What Trump Hath Wrought

Rep. Sally Kern, R-Oklahoma City said minorities earn less than white people because they don’t work as hard and have less initiative.

“We have a high percentage of blacks in prison, and that’s tragic, but are they in prison just because they are black or because they don’t want to study as hard in school? I’ve taught school, and I saw a lot of people of color who didn’t study hard because they said the government would take care of them.”

Kern said women earn less than men because “they tend to spend more time at home with their families.”

Read more from this Tulsa World article at http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?subjectid=11&articleid=20110427_11_0_TheOkl298226

This is actually *great* news. For at least ten years, we’ve seen similar comments – and much worse – from Freepers and Red Staters. *Finally* the true racism that is the basis of the modern Conservative Republican party has been liberated into the common political discourse!

It’s Trump that has done this. with his attack of Obama’s educational background and his actual speculation that Obama is an unqualified “Affirmative Action Baby” of no account. Wonderful! Next, he’ll be calling the President “Odumbo” and saying that he thinks that Obama is a Kenyan Muslim Socialist, whose goal is to destroy America.

The rest of the GOP are now liberated to actually spew their vile racist bullpucky all over the airwaves. They will attack the rest of the country for being the *true* racists, because they “don’t want to face the truth.”

The faster we can get these nasty knuckleheads to admit their true beliefs out loud, the faster the GOP loses even more of the Independents and fiscal Conservatives who are appalled by such beliefs. Not only that, but the party’s corporate overlords are going to see a tremendous backlash from consumers of any other color than white. *The NAACP should call for an immediate boycott of every product produced by companies that give money to the GOP.*

Not only will GOP elected officials now use the N-word, but will defend it. “We all know that there are certain African-Americans that are just ‘n-ggers.’ They don’t have jobs, collect welfare for their six kids with six different mothers, and hanfg out all day drinking Night Train and insulting white women. These shiftless no-accounts are exactly what the Democrats’ system of entitlement were designed to create – helpless people who would always vote for the gravy train.”

They finally feel free to express themselves. Some of them will even be elected, from southern states. Florida will produce at least one. The treatment they receive, in the very different world of DC, will make them feel even more embattled. What will the ethnic backgrounds of the people who will be attracted to the Loud and Proud “Non-PC” Republican party? What will be their educational levels, or their incomes? This isn’t what you’d call an “inclusive” marketing tactic – although it will certainly shore up the base.

Yet these are the same people that will expect the Federal Government to come to their rescue as their states are decimated by the rapidly-occurring climate change. Tornadoes and wildfires are the least of it. States like Oklahoma will be losing population in another decade. All those snowbirds, who moved to South Carolina or Florida for the lower taxes, aren’t going to be enamored of living in geographical regions hit by fires, drought, tornadoes, and hurricanes. Combine that with lower levels of services at all levels, and the bloom will definitely be off the Sun Belt States. Migration can flow both ways. About the biggest reason that Floridians wouldn’t be pulling up stakes anytime soon is that their housing market has collapsed so steeply that homeowners are financially stuck where they are.

These population shifts – the shrinking GOP base, and the shrinking populations of the states themselves – are obvious to anyone that does even a cursory demographic analysis. Certainly, they are apparent to the Overlords of the modern GOP. That party is beginning to resemble nothing more than Potemkin Village of partisan support. It is kept alive purely by the millions of dollars in donations that come from corporate sources. It exists purely to enact legislation that will better those Corporate Overlords. Its propaganda arms exist only to sell those policies to the lower 98%, who have no idea what the resulting legislation is doing to them.

The Overlords have to wrap up their control of the American political system *now*, with the 2012 election. Any further delay will mean that their sockpuppet party won’t be able to gather even a minimal number of voters, and will become a true rump party. In order to fire up their base this upcoming election year, the GOP will have to double down on the “PC Backlash” approach they’ve been perfecting since 1990 They’ll have to, essentially, come out of the closet. “We’re present, intolerant, and suck on it.”

They may even drop the pretense that the Confederate treason they so admire was about “States’ Rights”, and admit – nay, defend – the fact that it was about the right to own Negroes.

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The Kochs’ Parallel Primary for the GOP Nomination

Good news! The 2012 Republican nominee certainly appears to be a loser, no matter who it is. Palin? Romney? Huckabee? Gingrich? Bachmann? Pawlenty? None of them could win against Obama. The field is so lackluster that the “Reagan Centennial GOP Presidential Primary Candidates Debate” – the first of the electoral season – has been moved from May 2 to Sept. 14, 2012. (“to accommodate candidates’ announcement schedules.”) It’s enough to lull a good Democrat into complacency – which is, perhaps, exactly what the GOP intends.

The conventional wisdom is that the GOP voters will chose from that lackluster field. In primaries that will start on February 6, 2012, in Iowa. However, the truth may be very different: the GOP primary is *already occurring.*. It’s been running since January 1. The GOP governors are in their “Celebrity Apprentice” tryouts for the Kochs and the Rove cabals. It’s a criminal conspiracy, as well as a strategy, which is why you haven’t heard about it.

