Saturday, April 30, 2011

Dan Calabrese’s Scripture of the Day

Dan, we've been praying for you, we thought you would surely want to join this Christian business network:

The U.S. Christian Chamber of Commerce. Here's today's helpful scripture from their web site:
"(F)or it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life - in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing."
-- Phil 2:13 - 16

Dan, you will be greatly helped in your troubling journey dealing with worldly shortcuts which can tempt a businessman. By association with others in the USCCC, you will find those who can help you find your way back to basic values and a Christlike model for your business(es).

The USCCC's motto/Mission statement will be a helpful guide:
"To preserve and advance the Judeo-Christian principle-based system of free enterprise in America by elevating Christian-led organizations to a new standard of operating excellence so that we would truly become God-honoring and culturally-impacting."

To jump start your new journey to peace with God in your business dealings, we recommend the following article:

By Greg Northrup, contributing writer to USCCC.

"There are signs of problems everywhere. A meltdown in financial markets resulting from a government wanting to make home ownership easier for people, and blackmailing lenders to reduce credit standards. Lenders, seeing a way to make a quick buck, by writing mortgages that misled borrowers, and then reselling the mortgages to investors for a quick profit. Investors, creating incomprehensible mortgage backed securities that avoided regulation, and that were so complicated they could make enormous commissions on them. Borrowers, sometimes lying on loan applications, sometimes taking on way more debt than they could afford to pay, to try to make a buck in the housing market. Politicians turning the backs on their oversight responsibilities and taking campaign contributions from the perpetrators. There were breakdowns in moral and ethical behavior throughout the system.

"This financial meltdown shows us the breadth and depth of this moral crisis, but we see signs of ethical collapse all around us. Credit Card companies misleading borrowers and charging outrageous fees and interest rates. Boards of Directors approving ridiculous compensation levels for senior managers that are unrelated to what other people in the organizations are making, and not based on performance, while receiving high amounts of Directors compensation themselves. Businesses making it so difficult for customers to receive support that they give up trying. Health insurance companies taking advantage of people by dropping them or charging outrageous premiums at times when they are most vulnerable. Businesses laying off some workers while forcing others to work long hours, and having to deal with almost incapacitating levels of stress. Businesses and business organizations spending fortunes lobbying government, and giving campaign contributions to politicians, paying more attention to them than they do their customers or employees. Businesses preparing fraudulent financial statements, and once independent CPAs, looking the other way, and signing off on them, so they can get lucrative consulting contracts from their audit clients.

"This isn't the way things used to be. We used to be able to rely on a certain level of honesty, fairness, and commitment to customers and employees. Why was that? What is different now?

"Chuck Colson, in one his books, wrote about being asked to speak about ethics at an Ivy League business school. After meeting with them, he concluded that it was pointless to talk with most of the instructors and students because they had no basis or foundation for ethics. You see, they do not believe in any source of absolute truth. For them, all truth is relative. Your truth may be different than mine. Truth, or what is right or wrong, depends on the circumstances. Utility, or getting the outcomes you want, becomes the driving factor. GUESS WHERE A LOT OF THESE IVY LEAGUE GRADUATES ENDED UP? WALL STREET AND GOVERNMENT, AND MANY MORE MOVE INTO MANAGEMENT POSITIONS IN BUSINESS.

[emphasis added]

Today that is gone, and the reality is that there is no underlying basis for ethics and morality, so anything goes. That means that I can do whatever I want, given my own take on morality. We are beginning to see what the consequences of this kind of thinking are. We are still early in this game. Things are going to get much worse.

That is where we come in as Christian business men and women.

"The reality is that we are the last bulwark against a total collapse of business ethics and morality. That is a lot of pressure, but we shouldn't kid ourselves into thinking otherwise. It is important for us to get clear about the role that God wants us to play in this time and place. On the one hand, it is discouraging and scary. On the other, what an opportunity for Christians to make a critical difference in our country and the world."

Let us know if you find the support given by U.S. Christian Chamber of Commerce helpful.

Original Post.

Nerd Snyder Goes Engler’s Mississippiafication of Michigan One Better: Rick’s Kicked Michigan’s Future Right Into the Crapper

John Engler presided over the beginnings of the future Mississippiafication of Michigan, now Snyder and the greenpea majority TeaPublicans have just taken the State a dozen giant steps further in that dreadful direction.

Recently John Mathias Engler has become a subject of renewed interest in Michigan media. He was a star panelist at the tax-hater sponsored Mackinac Leadership Conference in September of 2009. Engler's friends are happy "the fat boy" is back. But it isn't the best of times for Engler in the big picture here in Michigan. Most notably because pro-China Engler has been taken to task by state industrialists and the Traverse City Record Eagle as being vindictive, obstructionist and anti-Michigan manufacturing:

"Our own former governor has been completely blinded by the larger business interests that are running the NAM," Herb Trute, a southeast/downstate tool and die executive told Crain's: "And it's patently obvious to me that they have done very little to help the plight of the small manufacturer. "

Engler and the NAM have "betrayed" domestic manufacturers in U.S. dealings with the Chinese

That editorial was chased by a follow-up letter to the Record Eagle from Joyce Braithwaite Brickley, who served as a long-time top aide to former governor William Milliken. She made this observation about the record and character of John Engler:
"No two people on the face of the earth are more familiar with the machinations and childishness of former Gov. John Engler. We put up with his small tricks, dishonesty and continuous negativity over our 15 years in the governor's office when Engler was in the state Legislature.

John Engler is a star example of a payroller politician's devotion to one's own advancement in politics at the expense of person ingenuity and civic responsibility.

Engler's policies deserve some deserve credit for helping Michigan in the '90's, however the success of the Engler Era (a robust state economy under Clinton/Gore boom) meant the national economy did most of the work, not Engler. 

Engler killed the high tech corridor which was first proposed by his predecessor, a diversification that would have built on our stellar state universities and skilled workforce at the time and would have put Michigan ahead of other regions and headed off the downward spiral of our over-dependence on the auto. Engler also failed to secure statewide "latest generation access" to the internet.

There are others who falsely believed that Engler's philosophy and tactics, while onerous and meanspirited, (constantly touted by the Detroit News and its conjoined philosophical twin, corporatist/insurance endowed and controlled Mackinac Center) were "the" building blocks of a better future for Michigan.

All those Engler tax cuts and give backs should have produced a "new economy" which would have taken the edge off our precipitous fall; when the auto companies and suppliers were sandbagged under George Bush and his former auto guy, Andrew Card which led to the near catastrophic disappearance of both GM and Chrysler.

If the Engler Era were the masterful marvel it bragged it was, and if, until just the before the 2002 election, the governorship, the entire state legislature and the judiciary was tightly controlled by mavens of Englernomics: Why did Michigan's fabulous manufacturing base and its world class, high-pay jobs market tank

Michigan's sharp decline started well before John Engler had cleared his mementos from the governor's suite? John left office having seen thousands of jobs lost and he left Jennifer Granholm a deficit of over one billion dollars.

Now, due to inherent and systemic weaknesses and flaws built into Michigan governance by John Engler (Cut and Scrap state programs), coupled with the crippling effects of term limits, and the massive effects of a failed George W. Bush administration, huge national debt, and the Bush 2008 financial collapse, Michigan is on the ropes.

Who will rescue Michigan Republicans from the pitiless Englerite games Snyder and crowd desperately continue, trying to duplicate utilizing and expanding the harsh "bully boy" politics of "Big John"? 

What will it take to ferret out those anti-tax wing nuts whop hide behind the flypaper ideology they have hung for unassuming tax-hating rustics, all those who bought the touted Engler's Revolution theme: Just do more with less?

Yes, Engler left Granholm a staggering debt, over one billion dollars in the hole. Worse yet, Engler left an overpowering negativist political attitude that blocks any real effort at bi-partisan co-operation to face the new reality even as the Mackinac Center sees it:

"For starters, states with an "agricultural legacy" such as Mississippi typically have a long history of lower incomes. In a paper on right-to-work states, economist W. Robert Reed wrote that an 'important determinant' of current wages is how large a share of a state's total income in the past was generated by the agricultural sector: 'The economic past still casts a long shadow on the economic present.' Scholars (or politicians) who fail to consider a state's economic past may misinterpret reasons for its economic well-being or lack thereof today... In plain terms, Michigan began the time period covered a relatively wealthy industrial powerhouse, but over the past 60 years has trended lower. Mississippi started dirt-poor and has made great strides against long odds and obstacles."

Original Post.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Nerdly (Rick) Snyder Fails Citizenship 101

Michigan Republican Governor Rick Snyder has not proven the factors supporting the need for his theft of Public School Financial resources (a $900 million cut, and upwards of $1.1 billion in School fund surpluses and unexpected new revenues due to go to schools), nor has Snyder built a credible case for why his corporate backers are not paying their proportional higher share in increased taxes helping Michigan through this crisis.

Why rather than accept "shared sacrifice" during this crisis, are Snyder's business cronies actually being given "no strings attached"-huge sums of money fleeced from ordinary citizens? You and I know, Snyder knows he's stealing revenue that belongs to K-12 schools support. Yet the Nerd stubbornly persists in his one way trip to disaster.

To compound the ugliness of this corporate/business "gift outright" is the fact that those who have backed Snyder in this erroneous decision are a secret group of contributors. The public is being fleeced and those involved in this civic crime are hidden from our view and directed criticism.

