Saturday, January 30, 2016

Sanders: Man the Skirmish Line!

Troops to the skirmish line! The elephants will be coming after Bernie!
Just think of them as incredibly well funded, "Cold War" elephants

Sanders' Campaign:
The State of Play
Sometimes "old" means "experience,"
and sometimes "experience" means breathtaking competence -- 
at both campaigning and governing. 

Perhaps it is not too judgmental to characterize the current field of Presidential "wanna-be's" as clear evidence portraying both the benefit and liability of riding the wave of "lead surfer" in a nation wide personality cult. This is somewhat troubling because political campaigns, at least traditionally, have been all about policy and platform.

So, what happens when a well populated "clutch" of the personality cult types wind up facing one of the policy and platform types? Further, what is the result when one or two of the personality cult types seem to be gaining a curious traction in the numbers while another of the personality cult types seems to be slowly bleeding out -- pretty much like last time -- as more and more of her character and reputation emerge.

Granted, the billionaires' toadies have made ineffective albeit very public efforts to undercut her, but the most material damage seems to have originated from those in her own party who are simply tired after decades of oatmeal. Neither tea bag Republicans nor traditional "brown shoe" Democrats -- including the young -- seem particularly interested in the prospects of electing another moribund, establishment politician with questionable allegiances.

The Political "Personality Cult"
versus the "Hard Policy" Candidates
Don't leave the cake out in the rain...

When it comes to MeanMesa's "personality cult" versus "policy oriented" division of the candidates, Sanders' historical credentials spring out instantly. Thirty-five years ago, in 1981, he entered the "hands-on" realm city management, responsibility and decision making. After being re-elected three times as mayor of his home state's largest city, he won subsequent elections as Vermont's US Congressional representative and, finally, as Vermont's US Senator. All of this might be "yesterday's news," but there are a few important details buried in this notable record.

For example, in 2012 he won the US Senate race for his re-election with a 71% majority. Don't fail to notice. This was a majority which included lots of Republicans. Perhaps equally notable, Sanders has been winning elections -- a string of them -- for a variety of seats. He was not a "new face" popping up with plenty of campaign cash for these victories, either. The voters who chose him were quite aware of his positions, character and dependability as a candidate.

On the painfully rare occasions when the useless domestic media broadcasts any comment on the Sanders' candidacy, these facts about his record are assiduously avoided, a pattern which might be considered "editorially generous" to the other candidates who have remarkably sparse experience in either the requirements for election or the details of service for such offices. When the bi-partisan victories such as the one in 2012 are added to the mix, his competition begins to reveal an disturbingly shallow experience background.

Perhaps the closest is Mrs. Clinton, but neither the position as New York's US Senator or Secretary of State, while very visible and certainly very important, included the day-to-day, hard grinding management and decision making found in Sanders' resume.

This post is not recounting all this to validate Sanders' desirability as a potential President. Instead, all these attributes are gathered here to present Sanders' incredible credentials as a candidate.  The point here is that this man is a seasoned pro at the art of campaigning with respect to both presenting a palatable persona of honesty and integrity, campaigning with attractive, populist, winning policy proposals AND managing and navigating a successful campaign without crawling into a friendly, "patriotic" billionaire's back pocket. We don't see anything similar to such expertise anywhere else in the 2016 candidate field -- on either side.

Is this the year of social media politics?
When there is no other media, maybe.[fB]
The incredible "black out" order issued to the useless domestic media was, at first, admittedly rather irritating to MeanMesa,[...if not out rightly incomprehensible. MeanMesa had no expectation that the media mogul executives would even try something so potentially disastrous to the already quivering tatters of their credibility.] however, as the campaigns have proceeded through their various fetal stages, this "black out" has begun to represent a shocking, fascinating "temporal anomaly!" Sanders can, quite obviously, be "blacked out" if that is what the billionaires and their think tanks choose as their "opposition tactic," but the "temporal anomaly" part arises from the very extremely likely prospect of Sanders winning some very public, very visible primary elections leaving the oligarchs media management campaign not only failed, but dangerously exposed.

No one should be particularly surprised that the early polling results are a contradictory, criss-crossed, contradictory mayhem. Just examine who was running them. By the time of the New Hampshire primary all of the expensively manipulated "fog" will have cleared, and that bright sunshine will be illuminating Sanders' political muscle and revealing a massive embarrassment for the scheme of the media money class after one of their "secret weapons" after another sails harmlessly by Bernie's bow in a clear miss.

Although these prospects are quite pleasant on their own merit as we consider them, remember that both of these will land like potato sacks on the gaseous "overwhelming polling victories" the oligarchs have been touting.

Fully one third of the posts on MeanMesa's fB page are from
Sanders supporters. The rest are talking cats and UFO photos.

[image fB/NewsHub]
The Sanders' support is real. It is material, and it portends an almost unbelievable political potency.pregnant reality of that approaching moment suggests that the "upset" may be even more delicious than the "wet dream" in MeanMesa's fantasy.

In that troubled dream Sanders slowly and patiently survives primaries until he is able to, at some later point, stand up as some sort of viable candidate left trapped in the arena with Hillary Clinton. In MeanMesa's "even more delicious" scenario Sanders will become an indisputable "force to be reckoned with" leaving the confused and bewildered Clintons sitting quietly in an abandoned primary office in South Carolina.

Are the Billionaires Too Drunk To Pay Attention?
Abortion! Benghazi! Carpet bombing! Selling baby parts!
LOOK! Isn't that Donald Trump's helicopter?

Now, where were we...

This may sound like another geriatric exaggeration, but if trends continue as they are going now, by May the entire GOP field will have very publicly demonstrated a crippling lack of capacity to "deal with reality." [Traditionally, beyond the trailer park bigots and hill billies, 'dealing with reality' has been a necessary credential for both Presidential candidates and Presidents.] Even the GOP's almost comatose trailer park crowd will be wondering "If he's as good as he's been saying he is, how in the world did 'our guy' miss this?"

