Get me outta here!

I beg to differ..

President Obama was featured on MSNBC talking about the sexual assaults on college campuses.

One thing that bothers me is the focus on one area of a woman’s life….

But the thing that bothered me the most was when the President said that nations that treat women unequally…do poorly.

I beg to differ.

Our nation being one that has thrived because of women being treated as second class.

When you’re second class, it is easier for employers to justify paying you less…because you’re a woman and your work is inferior, or simplistic (anybody could do *that*), or seen as demeaning (cleaning houses).

The wealthiest of corporations have been built by paying low wages, mostly to women workers…Walmart being the best example of that.

President Obama should understand that, more than most, because of his African American ancestry.  Corporations also were built by paying blacks much less than whites.  Plantations are the best example of that.

Related to this is the Columbia University student who has been carrying her mattress around the school in protest of the schools’ handling of her rape by a fellow student…who still attends the university.

And the NFL spouse speaking out on the code of silence.

ALEC interfering with local control

This has got to be the worst that I’ve seen yet of ALEC.  When people get wise to what is happening, ALEC has devised a way to thwart their efforts to take back control through local governments and regulations–removing your right to self-governing and autonomy.  Their arrogance is mindboggling.

After years of trying to thwart local government, last week ALEC launched a new offshoot aimed at infiltrating it. The American City County Exchange (ACCE), had its first meeting last week, coinciding with ALEC’s Dallas meeting. ACCE’s goals, structure, and funding mirror those of its parent organization. According to The Guardian, the agenda for ACCE’s initial meeting focused on privatization and fighting public sector unions. Or, translated into ACCE doublespeak, “Effective Tools for Promoting Limited Government” and “Releasing Local Governments from the Grip of Collective Bargaining.”

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More here on workers fighting back. against low wages. And here on sick days.

 

 

Teachers, the wage gap, and the nearly homeless

Diane Ravitch has a blog up on one of the teachers involved in the Vergara case.  Ms. McLaughlin had replied to the “witch hunt” charges that she was a bad teacher…made by a student who also said there were five bad teachers and only one during her education–the one that wanted revenge apparently for being let go.

As I read the comments, the one by Chi-Town Res made me cry:

Yeah, and just wait until he hits retirement age and realizes that teachers with no union protections like me are exploited terribly. We are very low paid (and often hourly workers), don’t make enough money to get by on, let alone to save, have no pensions and are expected to live on about $900 per month from Social Security when we retire.

I could go live in a ghetto, since I will officially retire next month, because I can’t afford to continue living where I’ve been (renting) for the past 15 years, but I have no money to move. (Yes, homeownership was never an option for me.) Anyway, that’s the kind of income that even poor people in the ghettos can’t survive on in my area.

The reality is that I’m in arrears on my rent due to a further decline in my already low income and a high increase in my rent. I have applied to many places but I’ve been unable to find additional work. SS won’t actually start paying me until mid-September, my job put limits on our income and wouldn’t give me work for July, and I don’t qualify for unemployment compensation. I won’t get paid my measly wage again until the end of August. My landlord will not wait to be paid, and anyway I won’t get paid enough money then to cover back rent. I’ve been fighting becoming homeless for about three years now but, at this point, I have no more resources or anyone to turn to for help, and absolutely no one cares. So I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I will lose everything I own and be put out on the street and homeless before the fall. The only thing that could save my life now would be winning the lottery, but that is an intolerable hope.

The truth is that I could never afford to really stop working either, but SS has a limit on the amount of income I can earn. Talk about being stuck between a rock and a hard place. No one fully appreciates the “I’m living on a fixed income” cries, because the elderly are not revered in our society. No wonder the suicide rate for seniors is high.

As problematic as unions can be, not valuing the protections that unions provide workers is extremely short sighted.

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Also noted in the comments was that one of the plaintiff’s lawyers was Ted Olson, who ended the vote recount and handed George W. Bush the presidency, against the American public’s wishes.  Blood is on his hands, as well, for the wars and the economic mess Bush left us in.

Be sure to click on the link for Diane’s original post on Ms. McLaughlin.  Really stunning to see how she is “witch-hunted” by those with their own agendas.  She seems to be an outstanding person with true caring about her students, as a good teacher needs to be.

