texshelters

Archive for the ‘Economics’ Category

The Corporate Way to School Improvement

In Economics, Education on March 22, 2012 at 19:52

high stakes testing from http://www.rethinkingschools.org

We have a crisis of graduation rates in our schools. The more data we manipulate to support our view that the schools are collapsing, the worse schools look. We at the Nationalist Association for Superior Intelligence (NASI) have come up with several ways to demonstrate the schools are failing. In fact, we came up with solutions to address this calamity even before creating the data proving the need for our solution.

Our greatest tool used to dismantle schools and the public education system is high stakes testing. The creation of high stakes testing allows us to enforce arbitrary bench-marks that schools must meet, or we take the schools down. We must also start using these test to not only fire teachers, as our beloved Michelle Rhee did in D.C., but we must start using these tests to expel worthless students.

Students that fail to meet an arbitrary score on a standardized test must be summarily kicked out of the school district. While liberals might worry about these stupid kids and want to coddle them, they fail to take into account that this is what we have prisons for. Prisons are the safety net for stupid students all over our great nation.

And if by chance some undesirables skirt through the testing regimen, we can just expel them. By clearing out the human refuse from our schools, we can increase the percentage of students that graduate and not have to waste money and energy helping students undeserving of an education.

For example, if a school has 300 students in its graduating class and only 150 graduate, that’s a 50% rate. If you expel the 50 most at risk students from the school, you can have 150 out of 250 that graduate, a rate of 60%. Expel 100 students that won’t graduate, and you could have 150 graduate out of 200 (300 minus the 100 expelled) and you will have a rate of 75%. The Memphis school district did just this to increase graduations rates, and the rest of the nation should follow.

Another problem with our schools is there’s not enough corporate investment. Just like corporations made the banks work for everyone, corporate money in the schools will make them work. We need to deregulate the schools to allow more corporate investment as soon as possible.

We need to make up more statistics to show the schools are failing. One such clever data switch was discovered when a data entry clerk in the Seattle schools entered a curiously low number of high school graduates going on to college, 17 percent.

Turns out the true number is much higher — 46 percent. Not ideal either, but a far cry from 17… The damningly low 17 percent number was publicized and repeated by SPS these past two years and used to justify Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson’s “Strategic Plan,” and the onslaught of controversial (and unwanted) ed reforms she has since imposed on the district…

By using the lower rate for graduates starting in the university, we manufactured a crisis in our schools, justifying not only more high stakes testing, but merit based pay and national standards.

A Council of Foreign Relations task force chaired by Joel Klein (Lawyer) and Condoleezza Rice (Former Secretary of State) came up with The U.S. Education Reform and National Security report. Neither of them have been educators, but they want to change the education system. Thankfully, no teachers were consulted for this report, as far as I could tell.

The report calls for:

  • expanding the Common Core State Standard initiative to include subjects beyond math and English Language Arts;
  • an expansion of charter schools and vouchers
  • an annual “national security readiness audit” that would look at how schools are addressing the country’s needs through increased foreign language programs, technology curriculum and more. (snip)

Its recommendations would lead to further privatization of public schools and even more emphasis on standardized testing.

And here’s the best part of this report: The report cites lots of statistics that paint public schools in the worst possible light, and continues the trend of comparing America’s educational system with that of high-achieving countries — but doesn’t note that these countries generally don’t do the kinds of things these reformers endorse. Its recommendations would lead to further privatization of public schools and even more emphasis on standardized testing.

They invented statistics to support our argument that we need more privatization of schools as is our duty because we know what’s best, even if the evidence doesn’t back our solutions. If we can’t sell the public on a corporate take over of schools on academic grounds, we can do so on security grounds. That makes sense since schools in poor districts funnel so many students into prisons or the military, the two legs of the stool of security.

If we stop wasting tax payers’ money educating everyone, and we end child labor laws, the percentage of graduates in our school will sky rocket as will test scores of those more deserving students that remain in schools.

God bless America, ignorance is strength, and if your a stupid student, please drop out for the good of the nation.

Peace,
Tex Shelters

We Need a Sharia Law for Christ

In Current Events, Economics, Humor, Religion on March 15, 2012 at 20:44

Republicans in your Vagina from angryblacklady.com

I am morally opposed to sex, as are all God fearing men. That is why I want to control what humans, and women, do with their bodies, including the use of birth control and abortion. By preventing people, and women, from lusty, hot, dripping, moist, manly sex and fornication, I am showing my love for my fellow man, for I want them to take the righteous path God has laid out for us. We must pump fear of sex in and out of the American public to show our righteousness.

While I recognize that Muslims are heathens and their religion is wrong, I have to salute them for their ability to control women through laws, intimidation and violence. Until Christians develop our own Sharia Law for Christ, we will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven as true believers of the faith.

Gov. Perry of Texas, a God fearing man, understands that we need to keep women under control, and we must take away their health care. Therefore, he is cutting funding for the Texas Women’s Health Program.  Perry understands that if women had health care, they would be less dependent on men, and God commands that women obey men.

Perry also signed a bill into law ensures that Texans forcibly insert probes into women who want an abortion. Under our Sharia Law for Christ, we would probe women forcibly to create awareness that they are pregnant. Otherwise, women might not know.

Women have too much power and that is why God has been punishing single women for so long. Under Sharia Law for Christ, we will cut programs for families such as Head Start that are abused by families to help poor kids get smarter. We don’t need more smart kids; they won’t vote Republican.

Under Sharia Law for Christ, we must also cut the WIC program for “Woman, Infants and Children.” We must stop this program that helps families eat and makes it easier for women in abusive relationships to live on their own. When we institute our Sharia Law for Christ, independent women will no longer be tolerated. We need to also cut the TANF program (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) that goes to these welfare sluts who refuse to submit to men. The 8% cuts in this program, so far, are too small to really put a dent in this problem. We must cut 100%!