Already, the front line "establishment" GOP candidates are desperately hoping that the billionaires' will protect them by manipulating the sold out domestic media. There is a real possibility that the billionaires will do exactly this, but even the big money boys will be shaken by this time. The grumbling plutocrats will be experiencing the first nips of seven digit "buyer's remorse" as they watch the politically impossible rapidly sweeping away their billion dollar Citizen United "fix-it" budget and their hollow, inauthentic candidates -- along with their truly creepy, oligarchic looting dreams and schemes.

Bernie Sanders is patiently, meticulously and essentially painlessly dismantling the establishment meat grinder piece by piece. Most of the "heavy grinding" is being provided by the salivating billionaires screaming out the orders to all the politicians and media moguls the own. For example, the Owners of the Republican Party will not even allow their loud mouthed Presidential candidates to mention the name when the cameras are rolling.

On the other side of a couple of primary victories, this is about to change.

Clearly suffering from being so crassly excluded from this County Club Clown Car control festival, poor Donald Trump has still mustered up enough gumption to label Sanders a "whacko Communist." Unhappily for Donald, such a potentially repeatable epithet might have actually gained some traction with the trailer park crowd had it not been buried in the odorous context of everything else The Donald has been consistently grumbling and screeching.

However, if you are a billionaire having nightly wet dream fantasies about owning the entire Republic, well...let's just say that Senator Sanders represents an absolutely horrifying "numbers problem." Further, "cruel fate's timing" could not be worse for your scheme -- national polling shows that the Vermont Mayor is murdering every one of the well financed toadies you've sent to "do your dirty work."

Now, perhaps as many as one fourth of these billionaires is smart enough to finally pick up on these facts before the "cookies are completely over done." Granted, even though these types live in Murdoch's "Conservative Wonderland," they will -- at some point -- slowly begin to rationally countenance the cast iron, bad drugs toothache reality of Sanders' populist popularity among voters.

For the meat handed plutocrats their dream of a well funded 2016 election victory is squirming out of their hands day by day. The only question "remaining on the table" concerns precisely how long this realization will take to penetrate the right wing's numbing, narcotic chorus of blatantly "inaccurate" mouth junk experts such as FOX, ABC, CNN and the like who have exclusively had their ears.

MeanMesa reminds visitors to the blog that "Mittens" Romney famously rolled into his "victory celebration" lubricated with a narcotic wet dream of taking control of the entire planet. THIS is what happens to the denizens of FOX-land -- after a certain point they have absolutely no idea what is actually happening. Mittens, after utterly botching his political take over attempt and following the arrival of the outcome of the 2012 balloting, headed out for his GOP "victory" rally without a written concession speech. How does one meander so far from the "surly bonds" of reality? Easy. Just listen to FOX.

Anticipating the Plutocrats' "Counter Attack"
Their accountants and think tank strategists
are probably telling them to cut their losses 
and head to the Country Club for a nice drink.

Somewhere along the path to the Democratic nomination we can -- quite confidently -- expect the billionaires to see through Rupert Murdoch's addictive, soporific veil. After the months of tactical maneuvering they've conducted while presuming that Hillary Clinton was to be their preeminent opponent [This error was the predictable result of their exclusive reliance upon FOX and the others for information about the 2016 election's "inevitables."], they will suddenly find themselves confronted by a terrifyingly different, unexpected competitor.

Compared to Mrs. Clinton, Sanders will most likely be truly frightening for them. Not the least among the difference to be found between the Democratic hopefuls will be the quality of "policy" versus "personality."

So, although the billionaires and their think tanks are awkwardly unaccustomed to delivering "political sucker punches" based on actual "policy" arguments as compared to "personality" arguments, we must anticipate that in no time the Owners of the Republican Party will be unleashing massive numbers of well financed, negative media purchases directed at Sanders. MeanMesa presumes that the first waves of these will be curiously "off target," but the billionaires' think tank psych-experts will re-calibrate rather quickly.

Happily, we can review a little recent history to see a similar process. In the following article from The Intercept Glenn Greenwald compares the rise of Bernie Sanders' candidacy to the rise of Jeremy Corbyn, a decidedly liberal "surprise," who was unexpectedly elected recently as the Leader of the Labour Party in the UK.

Glenn Greenwald January 21, 2016

The Seven Stages
 of Establishment Backlash:
Corbyn/Sanders Edition

[Excerpted. Links in original content disabled for formatting. 
Read the entire article  here - The Intercept]

The British political and media establishment incrementally lost its collective mind over the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the country’s Labour Party, and its unraveling and implosion show no signs of receding yet. Bernie Sanders is nowhere near as radical as Corbyn; they are not even in the same universe. But, especially on economic issues, Sanders is a more fundamental, systemic critic than the oligarchical power centers are willing to tolerate, and his rejection of corporate dominance over politics, and corporate support for his campaigns, is particularly menacing. He is thus regarded as America’s version of a far-left extremist, threatening establishment power.

For those who observed the unfolding of the British reaction to Corbyn’s victory, it’s been fascinating to watch the D.C./Democratic establishment’s reaction to Sanders’ emergence replicate that, reading from the same script. I personally think Clinton’s nomination is extremely likely, but evidence of a growing Sanders movement is unmistakable. Because of the broader trends driving it, this is clearly unsettling to establishment Democrats — as it should be.

Just as was true for Corbyn, there is a direct correlation between the strength of Sanders and the intensity of the bitter and ugly attacks unleashed at him by the D.C. and Democratic political and media establishment. There were, roughly speaking, seven stages to this establishment revolt in the U.K. against Corbyn, and the U.S. reaction to Sanders is closely following the same script:

STAGE 1: Polite condescension toward what is perceived to be harmless (we think it’s really wonderful that your views are being aired).

