Monthly Archives: January 2015

I know conservatives don’t understand, but we’ve got joint custody

With oil as cheap as it is now (January 2015) how cheaply will Lisa Murkowski’s corporate masters be able to obtain leases in Alaska? When Lisa refers to Alaskans’ not taking it (government restrictions on drilling), referring to protection of national treasures as a “frontal assault” on her state to whom does she think the land in question, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, belongs? If it belonged to Alaskans exclusively then the Federal government wouldn’t have much of a say in its disposition. But the truth is that the land, the Refuge, belongs to Americans jointly, not just Alaskans. Lisa has no right to give it, the Refuge or access to the resources on it or beneath it, to a few of her closest friends nor compel the federal government to do so. Lisa hides her attempt to plunder the nation’s treasure behind this frame: The Obama Administration is stopping Alaska from deciding what to do with its resources. But those resources are the nation’s resources. The real attack is an assault by the conservatives on the intelligence of Americans in an attempt to take their property.


What is almost comical is the desperation in Lisa Murkowski’s expression, as she wades right through the points made about the nation not needing more oil fields to be opened and exploration companies laying-off workers. Talk about a bridge to nowhere. Why does this remind me of “I can see Russia from my back yard?” Why should Americans hand over natural resources and risk despoiling their country (“a move that could irreparably damage this ecological treasure and harm the Alaska Native communities who still depend on the caribou for subsistence”)* for Lisa Murkowski and her plutocratic puppet masters? America “this land is your land, this land is my land, this land was made for you and me.” Someone has to stop Lisa and her buddies for despoiling things they did not make and can never replace.

*”Obama proposes expanding oil-drilling ban in Alaska wildlife refuge” – by By David S. Cloud LA Times

Governor, that ain’t rain

Do you feel that warm, wet substance on your leg? You got to feel it when someone suggests the state of public education in Mississippi is so fine that funding to equalize schools should only be increased by 2.7 per cent and taxes should be cut.

Is Mississippi 19th in Education?

19th in education,1 that’s what you were supposed to think about Mississippi’s education position, nationally, according to the conservatives (Governor’s State of the State Address 2015). But the number refers to spending as a percentage of “state taxable resources.” Misdirection is the conservatives’ forte. Speaking of spending as a percentage of “state taxable resources.” diverts attention from equality, the lack of adequately funding all school districts, an underfunding which in turn affects the need for college remedial efforts (in neo-feudal Mississippi college remediation has come under attack – read Bricks without straw) and workforce re-training (costlier to re-train workers with learning deficiencies), new business formation (“highly educated areas have above average entrepreneurship rates”)2etc. A state can’t deprive the people of equal education funding and not suffer the consequences in retarded economic growth and human potential, this exhibited in increased crime rates.3

A state can’t deprive its citizens and avoid these consequences, but groups within the state can deprive large segments of equal educational opportunities, profiting disproportionately in a way that shifts wealth upward. But what do you expect from a crowd determined to urinate on your leg and tell you it’s raining. A crowd so disingenuous that they crow about how well Mississippi’s economy’s is doing and never thank Uncle Sugar(see Mike Huckabee government assistance reference) No, they’ll never mention the $97 million in recovery funds to Rankin County, Ms. and the $67 million to Madison County, Ms., or that Mississippi’s economy received over $5 billion in stimulus funding. Despite the evidence, conservatives insist that the ARRA didn’t create any jobs. So when it comes to everything from public education to ObamaCare, who you gonna believe the neo-feudalists and their walking dead sycophants or your lying eyes and those darn numbers? But then again maybe the conservatives are right and what their trickle-down proposals work and the thousands of jobs we were losing when Obama came into office is the way things should be; maybe rain is warm and smells like pee.

1 Gov. Bryant’s full 2015 State of the State speech – Clarion Ledger
January 21, 2015
2 Local labor force education, new business characteristics, and firm performance
Mark Doms a,*, Ethan Lewis b, Alicia Robb c
a Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, United States
b Dartmouth College, United States
c Kauffman Foundation and University of California, Santa Cruz, United States

3. The Effect of Education on Crime: Evidence from Prison Inmates,
Arrests, and Self-Reports
Lance Lochner
Department of Economics
University of Western Ontario
Enrico Moretti
Department of Economics
UCLA

Conservative assassination attempt on the Dream.