Like other actions supporting this situation in Michigan dovetails with the highly planned, well-orchestrated and choreographed National Legislative Coup mounted by radical rogue elements, best identified as TeaPublicans-funded as foot soldiers/astroturf activists by mega corporations and radical hard right think tanks. This is their golden moment of radical opportunity. 

University of Wisconsin Professor Bill Cronon published March 15th a study guide that blew the cover off this coup, even then underway nationwide. Cronon asked: What's fueling the "sudden and impressively well-organized" wave of right-wing legislation targeting the environment, workers rights (collective bargaining), public service, students voting rights, women's issues, and, immigrants in state legislatures across the country? Answer in large part: The Koch Brothers, Walton family, Amway clan's secretive legislative mill: The American Legislative Exchange Council (A.L.E.C.)

A.L.E.C.'s finger prints are all over the Nerd's legislative agenda current and what's to come. Snyder's own hired honchos have added expensive PR and media ads to their arsenal of anti-public service "revolutionary action" to cover the tracks back. What do they want and why are they hiding who they are from the public?

Reports Todd A. Heywood:
"The (Snyder hired Yob associates')Values Group is pushing support for Gov. Rick Snyder's controversial budget which includes eliminating the state's business tax, creation of a flat six percent business tax, eliminating the Earned Income Tax Credit, cuts to education funding distributions, cuts to local revenue sharing programs and a new tax on retirement pensions. Snyder and the GOP majority in the state legislature plan to pass the budget by June 1, weeks before the Values first campaign report is filed ."

We know, now in part, why there's the Nerd's "bum's rush" to pass as much of the massive anti-public schools, anti-public service/police/firefighter/corrections officer/social worker, union busting legislation as possible. The reason is clear: as the public awakens to the threat and the damage done by this rogue rebellion-the Retro-Engler Revolution, they will begin to resist and block Snyder's re-invention of Michigan's entire governance into a troubling morass which will pull the state down into a deeper and longer "One State Depression." Snyder's corporate backers and his host of privateers-anxious to get their hands into the public treasure-cannot stand exposure during these critical early months of their blitz.

Rich Robinson, executive director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, sees the rules under the current elections law as the heart of the present problem:
"I've been complaining about our crappy lobbying and campaign finance laws for years. We just don't require frequent enough reporting," Robinson tells Michigan Messenger in an e-mail. "WE SHOULD KNOW THE SOURCES OF MONEY THAT ARE ATTEMPTING TO DRIVE THE POLICY PROCESS BEFORE POLICY DECISIONS ARE MADE."

Progress Michigan's executive director David Holtz has puts it on the line:

"We should assume there's a reason they are not immediately disclosing the corporate and other donors behind these ads. But that reason doesn't have anything to do with transparency or good government."

What Snyder's doing is dead wrong:
- Robbing the children's education,
- Putting dictators in place of elected officials
- Taxing deferred savings of the elderly who face end-of-life's daunting expenses
- Putting thousands of children/needy families off public assistance
- Shortening the foreclosure period allowed for redemption by half
- Reducing unemployment with over 400k on the brink of no support other than limited charity
- Purposefully cash-starving local units of government into bankruptcy
- Giving billions to business without supporting evidence that such a give-away is really necessary rather than dead wrong

Ashamed, the Nerd, responsible for this tragic set of events, should hide his aggressive self-serving MO and conceal his greedy corporate supporters from the worried public as long as possible.

We are learning that we live in an evil time.
"(T)his is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God." 
-- John 3:19-20

"It is a proven fact that Evil will Increase in Direct Proportion to the Preaching of the Lie. If Good men do nothing to restrain the effects of evil, it will inevitably triumph over all men. Evil is done in darkness. It Cannot stand the Light of Day. Exposed it will either lash out or run and hide. HOWEVER EXPOSING EVIL REQUIRES VIRTUE AND COURAGE, BECAUSE IT IS ALWAYS COSTLY TO DO SO. WHETHER THE EVIL BE POLITICAL OR RELIGIOUS, IT WILL DESPISE ANYONE WHO SHINES THE LIGHT OF TRUTH."

"In a Free Society Evil is restrained by holding forth a Standard of Truth. But when Truth is fallen in the streets nothing remains but the evil. Then the institutions become corrupt from top to bottom and rotten to the core. Like the one bad apple in the barrel ruining all the others, so one bit of leaven gone un-checked will destroy the Standard."

"The Root of a tree must remain healthy for the tree to bare its fruit and prosper. If the Root is allowed to decay, soon the whole tree will produce nothing but degenerate fruit. Tell one lie and by necessity you must tell another to cover the first."

-- A Timely Prophetic utterance from Standing the Gap

Original Post.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Snyder, the Socialist, Takes on Local Democracy Calling it a "Status Quo" That Needs to Be Radically Re-invented.

Response and commentary concerning Michigan Governor Rick Snyder's education plan announcements and Nolan Finley in "Gov's dozer knocks down another wall" in the Detroit News on April 28, 2011.

Nerd Snyder fool-heartedly takes on the Status Quo: Snyder trades the normal and healthy, reliable services provided by your local school board opting imperiously to impose a "socialized" state-run bureaucratic system, jammed with top-down mandates of the kind long-backed and sought by anti-public school activists and opponents.

Add in Snyder's draconian cuts to school funding designed to manhandle local units. Then top that off with the Snyder's outright thief, by political trickery and manipulation, of an existing school fund surplus over $600 million and a healthy up-tick in sales tax revenue of producing another $500 million toward school funding and we have the stage for a Snyder Shortage Snafu of epic proportions.

Rick Snyder is under a grand illusion related to his personal "accomplishments": "My staff keeps trying to slow me down," Snyder says. "They joke that if I get everything done the first year, what am I going to do the next three?"

Look carefully at what Snyder labels "Reform." We've been diddled on that concept before by John M. Engler and now "reform" in many forms of disenfranchisement. is back as what Nolan gleefully calls "Bulldozer" Snyder.

Reform of education should yield in an improvement, for students, not the hatchet job Rick and old-order Engerlites in his cabal are enforcing.

Grand Rapids School Superintendent Taylor sees the Snyder education "reforms" as further imploding his already tattered district. More Charters. More profit for J.C. Huizenga? He sees more public tax money going down to "no return for community" privateers' bottomlines. As Bernard Taylor sees it use of public tax money for faux public academies is heading his Grand Rapids Public Schools to relegation as the almshouses of the very poor and the greatly disadvantaged. But the Republicans have the new formula for improvement: Just send in Mrs.Coswell and McMillin, they have special understanding and superior understanding for care of the needy...NOT!

Rick Snyder is not an expert on education and the team that he assembled was top heavy with perennial critics: "school funding raiders," pro-voucher teammates of Betsy DeVos' national crusade, anti-teacher association ideologues, and Michigan's craven insurance interests-out to harvest ever more profits via "takings" from teachers.

According to our sage Nolan Finley: Snyder "couldn't care less about political ideology. He's all about the bottom line." Right on, Nolan. You got it right! Thus, Snyder fits well with Betsy DeVos and other raiders of public funds for private profit.

One curious source of media misinformation and statistical manipulation about public schools is EAG (Education Action Group)

One weasely wise guy, MI GOP state committee member, Ryan Olson, a greenpea novice/clumsy outside-shill for the Mackinac Center (kid brother of Dr. R. Olson, previously in charge of education policy at the Mackinac) is worthy of a second look at his front EAG. Olson has a partner in his efforts, Eric Doster (Board Member of Betsy DeVos' Great Lakes Project and also a MI GOP lawyer. Olson and Doster have been "placed" to become an "outside source" for/and of wild anti-public education activism. Perhaps you recall a national news exposé; Ryan's attempt to pull an contrived and deceptive "Acorn Video Event" by lying to, and then taping a New York University professor, under false pretenses, in order to gain national attention for himself. Olson's crude activities (Thug Watch) are funded by secret backers and scooped by all-too-willing, lazy news sources looking for controversy, have uncritically used Olson's embarrassing and ambitious attempts to smear and demonize the teachers in every way he can.

So to say that there is no interest in Snyder's hard right ideological attacks on public education from Snyder is to mis-underestimate the power of this aggressive coup against public education. It's all part of a much larger, "state legislature centered" attempt to forever alter the future of your beloved and cherished neighborhood school and diminish and punish faithful teachers for the work they do mentoring your children and grandchildren.

Snyder, the Socialist; Takes takes down Local Democracy Calling it the Status Quo. Local control, an ideal and a vital system, needs to be radically "Re-invented." So sez Snyder!
Original Post.

Great Teachers: Pack-Up & Go

Great teachers pack up and go somewhere else for the coming "silly season"-the era of "teacher bashing" and de-funding of public education hangs over Michigan like a black cloud of doom.

Hopefully you'll be able to return at a later time, but it will be years before Michigan will be once again ideologically hospitable to "great public school teachers." 

Great teachers are intelligent, they are caring, and they are insightful. They know that a state legislature such as the TeaPublican rabble now in control of Michigan's education funding and legislation, made brazen by a complete anti-public schools majority in all 4 branches of State government is no friend of theirs. TeaPublicans are highly primed to do harm to public education armed, early on, by the Engler Revolution which seized and destroyed local school control and funding, they have now shown they are bitter and implacable enemies of the mission and goals of a true mentor and teacher of children.

The reality is such that smart college graduates will find a professional life in a more cultured and less-antagonistic and anti-government locale, far away from the provincial taunts hurled in the hostile manner of these Know Nothings of Michigan. 

