as a fit government either for church
or commonwealth. If the people be governors, who shall be governed? As for
monarchy and aristocracy, they are both of them clearly approved and directed in
scripture. Sounds like the Kingmen have been revived in Utah.
This is just another in a long line of moves to further disenfranchise people.
The goal of setting up a one-party government with the Republicans in permanent
charge has been the objective of conservative lawmakers for a long time. Now
they feel confident that they can act to consolidate their position under the
"Republic" banner regardless of our democratic heritage.
Hmmm... I wonder what will happen if Mitt Romney gets close to winning the
nomination for 2012, the religion issue comes up again and the media starts to
look closely at Utah politics?
Mike Richards,Nobody understands the issues like thee and me - and
sometimes I have doubts about thee. Instead of the electorate being ignorant
they are becoming aware and involved. And this is why the establishment GOP are
passing these laws.
There's nothing surprising in the ethics initiative. The party put out a list of
talking points about it, but anybody who took a minute to glance over the bill
could see what they were saying was a ridiculous effort to slander it and thus
cover their tracks.Why do you think it's easier for a "smooth
talker" to convince millions of Utahns than to convince a couple dozen
legislators? Our legislators are not significantly more educated than the
average adult Utahn, especially the average likely voter. (Did you know that the
House ranks 90th out of 99 legislatures nationwide in postsecondary education?)
Nor are they particularly well-informed. If you think they read all the bills
they vote on you're naive. It's disingenuous to claim that "loud political
activists" control public opinion on issues - where's the evidence? On the
other hand, one can't ignore the fact that lobbyists' control of legislators'
opinions is clearly proven time and again as the truth about more ethics
violations comes to light. Again, out of state funds (e.g. the Club for Growth)
have been effective at swaying party conventions and occasionally caucuses, but
not general elections.
There is some discussion in Arizona about Maricopa County (roughly Rep Giffords
district) seceeding from the rest of the state to form the 51st US State. Many
in Tucson are embarassed & horrified at how the Arizona Legislature and how
other Arizonans are behaving, their demonstrated values and lack of
compassion.I would imagine there would be some traction for a
similar movement in Utah. Take the northern part of SL County and combine it
with Summit County and form a separate state. I know this Legislature doesn't
represent me or my values, nor is it likely to for the foreseeable future. Call the new state "Wasatch", or let the rest of the state be
called "Deseret", which is the original preferred name. There is less
& less we have in common, and maybe it would be better to separate. Both states would prosper. I know the new state in SLC & Park City
would attract lots of prosperous imports from other states. I certainly would
be willing to pay more in taxes for smaller classrooms.
Again, for those who think that allowing measures to be placed on the ballot is
dangerous because you can't trust the populace to choose wisely, I'd say that
it's much more dangerous each time something comes to a vote in the legislature
or a party convention. King Benjamin would agree:"Now it is not
common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is
right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which
is not right; therefore this shall ye observe and make it your lawto do your
business by the voice of the people."
@Mike RichardsI have seen you post similar comments before and I
cannot understand them.You ask "Are we a democratic republic or
are we a pure democracy?"I know you know the answer (a
democratic republic). But then you write:"Under the mob rule
of a pure democracy, a high profile, smooth talker could persuade people that a
2,000 page bill only contained things good for the nation . . ."I assume (from prior comments) you mean Obama. If so, the question becomes,
how could this happen under our republican form of government if it has
protections not built into a pure democracy? That is, why do we have problems
with a "smooth talker" putting one over on us when we have a
republican vs. purely democratic form of govt.? If we are subject to inordinate
influence under either form of govt. then are the republican protections
ineffective?I'm not trying to challenge your views on Obama or the
bill to change the initiative process. I just dont understand what you are
trying to say about the public getting fooled and how that relates to our actual
form of govt.
Outlawing electronic signatures on petitions is a very good move at least until
such a time as we have a system in place to verify the accuracy of those
signatures. I visited the web page of one of the petitions last season. The
'signatures' there were gathering online required nothing more than to type into
a few boxes in an on line form information that is readily available from public
databases.If someone won't even get off his rear end to go down to a
supermarket parking lot to sign a petition, I don't really care what his opinion
"King Benjamin would agree:"Ah, another effort to twist
LDS scripture to support liberal positions.Let's try these on the
other side:D&C 101:77"...the laws and constitution of
the people, which I [God] have suffered to be established, and should be
maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and
holy principles"D&C 101:80 : "And for this purpose
have I [God]established the Constitution of this land [United States of
America]..."And what does the constitution say about democracy
or doing business by the voice of the people?Art 4 Sec 4: "The
United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of
Government..."A REPUBLICAN form of government, not a
democracy.A pure democracy was, apparently, the right form of
government for the Nephites who had previously been under a monarchy.But for US, in OUR day, God has given us a REPUBLICAN form of government.I do wish the liberals would do a little better job of reading and
understanding LDS scriptures before using them politically. Especially since
they are among the first to complain if conservatives use religion in politics.
