They’re Going After Public Education

Governor Walker’s endgame becomes increasingly apparent in Wisconsin: he’s going after public education, or, in that toxic coinage “School Choice.” I’m working on boiling down a truckload of research into bite-sized chunks. Meantime, here’s a preview from the past. (A month or so.)

Nostradammit (originally appeared January 29)

This paragraph from January 1’s “2011 – The Year Ahead in Snark” came into sharp relief today [emphasis added]:

And, 2011 should be a big year to push “school choice,” having just about completely wrecked the public school system (say, you don’t suppose that the decline can be directly related to the takeovers of school boards nationwide by the religious right, starting in the early 1980s, do you? I mean it DID manage to make evolution “controversial,” and taught them how to use the same tactics to make “global warming” “controversial, after all). The Art Robinsons are pushing cheap home schooling, while the private schools are lining up for all that good government voucher cash, and their union-free environment, where teachers have no rights and can be told to teach anything the private schoolmasters decree and be let go for any reason. Once we get the uppityness out of education, THEN we can advance as a nation, right?

And segregation can continue, as it has, at the pre-Brown v. Board of Education levels of 1954.

“School Choice” is a big part of the “Tea Party” agenda, even if they don’t realize it yet.

And, by accident, I stumbled on this, this morning:

From the Chicago version of “The Examiner” (which is a “kind” of blog-aggregate newspaper, signing up volunteer reporters in various cities — with highly variable results):

The evening will include a town hall style question and answer session featuring talks by former Speaker of the House Denny Hastert, Dick Morris, a political author and conservative commentator, and Michael Medved, nationally syndicated conservative talk show host and movie critic. Michelle Bernard, Director of Independent Women’s Forum and frequent guest on MSNBC will join Hastert, Morris, and Medved in a panel discussion on school choice moderated by John Tillman, CEO of the Illinois Policy Institute.

The event is being presented by the Illinois chapter of Americans for Prosperity, AM 560 WIND, and a coalition of conservative and educational organizations to highlight the fact that American 15-year-olds rank 35th out of 57 countries in math and literacy, behind almost all industrialized nations….

And, were the event not already passed, you could purchase a $99 ticket to the VIP reception:

VIP reception with Denny Hastert, Dick Morris, Michael Medved, and Michelle Bernard – 6-7 p.m. prior to town hall
The VIP reception will be from 6-7 p.m. prior to the Education Revolution town hall. Tickets include drinks, appetizers, premium reserved seating inside the main event and a photo op with former Speaker of the House Denny Hastert, Dick Morris, political author and conservative commentator, and Michael Medved, nationally syndicated conservative talk show host and movie critic. Michelle Bernard, Director of Independent Women’s Forum and frequent guest on MSNBC will also be in attendance.   $99.00


Michelle (No Saint) Bernard on MSNBC

Dick Morris, of course, is pursuing his parallel course from Faux Nooz™, parallel as in the hiring of John Stossel to create aone hour prime time “libertarian” bloc on the newish Faux Bizniz Chum-hole™ along with Judge “I have no forehead” Napolitano (From the Faux website) :

Stossel speaks at an A]mericans[ F[or] P[rosperity] “Health Care event”
August 27, 2009, while still at ABC News

And I’ve written about Michelle Bernard (and her predecessor, former Koch Industries spokeserpent and later John McCain 2008 spokeserpent, Nancy Pfotenhauer in “” 9 March 2009) at length before (“” 9 September 2009). And you might remember John Tillman as “The President of Golf, Illinois.” And, of course, Americans for Prosperity is well-chronicled here and elsewhere, along with its twin, Freedomworks, as organizing, funding and bus-touring (in conjunction with the Tea Party Express) tea party events since early 2009.

Have I got your attention?

Dick Morris of Faux Nooz™

Yesterday, January 28th, the same reporter posted his “report” on the event he’d just flogged:

Education Revolution event highlights need for school choice
January 28th, 2011 2:12 pm CT
by Keith Liscio
Chicago Conservative Examiner

Last evening in Skokie a star-studded panel of nationally known experts held a panel discussion as part of the Education Revolution tour. The event was held at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts and featured a panel that included former Speaker of the House Denny Hastert, political analyst Dick Morris, and syndicated radio talk show host Michael Medved all offering their opinions on American education and school choice. The discussion was moderated by Illinois Policy Institute CEO John Tillman.