The civic sins of our past are heavy now. The way out and back to what Snyder mocks as the pervious "status quo," our healthy normal, is nowhere in sight.

Like Engler, Snyder proudly touts his attack on what he derides as the current "status quo." 

Now the lesson: What is meant by an Attack on the Status Quo?: to cause trouble, challenge the status quo, disturb the balance, make a stink, upset the apple cart.

Are these the types of disruptive social attitudes we need in Michigan at this very critical time? Whatever happened to consensus, co-operation and collaboration between the powers that be and those who teach our children. 

Great teachers teach, but perhaps not near so many in Michigan, currently under such virulent disrespect and dishonor as displayed by the TeaPublicans now in power in Lansing.

Follow Up: On the program Hardball, a while back, Chris Matthews asked former U.S. Secretary of Education Bill Bennett, the all important question. What should school teachers earn? Bennett replied good teachers should be paid $80-85,000.

Original Post.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Before Rick Snyder Removes the Michigan Public School Code, Step Back to the Engler Revolution: What Will NO CODE Mean?

No State School Code Equals Stealth Control

" A virtual de-regulation of schools" is being sought by Gov. Snyder and Mike Flanagan

No School Code in Historic Perspective
Engler's State of the State (SOS) announcement calling for complete destruction of the State School Code had a clear purpose. It was to be no longer the state, acting as consensus of the whole, but rather local boards who will have the ultimate power to make and enforce the rules. Who then will control education?

Now that may seem easy to answer. The community and the parents at large decide, right? NOT SO. Engler's illogical action is designed to dovetail with the stealth campaign of the Hard Right (A Betsy DeVos backed and funded Citizens for Tradi-tional Values which claims 68% of the winners in one Michigan statewide election were their/her candidates). Their purpose is made clear in these words:
"We are now in the process of putting born-again Christians on every school board in America. How? by COMMUNITY IMPACT EVANGELISM! A school board with five members needs only three Christians to take complete control of a school district. You can literally own that system and control all personnel, curriculum, materials, textbooks, and policies. You will influence the mindset of between 20,000 and 50,000 children." - Robert L. Simonds, president, National Association of Christian Educators/Citizens for Excellence in Education 1986.

Simonds, a former California teacher and preacher who in 1983 founded Citizens for Excellence in Education/National Association of Christian Educators, heads a Christian crusade which is mounting a vigorous attempt to gain control of public education, and it is a crusade in which there are armies of willing warriors. It is succeeding because of the lethargy of a preoccupied citizenry that no longer votes or takes part in civic affairs. They assume too much!

On the surface it seems like an attack only on the publics' schools, but it is part of an even larger purpose. This activity is aimed as much against the Mainline Protestant churches and their memberships as much as it is against those whom these religious enthusiasts label "secular humanists." Mainline Protestants serve on school boards in large numbers and don't, except in rare cases, operate church related academies via their churches.

This sea change in America is an all-out-no-holds-barred attack upon the Methodists, Presbyterians, and other major Protestant denominations which are labeled "apostate" in the view of this militant army of Pentecostals, Fundamentalist Catholics, and Fun-damentalist Independents. The Mainline Chruches' "liberal" stances on human sexuality and the co-operation with the World Council of Churches are but two examples of this tradition's' "sins." Nor is there likewise any real ultimate historical reverence or toleration of the Jewish and Muslim--Abrahamic faiths, or the Buddhists. Read their literature. The Fundamentalist Magazine, Tim LaHaye, "Only Christians should hold high office." (LaHaye's definition of "Christian" is on his own narrow terms and does not include many Christian believers with less Fundamentalist views than those of LaHaye.)

1/22/04 Former Republican State Rep. Joanne Voorhees' simply stated conviction (quoted by the Grand Rapids Press) was Christians are the only folk she would endorse or support for public office. She explicitly trusts Christians The general public, perhaps casually agreeing with her sentiments, fails to understand Voorhees' thinking, practice, and parlance. Qualified Christians according to Voorhees are very specific, narrowly defined believers. Society thinks of Christian as a broad, inclusive term. Voorhees defines/limits Christian to narrow, specific dogmas and exclusivity. Her "Christians" must adhere to exacting/specific religious demands.

It's a problem. Voorhees, was, at the time, an elected representative who must do all the people's business: her approved "Christians", other Christians and faiths, as well as everyone else's business. She as an elected state legislator was sworn to uphold a national constitution disallowing religious testing for public office. Yet, in practice, Voorhees espouses religious tests for public office--conflicting with the constitution and putting herself above it.

Voorhees' subsequent restatement: "Christian" includes the Jewish faith--awkwardly and inaccurately attempted to mitigate damage her candid expression of her "selective" Christians only viewpoint had previously created.

This is just one example of what Pat Buchanan and Pat Robertson announced in Houston '92 at the GOP National Convention: a "Cultural and Religious war." Such unbridled intolerance is a serious threat to America's pluralistic tradition and well-being. It must not be taken lightly.

This is a time of great unrest worldwide. In America, the undefined unhappiness of many citizens over the loss of personal control over their financial futures, and a preoccupation with crime and violence, contributes to a volatile and dangerous time. Adopting simplistic solutions to complex problems has a great and widening appeal. Provocateurs and provocations abound.

These "values voters" are souls who feel, with all fervency, that they have the "absolute answers" to the problems of education and society. Those answers come straight and literally from the Bible, as taught and expounded by their powerful leaders. These leaders know the power of faith in the lives of the Faithful Followers and covet the power of government to impose that narrowed view of faith on a wayward society, a culture and worldview, they condemn.

In any age or time this kind of crisis mentality spawns fears that constitute the formulic recipet for violence and repression. Just as the ultra-right national leaders picture it, it's a war (a starkly harsh term) on all unbelievers.  They allude to it as analogous to the Civil War where a moral issue was said to be the root cause of the conflagration....

It was a specious and treacherous act on the part of Engler to willingly and deliber-ately attempt to open the flood gates of carefully constructed and tested pubic school control to such ideologues - by a radical reconstruction of state government policy-so clearly favoring the Hard Right's pre-announced, divisive purposes.

Remove the State School Codes? Can educational apartheid be far behind?

Original Post.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Ugly History of Engler’s Attempt at What He Praised as “School Reform” During the Engler Revolution in Michigan

Commentary prior to Michigan Governor Rick Snyder's 'special message' on Michigan Public Education Plans.

John Engler, known for his vengefulness, facilitated the school debacle during his tenure with ease. Documented proof and scholarly studies underwriting the need for Engler's drastic action were never produced. Engler's resources and support came from the ideological warehouses of the Hard Right and the cut-throat business bosses long anxious to flex their power.

"Friendly fascism in the United States...(does not) need a charismatic, apparently all-powerful leader such as Mussolini or Hitler...The chief executive, rather, becomes the nominal head of a network that not only serves as a linchpin to help hold the Establishment together, but also provides it with a sanctimonious aura of legitimacy through the imagery of the (governor), his family, his associates and their doings."

"The chief executive is...a TV performer, (a star of the Far Right), and his...(office) is indeed 'a awesome bullypulpit' from which he and his entire production staff can wield a potent "magic wand."...the Establishment's top levels (have no need to) remove power from the...(governor) but would accentuate the need for at least one fully presented face, to help counterbalance the facelessness of the (greedy business and religious) oligarchy and (help to) legitimate the regime as a whole...continuing to distract attention from the (purposes) and powers operating behind and through (the governorship)."

--Friendly Fascism by Bertram Gross
Without such supporting assets as provided by the various organizations and the immense funding mechanisms as come from the powers behind the governor, Engler could never dare begin the process of creating educational apartheid in our cities. He would not dare to suggest elitist academies be funded by public tax dollars in the posh conservative suburbs.

Engler Designed Devices to Force the Public Schools to Fail The crippled public school was designed by legislation, revenue limitation, and the creation of deregulated bootleg charter competition to fail.

Localizing the school code makes decentralization and fragmentation possible, thus furthering disruption and failure of the system. The support of the public will be lost.

Step by step, the coordinated editorial attacks unfold. The primary sources are the Detroit News and the Grand Rapids Press. Yet all of this is still but a dim foreshadowing of the darkside program laid out for Michigan and orchestrated by TEACH, the Mackinaw Center and the Foundation for Traditional Values and a dozen other national Hard Right groups were all joined in.

Their plan: destroy confidence in the schools, flirt with the racial issues. Project blame schools and teachers for the "punks and thugs," the "hounds of hell" that roam our cities. Then while there is a "moment," devise an unlimited charter system funded by a "direct grant to parents." Steal the tax funds for private purposes.
All the while, far rightist were to push ahead to a full blown voucher system of educational apartheid. Engler's announced intention to entirely remove the State School Code is just another clever calculated step in the process.

Engler's method of operation: Keep the offensive, keep the opposition off guard. Ignore the criticisms, just bully your way through.

Tomorrow we learn how the Nerd intends to re-invent public education. 

How much of the Engler influence remains, will soon be known.

Original Post.

Rick’s Re-Invention: A.L.E.C.’S Corporatist “Disaster Capitalism” on the Rise

Behold the Nerd's brass knuckled attacks on public education; more brazen and destructive than Engler's hamfisted assaults. Ugly is on the rise, again.