Most importantly, the Sharia Law for Christ would put an end to all the whiny females that complain when sex goes bad. Rape is not rape, and Republicans are endeavoring spiritually to legally change the definition of rape and make is clear that rape is only when it’s forced, not coerced. Under Sharia Law for Christ, if you’re not brutally beaten during sex, it’s not rape. Even so, if you weren’t meant to be raped, God would have made you a man.

And Georgia has the right idea. They are helping women stop being victims by changing the term used for raped women at trials from “victim” to “accuser”.  I say we go further and call these “accusers”, “whiners.” And the men accused of rape shouldn’t be called “the accused” anymore, they should be called, “the stud” when on trial for rape. Under Sharia Law for Christ, I hope we get rid of all these unholy rape laws.

Another addition to the Sharia Law for Christ is the Blunt Amendment that would have allowed your employer, not yourself or your physician, to decide what kind of health care you could get based on his or her religious convictions. Doctors are NOT the ones who should be advising women on health care, only employers are wise enough to know what women need. Besides, Doctors are scientists, and they lie about the way the world works. Just look at the global warming hoax. Only someone else’s God should be consulted when women make reproductive choices. Did I say choices? Under Sharia Law for Christ, there would be no choices.

Not to be outdone, Arizona Republicans are proposing a law that would allow an employer to fire you if they find you are using birth control as birth control. Moreover, if you are using contraception for a medical condition other than birth control, you must write a letter to your boss explaining why you are using it. While Arizona foreclosures are on the rise again, it’s nice to see the legislature focusing on vaginas. Sharia Law for Christ must continue the tradition of Sharia Law for Muslims and focus on vaginas and what women do with their bodies.

Finally, under Sharia Law for Christ, we would protect the life of the fetus (and not a pregnant woman), especially a human fetus (as apposed to a female fetus), with the Protect Life Act, HR 358, that was passed in the House. The law would allow hospitals to deny abortion care without any exception for emergency situations. Meghan Rhoads, unholy trollop and women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch, whines about this, ““The misnamed Protect Life Act is about allowing women to die if they need an emergency abortion.”” She continues, ““It is a vicious attack on women’s rights and on the most basic right to life.””   Abortion is a viscous attack on my morality and God, and she thinks a woman’s life trumps my God! Our country is damned, oh lord!

If only we could have our own virginity tests that they have in some nations have under Muslim Sharia Law. That’s our next project.

 
Please educate yourself further about human rights and read the links provided in the article if you are not yet outraged by the Republican positions on health care, choice and social programs and you think they care about women or men. 

Peace,
Tex Shelters

The Problem is Limited Access, not Affirmative Action

In Current Events, Economics, Education, History on February 29, 2012 at 22:07

itshisfault from-talk-onevietnam-org.jpg

Abigail Noel Fisher was too poor a student to be admitted into the University of Texas as one of the top 10% of all high school graduates who are automatically eligible for entrance into the state system. After the first 10% of high school graduates are admitted, students have to compete for the remaining seats. However, Ms. Fisher still didn’t make the cut. Instead of taking up the American tradition of going to community college, she took up the American tradition of suing those she feels aggrieved by, the University of Texas at Austin. The suit accuses the university of racial bias against Ms. Fisher, and if she wins, it could reduce higher education opportunities for minorities in the United States.

The University of Texas has a very limited race preferences, and it is only one of several factors for entrance which includes a review of two essays, high school transcripts, SAT scores, a resume including extracurricular and community activities, and so forth. Only in the area of community activities is the question of race considered. Yet this mediocre student wants to blame the system instead of looking at her own application that kept her out of UT.

President Kennedy signed Executive Order 10925 on March 6, 1961 that called for “affirmative action” to ensure employment and educational opportunities for people of all races.  “The intent of this executive order was to affirm the government’s commitment to equal opportunity for all qualified persons, and to take positive action to strengthen efforts to realize true equal opportunity for all.” Lyndon Johnson added Executive Order 11246 to help enforce “affirmative action” in employment and to add women to the order.

Proponents of  affirmative action say it is one remedy to address the imbalance in educational opportunities for minorities and the poor in our nation. Opponents feel affirmative action takes scholarships and educational opportunities away from more deserving students who happen to be white. Both the discrimination and “reverse” discrimination arguments for and against affirmative action policies miss the fundamental problem with higher education in our nation: limited resources, limited funding, and high costs.

State governments limit access to schooling because of lack of funds and their funding priorities. Most states cut their budgets for higher education in the last two years, “…all but nine states experienced one-year declines from their 2010-11 totals. The 41 states that cut their spending did so by widely varying proportions, from as little as 1 percent (in Indiana and North Carolina) to as much as 41 percent (New Hampshire), with a full third seeing double-digit drops.” According to the Center for the Study of Education Policy, “Overall, spending declined by some $6 billion, or nearly 8 percent, over the past year,…” 

Cost is more important than the issue of what race you are in when applying to the university. The cost for higher education has increased at  twice the rate of medical costs since 1978. Since 2000, tuition costs have doubled.  The cost of higher education makes it harder for poorer students to attend and thus reduces their chance to increase their incomes with an advanced degree.

And the poorest families have it the worst:
Among the poorest families — those with incomes in the lowest 20 percent — the net cost of a year at a public university was 55 percent of median income, up from 39 percent in 1999-2000. At community colleges, long seen as a safety net, that cost was 49 percent of the poorest families’ median income last year, up from 40 percent in 1999-2000. 

While tuition is going up, assistance to students entering universities is going down as is state spending for higher education. This year’s cuts to pell grants will also make it harder for students to attend university, affecting up to 100,000 students.

Sarah Volstad, Director of Legislative Affairs for Student Senate, stated, “It’s definitely not like it was…Ten years ago, the state grants were plentiful … tuition was much lower.”