From the link:

“Indeed, this whole Vergara trial was like something out of Mao’s “Cultural Revolution” in China during the 1960′s. For those not acquainted with this, here’s primer: zealous students, under party leaders’ directions, would persecute their teachers. Kids would get their jollies as they put their teachers on a stage, put dunce caps on them, then screamed at them while forcing their teachers to bow their heads, kneel down, and confess their “crimes” and on and on…

These kids—appointed and empowered as “Red Guards” by Mao’s henchmen— would parade their former teachers through the streets…

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Diane has also put up a link to a short film clip on the red army of children that illustrates the terrible time.

(A side note~I got this weird message that Diane Ravitch’s site was “untrusted”.  Say what??  It’s on a wordpress platform…why would I get that message?  Is someone trying to interfere with the traffic to her site??)

 

The Onion: Charter Schools Lottery

(hat tip Diane Ravitch)

The Onion has their usual satirical take on the Charter Schools lottery “system”.

“Between small class sizes, longer school days, individualized instruction, and superior college admission rates, charters provide amazing opportunities for students who don’t enter a convulsive state, fall into a coma, stop breathing, and cease all bodily functions during the admissions process.”

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bwahahahahahahaha.

Spot on.

It’s really sad that the article hits Charter snobbery at its heart….and the kids suffer most of all.

IVAW statement on making VA political

Iraq Veterans Against the War has this up on the republican-wrap-themselves-in-a-flag manipulative political game they’re playing.

When that stunt didn’t work the GOP blocked the passage of a bill that would have opened up 27 new VA health clinics, strengthened one of many health programs like sexual trauma care and gone far in reducing the benefits backlog. These are just a few of the many opportunities to improve the lives of veterans that political gamesmanship squandered.

“Why would Congressional members put Iran sanctions into a bill meant to care for so many veterans? The answer is that in the end members of Congress like Mitch McConnell don’t actually care about healing veterans.” said Matt Howard, Marine veteran and Communications Director of IVAW.

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Sickening, isn’t it?

And from the not-too-distant past, George W. Bush speaking out both sides of his mouth towards Veterans healthcare.

We have never gone to war without taxing the rich to support the war….so one has to ask why they were not taxed?

Exit through the gift shop- the 9/11 Museum

Abby Zimet has a post up on the vulgarity of the 9/11 museum commercialization.  It’s more like an enterprise than a solemn memorial to those who experience the horror of that day.

And, as is brought up–the end of our civil rights, specifically, the First Amendment and Fourth Amendment is hardly reason to “celibrate”…or perhaps one should say, bank upon…

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

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Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

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Violation of our right to peacefully assemble:

And, of course, the violation of our right to privacy against government intrusion unless there is a court warrant with justifiable cause.

Perhaps it should be called the Museum of Lost Civil Rights…

And like a couple of commenters, I take exception to the dismissive tone of Abby on the Architects and Engineers –who are not claiming to know if 9/11 was an inside job, but rather, they are stating that Building 7 was not hit, but nevertheless collapse as one does in a controlled demolition.  THAT is what they’re saying.

The comments:

“arguing it was all an insider job by the U.S. and Israel; their premise is kinda bonkers” I disagree, Abby Z., and I dislike your dismissive tone.

From what I know of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, they do not argue that “it was all an insider job by the U.S. and Israel.” They do however argue that the observed events cannot be adequately explained by the “official story” and that a new, impartial investigation should be conducted.

As a financial supporter of the 9/11 truth movement that is supported by over 2,000 Architects and Engineers of impeccable credentials, your post is spot on. They do not say they know what really happened or who was behind 9/11 but what they do say is: anyone with an open mind that makes a comprehensive study cannot help but see the official story is so bogus as to be a fairy tale for children.

The website for the architects and engineers questioning why Building 7 collapsed is here.  Their video on how and why they question the building collapse is here.

  • As you see, these are not Tea Partiers, but people with degrees in engineering and architecture who explain simply how this building could not have collapsed from heat alone.

    They don’t speculate on who did this or why–they are just following the path of scientific explanation.  Since this was a financial center, I can’t help but wonder at the connection to banksters.  Why the World Trade Center?
     

Take Action against National Restaurant Association

The Mafia, in another form…

Tuesday, May 13, 2014
CONTACT: Nikolina Lazic, nikolina@prwatch.org

TAKE ACTION! TELL CONGRESS TO REJECT THE NRA’S WAGE-CRUSHING AGENDA
   
The National Restaurant Association or the “Other NRA” is a lobbing powerhouse doing the dirty work of many Fortune 500 restaurant corporations like McDonald’s, Darden, and Taco Bell.

