The Constitutional Convention Concept Is A Republican Con Job.

The GOP's Con Con.

American democracy is headed for peril. A quiet campaign to legally overwrite the Constitution of the United States of America, with the ostensible purpose of proposing a balanced-budget amendment, has been silently building steam.

The process is known as a Constitutional Convention, a legal apparatus by which the contents of our Constitution can be altered.

Prominent extremist Republicans like Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee have supported it, and the Koch brothers‘ libertarian network has long placed its financial power behind their push.

Article V of the U.S. Constitution grants Congress the power to amend the Constitution by a two-thirds vote. It gives the states the power to call for a convention to amend the Constitution if two-thirds of the states can muster support for the measure.

Having the radical right wing rewrite our Constitution would be an unparalleled disaster for the American people, not to mention the rest of the world.  The Center on Budget and Priority Policies understates the case beautifully by telling us that it’s got “serious risks”. That’s a soothing way of telling us our entire global economy will be wrenched.

David Super of the Los Angeles Times wrote that “It would also drastically reduce America’s standing in world affairs,. far more than handing the presidency to an incoherent, shop-worn reality TV star.”

Conservatives have been after what is best called the “Con Con” for years. The Constitution is a nuisance to them because it stops them from completely disenfranchising everyone who’s not in the good ol’ boys club.

Although the same people who brought you “Medicare for All” and the Free College plan are able somehow to convince themselves otherwise, it is virtually certain that conservatives would dominate a convention held today.

They have control of the White House, Congress, and 32 state legislatures. They’ve also got all the money. They would clearly have marked influence over every provision in the project.

The right has also retained control of the Supreme Court, thanks to Republican refusal to vote in the confirmation of President Barack Obama’s candidate Merrick Garland. This too would obviously give conservatives the upper hand in any litigation arising out of the convention.
Whether the delegates run for election in heavily gerrymandered districts or are appointed by state leaders, the result would be the same. A convention with a heavily right-wing bent.
If the Tea Party or the alt-right of Richard Spencer and Sebastian Gorka, were to write us a new Constitution, it hardly requires speculation to imagine a lack of improvement.

The things on their agenda read like a grocery list of bad ideas, but then again, that’s the Republican way.

They will make English the official language of the US.

They intend to “define life at conception“, which is a polite euphemism for criminalizing abortion and perhaps even contraception.

They will also include corporations as people with every constitutional right, clarifying the matter legally in favor and confirmation of the horrendous Citizens’ United ruling.

They will reverse gay marriage, as former Alabama judge and alleged molester Roy Moore proposed by way of a Con Con in 2014.

They will codify in the 1st Amendment their right to impose Christian faith and values on everybody in the whole country.

They will change the 2nd Amendment to forbid regulation. All hope of reasonable gun control would thus disappear.

The big thing they’re emphasizing now, the balanced budget amendment, might even involve the doing away of the income tax and the Federal Reserve altogether. This would leave the American poor to scrabble for a living like beggars in the sewers of Calcutta- in the richest country in the world.

Once a constitutional convention is called, all bets are off. “Regardless of why a convention is called, there is nothing to stop it from becoming a runaway convention that could ultimately overhaul the U.S. Constitution completely,” said Scott Swenson, the vice president of communications for Common Cause, to Salon Magazine.

The Constitution and the foresight of the Founding Fathers in making it so hard to alter are all that has saved us from Donald Trump and the other Republicans, who have been trying to get around it for years. Overhauling it would be an atrocity.

The only thing that has prevented it from happening already is the Democratic Party, which is now doing its best to stave off completely unnecessary threats from the far, radical left. Unbelievably, they are for this too.

Organizations such as Justice Democrats founder Cenk Uygur’s Wolf-PAC have been fighting for this as hard as the Tea Party has.

“It’s got to be an amendment,” said Wolf-PAC’s Texas state director, Todd Jagger.

That someone on the left could actually believe this defies the limits of human understanding.

Concluding, the big takeaway from this article, is that an Article V convention call is a terrible danger to American democracy.

If the Republicans manage to pull this off, we will all be rendered helpless. They could do anything they wanted. The states would lose all control.

We’ll be flat on our backs for the rest of our lives.

We have to get the word out about this, and we’ve got to do it now, or we may very well see the very foundations of the United States – the rights we hold so dearly as Americans – shake or disappear.

The best way to stop them is by electing Democrats to state legislatures, and everywhere else. Our professionals are tough. They will shut this thing down across the board. The Blue Wave is the first step. We must all make sure we vote.

Spread the Word! #GOPTaxScam Is Part of a Crippling Long Game.

Hard times coming, if the GOP gets its way.

If top income tax cuts worked, then the middle class would have been gaining since 1980 instead of declining.

The last time the Democratic party held enough of a majority in all 3 branches of government for long enough to get a lot done was under Johnson in the 60’s.

They ended segregation in schools. They passed the Voting Rights Act so that black folks could vote. Passed the Civil Rights Act including provisions to protect those who aren’t old white men in the workplace. Passed Medicaid and Medicare which has helped all lower income a great deal. Secured critical funding for education infrastructure.

Since that time Republicans have been in power most of the time, and/or have held at least one branch in order to block the Democratic party from doing more. We Democrats did not even get two complete 2 year periods with a filibuster-proof majority.

Bill Clinton lost his after the first year, and Obama just barely had a filibuster-proof majority for a few months. The special election in Massachusetts caused Republican Scott Brown to be elected, which ended the filibuster-proof majority.

Even during this minuscule amount of time, they did an incredible amount of good work. The much-maligned bill that Bill Clinton passed on welfare reform is actually what got federal funding for many work and education programs, besides being absolutely necessary

It got more poor people into good paying jobs than any program ever has in the history of this country.

During Obama’s presidency, Nancy Pelosi alone did more good than all the Republicans to be elected since the 1960’s combined.

The $840 billion stimulus package, the Affordable Care Act, the Dodd-Frank banking-reform bill, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and the Waxman-Markey climate bill all stand out as examples of the skill and professionalism that she has and they lack.

Millennial Democrats would like to send the following message to extremists of all shapes and sizes: It would be wiser to vote than sit out unless you want Republicans to keep making your lives harder. They’ve got an encyclopedia full of dirty tricks with which to do it, and they put all the mechanisms in place with Trump’s tyranny of a tax plan.

Top income federal tax cuts mean more taxes and cost increases for everyone else. The State doesn’t just do without lost revenue from top income, in a show of stately love toward citizen.

It is instead replaced at the local and state level through backdoor tax increases on low and middle income.

Reducing regulations just means allowing top income to take advantage of more people. Government regulations are all that protects low and middle-income people, especially wage earners.

Most of us read Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle in high school; for those who didn’t, it was about a factory worker from Poland eaten alive by the meatpacking industry of Chicago. The reason people aren’t living like that now is government regulation.

Be that as it may, however, there is a tendency on both ends of the political spectrum to revile government. To label all government as tyranny or fascism is to make the terms useless. There are people out there who benefit from the existent state of polarity. People have been taught to hate their government for a reason, by specific people.