Rick Snyder using the American Legislative Exchange Council crip notes, can't make a move without A.L.E.C. First, the beefed up EFM's (dictatorial powers given Snyder appointed one man rule set against the rights of local government under Michigan's "local option") and now systemic attacks on teachers (all categories) and the very foundations of Public Education (rules, privatization, and operations).

Michigan has become an infamous "Mean TeaPublican" battleground state. 

Scott Hagerstrom, the Michigan Director of the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity (AFP). Hagerstrom made it clear, it's the Kochs, working directly through A.L.E.C., who are aiming to "take the unions out at the knees." This belligerence started in Wisconsin and now it's spreading across the country.

Snyder's in a world of trouble. Snyder's causing the kids of this state, our kids, to go into panic. Their schools, bus transportation, art & music, sports programs, band and field trips, advanced placement classes and/or ability to take a class at a near by college or university while still in high school-all this and more, much more is on the cutting table.

The concepts that are the core of the Snyder program (to reinvent by destroying what we have, to rebuild in the mode Rick dictates) use the metrics and formulas of A.L.E.C. a heretofore unknown far right, Koch Bros. et. al. think tank controlled and funded by major corporations.

Here is a partial list of A.L.E.C.'s other corporate backers, those we know of from Wikipedia: " American Nuclear Energy Council, American Petroleum Institute, Coors Brewing Company, Texaco, Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America, Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, VISA, Exxon Mobil, the National Rifle Association, Amway, and others.

Groups critical of ALEC claim that the organization is controlled by the entities that fund it, subsequently promoting donors' agendas and goals, along with attempting to advance legislation which favors their interests."

The American Legislative Exchange Council is a political/ideological powerhouse, second to none. It calls corporate-serving shots nationwide. Most recently the power of A.L.E.C. has been laid bare in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio, although A.L.E.C. subterfuge and "mainlining" of "just-fill-in-the-blanks" corporate written and approve legislation for states has been brought to the public's attention.

A.L.E.C.'s activities are so widespread and endemic to the lawmaking processes of state legislatures across the country, and for that reason are so ACCEPTED BY IGNORANCE OF THEIR PURPOSES AND OBJECTIVES, the public finds it hard to believe such a group exists. But they do. Consider: "ALEC has approximately 2,000 legislative members representing all 50 states, as well as more than 85 members of Congress and 14 sitting or former Governors who are considered 'ALEC alumni'" as per Wikipedia.

Thus as Snyder attempts to roll out his jaundiced version of what's good for your child in Michigan's public schools it is only fair that we begin the process of ferreting out who's underwriting these "re-inventive" concepts and coughing up the statistics of the kind that Snyder uses to make his full-frontal, brutal raid on our neighborhood schools.

If you love outsiders dictating to Michigan who, what, when and where about your child or grandchild's education you will want to follow the revelations coming about Snyder's the sources behind Rick's snide attacks on schools and the teachers who teach. 

As A.L.E.C. purposefully puts Michigan schools in the worst light possible, Snyder accepts that flawed data. His response, "It's a fact." No, governor, it's as filtered and reported by A.L.E.C. and staff doing the insidious work of the anti-public schools crowd. The 2008 A.L.E.C. Education Report barked our public schools, placing them at the near bottom with the right-to-work paradises, the Gulf states, such as Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia. These are states with significant minority student populations. A.L.E.C. reports highlights states on the boarder with/or closer to Canada to the north: Minnesota, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Montana, where minority students are far less concentrated; these states are ranked highest. No genus is needed to find an important factor in those findings.

A.L.E.C. employed ideological bully William Bennett to head up its annual education report (He's the harsh critic of public education, whom Reagan put into the Carter established Department of Education to obfuscate and destroy as much as possible of this far right-hated federal cabinet post). Bennett also runs a for-profit business. K-12Inc is Bennett's idea of what he would like to do to profit from public education, especially through the means of privatizing as much of its functions as possible.

K-12Inc also has had amongst its shareholders those well-known parochiaid/voucher mavens, Dick & Betsy DeVos. So, as one can see, Snyder's vision informed and directed by The American Legislative Exchange Council is a retread-a far right coup. It isn't the re-invention ideal as Snyder proclaims: it's retro-pursuit of the long-standing disenfranchising goals designed to destroy America's great institution, free public education. In this process the harsh critics have found a willing pawn in Snyder.

A.L.E.C.'s long march goes on, as the public will see. For Dick & Betsy, the Koch Brothers (backers and funders of A.L.E.C.) and the mom & pop family-business-killers, the Waltons of Wal-Mart, public education is a target of great opportunity for quick profit and power lust.

The next major attack is already underway; again funded and cheered on by Betsy DeVos. It's her dismemberment and undermining of public universities and colleges. Who would believe anyone, much less Republicans, would literally stoop so low as to turn government and the taxpayers against our local schools so much a part of Ovid, White Pine, Monroe and Alpena where community and kids matter so much.

Republicans cannot hate teachers and professors and at the same time hold a dishonest honest claim to care about students.

The Michigan TeaPartisan's radical and aggressive punishment attacks on educators are a clear indication of a very low-class mentality, festooned with haranguing diatribes, and the extremely rude conduct on the part of select TeaPartisans during education hearings in Michigan's legislature; all centered on crashing down on education and educators. Such is the sorriest of sights.

Snyder's A.L.E.C. centered education plan is a tragic lose - lose for Michigan's kids.
Original Post.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Daniel Howes, The Detroit News/Mackinac Center News & Ignoratio Elenchi

Response to Daniel Howes in "Crises necessitate emergency managers" in the Detroit News on April 22, 2011.

A commenter reporting in from (Mt.) Olympus, Michigan has grown giddy breathing in all that anti-public sector gaseous blather. Defending our sacred right to ignore the poor, with the bromide: "Our poor are rich by comparison." This intentionally misleading assertion does not account for what it means to be poor and unemployed, or worse yet mentally ill and/or unemployable in present day Michigan.

Food banks, homelessness, and re-sale shops, all of which now abound, testify to real needs or our neighbors. The new blight and seedy/greedy "licensed to steal" store fronts e.g. the Cash Advance and the Title Loan Outlets are covering the old Main Streets like a black-leafed kudzu.

Then comes Danny Howes: His message, blessed by the billionaire Koch Brothers and "Amen-ed" by the crudely partisan TeaPublicans, is: "The EM law would not threaten democracy if elected officials and those empowered to represent public employees instead trained their finely tuned political antennae on financial reality and charting a path out - because someone has to get the job done."

Howes might have had help developing the physical/mental flexibility to swallow his own tail like unto some mythical beast, when he so twists his flawed analysis of the serious nature of Michigan's "one state depression" into a contorted mis-truth such as his screed of local government: "Boil it all down, and the biggest rap against Michigan's stiffened Emergency Manager law is that it's anti-democratic."

The entire nation is looking on. Michigan has become the focus of dread and awe. Is this what a Republican Majority cowed by a smattering of anti-tax, "we got ours, go get your own" rowdies can do to a powerful state in real trouble? 

Lead into the taller Weeds, Howes.

You're taking opinion in this state further to the bottom; in a manner that is so blithely arrogant and condescending that its bitterness, in you opines, cannot be assuaged or sweetened. In fact, Howler Howes, your interpretation of the Emergency Finance Managers' purpose runs 180 degrees to Gov. Snyder's envisioned purpose of that new act: Preventive Help.

"An EM could privatize public services, restructure departments, rewrite supply contracts, assess the affordability of pensions and post-retirement health-care obligations and - the Big Kahuna - reopen collective bargaining agreements."

The Big Kahuna, as Howes so inelegantly labels this crisis, is demeaning to the citizens, first responders, teachers and a fleet of others you give over to the privatizers and the high-fee lawyers-all of whom like bottom feeders, will harvest for themselves much of the savings you pretend to believe will be garnered by this Corporatist Take Over of Michigan's local governmental units. 

Remember the top yearly pay allowed for an EFM is limitless, even beyond the salary of the governor. Over 300 EFM's have been "trained" that is run through a crip course. Danny, how many places do you think they will be needed?

There are scores of DetNews regulars who will agree with Howe's assessment: "There would be scant need for a new law empowering state-appointed outsiders to make the hard choices for municipalities and school districts if the people hired to make those choices in the first place actually did their jobs." But agreeing with Howes' pronouncement does not detract that the coming crisis, on top of the current crisis, the crisis created by Snyder's cut off of historic block grants is part of his Retro-Englerite advisers' Rube Goldberg tax-and-shift; the outright giving of approximately $.2.2billions to Snyder's base, the business community stolen from education, the poor, the elders. And what have these businesses done to earn bonanza-this gift outright?. .....That's right, Nothing!

Howes has blackened the reputations and integrity of every local governmental official in the state when he snidely concludes in his delusions and deductions: local governmental officials as a class are slackers: "(T)hey mostly don't," do their jobs properly or professionally. Put down that tarry broad brush.

Howes sees Michigan as diseased. Everywhere he sees, " symptoms of a disease whose cure begins with an honest, disinterested, financially sound assessment of where a locality or school district stands, what its revenue is and how the two can be reconciled free from the push and pull of power politics." Howes' shortsighted criticisms are invalid and decidedly injurious to the Michigan commons.

How over-extended is Howes' logic. He picks the "richest county" in Michigan to use as a dashboard for the state: Oakland Co. Even in the Kingdom of Patterson, roads turn to rubble, snow goes un-plowed, pot-holes do their damaging havoc, but Howes sees a bit of hope (in what may still, yet be a downgrading ) in Oakland's AAA credit rating.