Each GOP governor with the ambition of becoming President of the United States has been given a challenge, which is also their opportunity. All they have to do is demonstrate to the Kochs that it is he or she is the person will be the best at completing the Conservative takeover of the United States of America. They do this by showing their prowess at accomplishing several tasks:1.) Destroying the public unions that support Obama 2.) Privatizing most government functions, especially education 3.) Eliminating as many traditional Democratic centers of power as possible – from the lowliest civil-service commission, to the largest in-state organization.

The Kochs will decide who does the best job, and throw all of their financial and organizational support behind that candidate. The winner will get the full might of the estimated $900 million dollars that will be raised in 504(c)3 money. They will get the mighty Koch organization chart, from Americans For Prosperity and Freedomworks, to the lowliest Tea Partier. They will get the media spotlight that only a fawning Fox News, complemented by Breitbart and Conservative bloggers and columnists, can lavish. They will be lauded on every Sunday morning show as a cross between George Washington and Ronald Reagan.
We’ve already seen the results of the governors’ progress on these “assignments,” in every one of their 34 states. Walker, Snyder, Perry, Christie, Kasich, Daniels, Brewer, Scott, LePage, Deal, Haslam – they are all ramming through legislation designed to achieve these three goals. What is most striking is that their proposals are essentially the same, even as they are individually finessed for each state – almost identical legislation and agendas, as if they were all coordinated.

No amount of prior research could have uncovered or shown that these guys and gals were going down this route. Their new political positions and tactics are a complete surprise to their state’s voters. Read the Letters to the Editors of local papers in these states. The shock of the citizens is revealed: “This is not what this candidate ran on! We were hoodwinked! There was nothing like this in his platform!” Many of them are being accused of staging coup d’états. The approval ratings of some of these governors have flipped as much as 20 percentage points since January – but these guys don’t seem to care at all. Why should they? They aren’t running for the public’s approval. *They are running for the Kochs’ approval.*

Each candidate campaigned for months, if not years, on detailed platforms that that were nothing akin to what they are actually doing now. These governors either deceived the voters by not being honest about what they intended, in state after state – or they conspired together after the election.

It would be a conspiracy entered into after the 2010 elections, but which was begun up to two years prior. It is funded by Koch money, and organized by the Koch front groups Americans for Prosperity and ALEC. We *do* know the date that the plot would have been finalized: Nov. 4, 2010, at a meeting of conservative leaders held at the home of Brent Bozell, President of the Far Right organization, Media Research Center. Joining Bozell at his mountain retreat in Stanley, Va. that day were Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council; Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, one of the most active conservative groups of 2010 election cycle; Becky Norton Dunlop, vice president at the Heritage Foundation; Frank Gaffney, founder and president of the Center for Security Policy; Al Regnery, publisher of the American Spectator magazine; and Leonard Leo, executive vice president of The Federalist Society.

This was essentially a board meeting of the heads of Koch-funded Conservative groups. The Heritage Foundation and Americans for Progress are two of the largest recipients of Koch largesse, receiving $5.6 million and $4.1 million, respectively, in 2010. The Federalist Society received $2 million. Even The American Spectator receives a grant from the Kochs. The Media Research Center itself receives large grants from three Koch-controlled Foundations .

One of the main reasons that the group met was to identify “some of the rising-star candidates” who had the best chance to defeat President Obama. As an article about it said at the time , “To pass muster among members of this group, the activist who outlined the meeting’s agenda said, potential 2012 candidates will have to be ‘full-throttle, across-the-board conservatives.’ ” This “challenge to the governors” appears to have been the mechanism they settled upon.

The challenge would have been presented to the Republican Governors and Governors-Elect at the Republican Governors Association, which took place two weeks after the elections and the Bozell meeting, on November, 16-19, 2010. All 34 Republican Governors and Governors-elect attended this huge event, which drew lobbyists and advocacy groups from across the nation to sunny San Diego. The Koch Brothers PAC had given $1 million to the RGA last year; they probably even had a Hospitality Suite at the event.

Let’s say that all of them were invited to a private meeting. After the doors were closed, perhaps it was Tim Phillips, President of AFP, who spoke:

“The next President of the United States is sitting in this very room. Look around – one of you will take the Oath of Office on Jan 21, 2013. One of you will prove that he or she is confident enough, is committed enough, is determined enough to accomplish what we all know must be done in order to guarantee the ascendancy of Republican policies for foreseeable generations.

“We must eliminate the government entitlement programs of the New Deal and the Great Society, the ones that have pulled trillions of dollars out of private hands and put their control into the hands of government. We must put private interests back in charge of all the public assets that have been accumulated since the establishment of National Parks. It is the weakened Democratic Party that is the last barrier to the accomplishment of this dream, one that we have all been pursuing.

“Prove to us that *you* are the person who can finally accomplish the task that we have all been since the inauguration of Ronald Reagan. Destroy the power of Democratic Party in your state. Get rid of the public unions, where the last of the Democrats’ organizing power lies. Privatize as much of your state’s functions as possible, especially education. Give, lease or cheaply sell state responsibilities and assets to private corporations. Steamroll over the opposition; shock the populace. Do whatever it takes, legally or otherwise. What counts is results. Show us what you can do. ”

“The governor that does the best job of accomplishing the goals we’ve outlined gets our complete support for GOP candidate for President in 2012. We will throw all our organizations, money and power behind you. We will create a juggernaut that will steamroll you into the Oval Office. Just prove to us that you are that man.”

