Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Rumination upon Education

As the daughter of a teacher, I KNOW what my mother put into her four decades as both a fifth grade teacher and a high school teacher/college counselor.  She brought her job home every single day and most weekends.  That job dominated her life; she loved it and influenced countless lives positively.  She elevated the prospects of thousands of kids in the San Joaquin Valley and 29 Palms, California. A great many among them were children of seasonal migrant workers, mostly from Mexico, kids who lived with entire families in rooms the size of a small bedroom. 

At her funeral in 1994, I met a wonderful gentleman, at that point head of the local junior college, who told me that she was the reason that he, the American born son of Mexican migrant workers, was able to turn his passionate desire to succeed, help others, and prosper into reality.  I heard this said about my mother over and over again as she fulfilled her passionate desire to enlighten receptive minds.  That is what a Teacher does.

She was always passionate about her job.  One person CAN make a difference, and the public service workers of our country -- the teachers, the nurses, the firefighters & police -- each ONE of those people dedicate their lives to making a difference.  I believe they should be able to RETAIN the RIGHT to bargain with the Big Boss Men, who already, it seems, believe they should be as kings unto their workers.  Gah!
United (Union!) we stand, divided, we are cracked like dried twigs, which is pretty much what they want, isn’t it?

The sneak attack by the GOP in Wisconsin that killed collective bargaining in Wisconsin smacks of tyranny to me.  For example, when these slick creeps demean teachers, they are attacking societal fundamentals.  Do we, as a nation, value education?  Do we value educating the blue collar/middle class family as much as we value educating their peers at a higher social level?  If not, why not?

We’ve always had issues with class in this country.  We’ve had slavery, indentured servitude, the plight of women, children, the sick and the elderly who can’t fend for themselves.  And there has always been the model of the Banker (Big Business usually = GOP) with the cold heart in this country – plenty of those around today.  (“If you don’t give me the deed to your ranch I’m gonna tie you to the railroad tracks”)

Tell me, O weasel-eyed Governors with eyes of flint - I would like to know how destroying our precious national safety nets will do anything but impoverish those too weak to pull themselves up, thereby weakening our national fabric.  These “nets” are in place; they serve the people.  Honestly, really – what will take their place?  Smile, say "charity" and I will laugh in your face.

What happens when there’s no protection for the firemen, the teachers, the police, the drivers -- the We that are the People?  For Governor Walker to act like an over-confident bully, smashing the long-held values and Rights of a state known for securing those Rights, thereby paving the way for the rest of us, was viscerally shocking to me.

Governor Walker appears to be a mini-dictator, and there are several others of his ilk governing other states.  Their aim is to strip the Democratic Party of their one power base, the Unions, and to prevent President Obama from being elected or from achieving policy objectives.  It is also Karl Rove’s Machiavellian goal to achieve total GOP dominance within all systems of government.  If that happens, kiss the idea of America goodbye.

The state of Wisconsin is not supposed to be a dictatorship, run by a Governor with an unseemly urge to please billionaire businessmen such as the Koch Bros. His mini-dictatorship is somehow protected by states-rights while the rest of us watch in horror, wondering what next parliamentary bit of deviance will be used inappropriately.

In my state, California, a Democrat Governor was recalled a few years ago for NOTHING compared to what Governor Walker is doing, and I mean NOTHING.  I have nothing against Governor Schwarzenegger - I came to be quite fond of him -- he's MY kind of GOP-GOV.  I like moderate Republicans -- we do have a lot in common. I want to cultivate that love of the moderate which is unfamiliar to the flaming Progressive!

It's time to unite from within the center, reaching out -- reaching out to one another with a sense of inclusion towards ALL except the bat shit crazy.  I refuse to take this challenge to our working people without reacting in a protective fashion -- as they have protected us.  I refuse to watch a challenge to education in this country without working to educate people about why it matters!

People must know why a wide, stimulated, open & well-trained mind is worth more than gold.  The fewer great minds we have, the lower is our status as a country, period.  I would feel more comfortable with the direction of our country if we pointed our kids in the direction of math/science/saving the earth than by bombing the crap out of it.

When we stop respecting education, we are stale, through.  Do you hear me, America? WE – the almighty paragons of remarkable excellence, are on the verge of being  finished, second rate.  Our worth, capacity, flexibility and vigor as a nation are diminished; our educational scores are mediocre, our intellectual appetite dulled.   The mediocre are easily led like sheep, which makes me wonder if it’s too late already.  Again, how have we arrived at this point?