Thinking of the Republican response to President Obama’s state of the Union address, think of a bullet in a revolver aimed straight at the temple of the American Dream. What happens when there are not enough progressives to knock the gun down? Why should democracy lovers listen to Iowa U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, when if she had her way $285 million in aid to Iowans and $495 million in aid to Mississippians through the department of education would not have been available, thwarting an opportunity to climb the ladder in America. She, like recent Mississippi U.S. Senatorial candidate, Chris McDaniel who came within a whisker of winning, favors abolishing the Department of Education. How’s that for economic development considering Ben Franklin’s assessment; education pays the best interest. And then there’s the Department’s anti-discrimination duties which considering the Republican party’s attraction to racist (See Steve Scalise and Chris McDaniel speaking engagements) reveals the true nature of the conservative attack on public education even on the state level (see MAEP in Mississippi), an anti-egalitarian attack which has been in the bloodline of conservatism for some time and has been a particular attraction for southern conservative whites since Nixon because of it’s extreme virulence for minorities. If the conservative bullets find their mark, democracy suffers and a Neo-Feudalism takes it place.

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Biblical backing for current government policy?

Eureka!!! Eureka, “unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be less required” Of course this “conservative” interpretation of the good book, substituting less for more, the very book that some conservatives want to make the state book, is why we have American laws which allow wealthier Americans to stash money in the Cayman’s and Switzerland. It is the reason social security taxes still max out at $118,000, leaving those under that amount paying the tax on a greater share of their earnings than millionaires and billionaires and those making hundreds of thousands of dollars; less must be required. The “conservative” biblical interpretations are the reason the state of Mississippi turns it back on Medicaid expansion, “as you have done it unto the least of these you have done it unto the undeserving worldly.” In the “conservative mind,” Genesis should be interpreted literally, but the Gospels are, like beauty is, in the eye of the beholder. After all, who would give their son for the world’s salvation, like some bleeding heart liberal? Clearly an unadulterated socialist.

Maybe Mississippi’s last place position is profitable.

Maybe directing attention towards making the bible the official state book and placing “in God we trust” on the State Seal, are expressions of self-righteousness, comforting on the one hand to those who rely heavily on symbols but the actions are diversionary on the whole. Those who direct the government in this manner take on the persona of holy men directing public policy. Political priesthood bona fides established, “conservative” leaders who undermine acceptance of federal assistance to expand Medicaid or erect new voting requirements are less likely to have their judgment challenged. After all, how can holy men mislead the religious? The “conservative” leaders, as opposed to Mississippi’s poor and middle class, have an economic interest in the status quo, a crypto-neo-feudalistic system, profiting as a result of their positions. The wolves clothed as sheep are so comfortable in their disguise that they snarl those who oppose them “can get off their butts and move somewhere else.” And those comforted by the religious gestures roar approvingly, content with a vicarious moral superiority, their reverence for symbolic gestures distracting them, facilitating the shackles of last place.

The inspiration for this post was a very informative piece in the Clarion Ledger, “Why are Mississippians conservative?” by Robert S. McElvaine, Elizabeth Chisholm Professor of Arts and Letters and chair of the Department of History at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi.

Poor and Middle-Class Conservatives snake-charmed by social issues

It’s so easy to hide your attacks on the needy in Mississippi and still get their support. You’ll see no decrease in support for U.S. Representatives Greg Harper or Steve Palazzo in their Mississippi House districts despite the house rule changes for which they voted which places survival of the needy at risk. “The rule hampers an otherwise routine reallocation of Social Security payroll tax income from the old-age program to the disability program. Such a reallocation, in either direction, has taken place 11 times since 1968.”* A good many of the conservatives in Harper’s and Palazzo’s district probably voted for Mitt “47%” Romney, too, never realizing that Mr. Laissez Faire “legally” places money offshore thus avoiding taxes in ways that the majority of them cannot. It is so easy for “conservative” politicians to hide their actions in plain sight because they play the mesmerizing social issue tunes so well, Gadsden-flag shrouded, snake charmers playing the government-can’t-do-anything-right song all the while directing the government toward the embrace of self-enriching privatization schemes, i.e. no-bid Halliburton contracts, Black Water, prison privatization etc., making certain that the rags increase and the riches are concentrated.

* “On Day One, the new Congress launches an attack on Social Security” by Michael Hiltzik January 6, 2015 LA Times

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You’d think Bible-belt Mississippi would know its Genesis.