Charles and David, the Koch brothers, are the sons of Frederick C. Koch, who co-founded Koch Industries. It has grown to be the second-largest privately held company in the United States, of which they own 84%. If their individual fortunes were combined in one place, they would likely represent the wealthiest person on earth.

They have used this gargantuan wealth to subjugate one of the two parties and subordinate it to an ultra-conservative and authoritarian agenda. They have spent a fortune on it.

Most estimates show numbers of more than a billion dollars, every one of which proves the rise of the Tea Party movement was far from an accident. It was orchestrated, and it was well funded.

It also had a deliberate aim: to destroy Washington’s ability to pay for its social programs, which would be to break Washington itself.

What we are seeing now is part of a long game. They know full well the Blue Wave is coming. They know Trump will not last long. There is a reason that they all retired as soon as the tax atrocity was passed.

It’s not about the near future. It’s about what’s going to be happening decades from now and what kinds of limitations Democratic leaders will face in the near future.

The tax plan was forced on us like saddlebags on a racehorse. It was meant to handicap and even cripple our long-term prospects as a democracy. An understanding of this going forward is where discussions of policy must begin. The long-term goal of Republicans is to shrink government until it is so small it can be drowned in a bathtub, in the words of tax-cut crusader Grover Norquist.

Let’s try and keep our heads above water, just the same.

A Disaster Named Victory- Trump Sacrifices Economy for Ratings Boost.

A dark cloud on the American horizon
Donald Trump has always gone around saying that he understands the tax code better than any man alive. If true, such a fact suggests to the layman that an ant could do your taxes, if only it could hold a pencil. Actually, however, it is a fundamental truth of American life that the process is very confusing. Litigator Andrew Grossman recently wrote an article, titled Is The Tax Code Really 70,000 Pages Long? 
This is why the approval ratings for Trump and the GOP have recently taken an upward bounce. Although they have wrought a disaster in the form of their new tax plan, they hailed it as a victory. And most red voters have no idea at all why this is wrong.
Paul Ryan tweeted out the following- and promptly deleted it.
“A secretary at a public high school in Lancaster, PA, said she was pleasantly surprised her pay went up $1.50 a week- said that would more than cover the cost of her COSTCO membership next year!”
One doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
Is this something to worry about? Yes, it’s scary. Anytime anything good happens for those jackals, it’s scary. But it was easy to predict they would get a bounce off this before it starts to hurt people. The negatives will start hitting home pretty soon. And when they do, we have to catch it and make sure that we give credit where it’s due. 
The bill is a disaster in every way. Fareed Zakaria called it “possibly the worst piece of major legislation in a generation
But even still, they did manage to pass something through a legislature, for the first time in Trump’s entire disaster of a presidency. For that reason alone, this looks like a victory for the GOP on the surface. Unless people can be shown how bad this will cost them, we will not have what we need to get that giant mammal out of the White House.
Remember when Bush got reelected in 2004? He was all smiles and sweetness before the election. Within another year, though, he showed his true intent. The first thing that happened was we had the gas price crisis smash home, safely after he’d have 4 more years to do all the harm he could.
Then, those who’d voted for him were miserable. Lamentations could be heard at every gas station in America. Unkind fate, that gives us what we pay for!
If we wish to avoid a repeat of those horrible years, a number of things are necessary, but certainly among them, developing a working understanding of what state tax dollars do and where they go is critical.
States help educate the nation’s children, build and repair its roads and bridges, provide health coverage to low-income families and their children, and much more.  Many of these services are essential to building strong, healthy communities and the nation’s long-term economic vitality.
Although the exact amount varies greatly from state to state, federal tax money is distributed to all the states and is a sizeable chunk of its revenue, the revenue allotted to the maintenance of these crucial infrastructural expenses.
Thus, less federal revenue means less money for the states. Less money for the states means less money for local areas, which means local and state tax and cost increases.
This is how local and state and cost increases in education and healthcare give such a severe beating to middle income.
Gigantic federal top income tax cuts lead to regular folks getting slammed with state and local increases.
All of this is the pits for anyone who isn’t a billionaire, of course, but the conservative media machine rolled right into effect to make it seem otherwise. The trick is both disingenuous and brutal. 
They cut one part of your taxes, the federal, and make it personal by boasting about it on television. They then take a substantially larger piece of your income from you as state and local taxes, but they make it abstract. They do all they can to keep the two from being related in the minds of the people. 
During Obama’s tenure in office, the data demonstrated clearly that the U.S. individual income tax was very progressive, borne mainly by the highest income earners. In 2014, the top 1 percent paid a greater share of individual income taxes than the bottom 90 percent combined.
Reversing that state of affairs is the reason that Trump was put in power.
Poor people and seniors will get slammed terribly and subjected to varying indignities from those who believe one must earn the right to live. Medicaid is always first on the chopping block; in fact, just last month, the Trump administration announced that it would grant states the right to impose work requirements for Medicaid recipients.
Local and state governments will raise cash by setting more regulations. More fines, more fees, raised vehicle registration, increased water bills. etc.
An expert in the field wrote Millennial Democrats with the following observation.
“Every penny, dime, and dollar that top income gets a tax cut for, low and middle income gets backdoor increases to pay for it.”
The people will get hit from both ends, and then be told that this is because Democrats want to raise their taxes and give the money to Muslims. Middle America gets badly burned, to the sound of the Trump voter cheering for it. 
Low and middle income will get hit with a few hundred or a few thousand cost increases. City officials will literally sit around, thinking up rules for us to break. Whatever minute tax cut we’ll get will be consumed by that. Only the 1% will benefit. 
Before the GOP started in with this crap about the big top income tax cuts, local and state taxes for people of average income was about $800 a year. The average now is around 6 thousand a year per person.
One of the first thing states do is cut funding for college tuition, forcing colleges to hike tuition fees. This is the reason college tuition is so high. Before big Republican tax cuts in the 80’s, college tuition was very low. Millennials, ask yourselves- How many of us can’t even have a bank account now, thanks to lifelong student loan debt?
Another good example is water bills. Water bills used to be very low. But this also is among the first thing cities do when they get less funding due to less federal revenue, and therefore less state revenue. They hike water bills.
It has to be understood that federal revenue is distributed to the states and that state and local depend more on that than they do local and state taxes.
The GOP tax cuts are a massive fraud. They are a titanic transfer of more taxes and costs that average Americans, even upper-middle-income Americans, cannot afford to pay without greatly reducing their living standards. All so guys like Donald Trump and the Koch brothers can strut around like satraps.
Hillary Clinton was the only candidate that ran with a plan to protect average Americans if the market tanked from huge losses. She bothered to take the time about developing one because she realized that the market is a gamble.
If it should take a dive at a time when millions are having to retire, due to health and other issues, they get slammed. Social Security is guaranteed, but this already does not provide enough for most low and middle-income seniors, and the Republicans want to reduce benefits even more.
Republicans are also constantly trying to whack Medicaid. That program, along with Medicare, crucially supplements low-income seniors. This is not going to work. We are going to have a nation full of seniors in dire straits as soon as they can no longer work. Again- Millennials, this will be our parents and ourselves.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, far from being a victory, will be a very serious crisis for America in a decade or two. We will be fleeced little by little from a million different angles. We need to raise awareness of how this breaks down. Getting people to understand how bad they are going to be hurt before they feel it is an indispensable condition for #TheBlueWave.
We simply cannot keep giving top income tax cuts at the expense of low and middle income. The middle class is the backbone of society. If it breaks, we cannot stand up.