STAGE 2: Light, casual mockery as the self-belief among supporters grows (no, dears, a left-wing extremist will not win, but it’s nice to see you excited).

STAGE 3: Self-pity and angry etiquette lectures directed at supporters upon realization that they are not performing their duty of meek surrender, flavored with heavy doses of concern trolling (nobody but nobody is as rude and gauche online to journalists as these crusaders, and it’s unfortunately hurting their candidate’s cause!).

STAGE 4: Smear the candidate and his supporters with innuendos of sexism and racism by falsely claiming only white men support them (you like this candidate because he’s white and male like you, not because of ideology or policy or contempt for the party establishment’s corporatist, pro-war approach).

STAGE 5: Brazen invocation of right-wing attacks to marginalize and demonize, as polls prove the candidate is a credible threat (he’s weak on terrorism, will surrender to ISIS, has crazy associations, and is a clone of Mao and Stalin).

STAGE 6: Issuance of grave and hysterical warnings about the pending apocalypse if the establishment candidate is rejected, as the possibility of losing becomes imminent (you are destined for decades, perhaps even generations, of powerlessness if you disobey our decrees about who to select).

STAGE 7: Full-scale and unrestrained meltdown, panic, lashing-out, threats, recriminations, self-important foot-stomping, overt union with the Right, complete fury (I can no longer in good conscience support this party of misfits, terrorist-lovers, communists, and heathens).

Britain is well into Stage 7, and may even invent a whole new level (anonymous British military officials expressly threatened a “mutiny” if Corbyn were democratically elected as prime minister). The Democratic media and political establishment has been in the heart of Stage 5 for weeks and is now entering Stage 6. The arrival of Stage 7 is guaranteed if Sanders wins Iowa.

Manning the Sanders Skirmish Line
A matter of preparation AND unbending intent
Hike up your garters! It's going to get crazy.

In terms of the electorate the billionaires have a firm grip on the trailer park crowd. There will be little incentive for the billionaires to complicate this asset with additional propaganda, but if Bernie Sanders emerges as the Democratic Party front runner, the predictable political propaganda histrionics will explode with "all the vigor that money can buy." We can further presume that the now clearly established, various, competing chancres in the GOP will each craft these attacks in the specific manner most beneficial to promoting their ideology.

MeanMesa should share a few "intuitive conclusions" about the state of the US electorate.
Yes, this is the bunch who plan to attack Bernie.
[image source]

1. Ask 100 voters if they particularly care who wins the 2016 election. The majority answer will probably be: "Not really."

2. Ask 100 voters if they realize that -- along with the House, Senate and Supreme Court -- 3/4 of the States are now completely in GOP hands. Ask them if this makes them think that the Democrats are really going to be the "winning team."

3. Ask 100 voters if they have ever heard of Bernie Sanders. Ask the ones who have responded with a "yes" to mention three things about the policies he is proposing in his campaign.

How can "collections of nobodies" [us] possibly stop the rush of billionaire inspired, carefully crafted "inaccuracies" [lies] to the millions of uninformed, uneducated, uninterested voters?

This may sound daunting, but it is a challenge we can meet. The way we meet it is by knocking on hundreds of thousands of doors in states having primary elections and in states not having primary elections. This means everywhere. [MeanMesa  has done plenty of door to door canvassing. It works lots better than phone banking. Why? Because you're standing there in front of them, staring them in the eye. They  will know you care, and they will know you mean what you're saying.]

This means being able to actually discuss the Sanders campaign when someone answers one of those doors. This means knowing enough about Bernie Sanders to explain who he is to one of those voters.

There will not be a groundswell shift of public opinion with the media as useless as it is. The Democratic Party is the best chance we have as Americans right now. If the Republicans lose this election -- big time -- the GOP will wither and die. Once that is accomplished, it will be time to rid ourselves of the Democratic Party and replace it with something that works.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

APS's Half Billion Dollar Pitch

A Whole Lot More of the Same?
Does the mill levy target the real problem?

ELECTION - FEBRUARY 2, 2016 -- 31 Albuquerque Polling Stations Will Be Open

MeanMesa has lived in Albuquerque for quite a while -- the U-Haul rolled in here on the day the jets were crashing into the World Trade Center. After spending this much time watching the Albuquerque Public School system and talking to the parents of students enrolled in it, three puzzling conclusions have emerged.

1. Educational outcomes for New Mexico -- including those for Albuquerque -- have been consistently dismal when compared to similar figures for the rest of the states.

2. Plenty [perhaps not "all" or even "most"] of Albuquerque citizens are less than impressed with the performance of the system -- not exclusively any specific part of the system -- but with the entire, apparently self-sustaining, dysfunctional performance of all the parts.

3. Apparently contradicting item 2 [above], most Albuquerque citizens relying on the system to educate their children harbor a strangely stoic acceptance to APS's institutional inertia which leaves them uninterested with the prospect of introducing really far reaching, in depth, systemic improvements to it.

These are pretty broad assertions, so it makes sense to spend a little time with each one -- especially in the light of the $575 Million bond proposal.

MeanMesa encountered three attractive, bright faced high school girls distributing the following card to front doors around the neighborhood. It spells out the pitch -- quite professionally -- from APS and the School Board to encourage Albuquerque voters to approve the mill levy question on the upcoming ballot. If any of the blog's Albuquerque followers haven't received one of these yet, be patient.

The APS Mailer
Perhaps surprisingly, MeanMesa has no particular problem with the goals stated on the cards justifying the expenditure of this money or the mill levy proposal, itself. The local school infrastructure can definitely benefit from some serious attention. Even before the voter campaign, MeanMesa had firmly decided to cast a "yes" vote on the proposal.