I am shocked, SHOCKED to find that there is corruption in this establishment!
Shame on these Republicans that are always in Office.
I'm not a liberal. People who don't have credible arguments resort to
name-calling.The US Constitution's only mention of state
governments' form is the Guarantee Clause, and claiming that the Guarantee
Clause has any bearing on the current question is positively laughable."Republic" in 18th century usage simply meant "a non-monarchial
form of government"; see any decent dictionary for plenty of evidence (the
OED will certainly suffice). The first real source using "republic" in
the more technical sense of a _representative_ democracy is Federalist 10-
_after_ the signing of the Constitution. This didn't catch on until Webster's
dictionary 40 years later. To claim that the majority of the signatories and
ratifiers understood it to mean this is a plain anachronism; to claim that they
meant it to exclude all forms of direct citizen participation in government is
ludicrous.Most state constitutions have included provisions for
referenda and/or initiatives; these as well as recall provisions aren't
"liberal" ideas, as is evident from the political composition of those
states at the time. The Supreme Court has ruled on several occasions (notably in
1912) that these do not violate the Guarantee Clause.
When dealing with a "my way or the highway, and to heck with what YOU
want" legislature like the one we just saw, it should be easier to process
initiatives and referendums, not harder. That's what the people of the state
need to keep the legislators in line, and keep them working to fulfill the
people's wants and needs instead of just trying to accumulate power and force
THEIR wants onto the people.
Twin Lights | 9:10 p.m. March 10, 2011We have three branches of
government; the Executive, the Legislative, and the Court.Mr. Obama
pretends that he is the government. Too many people also think that Mr. Obama is
the government; that he has all power; that he can make law; that he can execute
those laws; that he can rule on the legal authority of those laws.To
them, he is a rock star. They like his presentation. They like his looks.
They like his youth; but, they don't have a clue about the proper role of the
Federal government, its role, according to the Constitution, nor do they have a
clue about the proper role of any individual who serves in the Federal level of
government.Instead of using the process prescribed for a Democratic
Republic, they act as if we had a pure democracy where THEY choose the
president. They have no idea what the electoral college's role is or even why
we have an electoral college.When that same degree of ignorance
extends to all aspects of government, allowing easy use of the initiative
process would destroy our Democratic Republic.
People tend to do alot of complaining but not alot of action. Thats is why there
will be complaining when they tag you with your RFID microchip, but there will
also be complying. :)
For the State legislature to make the citizen initiative process more difficult,
to build roadblocks into the process, is a huge conflict of interest. The legislators are each sworn to (among other things) discharge the duties of
their offices with fidelity. Consequently, if they are not doing everything
reasonably within their power to fairly represent their constituencies in good
faith and to put the interests of their offices (State Senator or State
Representative) ahead of their own personal interests (which is where the
"conflict of interest" issue comes in), then they are violating their
oaths of office.I would argue that legislative action to further
limit citizen initiatives, in conjunction with action to limit access to
government records and recent efforts to thwart government ethics initiatives,
amounts to putting legislators' personal interests (the ability to act with
impunity) ahead of the interest of their constituencies (government openness
& accountability), resulting in a huge conflict of interest and failure to
fairly represent their constituencies in good faith, and is a violation of the
oaths of office of those legislators.The same argument applies to
the governor, who endorsed these actions with his signature.
""Republic" in 18th century usage simply meant "a
non-monarchial form of government"; "Historical
revisionism and linguistic ignorance, at best. The founders were
VERY specific in making clear the difference between a republic and a
democracy."Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon
wastes, exhausts, and murders itself."John Adams The
known propensity of a democracy is to licentiousness which the ambitious call,
and ignorant believe to be liberty.Fisher Ames, speech in the
Massachusetts Ratifying Convention, January 15, 1788A democracy is
nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away
the rights of the other forty-nine. Thomas Jefferson quotes (American 3rd US
President (1801-09). Author of the Declaration of Independence. 1762-1826)The founding fathers and framers of the federal constitution were VERY
particular in NOT adopting a "democracy" but instead creating a
republic where the passions of the masses did not have immediate access to the
creation or overturning of laws.And God never gave his stamp of
approval as a universally acceptable government form to Nephite democracy that
He has given to the US Constitution and the republic it established.