The governors were all given what was essentially their assignment “packet”. This probably included both their assignments, as well as information on the support network that they could count upon. Their assigned tasks are well-known by now:

1. The most important order of business is to immediately destroy the public unions in his or her state. These unions *must* be eliminated before the 2012 election cycle, because they are the Democrats’ big source of donations and volunteer workers, and they are the Democrat’s sole competition to AFP, the US Chamber of Commerce and Conservative 527s and 504(c)3s.

2. Privatize as many state functions as possible. Tax money should removed from civil-service controlled agencies, and funneled to GOP-connected private enterprises. Tax money then becomes a guaranteed source of personal enrichment for Conservatives – enabling them to make more “donations” to the GOP, revenue both for our people personally, and, thus, for the Party as a whole. The lucrative education sector is especially crucial for takeover. It’s a captive $600 billion market every year, money which to required of all the homeowners across the nation by virtue of their states’ constitutions. GOP business interests want that money for their own.

3. Eradicate the Democratic infrastructure in his or her state. Abolish as many democratically-elected oversight committees, civil-service jobs or agencies as possible. Weaken regulatory agencies. Eliminate the public’s ability to influence government decisions. Eliminate them by fiat or Executive decision.

This packet obviously included model legislation drafted by ALEC. We have already detected ALEC’s legislative DNA in all of the anti-union legislation that has been introduced in various state legislatures. They would also have been given support from ALEC’s teams of lawyers, who could help them craft bills that would be specific to their specific state.

The governors were also told that they could expect unlimited organizational support from AFP to accomplish these goals – advertising campaigns and boots on the ground. AFP has acknowledged that it has been working with the governors, state officials, and right-wing activists in Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania. AFP bussed in “supporters” from out of state to stage counter-rallies at the Wisconsin State House, for instance. Tim Phillips revealed in a New York Times interview that executives with the Koch-backed group worked behind the scenes to encourage a union showdown, even before the new Republican governor was sworn in last month.” Phillips also said that AFP was working with state officials and right-wing activists in Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania to curtail public employee benefits or union rights.

Finally, the governors were probably told that they only have a limited amount of time
to impress the Kochs. The competition would have to begin on January 1st, when the new terms began, and would run for a set period of time – perhaps till the Fourth of July. (This would give the AFP and media wizards time to prepare the candidate roll-out after Labor Day.) This deadline would explain why the governors come out of the starting gate running hard and fast. If they were interested in competing, he or she would have begun drafting legislation as quickly as possible, so that the bills could be submitted as soon as they were sworn in. For instance, Walker’s budget bill was introduced on Feb, 11 and ran to 114 pages. It was obviously being prepared long before the governor-elect was sworn in and certainly before he found out about the extent of Wisconsin’s “budget crisis,” the ostensible reason for its draconian cuts.

This is an ideal strategy for the GOP. They play “rope-a-dope” with the easily-distracted press and the Democrats for half a year, keeping them excited and concentrated on losers like Palin and Bachmann. Then they can burst out with the new Leader of the Pack, someone who is supposed to generate enormous excitement. This is actually one of the scenarios that Matthew Dowd, the GOP consultant, identified in his Mar. 31 National Journal article, “Can Obama Lose?”: “a Republican nominee has to emerge who is charismatic; is a very good communicator; is in touch with the country’s economic and social needs; and is a new brand of GOP leader whom many younger voters can connect with.” The governor who wins the Koch contest, be he Christie, Walker, Snyder or Scott, will be packaged and thunderously sold as the hero candidate, the one who can return “morning to America”. Now we see the reason behind moving the “Reagan Centennial GOP Presidential Primary Debate” to the fall of 2012; the Republican Nominee won’t have been chosen by the Koch organization until sometime late this fall, and needs that additional time to be transformed into the “New Reagan.”

Of course, as great for the GOP as this strategy is, there is one major problem with it: it is illegal. It constitutes bribery and misprision of a felony. Every governor who has advanced ALEC-based legislation with the hope of receiving some benefit is liable for impeachment under his state’s constitution. The meetings of the governors, the ALEC and AFP junkets, every time that legislation and campaign strategy were discussed simultaneously – all of these meetings violated Open Meeting Laws and are criminal actions.

That is why this collusion must be kept as secret as possible. It is also why every avenue that might lead back to the originating event has to be sealed as rapidly as possible. All that would be needed to reveal the plot is one leaker, one person who is willing, or who is compelled, to testify under oath. The whole criminal conspiracy to seize the public’s assets for private enrichment will be revealed.

This premise of this Koch Brothers’ “challenge” to the GOP governors is pure speculation on my part. But everything that has occurred in domestic politics since January – everything that has seemed mystifying or perplexing – is understood perfectly if this thesis is considered as accurate.

For instance:
We all know what a very peculiar reaction to “David Koch” Scott Walker had on the famous prank phone call Walker may not have recognized “Koch’s” voice, but he did understand that this was a man he needed to impress. Walker sounded just like a job applicant, or a junior executive giving his boss an update on a job assignment. He reported diligently on the attack

We can see also see evidence of their attempts to erase or distract from any connections that might lead back to the original plan.

