Tag Archives: Education Employment Procedures Law

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or will we?

“plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose”

“The more things change, the more they stay the same” –  Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr

Mississippi Republicans’ masterful utilization of the levers of power, i.e. being able to have U.S. Senators at their beck and call for Yokohama officials (Yokohama Tire Corporation is the North American manufacturing and marketing arm of Tokyo, Japan-based The Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd.) reveals the true power structure, ancient and plutocratic in nature, of the state (see Jeff Pender’s story, “Landing Clay County tire plant was no easy task,” from the Clarion Ledger 4-27-13). The Governor of the state even gave the Yokohama representatives gifts “paid by private funds.” (Who were the private sector players who provided funds for the Japan junket and what were their motivations?; what did they get or do they hope to get for their investment, since we know that according to conservatives the only motivation for men is self-interest, this being the driver of the free-market?) On what do they get first dibs? What inside information do they get or fast track to supplier contracts will be coming their way. Is their identity a matter of public record? Funny how small government really means government by the few.

 

It looks like the supposed small-government crowd (at least those are the rank and file people who elected a Republican-dominated Mississippi state house, House of Representatives and Senate, and Republicans to every state-wide office except Attorney General believe they are) is now getting “big government” legislation. RepubliCons passed legislation which effectively bans abortion despite recent overwhelming defeat of a personhood initiative which would have effectively banned abortion. How’s that for the will of a few controlling “big government” so that government determines that a woman has no right to decide with her doctor what to do with her body? And now a few men have drawn up a plan to give millions of dollars to a Japanese company and presented it, fully developed, to the legislature for rubber-stamping (“The approach we take with confidentiality is tight-lipped, driven by the commitment we have made to the company with regard to confidentiality- remarked Sally of the Mississippi Development Authority of the secrecy involved before a “a closed and confidential briefing,” according to an article, “Tire plant seen as big jobs producer in the Clarion Ledger, 4-25-2013.

There is not one TEA (taxed-enough already) party scheduled to protest this “big-government” plan. And the Teabagger’s were the crowd that protested so loudly about not knowing what was in the Affordable Care Act. The levers of power in Mississippi are still controlled by a few Oligarchs or Plutocrats, the same as it ever was and the rank and file Republican is satisfied with merely carrying the Republican name.

Mississippi today bears a striking resemblance to Mississippi before the Civil War, where a few wealthy men dictated the course of government, with none-slaving owning lemmings following because of their possible slave-owning potential, 19th century trickle-down economics which also sustained the class structure. The average Mississippi Republican, like the Mississippi Democrats before the Civil War (blacks didn’t get the right to vote until after the war and the Redemption essentially eviscerated the black franchise in the south until the 1960’s), isn’t against big government if the “right” people are in positions of authority perpetuating the status quo, i.e. slow economic growth channeled through a private sector which segregates itself at every opportunity and deplorably under-funds the education system which militates against the development of a truly well-educated (economically and politically)citizenry. The reason you won’t see any TEA party rallies against the Yokohama tire plant “give-away” is because the Heritage clones at the Mississippi Public Policy Center couldn’t generate a whimper from the supposed anti-big-government Mississippi Republicans who are too poor and uneducated (economically and politically) to respond to anything but dog whistles (see my previous post on the dog whistle that kills bugs.)* The Mississippi Public Policy Center can only get a rise out of the racially-responsive population when that population can hear the dog whistle (say ObamaCare or Obama anything in Mississippi and you have blown the whistle)

At the heart of attacks on government, for southerners, and the reason it has a special appeal in the south, is that the attack is an ancient appeal to racial supremacy. It was “Big Government” intervention in the south, interfering with the southern way of life through first trying to maintain the Union and then through Reconstruction, which necessitated the Redemption (In the 1870s, the Southern Democrats exercised power through paramilitary organizations such as the White League and Red Shirts, especially in Louisiana and Mississippi, respectively. The Red Shirts were also active in North Carolina. These paramilitary groups turned out Republican (who were affiliated with the north and freedmen rights) officeholders and terrorized and assassinated other freedmen and their allies to suppress voting. –see Wiki entry on Redeemers). To this day, the flag which was adopted after a massive, horrifically violent post-Reconstruction disenfranchisement period (in 1894) remains as the symbol of white supremacy.  The Mississippi flag is a symbol of planned, structural exclusion.  Those responsible for maintenance of that structural exclusion responded to school integration with a Sovereignty Commission. That structural exclusion, today, has vestiges in schools that were formed as Seg-Academies. That structural exclusion did crack a bit when the University of Mississippi, recognizing the economic impact of not being able to attract many talented black athletes, got rid of the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia (Confederate flag) from its sporting events.  The racist superstructure (the underlying power structure) is part of the reason funds can never be found to sufficiently, continuously fund the Adequate Education Fund in Mississippi. The superstructure is a manifestation of the racial-purity philosophy which was the goal and legacy of the Klan in Mississippi. In keeping something pure (communities, schools, etc.) like keeping government small, something most be excluded, something must be kept out. Now this exclusion is in effect a shrinking of opportunity for training and economic mobility, which can be readily accomplished in a segregated (in terms of employment opportunities) private sector, which ideally you, as a small-government advocate, would want to expand while shrinking or “drowning” in a bathtub the government sector (with its more egalitarian proclivities and determination to monitor inclusiveness and insure diversity and access to opportunity). Of course the diminished or constricted educational funding will have some white, expendable, casualties as well but this simply reinforces the classism but using poor whites as a buffer and shock troops in the political battle to maintain the status quo.