NRA is a leader in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) where it has pushed a measure to ban paid leave ordinances at the local level. (they don’t want to give those restaurant workers a day off when they have the flu!) It is a leading opponent of raising the minimum wage in states, helping Oklahoma’s governor ban local paid sick days and minimum wage hikes in one fell swoop! Plus, the NRA has successfully kept the tipped minimum wage at $2.13 since 1991!

Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist, Mark Fiore, takes the Other NRA’s corporate agenda of profits over people to task in his new video, check it at: https://www.youtube.com/embed/hr_crQuzWL4 and then take action below!

Tell your elected officials that you find the NRA’s wage-crushing agenda hard to stomach! http://org2.salsalabs.com/o/7326/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=17255

Take action at: http://org2.salsalabs.com/o/7326/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=17255

———-

CONTACT CMD:

Center for Media and Democracy
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Phone: 608-260-9713
Email: editor@prwatch.org

DONATE: https://org.salsalabs.com/o/632/p/salsa/donation/common/public/?donate_page_KEY=9668

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Diet and Health, via Weston Price **edited

A member of the mercury support group posted this link to the Spring Caustic Commentary on the Weston Price Foundation website.

It’s pretty informative for those who are unfamiliar with Weston Price’s work.  He was a dentist who traveled the world, observing the indigenous tribes.  He discovered that they had perfect teeth–no dental decay.  When they became industrialized, and ate a more Western diet, their dental health began to suffer.  Price also observed the changes in mouth structure–before the Western diet, the parents had bright, wide smiles….but the generations afterward had more narrow smiles and misshapened teeth by overcrowding the mouth.  And yet, Western doctors refuse to see the connection between diet and overall health and wellbeing.

**edited to add the link. Geesh.

Leaving children behind…by ignorance…

(hat tip to Diane Ravitch and Mercedes Schneider)

This puts a light on the mindset of No Child Left  a Mind…only a politician would say such stupid things like they “don’t want to leave any child behind…” while ignoring the fact that it is child abuse to expect ALL children to be at 100%.  It shows how little they know about education, about children’s individual development, and about humanity in general.

We are not machines.

We are not here to make profits for them.

There is more to education (and life) than remembering facts and spewing them out.  A rich culture and thriving democracy require people with all kinds of creative expression–whether that be through intellect, arts, music, sewing, other crafts.   The marketplace of ideas is a concept for the media, but is true of democracy, as well.  If we all learn the same way with the same information spewed out–we gain very little when in contact with others…we don’t enrich ourselves nor they enrich themselves when we are not encouraged to express ourselves in positive creative ways without constraint.

For politicians to look at No Child Left a Mind as some sort of feather in their cap…shortsighted and delusional is how I would characterize that…

They are closing public schools in poor and minority neighborhoods…just the opposite of what these politicians say they want.  Children are stressed out and crying about testing that requires them to know things that are above their intellectual growth.

…not to mention the $$$ profiteering of Gates, Michael Milken, and the hedge fund managers involved in the scheme of trying to profit off our children.

 

Kochs: Getting Taxpayers to pay for their lobbyists…

This just in…the utmost in hubris–the $$ Kochs $$ don’t even want to pay for their own lobbying efforts against public education, pollution control, unions, poor people, elderly, dogs and cats…(okay, I added the dogs and cats.)

August 28, 2013
CONTACT: Nikolina Lazic, nikolina@prwatch.org

WISCONSIN PREPARES TO HAND HALF-MILLION IN TAXPAYER FUNDS TO KOCH-TIED GOP LOBBY SHOP

A small GOP lobby shop tied to the Tea Party and David Koch’s Americans for Prosperity, and which was active in the state’s recent recall elections, was awarded $500,000 in taxpayer dollars in what some are calling a backdoor, sweetheart deal cooked up by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) State Chair, outgoing Assembly Majority Leader Scott Suder.

Send an email to the commission which will review the sweetheart deal tomorrow:
http://org.salsalabs.com/o/632/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=14195

The United Sportsmen of Wisconsin Foundation was the only applicant for a newly-created grant to promote hunting, fishing, and trapping in the state, despite the organization having no record in outdoors training. The grant was slipped into the budget bill by Suder and barely advertised, and other outdoors groups with more experience in the area were largely excluded. Suder has ties to United Sportsmen, and announced last week he would be leaving the Assembly for a higher-paying job in the Walker administration.

