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The Big Con: Elimination of Public Education Real Goal of Union Busting

February 27, 2011


Here is the complete interview with Matt Taibbi from which we played an excerpt on our Feb. 22 show. Taibbi explains how the American people have been defrauded by Wall Street investors and how the financial crisis is connected to the situations in states such as Wisconsin and Ohio. Let me read a sentence from a recent paper by Dean Baker, who concludes, “Most of the pension shortfall using the current methodology is attributable to the plunge in the stock market in the years 2007-2009. If pension funds had earned returns just equal to the interest rate on 30-year Treasury bonds in the three years since 2007, their assets would be more than $850 billion greater than they are today.”

Source:Democracy Now


Privately educated in grammar schools, the College of William and Mary, and primarily the world of books, Thomas Jefferson was an ardent advocate of public education as a cornerstone of a free republican society. Throughout his life Jefferson promoted reform in public education as a prerequisite for an enduring republican nation. The founding of the University of Virginia (chartered in 1819) was the capstone of Jefferson’s educational advocacy, and he devoted most of the last decade of his life to its establishment and well-being.

Education has been one of the principal tenets of American Democracy encouraged by the Jeffersonian vision. So important is it that in 1979 the Department of Education was established by President Carter, then called the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW).

The Big Con
Why are Republican Governors going after their own state’s public employees, and especially teachers? Is it because public employees have overburdened their states with unreasonable and unsustainable pension burdens? NO-NO-AND-NO! That is a convenient lie conservatives and Tea Partyists would like people to believe. A January 2011 study from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities states otherwise. Read the report for yourself, click here. The purpose of this nefarious lie is conservatives, whether Republican or Tea Partyist, wish to eliminate public education. Yes indeed. The recent spate of attacks on public employees, unions, and collective bargaining is a means to a long wished for end. The key word here is, “collective”. Read on.

History of Attacks on the Department of Education
The Washington Times reported in October 2010: Past attempts to shutter the Cabinet department have fallen short, and the GOP effort largely lapsed under President George W. Bush. President Reagan promised to defund the department – formerly part of the Health, Education and Welfare Department – in his 1982 State of the Union address, and the GOP platform in 1996 backed elimination, but the department has survived.

Current Attacks
The new wave of attacks is centered in states where there are Republican governors and where Republicans hold majorities in the state legislatures. But it is no surprise that they started in Wisconsin for it is the home of the John Birch Society of which the billionaire Koch brothers father was a co-founder. Furthermore, we come to find out this past week that the billionaire industry giants, and also the founders of the Cato Institute, were also involved in bankrolling Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s election campaign. But the Koch brothers are not Republicans – they are at their core, John Birchers marauding as Tea Partyists. Never heard of the John Birch Society?

The John Birch Society
From their web site: For more than 50 years, the Society has educated and informed its members and others, who have worked together to bring about major changes in national policy. Direction of our volunteer leaders — and our paid field staff — in pursuing the action agenda campaigns of The John Birch Society is provided from our headquarters based in Appleton, Wisconsin. One of the co-founders was Fred Koch, founder of Koch Industries and father to David and Charles Koch. Koch Industries is valued at close to $100 billion. The Koch brothers are the second wealthiest family in America.

The main founder of JBS was Robert Welch. According to Source Watch, ” Welch saw “collectivism” as the main threat to western civilization, and liberals as secret communist traitors who provide the cover for the gradual process of collectivism, with the ultimate goal of replacing the nations of western civilization with one-world socialist government. “There are many stages of welfarism, socialism, and collectivism in general,” he wrote, “but communism is the ultimate state of them all, and they all lead inevitably in that direction.”

And unions are part of the “collectivism”. Public education too. Thus, we find the Koch Brothers carrying out the mandate of the JBS: to eliminate any hint of collectivism in the United States of America.

Republicans and JBS
Republican mainstream unhappiness with the Birchers intensified after Welch circulated a letter calling President Dwight D. Eisenhower a “conscious, dedicated agent of the Communist Conspiracy.” Welch went further in a book titled The Politician, written in 1956 and published by the JBS in 1963, which declared that Eisenhower’s brother Milton was Ike’s superior within the Communist apparatus and alleging that other top government officials were also communist tools, including “ex president Truman and Roosevelt, and the last Sec. Of State John Foster Dulles and former CIA Director Allan W. Dulles.” Conservative writer William F. Buckley, Jr., an early friend and admirer of Welch, regarded his accusations against Eisenhower as “paranoid and idiotic libels” and attempted unsuccessfully to purge Welch from the JBS. Welch responded by attempting to take over Young Americans for Freedom, a conservative youth organization founded with assistance from Buckley.

Familiar Tactics
In October 1964, the Idaho Statesman newspaper expressed concern about what it called an “ominous” increase in JBS-led “ultra right” radio and television broadcasts, which it said then numbered 7,000 weekly and cost an estimated $10 million annually. “By virtue of saturation tactics used, radical, reactionary propaganda is producing an impact even on large numbers of people who, themselves, are in no sense extremists or sympathetic to extremists views,” declared a Statesman editorial. “When day after day they hear distortions of fact and sinister charges against persons or groups, often emanating from organizations with conspicuously respectable sounding names, it is no wonder that the result is: Confusion on some important public issues; stimulation of latent prejudices; creation of suspicion, fear and mistrust in relation not only to their representatives in government, but even in relation to their neighbors.”

