On Democracy, Governance & The Art of Democratic Society

Is Democracy working? What is governance? More specifically, what is good governance? How do we draft public policy for the greater good? How does being a progressive impact governance and public policy? Is conservative policy good for society? Is progressive policy? Has money for influence corrupted our system and destroyed how we govern? What is the interaction between Federal, State and Local public policy?

This is the first in a series of essays which will explore these and other ideas; this first essay attempts to define governance and public policy to create a common basis for an exploration and a blueprint for the success of democratic society.

Included in this essay are my original notes & illustrations.

We the People.

On Democracy

The basis of American democracy is our Constitution, and it is with this vision of a more perfect union that we all agree to recognize certain inalienable rights. This is the basis for the laws, government, institutions and judicial system of the United States. The Constitution names these inalienable rights as Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of happiness.

What do these inalienable rights mean in the context of public policy and governance? How exactly do Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness interact with public policy to create a more stable society for all? Conversely, what are the policies that destabilize society?

Public policies are the guiding principles we create, agree to, and enact, and are the lever we use to create stability in our society. Governance is the manner by which we organize and implement these guiding principles and includes norms of behavior we adhere to for the common good. Together these are the basis of the common agreements we have made to each other to live in a civil democratic society.

InalienableOur founders were very clear that the basis for our agreements, while imperfect, were necessary for the success of this great experiment in self-rule.

Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness therefore must be the basis of every policy, ordinance and piece of legislation we enact, as well as every budget we pass in order for us to be successful as a society.

Elected officials need to pause and consider these before every vote and ask the questions, does what we are about to do uphold our guiding principles and will it move us forward in creating a more perfect union?

These foundational principles are not only guidelines, they offer us a clear blueprint for creating a stable environment where good governance can flourish.

Governance

The interaction between governance and public policy is often overlooked. We need to be aware of how the intent and impact of a policy can be corrupted and how influence by money in politics has been the catalyst to the unraveling of our common good and is in fact anti-ethical to good governance.

From public education to environmental protections our inalienable rights are being trampled and destroyed by an ideology that contradicts our basic principles of democracy, not to mention common decency, ethics and logic. While money and wealth creation are fundamental to our economy, there is little doubt that money for influence has corrupted our politics and done real harm to our democratic society.

We need to remember that these United States were the first time a nation was to be governed for, by and of the people. Individuals would not be tethered to a class. Wealth would be created, not just inherited. We cannot underestimate the importance of this principle to the concept and success of self-governance. It is very likely impossible to have one without the other. But does this mean money for influence in government is inevitable, and if so, is corruption in and of government also inevitable?

To answer this let’s go back to the Constitution and the inalienable rights: Life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness, which, after all, are the building blocks on which we rely to create stability, security and opportunity, i.e. economy, which is the mechanism by which democratic society operates.

root causeWhat are the root causes of economic stability? If we believe they are the three inalienable rights, we can define them to create a simple paradigm that will provide us with a basic equation of what good governance and public policy need to accomplish to be successful:

  • Life = environment
  • Liberty = equality
  • Pursuit of Happiness = education

The establishment of strong guidelines and public policy to ensure protection of our environment, equality and education system are therefore necessary in order to provide a stable and strong economy. Or if we want to represent as an equation:

life + liberty + pursuit of happiness = successful democratic society

therefore,

environment + equality + education = economic stability

So why are we allowing the destruction of our inalienable rights? And is it inevitable that the creation of wealth leads to poor governance?

It seems that a country founded by rabble-rousing community organizers and based on the idea that all men are created equal would be able to protect our rights without allowing erosion of our democracy. Why aren’t we?

The Art of Democratic Society

The method we use to create and maintain our society is governance. And if we want to be successful, we need to define and agree upon the principles of good governance. Back to those inalienable rights. Life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Environment, equality and education. This is where we start.

What are the barriers to success? What does bad governance look like? For starters, the antithesis of good governance is pay to play politics. We will not be successful if we continue with status quo establishment paid for by special interest money for influence and questionable fundraising and tactics. It is time to stop the money-go-round and elect ethical leaders who will move forward with bold ideas to build a successful democratic society for all, committed to diversity, transparency and inclusive practices.