We have failed to educate our people. When people are not trained to think, they cannot discriminate.  Lack of discrimination leads to collective failures in judgment, resulting in cultural lurches like allowing GW Bush to invade Iraq (President Clinton was impeached for infinitely  less), forgetting the Bush years so easily, forgetting who the real Party of the People has always been, which led to the stupid, impatient results of the last election, etc.

Remember the old adage about getting the Government one deserves?  It seems that most of Congress has been bought off and now these Governors too. What do the Koch Brothers have to do with all of this and HOW do they stand to gain?  AND DON’T THEY HAVE ENOUGH WEALTH, NOW REALLY?? The idea that they have anything to do with policy that impoverishes the rest of America sickens me.

If you haven't noticed anything peculiar yet, to arms, to arms -- the Corporations are coming

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Tyranny of the Radical Minority

I am so filled with anger; raging impotently as I watch radical Republicans "govern." Watching the parliamentary sleight of hand that stripped Wisconsin public workers of their bargaining rights, I fear for this country. It is very clear that this could be the beginning of the end of Democracy in the “land of the free.” 

If we lose our Power as a People, if we are so easily fooled, if a runaway Governor can dictate radical, radio-active policies and get away with it despite the wishes of the bulk of his constituency, isn’t that bordering on a state perilously close to Imperial rule, tyranny?  I've been around a long time and I have NEVER seen politicians behave so disrespectfully to the people who elected them.

The GOP won the last election by speaking of jobs and “true fiscal conservatism.”  True fiscal conservatism has a spine, and the people who espouse this philosophy and are elected on the basis of it should not be able to serve in Congress as the lackeys of the rich. 
After continuing the infamous, unnecessary and infamous tax break for the rich, Republicans are suddenly moving as one to strip the American Worker of the right to bargain with dignity for wages, hours, etc.  They talk so righteously of how we must ALL share the pain of balancing the budgets after giving this wretched tax cut to those who didn’t need it – Boehner and Mitchell fought furiously for their own, and now seek to attack entitlements – let the middle class and poor pay the price -- as the American people sink into a less gracious and conscious form of living.

If the GOP continues to stifle our lawful Freedoms including the right to vote, and continues to promote the growth of a vast underclass, taking from us all services we have won as Rights in the past -- they will be electorally wiped out at some point—unless they can make good on the next step in their plan, which has to do with making it more difficult for folks in the Democratic demographics, i.e. students, who typically vote the Democratic ticket, to vote.

How does that make you feel – to know that this is a nationwide effort by GOP politicos to restrain the Democratic voter-turnout, to destroy collective bargaining, to strip the Unions of all power and to make the United States of America into a dreary banana republic where only one party CAN attain power?
But who benefits?  Who would have the most to gain, however bizarre, and for what reasons?  In my opinion we are witnessing the struggle between Plutocracy and Democracy in America the Beautiful, and it is an awful sight to see.

There are so many ramifications to severe cuts -- for example, the downward slide of the U.S. in our ability to educate our youth will result in a modern form of peasant, who will breed children used as ready cannon fodder for our Orwellian cycle of endless wars.
Failed by local schools and pre-trained by vicious, militaristic games, they’ll be snatched up by the Masters of War. As educational systems begin to fail our children the culture becomes more brutal and violent.  Kids spend way too much time fascinated by blood-soaked games put out by the Military, and way too little time reading and thinking.

How purposeful is the creation of a class of the citizenry more suited for soldiering than the white collar and manufacturing jobs we no longer have?  So many of these kids have felt and feel that a life in the military was the only option.  They go because they have to.  They are our modern-day blood sacrifice.  The high and sustained rate of unemployment has made and will continue to make great use of the “feeder pond” of kids with no hope.  These young American heroes go off to serve and fight and die.

And then the heroes come back, but they come back changed, many of them broken, some shattered beyond our help.  Because of the underlying philosophy that sends these people off to war, there’s not enough help for them when they get back!  That holds for current veterans, and for the rest of the recycled vets of our many wars; there are so few options.  

They deserve everything from us, yet to the GOP that elite 2% of the richest is somehow more deserving of extra treats on their tables than our soldiers are of keeping body and soul together.  This is a result of the shifting of wealth that just happened in front of our eyes.  Failing to provide our vets with honorable work and services will have undesirable consequences, as always.

Our veterans come home, and they have certain particular warlike skill sets.  They have to make a living, and naturally they will look into the U.S. prison and jail systems, some will go for the shadowy world of the mercenary, some are so wounded they never come back psychologically, some readjust, go back to school/work and shake the traumas of War.  Left untreated and uncared for, many are loose cannons waiting to explode.  We ignore them at our own risk, and to our shame as a society.