The federal government’s priorities focus on security, war and tax cuts. Instead of addressing the ever increasing inequity in resource distribution in our nation between the top and lower quintiles, we fight over scraps.

If higher education was available and affordable to all who qualify, and there were more scholarships available, the fight over affirmative action would end for all but the most racist in our society, those who don’t want minorities or the poor to be educated no matter the availability.

No amount of affirmative action will fix the problem of access and costs and an economic system of inequity in our nation that limits access to higher education. If we want to end the debate over affirmative action, we need to make schools more affordable and accessible to all.

Peace,
Tex Shelters

If You’re Reading this, You’re Part of the 99%

In Current Events, Economics, Education, Occupy Movement on February 22, 2012 at 21:47

We are the 99% from ohaflcio.blogspot.com

Many people online, in editorial pages, on television and in the streets are denying their membership in the 99%. Few if any of the people that fight against their membership to this not-so-elite group fully understand the concept of the “99%”.

Those who automatically reject anything they consider “liberal” will reject their membership in the 99% as a way to reject a group they falsely consider lazy, unclean Americans who want to blame corporations for all their troubles. However, Occupy Wall Street is not asking for you to agree with everything every member of their group believes. Admitting that you are part of the 99% does not require you reject your conservative, or other, principles.

What admitting you are part of the 99% requires is that you let go of your denial and acquire a modicum of class consciousness. First, you must let go of the myth that the richest 1% of Americans care about you and are job creators instead of job destroyers. Then you must develop an awareness that you are in the lower classes and the 1% determines, to a large extent, what happens in this nation.

Many people reject this idea because they think it means you have to be an anarchist, socialist, communist or some other ist to belong to the 99%. That’s a misreading of the metaphor. What’s more, they don’t even know it is a metaphor, a number that represents the inequality in our economic and political system but may not be literally accurate.

Even Ezra Klein of the Washington Post, showing how smart he is with numbers, took “99%” as a literal idea and corrected the notion several times in his post:

“Let’s be clear. This isn’t really the 99 percent. If you’re in the 85th percentile, for instance, your household is making more than $100,000, and you’re probably doing okay. If you’re in the 95th percentile, your household is making more than $150,000. But then, these protests really aren’t about Wall Street, either. There’s not a lot of evidence that these people want a class war, or even particularly punitive measures on the rich. The only thing that’s clear from their missives is that they want the economy to start working for them, too.”

Let’s be clear about Mr. Klein’s misreading of OWS: 99% is a metaphor that he takes too literally and thus misses the point that it’s about inequality, not exactitude. And it is about Wall Street. The protests are about Wall Street run amok, about how Wall Street gets a free pass when they break regulatory laws, about a Wall Street that is in large part responsible for our economic disaster we find ourselves in. But, it’s not only about Wall Street. The Occupy Movement is about banks, mega corporations like Monsanto that poison our food supply, BP and other large companies that pollute with impunity, the military industrial complex, and so forth. Just because it’s called “Occupy Wall Street” doesn’t mean Wall Street is their only concern, and it’s willfully ignorant to think that. Read their declaration and educate yourself about their issues.

Klein also echoes sentiments of Republicans and dismisses the movement as self-centered, only concerned about themselves, only wanting the “economy to start working” for them, thus he misses the point again. Sure, members of the occupy movement are concerned about their own welfare, and also their neighbors, their children, their family, their community, their teachers, their public servants, other workers, and all members of the 99% that might have had tough times because of the plutocracy we live under. Otherwise, why would so many employed, retired and financially secure people involve themselves in the movement?

Compassion for others is not a hard thing to understand. It’s too bad Klein’s analysis only skims the surface of what the Occupy Movement is about. If he can’t correctly interpret Occupy, he should stick to writing about the Republican primaries. There, he will see enough lies to write about, and he won’t have to write misinformation about the Occupy Movement.

You’re part of the 99% if:

  • Most of your income comes with a W-2 attached.
  • You have ever, or currently, received food stamps, unemployment, SSI, or other government assistance.
  • You don’t have an offshore bank account.
  • If you are not a financial manager or CEO of a major firm, you are part of the 99%.
  • You are also a member of the 99% if your income is less than $400,000 a year.
  • If you earn less than 25% of your income in rent and dividends, you are part of the 99%.
  • If you are one paycheck from being homeless, you are part of the 99%.
  • If you are not a manager, executive, or supervisor of a large firm, you are likely part of the 99%.
  • You are part of the 1% if you can donate millions to a political campaign.
  • You are part of the 1% if you can write laws for ALEC and thus Congress.
  • And if you’re reading this, you are a member of the 99%.

Here’s a demographic breakdown of the 1%:
https://files.nyu.edu/bps261/public/numbers.html 

Fact: the top 1% in the US control 42% of the nation’s wealth.
http://www.mybudget360.com/top-1-percent-control-42-percent-of-financial-wealth-in-the-us-how-average-americans-are-lured-into-debt-servitude-by-promises-of-mega-wealth/

Rich Versus Poor demographics
http://research.stlouisfed.org/publications/review/97/07/9707jw.pdf  

Peace,
Tex Shelters

Occupy Tucson Day of Solidarity

In Current Events, Economics, Education, Occupy Movement on February 21, 2012 at 02:25

The Raging Grannies performing at Occupy Tucson's 99% Meet Yourself

One thing the Republicans have yet to mention when deriding the Occupy movements and their most visible target, Occupy Wall Street, is that it’s run by a bunch of community organizers. Community organizing was evident at the Occupy Tucson Presents: 99% Meet Yourself event held at the downtown, main library plaza, Saturday Feb. 18th, in Tucson, Arizona.

The event was well organized, with a stage, music and speakers from different community based local and national organizations, tables that had information from these organizations, sign making, and information about the historical struggles of the 99%.