A Media Monopoly- Koch Network Funds Time Inc. Buyout.

Wicked adversaries

History has taught us that the media industry in Washington is capable of posing a considerable threat to our democracy. It stands to reason that a sound and empowered federal regulation ought to exist, one capable of holding media outlets accountable. There’s got to be a mechanism overseeing the news, to see it stays within the bounds of reason.

Hardly any such protections exist, however, and haven’t since the FCC disposed of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987. President Bill Clinton observed this is not a topic frequently discussed by the media giants who govern our screens.

The world of American media is currently going through some fundamental changes. As part of this massive transformation, media companies have dramatically increased efforts to wield influence in Washington.

With a massive lobbying presence, and a steady dose of campaign donations to politicians on both sides of the political spectrum, big media has been pressuring the government to allow it more consolidation. A corollary goal involves privatizing and commodifying the internet.

The media controls the information flow. It has acquired an unparalleled power to reach into people’s lives. If consolidated and twisted to authoritarian purposes, it would turn into a weapon of terrifying strength. Any would-be dictator would naturally perceive this as well, and seek to acquire it.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise to see that the Koch Brothers are providing $500 million of the cash needed to buy out Time Magazine.

Meredith Corp., a magazine publisher and broadcast company, will acquire Time Inc. in a deal totalling $2.8 billion, the company announced Sunday.

The Koch brothers are the domestic source of most of the worst indignities we have suffered these last ten years. All of this is a part of their grand strategy to eliminate government interference from the business sector. Anti-monopoly laws, anti-pollution laws, anti-public aid laws. These things cost the likes of Koch Industries a lot of money every year. This is why they are willing to spend so much to get rid of them in the long run.

They are the money behind many Republicans like Scott Walker, for example, the governor of Wisconsin who used a lousy backdoor bill to cripple the school system there. It was a crucial step in breaking the backs of unions nationwide and in inciting conservatives to wickedness.

If the Koch Network comes to dominate the American media, it will probably come to dominate the American government shortly thereafter.

If that happens, all hope of turning humanity back from the road to ruin it has started down is lost.

Stephen Hawking warned in July that if we don’t desist from the course we’ve been on, global warming will become so bad that Earth will “become like Venus, with a temperature of 250 degrees Celsius, and raining sulfuric acid.”

He also predicted that humanity’s natural greed would prevent us from properly addressing the problem.

None of this matters to the Koch brothers, however, whose fervent commitment to libertarianism- laissez-faire, dog-eat-dog capitalism- coincides precisely with their foremost, bottom-line interest: the elimination of government regulations aimed at containing toxic pollution and ozone-damaging emissions.

Koch companies are spewing these everywhere. Around the country, around the clock. And the only power strong enough to hold them accountable is the government.

However, there is one sure way they can succeed in tipping the balance against governmental regulation.

Seizing control of the government itself.

The Kochs have been planning this out for a long time. Their father, Fred Koch, was a co-founder of the John Birch Society, which can fairly be considered the centre of neo-conservative politics.

The trademark tenets of its philosophy include liberalism being the root of all evil, mistrust and hostility toward persons of color and other groups of at-risk persons, and a deep seeded fear of change. It is typified by racism, nationalism, and an ideologically devoid will to power. It carries within it the essence and spirit of fascism.

This is why they are paying so much money to take control of Time Magazine is one of the most highly recognizable and respected magazines in the world. To buy it out and fashion it into a vehicle of their propaganda would carry obvious strategic significance.

The tactic is to manipulate the national dialectic through their control of mouthpieces in the right-wing media. Recent shows like The Young Turks suggest their ideas have begun taking root on the left as well. This reality has to be faced and fully realized before counter-efforts will prove effective.

In 1983, journalist and professor Ben Bagdikian published his groundbreaking book, The Media Monopoly, which revealed that just 50 corporations owned 90 percent of the media. That number has gradually dwindled over the years and eventually led us to our current crisis, where more than 90 percent of the media is owned by just six companies: Viacom, News Corporation, Comcast, CBS, Time Warner and Disney.

To take control of the media once and for all, they have only to conquer these six companies. Here, we can look to Russia for a model. Putin did it in the post-Yeltsin era within a couple of years, with a nearly identical strategy.

The concept of the media they share, however, is a far cry from the First Amendment. For Putin and the Kochs, it’s a simple equation. Whoever owns the media controls what it says.

Putin pursues a two-pronged media strategy. At home, his government clamps down on internal communications while at the same time positioning abroad by deploying RT, the international news agency formerly known as Russia Today to challenge Western ideas and warp the lines of truth.

However, there is one key difference. Putin controls Russia’s government so thoroughly that he basically is Russia’s government.

The Koch brothers do not yet hold such power here.

So that is what they’re after. By way of achieving this goal, they have targeted the center with a political pincer attack. Their plan is to employ both ends of the radical spectrum with candidates in line with their philosophies and take over from within.

2016 Libertarian Party Presidential candidate Gary Johnson pointed out during the cycle that “Interestingly enough, the candidate I most often side with, on 73% of the issues, is Bernie Sanders”.

Putin spoke highly of Bernie as well. And it seems an unlikely coincidence that the Justice Democrats, a Sanders-affiliated organization started by Young Turks founder Cenk Uygur, have targeted Democrats nationwide in primary challenges.

“It is time for them to step aside and let us lead. If you want unity, we’re ready to lead,” Uygur said on his popular internet TV show, The Young Turks.

The sheer brazen insolence! How many Presidents have you helped get elected, Cenk? Worthless as can be. Good for nothing but hurting real Democrats.

Any reasonably intelligent person ought to see this is a time when every dollar should be focused on targeting the GOP and waking our country up from the nightmare we’ve been in since last November. We should be sticking together like the opposition is.

As we prepare to enter the New Year, we’re going to be seeing these themes arise time and again.These are all topics we’ve covered before. Media consolidation. Anti-union sentiment. Attacks of governmental regulation of all kinds. It all comes down to economic slavery gift-wrapped with a fancy word, libertarianism.

2018 is the year that we start taking back our country. The only way we’ve got a shot at cleaning all this up is to retake the Congress. All our energies will be given to keeping #TheBlueWave alive.

There is a reasonable alternative to the pandemonium created by conservative greed and the current administration. Please join us in the task of helping the concept evolve.

