Archives for category: Hoax

I was thinking of titling this post “Libertarian Crackpots Take Charge of School Funding in New Hampshire” but decided to bite my tongue.

Garry Rayno, a writer for InDepthNH.org, reports that the Koch-funded plan to defund public schools in New Hampshire is a “success.” Not because most parents want to put their children in private or religious schools, but because the overwhelming majority of students using the new education freedom accounts are already enrolled in nonpublic schools. Thus, public funds are now underwriting private education. At some point, the public schools will shrink to be just one among many choices even though the people of New Hampshire never voted to abandon their community public schools. This is a theft of public dollars for private use.

By GARRY RAYNO, InDepthNH.org 

The new education freedom account program is a success judging by the number of students participating in the first year.

More students are expected to participate in the second year and state education officials predict it will continue to grow into the future.

One of the most expansive school choice programs in the country, it was sold as a way for students and parents to find the best educational avenues to fit their student’s individual learning needs.

That would be wonderful and would fulfill the education department’s long-standing goal of individualized student pathways, but that is not what happened for a majority of students.

Instead the program has increased the state’s education spending while few students changed their learning environment.

The vast majority of students — around 85 percent — participating in the first year, did not attend public schools the year before. Instead they were in private or religious schools, or home schooled, or too young for school.

That does not change the learning environment for that 85 percent of students.

What did change under the program was the parents’ financial obligations, which were reduced thanks to the influx of state taxpayers’ money.

Department of Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut, a program advocate, told lawmakers the first year of freedom accounts would cost the state’s Education Trust Fund about $300,000 and the second year about $3.2 million. Instead the cost was close to $9 million this year.

Why the increase? Edelblut’s estimates were for students leaving traditional public schools to participate in alternative programs, not for those already in other programs applying for state help to cover the costs of private and religious schools, or home schooling.

Essentially most of the state money flowed through the parents to private and religious schools and for homeschooling costs all previously paid for by the parents or religious institutions.

When the program was first debated this term, the nonpartisan Legislative Budget Assistant’s office estimated the state’s exposure could be as high as $70 million if all the students in private or religious schools applied for grants.

The program provides grants to parents of students who earn no more than 300 percent of the federal poverty level or about $80,000 a year for a family of four.

You only have to qualify once, so if the next year your family makes $125,000, you still qualify and if you double that the next year, you still qualify.

Grants range from about $4,500 to $8,000 per student with the average the first year a little under $5,000 per student.

The money can be spent in any number of ways, for tuition, books and instructional programs, supplies, computers, individual instruction on a musical instrument, etc.

The money to pay for the freedom accounts comes from the Education Trust Fund established more than 20 years ago when the state overhauled its funding system after the Claremont II Supreme Court decision saying the then current system of relying on local property taxes with widely varying rates to pay for public education was unconstitutional because it violated the proportional and reasonable clause of the state constitution.

For most of its early years, the trust fund ran a deficit and state general fund money had to be added to meet the state’s education aid obligations.

In recent years the fund has had a surplus including this biennium. The state budget passed last year estimates a $54.4 million surplus at the end of last fiscal year June 30 and a $21 million surplus at the end of the 2023 fiscal year.

The surplus at the end of last fiscal year is much larger than that as the overall state revenue surplus is more than $400 million, but most of that has already been spent through legislation this year such as the $100 million settlement fund for the children abused at the Youth Detention Center.

The law establishing the freedom accounts has a provision if the education fund does not have enough money to cover the cost of the grants, the needed money will be withdrawn from general fund revenue without any action needed from the legislature or the governor.

Such a provision is extremely rare as lawmakers like to be able to determine how general funds are spent.

The number of students participating in the program the first year would probably not be so large if not for the American for Prosperity, an “education organization” funded by the Koch network and other like thinking libertarians who have longed advocated that public education tax money also pay for private and religious schools, homeschooling and charter schools.

The New Hampshire affiliate had a campaign ready to go when the freedom account legislation passed as part of the budget package last year. The group helped parents enroll their students in the program, many who were in private or religious schools or home schooled.