Collectively all of these "incompetents" (as outed and so labeled by Howes) see the emanate dangers and the coming storm: "It is completely understandable for elected officials, union leaders and (semi-informed) members of the news media (caught an MSNBC rant on Michigan's new EM law, lately?) to rail against the apparent anti-democratic hooks of the controversial EM law." But Danny is more knowledgeable than these, more sure of his prejudices, he is, for sure his own favorite "expert". Yet Rachel Maddow has shown light in a very dark corner; Howes obviously must look away.

The problem is in Lansing, Danny. It's the deadhead TeaPublican Legislature, it's their inability to see that things are - actually in an upward trend. The main problem is they're fans and water carriers of A.L.E.C (The American Legislative Exchange Council- a secretive far right/pro-corporate and secret legislative bill mill) and also perennial partisan enemies of unions and public servants. The public reactions will continue. Recall efforts are underway. When 1,000 march in Marquette, even a paperboy knows there's real discontent and change in the air.

If Howes wants to be a cheerleader for Grover Norquist and his anti-civic gaggle of bathtub-drowners and silly "NO TAX" Pledgers, let him go to D.C. and ply, take up, his twisted trade on K Street. 

Howes would have us believe its all about lack of money-state revenues. No Danny, it's much more, it's about a culture of greed and resentment from many encouraged to whine rather than participate; People talk radio agitated and refusing to share in the responsibility and obligations of freedom and citizenship.

Gov. Milliken faced similar budget crisis problems; his good faith and belief in people; and a consensus to find real, across-the-board sharing; and even a temporary raise in taxes combo, brought us through former tough times. 

Look around, the wide-spread Koch Brothers' coup being rammed through state legislatures across America; represented in part by their paid mercenaries and the front they created, Americans for Prosperity; It becomes clear the Mega Wealthy have an "bum's rush" agenda designed in their favor.

This is an all-out attack on the Middle Class and a usurpation of dreadful opportunity created by a G.W. Bush induced near-Depression-crash of our national economy. For Bros. Koch, Amway, The Wal-mart Waltons, et. al. It has become an prime "disaster capitalist opportunity" to cash in on economic woe to carry out ideological and partisan reprisals and massive "take-backs."

For shame, Howes, in all of this you've become part of the greater problem, not the cure.

Original Post.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Lord, Melt the Heart of the Stone-Coldhearted

Oh how insensitively Republicans disavow the poor and disadvantaged, including those forced by life-experience circumstances into poverty!

Ask your house of worship, at the next call for "special prayers," to intercede in prayer for a new sense of empathy from 3 heartless legislators who would inflict more pain and suffering on the souls of state's helpless and the distressed. Ask the Almighty to restore to them a renewed sense of human caring and loving empathy.

Just how did neophyte legislators,(the lead: a woman committee chair) TeaPublicans, become shills for mega-Banksters? Talk about bad timing! Who put them up to this and why?

It is hard, if not impossible, to believe that a newly-elected state representative could have the temerity to have just run a campaign that would actively include advocating a cutting down of constituents in her own district; real people, in such financial woe as to be, approaching foreclosure and calculatingly advocate against them in such a cold-hearted and faith-less way. How could she have said, "I hear your distress," The answer to your troubles is to call on your bank and plead with them to cut your foreclosure protection period in half. (That's cut the time you have to rearrange your mortgage or find a way to recover. The collapse of response time will go from 6 months down to a scant 3 months. Expedite she says, not elevate your distress. That kind of action doesn't make for a friendly coffee-stop campaign pitch out on the hustings; especially during this era where Michigan is in the throes of a "one state depression." But the public knows. It's a bill "very inspired by the (finance) industry" reports Karen Merrill Tjapkes with Western Michigan Legal Aid.

But no, stop, listen up! Look at what's happening here.

How heartless and cruel are these newly empowered, self-aggrandized members of the TeaPartisans' current "reckless abandon majority" led by Rick Snyder, the Stonecold Nerd: Michigan's new Corporatist Knothead.

"And no plague shall come neigh your dwellings" cold, imperialist ladies? Many bankruptcies and foreclosures evolve around unemployment and chronic or fatal/terminal illness which has/or is rapidly draining away the resources of many a desperate Michigan family.

One who has experienced, first hand the clammy desperation of such a catastrophic cataclysm of financial ruin will quickly realize that such is the lot of many others. Don't we see the glass canning jar at the local fuel/quickstop that has taped upon it a picture and a plea for small donations to fund a bone morrow donor or give a small hand-up to a family burned out of everything. Foreclosure is a dread bane for far too many of those of us in real life, but not apparently in the lives of these three newly elected TeaPublicans.

But just a of the three legislators, shills for Banksters, boosting for a legislated, shortened-by-half, foreclosure period is no stranger the kind of terrible distress and financial trouble can cause. She is witness to terminal illness and eventual death within her family circle. She knows the pain and sorrow first hand and has personal knowledge that her family had access to generous insurance coverage given-for-life to a former state legislator and lieutenant governor. It's generous coverage to ease or cover those huge cancer-related and/or other catastrophic medical expenses one may eventually face. She's the daughter of Snyder's current director of legislation; one who is still in a period of mourning himself. And still this grieving legislator would crack down on others far-less fortunate by far?

Pray, how can this be?

Original Post.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The History of Pension Raiding During the Reagan Era

America: What Went Wrong, a chilling account by Donald L. Barlett & James B. Steele, was published in 1992. Their book was a thorough presentation revealing the graft and corruption endemic to greedy 'corporatists' then and it still stands as an even sterner, more penetrating warning for today.

"While tens of millions of workers have fared poorly under the existing system, corporate managers and takeover artists have profited handsomely from it. They did so by raiding pension funds-a practice made possible by the way the federal government wrote the rule book.

"During the 1980's, nearly 2,000 businesses dipped into their pension funds and removed $21 billion. That is enough to provide pensions of $800 a month to a quarter-million retired workers. And their spouses. For the rest of their lives. The $21 billion does not count the billions that businesses diverted to other uses after substituting inferior pension plans for the plans that had been in place for decades.

"As noted, earlier, Congress wrote the rule book in such a way as to permit companies to terminate a pension plan, by for it workers unguaranteed annuities that will pay the accrued benefits, and keep what is left over. The losers in the transaction were the employees, who virtually always end up with smaller retirement checks than under the older plan. What's more, most companies that terminated their defined benefit plans-plans that promise a specified amount to a retiree-replaced them with defined contribution plan, meaning, in most cases, even lower retirement benefits in the future.

"Under a defined contribution plan, an employer agrees set aside a fixed amount of money for an employee's retirement. How much the employ eventually depends on how well that money is invested. In most cases, it is substantially less than a defined benefit plan would provide. Most significantly, neither the annuities nor the defined contribution plans carry a government guarantee.

"About 23,000 former and current employees at the Cannon Mills Company textile plants in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia learned that lesson the hard way. For years, workers at Cannon Mills, headquartered in Kannapolis, North Carolina, were covered by a pension plan that was insured by the PBGC. That changed in 1982 after a corporate raider by the name of David H. Murdock appeared on the scene.

"Murdock now is chairman and chief executive officer of the Dole Food Company, whose products include Dole pineapples and bananas, and he is a member of the Forbes 400, the Who's Who of the nation's rich. Murdock, with a personal fortune that Forbes estimates at $1.3 billion, is involved in a number of businesses and is a major fund-raiser for the Republican Party. In February 1988, he hosted a $10,000 per person reception at his sixty-four room Bel Air, California, home once owned by the late hotel baron Conrad Hilton. There, donors mingled and posed for photographs with his friend, Ronald Reagan."
Barlett & Steele are still very relevant and on point as this quote labeled Rigging the Game, makes clear:

"Worried that you are falling behind, not living as well as you once did?
"Or expected to?
"That you are going to have to work extra hours, or take a second job, just to stay even with your bills?
"That the company you have worked for all these years may dump you for a younger person?
"Or that the pension you have been promised may not be there when you retire?
"Worried, if you are on the bottom rung of the economic ladder, that you will never see a middle-class lifestyle?
"Or, if you are a single parent or part of a young working family, that you will never be able to save enough to buy a home?
"That you are paying more than your fair share of taxes?
"Worried that the people who represent you in Congress are taking care of themselves and their friends at your expense?
"You are right. Keep worrying.

"For those people in Washington who write the complex tangle of rules by which the economy operates have, over the last twenty years, RIGGED THE GAME-BY DESIGN AND DEFAULT-TO FAVOR THE PRIVILEGED, THE POWERFUL AND THE INFLUENTIAL. AT THE EXPENSE OF EVERYONE ELSE.

"Seizing on that opportunity, an army of business buccaneers began buying, selling and trading companies the way most Americans buy, sell and trade knickknacks at a yard sale. They borrowed money to destroy, not to build. THEY CONSTRUCTED FINANCIAL HOUSES OF CARDS, THEN VANISHED BEFORE THEY COLLAPSED.

"Caught between the lawmakers in Washington and the dealmakers on Wall Street have been millions of American workers forced to move from jobs that once paid $15 an hour into jobs that now pay $7. IF, THAT IS, THEY AREN'T ALREADY THE VICTIMS OF MASS LAYOFFS, PRODUCTION HALTS, SHUTTERED FACTORIES AND OWNERS WHO ENRICH THEMSELVES BY DOING THAT DAMAGE AND THEN WALKING AWAY.