The assertions made [above] at the beginning of the post are pretty broad, so it makes sense to spend a little time with each one -- especially in the light of the $575 Million bond proposal.

1. Educational outcomes don't improve much when the APS budget is increased.

When the discussion descends to specific complaints about APS policy of a certain teacher's classroom techniques or the like, the bigger picture becomes blurred. It's natural for parents -- and tax payers -- to single out their "personal issues" with the way APS is handling their child's education or handling the APS budget for, say, building maintenance and so on.

However, MeanMesa thinks the real story here needs to address the "bigger picture" -- the picture in which APS can be considered more as a monolithic institution, and, importantly, what might possibly be done to change this "big picture monolith" into one with improved performance.

Now, although New Mexico -- and particularly, Albuquerque -- residents have demonstrated this unusual "acceptance" of the current performance of APS, when we "switch the parameters," we might understandably expect a better "return" from this 30% "chunk" of the State's budget. For example, if 30% of the same expenditures were dedicated to the highways in the State, we could, once again, very reasonably compare the condition of New Mexico's State highways to state highways conditions found in other states.

It turns out that we -- as common citizens -- know a great deal more about the very material "performance" of something like highway spending than we know about the rather abstract "performance" of education spending.

MeanMesa thinks that THIS is at the root of the problem. We literally do not know what a "reasonable expectation" of APS performance might look like. Further, we have a very visible reluctance to compare APS's performance to that of similar school systems in other states -- i.e. as noted in Albuquerque's very "agitated reluctance" to acknowledge the results of standardized testing.

Interestingly, this may perhaps not be the result of a conspiracy to confuse Albuquerque parents and taxpayers, but instead, the understandable result of school system which has lost track of its primary mission and the necessity of performing at a level with is competitive with national results. There is not much reason to expect the increased spending made possible by the mill levy funding to alter this much.

Student achievement does, actually, require suitable infrastructure, but improvements to infrastructure are not the central element required for better achievement.

2. What explains Albuquerque parents' "general malaise" with APS educational outcomes?

Albuquerque parents with a child attending school in the APS system cannot compare a child's educational progress with that of a child in, say, Minnesota. The parent's appraisal of this progress is individual; it is based on this parent's observation of the child last year compared to this year and generally not on a comparison of the child's progress with national [or international] educational outcomes.

Reviewing data presented on charts showing this comparison, even though the picture painted by such data may show a disastrous situation, will never provoke the same concern as the more subjective impression created at the family's dinner table. This appraisal unavoidably leads Albuquerque parents to the state of simply "hoping for the best" instead of very reasonably "demanding the best" -- or, at least, insisting on some outcomes which are consistent with the very public, material levels of spending.

Parents with children in APS have an intuitive feeling that things are not going along particularly well at all. This is a general impression. When the "educational professionals" respond to this, they predictably dive into minutia and specifics. The experts begin to explain things, not with the goal of actually explaining them, but instead, with the goal of establishing a sort of "counter argument" with the intention of allaying such parental fears about the system's deficient performance and introducing a suspicion that, as parents, they were not really sophisticated enough to understand "the causes."

When these perhaps overly general parental concerns have been relegated to such specific causes and otherwise ameliorated by these "descents into mitigating minutia," parents are supposed to feel "quite reassured" because these "intuitive" suspicions of theirs were not really well founded at all. This has apparently worked for quite a while, but now, the days of such an approach may, thankfully, seem to "be numbered."

The mill levy proposal may have placed all these considerations "on the table" in a very visible way.

The carefully crafted phenomenon patiently developed to this end is "institutional self-fortification." Any challenges which reasonably require significant changes are met with "tweeking" -- and that "tweeking" tends to serve a very institutional interest. After one of these "tweeks" [a minor adjustment to policy or, perhaps, a tiny bit of "unfinished business" with some APS staff member] has been instituted by the institution, practically everything roars back to "normal" almost immediately.

Far from being something similar to being "responsive to the concerns of the community and parents," making these continuous "adjustments" leaves APS's direction in a state so chaotic that it makes even the old adage, "run by committee," look very attractive, indeed.

3. What has caused the unusually tacit acceptance of APS performance by Albuquerque parents?

Amazingly, while still harboring these "uneasy feelings" concerning their children's education, Albuquerque parents are apparently loathe to insist on trying alternatives which are appreciably different from the status quo.

While there may be all manner of compellingly persuasive explanations for this anomaly, it's factual presence is a material player in resolving this. While MeanMesa might prefer to presume this opinion is a mere, confused, geriatric exaggeration, too many conversations with actual parents of actual APS students firmly suggests otherwise.

APS has endured these "contradictions" quite well. Even when the top leadership of the system plunged into an embarrassing scandal, there were curiously few voices agitating for any system-wide changes in philosophy. For the rest of the time Albuquerque parents remained silent, convinced that "only the educational professionals" had any business being so critical.

Within the political structure of the APS and the School Board, this "situational acceptance" offered only the most tediously perilous, temporary sort of job security for the system's leadership and employees [teachers].

APS political conditions entered into a "hyper-dynamic" state as the mill levy's half billion dollar price tag emerged into the public light. Would the "hypnotic" trance of the city's citizens hold in the face of such a big investment?

MeanMesa Suggests a Solution
We can't make an omelet without breaking some eggs.

Can anyone who isn't an "educational professional" actually offer any sort of a "path forward" from this institutional morass?


MeanMesa acknowledges that the full collection of "difficulties" both causing and resulting in APS's current problems will fill a long list -- a very long list. Still, as has already been mentioned in this post, formulating "fixes" to isolated, perhaps unique, "hot spots" no longer really even appears to be sufficient. This is a challenge which can be met only by much wider "adjustments," and it turns out that the balloting process for this mill levy offers an unexpected opportunity do do exactly this.