Let’s also be clear, we don’t need to decide if we need more welders or more philosophers. That is a false equivalency. We need both. We have always been a nation of farmers, artisans, trades men and women, teachers, doctors and yes, philosophers. The men who wrote our Constitution were certainly inclusive of all these traits, even if devoid of gender or race-based diversity. Do we doubt that Franklin, Jefferson, Washington or the others were both learned as well as skilled? Do you think they had to sit for some standardized test before they were permitted to devise our democracy?

We aren’t all one thing and none of the other. We can be both intellectual and mechanically inclined. We can be multi-faceted and insist our government reflect our values. And we can expect an evolution of inclusivity as well. How we govern is that reflection.

Right now, it isn’t a very flattering reflection is it? How did we get here? How is it we now have a regime in power that thinks putting children in cages is okay and both parties seem to think money is more important than issues and buying elections is acceptable? We can look at one example of where governance has been failing us, public education.

cuts to fundingGovernance has been used by those who want to privatize everything to dismantle public education. The dark money shadow groups that don’t believe in public good, only private profit. For decades they have been working to ensure they launder our public money into private profit.

And the last vast pile of money they haven’t been able to touch is local property taxes. Why? Because local control of public schools and local taxing authority by school districts kept this money out of their reach. Your taxes go directly to your local public school. The money-go-round hasn’t been able to divert these funds to be laundered, at least not totally.

When the far-right conservatives could not dismantle public education outright, they resorted to backdoor dark money solutions. From for-profit charters to privatization, standardized testing and outsourcing, the “free market” conservatives have been trying to destroy public education in order to pilfer local property taxes and gift those funds to private corporations, for-profit companies, donors and special interest funders, for example the for-profit charter school companies and education management companies.

When that failed, they cut funding and forced massive unfunded mandates onto local schools which caused property tax increases, creating the false narrative that teachers and education are the problem when in fact the problem is the unfunded mandates.

This is a clear example of where basic principles of governance based on our inalienable rights would lead to public policy in the public interest when we have bold progressive leaders with political courage and conviction. It also shows why we need ethical leaders. In addition to protecting our children local leaders can protect our environment, promote public education and promote equality.

More on those in the next installment of “On Democracy”. Stay tuned and get ready, we are going to do great things.

We are the problem. We are also the solution.

©2019 Lisa Longo All rights reserved

 

This Is MY Body

This is my body. It is not a platform for GOP political pandering. There are no jobs hiding in my uterus, so why is the GOP intent on spending so much time there?

Considering that conservatives are constantly carping about how our Former President, Barack Obama, was always trying to take away their rights, it is very ironic that in the last few years all the legislation the GOP champions always includes an effort to do take away a woman’s right to reproductive health services.

Little by little over the last decade, the GOP has been trying to overturn Roe v Wade on a State by State basis. Cutting funding here, over-regulating there, turning a blind eye to domestic terrorists who bombed clinics and ultimately, calling the man who murdered a Doctor “hero”.

Since the 1992 Supreme Court decision that ruled states could pass restrictions on abortion as long as they “did not create an undue burden on a woman’s access to abortion”, we have seen this gradual restriction and defunding of reproductive health services. Starting in 2012, several states, including Michigan, North Dakota and other state legislatures, we saw omnibus bills, seeking to defund all clinics in a backdoor attempt to shut down reproductive health clinics.

We cannot stand by and allow this, it is time for women to insist our rights be protected. It is time to tell Congress that we will not allow the GOP to use our wombs for political pandering.

This latest assault on our rights by Congress isn’t the first. In 2012 Michigan pushed HB 5711 and 5712 which included these provisions:

o   Enact mandatory “coercion screenings” for all abortion-seeking women

o   Prohibit the telemed prescription of medical abortion, often relied upon by low-income women in rural areas

o   Prohibit all abortions after 20 weeks except to save a life, even in cases of rape and incest, even if there is a risk of suicide

o   Impose a number of additional restrictions on abortion clinics and providers, making it more difficult and cost-prohibitive for clinics and doctors to continue providing their services

o   All of this in a state that already has a 24-hour waiting period, parental notification requirement, and no abortion providers in 83% of its counties.