The organization’s record, thus far, appears to be that of a lobbying organization for an array of Republican priorities, from mining to the “Castle Doctrine” — neither of which has anything to do with hunting or fishing — and working with Americans for Prosperity to organize events and support Republicans in the 2011 recall elections. The Foundation wing of the group, which has received the grant, only incorporated in January.Although United Sportsmen describes itself as a membership organization, there is little indication it has a wide membership list; its Facebook page, for example, only has 290 followers, many of whom are politicians or right-wing leaders.

The grant, if approved by a panel reviewing the application on Thursday, will go almost entirely towards paying the salaries of United Sportsmen’s staff and consultants.

“This last minute, half million dollar raid on the public treasury ought to be rescinded immediately,” says Jay Heck of Common Cause Wisconsin. “To award this huge chunk of scarce, taxpayer money to a new group with no track record or experience in hunting, trapping and fishing and with obvious partisan, special-interest ties appears, at the very least to be a quid pro quo conflict of interest.”

Taxpayer Dollars Funding the Tea Party?

United Sportsmen was incorporated in June 2011, just weeks before the hotly-contested Senate recall elections when, apparently in coordination with Koch’s Americans for Prosperity, it sent misleading absentee ballot applications with the incorrect date for the elections.

At the time, minimal information was available about the organization, but readers of the Brad Blog uncovered how United Sportsmen’s website was purchased by John W. Connors, an Americans for Prosperity staffer and former Walker campaign volunteer.

This was not Connors’ first foray into the dark money arts. Earlier in 2011, the Center for Media and Democracy uncovered how Connors had also purchased the domain name for a mysterious group called “Citizens for a Strong America,” which subsequently spent hundreds of thousands on the Wisconsin Supreme Court race. (That election, between Supreme Court Justice David Prosser and challenger Joanne Kloppenburg, was being treated as a referendum on Governor Scott Walker’s controversial anti-union legislation). The street address for the domain name registry was the same as that of AFP.

United Sportsmen of Wisconsin received $235,000 from Citizens for a Strong America in 2011, according to the latter group’s tax filings. That same year, Citizens for a Strong America funnelled a stunning $916,045 to a pro-life organization called Wisconsin Family Action, which also appeared to have been involved in Americans for Prosperity’s absentee mailing scheme: its address was the same as the “Absentee Ballot Application Processing Center” listed as the destination for AFP’s absentee ballot submissions.

Unlike Citizens for a Strong America, United Sportsmen continued its political activities after the recall elections. It aso maintained its AFP ties. In October of 2012, for example, the group worked with AFP and the National Rifle Association to sponsor “Freedom Fest,” a party at the Kalahari Resort featuring politicians like U.S. Senator Ron Johnson, right-wing talk show host Vicki McKenna, and Brian Fraley of the MacIver Institute, as well as the head of Governor Walker’s Department of Natural Resources. Activities included a “Freedom Phone Bank” and presentations titled “Rules for Radicals” and “Grassroots Lobbying.”

United Sportsmen presents itself as an organization focused on hunting and fishing, but its lobbying efforts suggest a broader agenda. The main legislative priority for the group this session in terms of lobbying hours was the promotion of a bill to ease the way for a controversial open-pit iron mine that environmentalists and tribal groups fear will contaminate groundwater. That bill was a top priority for Governor Walker and legislative Republicans (as well as Americans for Prosperity), who promoted it as a jobs measure.

“Conservation only happens when people have jobs,” United Wisconsin said in a statement at the time.

Narrowly-Tailored Sweetheart Deal Involves Suder’s Former Chief of Staff

The sportsmen’s grant was slipped into the Wisconsin budget with minimal debate by then-Assembly Majority Leader Scott Suder, who has close ties to many of those involved with United Sportsmen.

For example, one of the educators listed in the United Sportsmen grant is Luke Hilgemann, Suder’s former Chief of Staff and now Chief Operating Officer of the national Americans for Prosperity in Washington DC After leaving Suder’s office in 2011, Hilgemann led the Wisconsin chapter of AFP; he was promoted to the national group earlier this month. (AFP-Wisconsin is now led by David Fladeboe, who was also a Suder staffer.) Other educators include Darren LaSorte, a longtime Washington DC lobbyist for the NRA. United Sportsmen board members and their families gave Suder $2,500 last year.

Send an email to the commission which will review the sweetheart deal tomorrow: http://org.salsalabs.com/o/632/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=14195

And, the grant requirements were narrowly drawn to make few organizations eligible besides United Sportsmen, and was opened for bidding with essentially no public notice. According to Jason Stein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

The motion said the grant can be given only to groups that are “not an affiliate of a national federation or organization.” That meant conservation groups such as the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation and state chapters of Pheasants Forever, National Wild Turkey Federation and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation were prevented from applying for the grant.