The advertisement encouraging Albuquerque voters to approve the mill levy proposal included an abbreviated accounting of precisely what the money is intended to purchase. [Interestingly, the amounts listed in the accounting were presented at the resolution of pennies, for example, "Student/Teacher furniture -- $464,996.25" and "Educational Technology -- $9,299,924.92." Although a mere curiosity, this represents the "public school" spending mentality. It may well be evidence that the mill levy's designers were concerned about the psychological impact that "rounding" the account figures might have had on already suspicious Albuquerque tax payers.]

Nonetheless, the title of this section of the post speaks to a "solution." Let's get to it.

Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) is a school district based in Albuquerque,New Mexico. Founded in 1891, APS is the largest of 89 public school districts in the state of New Mexico. In 2010 it had a total of 139 schools with some 95,000 students, making it one of the largest school districts in the United States. APS operates 89 elementary, 27 middle, and 13 high schools, as well as 10 alternative schools. [WIKI]

The school district employs roughly 9,500 teachers. Although there are plenty of problems, current APS teachers represent a major cause of the state of the system.

MeanMesa's "solution" can be expressed in a single sentence -- allocate part of the mill levy proceeds to:

Increase the salaries of APS teachers by 25%.
All of them.

[The salary increase would probably be unnecessary for the abnormally generous salaries already  being paid currently to APS institutional "administrators."]

Naturally, such a proposal merits a bit of explanation. Here's how it would work.

1. APS union teachers enjoy a significant, negotiated tenure. MeanMesa has no interest or appetite for union busting, but among those 9,500 APS teachers, there are more than a few who should, well, probably be employed in another career. A seventeen year old APS student lives right here in Galactic Headquarters and attends a near by APS high school. MeanMesa gets a first hand look at the caliber of school work, home work and general study materials "flowing" through this student's education.

The over all picture is not a pretty one.

There is, apparently, absolutely nothing which is the least bit exciting or engaging occurring in these classrooms. Even after carefully considering all the justifications for such a monstrosity, the conclusion remains the same. None of this student's teachers is "personally bothering to inject any life energy" into the education of this fellow. The grades are exemplary. The course work is horrifyingly inept.

2. These teachers are "here to stay." Not only the union contract's tenure provisions, but also the comparatively dismal pay scales offered by APS make this almost a certainty. 

Neither MeanMesa nor most other parents of Albuquerque APS students is prepared to barge into APS schools with a battering ram to start eliminating the dead weight among the teaching staff. For one, MeanMesa, although realizing the definite need to do this, would have no idea where to start.

The historical performance of APS, the parents and the teachers' union shows the level of "umbrage" and "outcry" necessary to remove and replace a tenured teacher. On the infrequent occasions when this actually takes place, the details are consistently institutional. There are "personnel matters," and they are usually more or less confidential.

3. However, there remains the possibility that the existing system could move dramatically to alter the current moribund inertia which is so depressing and troubling. Happily, MeanMesa's suggestion incorporates a few "temptations" for both the "organized labor hating" Round House and City Council Republicans and the "tenure and job security loving" union teachers. [This parking lot scrap has pretty well buried interest in educational outcomes.]

Just think of it as mixing anti-union ideology and organized labor with the free market while not committing suicide with "right to work" laws.

A "tit for tat" negotiation with the union would offer a significant increase in pay for the return benefit of a three to five year "vacation" of the union contract's tenure provisions. The higher pay rates would be actually competitive with other school district rates. They would attract better class teaching professionals. With the union's agreement to hold the tenure provisions of the contract in abeyance for a pre-determined period, existing APS teachers would have to actually compete with the new blood being drawn in by the increases in the negotiated pay scale.

The pay increase would be permanent, and the contract tenure provisions would return to force when the "experimental period" was complete. Hopefully, when the entire system "returned to normal," the APS teaching staff would have attracted enough new blood to positively influence the educational outcomes.

Those would be the "educational outcomes" which have been so shockingly low and shockingly static for far too long.

And, Finally, There Is Also This
Even the election's manipulation is confusing.

MeanMesa usually has a "gag reflex" whenever the idea of actually posting an Albuquerque Journal editorial comes to mind, but in this case there must be an exception. Spend three minutes with the following link.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Why Congress is the Way It Is

Are YOU "Suspicious
About the Level of Corruption in Washington?
Spend five minutes with this video -- data from Princeton study.

MeanMesa enjoys preparing posts about matters of interest, but for this post there is just this single link. The YOUTUBE video is a little more than five minutes.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Oligarchy: Three Voices Speak Out

A Soothing Disclaimer from the Stupendously Banal
Don't tarry too long -- we'll be "facing facts" soon enough.

There are plenty of folks who will nod in acquiescence when one proclaims "This world really hasn't changed much." Of course there's no telling what "thought model" has encouraged this human audience to tacitly agree with such an un-quantified proposition, but in such sweeping -- and dramatically poetic -- laments, we need not demand too "high a bar" as to the quality of information, observation and logic which might be driving us to such a conclusion.

In 2015 A.D the world has more than sufficient history behind it to draw some quite conservative conclusions about this "hasn't changed much" idea. Naturally, although the modern technological availability of such a literal glacier of "things" ranging from electric radios to steel belted tires might serve to counter this common argument on the plane of contradicting, material manifestations, other features of life on the planet appear to this particular "interested observer" as a sequence of copies, each following the previous by some varied duration of years, decades or centuries.

The point here is that because the technology which supports our modern social civilization is advancing so rapidly, we have become immured to such fundamental changes. For example, when we see an advertisement for the latest electronic gadget, we are not shocked. Instead, we are probably considering whether or not we can afford to buy one for ourselves.