For instance:
The rushed Committee vote on the Walker budget bill was done in such panicky haste that it wasn’t even legal under Wisconsin’s Sunshine Law. Why did they feel compelled do it in such a big cocked-up rush? Look at the timeline: Fitzgerald had just appeared on Megyn Kelly’s show on Fox that afternoon, and said: 1.) that the reason for the bill *was* to break the union, not to balance the budget; 2.) that the reason they wanted to break the union was to hurt Obama’s re-election chances in Wisconsin. Immediately after that interview aired, the Special Committee meeting was hastily called. Why? First of all, there was no reason to keep the sham up any longer. Once the public got word that it was nothing but union-busting, the top would blow off the Capitol.

But most importantly, they had to distract everyone in the country and the media from the greater cabal that had been revealed: that Wisconsin’s budget bill was only *one part a country-wide strategy* to destroy public unions. The plot was to destroy the army of campaign foot-soldiers that Obama had counted on for GOTV in 2008, and that had put him over the top. But a country-wide plot means organization and origination. Who was coordinating the conspiracy? That’s the one question that the Kochs cannot afford to have asked. Thus, there had to be an immediate distraction to steer the press away from asking that question. The Committee vote provided that. Examination of the collusion that Fitzgerald revealed has never occurred.

Another instance: the Mackinac Center’s FOIA requests on Professor Cronon. What raised the Center’s curiosity in Prof. Cronon to begin with? How did they stumble upon his little blog? It’s not like he was advertising it. He’s well-known in the academic historian’s world, but not outside of that. He’s not a prominent political figure. So how did they even find the blog post to begin with – and only two days after it was posted?

Mackinac Center’s interest in Cronon’s blog post, and in his possible correspondents, makes little sense unless you realize that his post was detailed about ALEC and its model legislation. Did he trip some sort of early-warning signal for them, a “Paranoia Meter”-like program such as the one HPGary has created for the Department of Defense? Were they just doing a blanket search for all references to ALEC? Since ALEC has previously been under the radar, and is completely central to this possible conspiracy, Koch forces are working hard to keep track of references and revelations about it. Republican Representatives who are questioned about their connection to the group respond defensively, with accusations of McCarthyism when citizens question their connections.

The FOIA requests for Cronon’s correspondents are more than just a fishing expedition. They are nervous about leaks; they just cannot believe that this history professor would have found ALEC all by himself. How did Cronon get his information? Did it come from someone who had knowledge of whatever offer was made to the Governors? Finding that out is the entire reason for the FOIA requests. If there is the possibility of a leaker, that person must be discovered and silenced.

Now we can look back and see how all the pieces of the Republican strategy fall into place.. Because of the success of the Tea Party, Haley Barbour had been predicting, from Feb 2010, that the GOP could win a crucial number of statehouses. Those wins were being forecast as the key to Republican dominance over national politics for decades to come. The Kochs, Scaifes, and other treasonous billionaires, with no allegiance but to great wealth,are using the states as the laboratories to produce both an systematic approach, and a candidate, who will finally finish their long coup d’etat.

Imagine an evil cabal of incredibly wealthy men, who decided thirty years ago that there was too much wealth held not just by the middle class, but in the assets of the Federal Government. They systematically plotted to take over the entire political system of United States, and steer all of the taxes collected into their pockets. As the years progressed, and their propaganda was successful, they were increasingly able to corrupt legislators into privatizing all government functions and assets, such as the Social Security Trust Fund, the American military, and public lands.

For thirty years, the Kochs have been part of a criminal conspiracy to loot the people of the United States of their commonly-held Federal assets. They are close to its completion – but they need to find the guy who can finish the takeover for them. The candidate who does the best job of accomplishing a similar looting on the state level wins the nod. There will be no countervailing force. Whatever Governor wins the Koch Brothers’ vote will be propelled into the nomination. He may very well be swept into the Presidency.

Yes. This is a conspiracy theory. But is it any more unlikely than what we have seen this year? What we see before us is the plot to deliver the coup de grace to American Democracy. The Governor that wins the Presidency in 2012 will have been selected to perform the final conversion: to do to entire nation what he or she did to their state: run it like FitzWalkerstan.

We can still prevent it. We still have time to use FOIA to our advantage. We can FOIA every governors’ office, all of their emails, for any reference to ALEC, to Americans for Prosperity, for the 2012 nomination for President, for the Republicans Governors’ Association, for public unions, and to legislative references, for a start .

We can file lawsuits against the governors and the Koch front groups for violation of Open Meetings Act, for collusion, for conspiracy to defraud the citizens of the states they represent. We can subpoena witnesses and compel them to testify under oath or file affidavits. We can force people to testify under oath and in affidavits, If these governors are performing these actions in expectation of receiving some benefit, they are all liable for impeachment. We can pressure our state legislatures to investigate. These actions, begun in state after state on a national basis, would enable us to use whatever legal power we still possess to fight back.

By coordinating our research and our actions, and by organizing all of our various advocacy and interest groups on a state and national basis, we can stop them. We can learn to resist the “bright shiny objects” that are dangled in front of us by the Republican propaganda arm of Fox News, such as Sarah Palin or Donald Trump; those only sap our energy and time. We can bring forth the truth about the Koch plot to seize America from its citizens. We can raise tremendous scandal for the national GOP this year, and throw them back on their pins before the 2012 election.

We will defeat these traitors, if we stay on target.