It is important, essential to know that right in front of our eyes we are watching an entire reshuffling of the American Opportunity, a purposeful re-sizing of the American Dream, a casual toss away of our pretense to Excellence.  This fundamental dumbing down of the culture can't be strategic, it just can't be.  Can it?  Who benefits? 

Fascism is the union of the Military-Industrial-Congressional complex , a wonderful choice of words by President Dwight Eisenhower, who told us to beware of such a government.  It is my deepest fear that our beloved country is morphing rapidly into a collective of little states/tyrannies run by out-of-control, power-mad Governors who seem to feel Absolute Power is their Right.  I don’t understand why the Republicans don’t value their “worthy opposition” and why they seem to be trying to destroy us utterly.

I would like to know how the selfish folk behind this drive to hunt Democrats (and everything they represent to the working people) to extinction are reconciling the compulsion to Dictatorship with the U.S. two party system?  They have forgotten that the State exists to serve the people; many of these governors are CEOs who put the State in front of the People, and that is again part of what defines fascism.  

Take care, America!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Union Busting in Wisconsin

There have always been "robber barons" among us.  They morph from century to century, wearing different disguises to suit the times.  They are lackeys of the truly wealthy,  though many of course fall into money.  That's their job, isn't it?  My big question is - why do they want to keep the rest of us from having it?

The situation in Wisconsin is our primary national example of this constant societal theme.  This is a moment of national Truth.  It has to do with the bottom line, and whether the Rich really do get richer while the Poor stay poor.  I thought we as a society had decided to be "A Great Society" and "A City on a Hill" -- or even, as George W. Bush said, an "Ownership Society?"  I never dreamed that one lousy Presidency could bring us to the brink of losing, precipitously, the American Dream.  The numbers of people that have crowded the streets of Wisconsin say I am not wrong.

The workers in Wisconsin fight for a voice at the bargaining table, as is the American way.  This  movement,  to protect the rights of workers in America, began in the great state of Wisconsin.  Why now do the Republicans want to take these rights away? Why did this upstart new Governor do the unthinkable, by threatening violence the moment this issue arose? Why do the city streets in the Madison, WI look like a dictatorship on lock-down? The hubris involved in both Governor Walker's initial threat to call out the National Guard and his statement that he could imprison and expel the Democratic Senators with the use of force is shocking.

The Democratic Senators, the Wisconsin 14, while currently in the minority fight to save the rights of the majority. The Governor has illegally ordered that the Democratic Senators be brought home whether or not force is involved.   My God, you don't go around threatening to use force on your Senators!!

That's absolutely unconstitutional -- many of the policies that Governor Walker propose are blatantly unconstitutional under Wisconsin law.  Why are these few, brash, mostly young white males in various states, newly elected -- why are they imperiously insulting the fine working people of our country while they undermine our national traditions of protecting the working class?  What's up with this?

Governor Walker in Wisconsin is an arrogant, slick, cruel piece of work.  He's in league with the Koch Brother Billionaires in this class war -- watch him roll.  His belief in himself is utter, despite the tens of thousands of people protesting his choices. When trouble began, he mentioned calling in the National Guard, but that didn't go down well.  According  to Rachel Maddow, the Governor has instead called upon private contractors -- scabs --from Blackwater/XE/Wackenhut  to do his dirty "security" work. 

This despicable jerk of a new Governor, who prides himself on "not budging" wants to force pink slips upon the teachers and firefighters, the police and the service workers -- he insults the people that are the bedrock of American society.  If they are shut out of health care, jobs, dignity -- eventually there will be a reckoning, and perhaps a swift one.

By cutting the taxes for the rich, they have ginned up a clear cut case of a false fiscal crisis with an ulterior motive -- to destroy a time honored democratic tradition (or small r republican -- as collective bargaining is an excellent tool for our Republic as well).

What is this new breed of Republican, these servants of the Mighty?  Who are they?  What do they stand for?  Of more importance -- what is it that they want?  I want to see where folks will stand on this hugely important issue of collective bargaining.  I know there might be Libertarian and Conservative elements of the GOP that are concerned about the traditional right to organize.

I would hope that some of these folks are not just pumped up tools of various politicians.  I really do think the more Libertarian people, who are upset about the insane parts of big government, could bring integrity to the table. We have seen so many times that politicians and corruption go hand in hand that it is impossible for me to imagine that the Tea Partyers won't get co-opted and horns-waggled,  so to speak, by the GOP proper.