Any one of these places a burden on a woman’s access, but together, they are more than a burden, they are a barrier to our right to reproductive health services. What can we do to fight this? Look to our history.

From the NOW website: “In 1992, 750,000 women, men and children turned out for a NOW-organized march in Washington, D.C. They massed behind a banner that declared “WE WON’T GO BACK! WE WILL FIGHT BACK!” It was the largest march and rally ever held in the nation’s capital. In addition to the leadership and delegations from every pro-choice organization and hundreds of celebrities, thousands of students from 600 campuses across the country participated.”

There were so many of us there that those of us who started early finished the March and there were still people waiting to start.

We need to do that again. Several state legislatures are once again considering bills that will, in essence, take away a woman’s right to reproductive health services. We cannot allow this. It is time to make our voices heard again. It is time to strike!

In 1970 the Woman’s Strike for Equality was held in New York City, Washington, DC and cities nationwide. Hundreds of thousands of women marched. In 2017, we need to Strike again. It is time to fight back, and insist that Congress pass Federal legislation to protect our rights, and limit the ability of state legislatures to defund clinics in pursuit of the GOP’s religious dogmatic zealotry.

This is my body, and I will not allow the GOP to use it as a weapon in their political war. Some people say this is a war against women, I say that does not go far enough, this is a war against reason. A war against common decency. A war against our Constitution.

And I promise you, it is a war the GOP cannot win. I will not allow it. We cannot allow it.

This is my body, and I will use it as my own weapon. I will use it in Michigan. North Dakota. Pennsylvania. Wherever the GOP attacks me, I will fight back. I will vow to work against any candidate who votes for this type of anti-woman bill. I will contribute my time and money to candidates who protect my right to Choice. I will educate myself and others on the issues, and I will help women run for office.

This is my body and my promise. The GOP may have started this war, but I promise this, they are not going to like how it ends.

 

[This version includes edits from the original 2012 essay]

Who, What, Where, Why and How

We hear so much about the Founding Fathers and how we should adhere to their “vision” of America. I decided it was time to find out a few facts about what these Founding Fathers actually thought. I started with the most basic questions:

o    Who were the Founding Fathers?

o    What was important to them?

o    Where did their values tell them to guide these United States?

o    Why would anyone think we are not on a path they would approve of?

o    How can we best continue our quest for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

My first task was to try to find out who were the Founding Fathers. Was there a list? How many Founding Fathers were there? Who decided who was a Founder? Were they self-proclaimed as Founders? Or did someone else, a historian or journalist, give them this name? As it turns out, there is no one answer to these questions. The term seems to have been first used in 1916 by Warren G. Harding, who as a Senator used the term in a speech at the RNC.  Various sources give different answers as to who is a Founder, and how many there were. The number is anywhere between seven and several hundred. Some include only the signers of the Declaration, others the signers, as well as others who gave input. According to Wikipedia there are seven “key” Founders, from the Wiki page: “Historian Richard B. Morris in 1973 identified the following seven figures as the key Founding Fathers: John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington.[5]

I decided to focus on three Founders: Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. Each has left us with many letters and essays from which we can attempt to glean their thoughts. I also hope that both conservatives and liberals will agree that these three were highly influential on the foundation of our nation and their personal values become the pillars of our democracy.

Off into the stacks of the Internet went I. I love doing research, and there is so much information online, it was almost overwhelming. I actually had to force myself to stop doing research and start writing. One thing jumped out at me that the Founders of our nation wrote about again and again, can you guess what it was, what exactly did they value most? What was it they thought we should provide and protect above all else?

Drumroll please, the winner is: education.  Yes boys and girls, the Founders were huge fans of free public education, right through college for students who could not afford to pay for it. They also loved free public libraries and our postal service. Imagine that.