An additional factor which seems to complicate our efforts as observers is the understandable attachment of our consciousness to material things. When we set our efforts to observing changes which are not manifest in material things, our perspicacity seems to falter. This allows the non-material to seem able to "creep up" on us, arriving without warning or, at least, without any sort of civil announcement.

This may all seem a little abstract, but this is the case with the "creeping" oligarchy which is presently threading its way throughout the country. From one moment to the next -- or from one day to the next -- there seems to be very little changing, but the undercurrent is as strong and relentless as a rip tide. Further, although the uselessly obedient media casts this picture into a chaos of coincidence -- and sometimes, simply out right mystery -- every molecule of that undercurrent is marching in lockstep, and the constant, unwavering destination of that march is total, albeit almost unnoticed, oligarchy.

There are voices heralding this danger of rapidly approaching, saturating oligarchy -- admittedly voices reaching far more eyes and ears than a quiet little high desert blog from Albuquerque, but these voices are reduced to mere uncertain quivers compared to the monolithic roar and rage of the "pretend" media which currently serves those billionaires who host such great ambitions.

Ironically, even the very public servants of those same oligarchs are citing the danger -- for other countries, of course -- from pulpits as unlikely as those of the GOP debates in speeches where every sold out word has been carefully scripted by a wholly owned think tank somewhere.

MeanMesa is fascinated by this flow of little "twists and turns" as oligarchy is defined, insinuated, redefined, denied or simply brought forth to be inserted into casual conversations amid intentionally drifting prognostications deceptively muttered. There seem to be very few "unknowns" remaining in the new economy's "journey" from where we are to where we are going. The image of the new oligarchy is emerging from the fog as we speak.

Perhaps this is an auspicious opportunity to blog a little about what these old eyes are watching.

Three Voices Speaking to the Peril
It's no surprise that the billionaires have forbidden "chatting up" the topic too much.
Their obedient media is busy with ISIS, gay marriage, gun control and abortion.

There are, no doubt, more than three folks speaking about the subject of oligarchy, but -- not many more. It is an unusually upsetting topic for Americans at our level. There is practically nothing to be said in its favor among the great "middle swath" of the population [MeanMesa is reluctant to use the term, "middle class," to describe the broken, bruised and blistered survivors of the Great Republican Looting Festival of 2008.]. By this it is meant that, for example, it would be almost inconceivable to imagine a mob marching down the street in an American city demanding "OLIGARCHY NOW!"

This lack of discourse is, if not suspicious, at least quite eerie. One might think that an approaching change of such magnitude and one promising such far reaching, penetrating effects on both daily lives and future dreams would be a common topic over every back yard picket fence and every broken down water cooler -- you know, "screamed from every rooftop."

This post is about three individuals in the American "public arena" who are speaking about the approaching oligarchy. There has probably never been a more egregious case of well financed treason in the Fourth Estate.

The three men appearing on MeanMesa's list of "outspoken oligarchy commentators" are worthy of examination because all three hold the ear of their own, significant audience. As for message, two are heralding a warning while the third has "chopped, minced and pickled" the subject for his political survival.

Amid the direr vacuum of public discussion concerning this, it turns out that it's very easy to "get on MeanMesa's list." Any public figure so much as even mentioning the term is automatically qualified. Let's have a look at three of these public faces.

1. Thom Hartmann
Progressive Radio Host, "The Thom Hartmann Show"
1350AM, KABQ Albuquerque, 10AM to 1PM weekdays

Old people -- like MeanMesa -- listen to the radio. Because the wing nut billionaires who currently own most of the industry broadcast their hate radio toxin over more hundreds of stations and for more hundreds of hours daily -- a rate of 400 to 1 when compared to the number of hours progressive or any other voices can be heard -- it is always a reassuring pleasure to encounter such "an exceptional exception" as The Thom Hartmann Show.

Thom Hartmann - US domestic talk radio host who
routinely talks about the encroaching oligarchy.

Hartmann has famously stated his policy, "I don't want to be afraid that politicians will cut off my access because I ask them hard follow up questions in interviews." 

As one samples the various options of what serves as broadcast reporting, particularly talk shows presenting interviews, Hartmann's admirable policy is immediately noticeable. Thom Hartmann reveals himself as extremely well informed and very well educated while remaining notably civil while interviewing guests with opposing viewpoints.

The point here is that Hartmann regularly introduces current news stories about the latest ambitious efforts of US billionaires -- those comprising the anti-democracy, oligarch class -- to complete the "economic coup d' etat" of their avaricious dreams. His views of the shady legislative tactics and "suspicious obedience" of the GOP controlled Congress to oligarchic interests are especially valuable.

He speaks openly about dynastic oligarchs and perpetual oligarchy as the ruling factors of the new economic model for the United States. Hartmann is also utterly meticulous about including the sources of this information as he provides it, allowing any still skeptical listeners to verify the information for themselves.

[A MeanMesa note: For international visitors to this blog unable to receive The Thom Hartmann Show as broadcast by domestic radio stations, a podcast service can be purchased here: Thom Hartmann PODCAST. For free listening during the radio show broadcast: Thom Hartmann - Watch Live TV. The show is also broadcast worldwide via US Armed Forces Network, and Hartmann hosts a televised talk show called "The Big Picture" on the RT network.]

2. Senator Bernie Sanders
US Senator From Vermont
Democratic Party Candidate for US Presidency

If we were to "size" the media fraud which is currently masking any serious reporting about the oligarchic threat, we would quickly encounter another media fraud with roughly the same dimensions. The Bernie Sanders Presidential campaign has consistently attracted larger crowds at campaign rallies than those attending rallies for any other candidate, yet most American voters remain unaware that he is even running in the race. Is there another name for this? It looks like a simple case of sold out media treason to MeanMesa.