"As a result, the already rich are richer than ever; there has been an explosion in overnight new rich; life for the working class is deteriorating, and those at the bottom are trapped. FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THIS CENTURY, MEMBERS OF A GENERATION ENTERING ADULTHOOD WILL FIND IT IMPOSSIBLE TO ACHIEVE A BETTER LIFESTYLE THAN THEIR PARENTS. MOST WILL BE UNABLE EVEN TO MATCH THEIR PARENTS' MIDDLE-CLASS STATUS.

"Indeed, the growth of the middle class-one of the underpinnings of democracy in this country-has been reversed. BY GOVERNMENT ACTION."
[emphasis Added in BOLD]

Original Part 1 and Part 2 of this Posting.

Monday, April 18, 2011

SuperRich Have Become Greedy Vultures, Fattened on the Rest of U.S.

The momentum of the SuperRich is stymied for a game-changing, reflective moment: What's Next?

It's occurring to newly elected Michigan legislators, their offices are at seriously at risk. They've been carried along like hapless flotsam rolled into a propagandist's tsunami. FOX News master-spindully deceiver, Roger Ailes, has myopically overshot the elite's political target, there's anti-Tea Party voter revolt ahead.

The public is rising to push back, hard.

Koch Brothers-backed, organized and funded falsely-labeled, Americans (Billionaires) For (personal) Prosperity rallies, first in Michigan, then in Wisconsin and now across America are a fizzle. The power of money politics over the rights of we, the people, is been brought low. Sarah Palin and Dick Morris can't even raise newsworthy numbers at their rallies!

The pitiful showing by scant hundreds of arthritics at Tea Party rallies, given top billing with big name "super-patriots" Dick Morris and Sarah Palin, draw small, anemic "cottonhead" remnants of what was previously called the political "new wave."

What's happening in the upper mid-west? The middle class has seen the error of its ways. Laying back and giving in to the politics of regression and fear leads to Depression. The rich get richer, the poor are made poorer!

Clearly, if we want to see the collapse of our states' economies, just press on with the TaxPublican's subservience to the harsh Americans for Prosperity via A.L.E.C. and the far right's, proud tough guys, Norquist/Gingrich. This cabal of authoritarian "no tax" "All cuts" formula mavens' radical agendas are touted by the Tea-publican, the obsequious servants of the SuperRich.

Read the Headlines, Look at the Metrics The god-awful truth is that the harvest of the assets of working families and the middle class by the "smartest" defrauders in slick investment firms, pro-corporate think-thanks, and the mega Banksters has inflicted nearly fatal economic punishment on the ordinary citizen.

While hundreds of billions of "liquid" assets and cash pulled out of the economy, where they are parked on the sidelines, others political hacks (Snyder, Walker and Kasich, backed by the holders of these very funds, are attempting to strip the public of its remaining "civic assets" and destroy its protective associations which are the bulwark against this kind of scandalous abuse.

In 2008, much of America's vital Middle Class was harvested of much of its investments, pensions- and savings (an historic economic harvest of over one trillion dollars) by clever men. These are men, operatives, who knew how to manipulate the strings of power and utilize the "gimmicks" snuck into law over decades by a compliant corporate-controlled Congress and a Republican Party long systemically weak (begun under the exiled Dick Nixon) and corrupted by the boldfaced greed and undue influence of politics' (Abramhoff and a long list including Tom DeLay and aggressive, "wealthy cause" handlers, and "fixers."

Now There's a Shift A moment of realization that the historic gap in wealth is propelling our nation into a sure death of prosperity and a harsh regression beyond our current imitations.
If the public does not fight back and take back the "radical middle"-voters using their vote to put and end to oligarchy and corporate fascism, thereby stopping this downward spiral-he dream we once proudly called

"The American Dream" will have evaporated for a generation, perhaps for ever.


Why things will change or we all go down together in national collapse:
"No jobs, no prospect, no leverage, no shot-term plans, no big ideas to save us. While the bottom four-fifths struggle to stay afloat, and the upper one-fifth cautiously tread water, the top 1 percent continue to accumulate wealth at a staggering rate."

"Thanks to the global engine, there are now more than a thousand billionaires. Oligarchies, "client state" capitalism, wanton deregulation, CEO's earning monster salaries, corporations receiving taxpayer welfare, and half of the U.S. Congress boasting of being millionaires. Meanwhile, personal debt in the United States continues to soar, one person out of ten is out of work, and food stamp usage sets new records every month."
"Yet even with near-record unemployment, the Department of Commerce reported in November 2010 that U.S. Companies just had their BEST QUARTER...EVER. Businesses record profits at an annual rate of $1.66 TRILLION in the third quarter of 2010, which is the highest rate (in non-inflation-adjusted figures) since the government began keeping records more than 60 years ago. SHRINKING INCOMES, FEWER JOBS...BUT BIGGER CORPORATE PROFITS. NOT A GOOD SIGN."

"Yet when you broach the dreaded subject of "class warfare" you get blank stares. When you try to demonstrate, through charts and graphs and scores of real life example, that the system is LARGELY RIGGED TO ACCOMMODATE THE WEALTHY AND THE POWERFUL"and that what we face is AN UNFORTUNATE US-VERSUS-THEM DILEMMA - PEOPLE BACK AWAY."

This spot-on summation was penned by David Macaray, writing last November for America's best political newsletter.

To further punctuate the tax delights of of the SuperRich, this breaking AP newsclip:
"WASHINGTON - As millions of procrastinators scramble to meet Monday's tax filing deadline, ponder this: The super rich pay a lot less taxes than they did a couple of decades ago...The Internal Revenue Service tracks the tax returns with the 400 highest adjusted gross incomes each year. The average income on those returns in 2007, the latest year for IRS data, was nearly $345 million. Their average federal income tax rate was 17 percent, down from 26 percent in 1992."

Original Post.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The lesson for today is the American pension system: What to look forward to when you retire.

This text is drawn from the government rule book, with its contradictory and often-overlapping laws relating to pensions.

Here are the highlights: 

  • For the first time, the percentage of workers who will receive a fixed monthly pension is steadily declining.
  • Women who retire from jobs in businesses receive smaller pensions than men.
  • The percentage of workers who will receive reduced pension benefits is growing. And half of all workers have no pension plan at all.
  • Corporations removed $21 billion from their employees' pension plans during the 1980s. Overall, nearly 2,000 corporations dipped into employee pension funds for at least $1 million each.
  • Conscientious workers who establish their own individual retirement accounts - believing them to be insured by the federal government - one day may discover to their dismay that many are not.
  • Workers in the private sector receive far smaller pensions than workers in local, state and federal governments, which now employ 17 percent of the American workforce.
  • And the people who made all this possible - members of Congress - will continue to receive the best pensions of all.

Label this pension chaos.
Then understand that, barring a massive revision of the rule book by Congress, these conditions will continue to deteriorate.

In the meantime, watch for the coming war between those who work for government and those who don't.
It will come when workers in private industry realize how much power public-employee pension funds wield.

This Analysis by Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele

Original Post.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Americans for Prosperity’s Cotton Head Grump Out, High on Motrin 800, Fizzles.

Yesterday's GRAND GRUMP OUT, with a tiny, few dozen "Mad Mobsters" (as one sign in the tiny gathering proudly proclaimed) was a HUGH HUMILIATING FAILURE.

And to believe Snyder & the green pea legislature are DEADLY AFRAID of this motley crew of naysayer fans of the notorious "paid lady-toe sucker"- FOX's weasel-Dick Morris, and the Brothers Koch-- little-known behind-the-scenes manipulators of public policies and avid promoters of useful pro-corporate agitators.

What can we learn from this Mackinac Center/Americans for Prosperity/Tea-publican PR disaster? 

This "NO NEW TAXES/AXE GOVERNMENT GROUP which has been touted (as so much to be feared by newly elected officials-now sold out to BIG MONEY and the McMasters led TAXHATERS) is really NOT that POWERFUL.

So why all the homage? What the voters of Michigan really wanted was a change from the Granholm/Bishop/Dillon deadlock debacle. Desperate for a return to good government, they voted for CHANGE. In exchange these voters GOT SOLD OUT to two unknown Lucky Sperm Club Billionaires, backers & funders of Americans for Prosperity- the Koch Brothers. These are two Libertarian/CATO troublemaking Corporatists with giant greed-driven desire to rule the country, fascist style.

Voting for what they called "CHANGE," the Teapartians have brought Michigan CHAOS AND CORRUPTION. 

What is their strength? Michigan's Tea Parties Delivered A PITIFULLY INSIGNIFICANT GATHERING OF CIVIC VULTURES

What a sight! A thin cotton-head smathering of grumpy old men, assisted by personal lawn chairs, drew a small circle around AG Bill Schuette and SOS Ruth Johnson looking out over a crowd of arthritic dozens. The organizers included careered second-tier political hacks, whio did what they could to make awaken the dozers and them gin up.

Background literature claims there are 50,000 members(?) of AFP in Michigan-a movement backed by such folks as Amway, Kochs, the Wal-mart Waltons' billions, and so dearly loved by the Detroit News/Mackinac Center consortium.

All headliner Dick Morris and crew could muster, in response to the previous day's tens of thousands of energetic and mobile workers, was a feeble klatch of aged aginners? How humiliating, yet revealing! 