But things have changed, and with the rise of the conservative right, the JBS has re-emerged bigger and bolder. They are back to saturation messaging using Talk Radio, pundits, and repetitive rhetoric to convince Americans of their message of the dangers of collectivism. In 2008, the Koch brothers and Rupert Murdoch made a calculated move when they helped back the “progressive” Tea Party. The NY Times reported:

All three tycoons are the latest incarnation of what the historian Kim Phillips-Fein labeled “Invisible Hands” in her prescient 2009 book of that title: those corporate players who have financed the far right ever since the du Pont brothers spawned the American Liberty League in 1934 to bring down F.D.R. You can draw a straight line from the Liberty League’s crusade against the New Deal “socialism” of Social Security, the Securities and Exchange Commission and child labor laws to the John Birch Society-Barry Goldwater assault on J.F.K. and Medicare to the Koch-Murdoch-backed juggernaut against our “socialist” president.

Collectivism vs Corporatism
Collectivism is any philosophic, political, economic or social outlook that emphasizes the interdependence of every human in some collective group and the priority of group goals over individual goals. Collectivists usually focus on community, society or nation. Collectivism has been widely used to refer to a number of different political and economic philosophies, ranging from communalism and democracy to totalitarian nationalism.

Corporatism refers to a form of collectivism that views the whole as being greater than the sum of its individual parts, and gives priority to group rights over individual rights. The philosophic underpinnings of this type of collectivism is related to holism and organicism. Specifically, a society as a whole can be seen as having more meaning or value than the separate individuals that make up that society. Collectivism is widely seen as being opposed to individualism; however most philosophies, political and economic systems have a degree of both collectivist and individualist aspects. Source: Wikipedia

Koch Industries
Koch Industries, Inc. /ˈkoʊk/) is an American private energy conglomerate based in Wichita, Kansas, with subsidiaries involved in manufacturing, trading and investments. Koch also owns Invista, Georgia-Pacific, Flint Hills Resources, Koch Pipeline, Koch Fertilizer, Koch Minerals and Matador Cattle Company.

Koch companies are involved in core industries such as the manufacturing, refining and distribution of petroleum, chemicals, energy, fiber, intermediates and polymers, minerals, fertilizers, pulp and paper, chemical technology equipment, ranching, finance, commodities trading, as well as other ventures and investments.

Koch Pollution Record
In 2010, Koch Industries was ranked 10th on the list of top US corporate air polluters, the “Toxic 100 Air Polluters,” by the Political Economic Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Power and Politics
In recent years, the Koch Brothers have given tens of millions of dollars to Republican candidates. Millions more of their dollars have been given to think tanks such as the Cato Institute and Heritage Foundation, and lobbying organisations like the US Chamber of Commerce. They have also helped bankroll dozens of cleverly-named pressure groups, including Americans for Prosperity and the Institute for Justice. Americans for Prosperity is a powerful business lobbying group.

Koch Industries and its subsidiaries spent more than $20 million on lobbying in 2008 and $12.3 million in 2009, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan research group.

Koch Industries record of filthy polluting, click here

SourceWatch, John Birch Society: http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=John_Birch_Society

Independent UK, Power and Politics source: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/why-liberals-are-rising-up-against-the-koch-brothers-2200191.html

Thomas Jefferson on public education: http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/jefferson/jeffrep.html

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  1. Margaret Kittelson
    February 28, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    Your expose of the Koch family, and this history, is fascinating. The John Birch Society was our Taliban group, out to cleanse us of those not worthy. Even one of my uncles, an FBI man, got slapped with the label “Communist”.

    Over-reaching had exposed the unhinged element. Fear-and-trembling changed to ridicule. “Just another “Bircher,” was a statement of dismissal. The John Birch Society had lost credibility.

    I thought that they were totally wiped out, gone for good. Only Ron Paul’s agenda (then his son’s involvement) had kept me aware that they remained active, under-ground. I was surprised when the Paul’s – father and son – merged with the Tea Party.

    Still, today, I see few references to the John Birch Society. So they successfully hid, even while successfully altering the agenda and moving public opinion.

    Their spin is out there, repeated over and over…and the messages no longer sound new. They no longer sound radical to many voters. And some of their adherents got voted into high office this last election.

    From Wisconsin, an alarm clangs. And long-sleeping Americans are waking up to what is happening. Over-reaching does have that effect. History repeating itself for John Birchers, maybe?

  2. February 28, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    Thanks for your comment. It’s called subterfuge and demagoguery – and the Kochs are very good at it. Their deep pockets attracts ambitious self-interested people. They are collective narcissists at heart. They have been very effective in stringing the soft-minded along through the use of repetitive propaganda techniques in Talk Radio as they did before. As I said in a post last night — they are not only dangerous, they are effective. The full-court press technique is also in play: I reported today on Governors pushing to guaranteed public pensions. This is all part of PRIVATIZATION TO FURTHER ADVANCE CORPORATISM AND ELIMINATE COLLECTIVISM AND PLURALISM.

    Demagoguery is polarizing propaganda that motivates members of an ingroup to hate and scapegoat some outgroup(s), largely by promising certainty, stability, and what Erich Fromm famously called “an escape from freedom.” It significantly undermines the quality of public argument for reasons and in ways discussed below. In the most abstract, the reason it is so harmful is that it creates and fosters a situation in which it is actively dangerous to criticize dominant views, cultures, and political groups. It makes discourse a kind of coercion, largely through rousing and appealing to hate. Thus, the very people who make the decisions cannot hear all the information they need. Historically, demagoguery is a precursor to the ending of democracy—that is, when demagogues succeed, their first move is almost always to restrict the power of the people or parliaments in favor of some kind of tyrannical or totalitarian system.


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