Clearly, the scale of such treachery no longer causes much concern to the network executive moguls. These "oligarch wanna-be's" are apparently quite comfortable with their "arrangements" with the billionaires -- they are obviously more concerned with what their masters think of them than they are concerned with what their networks' viewers think of them. Unless you want more of what we currently have, hit the "mute" button.

Let's just say that the billionaires issuing the orders to their wholly owned, uselessly fraudulent media networks are just not that comfortable with the prospect of a democratic socialist becoming a Presidential nominee. Worse, when that democratic socialist is becoming the candidate of choice for the Democratic majority of voters, they are really worried. ["Democratic majority" means that there are significantly more Democratic voters than Republican voters. If this is "news" to you, then you have a "news" problem.]

Senator Bernie Sanders [image]
Sanders is clearly the "visiting glacier" in the oligarchs' "pond." Like a glacier, he's squarely, indisputably there, and the massive crowds filling his campaign rallies -- not to mention his two million small donors -- signal that he can remain as long as he likes. 

It's also becoming clear that those two million small donors have polished their walking shoes in preparation for an almost inconceivably massive door to door canvassing effort. The billionaires presumed that they had successfully castrated the last vestige of such powerful political forces after they had systematically destroyed the labor unions.

He is openly and repeatedly campaigning with proposals to finally limit wealth inequality -- an abhorrent nightmare for the billionaires who have invested so generously in their right wing scheme for taking complete control of the government. Worse, at least for the oligarchs, any candidate who is bad mouthing wealth inequality is, by necessity, also talking about oligarchy.

Sanders' often repeated campaign slogan says it all: "It's time to tell the billionaires that they can't have it all."  Because oligarchy necessarily includes the idea that the billionaires SHOULD have it all, the plutocrats who own the Republican Party are fuming in their cloistered country club back rooms. The first item in their response to this is to order their media servants to absolutely boycott any reporting whatsoever about the Sanders' campaign.

The uncontrollable Donald Trump actually called Sanders a "whacko" who will give away free stuff. A couple of the mouth junk "stars" working at the oligarchs' networks were ordered to casually drop the narrative that Sanders' proposals would cost the country $17 Tn in ten years. Notably, the missing element in that pitch was any reassurance that the oligarchy wouldn't become permanently cemented into place if Sanders were not elected President.

MeanMesa has noticed an interesting, albeit subtle, change in the commonly used terms of the Sanders campaign. Apparently, using the term "oligarchy" was simply too taxing for the failed education level of too many otherwise sympathetic Sanders supporters. These voters may not be able to entirely understand the meaning of "oligarch," but -- believe MeanMesa -- they can understand the meaning of "billionaire."

Most of the electorate still have plenty of the bruises, scars and terror which was so evenly distributed to them the last time the billionaires were in charge. Remember the date: 


It is going to become the Republican Party's worst, unrelenting toothache by the time November of 2016 arrives.

3. Senator Rafael [Ted] Cruz, Jr.
GOP Tantrum Thrower and Government Shut Down Expert
Nationally famous Right Wing religious bigot,
Jr. Senator from Texas and Presidential Candidate

It is not a coincidences that the faces of contemporary oligarchs appear almost exclusively [MeanMesa notes that a number of corporate, bankster class "oligarch wanna be's" are contributing heavily to the Clinton Primary campaign. However, rather than supporting any sort of Democratic policy proposals, MeanMesa considers these "contributions" to be "damage control" laid aside early on in the event that a Democrat becomes the next President.] among the "cash cow" donors of the Republican Party. Among the billionaire class available cash reserves have already proven to be effortlessly sufficient to render state level democracy extinct -- a large majority of individual states have now "elected" entire state level governments entirely controlled by GOP operatives and their regimes.

These states now serving as the equivalent of living "blood donors" under red control are easy to spot -- most of them are now tattered, economic basket cases.

Nonetheless, the GOP is living up to its well earned reputation as a fetid denizen of utter skunk striped wing nuts. While the billionaires have ordered their wholly owned media to focus unceasingly on Donald Trump, there turns out to be "another strange one" waiting in the wings. A really, really strange one.

Oligarchy From the Pulpit

The Rafael Cruz Couple - Pastor Daddy and Senator Son [image]
Because this post specifically intends to identify public figures who are currently speaking openly about oligarchy, we must add Rafael Cruz to our list. MeanMesa must also note that what Rafael is saying about oligarchy is quite removed from the messages Thom Hartmann and Senator Sanders are delivering. Let's begin with a quotation from Pastor Rafael Cruz, father of the Texas Senator, Rafael Junior:

FLASHBACK: Rafael Cruz Calls Son, Ted Cruz, an ‘Anointed King’ Responsible for ‘The End Time Transfer of Wealth
[Read the original article at]

We can see from this arrogant, albeit rather dated, religionist nonsense that Rafael has also been thinking about just what help he might render to the establishment of the US oligarchy -- after all, the compensation could be staggering if, afterward, the billionaire winners are inclined to pay their faithful servants and ground troops. For "normal, run of the mill" billionaires the simple prospect of owning everything and everybody in the nation is attraction enough, but for thinly disguised Dominionists such as Cruz, the imagined possibilities look more like a blend of the medieval Oberammergau Passion Play and a blood soaked, WalMart abattoir shrink wrapping fresh pork chops on a high speed conveyor belt.

MeanMesa instantly and humbly admits this blogger has no capacity whatsoever to embellish this article from Americans Against the Tea Party. [AATTP]

Americans Against the Tea Party

Posted by: Josh Kilburn 
Ted Cruz recently announced his intention to run for presidency, so it’s worthwhile to take a look back at the sort of environment that he comes from, and what his influencing beliefs are.

In a sermon last year, Rafael Cruz said that his son is among the evangelical Christians who are anointed as “kings” to take control of all sectors of society. This is a Christian dominionist agenda that’s commonly called the “Seven Mountains” mandate: (1) Business; (2) Government; (3) Media; (4) Arts and Entertainment; (5) Education; (6) Family; and (7) Religion. If “Seven Mountains” is too abstract, “Creeping Christofascism” puts a much finer point to it.

