Monday, April 19, 2010

Message Bills Redux: Blowback From The Oval Office?

Are the Utah legislature's "message bills" and the Obama Adminstration's cancellation of Utah aerospace industry contracts causally connected?

During the past Utah legislative session, the northern Utah (and national) press has devoted a substantial amount of ink to the series of "message bills" which gushed out of the Utah legislature during the last general session, heightening the awareness of Utahns to the 2010 legislature's agenda to draw a line in the sand and stand up to the encroachment of the federal government upon the "sovereign rights" of Utah, as reserved to the citizens by theTenth Amendment. Northern Utah media chimed in on the topic recently here and here; and the topic even graced the pages of the New York Times late last month. The national cable news media have also been whipping up a political frenzy and bringing the "States Rights" movement to the national public forefront too, as the lower Fox News video attests:

Did ya's catch the part about the "civilist war?"

The Standard-Examiner carried a recent editorial on this subject, offering the opinion, in a nutshell, that despite all the legislative sound and fury, these "messages bills"... "will ultimately "fall on deaf ears."

As to that proposition we're not quite sure; and in that connection we'll direct our readers' attention to a troubling story which appeared in the Std-Ex on Friday:
Obama plan leaves ATK outside looking in
Similar stories also appeared last week in the Deseret News and the Salt Lake Tribune.

So what about it, gentle readers? Is the Obama administration's decision to cut one of Utah's top employers (ATK) out of the federal funding loop a mere coincidence? Has the Utah legislature's strident anti-federal states rights posture truly fallen on "deaf" oval office ears, as the Std-Ex suggests? Or is it possible that what we are now witnessing a demonstration of a cause-and-effect nexus between Utah legislative "sword rattling" on the one hand, and federal government retribution on the other? Is it inconceivable that the Obama Administration is replying to us with a strong "message" all its own? Is anyone willing to rule out the possibility that federal officials are now playing hard-ball in response to the state legislature's hard anti-federal stance? Do these initial state/federal menuverings signal the initial skirmishes in advance of what to come to be a new Utah War, Part Deux? If so, we all hope all conscientious Utah citizens have their emergency food supplies all stocked up. You DO HAVE an emergency food stash, right? And don't forget to load up the truck with them Utah-manufactured guns, just in case.

So many questions.. so few answers.

Let's hear it from our gentle readers.

Update 4/19/10 2:45 p.m.: Quickie quiz... Who is the greatest patriot in American history? Check out our WCF cheat-sheet:
1) Thomas Jefferson
2) James Madison
3) George Washington
4) Patrick Henry
5) Hunter S. Thompson
6) Carl Wimmer
7) Other
Just for fun, take our poll:
Best American Patriot Ever
This poll will also be planted in our right sidebar for the next coupla days or so.


EEV said...

My gut instinct is this isn't retribution. I think this is perhaps a bit paranoid. But what do I know? If this is retribution, well, Utah asked for it. Utah has NO PROBLEM sucking from the federal teat, it has for 80+ years. But suddenly Utah throws a giant tantrum because the Federal government is going to regulate a long-unregulated, wealthy, large industry that has taken advantage of the most vulnerable people. It's truly shameful.

Yet Republicans do these things in the name of "fiscal responsibility" and warn of impending doom with the passage of federal health reform. Do the Republicans/legislators in Utah really think the sky is falling like they preach? If they really thought the economic sky was falling why would they risk Utah's educations funds and tax dollars on the guaranteed lawsuits that are certain to follow because of the "message" bills? Why would they risk all this in the biggest economic recession since the Great Depression? If the sky were truly falling, as these same Republicans/legislators preach, wouldn't these folks be taking serious action to protect and save the money we have? Wouldn't they be spending it on only necessary and basic ventures? This does not seem very fiscally responsible to me.

I think the problem is ego. Utah Republicans are accustomed to doing what they want with little opposition. Republicans here are powerful. However, faced with defeat from a black Democrat, and with the Federal crackdown on reversing failed Republican ideas ("let the free market and statutorily-protected monopolies give them health insurance"), Utah decides to flip the proverbial bird to the Federal Government.