Several hundred people attended the event throughout the day to observe, share, learn and listen to the speakers and music and uncounted others that visit the plaza on weekends sat to witness and partake in the event. The event was also live streamed on the Internet for the world to see. Considering how dangerous the occupy movement has been portrayed in some media outlets, it was surprising that no counter protests occurred and there was little police presence.

The day focused on support and sharing of information regarding mutual and overlapping goals shared by the organizations at the event. As speaker Billy Lolos of Occupy Tucson (OT) pointed out, people ask what we in the occupy movements are about, why we don’t have one issue. The truth is, he said, was that we live in a “target rich environment”, and we will be there to protest and join in solidarity with those that share these concerns.

IT Live Streaming OT's 99% Meet Yourself

He then talked about the foreclosure crisis in the nation and in Tucson. Mr. Lolos urged us to get the Tucson and Pima County governments to use eminent domain to claim foreclosed houses and refinance homes for at risk owners. He also took aim at the banks and their bailouts and how if we let them, they will continue taking bailouts from tax payers to finance their risky ventures.

Steve Valencia, Tucson Chair of Jobs with Justice, thanked the occupy movement for helping change the discourse in this nation from cuts that would harm workers to investment in jobs and a sustainable future. He discussed what a “Job with Justice” means: a livable wage, dignity, benefits, collective bargaining, and so forth. Mr. Valencia also pointed out how the occupy movement is raising awareness for the push back against the dominance of corporations over our politics and the scapegoating of workers.

Joe Bernick, a leading voice in the Communist Party of America, author and director of the Salt of the Earth Labor College, added his voice of support and caution to the proceedings. He  reminded us that change doesn’t happen without social movements working for change. He added that capital and capitalism will prevent needed change unless we overturn the faulty capitalist paradigm.

Sal Baldenegro, Sr, a preeminent voice in the Chicano Movement and defender of ethnic studies, more accurately “Mexican American Studies”, echoed the sentiment in his presentation. He pointed out that every time laws were passed to exclude Mexicans and others from participation as members of the United States, those efforts have been defeated. When the U.S. tried to keep Mexicans from owning property, it failed. When governments tried to exclude Mexicans from certain neighborhoods, it failed. When people tried to keep Mexicans segregated and out of their businesses, Mexicans opened their own businesses and over time, segregation became less of an issue. And this happened because of the work of people to overcome those obstacles. And the ban of Mexican American Studies will also fail, he pointed out, because of the efforts of the people.

Sign making at OT's 99% Meet Yourself

David Yerkey of the KXCI show “A View from Slightly off Center”  talked about the media’s role in censorship and promoting the corporate agenda and the way marginalized groups are kept out of the national debate. One striking example he mentioned was how Wikileaks was kept out of the UNESCO debate on Wikileaks by the U.S., and how the U.S. state department filled the meeting with Wikileaks detractors. With public media and the Internet, we can get the news out about these forms of political censorship.

Gayle Hartmann, director of “Saved the Scenic Santa Ritas“, thanked the support OT has given their cause. She added that the letter writing campaign to the U.S. Forest Service against the mine in the Santa Rita Mountains south of Tucson, specifically those questioning the water quality effects of the Rosemont project, were having an impact on the Forest Service’s support for open pit mine. And she made it clear that the mine “would create only a few jobs” and that mining jobs were already available in Arizona.

The music of the day was rousing, lively, socially relevant, and uplifting. The headline band, Relic Soup, played classic songs from Stevie Wonder to Pearl Jam. Ted Warmbrand entertained us with his folk songs and traditional sing-a-longs while local favorites The Raging Grannies sang traditional songs with new updated lyrics about the 99%. Arianna Solare played her politic songs while accompanying herself on guitar while singing in English and Spanish. Guest musicians Ron Pandy entertained us with his down-home folk originals while local character known only as “Iggy” entertained us with his improvised piano and scat style a cappella rapping.

Tabling at the event were groups as diverse as a local solar power company, Move to Amend, the National Writers Union, and Occupy Tucson working groups such as the Yoga and meditation working group, PR/Outreach (the main organizers of the event), among others. Occupy Phoenix also had a table at the event to present information and invite Tucsonans to their events in the coming month.

Tabling at 99% Meet Yourself

More than all the learning, teaching, an networking, the event demonstrated that Occupy Tucson is organized, issue oriented, talented and well spoken members of a community that cares deeply about what happens in our city, state, and nation.

Peace,
Tex Shelters

Why I envy Mitt Romney and the 1%

In Current Events, Economics, Election Politics on January 18, 2012 at 20:19

Congress for sale from truenewsfromchangenyc.blogspot.com

Mitt Romney, in his finite wisdom, pointed out that Obama is using the politics of envy. “It’s a very envy-oriented, attack-oriented approach and I think it will fail.”  So, if you want corporations and the 1% to pay their share of taxes, and you’re in favor of job’s bills and regulating “too big to fail” banks, you are doing so because you are envious of Romney and the 1%. I am envious as well.

1. I am envious of the 1% because I too want to buy companies and send jobs overseas.

2. I am envious of Romney because I also want to lie and change my mind whenever it’s politically expedient.

3. Ignorance is bliss, and I am not nearly as blissful as Mitt Romney, whom I envy.

4.  I envy Romney because I too would like to be able to say one day, “Then, I get speaker’s fees from time to time, but not very much,” in reference to earning $374,327.62 in speaking fees from February 2010 to February 2011.

5. I am envious because I would also like to be able to joke like Romney about “fearing a pink slip” while knowing I had millions in the bank and daddy’s millions to back me up.

6. I am also envious because I am not ruthless and uncaring enough to run for president in a political party that would just as well see people die than raise a finger to care for the them.

7. I am envious of the 1% because I wish I could buy elected officials and write legislation for Congress.

8. I envy the Koch brothers because I wish I could fund a political movement like the Tea Party and get candidates elected under that banner to cut social programs while keeping my taxes low.