Regarding education in Illinois, Morris suggested that the best thing for the state might be to declare bankruptcy which would allow it to abrogate existing contracts with the powerful Illinois Education Association and Illinois Federation of Teachers. In any case, he contended that school choice would be coming here in only a matter of time because of the state’s poor financial position. Once legislators realize that it costs about $11,500 to educate a student in public schools but only $7,800 to educate them in a private or charter school, they would warm to the idea. He proclaimed that, “The era of school reform is over. The era of school choice has begun.” …

And so forth. Read the article (it’s short) and note how the “school choice” argument is being formulated. You’ll need to understand it before it’s sprung on you like a leopard taking a monkey.

I didn’t know that this was “School Choice Week,” but then, I didn’t know that January 6 was “National Kumquat Day,” else I’d have celebrated with great fruity gusto.

Kumquats, as uncelebrated this year

And the “reporter” has generated a flurry of puff pieces for Chicago’s little “School Choice Week” (otherwise known as “Kill Public Schools Half Fortnight”):

Dennis Hastert, previous GOP Speaker of the House

Well, this tour has just concluded, local mass market by local mass market. From another “Examiner” in another town:

Loyal Opposition and Americans for Prosperity holding “School Choice” event
January 19th, 2011 9:11 am ET

In celebration of “School Choice Week”, Kevin Kelly from Philly’s Loyal Opposition and Jennifer Stefano from Americans for Prosperity Pennsylvania will be holding a free event on January 27th from 7-9 a.m. at the German Society of Pennsylvania. That’s at 611 Spring Garden Street in Philadelphia.
The event is free, a free breakfast will be provided and there will also be free parking. The two groups are teaming up to screen the documentary “The Cartel” about New Jersey’s corrupt and problematic public school system and there will also be two very interesting people speaking. State Senator Anthony “I hate the 2nd Amendment but I love school choice” Williams – a former Democrat gubernatorial candidate – will be speaking along with Simon Campbell of

And we’ve got Tampa, Florida joining the celebration. From THEIR “Examiner“:

Reverse of AFP brochure for Tampa click for larger

Local media a no show at Education Revolution in Tampa
January 26th, 2011 5:09 pm ET

Perhaps they were stuck in storm coverage, or devoting team coverage to the aftermath of the slain St. Petersburg officers, or featuring a local tie-in to the State of the Union speech. Perhaps not the final option since the Education Revolution Tour in Tampa last night related perfectly to President Obama’s State of the Union address. Whatever the reason, the local media was a no show at a well attended and relevant event that featured national radio hosts and hundreds of concerned Tampa citizens. To top it off, the event ended in time to broadcast the speech on the auditorium’s large screen.

The prerogative of the media to choose what is worthy of coverage continues; their condescending luxury of creating and not covering news also persists. The tour coincided with National School Choice Week and was a decidely media friendly event (this media person gained access to the VIP reception; the same appetizing access that was available to any media member).

We suppose that the decidedly conservative event that spurned Obama’s past, present and future agendas was odious to Tampa’s local media. We suppose that means that our local media is not at all unbiased.

Paranoid much? Don’t you just love a meme that a) makes sure you’re always “oppressed” and b) preempts any criticism of your position because THEY are “biased”?

(Hell, babies, if “bias” is so bad in the media, then how come it’s OK for THEM to be blatantly biased? Gee.)

Featured squeakers? Dick Morris, Ralph Reed, Michael Medved and Stephen Moorewho founded and served as President of the Club for Growth” according to the .pdf handout on Americans for Prosperity’s blog. And how do you like the casual “It’s time for an education REVOLUTION“?

It looks less Tea Party than George III, frankly.

Stephen C. Moore 0r less

There are other cities and other events, but you get the idea. Like I said on January 1, 2011:

“School Choice” is a big part of the “Tea Party” agenda, even if they don’t realize it yet.

I think if you go back to last year’s “Tea Party” rallies, etcetera, you wouldn’t have found “school choice” as much of a featured event. No: this is a Frank Luntz style of verbal sodomy: “school choice” sounds so reasonable, as opposed to “End Public Education” and “Preserve Segregation With Taxpayer Funding.”

There is not space to debate this here. What IS apparent is that this is another slick, Public Relations campaign, with a screening of an anti-public-schools film, the hatred of those awful evil UNIONS for teachers and a Circle of Jerks™ flogging their “star” status and lining their pockets with honoraria.

This is scary stuff, folks. Unlike Democrats, the money behind the  PR machine that flogged “tea parties” now has their own private Tea Party and can push their test-marketed campaign with multi-city tours, and talk radio/Faux Nooz/GOP star headliners. Rust never sleeps and neither do the serpents behind the astroturf version of the Tea Party.

Michael Medved, evidently speaking in a Hawaiian boiler room, or else
at a Mary Kay sales associates meeting. Details are sketchy but it IS Medved.