Thomas Jefferson was quite prolific in his writings on education and it was hard for me to pick only one quote, but this one sums it up best I think:

“My bill proposes, 1. Elementary schools in every county, which shall place every householder within three miles of a school. 2. District colleges, which shall place every father within a day’s ride of a college where he may dispose of his son. 3. An university in a healthy and central situation… To all of which is added a selection from the elementary schools of subjects of the most promising genius, whose parents are too poor to give them further education, to be carried at the public expense through the colleges and university.” –Thomas Jefferson to M. Correa de Serra, 1817. ME 15:155

And our first President was also vocal on the subject:

George Washington in an address to Congress said “A primary object should be the education of our youth in the science of government. In a republic, what species of knowledge can be equally important? And what duty more  pressing than communicating it to those who are to be the future guardians of the liberties of the country?”

Pretty clear right? Above all else we need to provide and protect our public education system, and that includes college. And what did they think would happen if we did not and did they support funding free public education via taxes? You betcha they did, more from Thomas Jefferson:

 “I think by far the most important bill in our whole code, is that for the diffusion of knowledge among the people. No other sure foundation can be devised for the preservation of freedom and happiness… The tax which will be paid for this purpose is not more than the thousandth part of what will be paid to kings, priests and nobles who will rise up  among us if we leave the people in ignorance.” –Thomas Jefferson to George Wythe, 1786. ME 5:396

“[Surely no] tax can be called that which we give to our children in the most valuable of all forms, that of instruction… An addition to our contributions almost insensible… in fact, will not be felt as a burden, because applied immediately and visibly to the good of our children.” –Thomas Jefferson: Note to Elementary School Act, 1817. ME 17:42

All also agreed on the need and value of free public libraries and the postal service. There are numerous quotes and essays I read before writing this, and it seems very clear to me, the Founding Fathers all agreed, the one thing we need most to ensure the success of this great experiment in democracy is education. Our most perfect union can only be safeguarded by educating our citizens. And in order to continue on our path of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness we must fight to protect our public schools.

So to all those who think it is “conservative” to bad-mouth teachers, to call them greedy union thugs, please stop saying you are doing so to honor our Founding Fathers, you aren’t. And to those on both sides, Democrat and Republican, who can’t understand why our taxes may need to be increased to cover the cost of education, remember the cost of ignorance is much higher, and the price of tyranny is incalculable. Our Founding Fathers were very clear, the best way to safeguard our democracy is education. And the cost is a public good, one we all benefit from equally.

One other interesting fact I learned during my research, Benjamin Franklin was “dismissed for subversive acts on behalf of the rebellious colonies in 1774”. More proof that our Founding Fathers were really a bunch of rabble rousing radical community organizers.  My kind of people. So the next time someone calls me a radical, I’ll just say thank you.

As part of my research I posted a question on Facebook: How many Founding Fathers were there? There were several really good responses, but the one I like best is this one from my friend Michael Biddison:

“The place is still being founded. And we’re not sure how big or small it is or will be. When we’re done founding    whatever we’ve found I’ll give you a number.”

Absolutely. We are still working on it. And the truth it, not only does it take a village to raise a child, it takes money. Education is essential to protecting our democracy, and taxes are price we pay to protect our way of life. Just ask the Founding Fathers.

So please, support our teachers and our public schools. They are a national treasure.

And feel free to share this with your legislator, especially those “darlings” of the “tea” “party” who don’t seem to know a whole lot about the Founding Fathers they love to invoke.

List of articles and sources:

 

Thomas Jefferson on Politics & Government, http://www.famguardian.org/Subjects/Politics/ThomasJefferson/jeff1370.htm
·       In Defense of Public Education, http://www.ssireview.org/blog/entry/in_defense_of_public_education
·       Teaching Youth the Principles of Republican Government, http://www.nccs.net/newsletter/jun03nl.html
·       U.S. Postal Service: Back to the future?, http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2011/12/05/u-s-postal-service-back-to-the-future/

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Postal_Service

 