Bill and Ruth attempted to center focus of the disproportionate number of TV news video crews on themselves (TV crews were left to make something-out-of-nothing for themselves for the 5 0'clock news cycle, having driven many long miles to cover this event) in a desperate attempt to justify their appearance at this giant fizzle--a billionaire's Teapartisan event with scant attendance or energy, gone flat.

Michigan's new Attorney General and Secretary of State were OBLIGED TO BE THERE YESTERDAY. For them it was A PAYBACK to the Koch Brothers division of the Tea Party- funded, controlled, and fronted by the Koch's Americans for Prosperity. 

It was from these followers of the Koch's that Schuette and Johnson clamored for backing, sought support, at the cantankerous 201O Michigan GOP nominating Convention last fall. In a divisive and hard fought battle with rivals, Schuette and Johnson had to win over, by selling out, to Tea-publicans in order to be allowed slots on the GOP's slate for the statewide offices they sought, which in turn allowed them to appear on the Republican ticket in November where they were elected.

Over in Wisconsin a parallel civic war between the Koch-backed Tea-Publicans and the working Middle Class has struggled in a highly visible nationally televised imbroglio involving battle after battle and rally after rally. It's all part of a national coup mounted by factions including the billionaire Koch's, Heritage Foundation, Michigan's Mackinac Center, rogue Libertarians, Kochs' CATO, and a ragtag assemblage of Know Nothings-all constantly egged on by the slick Newt Gingrich and Grover Norquist.

Original Post.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Greedy Bros Koch-Bought & Paid for Visi-Galts: The Randian Libertarian Spawn - Gleefully Storm the Gates of the People’s House in Lansing, MI

Commentary on Americans for Prosperity arranged Tea Party Rally in Lansing on April 14, 2011.

Greed mars man's earliest defiant quip was a departure from God's plan for mankind: "Am I my brother's keeper?"

Today, haughty and aggressive mavens and devotees of a "godless" Ayn Rand dain to gather on the Lansing capital lawn to demonstrate, to the bodaciously broadcast to the entire populace the grand scope of their rebellion against paying their rightful share in civic order and loudly lauding their pride in personal irresponsibility.

Tea Party rogues should be contributing citizens and taxpayers-problem solvers not trouble makers! Responsible Citizenship is vitally important to the common good of Michigan, local community and brotherhood.

Dick Morris and the "GOING GALT" - "JUST LEAVE US ALONE" rabble have captured the Michigan Republican Party. 

The threat that Tax Party rabble rousers have engendered is purposeful, it is intended to force a "John Galt" rebellion on Michigan thereby inflicting harm on the institutions of the state, turning away the needy, the poor, the elderly, and further punishing the already unemployed (400,000) with less help. This rally calls for a somber dirge, not a wild-eyed celebration of Know Nothing triumphism by radical tax-haters.

Perchance we ask, why shouldn't some delusional individuals be caught up in the current angst, anger and confusion? We've seen such before. We are now being reminded of other cults that arose in the land, that had in their misshapened mindsets. Cultist ardently belived in revolutionary "good they would do" in compliant submission to the exaggerated perception created by their cunning leaders. Such cult movements have arisen out of a yearning for a "shortcut" to more personal power outside the rules and order of democracy and the rule of law which underpin a just, functional, and caring society. We have recently been reminded of other cults e.g. the Ku Klux Klan which marched, 17,000 strong, on Lansing in the 1920's to express their anger and fear, attempting by doing so to call attention to their regressive agendas. This recollection is not to equate the Koch created and owned Americans for Prosperity, Dick Armey's Teapartisans, and associated groups gathered today with the Klan per se; it is but to warn; extravagant and radical deviation from the personal part we all must play in the welfare of our community and stubborn withholding of our caring attention to our fellowmen are on the slick and selfish path to chaos and ruin.

"Going Galt" is going to godless ruin! 

Be warned. We should not glory in repeating the error of serious destabilizing regression into the annals of dangerous ideologies in the regretful past. Tearing down is much easier than building up. Neglect of civic institutions and proper government is much easier, and less costly than their proper maintenance and enhancement.

Ayn Rand's Visi-Galts, marching on Lansing today, are entirely convinced that they and they alone can make things "better" by cutting down America and Michigan-as we have known it. They are activated because they feel their property and assets are threatened by government and the hated tax. Fixing things civic is not in their toolboxes. They are radical "Taxhaters." This could, and can only, happen because of the Wall Street/Bankster economic crisis (brought on by complete and utter dedication to the worship of Corporate Selfishness and Greed) has undermined our nation's stability and way of life. It is true: There is great turmoil and there are great fears. These Tea Party/Koch Libertarians, political usurpers, all glory in their opportunity created by this great historic economic crisis.

The Visi-Galts, the Teapartisan/civic barbarians, fervently denying personal responsibility to the community, selfish and greedy, thrive on fear and aggression which enhance their campaign. Disaster Capitalism suits Teapartiasns in their delusions.

The Tea Party rally today is a neo-pagan bacchanalia; a bold display worshiping their "godless" goddess, Ayn Rand, creator of the factious John Galt. - It's an UGLY & UNHOLY veneration of SUPER SELFISHNESS drawn across the background of our monument: The Peoples'House.

Original Post.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Just-Leave-Me-Alone Tea Party Hero John Galt Be Praised: The High Hypocrisy of Galt’s Creator, Ayn Rand

Commentary on Michigan Tea Party announcements of showing Ayn Rand movies, and upcoming Rally run by American for Prosperity in Lansing on April 14, 2011.

Just-Leave-Me-Alone Tea Party Hero John Galt Be Praised: The High Hypocrisy of Galt’s Creator, Ayn Rand, Who Died Ignominiously Swaddled in Her U.S. Government Benefits of Social Security & Medicaid

St Ayn didn't die nestled with her fabled John Galt in her imaginary mountain enclave, known as "Galt's Gulch." She took Government subsistence.

Rand took benefits under the name Ann O'Connor (her husband was Frank O'Connor). Thus the harsh, arch-anit-social welfare activist and critic died swaddled in U.S. GOVERNMENT HEALTH CARE AND SOCIAL SECUITY!

Tea Party's, "godless" St. Ayn expired bestowed with full government entitlements. This Tea Party false heroine none-the-less will be lauded on Lansing's capitol steps tomorrow. by the nefarious Dick Morris. How bogus is that?

Ayn Rand: 
"The only proper functions of a government are: the police, to protect you from criminals; the army, to protect you from foreign invaders; and the courts, to protect your property and contracts from breaches or fraud by the others, to settle disputes by rational rules, according to objective law. But a government that initiates the employment of force against men who had forced no one, the employment of armed compulsion against disarmed victims, is a nightmare infernal machine designed to annihilate morality: such a government reverses its only moral purpose and switches from the role of protector to the role of man's deadliest enemy, from the role of policeman to the role of a criminal vested with the right to the wielding of violence against the victims deprived of the right of self-defense. Such a government substitutes for morality the following rule of social conduct: you may do whatever you please to your neighbor, provided your gang is bigger than his."
- Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)

In St. Ayn's view accepting government assistance and social programs (paid for by the general public to serve us all in our old age or hour of greatest need and fewest/depleted resources) is the to give into an act of a "gang" that is "bigger" than the individual. It must be the lone man, standing alone, who must to be a true man. That ideal man, Galt, must be the sole source of his own destiny and welfare. The government, in Ayn Rand's eyes, as expressed by her rugged individualistic fictional hero, John Galt. (Now the main character in the new and much ballyhooed Tea Party/Libertarian cult film: Rand's Atlas Shrugged, just released) is "a nightmare machine designed to annihilate morality (a specialized definition by Rand espousing "selfishness as a virtue, and egoism as the highest achievement of her view of "morals.")

In Rand's Atlas Shrugged, the government, when it puts regulations and lawful restraint upon the intense and selfish purposes of man or corporations, takes up the "role of man's deadliest enemy" and most significantly Rand's assertion leads to her false conclusion that by extracting taxes from John Galt, St. Ayn's fictional, rugged entrepreneural individual, government is "welding" coercion and force, via its police powers, to collect taxes.

Washington Independent's David Weigel reported the following from "Ask Dr. Helen" Smith and others the subject of Atlas Shrugged:

"Smith (who is know for resurrecting the Galt Theme) was a little ahead of the curve of what has become an incredibly popular meme. Across the broad conservative movement, from members of Congress to activists to economists, Rand's final, allegorical novel is being looked at with fresh eyes. According to the Atlas Society, a think tank that promotes and analyzes Rand's work, sales of "Atlas Shrugged" have tripled since the presidential election.

"One congressman says that Rand wrote a "rulebook" that can guide conservatives through the age of Obama; another calls Obama's policies something right out of the mind of Rand. One economist says that Rand's fantasies have become reality. "Smith is one of many activists citing Rand to explain their decisions to sell their stocks, or to explain why the president's "demonization" of run-amok CEOs is aggravating the economic slowdown. The popular meme is giving critics of the president's policies a way to explain why, they believe, it's doomed to fail - because Rand predicted all of this.

"'...Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.)- in an interview with TWI, 'I had a guy come up to me in my district and tell me that he was losing his interest in the business he'd run for years because the president wanted to punish him for his success. I think people are reading 'Atlas Shrugged' again because they're trying to understand what happens to people of accomplishment, and people of talent and energy, when a government turns against them. That's what appears to be happening right now.'