And due to the lack of public notice, several eligible groups weren’t aware of the grant until after application deadline. Reached last week, Don Kirby, executive director of the Wisconsin Waterfowl Association, said he had no knowledge of the grant.

“Our organization would have been interested to pursue this,” Kirby said. “I’m more than a little disappointed to find out now.” The Wisconsin Waterfowl Association has a long history of running Learn To Hunt and other training events.

George Meyer, executive director of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, praised the purpose of the grant but questioned the narrowly-drawn criteria. “We aren’t criticizing the purpose of this at all,” said Meyer. “We think its purpose is important. But clearly it looks like it was put together for one group.”

In contrast with United Sportsmen, the Wisconsin Wildlife Foundation lobbied against the mining bill, expressing concern about mining’s impact on lakes, wetlands, and groundwater.

Rep. Cory Mason (D-Racine), who was part of the budget committee, told the Journal-Sentinel he hadn’t realized how uncompetitive the grant really was. “In hindsight, it seems like a sweetheart deal for one group that has ties to Scott Suder,” Mason said. “That was not how it was described.”

Led by Right-Wing Apparatchicks

United Sportsmen’s Tea Party and right-wing ties are well established. For example, United Sportsmen boardmember John Meegan is president of the Sauk County Tea Party, and worked with the political training group American Majority to train Tea Party activists and organize pro-Walker rallies at the height of anti-Walker protests. In addition to training Tea Party activists and grooming candidates, American Majority sponsors the Media Trackers website. Meegan is also on the board of the Wisconsin Coalition of Virtual School Families, which promotes for-profit virtual schools like those operated by ALEC member K12 Inc.

Also working with the group is Annette Olson, who makes the vast majority of posts on the group’s Facebook page and has testified on behalf of United Sportsmen. Olson leads the Tea Party groups Women United for Liberty (which appears to have an association with Freedomworks) and the pro-gun Tea Party group Uninfringed Liberty. Uninfringed Liberty describes itself as having “a strong emphasis on the second amendment because it protects all liberties and freedom,” and says it works to “participate in vetting and promoting conservative candidates that best exemplify the basic principles of liberty.” The group boasts of its lifetime membership in the NRA and Gun Owners of America, and supports “open carry.” Both Uninfringed Liberty and Women United for Liberty have also held activist trainings with American Majority.

At the state Republican Party convention in 2012, Olson was peeved that the convention hall didn’t allow concealed carry, and sponsored a motion urging the party to only hold its events on properties that do.

Those extreme views on guns are reflected in United Sportsmen’s lobbying efforts. It was one of just a handful of groups to lobby in favor of Wisconsin’s “Castle Doctrine Act,” which mimics the infamous ALEC “Stand Your Ground” law implicated in the Trayvon Martin case. No other group purporting to focus on hunting, fishing, and conservation is listed as lobbying on the bill.

Olson and two other United Sportsmen representatives stood behind Governor Walker as he signed the “Castle Doctrine Act.”

Will Wisconsin Fund Tea Partier Salaries, in Perpetuity?

The grant will pay United Sportsmen $200,000 this year and $300,000 in 2014. According to the group’s grant application, $370,000 will be spent on staff salaries and $20,000 on staff benefits, plus $56,000 on consultants, the Journal-Sentinel reports.

A five-member committee dominated by Republicans will review the grant on Thursday, and then disband. The committee will include Scott Gunderson, DNR executive assistant and a former Republican legislator; Sen. Neal Kedzie (R-Elkhorn), chairman of the Senate Natural Resources Committee; Rep. Al Ott (R-Forest Junction), chairman of the Assembly Natural Resources Committee; and two both appointed to the committee by the DNR.

If the grant is approved, United Sportsmen will receive $450,000 in every two-year budget for perpetuity.

Many have noticed how odd it is for a Tea Party-connected group opposed to government spending to turn around and use their political connections to ask for a handout.
[bolds mine]
“How ironic that this phony front group, with such close ties to Americans for Prosperity — which professes to be in favor of cutting government spending — would burden Wisconsin taxpayers in this manner,” says Common Cause Wisconsin’s Heck. “They should have asked the Koch Brothers — who finance AFP — for the handout instead.”

TAKE ACTION! SEND AN EMAIL TODAY AT: http://org.salsalabs.com/o/632/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=14195

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The Progressive
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Phone: (608) 257-4626