9. I envy BP, Exxon and other massive polluters who can make hundreds of billions off of energy and then only pay a couple of billion dollars in fines when our projects destroy a coastline.

10. I envy the mega corporations that have had the joy of laying off thousands of workers (like Romney has, that lucky dog!) and sending the jobs overseas under the aegis of free market capitalism.

12. I envy the 1% who have skillfully gotten their lackeys into Congress who in turn blame the 99% for being poor and unemployed.

13. I envy the 1% because when they screw up, somebody else pays.

Romney is right; it’s envy that motivates people to criticize the 1%, not justice, equality, common sense, humanism and compassion.

Peace,
Tex Shelters

Why I Support the Rosemont Copper Open-Pit Mine, by Tex Shelters

In Current Events, Economics on January 16, 2012 at 19:40

Clean Arizona Mine Water? from blogs.ngm.com

It was exciting to see so many people at the the Forest Service meeting for the Rosemont open-pit mine in Sahuarita on Saturday, January 14th. I was also happy to see all support for the 1% by the proletariat.

I support the open-pit mine because I support America. Thus I support Korean company Kores and Canadian consortium Augusta who will be extracting ore and profit from us. Furthermore, Rosemont will be able to ship the copper anywhere, like China, after it’s out of the ground. Yea America!

The quaint America first taint of the comments in the Sahuarita public school is so heart warming in a time of globalization, global capital and free markets that demand corporations sell to the highest bidder. And all that love we received was overwhelming after our corporations sent so many jobs overseas, closed plants and have fought public spending on roads, schools, water treatment and so forth. Frankly, us millionaires are against lavish spending to pay for teachers, fill potholes or make bridges safe.

The open-pit mine is the best kind because they are fast and complete. You don’t miss the opportunity for maximum tailings when you dig a big, mile-wide hole. Moreover, I love the smell of tailings in the morning.

Besides the mile-wide hole to behold, there are other reasons I support the mine.

I am for the Rosemont open-pit mine because I hate birds. Who cares about bio-diversity and animals? Humans are the only animals that matter. And those bird watchers are dirty hippies that need to get a job! Or is that Occupy Tucson? Whatever the case, only Marxists put birds before open-pit mines and profit.

As bad as the bird-watchers are, there are the astronomers who are demanding that we keep the lights down. Like all liberals, astronomers are hypocrites. They get to have their science but they want to prevent Rosemont from using their mining science. So what if a little light leaks into the sky? I hate the stars too!

And all the “sky is falling” chicken little environmentalists need to shut up about water quality and look at the facts. Nothing went wrong with BP and Exxon who protected the environment in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska. They followed the law completely, and so does Rosemont Copper and nothing will go wrong here either. Rosemont Copper has promised us, and corporations always follow through on their promises. Just ask the fishermen on the Gulf of Mexico.

Rosemont promises 500 jobs for 20 years in the mines. Some pessimists (liberals!) want to know what happens if the price of copper collapses. Don’t worry about us. We can just close the mine and take it as a write off.

I am in favor of the Rosemont Copper open-pit mine because despite the incomplete environmental impact draft study by the U.S. Forest Service, I am sure that we can trust corporations to do what is best for the people in the region. We need to start chopping into that mountain while the getting is good and before people realize there are better, cleaner ways to mine than using an open pit and there are other ways to create those 500 jobs Rosemont swears will be here for 20 years.

Besides, making millionaires money without risk to us is the best reason to support the open-pit mine. I can also support the Rosemont open-pit mine because I don’t live in area and I won’t have to look at it, drink the water or smell the air. I will only have to look at the wonderful cash I will make from my investment. And thanks again to all those at the meeting for supporting the billionaires’ mine.

Peace,
Tex Shelters

Wall Street Wins the 2012 Iowa Caucuses

In Current Events, Economics, Election Politics on January 5, 2012 at 00:07

Buying the Election from Salon.com

Romney had 8 more votes next to his name in the Iowa caucuses, and that means everyone else lost. Romney has the lead in New Hampshire, the next Republican primary, and he has the lead in money. Only Barack Obama has more campaign cash on hand than Mitt Romney. Without a crushing defeat in Iowa, Romney’s path to the nomination is clear. No amount of evangelical enthusiasm for Santorum, or youth and independent excitement for Ron Paul, will make a difference. Unless hit by a huge scandal, Wall Street’s man won’t lose now.

The Political Action Committee, PAC, Restore our Future spent $3 million in attack ads against Newt Gingrich after Gingrich had taken a lead in the polls about a month ago. A look at their website makes it clear that they are a pro-Romney, anti-Gingrich PAC. Because they operate as a PAC, Restore our Future received well over the $2500 individual contribution limit from individuals, i.e. millionaires. In fact, the four top donors gave $1 million each. And even though this PAC clearly supports the candidacy of Mitt Romney, they don’t face the same scrutiny as individual donors do. By giving to a PAC, donors can donate as much as they want. In essence, political influence in D.C. is sold to the highest bidders.

When money wins a political campaign, Wall Street wins. And so it was in Iowa on Tuesday. Occupy Wall Street and other occupy movements all over our nation have been working for four months to end the influence Wall Street has on politics. Wall Street has been buying influence in the nations capital through a combination of lobbying, donating to campaigns, PACs, making back room deals, and giving largess through cushy jobs after Congress members end their public work for 220 years in the United States, since 1792. So don’t expect the Occupy Wall Street movement to change Wall Street’s influence in national politics overnight.

Wall Street has a lot invested in the Presidency, having already contributed $16,835,938 to the various presidential campaigns, more than any other sector. Almost half of that total has gone to Mitt Romney ($7,801,006) with about a quarter going to President Obama ($4,187,924).  That means that 75% of the money donated by Wall Street and financial institutions has gone to the front runners in the two major parties. The Presidential race is a win-win for them regardless of what party comes out on top, although Romney is clearly their number-one choice.