Re: LDS Liberal | 11:19 a.m. March 10, 2011You are 143% correct in
your assessment. Ill forego any jokes about where the sponsors of the bill are
from & just say that the churchislature is the pinnacle of Do what we say
not what we do. Re: Prodicus | 11:41 a.m. March 10, 2011 Legislators want to restrict citizen initiative abilities because they're
afraid of what will happen if the ethics initiative gets on the ballot.So? Congressional Ethics and not Military Intelligence is the most ironic
oxymoron ever!?Re: Belching Cow | 1:19 p.m. March 10, 2011I think he means the true belivers in the churchislature who know beyond a
shadow of a doubt that they are on a mission from God.Re: FDRfan |
5:54 p.m. March 10, 2011Could it be hat polythestic socities are
more inclined toward Democracy i.e. Classical Greek Civilization with Zeus,
Apollo, Athena, etc... was the birth place of Democracy and Old Testament Israel
believed in One God and was a monarchy?
re: freddysheddy | 4:11 p.m. March 10, 2011 You have not read Jonah
Goldberg's book *Liberal Fascism* have you?
@Mike RichardsI get that you are no fan of Pres. Obama or of the
people who voted for him. I also understand that you think (rightly so) that
most Americans (of whatever political stripe) could and should have a better
understanding of govt. generally and ours particularly.But how does
his election (or the election of any other President) reflect issues of pure
democracy vs. those of a democratic republic? Irrespective of whether you love
him or hate him he was properly elected, true? Therefore, how people act
(ignorant of the Electoral College system or not) should not be at issue.The "ignorance" of the voting public has long been an issue.
What can we do, restrict the franchise? Any restriction is subject to abuse
(reference the writing requirements of the pre-civil rights era South).Despite the problems with a widely held voting franchise, I think it overall
benefits the nation and encourages both debate of and education on the issues of
the day.Initiatives should be difficult but available. People might
like their representatives generally but want one issue to be addressed
differently. A conservatively constructed initiative process provides that
@Twin Lights | 2:44 p.m. March 11, 2011 Using Mr. Obama as an
example shows what can happen when the masses are so mesmerized by the person
that they ignore his qualifications. That example shows what happens when an
initiative is sponsored by a person or group that uses a high-profile spokesman
to persuade the "ignorant" masses to sign up for the initiative. No
one should expect the "ignorant" masses to understand the various
initiatives that they are asked to support when they don't even know the duties
of the President. The "ignorant" act on impulse. "Impulse"
and "government" are two words that must never be used together.I'm not calling for a test to weed out the "ignorant".I'm not calling for a change in our system of government.We
have a Democratic Republic where we choose others to represent us. We expect
that those we choose to be fully informed before they vote on any bill.Bypassing the representatives turns government into a popularity contest where
the person who prances and dances best becomes our new leader. Initiatives
should be a rarity, used only when all else fails.
Maybe the citizens could get together on a single petition; Repeal of: SB165 Citizen ballot initiative HB477 Limits to GRAMAHB116 Guest
Worker Amnesty PermitHB466 Migrant Worker Suppression of Utah Wages ActAll four of these tied together should be a slam dunk ballot initiative,
even considering the new requirements. There was a lot of political over-reach
this session. There are republicans that need to be voted out of office in the
Mike Richards:What is your stance on the Legislature elevating the
requirements for Citizen Initiatives being on the ballot? Why have they done
this multiple times? Is this a retribution for the Vouchers initiative, a
corrective increase in the threshold for citizen participation (via
initiative)?Do you support a repeal of the Constitutional Amendment
allowing popular election of US Senators?What is your stance on the
GRAMA changes?Finally, do you believe that under certain
circumstances the mechanism of popular vote should be suspended? Constitutions
have been suspended in Latin America several times when the "wrong"
candidates won elections. Do you agree with this?
How could you not expect this from the republicans? This is who they are.
Nationwide they are rearing their ugly heads, attacking workers, families,
children, all the while extending taxcuts for the wealthy, and giving tax breaks
and subsidies to oil companies and big business. Why do you people vote
republican?/ The outrage should be manifested at the ballot box. But alas, this
is the reddest state in the union. So not much will change. SAD.