The “headless” movement has found not merely a head (although you are only allowed knowledge of who gives the orders on a “need to know” basis, and, bucky, YOU DON’T NEED TO KNOW — at least according to them) but a veritable stable of talking heads. Whoever the “real” head is, I am certain that no New Orleans Madam ever had as classy a stable of whores as we’re looking at here.

And yes, I DID see this coming, and warned you about all of the above (with the exception of the latest tour, because they are into so much nefariousity and, as I noted to a friend who asked me to fact check the latest bit of viral email political pornography that had been sent him that week: I have a life).

Note the “1984”  Big Brother slogan (enhanced for visibility) 2+2=5

The aforementioned was, again, NOT the result of mystical rune casting, or metaphysical trance states, but owes its prophethooditude to the robotic, predictable actions of our crypto-Randian underground. Billionaires that dare not speak their name, lest a nickel be lost from some rube, like, say, a schoolteacher who suddenly realizes that a portion of every Dixie Cup® and Northern Towel® she buys goes into a movement to destroy her union and force her to work at a “private” school without any more rights than a McDonalds® french fry machine loader has and at about the same rate of pay.

This is what I wrote in “” on 5 March 2009:

There are two distinct possibilities at this point, both leading to the same conclusion:

  1. That the GOP will arise from its own ashes as someone significantly reformulates philosophy and rebrands a “new” GOP that IS significantly different than the failed larceny of the party that’s been in charge of not one, but TWO bank meltdowns since the “Reagan Revolution.”
  2. That the GOP will die, like the Whigs, and reformulate around the Libertarian wing, as seems increasingly likely.

Paul Ryan

Can you say “Rand Paul”? Can you say “Paul Ryan”? (The Eddie Munster-guy who delivered the “official” GOP response to the SOTU.) Hell, can you say “Michelle Bachmann” as presented by the Tea Party Express and their strategic partner, CNN? Can you say Sarah P—- who kicked off and ended Tea Party Express tours? Gee.

A word about Ryan is in order here, because, while he’s the least well-known of those I just named, he has just become the most powerful. The Republican House just voted a resolution to give unilateral BUDGETARY power to Ryan, an aggregation of congressional power that is — to use an extraordinarily overused hackneyed buzzword of our zeitgeist — UNPRECEDENTED. Without precedent, as in having never been done before.

Unprecedented for a reason, perhaps: Our “libertarian” just grabbed powers that have been considered undemocratic in one hundred and eleven previous sessions of Congress. Strange how “states rights” people feel free to interfere in other states’ elections. And how “libertarians” are happy to accrete “Czar”-like powers that they would decry in any other hands. Funny how that works.

Kind of like Ayn Rand screeching against Social Security and Medicare then, under her husband’s name, having her Social Security and Medicare benefits paid in as secret a manner as was possible.

Or, in this case, perhaps, never been dumb before. Jonathan Chait writes in The New Republic:

Eddie Munster

Ryan would retain some bare-bones subsidies for the poorest, but the overwhelming thrust in every way is to liberate the lucky and successful to enjoy their good fortune without burdening them with any responsibility for the welfare of their fellow citizens. This is the core of Ryan’s moral philosophy:

“The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand,” Ryan said at a D.C. gathering four years ago honoring the author of “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead.” …

At the Rand celebration he spoke at in 2005, Ryan invoked the central theme of Rand’s writings when he told his audience that, “Almost every fight we are involved in here on Capitol Hill …?is a fight that usually comes down to one conflict–individualism versus collectivism.”

The core of the Randian worldview, as absorbed by the modern GOP, is a belief that the natural market distribution of income is inherently moral, and the central struggle of politics is to free the successful from having the fruits of their superiority redistributed by looters and moochers. What’s telling about Ryan’s program is not so much that a hard-core ideologue like him would advocate it. It’s that virtually the whole of the conservative movement has embraced him….

It’s going to be a long slog to the next election, kiddies.


Oh, and here’s Dick Morris spewing his toe-sucking bile at the Tea Party Patriots’ “summit” (Or, as I like to call it, having seen the audience pix, Geritol® Woodstock.)



Tomorrow:  “They’re Going After The Wisconsin Teachers,” of which this is preface …

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About Hart Williams

Mr. Williams grew up in Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas and New Mexico. He lived in Hollywood, California for many years. He has been published in The Washington Post, The Kansas City Star, The Santa Fe Sun, The Los Angeles Free Press, Oui Magazine, New West, and many, many more. A published novelist and a filmed screenwriter, Mr. Williams eschews the decadence of Hollywood for the simple, wholesome goodness of the plain, honest people of the land. He enjoys Luis Buñuel documentaries immensely.
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