Tag Archives: politics

Mississippi to Drown Public Schools in a Bathtub or How to use the Charter Trojan Horse to attack Public Schools

The anti-labor minions of the oligarchs say you fix education in Mississippi by making sure teachers aren’t part of the state retirement system (effectively reducing the return on their education) and that they don’t have to meet licensing requirements (two-features of the recently passed Mississippi Charter-School bill), right? Wondering how paying teachers less and removing licensing requirements help children in public education? The thing is they’re not really meant to. These two standard subversions, probably produced and spoon-fed to Mississippi’s Legislature by ALEC or Better Education for Mississippi or FreedomWorks (they’re really indistinguishable enemies of public education and truth be told would rather have the whole department abolished), reduce costs for any future privatization and more immediately increase the amounts available for payment to the “education service provider,” “governing board members” and “leadership and management team” incarnated in the Mississippi (Cherry-Picking) Charter School law. And to further entrench the power in Republican hands the law removes some rather pesky regulation. So that they and their buddies can suckle un-harassed at the government tit and funnel money back into Republican election campaigns through donors who favor less regulation the RepubliCons injected this: Charter Schools are exempt FROM REQUIREMENTS RELATING TO PUBLIC PURCHASES. How’s that for avoiding any chance of Operation Pretense-styled investigations or PEER investigations? The RepubliCons have become masters of evasion and avoidance by changing the rules so that Voodoo economics prevail. They change the laws to avoid having to do what “ordinary” people must do so that they can make fortunes while holding or running for public office like Mitt Romney with his Cayman Island bank accounts. They set the stage by simply shaping the rules to allow trillions in revenue to be kept off-shore and personal funds in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands. Funny how that less-regulation thing dovetails so nicely with the lobbyist-created loop holes to produce Midas fortunes for so few, i.e. the way the Commodities Modernization Act ultimately benefited AIG and Goldman Sachs. But what the benefit that the public got from the Collateralized debt obligations could hardly be described as a trickle. It was a trick demonstrating the true wine into sewer water magic which is the mark of Voodoo economics. The appeal is to the greed of the poor and middle class people like me who are susceptible to the notion that if the wealthy have more we all stand a chance of being wealthy like them. It’s an appeal to our greed.

You see the same Voodoo economics at work here in Mississippi where the populace has been convinced that by siphoning off a few kids (in Charter Schools) from the rest while using the same money or funding(simply subdividing the under-funded Adequate Education Funding program), everybody will be better off, Voila! Trickle-down (Voodoo Economics) applied to education.

FYI: Shanghai China (population 20 million) went the opposite direction of small select groups with “development of a more inclusive system in which all students are expected to perform at high levels; greatly raising teacher pay and upgrading teacher standards and teacher education” and their students out performed the world.

The truth is that in everything from the flag that was adopted to dis the Union after the Civil War to the Seg Academies that were formed in the wake of a court decision to the Charter School movement, there is a strong element in Mississippi which is anti-union of any stripe and would prefer separate but equal. Failing that, they can maintain their preferred stratification by operating two public education systems, one of which they control by crafting a rule which says that

“Each member of the Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board must have demonstrated an understanding of and commitment to charter schooling as a strategy for strengthening public education.”

Of course that is a hand-crafted, cushy position for someone from Heritage, K12, or any of the other proponents of privatization. Oh, by the way the Authorizer Board gets paid government funds and there is nothing to prohibit a member of the board from going to work for the “education service provider” after leaving the board. And of course they can all contribute to RepubliCon campaigns. Here comes the Education-Industrial Complex, created and controlled by the RepubliCon Party.

The really funny thing is how they get so many poor and working class people to vote with and for them. Maybe the RepubliCons are employing a sense of inferiority among some Americans embodied in the notion that both Gordon Gekko (“Greed is good” – at least for the Oligarchs) and W.C. Fields (“You can’t cheat an honest man” – the RepubliCon deception only works on poor people and the middle class if they approve their ill-treated as deserved, as the way things ought to be in a survival of the fittest society and thus sympathize with the Romney types who never give a sucker an even break) were right.

Nothing eery about voter ID | The Clarion-Ledger | clarionledger.com

Nothing eery about voter ID | The Clarion-Ledger | clarionledger.com.

All of a sudden I saw it. It had reappeared on the internet, a defense of Mississippi’s photo ID law from a reader in Alabama. It was time to take another one down and perform an autopsy.

Inside the guts of “Nothing eery about voter ID”

Nothing eery about voter ID

Autopsy of a Stimulus Slander (“Rest of Story?”, Really?”)