About the Founding Fathers,http://www.constitutionfacts.com/us-founding-fathers/about-the-founding-fathers/
·       Education in the Republic, http://wjmi.blogspot.com/2012/03/education-in-republic.html
·       Colonial Era Communication, https://pantherfile.uwm.edu/baugrud/www/helpfiles/colonial.html
·       George Washington signs the Postal Service Act, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/george-washington-signs-the-postal-service-act
·       Why Public Libraries Matter: And How They Can Do More, http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidvinjamuri/2013/01/16/why-public-libraries-matter-and-how-they-can-do-more/
·       Education and the Constitution, http://www.conservativeactionalerts.com/2013/01/education-and-the-constitution/
·       Thomas Jefferson on Teacher Bashing, http://blog.johnubacon.com/2011/07/22/thomas-jefferson-on-teacher-bashing.aspx
·       The Need for Formal and Informal Mechanisms to Prevent, “Tyranny of the Majority” in Any Democratic Government, http://www.garlikov.com/philosophy/majorityrule.htm

 

I Want You To Join Me

Tim DeChristopher made a statement before the Judge sentenced him to 2 years in a Federal prison for disrupting what was later deemed an improper lease auction, “I am not saying any of this to ask you for mercy, but to ask you to join me.”  The dignity and courage shown by Mr. DeChristopher is inspiring and terrifying.  (Please read his entire statement at http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/07/26-13.)

I am ready to join him, I am going to take that proverbial flying leap. Ever since my arrest at the 1st Tar Sands Action I have been teetering on the edge, not quite an activist in my mind, and yet viewed as one by others. At a recent event I was told that this was my “calling”, and that I needed to “be a leader”. And like the statement from Mr. DeChristopher, this both inspired and terrified me.

But I am ready, and I have a plan. And I think it is a pretty good plan. It is simple really, draft a national strategy based upon the 3E’s: environment, education & equality. Build a strong foundation through communication, collaboration & cooperation. Convert issues into actions. Invite legislators to listen, representatives from existing organizations to speak, and everyone to join in.

We are at a crossroads. And it is time for each of us to take a stand. We can no longer be willing to sit idly by, trusting that some nameless, faceless “other”, is making decisions regarding our well being. We have seen how simple it is really, to infiltrate a political party and hold the rest of us hostage.

I now have a simple proposal for you, let’s do it. Let’s take over, you and I. We can start by joining our local democratic committee, help to select & elect candidates. That is a good start right? And then, we will work on campaigns; help draft strategy & platform issues, write speeches, and most important, draft legislation.  Still with me? Next, let’s run local candidates elect those to our school board who will insist on better lessons, more science & math, retrofit schools with solar & provide real food to our children.

We can run for town council, get on zoning & planning, be the economic development committee. That is real power, controlling the budget and developing our home towns. No longer will we have to fight to get solar approved or better recycling, we’ll write the ordinances. And budget? We know how to balance a budget, retrofit schools, cut down energy costs, hold classes outside, and if taxes need to be raised, then do it. But do it fairly, in a balanced way.

That led to my drafting a piece of legislation, the Balanced Budget Fairness Act, one of our first projects will be to get this to Congress. Imagine, for every dollar we give to a corporation, one dollar into education. Every dollar to defense, one to health & welfare. Every dollar to oil, gas, nuclear & coal, one to solar, wind and renewable. And for every dollar to animal based agriculture, one to plant based. This is how we change the world, we start by changing how we spend our money.

Because let’s face it, it is our money. And if we continue to sit back and allow the GOP to continue the pillage of our public land and national resources, selling them to the highest bidder who takes the profits and stashes them out of the country to avoid taxes, then we have no one to blame but ourselves.

Democracy is a participatory sport, and while liberal and progressive voters were busy raising our families, building our businesses, going on vacation, supporting the arts, going to Washington for the occasional rally, especially the one that “restored our sanity”, the GoP was busy running elections and making sure they put Judges & Sheriffs in place, elected Councils & Boards, took over State legislatures, and then they started cutting environmental protections, defunding education & overturning efforts to bring about true equality. While we were distracted by the latest sex tape going viral online & who was doing who at the Jersey shore, Republicans were making it impossible for our kids to afford college while they pillaged our 401ks for pocket change.

I’m here to tell you, it wasn’t magic, and it wasn’t even that difficult. Politics isn’t some esoteric specialty that requires years of training, it is part of our civic duty and our social contract. We can all join Mr. DeChristopher, we don’t all need to get arrested. Some of us need to get elected.