Underfunding education (as in purposely siphoning some of its funding off to fund charter schools) gives the true ruling elite two obvious advantages. First the pool of people competing with them intellectually is constricted through access depravation which makes the dog whistle more effective as supposed racial inferiority becomes superficially evident. The distraction of race allows for a concentration, a concentration facilitated through trade agreements which eviscerate the middle class, of resources into fewer hands. These resources are channeled away from un-educated and under-educated whites through trade agreements which ship jobs overseas depleting the tax base and with it funds for education. The un-educated and under-educated whites don’t know that they have the power to affect these decisions and accept their plight as just a matter of markets at work and are vulnerable to appeals to “entitlement reform” as minorities are viewed as the principal recipients of their tax dollars and that they are Taxed Enough Already. Playing up the notion that the wealth of the nation is being greatly dissipated by entitlement programs or by “welfare queens” is a perfect distraction like the Jesse Helms sponsored Harvey Gant commercial, all the while corporations and wealthy individuals stash billions off-shore and companies, sitting on trillions of dollars display the true blue-smoke-and-mirrors essence of trickle-down economics. Secondly, they, elite white men, the upper-class, firmly in control of the bulk of the capital, can dole out resources (through campaign support and jobs) in the private sector to re-enforce and animate their political views about school funding, abortion clinics, state-approved prayer, etc. The South’s economic drag on the American economy is the price the country must pay for turning its back on the American South for almost 100 years after the Civil War, and allowing a class of white southerners to resist changes that would have enriched the region far faster by keeping a lot of talent here to bloom and ripen. So when you think Yokohama, think how that could have been an American plant with union labor years ago if certain men had not been so successful in fanning the flames of white-hot white supremacy which enriched the upper echelons, retarded labor development and contributed not only to a brain and talent drain which continues to this day but to the under-development of so many of the minds that remained.

*According to Sam R. Hall of the Clarion Ledger in Jackson, Ms., the Milliman study is

“a Dec. 7 report prepared for the Division of Medicaid by Milliman Inc. The report, of course, looks at the costs to the state for expanding Medicaid

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant sent the report to Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and Speaker Philip Gunn on Friday, according to the letter attached to the report.”

The report refers to Mississippians or people who currently quality for Medicaid but are not covered as if they were insects or bugs who would come out of the woodwork when it refers to a Woodwork affect as follows:

Woodwork effect
Milliman’s study also includes what he calls the “woodwork effect,” an allusion to people who currently quality for Medicaid but are not covered and will “come out of the woodwork” to qualify because of new changes affecting people without insurance.
Milliman predicts the following costs over the seven-year period, regardless of the state’s decision to expand Medicaid:
• 60 percent: $319 million
• 80 percent: $413 million
• 100 percent: $474 million

Lawmakers push ‘dramatic reforms’ for education | The Clarion-Ledger | clarionledger.com

$20 million here $180 million there, and to paraphrase a line from a Republican who believed in social mobility, Everett Dirksen, “pretty soon you talking real money.” But don’t ask the neo-feudalists Republicans in Mississippi who are secretly attempting to subvert and demolish public education while handing-out advantages to their campaign supporters to count adequately funding public education as something we can afford. These opponents, like some Republicans on the national scene (see Mitt Romney and Steel Dynamics) are seemingly opposed to anything with Federal in its title or being, except when they or their cronies stand to gain handsomely

. In Mississippi they attack things like Common Core Standards in Education, a valiant attempt to improve public education. Could it be that improved public schools could reduce the viability of their crony-infested charter schools (fiefdoms) and their dream of one day privatizing them (expanding disparities in the process)? Observe the neo-feudalists closely and see them cry about spending $37 million a year on remediation for Mississippi high school graduates who aren’t ready for college while not adequately funding districts and then, having applied $37 million to the back end of the process, attempt to inflect the coup de grâce , charge the school districts for the cost of remediation, all the while siphoning-off what public funds were available for charter schools. The hard core neo-feudalist call efforts which resulted in the Common Core Standards and which were begun by Council of Chief State School Officers in 2007, and “developed in 2009 by the National Governors Association and strongly supported by former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour” but “embraced by the “Federal” government, in the words of Sen. Angela Burks-Hill, R-Picayune, MS, a “sell-out.” The neo-feudalists claim to be concerned with budgets and what we can afford, so much so that they refuse to even expand Medicaid (refusing to acknowledge or account for the reduction in lost man-hours attributable to preventative care and diversions away from emergency rooms and the expansion in economic development stimulated by accessible medical services the first three years of federal assistance.) Did I mention that Obamacare had provisions for more primary care doctors