 

#HoldTheCenter- Far Left Attacks Franken, Distracts Us From Russiagate.

ABC News reported on Sunday that within the past month, special counsel Robert Mueller requested that the Justice Department turn over a wide array of documents as part of its ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

His team is said to be particularly interested in materials that relate to Trump’s notorious firing of former FBI Director James Comey and Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from the Russia probe earlier this year, a source who was told about the request informed ABC News.

This is a major step. The Justice Department is getting pretty close to the Oval Office. This will be Mueller’s first records request to the very agency that is overseeing the probe.

Also, Rob Goldstone, the British publicist who helped set up the infamous meeting between members of the Trump campaign Donald Trump Jr. and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya at Trump Tower in June 2016 is ready to meet with Mueller’s office, according to several people familiar with the matter.

Since the indictment of Paul Manafort and the others, the news from Mueller’s office has been coming hot and heavy.

Its onrush has caused great panic and consternation among the Republicans. Most of those with consciences, like Jeff Flake from Arizona, are retiring next year. Flake was caught on a hot mic recently, speaking frankly about the Republican Party and its future. “If we become the party of Trump and Moore, we’re toast”. Well said.

It’s a promising sign that they’re throwing all their bones to us Democrats right away. Donna Brazile, Uranium One, Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All, etc. They have been really been desperate lately. Ordinarily, they would hold these things in reserve in a vain hope that we’ll avert our gaze long enough to pull something nasty. They’ve had some awful successes that way.

Lack of public expectation was how Scott Walker was able to ravage public schools. He broke the backs of the public worker unions in Wisconsin, using vaguely worded provisions on the infamous backdoor bill known as Act 10. People just were not ready for someone to be that vicious, that fast. It’s the way things are these days, though. Koch Industries has changed the game. We cannot let that happen again.

There’s no end to the challenges we’re up against, and the way it breaks down is very simple. If we keep our focus on the big things, like Russiagate and their evil tax plan, we’re going to take the #BlueWave we’ve been building and knock them flat with it. If we let their distractions take our eyes from the prize, though, it’ll be a different story, a really nasty one.

Right now, the world needs our power combined more than ever before. The stakes could not be higher, and most people know it. It is therefore both inexplicable and unfortunate that the so-called progressive wing of the left decided recently to release a report ripping Democrats up on every level, in a manner that once again reinstates the well-known complaints of Bernie Sanders and his followers from back in 2016.

We do not agree with the Free Press Online report in a number of key regards. We consider their interpretations of these key events to be monstrously distorted. In any case, their report, which they called an Autopsy, came complete with a dead donkey, legs up, on its cover. Not even a Republican could have done as nasty or insulting a job.

Why are Sanders followers so eager to hurt Democrats? They attack us with far more passion and frequency than they do the Republicans, even though we are people who agree with them in terms of the policies they say they hold so dear. It’s reminiscent of Ralph Nader. Perhaps the worst thing is that they’ve been completely silent on Russia. Bernie wouldn’t even vote to sanction Russia.

Excesses of radical leftist rage are what the alt-right is hoping to induce, every time they hack some emails and strategically release them. The Russians are said to have been speechless with joy when Debbie Wassermann-Schultz resigned her position as DNC chairman. To finance, encourage, and incite the radical portions of both sides of the political spectrum is the M.O. of Russian destabilization tactics all through the world.

A radicalized environment is a volatile, polarized environment. You can’t get anything done in it, and that is what the Russians need. They have very little money to work with. Materially they are far weaker. But, if they can tie us all up with inaction, using traitorous Trojan Horses to infect our body politic, they can hope to realign that. All Putin wants, is to make Russia great again. At our expense.

The hostile world power that is Russia has crafted a meticulous plan to realign the European order as subordinate to the interests of the Kremlin. Their biggest obstacle was America. So they hatched a plot to remove us from the playing board. Our nation has been victimized, it’s still going on, and the latest victim of it is Al Franken.

It’s a sad thing, to watch people jump on a bandwagon.

Two prominent progressive groups, Credo Action and Indivisible, called for Franken’s resignation Monday in the wake of the sexual misconduct allegations against him. This is so idiotic, so destructive to the Resistance, that it’s frankly hard to believe it’s unintentional.

If Democrats were to actually resign their offices every time they were slandered by Republicans, we’d have packed our bags and went home a hundred years ago.

Needless to say, these homegrown attacks are coming from organizations who show every sign of extreme bitterness about the primary defeat of Bernie Sanders in 2016, the election that seemingly never ends.

This type of cheap scandal stinks of Ken Starr and Monica Lewinsky. It’s unreal that it’s coming from our own backyard. For such attacks to be coming from people who share our values would once have been unthinkable.

Everyone remembered the Bush and Reagan years. The opposition had the country completely locked down. Bill Clinton was able to take it back by the slimmest of margins. In order to break that stranglehold, the utmost cooperation among the left was necessary. It still is.

When one section of the left starts making up imaginary purity tests to administer to the other, it is all too clear that many have forgotten the importance of the coalition concept. That is why we lost in 2016.

It’s put up or shut up time. The midterm elections are now less than a year away. It has become necessary to take a side. The only options are to stand with the Democrats or stand with Trump, and only one of those has any sanity or decency in it. Taking half measures will mean leaving the status quo intact.

The most important thing for any democracy is that its lines of communication remain healthy and open. When those break down, all that remains is tyranny. We have seen its face. It is eating dinner at the White House. We understand the necessity of cooperation and coalition, and we are willing to open a respectful dialogue with anyone who realizes that we’ve got to find a way out of this mess. We have got to find a way to move forward together. #WeWillEmbraceYou. All we are saying, is give peace a chance.

 

 

 

The GOP’s Middle Income Tax Increase.

Trump Robs The Middle Class

The new tax bill that the House of Representatives passed Thursday can be safely described as unpleasant.

Tax plans are confusing. They tend to be full of numbers and technical jargon. They give the gift of throbbing temples to most of us. But one thing, at least, is easy to grasp. It’s going to hurt the middle class terribly. This plan is legislative savagery at its worst.

As American citizens, we have a duty to stand up and oppose this criminal concept with all the force we can muster. If we do not, the same GOP Congress that attempted to repeal the Affordable Care Act in favor of total nonsense is all but certain to approve it. This new scheme is pitiless even for Trump. Its implications are brutal. It was hard to believe the budget plan the Senate just signed off on could be approved of by any human being with a heart.

Trump’s tax plan is much like his other policies. Ill-conceived, worse planned, and terrible for very nearly everyone. The CBO report speaks for itself. It’s really more of a tax plot.

The Trumps will save more than $1 billion overall under the GOP tax proposal with most of that amount coming from a repeal of the estate tax, according to an analysis NBC News commissioned of Trump’s one known 2005 tax return and his estimated net worth

As expected, the plan would help the wealthy at the direct expense of the middle class. It will actively hurt the poor. It is also known that foreign oligarch investors, including many from Russia, will be the beneficiaries.