How Trickle Down Theory is Ruining our Schools and Closing Libraries, Thank you Ronald Reagan

Economic theory is complex.  In college, my Macroeconomics Professor loved to use the “guns or butter” analogy.  Does a country build its economy by helping the citizenry (supply butter) or by protecting itself (supply guns)?  It was a specious argument really.  Economies are much more complex than that.

Take the pithy patter that falls from Sarah Palin’s mouth, “To have a balanced trade arrangement with other countries across the world so Americans can have our jobs, our industries, our manufacturing again.  And exploiting responsibly our natural resources.  We can do that again if we make good decisions.” (emphasis added)

Do you really think she understands the environment, let alone economics?  Is there any way to exploit something responsibly?  Here is the definition of the word exploit:

Take advantage of somebody:  to take selfish or unfair advantage of a person or situation, usually for personal gain.

Does that sound like something anyone could reasonably do “responsibly”?  See this is the problem with conservative dogma, it just doesn’t make sense.  But when I stop and consider the Sarah’s comments, it comes to me, the essence of the “small government, less tax” crowd is to exploit us, the American worker, the ever-shrinking middle class.  They are trying, and successfully so far, to dupe, I mean convince, the average American worker that somehow, this is to their benefit.  That the evil Democrats will come and take their savings, their jobs and their homes, kill the ill and the aged (remember Death Panels?) and let gays violate their sons while their daughters spend their days getting abortions.

Where the Republican party excels, thanks very much to Karl Rove I think, is semantics.  They can make you believe almost anything just by the way they frame it.  The first time they used this scam, I mean plan, was in the ‘80’s.  The great Ronald Reagan, and the Reagan Doctrine, the Democratization of Money.  It was this that started the whole Ponzi, I mean Party, line.

So here is how this worked, prior to the 1980’s, American workers had great benefits.  Companies rewarded loyal workers with health care and pensions.  Workers rewarded companies with dedication and dependability.  It was a system that created one of the strongest, largest, most entrepreneurial economies in the world.  The American worker was a paragon of virtue.  And those that decided to enter into Public Service?  Well, they were duly rewarded as well.  Sure they made less in salary, but it was secure and offered great benefits.  No one begrudged the other what they received.  It was part of our social contract.  If you took care of our children, our ill, our aged, fought our wars and fires, protected us both here at home and on foreign soil, we would contribute to your care and well being for your lifetime.  We were proud of our schools, respected our teachers and trusted our politicians.

How times have changed.

And I think the beginning of the end was the Reagan Doctrine.  The Democratization of Money, sounds great doesn’t it?  Everyone would be able to “invest like the wealthy”, no more “big business” interfering, you would have total control.  And the billions the companies saved?  Well of course that would “trickle down” to the American worker.  They would be paid more and would use those funds to “invest”.  Except, the “trickle down” part, it never happened.  And it never would happen.

Why not?  Well, you see, to paraphrase Alan Greenspan, they forgot to factor in greed.  Actually, the Democratization of Money did one wonderful (if you were an investment banker), and one horrible (if you were an average American worker, a Joe Six Pack if you will) thing.  It created the 401k.

“Nonsense”, you cry, “I have a 401k, and it is great, my nest egg, tax-free, compound interest earning, high yield, money market fund.“  Add the silent, thank you Ronald Reagan.

Uh huh.  And what exactly are you invested in?  What are your earnings?  Who runs the fund?  What do you pay them?  Wait, you didn’t know you paid them?  Yes, a portion of every dollar you invest goes to the “market makers” on Wall Street, the same people who looted your account during the economic tsunami, hey they had no “fiduciary” duty did they?  This is the FREE market after all.  But you do realize your “fund” is actually shares of stock, that you actually have a very diversified portfolio of stock that entitles you to vote on corporate behavior and policy?  You didn’t know that either?  Well, then you’ve been signing your proxy vote over to the investment bank, basically giving your vote to the bankers.  Yup, those very same “market markers” who make their living off your wages.

Guess what they did with your money, and more importantly, your proxy vote?  They made sure that the Boards who were appointed would make the “right” types of decisions, that the “right” kind of people would be selected to be on the Compensation and Audit Committees, the “right” people would be hired, oh, and the “right” kind of people would make decisions regarding how workers would be paid.