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The GOP Play Dems For Suckers – Again

What a riveting spectacle – the slow and horrid march to potential government shutdown. John Boehner looks haggard as he runs between the White House and the Tea Party Caucus. He knows what they are writing about him on Politico – that he is the creature of the Tea Party now. The Speaker has no real power anymore; it’s all in the hands of these new, uncompromising hotheads.

At first, the Tea Party Caucus insists that there must be drastic cuts to pay down the deficit – $100 billion, at the very least. “Impossible!” cry the Democrats. So for weeks they bicker, as the shutdown deadline looms closer. But then, we hear rumors of progress. They’ve agreed to a figure – $33 billion. It’s much less than the original 100, but still so much that it angers many Obama supporters. Still, they are making progress.

Suddenly, a new snag. Riders! The Tea Party insists on riders involving social issues. They want to eliminate Planned Parenthood. They want to stop the Federal Government from measuring greenhouse gasses. “No!” cry the Democrats. “These are core principles. We will not budge on these.” The deadline for the government shutdown is mere days away.

The President, the Senate Leader, and the Speaker huddle together in the early Spring evenings. But the Speaker explains that he cannot get the Tea Party to budge. They are adamant. They insist on these terms.

There is less than 24 hours now before the government shuts down. The president addresses the nation. He says that he expects an answer from the Republicans by the morning. He believes that there may still be a compromise possible.

But the GOP is not going to compromise. They want the government shut down. It has nothing to do with the deficit. It doesn’t even have that much to do with the social issues. It’s all politics – Presidential politics. They’ve calculated the odds. The odds are that this shutdown has put Obama in a political nutcracker. It can crush his hopes of re-election next year.

The GOP doesn’t even care if they get blamed for the shutdown – they want to hurt Obama that much more. Making him small is the only way they can beat him. Here is the way it works:

If the shutdown continues long enough, the country falls deeper into recession. Obama laid it all out for us tonight. Housing sales, weak already, slow even more as loans are delayed and mortgages can’t get processed. Small business loan processing is halted. All sorts of services cease.

Even worse, 800,000 people are suddenly out of work, and have no income. Talk about a drag on the economy! They can’t even qualify for the pittance that unemployment would give them. Spending is contracted, and that has a ripple effect. Obama is deprived off even the modest recovery he had. Soon, his polls drop below 40%.

But what if Obama realizes that he can’t let the economy collapse? He’s the one to give in, to compromise. The Tea Party makes him their bitch. He gives up Planned Parenthood – and betrays women. He gives up testing for greenhouse gases – and betrays environmentalists and believers in global warming. His support groups are furious. Obama has behaved treacherously, giving in to the Republicans like he always does. He has played them for the fool the last time! They won’t vote for him. They certainly won’t campaign for, or work work for him. There won’t be any great “people-powered” surge to defeat the Right’s advertising juggernaut in 2012.

Either way, Obama is screwed.

To top it off, look at the political hay the Republican leaders, and the Tea Party Caucus in the House, make within their own base. They are the guys who shut down the hated government, who schooled the Democrats. The Kochs love them, because they have fought for, and perhaps delivered, on continued improved regulatory conditions for their business interests. Conservative global warming deniers love them. Anti-environmentalists love them. Anti-abortionists love them. Evangelical Christians love them. They’ve delighted a huge swath of their base – AND achieved their boss’s goals. They get money and happy foot soldiers, which will both come in mighty handy now that election season has really started. It’s even turned out positively for John Boehner, who played his part of beleaguered errand boy perfectly. The base knows Boehner came through for them, and now he has their trust.

This is a win-win from GOP point of view. They won’t budge on the budge – not unless public opinion turns against the entire Republican Party, and fiercely.

This government shutdown is a crass and shallow political trick on the part of the GOP, who are cynically hiding behind their “useful idiots” of the Tea Party. It goes without saying the the Republicans don’t care about hurting people; of course, they have no qualms about misery this shutdown will create. But this incident reveals even more: they do not care about their supporters, either. All they truly focus on is the long-term plan to win politically.

The long-term political win is, of course, nothing more than the subjugation of the entire American populace beneath the “iron heel”.

“The gulf between employers and the employed is constantly widening, and classes are rapidly forming, one comprising the very rich and powerful, while in another are found the toiling poor. As we view the achievements of aggregated capital, we discover the existence of trusts, combinations, and monopolies, while the citizen is struggling far in the rear or is trampled to death beneath an iron heel. Corporations, which should be the carefully-restrained creatures of the law and the servants of the people, are fast becoming the people’s masters.”. – Grover Cleveland, 1889

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Bullwinkle and Boris, Boris and Bullwinkle

Why? After decades fighting each other, both American Democracy and Soviet Socialism have collapsed into Corrupt Oligarchies. The men on top with the big money get to run the political systems of the country, and buy whatever legislation they want.

It’s the Republican’s dream come true. The Soviet Union has collapsed, and our systems are becoming more alike every day.Kleptocracy – the 21st Century way of doing business.

 

I write, and write, but nobody reads it. Nobody cares.That’s the way it feels tonight. I’ve spent the past four weeks glued to the net, tracing from one story to another, leaping and alighting. Sometimes I follow a thread for an hour, and finally, add my bit to the stream, set my little boat of prose afloat on the river of one-liners and wisecracks and smart comments that make up a “Comments” section on TPM or dKos or Politico or nj.com or the nyt or wapo…..and it is swept away, and is gone.