The tax break improves for each income level, meaning that the people who need the most help get the least of it. The top 1 percent would get an 8.5 percent break.

Many Americans will indeed receive a tiny, immediate tax cut, but in the long term they will end up paying significantly higher numbers overall. Better than a third of American taxpayers are living on levels of income that fall below their standard deduction and personal exemptions. According to New York University law professor Lily Batchelder, that group will derive no benefit whatsoever.

This favoritism to the wealthy will increase both their holdings and the nation’s debt tremendously. The richest Americans are the biggest source of tax revenues. Trump has no answers as to where we might find a suitable substitute for them.

The plan will do great damage to parents of school-age children.  The head of household filing status will be eliminated. They will lose the personal exemption middle-class families used to receive for each child. That means almost 10 million parents will see their taxes increase.

The Republican Senate passed a budget bill on Thursday that would cut federal funding by $5 trillion over the next decade. The people to suffer the most from these cuts would be senior citizens, the poor and the disabled. By the time it’s all been said and done, the only ones who won’t be suffering are Donald Trump and his hideous cronies. Good thing the religious right’s got indulgences for sale.
A 10 year proposal that would gut Medicare to the tune of $473 billion in cuts is on the table. That would devastate the finances of more than 55 million Americans.
One might expect such a large tax cut to produce a large surplus in the federal reserve, but such an expectation would meet with disappointment. The Tax Policy Center said that the Framework of Trump’s 2016 plan will actually increase the national debt by $7 trillion over the next 10 years.

A large debt increase of this type tends to stunt economic growth in the long run. When a country’s debt-to-GDP-ratio is more than 100 percent, investors get concerned. They demand higher yields on the nation’s debt,  increasing interest rates. Those higher rates slow growth. It’s the old question of risk vs. reward.

Trump’s plan will also reduce the U.S. gross domestic product after 2024. The interest payments on the debt will end up consuming a large portion of the federal budget.

That money will be unavailable for the public use. It will not be there for the building of infrastructure or other job-creation uses. It will also not be there in case of an emergency, like the California wildfires or Hurricane Harvey.

The administration’s plan is relying on archaic and outmoded ideas of supply-side economics. Under the guidance of this principle, large-scale tax cuts are granted to big corporations. In an ideal world, these corporations would wisely invest this added capital into projects that create more jobs.

In the real world, however, the one in which Millennial Democrats is slogging through this article, this never worked out as it was supposed to. During Ronald Reagan’s administration, underperformance in this area led to the crisis we know as inflation. This was held up and exemplified, and given the name of Reaganomics. And that was still at a time when the highest tax rate was 70 percent.

These days tax rates are half what they were in the 1980’s. The results of pursuing a trickle-down economic strategy now would be far worse.

That is why those of us with sense enough to stand against these cuts must speak out. Loudly, and now. If not, then Medicare, Medicaid and other safety net programs will be gutted and burned. All so that the GOP can pay out a tax cut to the ones who need it least.
“This nasty and backwards budget green lights cuts to Medicare and Medicaid in order to give a tax break to big corporations and the wealthiest Americans. It shifts the burden from the wealthy and puts it squarely on the back of the middle class, and blows a hole in the deficit to boot,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

“I think it will go down in history as one of the worst budgets Congress has ever passed.

Koch Industries has been working toward getting a bill like this past Congress for forty years.  The Senate has stamped their will with a seal of approval, bypassing Democratic votes and therefore bypassing democracy. “America First” is taking on a whole new twist.

A Case Study in Fake News- Uranium One, The Scandal That Wasn’t.

The Uranium One story is a prime example of fake news.  It is a GOP talking point known to be false. That knowledge, however, is not very important to the Republicans, who have gone to great length to keep America talking about it this week.  The opposition has spent an awful lot of money to kick off the conversation.

The whole thing is a cheap attempt to shift the Russiagate narrative by blaming it all on Hillary Clinton.

As this was being written, the first news came back that Paul Manafort and his sidekick Rick Gates were indicted on money crimes going back to their Ukraine days. A jubilant Trump tweeted out a statement distancing himself from these activities.

But Mueller wasn’t finished. The true bombshell was yet to come.

It turns out that former foreign policy adviser, George Papadopoulos, had admitted lying to the FBI about contacts with foreign officials close to the Russian government who discussed “dirt” relating to emails linked to Clinton. He was quietly arrested on July 27. He’s been fully cooperating with the government ever since. 

This is why we’ve spent the week hearing about the Uranium One deal.

The relation of truth to a given subject is not a considered factor when we’re talking about the Trump administration. This story was manufactured conservative disinformation from beginning to end. It has been threaded back into the national narrative as a political countersuit against Democrats.

It’s just Trump’s old Manhattan real estate strategy in his new role as president. This is the political equivalent of a countersuit. The ghost of Roy Cohn has got to be gnashing its teeth in glee, down there in hell.

Joy Reid recently summed up the Trump strategy by quoting from the presidential debate last summer. “I’m no puppet. You’re a puppet”.

The idea is that to relieve the pressure on him, Trump will attempt to shift the nation’s attention and anger toward Hillary Clinton.  Accuse your enemy, of that which you are guilty of. The concept is called swiftboating. Its purpose is to scare Democrats into shutting up and going home. To make us tap out due to fear for the safety of our leader. “You leave me alone, and I’ll leave you alone. If not, there will be trouble.”

This is the face of fascism.  Manufactured excuses. Rampant what-aboutism. Legitimate science is either discarded or adapted. It all becomes part of the new authoritarian ideology. It is then gradually dripped into the heads of the people by the likes of Boris Epshteyn and Sebastian Gorka.

This concept is not abstract, or something that only happens elsewhere. Companies like the Sinclair Broadcasting Company, which is said to be in talks with conservative TV show host Bill O’Reilly, will be threading pro- Trump messaging into every aspect of television. Their virulent brand of right-wing commentary and so-called “classic propaganda” may soon reach three-quarters of US households.

Insofar as Democratic involvement is concerned in the U1 deal, there’s nothing controversial at all. It’s an attempt to shift the national narrative back against Trump’s enemies and give his supporters some new and soothing lie to hold on to.

The important issue here is why this ordinary transaction was cooked up into a scandal in the first place; and the troubling implications that it has for the future of American democracy.

As to the details of the controversy surrounding Uranium One, they are not very controversial.

The company is a subsidiary of Rosatom, Russia’s state-owned nuclear technology corporation. In 2010, while Hillary Clinton was secretary of State, Rosatom wished to acquire a majority share of Uranium One. In order for it to share in the control of uranium mines in the United States, the sale had to be approved by the Committee on Foreign Investment In the United States (CFIUS).

Because the deal would ultimately place Uranium One in control of 20% of U.S. uranium production capacity, the transaction required federal approval. During the 2016 election campaign, Trump asserted that Clinton “gave 20% of our uranium — gave Russia for a big payment.” This is untrue on every level.

