Saturday, July 26, 2014

New Jersey's Arrogant, Tyrannical Slob


If you''ve been following the narrative over the last couple of weeks here at DWT you may have figured out that my new favorite book-- after Elizabeth Warren's A Fighting Chance-- has been The Invisible Bridge by historian Rick Perlstein. Maybe I'm so fascinated by it because I was living overseas for so much of the time he was writing about-- having felt living in a Nixon-led America not compatible with my personal sense of dignity or honor. I remember reading about some of the events he describes in the International Herald Tribune at the cafe in front of the Ministry of Finance in Kabul, in my van parked at a beach in Hambantota Ceylon, and in my apartment above a Chinese restaurant on the Overtoom in Amsterdam. Perlstein tells the story a lot better than the Herald Tribune ever did. Or maybe I'm paying more attention now that I'm living in the States again.

Today I was reading about a incredible display of ignorance from right-wing populists in the early '70s, one in Boston-- courtesy of racist dog Louise Day Hicks ("Joe McCarthy dressed up as Polyanna")-- and the other in Kanawha (Charleston, West Virginia)-- courtesy of a far more psychotic and deranged bigot and transient from Mississippi, North Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee, Alice Moore, who didn't join Satan in Hell until November 26, 2012, age 73. Both lived on the fumes of racial hatred, paranoia and ignorance-- and both captured the imagination of every primitive, bigoted malcontent in America. Their props: school children as they fulminated against, essentially, a world that spins and leaves morons behind. In these two cases, morons that managed to band together and cause incredible damage, death and destruction.

Education is feared by religionist fanatics, like Hicks and Moore, who are convinced that everything anyone needs to know is in the BuyBull. They panic at the idea of children learning anything more.

Forty years have passed and New Jersey has one like Hicks and Moore-- but he's not some rabble-rouser inciting violence in the street, it's the criminal governor, the pig-man in the short video up top. As you probably know, Newark schools have been under state control for almost 2 decades. Since Christie took office, his handpicked operatives have pushed every avenue to wreck traditional public schools, replace them with for-profit charters, and generally destroy any possibility of positive progress. The community isn't happy and in May, Ras Baraka, an outspoken public education advocate, won the race against a "reform" candidate, Shavar Jeffries, despite a huge influx of Wall St money right at the end.

Despite over a year of intensifying battles with Cami Anderson over her stewardship and attempts to force her "One Newark" plan in which we've seen students, parents, educators and community activists rise up to say "enough," Christie just extended her contact. The mayoral election centered on education, and the candidate who shared Cami's views, Jeffries, lost decisively to an outspoken supporter of public education. Christie is outright ignoring the will of Newark's citizens and the democratic process, and laughing about the idea that Newark might be able to best manage its own schools. Years of corporate interventions have purposefully starved out neighborhood schools and made it harder to get educational equity in Newark. It's past time for the state to listen to voters and return Newark schools to local control.

Right now there are 4 governors on the verge of being indicted-- aside from Christie, the current crop of crooks includes Nathan Deal (R-GA), Scott Walker (R-WI), and Andrew Cuomo (D-NY). And each one of them is working for Wall Street to gut public education. You think that's a coincidence? I'm becoming more and more convinced that character is an even more crucial attribute to understand about a candidate than what he or she says about policies. Character-- like in the Christie video up top.

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