Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Arizona: The place where free speech goes to die...

By now, everyone has heard of the Republicans', led by Tom Horne and John Huppenthal, banning of Tucson's Ethnic Studies program, and of the Tucson Unified School District topping that by banning the books that were part of the curriculum (as well as many more).

The Republicans didn't and don't approve of anything that contradicts their ideological stance that all brown people are bad.

By now, most Capitol watchers have heard of the decision by the Legislative Council, the group tasked with directly overseeing Capitol operations, imposing new restrictions on free speech and protests at the Capitol.  While there are a number of provisions, basically the Department of Public Safety (what Arizona calls its state police agency) will now shut down any protest or gathering deemed as too loud or disturbing by the Speaker of the Arizona House, the President of the Arizona Senate, or the head of the Legislative Council's staff (all Republicans, or working for Republicans).

The Republicans didn't and don't approve of anybody criticizing them within their hearing. 

Now comes the latest outrage - they plan to bar public input on the state's budget.  On Tuesday, two of the agencies that represent two of the biggest chunks of the state's budget gave presentations to the Senate Appropriations Committee.  The committee chair, Sen. Don "Tequila" Shooter (R-Yuma) forbade public testimony on the subject.  That went so well (for him and the other Rs on the committee, anyway), he now plans (subscription required) to impose the same barrier when the Senate takes up actual budget proposals.

The Republicans didn't and don't approve of anyone who stands up and calls them out for their moves to steamroll the state's schools and middle and working classes.

To top it off, while they oppose and wish to suppress any and all speech that they disagree with, they have no problem with *mandating* speech that they like. 

Witness HB2041, requiring a high school course on "free enterprise".  Students would have to pass the course before they could obtain a high school diploma.  Based on the text of the bill, the curriculum requirements could have been written by Ayn Rand (though more likely, it was written by a Goldwater Institute or ALEC hack.  Especially since Ayn Rand has been dead since 1982 or so ).

Welcome to Arizona, where the people are free to express...whatever the Republicans, particularly those in the legislature, are OK with.


Thane Eichenauer said...

When government owns and operates the education business it is hardly surprising that it will be subject to political control. The fact that Republicans will shape educating to one they do not find offensive is hardly surprising.

Free speech is communication that isn't subsidized or regulated by government, not government schooling.

If Arizona wants freedom of speech or freedom of education the first step is to get government out of the way.

As for your invoking of intellectual bogeyman Ayn Rand I can only say thank you for the plug.

Anonymous said...

Lookint at HB2041, it appears to kill two birds with one stone for ALEC and the US Chamber of Commerce, the wholely-owned subsidiary of Koch Industries. See the ALECExposed.org website, "Personal Financial Literacy Act" and check out this website http://www.uschamber.com/press/releases/2011/august/us-chamber-releases-%E2%80%98model-legislation%E2%80%99-educate-youth-free-enterprise-sys