"The plot of Rand's novel is simple, despite its length - 1,088 pages in the current paperback edition. The United States is governed by bureaucrats, 'looters' and 'moochers,' who penalize and demonize creative people. The country is in decline because creative people are disappearing - they have followed the innovative John Galt to a mountain enclave, 'Galt's Gulch,' where they watch society crumble. Creativity has gone on strike (the working title of the novel was 'The Strike'), and the engine of capitalism cannot run without it."
Ayn Rand's Intellectual Dishonesty and Rank Hypocrisy: When the reality of cancer and pending death faced her, she willingly applied for and accepted the U.S. Government social programs: Social Security and Medicare."

Joshua Holland, writes the following in an article "Ayn Rand Railed Against Government Benefits, But Grabbed Social Security and Medicare When She Needed Them THE TEA PARTY AND THE RIGHT":
"'Ayn Rand was not only a schlock novelist, she was also the progenitor of a sweeping 'moral philosophy' that justifies the privilege of the wealthy and demonizes not only the slothful, undeserving poor but the lackluster middle-classes as well.
"Her books provided wide-ranging parables of 'parasites,' 'looters' and 'moochers' using the levers of government to steal the fruits of her heroes' labor. In the real world, however, Rand herself received Social Security payments and Medicare benefits under the name of Ann O'Connor (her husband was Frank O'Connor)."
St. Ayn was a hypocrite, but she could never be faulted for failing to act in her own self-interest. As Michael Ford of Xavier University's Center for the Study of the American Dream wrote:
'In the end, Miss Rand was a hypocrite but she could never be faulted for failing to act in her own self-interest.'
Her ideas about government intervention in some idealized pristine marketplace serve as the basis for so much of the conservative rhetoric we see today. 'The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand,' said Paul Ryan, the GOP's young budget star at a D.C. event honoring the author. On another occasion, he proclaimed, "Rand makes the best case for the morality of democratic capitalism.'

Wrote Rand in a 1972 newsletter:

"'Morally and economically the welfare state creates an ever accelerating downward pull.'"


Journalist Patia Stephens wrote of Rand:
"'[She] called altruism a 'basic evil' and referred to those who perpetuate the system of taxation and redistribution as 'looters' and 'moochers.' She wrote in her book 'The Virtue of Selfishness' that accepting any government controls is 'delivering oneself into gradual enslavement.'"

Rand Capitulated to the Lure of Collectivism

Rand also believed that the scientific consensus on the dangers of tobacco was a hoax. By 1974, the two-pack-a-day smoker, then 69, required surgery for lung cancer. And it was at that moment of vulnerability that she succumbed to the lure of collectivism.

Evva Joan Pryor, who had been a social worker in New York in the 1970s, was interviewed in 1998 by Scott McConnell, who was then the director of communications for the Ayn Rand Institute. In his book, 100 Voices: An Oral History of Ayn Rand, McConnell basically portrays Rand as first standing on principle, but then being mugged by reality. Stephens points to this exchange between McConnell and Pryor:

"'She was coming to a point in her life where she was going to receive the very thing she didn't like, which was Medicare and Social Security,' Pryor told McConnell. 'I remember telling her that this was going to be difficult. For me to do my job she had to recognize that there were exceptions to her theory. So that started our political discussions. From there on " with gusto " we argued all the time.'

"'The initial argument was on greed,' Pryor continued. 'She had to see that there was such a thing as greed in this world. Doctors could cost an awful lot more money than books earn, and she could be totally wiped out by medical bills if she didn't watch it. Since she had worked her entire life, and had paid into Social Security, she had a right to it. She didn't feel that an individual should take help.'"

Rand had paid into the system, so why not take the benefits? It's true, but according to Stephens, some of Rand's fellow travelers remained true to their principles.
"Rand is one of three women the Cato Institute calls founders of American libertarianism. The other two, Rose Wilder Lane and Isabel 'Pat' Paterson, both rejected Social Security benefits on principle. Lane, with whom Rand corresponded for several years, once quit an editorial job in order to avoid paying Social Security taxes. The Cato Institute says Lane considered Social Security a "Ponzi fraud" and 'told friends that it would be immoral of her to take part in a system that would predictably collapse so catastrophically.' Lane died in 1968."

Original Post.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Saint Ayn - Extolling Great Evil - Used As Source of Tea Party Political Punch Lines

A "godless" Goddess becomes the Tea Party's Saint Ayn. This week's Michigan Tea Party Rally goers gloat that they have all become, in essence, " John Gaults".

Going Gault is all the rage. Greed, selfishness, and double dealing have so benighted and beguiled this Tea Party Libertarian (maximum freedom, minimum government) faction that they are intent on staging a Lansing Capitol steps rally glorifying a complete fiction. They purport to thus reveal the real character of a "true American hero" who never lived outside the musty pages of a huge tome of godless blather. How has St. Ayn become a rally point to further the Tea Party tax starvatin of civic society? Through Delusion.

If unchecked, the strident demands of those who cotton to the howls of this populist insurgency will take the country over the edge. To so strip down Michigan and the country, as is planned by the rancorous Tea factions, may well take the state and national economy over the edge, beyond a double dip recession into a true modern economic depression. The impact of such an event would be catastrophic in degree and intensity.

Tea Party Politics Are Unsustainable and Dangerous 

Ordinary Americans, regular Michiganders, want a working government, they want an honest government, they want a caring government. Michiganders have expressed, in recent statewide polling, that they would support an INCREASE IN TAXES to get the state through the present crisis. This sentiment has fallen on arrogantly deaf Teapartisan ears.

Concerned citizens clearly understand that good government comes with a price tag.

Our caring citizens know that, in this modern age, the costs of health care are horrendous; spiraling out of control-even for the insured. They know that providing a safety net for some is essential.

Sensible citizens know and want many kinds of service (necessities) that only government can provide:
1) Well-maintained highways, bridges and roads
2) Affordable colleges and universities,
3) Excellent public schools in the neighborhood,
4) Care for veterans given by employees of government not mercenary care providers,
5) Professional police forces and able firefighters,
6) Safe food and drugs,
7) Honest measures for gasoline purchases,
8) Regulated investments,
9) Federal insurance on savings,
10) A highly skilled national disease control agency,
11) National defense,
12) Maintenance and construction of national monuments,
13) Wildlife preserves, greenways and parks,
14) Standards for safe drilling for oil and gas,
15) High standards protection by regulation and inspection of our aging nuclear power plants,
16) Clean water and air,

And much more....
Tea Party Dogma; "no new taxes" and "cuts-only budgeting" are disrespectful and dead set to remove from our lives many of the qualities of the services and standards listed above. There is no going back to their idealized "freedoms" in a primitive world of governance Teapartisans fancy-the world of Going Gault. Paying taxes makes them very angry! They firmly, yet wrongly, believe they can go it alone; no reverence for common goals or community good.

Yet, honest politicians, where you can find them, know that we find ourselves victims of much recent bad policy and corrupted leadership. No one speaks of G.W. Bush. The blunders and bad judgment of his tenure are anathema, even to conservative Republicans. They act as though Bush II never existed, and deny the heavy burden he placed on us. It is the greatest Republican hypocrisy not to own the immense damage done America by George W. Bush, et al..

GWB was not a fiction. His legacy is a tremendous dead weight on our land. His war making, his overspending, and lack of restraint on corruption, his unprecedented running up the national debt, and inability to deal with fraud on Wall Street and in the nation's largest banks; all this lingers like a dead albatross hung on the national spirit and decimating the nation's economy.

What was done with TARP, automaker and bank bailouts, was in direct response to George W. Bush's ineptitude and failure to lead, to act appropriately. Shifting the emphasis on Bush's rightful portion of a unprecedented national debt, putting it on the present administration is specious. It will take years to recover from the origins of our national debt under Bush. It will years to extract ourselves from the Near Eastern turmoil and Asian war. The regional Mediterranean/Arab unrest agitated by the Bush Doctrine is most alarming and dangerous.

"Who is John Gault?"  Ayn Rand 

If we are to hail a "John Gault" to lead us out of this our national morass, it won't be because of a new film flick extolled by Ron Paul and the Tea Party, depicting the godless, atheistic, and anti-society rants that come ripped from the fiction filled novel, Atlas Shrugged and the twisted mind of Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum, (1905 "1982), known to most as the beguiling Ayn Rand.

Enlightenment, will come from a real man who will lead America out of its distress with adroit skills and great dedication. He will be man not given to fatuous fictions:

"Man-every man-is an end in himself, not a means to the ends of others; he must live for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself; he must work for his rational self-interest, with the achievement of his own happiness as the highest moral purpose of his life." - Ayn Rand

There you have it. The Randian antithesis of the Judeo-Christian ethic: John Gault does what is "right in his own eyes" ergo "his own happiness" is the "highest moral purpose of his life." One man alone is more important than his place in family, religious community, the public commons or join endeavors.

How does this fit the Michigan GOP/Tea Party's brouhaha? The Teapartisan Mantra: Paying taxes makes me unhappy, thus it is not in my personal, individualistic "self-interest," it must be evil. I will not pay what may be called "my share" to maintain and enhance community, it's my money and the government taking it by taxation is coercion. How benighted! Would the GOP/Tea Party have us believe: A man has no real responsibility outside himself and his own selfish greed? Ayn Rand Raises Egoism to a Virtue.

"I am not primarily an advocate of capitalism, but of egoism; and I am not primarily an advocate of egoism, but of reason. If one recognizes the supremacy of reason and applies it consistently, all the rest follows."
-- Ayn Rand, September 1971 in "Brief Summary", The Objectivist

Original Post.