Why does Romney win though he has low favorability ratings within his own party? Money, Romney’s low unfavorable ratings, and the desire to have a chance to beat Barack Obama will propel Romney to the nomination despite being a former moderate Republican on many issues. “Some financiers, like Schwarzman, are Republicans who may have chosen Romney because they think he’s the candidate most likely to beat Obama.”

Only 10% of Romney’s donations are from small donors, and that is 10% more than Wall Street wants. That makes Romney the clear choice of the 1%. And because money largely determines the winners of national and statewide elections, Romney is in a good position to win the Republican nomination.

Mark Green, Author of Selling Out: How Big Corporate Money Buys Elections, Rams Through Legislation, and Betrays Our Democracy, writes clearly about how money is the determining factor in the election of politicians in America. Even in 1904, the influence money had on the Presidential race was dramatic, “Fearing defeat, Roosevelt rejected pleas by Progressives to rely on small individual contributions and turned instead for financial support to the very bankers and industrialists who had only recently supported Hanna as the most acceptable Republican candidate….Some of the country’s richest men-Cornelius Bliss, J. P. Morgan, and Andrew Carnegie among them-contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars, and once it was known that the President was accepting corporate money, other financiers flooded the campaign with contributions, many of which were never publicized. Roosevelt won the presidency by a landslide.”

Here is a list of the top donors to Romney’s campaign this election cycle. Note that these are almost all financial institutions; Romney is clearly in the pockets of those largely responsible helping bring about the recession.

Goldman Sachs $367,200
Credit Suisse Group $203,750
Morgan Stanley $199,800
HIG Capital $186,500
Barclays $157,750
Kirkland & Ellis $132,100
Bank of America $126,500
PriceWaterhouseCoopers $118,250
EMC Corp $117,300
JPMorgan Chase & Co $ 112,250
The Villages $97,500
Vivint Inc $80,750
Marriott International $79,837
Sullivan & Cromwell $79,250
Bain Capital $74,500
UBS AG $73,750
Wells Fargo $61,500
Blackstone Group $59,800
Citigroup Inc $57,050
Bain & Co $52,500
Total: $2,437,837

Bain Capital is Romney’s old firm. They made millions buying troubled companies and their assets, gutting them, sending any remaining jobs overseas, and then reselling the assets at a profit. Romney’s experience gutting companies and making millions for Wall Street is what the financial institutions look for in a candidate. They are unconcerned with social issues that preoccupy some religious conservatives, unless those issues can be used to divide the people amongst themselves and not against the plutocrats.

Romney also has more large donors than any candidate. More than 8,000 donors have given Romney the maximum of $2,500, compared to less than 6,000 maximum donors for Obama…Romney’s big individual donors hail from major financial institutions. His top five companies are all banks or financial service firms: Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley, HIG Capital and Barclay’s. Bank of America and PricewaterhouseCoopers help round out his top ten.”

Romney wants no limits on Wall Street donations. The more Wall Street can donate, the more the 1% wins at the expense of the rest of us, the 99%. With those donations, he will be able to outspend his Republican opponents and win the nomination for his Wall Street cronies. Mitt Romney might feel the satisfaction of garnering the most votes next to his name, but the victory is not his to celebrate. Clearly, Wall Street won the Iowa caucus.

Peace,
Tex Shelters

Tex Shelter’s Best of 2011

In Current Events, Economics, Education, Election Politics, Humor on December 30, 2011 at 20:33

Flaming Peace from growabrain.typepad.com

Need a reading list for 2012? Well, here you are.

These articles have been chosen among the best of 2011 based on originality, quality of writing, and importance of the topic. I chose some because they are funny or at least they gave me a laugh. They are not ranked, they are chosen chronologically and are only numbered for ease of reading.

1. Stop the Race to National Standards and Race to the Top
http://texshelters.wordpress.com/2011/01/08/stop-the-race-to-national-standards-and-race-to-the-top/

This is one of a few articles where I go after high stakes testing as a failed policy (No Child Left Behind) from the Bush administration, given a white wash, and renamed Race to the Top.

Reasons to read: It’s an amalgam of various criticisms of Race to the Top, criticisms that need to be understood before we let corporations ruin our schools beyond repair.

Excerpt: So, teachers’ pay has to be based on how well little John or Sally or Juan or Chin or Liliana does on a standardized test that is only valid if you don’t considered the cultural and economic variations of all students everywhere. And, RTTT gives extra points for creating more charter schools.

2. Michelle Rhee, Wisconsin, and the Attack on Teachers
http://texshelters.wordpress.com/2011/02/27/michelle-rhee-wisonsin-and-the-attack-on-teachers/

Why this is worth a read: In this article, I discredit the super-hero of education “reform”, Michelle Rhee. I understand people such as Rhee and Secretary of Education Duncan are symptoms of a greater problem, but like a viral infection, it helps to remove as much of the disease as possible. I also criticize merit based pay that is centered on high stakes testing.

Excerpt: Can you imagine someone going into a hospital, looking at a few charts and then firing half the doctors because they weren’t performing to a set of medical testing data? Most members of Congress would lose their jobs if they had to perform to criteria many of them want to impose on teachers, and they would not put up with it.

3. The Senate is the most Democratic legislative body in the World
http://texshelters.wordpress.com/2011/03/31/the-senate-is-the-most-democratic-legislative-body-in-the-world-update-for-linking/

I wrote this article because I was sick and tired of the Senate blocking useful reform and I wanted to explain how undemocrat the Senate is.

Reason to read this: People need to learn facts about the Senate you might not have known. Note the sardonic tone of the piece used to deride this anti-democratic institution.

Excerpt: The latest example of the Senate’s love and support of democracy, though there are so many, is health care reform. By its very nature, the Senators in the finance committee are democratic. They represent a small part of the country, and they can stop health care for everyone.