Last week the same organization held an “education fair” for parents to meet representatives of some of the organizations and groups approved to other alternative education programs under the freedom account program.

The fair was promoted by Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut who tweeted a photo from the fair, and the department had a booth there to promote its 603 Moment campaign on social media.

Others touting the fair included members of the House freedom caucus and others in the free state/libertarian wing of the GOP.

The fair is intended to help grow the program, meaning more state money will be drawn from the Education Trust Fund and ultimately the state’s general fund.

This is a well planned operation that only required the state to agree to a school choice program with few guardrails to begin taking the state down the road to greater educational “freedom” and less traditional public education.

The Koch network has recently developed a proposal to “reform” public education with one of its officials calling public education the “low hanging fruit.”

The reform would look a lot like what the freedom account program looks like and would shift resources as it does away from traditional public education to alternative pathways.

As the freedom account program grows, observers of the legislature know what will happen eventually.

As more and more education trust fund money is allocated, there will be pressure to reduce the amount of money going to traditional public education and, depending on which party is in control, to charter schools.

That is how public education becomes the low hanging fruit.

The education commissioner and others talk about the achievement gap between students from well off areas and minority students and those from low-income families.

Edelblut maintains that gap has not changed in 50 years despite numerous efforts on the federal and state level and says that is why education needs to change.

He downplays what the recent education funding commission made the centerpiece of its work, that the achievement gap is due to the resources available to students.

Students from property poor communities perform below students from property wealthy communities.

The economic disparity gap between students from property wealthy and property poor communities is larger now than it was when the Claremont lawsuit was filed 30 years ago.

Proponents of alternative education programs say it is not about spending more money, and the education funding commission said the same thing.

But the commission said the resources needed to be distributed differently, while the advocates for freedom accounts say it is about finding the right fit for a student.

Those advocates are saying the issue is not economic disparity.

Ultimately their goal is to make government smaller and they can accomplish that by disrupting traditional public education with lower cost, less regulated alternative programs.

Eventually traditional education will be small enough to be just one more alternative pathway for students among many.

That is why public education is the low-hanging fruit and freedom accounts are just the beginning.

In the Texas governor’s race between the vile Gregg Abbott and challenged Beto O’Rourke, the candidates are fighting for rural votes on the issue of vouchers. Rural Republicans have a strong allegiance to their public schools, which are often the heart of the community and its biggest employer. Many rural communities do not have any other schools.

Yet Governor Abbott has supinely sought the approval of Betsy DeVos’s American Federation of Children.

The Texas Tribune summed up the conflict:

A battle over school vouchers is mounting in the race to be Texas governor, set into motion after Republican incumbent Greg Abbott offered his clearest support yet for the idea in May.

His Democratic challenger, Beto O’Rourke, is hammering Abbott over the issue on the campaign trail, especially seeking an advantage in rural Texas, where Democrats badly know they need to do better and where vouchers split Republicans. O’Rourke’s campaign is also running newspaper ads in at least 17 markets, mostly rural, that urge voters to “reject Greg Abbott’s radical plan to defund” public schools.

Abbott, meanwhile, is not shying away from the controversy he ignited when he said in May that he supports giving parents “the choice to send their children to any public school, charter school or private school with state funding following the student.” He met privately last week with Corey DeAngelis, an aggressive national school choice activist who had previously criticized Abbott as insufficiently supportive of the cause.

“School choice” tends to refer to the broad concept of giving parents the option to send their kids to schools beyond their local public school, while vouchers would allow parents to use state tax dollars to subsidize tuition for those other options, including private schools. Opponents of vouchers say they harm public school systems by draining their funding. In the Legislature, vouchers have long encountered resistance from Democrats and rural Republicans whose public schools are the lifeblood of their communities.

O’Rourke is leaning into the bipartisan salience of the issue.

“For our rural communities, where there’s only one school district and only one option of public school, he wants to defund that through vouchers, take your tax dollars out of your classroom and send it to a private school in Dallas or Austin or somewhere else at your expense,” O’Rourke told a rural audience recently.

As usual, the voucher vultures are pushing the lie that money taken away from your public school will allow children to attend elite private schools.