The mining licenses remained with U.S. subsidiaries controlled by U.S. persons. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission reviewed the transaction and gave its approval. All nine members of the CFIUS board voted for it with a clear conscience and say today they’d do the same again.

Uranium One does not hold the proper export license, so none of its uranium can be exported. It can never be taken to Russia and turned into nukes.

All the committee members have told everyone Clinton was not involved in the decision.

This “scandal” consisted of a Canadian company, the Northern Uranium Corporation,  selling a Russian company some stock in uranium.

The nuclear recycling angle, specifically the Koch Industries interest in the valuable uranium that comes out of them, is likely of tantamount importance here. The educated guess of one expert who spoke with Millennial Democrats under the conditions of anonymity is that the Kochs did not want the competition from recycled uranium.

Most likely, this was why they needed a reason to keep recycled uranium politically unpopular. They also needed a reason to keep Hillary Clinton unpopular. It would seem they put two and two together.

These two things have nothing to do with one another, but it proved easy to make it seem otherwise. This is where the slanderous spin on Uranium One came from.

This libel has no basis in any historical record. It comes out of a wingnut book called Clinton Cash. Its production was financed by an organization called the Government Accountability Institute. This is a conservative nonprofit founded by the book’s author, Peter Schweitzer. They teamed up with Breitbart’s Steve Bannon to conduct the research for the book. Billionaire Robert Mercer, the same guy who is still paying the bills for Breitbart News, signed the check on this one, too.

Needless to say, it has been thoroughly dismantled by experts.

The story was ridiculous and crooked back then, but its revival in the national dialogue at this particular time is troubling in the extreme. It means the RNC is willing to drag a private citizen into government affairs, for no reason other than to deflect attention from the truth. You don’t prosecute your political opponents using show trials and Congress in order to attack anything but the fabric of our democracy.

Going forward, the Uranium One slander serves as an excellent case study for the examining and reverse-engineering of Republican propaganda. There will be more of this to come than we can imagine; Russian ads alone reached over 120 million on Facebook this year.

By thinking critically and staying alert, however, we can spot these things as they come. We can dismantle them, dissect them, and lay bare their innards to the light.  In this manner, we will come to see how they work.

Then we hold them up as examples of the disingenuity of our opponents. Our job is to expose lies and bear witness.

There’s still a lot we can do. We still have everything it takes to fight the attempts of Trump and Putin at tyranny. The time-honored power of the vote can still save us. Make a specific plan for voting, and do what you can to get others to do the same. Once we take back the Congress, we can rid ourselves of Trump. In short, #RiseAndOrganize.

#WeWillEmbraceYou- Our Answer to Far-Left Hatred.

The cause of leftist unity suffered a disappointment on Tuesday, when Senator Bernard Sanders(I-VT)  announced that contrary to earlier statements, he will not be running as a Democrat in future elections.

In November 2015, Sanders made a point of making clear that in fact he would run as a Democrat in future elections, after the subject came up during an interview.

“In future elections, potential future elections, will you also run as a Democrat?” the reporter asked Sanders as he campaigned in New Hampshire.

“Yes,” Sanders replied.

It seemed to make sense at the time. Bernie has had an on-again, off-again relationship with the DNC for decades. But he does vote with us more often than not. The DNC has hoped that he would join us for many years.

Bernie Sanders was elected to the House of Representatives in 1990. He was not long in establishing the contrary M.O. that so alienated allies and colleagues, during his first year in Congress and all the ones that followed. The first indicators of what we were in for were not to be long in coming.

Sanders introduced the “Health Care as a Right for All” bill on March 4, 1993, in the middle of Clinton’s push for health care reform, because after painstaking research she decided that his single-payer option was not feasible. It was an unfortunate diversion, at a time when we needed total focus. This plan of Bernie’s has failed many times.

As a result, when the Clinton administration-backed Health Security Act, was introduced in the House on Nov. 20, 1993, it had 103 cosponsors. Sanders was not among them. At a time when every vote was needed, he abstained for all-or nothing reasons. And so, America was to need nearly another quarter of a century to start filling this basic human need of the people.

In 2016, it was more of the same. We held out a hand to Bernie Sanders and his followers time and again, only to be rebuffed. It was tiring and it was frustrating. 1 in 10 Sanders voters ended up voting for Trump anyway. It was hard to resent the time we’d wasted trying to convince people who did not want to be convinced. This is the truth.  Rebuilding trust has to start with an acceptance of truth.

The anger and despair caused by the 2016 election opened a door. The smear job on Hillary Clinton represented a quarter- century’s work and God only knows how many millions of dollars on the part of the GOP. They had long ago ensured there was no end of mud to sling. And trusty Wikileaks was always around to make sure there was no shortage of new ammunition, straight from the Russians like Kalashnikov rifles.

The last month of the Democratic primary was a very horrible time filled with chaos and division. That acrimony caused a schism in the Democratic Party that ended up not being fixable. It cost us the election.

That schism has been terribly visible over the last few days, when many Bernie supporters regarded an invitation to Bernie to join the Democratic Party as an attempt to force him out of the Democratic Party. It is not clear how to correct these sorts of misconceptions.

This rabidity and overzealousness on the part of a dangerously high percentage of far-left supporters of Bernie Sanders made for an extremely nasty cocktail of filth for Putin and the Russians to fling about on social media, amplifying their messages through a mixture of robot armies and highly targeted advertising. The campaign was more successful than even the Russians expected. It directly paved the way for Trump’s “Crooked Hillary” attacks.

Since then, the gap between the Democratic Party and the rogue Sanders element has widened continuously. The 2017 Democratic National Committee chairmanship election between Labor Secretary Tom Perez and Representative Keith Ellison of Minnesota was the first contested DNC chair election since 1985. It gave us a solid look at the discord brewing in the party.

The Unity tour that Bernie and the DNC undertook together was a disaster as well. Many Sanders supporters even went so far as to boo and curse our party chairman, Tom Perez, while on the tour. One reporter asked at the time, if Bernie considered himself a Democrat.

“No”, said Bernie.

And as recently as this month, Bernie caused nationwide outrage by accepting an invitation to speak at the 2017 Inaugural Women’s Convention. We did not ask for much, to remedy the situation, only that he publicly state that he’ll endorse in the future only those candidates with an ironclad respect for the reproductive rights of women.

Sadly, rather than fully embrace this long-hallowed progressive moral, Bernie chose to decline the invitation.

The pattern is clear, and it is widening all the time. The natural response on the part of most Democrats, who after all have been lied to for years by Senator Sanders, is outrage. This is only to be expected, but we have to keep in mind that more fighting will get us the opposite of what we all are after.

The author of this article struggles with this personally and is honest enough to admit it. Just the same, Millennial Democrats realizes the necessity of coming together. The only thing that matters, for as long as he’s in office, is getting rid of the maniac Donald Trump. We will therefore make a sincere attempt to put that behind us and offer a handshake. That is what the situation requires. That is what the lot of us owe our country.