4. Other Official State Items We Need in Arizona
http://texshelters.wordpress.com/2011/03/25/other-official-state-items-we-need-in-arizona/

I wrote this after the Arizona state legislature, in its finite wisdom, decided we needed an official state gun. Arizona is a microcosm of politics in the United States. It’s an example of how a few crazy people can ruin a good state for the rest of us.

Reasons to read: You might laugh and cry and groan all at the same time.

Excerpt: The official state border crossing; changes weekly.

5. Accepted Assumptions that are Wrong: A Healthy Stock Market Means a Healthy Economy
http://texshelters.wordpress.com/2011/03/20/accepted-assumptions-that-are-wrong-a-healthy-stock-market-means-a-healthy-economy/

Reason to read: It goes to the very core of misguided economic news, the stock market. It is also one of my best pieces on this myth and a good read, and if I were to give an award for best written, this piece gets the Golden Texy.

Excerpt: Americans outside the brokerage and banking industries, outside of the Forbes 500 and their cronies in D.C, are suffering. The stock market doesn’t gage if average people are doing well, it is a gage of what speculators think they can make from betting on, or against, a certain stock. It is a false indicator of prosperity, unless you look at the holders and manipulators of large stock portfolios.

6. Where is the Proof that Obama is even Human?
http://texshelters.wordpress.com/2011/04/27/where-the-proof-that-obama-is-even-human/

Reason to read: In this article, I mock the birthers and those that would take political advantage of birthers by taking it one step further, questioning Obama’s species credentials. If he were a dog, I would want to see his papers.

Excerpt: First, I want to see a copy of Obama’s physical examinations to prove that he is human. The Constitution clearly states that you must be a human to be president, and I have yet to see proof that Obama is. Why won’t any of Obama’s supposed doctors come forward? Perhaps he’s not really a human?

Why hasn’t Michelle Obama come forward with proof Obama is really a man. How do we know that Obama didn’t have a sex change and was really a woman? What proof do we really have? Until I see a photo of Obama’s penis, I can’t believe Obama’s a man. Why won’t Obama come forward with his penis?

Best Line: Why won’t Obama come forward with his penis?

7. How Republicans “Win” Elections or Support the “Voter Shooter Law”
http://texshelters.wordpress.com/2011/04/20/how-republicans-win-elections/

Reason to read: A very important article for the year 2012 and the elections. It’s a run-down of the voter suppression and election tactics that make it possible for Republicans to win elections. Then I add a list of suggestions of how to suppress the vote further, as seen in the excerpt below.

Excerpt: 3. Charge neighborhoods with the hiring of employees, the buying of voting machines, and rent in order to have polling places in their neighborhood. That should keep voting down to only those that contribute enough to society to deserve a vote. However, we will not have a poll tax,  for that is un-American.

Memorable line: Voters are easily manipulated by nationalistic symbolism and the Republicans count on it to win elections.

8. How to Promote High Stakes Testing: Lie
http://texshelters.wordpress.com/2011/05/30/how-to-promote-high-stakes-testing-lie/

Reason to Read: This article features examples of teachers, schools, superindendents and school districts so desperate for funding that they lied about their test results. This story is important and not enough people know about it.

Excerpt: In the movie Waiting for Superman, charter schools based on the KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) model are touted as out performing public schools. However, this model leaves children behind and thus their stats are gamed,

“Taxpayer-funded KIPP schools, praised in the film ‘Waiting for Superman,’ succeed in sending poor graduates to college because the lowest-performing students drop out or don’t enroll at all, a study found.”

Important line: So, the high stakes testing regimen faced by schools all over this nation was based on a lie, and that lie has produced millions in sales for CTB/McGraw-Hill, makers of testing materials and friends to President Bush.

9. Obama Shows his Hatred of Israel by Admitting Palestinians are Human
http://texshelters.wordpress.com/2011/05/28/obama-shows-his-hatred-of-israel-by-admitting-palestinians-are-human/

Reasons to Read: The article directly discredits the big lie that “Obama hates Israel” in an alternating serious and sardonic style. I wrote it after a well educated Jew I know asked me, “Why does Obama hate Israel?”, and then she refused to debate me on it because instead of using her analytic, scientific brain (she is studying medicine), she told me that she was “too emotional” to talk about it. Well yea.

Look at the facts and learn that Obama wants peace, and that includes for Palestinians too. Sorry, but Obama thinks Palestinians are also human. Some paranoid Jews and Republicans who want to attack Obama don’t even bother to look at Obama’s complete speech and stick to the big lie about Obama’s hatred of Israel that Republicans have pushed since Obama ran for president. Also, look at the map and the borders. The 1967 border is almost exactly the same as the current borders.

Excerpt: Clearly, Netanyahu wants no peace. And there are Arab governments, namely Iran, that don’t want to see a peace between Israelis and Palestinians either. If nothing else, pissing off Iran and other Muslim nationalists in the region should move Israel to peace talks. Furthermore, I am sure there are multinational arms dealers selling weapons to Israel and Muslim jihadists that will suffer greatly if peace breaks out in Israel and Palestine.

Memorable line: How Dare Obama hate Israel by stating their need to be secure!

10. Stop the Socialist FEMA Takeover of the Midwest
http://texshelters.wordpress.com/2011/05/25/stop-the-socialist-fema-takeover-of-the-midwest/

Reason to Read: Republicans hate the government, until they need it. This article mocks the tendency of hypocritical Republicans to take government money when it helps them but cut funding when it might help someone else.

Excerpt/Memorable Line: Yes, the state legislature refuses aid for the unemployed caught under the dual tornado of joblessness and state cuts, and they should stick to their guns, and pull them out of their holsters, to refuse socialist FEMA funds to help those affected by the recent tornadoes.