I return to its launch point again and again, hoping for one reply, any reply form someone who understands what I’ve said, from someone who values my input and insight. It’s happened a couple of times this week, and it was very gratifying.

Am I really ready to put my full self out there? Love him or hate him, Andrew Sullivan gives you his whole self in his blog. That’s all he’ ever done – just sold his opinion. Of course, he was so successful because he was an openly Gay Man doing cultural studies who would talk bluntly, even pornographically about gay sex, and them analyze it using contemporary cultural and literary theory. Now he could write about having a head cold and people would read it. Some would love it, some would hate it. But he would shrug, for the most part.

How does Andrew Sullivan do it? Pain in response to the criticism of others, even anonymous ones, has always killed me a little bit. The snide off-hand toss-offs on a web page have left me questioning my intelligence and my clarity. I have avoided signing my name to my work because I fear the pang that I would suffer in my whole named being if some jag-off left a typical brute’s response like the one I got on YouTube: “your comprehension skills are horrible and you are dense as a brick; please don’t reproduce.”

Am I ready to get comments like that repeatedly? It’s a country of 330 million people, and at least 250 million are on the Internet and have an opinion. But there’s a commanding voice I hear: Stay on target! Stay of target!

I understand that part of what  I am doing is looking for friends, for a community. But more than that – I want to stop what is happening, how I see the world spinning in front of me, crashing into walls, falling down like a drunk, retching and puking and hitting itself, smashing its head into the wall.. the World is having some sort of fit, or a seizure, or a paroxysm from poison that it has been gorging upon. It is like Robert Schumann, dying at 46 of syphilis and mercury poisoning: a tragedy brought on by profligacy and ignorance.

It’s time to step away from the constant drumbeat of the terror happening *right now* in the world. Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, Bahrain, Italy, France Germany, Italy, Iceland, Ireland, England and of course China, Korea, and most of all, Japan. All the oceans, but especially the Pacific and the Gulf of Mexico. Climate climate, the shrinking polar caps, the growing Fire Belt, the disappearance of potable water, forest fires Insects and sharks and bees and plants – all the invasive species swarming through our ecosystems.

And this doesn’t even touch political and economic issues. I can spend all day following these stories. I have been.

 

Now it’s time to stop.The death of Marable Manning at 60, on the Friday just before the Monday publication of his life’s work, has rung a bell for me – an alarm bell. It’s time to wake up. Leave the world to dream. Unless you are writing an essay to it, let it go past. Your work is here, right now, write now.

 

 

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Teachers’ contracts are almost completely about teaching conditions

Try serving on a school board. It’s an elected position. You’ll learn what teachers’ contracts are for. As President of a school board, I *have* negotiated teachers’ contracts. Benefits and salary are only one or two clauses. The bulk of the contract is about working conditions – hours, summer (unpaid) duties, professional development, classroom supplies, working with trouble kids, ESL, assistants, support and various “teaching team” members, and evaluations. These are all things that affect the teachers’ workdays and nights.

Teachers work extremely long hours in the building (often til 7 or 8) as well as at home. They are expected to work summer development and prep for no pay. They care about their students tremendously, or they wouldn’t have taken a 70-hr a week job for modest pay.

You want to have teachers who don’t give a shick, rush out of the building at days’ end, teach to the test only and remain detached from the children? Treat them like peons instead of adults that you negotiate with.

Walker is lying if he says this is “for the children.” Children will only be hurt by this new approach to teachers as salesclerks, simply delivering a product. It is simply a plan by the GOPlutocarts to defund the union because of politics. They want to get rid of public unions, because public unions support the Democrats.

This attack is only possible because so few citizens are actually involved with school boards – or with anything other than showing up for parent-teacher or PTO meetings. Actually, most of them don’t show up for those. If citizens knew the amount of work teachers do, and the care and devotion they show in their labors, they would never support this argument.

This is the result of Americans being taught to think of themselves as “consumers” rather than citizens. They think of government – and all public services – products they purchase, rather than actions for which they are responsible.

It’s the horrid mercantilism of life.

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To reimagine oneself after age 50 … how many people have done it?

Here’s how you get rid of a whole generation of well-educated, highly compensated, middle-aged middle management – now superannuated in the Neo-Gilded Age. It’s a long-term plan.

First, strip their pensions from them. Offer them 401(K)s instead (“this is so great, you’ll be able to take advantage of the growth in the stock market, as opposed to some pokey 3% or 4%.”)

Second: Persuade them to cash in on their accrued home value, hopefully with ARMs.. (“Take a vacation! Granite countertops! Or just consolidate all your huge credit card bills.)

Third: Break up the companies that employ them and send those jobs overseas. (“It’s the competitive thing to do, because those workers are hungrier and will work longer hours for less.)

Fourth: Foreclose of those homes. (“Oh dear, your ARM ballooned? You’re not working? Time to downsize your life.”)

Fifth: Cut off their extended unemployment benefits. (“If you were serious about working, you’d take *any* job that was offered you, at *any* wage.”)

Sixth: Don’t hire them, *because* they are unemployed. (“If you were employable, you’d already have a job.”)