So if Utah wants to thumb its nose at the Federal government (which is actually taking steps to protect people and their health, safety, and well being), then why can't the Federal government dole out a little punishment? The Feds help Utah so much that without Federal money Utah would fail. Utah needs a good dose of humility and reality. This will be hard for Utah to swallow, but swallow it must.

Dan S. said...

The decision to end the shuttle program was made by the Bush administration. The decision to cancel the Ares I rocket is more recent, but you could see it coming well over a year ago. So no, this has nothing to do with anything that happened in the last legislative session.

I suppose it's likely that all presidents seeking reelection would treat Utah better if it were a swing state. But in the long run, any such effect has probably been canceled out by the disproportionate power of our senators.

RudiZink said...

"The decision to end the shuttle program was made by the Bush administration."

Excuse me, Dan. It was the Obama Administration who made this latest cut. So you're trying to tell us all that the Obama administration isn't responsible for this blow to the Utah Aerospace industry because the idea might have been first cooked up in the bowels of the Evil Bush Administration?

Please assure us all that you're not actually trying to say that.

Excuse me... but isn't it Obama who implemented this plan?

Thanks in advance.

Thanks so much for your input.


Anonymous said...

I suppose all Libertarians and maybe tea-party Republicans would support ending all funding for NASA, transferring mission critical programs over to the military, and auctioning off the remaining land and equipment; private sector can do it cheaper.
And they would get rid of all of those dready hippies at the Forest Service/State Parks.

Me? I love space stuff. I would pay an extra 500 dollars a year tax if it would make NASA do more cool shite.

Anyway, presidents have often used policy directives to give reality checks to various state representatives, not so much though since the mid-20th century.

I don't think Mr. Obama is that kind of a president. Yet.

ozboy said...

Regardless of which side of this issue you come down, there is no disputing the fact that this moron Wimmer is an incredible embarrassment on national TeeVee as a representative of the fine citizens of Utah.

People all over the country will be looking at this goon and thinking all Utah folks are like him.

Then again most people that would be watching Beck to begin with would think that Wimmer actually make Utanians look urbane, sophisticated and intelligent!

blackrulon said...

Rudi,I have a question. If, as you say, ending the shuttle program began with Obama what about the end of tax cuts enacted under Bush. Since the end date was passed during a previous GOP administration would t5hat mean that the GOP that signed off on the end date responsible and should take the praise or blame for the cuts ending?

Dan S. said...


This issue has nothing to do with whether one or another administration is "evil". It's simply a fact that the decision to phase out the shuttles was made shortly after the Columbia disaster of 2003, during the first term of the Bush administration. Given the age of the three remaining shuttles and the tremendous expense of maintaining them (more than a billion dollars per launch), this was the right decision. By the time Obama took office, it would have been practically impossible to reverse that decision. (And nobody was seriously arguing that it should be reversed.)

Soon after 2003, the Bush administration proposed the Constellation program (which includes the Ares I rocket and Orion crew capsule) as the next phase of human space flight for the U.S. The main stated goal of this program was to send humans back to the moon. Development work proceeded for the next few years, partly at the expense of NASA's scientific (robotic) missions. But it soon became clear that Ares and Orion wouldn't be ready until several years after the shuttles were retired, and that continuing the Ares/Orion program would eventually require a significant increase in NASA's overall budget. Rather than fighting for such a budget increase while he was still president, Bush chose to pass this situation on to his successor. I can hardly blame him.

Obviously the folks at ATK were hoping that Obama and Congress would go ahead and give NASA that big budget increase, allowing the Ares program to continue. But it should hardly be a shock that Obama and his advisors decided to look for cheaper alternatives. How those alternatives will work out, I have no idea. But no matter what happens, it looks like Obama's successors will continue to face tough decisions on whether, and how, to continue funding human space flight.

My personal views on human space flight are posted here.

blake fowers said...

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the individual states of America, and to the Idiots of the State of Utah and all those that follow Goon Beck, with Justice and liberty for all, including the brown people and the gay and lesbians.
This will be the new 9-12 people pledge of the flag.

dr called said...

We are worried about the terrorist and yet look at these terrorist here in America.

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