Day: August 3, 2011

Cheers To Actor Matt Damon For Strong, Inspired Defense Of The Teaching Profession!

Actor Matt Damon, one of our leading figures in film for the past decade and more, has come out in strong support of the teaching profession, delivering a masterful speech at a gathering of educators held in Washington, DC on Saturday.

At a Save Our Schools March in the capital, Damon denounced those who say that giving tenure to teachers promotes laziness, and said teachers are what they are because they LOVE teaching, certainly not for the low pay and terrible conditions of work that many face, with little backing by administrators, parents, and the politicians in many states who abuse teachers and show lack of respect for their profession!

Damon’s own mother is a teacher, and the actor made it clear that what he became and his level of success is due to the dedication of teachers who inspire their students and have often a greater effect on them than their own parents!

Damon criticized standardized testing as stifling originality, creativity, and curiosity in students, and bringing unnecessary stress and tension to young people, instead of encouraging them. The job security of teachers should not be based on such tests, which unfortunately, is now the case in many states, particularly those governed by Republicans!

Damon also endorsed PUBLIC schools, which were his experience, and said millions of Americans support their teachers and will always have their back.

As a lifelong educator, this strong statement thrills me, and reinforces why I have been an educator, preferring to educate the young, than just make tons of money backing evil corporations who have no concern for their workers and the American people, and only worship money and things, not the rights of people to a dignified life and decent treatment at work!

The Ideological Extremes In The House Of Representatives: Forecast Of More Conflict And Turmoil To Come!

When one looks at the recent developments in the House of Representatives, it is clear that the forecast is one of more conflict to come over the next 17 months of the 112th Congress!

87 Republicans are freshmen, and most of them are self declared Tea Party Movement activists, who plan on no compromise on anything with the Democrats. Additionally, there are Republicans in the chamber who claim to be sympathetic to the same cause. meaning between one fifth and one fourth of the House is extreme ideological Right!

At the same time, there are over 80 members of the Democratic Party in the House that are declared members of the Progressive Caucus, dedicated to the progressive agenda considered by some as the ideological Left.

So between 40-45 percent of the House is very unwilling to compromise, and that means deadlock and turmoil for the next two years, brought about by the creation of a divided Congress, but for the first time with a Republican House and a Democratic Senate, rather than the past experiences of the opposite control of the two chambers of Congress!

The Symbolic Decline Of Labor: Thirty Years Ago Today, Ronald Reagan Fired The Air Traffic Controllers For Going On Strike

On this day in 1981, President Ronald Reagan fired the air traffic controllers for going on strike, and this marked the symbolic decline of labor unions in America ever since, with Republican governors now having declared war on public workers in labor unions in 2011!

Ironic that a former labor leader as head of the Screen Actors Guild became the image of an anti labor President, and even more ironic that tens of thousands of workers working for the Federal Aviation Administration are now out of work over a funding dispute between the Republicans in the House and the Democrats in the Senate. There is absolutely no concern by the Republicans over workers not getting paid, losing their homes, and disrupting the economy, as long as they win the point that only big business matters, as under Calvin Coolidge in the 1920s.

The coming to power of Calvin Coolidge to the Presidency on this day, a leader who thought big business corporations were not “special interests”, but that labor and farmer and small business were such, and did not deserve any government favoritism, demonstrates that the Republican Party has not changed its image despite it being nearly a century later!

Back To The Era Of Calvin Coolidge On The 88th Anniversary Of His Ascendancy To The Presidency!

On August 3, 1923, Calvin Coolidge became the 30th President of the United States upon the death of President Warren G. Harding.

While everyone who studies the era of the 1920s sees Coolidge as an improvement on Harding (regarded the worst President of the 20th century and one of the bottom two or three in all of American history), the fact is that the Coolidge Administration ushered in a full return to the mentality of the Gilded Age, leading to a revival of monopoly capitalism, exploitation of labor, a growing maldistribution of wealth,and the lowest level of taxation of the rich and the corporations in the entire 20th century!

And we all know what that led to: the Great Depression, which lasted ten years, and was only overcome by World War II and the highest level of taxation of the rich and corporations in the century, followed by very high levels of taxation under Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower in the 1950s, and lower but substantial rates even under Republicans Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan and Democrat Bill Clinton, among others.

And the country prospered even when Bill Clinton RAISED taxes in the early 1990s, and we had a balanced budget in the last years of the Clinton Presidency.

But then, we moved in the opposite direction under George W. Bush, the lowest taxation levels of the rich and corporations since 1928, the last full year of Calvin Coolidge in office and the year before the Great Depression occurred under Herbert Hoover.

Now we are faced with the strong likelihood of a revival of the Great Recession, but the Republicans have made low taxation a religion that is ultimately going to destroy the social fabric of this nation, and endangers all of us with the possibility of violence and bloodshed as conditions deteriorate to the worst since the 1930s!

This is a terrifying time, and one has to ask, what happened to patriotism, the idea that we sacrifice for each other, and that the rich and corporations pay their fair share of taxation to sustain the country’s economy! Apparently, greed and selfishness rule as they did in the Gilded Age and the 1920s, as if we have made no progress in the 80 plus years since the beginning of the Great Depression!