The Sanders camp started a number of rather insolent and aggressive political organizations in the aftermath of the country’s heartbreak over the disastrous result of last year’s election. This is inexcusable, but also understandable. Everyone was really angry at the time, and pointing fingers is always easy. Everyone makes mistakes.

But even among these heavily radicalized organizations, there is one that stands out particularly for the sheer ugly brazenness of its slogan, a hashtag called #WeWillReplaceYou. This is another supposedly liberal or progressive group looking to take out sitting Democrats from Congress in 2018.

Instead of focusing their attention on the Republicans who are ravaging our federal government, they are instead choosing to pose a threat to elected Democrats.

This kind of idea goes beyond obnoxious. It’s actively dangerous. The last hope of the nation is that most people, on both sides of the fence, will somehow come to realize this. Acrimony on the left is exactly what Donald Trump and the Koch network are really after. We have got to perceive their strike, and pull back before it is too late.

While this squabbling goes on, the Republicans are halfway to passing the most brutally corrupt tax plan in American history. We have got to come together before it’s forever too late.

Both sides have now had ample chance to air grievances and get them out on the table. It is now time for us to move past it. Honesty is the only way to meaningful unity between the Sanders camp and real Democrats. We hear you out, you hear us out, and then we all shake hands and get back to work.

It is for that reason that we’ve decided to promote a counter-hashtag, #WeWillEmbraceYou. We don’t want to fight. One way or the other, this internecine war has got to end. It does nothing but rip us all up. The discord between our two camps still amounts to a quarrel between brothers.

So when they shriek at us, “We will replace you!”, we will respond calmly and say “Well, we will embrace you.” This is easy for us, because we are Democrats. The Democratic Party is strong. And the strong are always kind. It will come naturally to be magnanimous.

What it means to be a Democrat, is to be on the side of the people. All the people. Even the ones you don’t always agree with. In order to call yourself a progressive, you have got to show you can make progress. That takes cooperation and communication. All or nothing will not suffice.

At the end of the day, our message to our natural allies to the left of us is simply this- Even if you insist on wanting to be our enemies, we are still your friends.

We will not give up, on attempting to open dialogue with you. We will always be willing to work with you. Should you ever decide to return to the fold, you will hear no I-told-you-sos or recriminations. What you will find, is a dignified welcome, and a place on the bench. Please keep this in mind.

Tyranny and Taxation- A Budget Breaking Bad.

The budget plan the Senate just signed off on can be safely described as unpleasant.

Tax plans are confusing. They tend to be full of numbers and technical jargon. They give the gift of throbbing temples to most of us. But one thing, at least, is easy to grasp. This plan is legislative savagery at its worst.

As American citizens, we have a duty to stand up and oppose this criminal concept with all the force we can muster. If we do not, the same GOP Congress that attempted to repeal the Affordable Care Act in favor of total nonsense is all but certain to approve it. This new scheme is pitiless even for Trump. Its implications are brutal.

Trump’s tax plan is much like his other policies. Ill conceived, worse planned, and terrible for very nearly everyone. It’s really more of a tax plot.

As expected, the plan would help the wealthy at the direct expense of the middle class. It will actively hurt the poor. It is also known that foreign oligarch investors, including many from Russia, will be the beneficiaries.

The tax break improves for each income level, meaning that the people who need the most help get the least of it. The top 1 percent would get an 8.5 percent break.

Many Americans will indeed receive a tiny, immediate tax cut, but in the long term they will end up paying significantly higher numbers overall. Better than a third of American taxpayers are living on levels of income that fall below their standard deduction and personal exemptions. According to New York University law professor Lily Batchelder, that group will derive no benefit whatsoever.

This favoritism to the wealthy will increase both their holdings and the nation’s debt tremendously. The richest Americans are the biggest source of tax revenues. Trump has no answers as to where we might find a suitable substitute for them.

The plan will do great damage to parents of school-age children.  The head of household filing status will be eliminated. They will lose the personal exemption middle-class families used to receive for each child. That means almost 10 million parents will see their taxes increase.

The Republican Senate passed a budget bill on Thursday that would cut federal funding by $5 trillion over the next decade. The people to suffer the most from these cuts would be senior citizens, the poor and the disabled. By the time it’s all been said and done, the only ones who won’t be suffering are Donald Trump and his hideous cronies. Good thing the religious right’s got indulgences for sale.
A 10 year proposal that would gut Medicare to the tune of $473 billion in cuts is on the table. That would devastate the finances of more than 55 million Americans.
One might expect such a large tax cut to produce a large surplus in the federal reserve, but such an expectation would meet with disappointment. The Tax Policy Center said that the Framework of Trump’s 2016 plan will actually increase the national debt by $7 trillion over the next 10 years.

A large debt increase of this type tends to stunt economic growth in the long run. When a country’s debt-to-GDP-ratio is more than 100 percent, investors get concerned. They demand higher yields on the nation’s debt,  increasing interest rates. Those higher rates slow growth. It’s the old question of risk vs. reward.

Trump’s plan will also reduce the U.S. gross domestic product after 2024. The interest payments on the debt will end up consuming a large portion of the federal budget.

That money will be unavailable for the public use. It will not be there for the building of infrastructure or other job-creation uses. It will also not be there in case of an emergency, like the California wildfires or Hurricane Harvey.

The administration’s plan is relying on archaic and outmoded ideas of supply-side economics. Under the guidance of this principle, large scale tax cuts are granted to big corporations. In an ideal world, these corporations would wisely invest this added capital into projects that create more jobs.

In the real world, however, the one in which Millennial Democrats is slogging through this article, this never worked out as it was supposed to. During Ronald Reagan’s administration, underperformance in this area led to the crisis we know as inflation. This was held up and exemplified, and given the name of Reaganomics. And that was still at a time when the highest tax rate was 70 percent.

These days tax rates are half what they were in the 1980’s. The results of pursuing a trickle-down economic strategy now would be far worse.

That is why those of us with sense enough to stand against these cuts must speak out. Loudly, and now. If not, then Medicare, Medicaid and other safety net programs will be gutted and burned. All so that the GOP can pay out a tax cut to the ones who need it least.
“This nasty and backwards budget green lights cuts to Medicare and Medicaid in order to give a tax break to big corporations and the wealthiest Americans. It shifts the burden from the wealthy and puts it squarely on the back of the middle class, and blows a hole in the deficit to boot,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

“I think it will go down in history as one of the worst budgets Congress has ever passed.

Koch Industries has been working toward getting a bill like this past Congress for forty years.  The Senate has stamped their will with a seal of approval, bypassing Democratic votes and therefore bypassing democracy. “America First” is taking on a whole new twist.

 

Great Education, No Segregation- Controlled Choice Policy.

Conservative America has never given up on segregating the country’s schools. Donald Trump has given them a free hand to do it.

Think tanks across the country have been working out a legal method to do so. It is proving effective. American schools are more segregated than they were in 1968.