It wasn’t long before all these right-minded people decided that the billions that had been promised to the American worker would be better spent on jets, bonuses and themselves.  After all, they had every “right” to enjoy the fruits of our, I mean “their”, labor.  So what if the American worker now had to pay a much bigger percentage into their retirement account, the CEO’s and Board Members had plenty of money, our money.

Thus, the first battle of the class war fought.

After this early success, corporations decided they could take some of the billions they had saved on pensions and buy, excuse me, contribute, to political campaigns to ensure they, the CEO’s, crafted, rather I mean, drafted, legislation that would ensure less regulation (small government) and small economic impacts (less taxes).  And so, the Semantic Olympics had begun.

No one is better at the Semantic Olympics than Karl Rove, that turd-blossom (hey its ex-Pres Bush’s nickname for him, not mine).  He must have sold his soul to someone to get that silver tongue of his, though I bet he doesn’t kiss his mother with that mouth.  I mean really, he convinced the protectionist, self-centered American public to stop using their cell phones to vote for their “idol”, and go buy duct tape.  It was masterful, the color coded terror alerts choreographed to tell us how afraid we should be if the Democrats were actually allowed to win an election.   Who could fail to be moved by the powerful dogma, I mean drama, of tearing down that statue?  Or the image of ex-Pres Bush landing on that carrier?  One thing I can tell you, his mission was definitely accomplished.  Karl Rove’s that is.  After ensuring George Bush was appointed President, he orchestrated the selling out of the American worker for real.

Corporate taxes?  How dare we even suggest it.  After all they were creating all those jobs in China and India.  No one said they had to create American jobs.  Even Sarah Palin isn’t specific, she just wants us to have “our jobs”, what exactly does that mean?

It was during the 8 years of the Bush-Rove-Cheney Administration that bank regulators were pulled out of banks.  The SEC staff was replaced.  Instead of accountants, they brought in lawyers.  The FDA, FEMA, CDC, NHI, FCC, were all “revamped”, downsized:  if it had an acronym they cut the funding (less taxes), and replaced qualified long-time staff with their cronies (small government).

And when these inexperienced, under-qualified, ill-equipped appointees flooded New Orleans, and allowed Wall Street to run off with our life savings, all they could say was “oops”.

See the Boards that were appointed with our proxy votes had rigged the game by putting their own cronies on Compensation Boards and giving themselves big fat bonuses.  While we were busy paying for our daughters big fat weddings and dancing with the stars, they were pumping money into their own private economy and making sure the fatted calf, the American worker, would be laid out, apple in mouth.

Why do you think they next attacked teachers and other public workers?  Do you actually believe that Republicans really think that teachers, firefighters and police pensions are the problem?  I doubt it.  It may have something to do with the fact that these unions provide private pension funds, and manage them, and vote their shares.

Hmm, so what’s next?  Well, it is odd how Republican’s constantly try to relate the sinking of the economy to public sector employees, forgetting that they themselves are public sector employees.  I mean really, why don’t they cut their salary & pension? Instead they suggest we close our libraries and take away teacher pensions.

I also question the conservative policy of cutting funds for public education.  Of course they and their CEO buddies don’t care, their children go to private school.  But you and me?  What happens to our children when they trail in math & science?  When Pell Grants and student loan programs have been decimated to accomplish their “small government, less tax” mission?  How do our children live long and prosper in a world that does not provide them with the tools they need to compete?

When we allow corporations and the wealthiest 1% to receive blatant tax welfare but want to deny care to Veterans, the aged, the ill and our children, it is time to say enough is enough.  Every dollar we take out of federal budgets, that results in cuts to state budgets, which then limits county budgets and leads to the decimation of local budgets, who then have to cut school budgets, who cut the arts and sports and layoff teachers, is an act of class warfare and the aim and consequence of Trickle Down Theory.

Most of us will be hurt profoundly by the policies concocted, I mean enacted, in the name of “small government, less taxes”.   We, and more importantly, our children, cannot afford to allow simpleton slogans to dictate our future.

So that’s it, how trickle-down theory is ruining our schools and closing libraries,  thank you Ronald Reagan.