Seventh: Publicly castigate them at every turn.(These lazy bums, who loaf around on unemployment while the rest of us have to work – why don’t they get off their behinds and work? They deserve no sympathy from us!”)

Eighth: Raise the Social Security age, so that it will take even *more* years before they can collect even a modest pittance from a fund they have paid into all their lives. (“We can’t affird it! We spent all the money giving tax breaks, running two really expensive wars, and saving over-leveraged banks and hedge funds. Social Security is unsustainable!”)

What’s left? What’s Ninth and Tenth? No health coverage – that way the 50- and 60-year olds will die faster. No savings, no housing, no jobs. Will that get this group the message?

You aren’t worth anything to this society any more.

You were told that your power as “Consumers” made you invincible. Hey, “consumer demand” was the great engine of American capitalism for two decades.

But now you have no money. You can’t consume.

Not only that – you expect too much as it is. You were raised in an America that taught you that gave you expectations. Now you’re upset because those expectations became unfulfillable in the new reality.

Best if you all quietly went away. Go move in with your kids and babysit for them – they both have to work two jobs, anyway. (That’s the way your great-grandparents survived old age, after all.) If you won’t die of natural causes, perhaps you might consider unnatural causes.

Of course, you could always end up sitting on a park bench, drinking vodka til you’re incoherent, and showing all the passerby your “Hero of the Soviet Union” medal for your bravery during the Siege of Stalingrad.

In our dotages, we’ve become our old nemesis, Russia.

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Get thee behind me, Satan

I ended up going back to the hospital with “stroke-like symptoms” again the day after that last post. ( I actually wrote it on Feb. 3.) That little demon doesn’t just whisper that I shouldn’t be alive. He also tells me to hesitate when I am having a neurological crisis.

“Oh, don’t bother everyone with these silly symptoms. They will go away if you just stop being afraid … or take another blood pressure med … or get some sleep … or listen to some alpha-induction recordings.” He tells me, “Be afraid of going to the ER because you have no insurance, and can’t pay! You’ve already got two former hospital stays to pay for!” He tells me, “This happened in September, and it wasn’t another stroke. You’re just being hysterical!”

Well, listening to that demon was a huge mistake in October 2007. I ended up having a *much* worse ischemic attack than I would have if I’d only gone to the ER when the symptoms began. That hesitation is why I developed Central Pain Syndrome.

So listening to that demon literally brought me to Hell on Earth – where the body is continually wracked by the burning torment of constant fire, and yet is never consumed. Every six hours, when I take another gabapentin to make sure that the pain dial stays down around “3,” I should think about that eternal liar, the evil seducer, the sibilant whisperer who has brought me nothing but self-loathing and punishment. I reject him with all my being:

Get thee behind me, Satan.

So I ended up going back to the ER. I am extremely fortunate to live in the town next to Robert Wood Johnson, which is a huge and extremely modern research hospital. Every time I stay there, on 7T (the Stroke Ward,) there is some new piece of equipment. (As the woman who operated the portable carotid echo machine told me, “They love their toys.”) Part of me resents the constant, almost metastasizing growth of the hospital. It has swallowed whole neighborhoods, blocks at a time, in its incessant building and development. (The venerable Hungarian-American Athletic Club, which produced so many Olympic fencers, was “eaten” by the construction of a Cancer Genetics building, for instance.) But the greater good is saving lives.

I certainly felt that on Friday morning,  when I walked up to the Triage Desk and said, “I’ve had a stroke before, and I’m having stroke-like symptoms.” They whisked me right into the “Acute Neurology ER” (there are different wards in the ER department for the several types of acute cases that come in: Trauma, Heart, Cancer, Diabetes, and Neurology,for instance.) Then immediately off for a CAT scan, and later for an MRI.

Just as in my Labor Day “visit,” it turned out that I was not having a new (“acute”) stroke, but a “recrudescence” of the 2007 one. My uncontrollable and highly labile hypertension essentially re-injures the old injuries, much like a hernia can always re-open if you life a box the wrong way.

But it turned out to be a blessing that I *did* show up that day, since I had a “potentially fatal potassium deficiency.” Who knew? It’s called hypokalemia, and can cause hypertension, confusion, weak muscles, trouble breathing, arrhythmias, and heart attacks. So for three days I lay on my pallet (calling it a bed is pure spin), and had a “potassium drip” forcing burning acid into my left arm. It was miserable to experience, but it cleared up my stroke-like symptoms. What causes my low potassium levels? It’s a medical mystery – just like the HBP. If I had insurance, I might be able to find out the cause. But since I am uninsurable, I will just have to get rich (ahem) and pay for all the tests myself (right after I pay for all the former hospital visits.)

I wrote a great deal while I was in there, mainly about the people I met: the other patients, my roommates, the nurses and CCTs and the staff. 7T is a calm, quiet, supportive – even loving – floor. Approximately half of the patients don’t speak or even move; they are sleeping, or in some sort of unconscious state.( Most of these patients will be transferred to nursing homes once they are stable enough to transport.) The other patients – the ones who will leave to either a rehab facility or to return to their homes – need the comfort and reassurance that the 7T environment provides. More than that, the *families* of these patients need that. When the families are confident, having faith in their loved ones’ ability to recover, that communicates itself directly to the patients. That seed of faith planted in the patients grows into their own recovery. Since these are brain injuries, the *belief* that one can be cured actually cause the neurogenesis that will propel the patients’ recovery.