Back to the new-style GOP- men and women -- the guys with Mr. Bean slicked-back hair, dictatorial pride and a fantastic role model in George W. Bush, who did everything he wanted and got away with it.   Who is this guy, this Governor Walker,  and how many other newly elected Governors are dying to bust Unions as well.  Finally, why are the Republicans trying to kill a two party system in this country?

Without Unions, there are no big sources of campaign money for the Democrats, and since the odious Supreme Court:s Citizen United decision  of late, the Unions are the last bastion of large Democratic fundraising.  Kill the unions, the Democrats are dead.  The Democrats die -- suddenly you've got something suspiciously like a dictatorship, with armed guards willing to do anything on the street.  Think it can't happen here?  Look at the streets of Wisconsin -- it already is.

People from Blackwater, as it used to be known, don't have a problem crossing union lines. They answer to a higher power, and it's NOT the government of the United States.  Suddenly Madison, WI has the look of a police state.  How's that for a bleak look into a possible future, America?  If you don't believe me, here's a symbol of their reach into our country - an "emergency response team" badge for the Delaware County Prison that indicates a global reach:
I am longing for principled people of ALL parties to come out for the REAL America.  It's got NOTHING to do with Rambo Governors on a rampage fulfilling private missions funded by secretive Billionaire policy makers backing and backed by a huge shadow army.  Those guys have been planning for years to turn the screws on America in ways you don't even want to imagine.

Yes, it could happen here. Look no further than Wisconsin.  This week a Democratic Assemblyman was tackled on his way to work in the Capital Building. The guy was brought to the ground by a pile of scab "security guards" -- employed by Wackenhut. (Blackwater/XE.)  Anyone getting nervous yet?? 

Now back to that first, primary, and most troubling question: whence come these union busters, and why?  I think they are tools of the GOP;  but they are willing, boot-licking tools, on the make for money and power, the people be damned.   They are useful tools for a subtle cultural revolution, where the rich do indeed get richer and the poor get the shaft.

If the good Governor Walker gets his way and busts those unions in Wisconsin, the folks in that fine state can look forward to police, prison guards, security guys etc., who have possibly seen more depravity in one lifetime than we can hold in our consciousness, and want to spread those Good Vibrations that came from Gitmo through Abu Ghraib straight to you.  I don't much like the sound of this -- hold steady, Brave Wisconsin 14!  As my husband Patrick, an astute student of History said, it's "very near impossible" to regain a Right once you have given it up.

Governor Walker, in my opinion, should be re-called as quickly as is lawfully possible.   He has over-reached beyond all rational thought -- to the point of behaving in a fashion that could be construed as tyrannical.  In MY opinion.  Soooo -- on Wisconsin, on Wisconsin!!
There's a cost for choosing to maintain a society at the lower levels of education and poverty.  Its pretty nasty price comes due at the end of that cycle, which we see in the Middle East.  Those people who say there's "no connection" between the events of Egypt and the events of Wisconsin are dead wrong.  If nothing else, the Egyptians taught their American brothers and sisters how to really stand up for ourselves again, even with the threat of violence.  Believe me, those guys from Wackenhut know a thing or two about violence.

I'm horrified that the GOP continues to stifle our natural freedoms including the "pursuit of happiness" by cutting away further at necessary benefits for those in need.  When you consider that our last President, the  Fearless, feckless Leader George W. Bush put us into this bankrupt condition, it is asking a bit much of the average citizen to pay the greatest cost.

That our entire citizenry is being punished after giving the richest 2% a fat, unnecessary tax cut is utterly egregious, a blatant pandering curtsy to wealth.  The stench of Greed lingers on, and it's the worst form of Greed -- Greed whose cost is born by those too fragile to bear it. Symbol -- fat sovereign on thin, starving donkey.   

If the new GOP Governors and Congresspeople don't show some mercy and stop acting like Roman conquerors believing in their own Godhood -- well, they will have their own revolution to deal with, and perhaps rather quickly.  I've heard there are recall procedures already in place for the GOP Senators on the "union busting" side.  They are on the wrong side of the arc of history.

They aren't supposed to be feeding the Greed and Blood Lust of "Jabba the Hutt" -- that grotesque fat thing in the Star Wars cycle - that's my none too subtle metaphor for endless war, depravity, violence and all things that feed that monster in each of us, and in our country as well.  America is not an Imperial Nation for the wealthy few.  We are supposed to be better than that.