It can’t be said often enough: voucher funds are never enough to pay for elite public funds. It is a lie. Voucher funding ranges from $4,000 to $8,000. The tuition at elite private schools ranges from $30,000 to $70,000.

Elite private schools don’t have vacancies. When they do, they don’t seek to enroll poor kids.

After 25 years of vouchers, the research is clear: kids who leave community public schools for voucher schools lose academic ground. Large numbers return to their public schools.

Meanwhile public schools are grievously harmed by the withdrawal of funding. They must lay off teachers and cut programs.

If the Devil designed a program to hurt the public schools, he would call it vouchers. And it would be funded by the American Federatuon for Chiildren.

Molly Olmstead writes in Slate that the rightwing plan to replace public schools with charter schools just took a big step backward in Tennessee. Governor Bill Lee, an evangelical Christian, wanted to bring 100 charter schools designed by extremist Hillsdale College to Tennessee to spread the gospel of patriotism, capitalism, and evangelical religion to the state. Hillsdale scaled the plan back to 50 schools, expecting to spread them across the state.

But then someone taped a conversation between Bill Lee and Larry Arnn, the president of Hillsdale. Arnn said insulting things about teachers. The Governor didn’t speak up. Then school boards got angry. They respect their teachers. Their teachers are their neighbors. Lots of Tennessee teachers are Republicans. Their neighbors don’t think they are “radical Marxists.” They know they are not “grooming” their children.

Arnn and Lee made the Hillsdale brand toxic. Arnn was out of touch. So was Governor Lee. The people of Tennessee don’t want to dump their public schools. They don’t like it when people dump on their teachers.

Back off, Governor Lee.

Go back to Michigan, Larry Arnn.

Democracy cannot exist without free and fair elections.

Democracy depends on the general belief that elections are conducted honestly and that the results are reported honestly.

Since the 2020 Presidential election, Donald Trump has told his followers that the election he lost was fraudulent. Despite dozens of court cases that his team lost because they were unable to produce evidence of fraud, Trump insists that he won in a landslide.

Despite multiple recounts and hand recounts, Trump continues to lie.

Despite the testimony of Trump lawyers that Trump lost, Trump continues to claim he won.

Trump’s campaign of lies is a direct threat to our democracy.

NPR undertook an investigation to assess the influence of four election deniers who work at the local level, spreading propaganda and misinformation.

Every citizen concerned about the health of our democracy should read the NPR report. The election deniers can say whatever they want. It’s a free country.

But the public should know who they are and what they do.

If you want to protect our Constitution and our freedoms, be informed to combat lies with facts.

Steve Hinnefeld writes about the very expensive and ineffectual voucher program in Indiana, which is based on a lie. On several lies, actually. The promoters of vouchers claimed that vouchers would save poor kids from failing public schools. He shows in this post that most vouchers are used by students who never attended a public school, who are not poor, and who are not getting a better education than students in public schools. The advocates said it would save money, but the cost this year is nearly a quarter billion dollars.

He writes:

Indiana awarded $241.4 million in the 2021-22 school year to pay tuition and fees for students to attend private schools. That’s 44% more than the state spent on vouchers the previous year.

The increase, detailed in a Department of Education report, isn’t surprising. The Indiana General Assembly in 2021 vastly expanded the voucher program, opening it to families near the top of the state’s income scale and making the vouchers significantly more generous.

Nearly all the 330 private schools that received voucher funding are religious schools. Some discriminate against students, families and employees because of their religion, disability status, sexual orientation or gender identity. Indiana is bankrolling bigotry.

And many of the families receiving vouchers could pay private school tuition without public assistance. Some 20% of voucher households last year had an income of $100,000 or more, well above Indiana’s median household income of about $58,000.

The voucher program, created in 2011, was sold as a way to help children from poor families opt out of “failing” public schools. Mitch Daniels, Indiana’s governor at the time and a leading voucher advocate, said students should attend a public school for two semesters to qualify, giving public schools a chance to show what they could do.

But the two-semester requirement fell by the wayside. Students now have nine pathways by which they can qualify. If a family meets the income requirement, which is laughably lax, a private school can find a way to get them vouchers.