Marco Rubio in the Republican Response to President Obama’s 2013 State of the Union address resurrected the Solyndra attack from last year’s Presidential election. Anticipating the resurrection of an attempt to attack the stimulus aka the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), I examine the guts of a letter-to-the-editor from December 2011, which are sure to be part of a RepubliZombie smorgasbord to come.

“Rest of Story” letter from 2011 (Critiqued)


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‘Rest of story’ on stimulus jobs | The Clarion-Ledger | clarionledger.com

Scrambled Religion for Breakfast?

Just watched Dr. Carson’s speech at the recent National Prayer Breakfast. Never knew he was a spokesman for FreedomWorks and the Heritage Foundation with all that talk about Health Savings Accounts(at 21:10 in the video). In his deified “free-enterprise” system (a system that has never existed when you considered how big players routinely combined to bar entry and restrict competition see McCarran–Ferguson Act) how many “85 year-olds” with “six diseases” are going to have anything in a HSA to pay medical bills? When you consider the crack about not having to worry about a “Dealth Panel” because you have an HSA that may be the idea behind the practice basically to make sure that survival of the economic fitness is given a chance to fully flower. Who needs any stinking end of life counseling? Just let the money run, end of conversation. Isn’t that so much more humane?
(Listen to Dr. Carson’s example about the diabetic “choosing” to go the clinic instead of the emergency room because of the amount of money he has in his HSA at about 21:40 in the video)

In this “free-enterprise” system who is the “we” who will put money into the HSA’s (would they be like a Goldman-Sachs account) of the indigent instead of some implied “Medicare-like bureaucracy” as you propose? What is amazing is how American-styled capitalism (it’s not the only type of capitalism that exists) how American-style capitalism has left us a nation where doctors who have Jesus as a role model (see video about 17:58), I don’t recall Jesus charging the paralytic for healing or the lepers filing bankruptcy because they couldn’t pay for their cure, are supporting a health system which is put to shame by the Buddhist in Japan :).

Lee Atwater’s dog whistle may kill Mississippi’s Insects

The silence of a significant portion of Mississippian Republicans illustrates how responsive they are to the smaller-government and free-market dog whistles. They should be howling at the obstruction of Medicaid expansion. Smaller government should be anathema to Mississippians when you consider the state’s median income ($$36,919 vs. $50,054 U.S.), and per capita income ($28,845 vs. $38,611 for the country), when you consider the number of people who supplement their income by joining the national guard, when you consider the state’s farm subsidies, when you consider the boon to ship building the government has been for Mississippi (Ingalls Shipbuilding is the state’s largest private employer). And then there is the irreconcilable differences between the call for free markets and all of the afore-mentioned government intervention. We won’t get into the godsend that the government programs Medicare and Social Security have been to Mississippi and how the “free market” god couldn’t have cared less no matter what it’s disciples claim. You began to understand how the dog whistle works when despite the reference to voters and some of their constituents as bugs (coming out of the woodwork to receive government subsidized healthcare) RepubliCons still get so much support from the poor in Mississippi many of whom count themselves as Republicans. You see Lee Atwater summed it up best: Make sure you’re “talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites.” In light of the fact that not everyone who would get access to healthcare under Medicaid expansion is black, that Atwater dog whistle may prove deadly to some of the people responding to it.

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Et tu, Federal Government?

Thus comes the cry from Mississippi’s Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney. Claiming somehow that he expected approval for a plan he submitted to the Department of HHS without the Governor’s signature he ridiculously cries betrayal(A State’s Declaration Letter must be signed by the State’s Governor). Futhermore Mr. Chaney chose to ignore the fact that the Affordable Care Act “says that the exchanges have to be one-stop shops for both private insurance and Medicaid.”
How can Chaney get away with such blatant misinformation? He is basically running interference for big insurance companies while pretending to be for the average working Mississippian. He and other Mississippi RepubliCons talk of free-market approaches as a remedy for rising health care costs when they know full well that the health insurance industry has the McCarran–Ferguson Act and lack of regulation, which saddles Americans with billions of dollars a year in excess costs, in place to maintain the existing order and to harden the stratification and widen the wealth gap.

This is understandable in Mississippi, where some are not entitled to freedom from want of health care. Mississippians, owing to a basic fear of change and obeisance to crypto-fascist “leadership,” are destined to remain last in so many categories. When you consider farm subsidies and military installations and the boon to ship building provided by the federal government and, historically, earmarks, the Federal government to Mississippi is not betrayer, Mr. Chaney, but the love which dare not speak its name.