In fulfilling the “Seven Mountains” Mandate, Rafael Cruz said that his son and other “anointed kings” would help bring about a “prophesied great transfer of wealth” from the “wicked” to the “righteous gentile believer.”

Rafael Cruz said that they are “Kings who are anointed to go to war, win the war, and bring the spoils of war to the priests.”

In the wake of the speech, Ted Cruz was blessed and anointed by prominent dominionist pastors, in effect making him a “king” in the political/governmental sense, at a special ceremony held at a Marriott Hotel in Des Moines, Iowa in 2013.

Ted Cruz made his first political speech at Liberty University, and the University mandated student attendance. Given that Liberty University is the religious institution of Jerry Falwell, who was influenced by dominionist pastor R. J. Rushdoony (the grandfather of dominionism, a strong influence on Rafael Cruz as well), it should surprise exactly nobody that they would give Cruz this sort of deference.

While giving a guest sermon in 2012 at Larry Huch’s megachurch in Irving, Texas, Rafael Cruz explained that:

“The pastor [Huch] referred to Proverbs 13:22, a little while ago, which says that the wealth of the wicked is stored for the righteous. And it is through the kings, anointed to take dominion, that that transfer of wealth is going to occur. God, even though he’s sovereign, even though he’s omnipotent, he doesn’t let it rain out of the sky – he’s going to use people to do it.”

In return, Hutch spoke about Cruz’s son:

“I know that’s why God got Rafael’s son elected – Ted Cruz, the next Senator. But here’s the exciting thing – and that’s why I know it’s timely for him to teach this, and bring this anointing. This will begin what we call the “End Time Transfer of Wealth.”

“And that when these gentiles begin to receive this blessing, they will never go back financially through the valley again. God is looking at the church, and everyone in it, and deciding, in the next 3 and 1/2 years, who will be his bankers. And the ones that say, ‘Here am I, Lord, you can trust me’, we will become so blessed that we will usher in the coming of the Messiah.”

So what is this “End Times Transfer of Wealth?”

It’s the belief that the Kingdom — which is the name given to the vast Global Caliphate that Dominionists want to set up — will remove the wealth from the sinners and give it to the church. This will play a role in the beginning of the Second Coming.

So what role does Ted Cruz play in this? He’s announced a bid at the presidency, after all.

While I can only speculate, I think the better question is, “do we want to find out?”

Dominionist Billionaires and Their Check Books
The GOP's plutocrats are circling like a horde of locusts.
Hungry locusts.
Locusts who brought along their preachers.

First of all, we must immediately disabuse ourselves of any lingering suspicion that the billionaires care "one whit" about the "return of Christ" or the "kingdom of God." Every iota of this over-financed nonsense is intended for consumption by the fickle voters in the GOP's already dangerously unstable, evangelical base. At this point in Cruz's shoddy Passion Play the only thing topping the cynicism may be the irony.

President Jimmy Carter:
The United States is an “Oligarchy With Unlimited Political Bribery.” 

The Owners of the Republican Party have already amassed a notably large war chest to finance their 2016 gambit. 

"For the first time in more than a century, most of the funding for a presidential election is being donated in amounts of six figures or more from corporations and wealthy individuals. Roughly a third of the more than $380 million already raised for the 2016 election comes from less than 60 donations, according to the Associated Press." 
"Jeb Bush’s largest Super PAC has already raised $103 million, most of it collected before he even officially declared that he was running for president. At least 20 individuals wrote checks to Bush’s Super PAC for $1 million or more, and an estimated 236 checks were received for $100,000 or more." [This is what oligarchy looks like.]

Well, Rafael had no intention of missing out on his own fund raising efforts. The bat sh**t crazy dog and pony show his father added to the mix spurred plenty of donations for the pious Texan.

"It took Ted Cruz three months to raise $10 million, according to the same AP account. He then more than doubled the size of his coffers by collecting $11 million with a single check from a hedge funder." [This is what oligarchy looks like.]

No Need to Suffer From an "Irony" Deficiency
The really juicy parts of the carnival are just beginning!

Earl of Casino du Manchu,
 Billionaire Sheldon Adelson [image]
Among other notably troubling topics, Senator Cruz's rambling, tangential reference to our oligarchic future was delivered in a speech in a lush Las Vegas casino complex owned by none other than one of America's most ambitious and flamboyant oligarchs. This was cynicism at its utmost.

Still, the rank of file of GOP "true believers" patiently awaiting "prosperity's onslaught" in their aging house trailers saw absolutely nothing contradictory in the paradoxical political soup. While most of these unfortunate, beer guzzling souls have only a passing interest in being counted among Cruz's "righteous" -- and sitting on the receiving end of his "end times wealth redistribution from the wicked to the pious" -- they are almost hypnotically impressed by the lights and sirens of a Sheldon Show not to mention, of course, the women.

MeanMesa suspects that it's very unlikely that 5% of this crowd have any idea what "oligarchy" means. Good work, Fourth Estate and US public education.

Sheldon Adelson is a "mid-range" US oligarch [total wealth < $40 Bn] with the primary political interests in 1. avoiding Federal Foreign Corrupt Practices Act prosecution for bribing his casinos into the Peoples Republic of China [REUTERS], 2. legalizing on-line gambling in the US, and 3. using the US military to attack Iran, handing the smoldering remains to Israel. MeanMesa has posted about this war-mongering character before:

[Laughter is the best medicine...]

So...we have a nit wit Canadian evangelical Dominionist speaking in a Las Vegas casino owned by a violently irrational US oligarch talking about religious oligarchy.

Minimum Daily Requirement: Irony
GOP Presidential Politics