Mississippi’s gotta-have-it-now attitude is kinda like Esau’s in the book of Genesis, willing to trade the future for immediate gratification. For those of you who might have forgotten the story, Esau comes in starving from a hunt and decides that he wants to have some of the stew that his brother, Jacob, is cooking. He then proceeds to trade his birthright for a meal. Those taxes that the Mississippi Republicans are talking about cutting could be used for public education. But no, some anti-public-education-conservatives are determined to make certain that the public trades the investment in tomorrow for tax-refunds, cruelly using wage poor Mississippians to strengthen the state’s wealth disparity. Looking at things like the GI bill we know how much a society gains from giving itself education and should adequately fund public education.

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest,” Ben Franklin said.

Now would be a good time to take Franklin’s advice and resist the temptation to which Esau succumbed.

WHY FREAK OVER PUBLIC ED IN MISSISSIPPI?

If you felt it was in your best interest to have those around you trail the nation in education wouldn’t you see to it that your public education system is underfunded because “There’s gold in them thar hills”?  Like unto that notion in terms of its opportunity constricting implications for the masses, if you believe that certain people in your environment were innately inferior wouldn’t you work subconsciously if not consciously to use your resources in ways that are not designed to uplift these lost souls, these people predestined for subordinate positions?  That, dear readers, is a description of conservatives, Democratic and Republican, in the state of Mississippi.  Then you have those, the aforementioned rope-supplying capitalists, who see the potential in all humans but see a profit in selective education and for whom the predestination thinking is just a cover for privatization and the myriad of ways to cash in on selective education despite its threat to a democratic republic such as ours.  So it should come as no surprise when you here a Mississippi conservative say, “Don’t you dare force us to adequately fund education.”

Don’t you dare force us to adequately fund education in Mississippi.

That’s the word from the Mississippi legislature, at least from “the second-highest leader of the Mississippi House (of Representatives).” Mississippi House Speaker Pro Tempore Greg Snowden in response to an initiative drive to adequately fund public education says, “Don’t change the constitution.” The progressive initiative would bring constitutional pressure to bear on a disobliging conservative party which seems to be willing to do anything to keep Mississippi last in the nation, keeping downward pressure on wages in their neo-feudal paradise. And to show their (tough) love for the less fortunate some Mississippi Republicans were even willing to charge the costs of remedial college courses to Mississippi’s underfunded districts. Conservatives have been against integrated public education from the start and will do anything from sabotaging funding to offering competing proposals through the initiative process to derail progress. Those who dare to adequately fund public education are existential threats to the survival-of-the-fittest paradise conservatives are banking on. The payoff: a portion of charter school profits could be kicked-back to conservatives through campaign contributions and you give them a job or supplier contract when they live office and “forget about it.”

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NEO-FEUDALISM 101

“Republicans are very willing to fund things that work in education,” the Mississippi neo-Feudalists say.  And “[we] are unwilling to put money into a formula that has not proven to be effective and that appears to increase the administrative expenditures more than the classroom, they continue.  And how do we know that adequately funding public education doesn’t work in Mississippi? “It [The Mississippi Adequate Education Program] has been fully funded only twice since being put into law in 1997.”

How do you make certain that the underclass remains entrenched and grows and the wealth disparities are hermetically sealed within your society?  Simply, underfund public education or use a divide-and-conquer strategy known as Charter SchoolsNeo-Feudalists (conservatives) never believed in integrated public education,* voting rights, or Civil Rights, these things are anathema to the old hierarchy.  To these practitioners of the old-time religion, government is the problem for which sabotage is a suitable remedy, like putting Michael Brown over FEMA or Clarence Pendleton over the Civil Rights Commission.  And now we smell of a new anti-democratic weapon masquerading as a gift to the people, a competing public education initiative.  Oh, that the Progressives were as proactive as the Regressives are reactive, we could at long last take one step forward without taking two steps backwards in Mississippi. 

 

*”In the Hollow Hope, Gerald Rosenberg points out that between 1961 and 1970, there was a 242 percent increase in the number of non-sectarian private schools in the Southeast. Theses academies were particularly prevalent in the Deep South, but they existed all over the country. The private academies throughout the South have more in common than racial makeup and founding purpose. Many of them have school mascots that reference the Civil War: the Rebels, the Generals, and the Colonels. These academies operated outside the scope of the Brown ruling. Since the ruling did not apply to them, the creation of these academies was a way to keep segregation intact.  Today, of course, almost no American would openly embrace what was once the reigning ethos of segregated schools. Unfortunately, though, everyday thousands of children in America are educated in classrooms that are just as racially homogeneous as classrooms were prior to Brown.”

- “Brown 60 Years Later: Segregation Academies in the Deep South” by Regina Moorer 

The Village – The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc.’s official blog