The privatizing of education has been their long term goal for a number of different reasons. Some of these are financial, of course. Education is a market of tremendous value. The private sector is eager to gain a toehold.

Conservatives believe shrinking public education will further their goal of drastically reducing the public sector.

The school choice movement in America has a lot to do with racism, which does not express itself the same way it did in the Jim Crow era.

The Republicans used to support our public schools. Theodore Roosevelt was a great believer in it. But after the Civil Rights Act, everything changed.

A plan to win the votes of citizens who favored public aid for private schools because they opposed school integration began under Nixon. Lee Atwater’s infamous “Southern Strategy” to get Reagan reelected in 1984 was a natural continuation of that plan.

Privatization also undermines teacher unions, a key base of support for the Democratic Party. We saw this all over the Midwest in 2010, most notably under Scott Walker. He used a scummy, lousy back door bill to cripple the school system there. Libraries stand dark and empty. Music rooms have fallen silent. Art rooms that serve no function save the collecting of dust and wistful memory.

Betsy DeVos, the Secretary of Education who is widely perceived as being Trump’s worst Cabinet pick, is from a family that has contributed millions of dollars to the cause of school choice and unregulated charter expansion throughout Michigan.

Millions of our nation’s public schoolchildren will be adversely affected by her policies at the Department of Education. Recent studies have shown us that they are likely to have disparate effects on public schools that serve a majority of black and Latino students.

Voucher schools end up sapping money from the public schools. This is because they must legally accept, but not keep, any student who doesn’t suit their often-arbitrary standards. They kick the unwanted kids out, and keep the money budgeted to the school for their accommodation. These funds do not follow the child to the public school they are reassigned to.

Their education is to be paid for at the expense of both parents and the public system. This is one of the ways in which voucher programs divert much-needed public funding and students from public schools to private institutions that do not have the same accountability guidelines and that do not serve as many children with special needs.

By the time the vouchers and the charters get done cashing their checks, there are few funds left for public schools.

DeVos, in particular, has championed vouchers — publicly funded credits parents can use to send their kids to the school of their choosing Many of those schools are charter schools, private schools, or magnet schools.

Schools in less affluent areas are getting increasingly short-changed by the states and localities that fund them. In March of 2015, the richest 25 percent of school districts were receiving 15.6 percent more funds from state and local governments per student than the poorest 25 percent of school districts, according to the federal Department of Education.

In Midwestern red states, particularly Wisconsin under Scott Walker, the entire public school system has been gutted. This has manifested constantly since 2010.

During the spring of 2013 the ACES Xavier Educational System rebranded as the St. Francis Xavier Catholic School System, and was alloted Wisconsin taxpayer money. This marked the first time state funds were allowed to flow to private, predominantly religious schools.

This is a clear case of the Koch network goal to bring about the circumvention of the doctrine of separation of church and state.  Every time they are able to gain access to federal funds for religious organizations, they tacitly gain legal recognition.

Likewise, leaders of the religious right recently started demanding federal benefits for churches hit by Hurricane Harvey, even as the cleanup started. As with school choice, it seems innocuous enough. But actually it represents a highly significant milestone in their plan to lay waste the First Amendment. They have preparing groundwork to lay claim to public funds for a long time.

If they can gain a toehold by getting legal recognition collecting federal money, they can slowly worm their way into positions of influence in a government they are legally forbidden to enter. And they can get the people of the state to demand it on their behalf, through the guise of things like protecting their cherished offspring from dreaded “government schools”- and the inner-city kids who attend them.

Matt Kussow, executive director of the Wisconsin Council for Religious and Independent Schools, estimates that between 130 and 150 private schools are “seriously looking” at trying to join the statewide program.

In 2011, close to 80 percent of the nation’s African-American students were enrolled in public, mostly minority schools, according to a report released by The Civil Rights Project at the University of California, Los Angeles.

The percentage of students majoring in education has dropped to almost nothing. The idea of holding a job as a teacher these days is becoming increasingly unpalatable in the Midwest and elsewhere.

The teacher shortage has gotten progressively worse, particularly in rural areas. Things have descended to the point where anyone with a bachelor’s degree can get a job as a teacher in Wisconsin. Nothing like mandatory classroom time or training for special ed is required anymore. It’s easy to get a license for life without tough requirements. Competence standards have lowered tremendously.

Meanwhile, down South in Kentucky, Republicans have been trying to bring racial segregation back to schools by getting a bill designed to regulate education in places passed in the state’s House of Representatives.“It will rebuild our communities,” he wrote in an article for in the Courier Journal. “It will, after four lost decades, reconnect those two things that never should have been disconnected in the first place — neighborhoods and their schools.”

The effect this so-called “school choice” bill could have on students of color is of such concern that the NAACP and the Movement for Black Lives recently called for a moratorium on any participating school.

Historically black colleges and universities(HBCU’s) were formed in the face of just this type of systemic discrimination.  African-American students were excluded from many white institutions, particularly in the South.  Alternatives did not exist for the future of their education. Choice was not an option.

Betsy DeVos, however, thinks they are a great example of school choice. She recently released a statement praising the schools for their innovation.

“They saw that the system wasn’t working, that there was an absence of opportunity, so they took it upon themselves to provide the solution. HBCUs are real pioneers when it comes to school choice.”

The system” that wasn’t working at the time was Jim Crow-era segregation.

DeVos was pressed during her confirmation process on school desegregation policies.Her answer was “I do not support programs that would lead to increased segregation”. The record proves clearly that the opposite is true.

Even for students enrolled in schools of choice, it’s not much better. In Detroit, kids who depend on Detroit’s problematic public transit are too far away from the state’s top-performing school districts to make attendance there feasible. And most of those districts don’t participate in the schools of choice program anyway.

This is no accident. It was created by an ideological lobby that has fanatically promoted free-market education reform for decades. At the center of that lobby is the Koch network, and the DeVos family.

This trend of heading forward to a devoid educational wasteland is deeply dysfunctional. Failure is being rewarded among students, faculty, and system. Opportunities for expansion and “choice” have proven to mean the reverse for thousands of children.

Moving forward, we have to examine and adapt working models to other parts of the country, and draw public attention to a logical plan that makes sense. As it works, there’s a wonderful and scarcely-mentioned alternative gaining momentum and getting results.

The Controlled Choice Policy began in 1980 when the Cambridge School Committee voted to desegregate the schools by moving away from a neighborhood schools model.

San Francisco has a city-wide controlled choice model with no school boundaries and algorithmic school placement.   The resulting educational diversity has created one of the highest quality urban school systems in the country.

Controlled Choice is designed to create diverse, academically rigorous schools with equal access to educational resources.

Research has shown that a student body comprised of the whole spectrum of socioeconomic backgrounds produces the best educational outcomes. Both overall and for students at every socioeconomic level.

It’s genius. And it’s been proven to work already. The answer to the education problem has already been solved. All we Democrats have to do now is to make sure the people notice it.

 

 

%d bloggers like this:
Skip to toolbar