Oops! They said it again!

Mississippi State Senate Speaker Philip Gun admits he agrees with Tip O’Neill, “all politics is local.” Why else would Speaker Gunn lead the State House in avoding a plan that “would save the state millions in lease payments” and “make government more efficient?” Let the Speaker speak: “I represent the people of Clinton, and they sent me here to look out for their interests. We believe it’s in the best interests of my constituents for it to be in Clinton, for those jobs to stay in the area,” Speaker Gunn says. You read it correctly so you don’t need reading glasses. And forget the hearing aides because there is no rising din of discontent from the Mississippi Teabaggers. Don’t expect them to champion a plan that shows the state “would save almost $30 million dollars over 20 years” by purchasing the Landmark Center in the state capitol, Jackson, and relocating DOR and other agencies there. You see Republicans are only fiscal conservative when someone else benefits from government (Hurricane Sandy vs. Deep Water Horizon or Katrina). When conservatives say we are all on a diet, that we have a spending prorblem, watch carefully and you’ll see them double back to the kitchen and steal the $30 million cake.

Pathways of Privilege

Being white and male gives you legacy advantages that you probably don’t realize you have, even in the age of Obama. John Kerry is obviously eminently qualified to be Secretary of State. It is the pathway to those qualifications, even in liberal Massachusetts, which played a role in his nomination. I might add that those pathways to qualifications have also greatly restricted African-American access to contributions to represenstation in the South (and to a lessor degree nationally when you take into account U.S. senators from Illinois and Massachuessetts) since the Redemption of the 19th century. Part of the foundation for this observation was the things like the following:

“After sustaining criticism from Republican Senators including John McCain, R-Ariz., Lindsey Graham, R-Ga., and Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., Rice said in a letter to President Obama, “I am convinced now that the confirmation process would be lengthy, disruptive and costly– to you and our most pressing national interests and international priorities.”

Kerry, in contrast, began his confirmation process with a series of jokes to his colleagues. ”I don’t want this to affect your opening questions. But let me say I’ve never seen a more distinguished and better looking group of public officials in my life,” Kerry said to laughter. In a show of bipartisanship, McCain introduced “[his] friend Senator Kerry” along with introductions from Clinton and newly-elected Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.” “““`MSNBC

The presence of Secretary of State Clinton and Senator Warren and many other women, along with President Obama is evidence that the pathways are multiplying and opening. This is evidence of the liberal evolution of the nation. But you’ll have to drag the South into this bold new world, because that Republican Southern Strategy intersected with anti-labor pro-corporate strategy that continues to assist in hurtling American labor on a downward trajectory in a fashion that has made certain that there has not been one black U.S. Senator or U.S. Representaive or Governor in places like Mississippi, Alabama, or Louisiana (places with substiantial black populations) since the Redemption. It is in this world that photo ID is used as a new access restriction device. Restrict the number and economic groups of people who participate in the democratic process and you can determine the gender and race of the representatives and the democratic content of the policies (including how widely prosperity is dispersed)that the government produces.

Republican Playing Voted ID Games(2)

Deciding whether to believe the Brennan Center study which “estimated 48,000 low-income Mississippians could have trouble obtaining government-issued photo identification” or an afterthought-study (no federal observers, eligible voter percentages) which suggests only 21,855 Mississippians total would need one?

Mind you, the afterthought was prepared by proponents who requested $395,000 for poll-tax (driver’s licenses aren’t free and Mississippi’s unexpired license requirement is tantamount to a recurring voting fee) ID litigation and requested none for related education and outreach.

A very conservative figure for a Mississippi education and outreach program would be $200,000. Georgia’s costs $840,000 and featured radio and TV public service announcements, direct mail, and packages to government agencies. And then there’s this post-Civil War purge element: “a person can obtain the free voter ID card at a clerk’s office by presenting the same material accepted to register to vote.”

This Haneyism, after Mr. Haney from television’s “Green Acres,” masks the fundamental change in Mississippi voting requirements. Proponent, Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann knows full well that Mississippians didn’t need to present a birth certificate to register to vote before the disenfranchisement legislation, therefore this implied ease is most disingenuous. And where, Mr. Haney, is the money for the clerk’s office “to access birth records” and who will pay?

Registered voters have registration cards, and in signing a voter roll are affirming their identity, like swearing to tell the truth in a court of law (without showing a photo ID to the judge). Mississippi Republicans have in effect established the presumption of guilt in voting law and suggest cheating is rampant, when nearly every statewide official is, ahem, Republican.