When the program started, supporters said it wouldn’t cost anything, because, if the students didn’t have vouchers, the state would be paying for them to attend public schools. They don’t even pretend to believe that anymore. In 2021-22, 70% of voucher students had no record of having attended a public school in the state. Most voucher funding is going to families that intended all along to send their kids to private schools — and often had the means to do so.

The program initially served both low- and middle-income families. Last year, the legislature threw the door open to high-income families. Now, a family of five making $172,000 can receive vouchers worth over $5,400 on average per child. For about half of all voucher students, the award covers the full cost of tuition and fees at their private school.

Voucher participation had stalled, but with last year’s expansion, the number of voucher students exploded: 44,376 students had vouchers in 2021-22, up 24.3% from the previous year.

Over the years, Indiana’s voucher population has grown whiter and markedly less poor. Nearly 60% of voucher students are white, an overrepresentation considering the program is most pervasive in urban areas, where there are many Black and Hispanic students. Only 10.5% of voucher students are Black, compared to 13.5% of Indiana public and charter school students.

The program might still seem justifiable if Indiana private schools were academically superior. They aren’t. Researchers at the universities of Kentucky and Notre Dame found that students who received vouchers fell behind their peers who remained in public schools.

Indiana policymakers no longer care about that either. They’ve embraced the idea that parents should have complete control over their children’s schooling and the public funds that pay for it. In a world of unrestricted school choice, state money will “follow the child,” wherever that may lead. Standards, accountability and academic quality don’t matter.

The point of privatization is not to help needy students but to destroy the public schools.

Talk about cheesy! Talk about hypocrisy! Talk about weasels! Talk about betrayal of the public! Talk about disdain for democracy!

The people of Arizona voted overwhelmingly against vouchers, but the Koch-controlled GOP majority in the legislature is promoting a dramatic expansion of vouchers. Voters be damned!

To buy the support of public school parents, the legislators added a big increase in public school funding, but the new funding is available only if the vouchers are enacted.

Arizona has 1.1 million students, but only 11,775 have used vouchers to leave public schools. Now the Republicans want to fund vouchers for every student in the state. Does it matter that multiple academic studies have found that vouchers do not improve education? Of course not.

Do you think these guys know how repellent they are?

Four years after voters rejected a similar move, Republican lawmakers are pushing ahead with a plan to let any of the 1.1 million students in public schools get vouchers to attend private and parochial schools.

And they are holding a plan to boost aid to public schools hostage until they get what they want.

HB 2853, approved Wednesday by the House Ways and Means Committee on a 6-4 party-line vote, would remove all restrictions on who can get what are called Empowerment Scholarship Accounts. Backers say this ensures that parents get to decide what is the best option for their youngsters.

That assertion was disputed by Beth Lewis, executive director of Save Our Schools.

She said that unlike public schools, private schools can pick and choose who they want to accept. Lewis said those schools, many of which are for-profit corporations, accept those who will cost them the least, meaning the highest achievers and students who do not have special needs.

Republicans said they are not ignoring the needs of public schools, voting Wednesday for HB 2854, which would increase state aid to schools by $400 million, above another $250 million additional already planned.

But there’s less there than meets the eye.

First, only half of that additional cash is permanent. And it is weighted so the districts with the most students in financial need would get more.

Beyond that, schools would have to wait until the 2023-24 school year for the one-time $200 million infusion.

And there’s something else.

House Majority Leader Ben Toma, R-Peoria, who crafted both measures, included a “poison pill” of sorts: It says that if the vouchers do not become law, the public schools don’t get any of that $400 million.

That is designed to deter the education community from doing to HB 2853 what they did to a similar voucher expansion measure approved by GOP lawmakers in 2017.

They collected sufficient signatures to put the expansion on the 2018 ballot. And voters overruled the legislation by a margin of close to 2 to 1…

And Lewis told Capitol Media Services that supporters of public education won’t be deterred, vowing to go to the ballot once again if the Republican-controlled legislature approves universal vouchers. She said while that would mean the loss of $400 million — or, really, $200 million of ongoing funds — that is nowhere near the amount that public schools need in Arizona.