11. Every Day, I’m More Gay
http://texshelters.wordpress.com/2011/07/25/i’m-more-gay-every-day/

Reasons to read: Sometimes the only thing you can do to fight homophobia is to amuse those that realize most homophobes are scared and ignorant, and laugh at them. I write like a confused homophobe, and exaggerate the fears these people must be feeling to humorous effect. There are too many good lines to quote here, so read it.

Excerpt: Then another shocking revelation came my way when I learned that Freddy Mercury was a gay man the whole time I was listening to his music and watching his videos, on MTV! Imagine a band named “Queen” having homosexual members in it. Who would have known?

Memorable Line: Yes, I know Broadway is not just for gays any more, but it’s the gayt way drug to homosexuality.

12. Defending the Power Elite in America Against the Interests of the People: The Case of the United States Government
http://texshelters.wordpress.com/2011/08/03/defending-the-power-elite-in-america-against-the-interests-of-the-people-the-case-of-the-united-states-government/

Reason to read: This article illuminates the undemocratic structures in our government and questions the firmly held beliefs of our elected officials and much of the population that we are a highly evolved democracy. And, it’s not a bad read.

Excerpt:  The form of our government in the United States is one that is not conducive to change and radicalism. It is set up to prevent big sweeping changes and thus promotes the interests of those in power, the moneyed and political elite. Elections for political office do little to change the underlying body politic, changing one face for another, and are only cosmetic in nature.

Line to Remember: As long as we have a two party system in the United States run by money and limited choice, we will never have a government by the people and for the people.

13. Facts about Class, Poverty and Downward Mobility
http://texshelters.wordpress.com/2011/09/28/facts-about-class-poverty-and-downward-mobility/

Reason to read: This article is a well written exposé about class in the United States and the lies the right-wing and political and economic elite use to defend their economic dominance, greed and the plutocracy.

Excerpt: If it was just a matter of working hard, why is poverty rising and wealth more concentrated at the top than ever before? Is it that 80% of Americans are lazy? There is a given amount of wealth in a nation and thus when more wealth is concentrated at the top, there will be more poverty at the bottom.

Memorable Line: The idea of the American dream is one of the most successful pieces of propaganda ever perpetuated.

14. Endangered Billionaire Job Creators

Video of the year by Tex Shelters done in the style of an endangered species ad. If you gag every time you hear the term “job creators” about mega corporations who are actually job cutters, this video is for you.

15. My Dream Christmas Letter From Obama to the Republican National Committee
http://texshelters.wordpress.com/2011/12/12/my-dream-christmas-letter-from-obama-to-the-republican-national-committee/

Reason to Read: The article is a letter I would love to see Obama send Republicans and it explains why he will win in 2012. It also highlights the faulty Republican candidates and how they are not qualified for the campaign trail let alone the office of the presidency. Moreover, it’s funny.

Excerpt: And Michelle Bachmann, what can I say? She thinks black families had it better during slavery than they do now. Thank you for that Representative Bachmann. Have you asked Herman Cain about that?

Memorable line: You know how to make a guy feel welcome, to four more years in the White House.

So there you have it, some of my choices for articles that deserve an addition read and issues that deserve further consideration.

Peace, and happy New Year,
Tex Shelters

Happy New Year, World, from Tex Shelters of Occupy Tucson

In Current Events, Economics, History, Occupy Movement on December 29, 2011 at 23:30

Occupy the World from flyingnorth.net

To: The World and all its residents
From: Tex Shelters of Occupy Tucson, speaking for himself and not the movement
Re: Current Conditions and prospects

Dear World:

Happy New Year, World. I know we have had a rough year and not treated you well. I hope you forgive humanity and realize that many of us see some of what you are going through and want to help. I also want to acknowledge that “New Year” is a human construct and that the world has a different concept of time, living eternally in the moment and constantly in forever.

Sorry about the global warming world. I know you try to accommodate humanity, but at this rate, I wouldn’t blame you if you threw us all off for our continued burning of your forests, coal and oil fields. And sorry about the BP oil spill in the gulf, world. I only wish that the corporations that caused the spill weren’t getting so little punishment and that we would use that disaster to change our energy policy.

We are worried about your 1.4 billion that live in extreme poverty despite your bounty. It’s not your fault, world, but we have created a system that allows such suffering and depravity. The one percent hoard more than they need, and most of us have been accomplices to this plunder.

We occupiers and others are disturbed that the United States leads the way in incarcerating its people, and that the world far too often sees prison as an answer to social problems. I know that’s not what you want us to do with your resources.

We are upset about the continued war economy that puts money into weapons and their manufacturers, weapons that are created for the sole purpose of killing. Sorry world. We occupiers do want to end wars and the use of these weapons that protect the wealth of the 1%. We occupy because we don’t think it’s too late to end this endless war.

We are upset about all the foreclosures on homes, especially those that could be saved with some creative refinancing. Bankers are very good at finding creative ways to make money, hide their lack of liquidity, create credit default swaps, collateralized debt obligations and other financial instruments to make money off the hard earned work of others. But neither the banks nor the government have been willing to work creatively to help people from losing their homes. And the efforts that have been made are inadequate to meet the needs of homeowners. This is not what the world needs.

We are upset by CEOs that make millions even when their companies lose money. The world would be a better place without these greedy people.

We are upset about the Washington, DC revolving door in which Congress members can get jobs making millions at Wall Street firms as Washington insiders and use their Congressional contacts to help their new companies get contracts, tax cuts, reduced regulation, and other benefits. We are upset by Congress selling our democracy to the highest donor for a few dollars and thus sell out everyone’s future. They are no better than dictators who rob their national treasuries. Moreover, we are upset that Congress can in essence practice insider trading, further selling out our democracy.

World, we are upset that many in Congress would rather cut programs that help Americans in a time of need than work with the president to create jobs.

We occupy because we don’t think it’s too late to help create positive change. So please dear world, help us educate the populous about the greedy few who want to ruin the planet for all of us and for far too long have not been challenged.

Peace,
Tex Shelters

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 122 other followers