The Affordable Care Act and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the so-called stimulus package) will together support the training of more than 16,000 new primary care providers over the next five years. )

But watch closely as they dam-up the river to make their own personal reservoirs, and charge the other stakeholders for the privilege of viewing the water.

“We [the conservative-controlled Mississippi legislature] pass something to reimburse everyone dollar-for-dollar, every penny they’ve paid in inventory taxes – something with the potential to cost the state $180 million a year – and nobody questions where that money is coming from,” explains Sen. Hob Bryan – D, Amory, Ms.

But that’s just the camel’s head in the tent, Sen. Bryan. I wonder if that inventory tax give-back benefited the big equipment company that recently moved from Jackson to Flowood, Ms., in the Republican stronghold of Rankin County MS, the Governor’s home county? Wonder if the people who sponsored and advocated the tax-give back got any campaign contributions from the recipients of the tax rebate? This reminds me of the lobbyist employment plan, I mean Charter School Law (“Each member of the Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board must have demonstrated commitment to charter schooling as a strategy for strengthening public education”). And just what constitutes commitment to charter schooling? Contrast this to a simple commitment to accessible good public education for all children. This one line mandates dedication to the concept of charter schools regardless of outcome. Americans should be concerned with good, accessible public education not whether someone has been committed merely, to some, possibly failing, charter-school project somewhere in the known universe, someone who more than likely contributed to the right conservative candidate. Baked into the cronyism-lovers dream law are lots of goodies (you can hire your buddies over other qualified applicants and there are no provisions for fair purchasing practices as the law is also

an Act “TO EXEMPT CHARTER SCHOOLS FROM REQUIREMENTS RELATING TO PUBLIC PURCHASES”).

As for that class warfare in which the lords and their vassals are always accusing others of engaging, this is also a law which drives Mississippians further down the road to serfdom as it reduces the return on labor and abuses labor by prohibiting participation in the public employee retirement system by teachers and makes certain that they are not “covered under the Education Employment Procedures Law.” Section 53 (2) (b) of the law says

“The Education Employment Procedures Law shall not apply to any category of teacher, administrator or other employee * * * employed to work in any charter school * * *.”

And as a further reminder of how right that sage, Tip O’Neill was about all politics being local (also check out the attempt to move government functions from the capital city) there is the $20 million gift to the private sector, (who’s a member of Mitt Romney’s-looking-for-government-to-give-them-something 47%ers?) in Pearl, MS (Rankin County, MS a Republican stronghold). Didn’t Romney and Paul Ryan complain about the government picking winners and losers? Didn’t they take issue with Obama saying that the government provided the background and foundation for many private successes, as in “you didn’t build that?”

“We’re [the Republican controlled Mississippi legislature] giving $20 million to people building a shopping center in Pearl – one they were already going to build – and nobody asks from where that money will come, says Sen. Bryan.”

Wonder if the sponsors and advocates of that provision were or will be the beneficiaries of campaign contributions from the recipients or will get some type of no-show mafia type jobs after leaving office? This way of doing things is possible only because the serfs, just like the people who fought on behalf of a slave-holding society even though most of them didn’t own slaves, can’t imagine life any other way and are comfortable depending on the trickle, from their labor that, falls down. In Mississippi, ignorance is bliss but in the case of the vassals who maintain loyalty to the lords, knowledge is power. What we need are really great Dirksen -Republicans so that we can focus on increasing economic security. Adequately funding public education and expanding Medicaid are equality of opportunity issues. They are ideas for our time. In the words of Senator Everett Dirksen:

“Victor Hugo wrote in his diary substantially this sentiment, ‘Stronger than all the armies is an idea whose time has come.’ The time has come for equality of opportunity in sharing of government, in education, and in employment. It must not be stayed or denied.”

In a Democratic Republic, capitalism is a tool used for the distribution goods and services, to meet the needs of the people and not the inverse. Democratic-Republics are not the servants of capitalism. It is not as conservatives, like the Kochs, would have you believe sacrosanct, and they are not our lords whose pronouncements on the proper taxation levels and the distribution of goods and service we are to receive as holy writ simply because of their wealth and position.

Lawmakers push ‘dramatic reforms’ for education | The Clarion-Ledger | clarionledger.com