She pointed out that voters in 2020 approved Proposition 208 to infuse another nearly $1 billion into public education. That was sidelined after the Arizona Supreme Court ruled the tax could not be levied because it bumped up against a constitutional limit on education spending.

Lewis, the education community and their Democratic allies are not alone in saying schools need more than HB 2854 is offering.

Sen. Paul Boyer, R-Glendale, said he is holding out for an amount close to that $1 billion figure. And with only 16 Republicans in the 30-member Senate, the plan cannot get final approval without his vote.

Wednesday’s votes come as school districts won a significant legal victory, with a judge saying they are entitled to pursue claims that the legislature shorted them billions of dollars.

Nora De La Cour is a high school social worker and former teacher in Massachusetts. She writes frequently about the attacks on public schools. In this brilliant article, which appeared in Jacobin, she shows how the privatizatizers have exploited the culture wars to promote their own agenda. They are not interested in better education or students. Their agenda is to destroy the public square.

In a nutshell: “A billionaire-backed network of free-market fundamentalists is ginning up controversy over “wokeness” in American schools with an ulterior motive: to demolish public education.”

Please open the link to read the article in full.

She begins:

In a Massachusetts school district neighboring the one where I work, four parents, backed by a conservative Christian organization, are suing the school committee and multiple district employees for calling students by their preferred names and pronouns without informing home. Because one of the defendants is a counselor, some of my counselor peers in the area are now on guard, afraid we could become the targets of litigation if we allow students to broach sensitive topics in our presence.

Setting aside the very real harm that kids and educators are exposed to as a result of the Right’s eagerness to linkacknowledgement of gay and trans people to sexual predation, there’s another problem here. It’s incredibly difficult to teach or counsel someone if you can’t call them what they wish to be called. Addressing students by their chosen names is a basic sign of respect that says, “I see you and I’m here to work with you.” If you need to call home to get permission first — potentially outing kids to their parents and inviting distressing blowback — you might miss the chance to form the human connection that undergirds collaborative scholarship.

Pandemic school closures reminded us that the social aspects of schooling are among the most vital for young people’s development and for society at large. Specific facts and figures (the what of school learning) can be easily forgotten and recalled with a few keystrokes. But the ability to establish a base level of trust with heterogeneous others in order to solve shared problems (the how of school learning) is absolutely essential for both a fulfilling personal life and engagement in the public square. It’s critical that educators be allowed to build that trust without fear of reprisal.

The Koch-backed parents’ rightsmovement aims to make that trust impossible. By pitting parents against schools, libertarian billionaires and Republican strategists intend to motivate voters in the short term and fully privatize K-12 education in the long term. As Christopher Rufo, the self-styled architect of the so-called war on critical race theory (CRT), has argued, “To create universal school choice [i.e., privatization], you really need to operate from a premise of universal school distrust.” Those poweringthe campaign against classroom “wokeness” are trying to hinder our ability to establish common ground from which to defend our last remaining public goods.

The illiberalism that dominates the Right can best be understood as the advanced stage of a long billionaire-funded plot to undo democracy in order to relieve capitalists of any constraints the rest of us might wish to place on them. This understanding clarifies why classrooms, the training grounds for democratic participation, are primary targets of radical right activism. If liberals are to have any hope of countering this coordinated attack, they need to remember the collective, public value of education.

Laying Siege to the Common Good

It makes sense to focus on the reactionary nature of all of this: the commitment to American exceptionalism animating the so-called CRT bans, the fresh fixation on classical education rife with chauvinist dog whistles, and the shockingly overt bigotry of the anti-LGBT “grooming” discourse. Ron DeSantis’s Florida, as some have observed, is looking more and more like Viktor Orbán’s Hungary. But while these efforts to reverse cultural change are incredibly alarming, we come up short when we try to understand what’s happening purely in terms of identity-based hatred. Intolerance has always been a feature of American politics. Why does it suddenly seem so viciously well-organized?…

Despite attention-grabbing campaigns to terrify them, a majority of public school parents remain satisfied with their children’s schooling. And massive amounts of outside funding notwithstanding, local parents’ rights candidates have in numerous cases failedto deliver decisive wins for the privatization movement. As in segregated Virginia, US families are not quite prepared to sign away their children’s right to publicly funded, democratically controlled schools. It’s the perfect time, in other words, for those looking to contest the radical right to offer a full-throated defense of public education and all public goods.