Almost the entire staff of the floor is female. The nurses, CCTs, and staff all work together harmoniously, sharing tasks and watching each others’ backs. I asked one of the nurses about it. She replied, “Oh, you noticed that? Yes, the male nurses don’t last long. The last one we had here transferred to the ER because this ward was too dull. So we don’t have any men here – unless they are gay. Those guys stay.” (My mind immediately flew to the considerate young man, my AM CCT that day,  who’ said that he worked there for 6 years and “loved it.”) Actually, everyone I talked to who worked on the ward said they loved it – even the woman from Haiti, Elza, who emptied the trash bags.

When I get a bit more strength, I should transcribe my notes about Elza, who lost her mother and two nieces in the Haitian earthquake. I should write about my roommate, the 89 year old woman from the Ukraine, survivor of the Blood Lands Slavic extermination, who looked literally like a corpse when I first was moved into the room – and who was brought back to life by the determined attention of one nurse, who cared for her constantly throughout the first night.

I should write about Super Bowl Sunday Evening in the Stroke Ward.

There is so much to tell. Is there time to tell it all?

That’s the doubt-fear that the demon is using now: “You are going to run out of time. At any moment, you could have another brain-pop. It could leave you even more disabled, or unable to speak and type and write, or paralyzed, or just dead. You could end at any moment, with your life’s purposes unfulfilled.”

For decades, I wondered what my “purpose” was. Why had I been spared back when I died at 6 weeks old? Why had I endured so much, struggled so hard? Why had I been blessed with intelligence, education and a middle-class White existence in a safe and free country? What was my purpose?

For the first twenty-five years, it was caring for the members of the family I was born into. Once Jake was born, it was caring for my own family. Careers came and went – each originally promising satisfaction and opportunity. Some grew stale quickly, revealing themselves to be crass and even criminal. Their great enticement had been their financial remuneration, but they began to feel like prostitution in a different form. Some were satisfying intellectually or philanthropically – but they didn’t pay enough to live on. One was enjoyable and paid well, but was ultimately just buttressing a consumerist culture I knew was not sustainable. One – teaching at the University level -seemed like my “true calling,” but directly conflicted with my family – and I had a nervous breakdown as a result.

Then my health began to fail, as my body began to attack itself. My ability to work a full day – or even any schedule at ll – diminished and disappeared with my stamina. No longer could I afford the luxury of having a vocation. It was difficult enough to find a job that would employ me and that I could build a livable schedule around.

Finally, I had my stroke. The CPS followed it immediately, with all its attendant difficulties. My health remains precarious. Our business remains precarious, as well. Paying the mortgage each month is a challenge and a little victory. There is never a break for Jack. I fear for *his* health – the stress and driving demands are extreme.

Yet it is now, after all these crises, that I see goals that I want to accomplish – goals that propel me to get up every day, to sit at the keyboard, to work, finally, on a task that would be a legacy.

I want to write: a pain autobiography, that discusses all the sorts of pain over the past 50-odd years, and what its lessons have been. The story of a Catholic family that collapsed under the weight of simple human frailty. The narrative of the decades from the 1960s to the 2010s – from the height of the American middle class and its hopes in a “better tomorrow,” to the present sense of hopelessness under an Corporate Plutocrat Oligarchy. A personal diary of how political events from 1960 on affected a child, a woman, a worker, a wife, a mother – The history of two families – my husband’s and my own, one Black, one White – how they came to this land, how they struggled to raise their children, and the dignity and strength that everyday Americans had to embody so that we could be here today and have our son.

The story of a spiritual certainty, stemming from that early non-verbal infant’s experience of death, and how it resolved, though decades of searching, study, and meditative prayer, into a working faith. How faith is the most personal of human achievements, and perhaps the most difficult to achieve.

Then there are all the other stories and histories that I want to bring into popular narrative: the true story of Jamestown, where America really began; the story of the inhabitants of the 17th Century Irish village abducted by the Barbary pirates and brought into Algerian slavery; those great 19th Century realist American novels I love so….all those call upon me to work upon them, *now.*

But first of all, there must be the achievement of the goals for the CPS Alliance. If there is ever going to be a cure for this scourge, it will only come from patients who push for it. We, the patients, are going to have to educate both the medical profession and the general population as to the nature of the disease, its causes, and its truly remarkable occurrence.

This is my first task, because I am still strong enough and mentally capable enough to work upon it. Who knows what may happen in a few years? For many people, the pain levels increase; their formerly efficacious drugs stop working. They end up on mind-numbing opiods. (I saw their attraction when I took Percocet after my root canal three weeks ago, and could actually move again.)

I must fight for the ones who cannot fight, whose pain cannot even be comprehended by people who haven’t suffered it. I have the responsibility to bring their story to the physicians who have no idea what they are dealing with when a patient presents with CPS symptoms, the physicians who scoff and doubt and even put the patients into psychiatric facilities.

I must militate because I want a cure in my own lifetime.

So get thee behind me, Satan! Take your doubt and fear right back to Hell! I will not follow you there. I know enough of Hell in this lifetime to firmly resolve that I will not spend Eternity with you.

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