But Democrats, by and large, have been unwilling to mount that, scarcely standing up even against the horrific attacks on kids, families, and educators that we are seeing across the United States. And when you look at their record on education, it’s pretty clear why: for the past three decades of education reform, Democrats have ignored the social role that schools play in preparing children for engagement in the public square. Alongside Republicans, they have enabled the privatization of public schools. They have also privatized the ideaof schooling down to the individual level. In the view of the Democratic establishment, the sole remit of schools should be to boost “human capital.” Guided by this view, they have yoked the vision of education ever closer to the needs of employers — a kind of corporate indoctrination eerily similar to the “woke” indoctrination Rufo and his cohort tell tales about.

But Bill Clinton’s assertion that “what you earn depends on what you learn” has proven to be a dangerous oversimplification: Americans are more educated than ever before, and yet economic insecurity is rampant and rising. When public schooling is only justifiable insofar as it increases individual earning power, the case for it is wholly dependent on its utility to capitalist markets. Without acknowledging the higher collective purpose that education serves, we won’t be able to defend public schools ordemocratic governance.

Democracy or Capitalism

“Republican politicians and their strategists,” Nancy MacLean told Jacobin,

have seen . . . culture-war tactics help Jair Bolsonaro get elected in Brazil and Viktor Orbán get reelected in Hungary this spring. And, lo, the CPAC (the Conservative Political Action Committee) is traveling to Hungary . . . to learn from Orbán how to use the tools of democracy to rig the rules to achieve autocracy.

The long plot is reaching maturity.

The Right’s appeals to “the family” resonate in part because our oligarchic political system leaves families in the cold, allowing child poverty to soar even as parents spend long and exhausting hours working outside the home. Any effort to save our commons and restore a sense of public spiritedness must include a material response to the significant challenges that parents face.

We need to work fast to reclaim the places where we give one another the benefit of the doubt and collaborate in spite of our differences. Democrats can still enter the battlefield and expose the Right’s deceitful efforts to turn the public against itself. As MacLean argues, the movement Buchanan authored wants to save capitalism from democracy. We can counter it if we are willing to fight to save democracy — beginning with schools — from capitalism.

Stephen Dyer, former legislator, writes that two of every three voucher students in Ohio’s Edchiice program this year never attended public schools.

Yet legislators want to expand it.

No more nonsense about “saving poor kids from failing public schools.” The voucher program is simply a transfer of public funds to parents who never sent their children to public schools. It’s a giveaway of public dollars to parents whose children are in private schools.

And public schools are better than the private religious schools that get public money. The public schools have certified teachers, more advanced classes, a broader curriculum, and extracurricular activities that religious schools do not offer.

Dyer writes:

Ok. My jaw literally dropped when I read this bill analysis of House Bill 583 — a bill originally intended to help alleviate the substitute teacher shortage, but thanks to Ohio Senate Education Chairman Andrew Brenner, is now a giveaway to school privatizers.

Tucked away on page 7 of this analysis, I read this:

… (R)oughly 33% of the new FY 2022 income-based scholarship recipients entering grades 1-12 were students who attended a public school the previous year.

That’s right.

2 of every 3 EdChoice Expansion recipients this year never attended a public school before they received their taxpayer-funded private school tuition subsidy…

And remember that families up to 400% of poverty qualify. How much is that? For a family of 4, $111,000 qualifies as 400% of poverty That would qualify about 85% of Ohio households for this taxpayer funded private school tuition subsidy.

Oh yeah, the bill also eliminates the prorated voucher for EdChoice Expansion. What’s that mean? Well, until this bill, families between 250% and 400% of poverty would qualify for a subsidy, but at a reduced rate from the $5,500 K-8 voucher or the $7,500 high school voucher.

Not anymore. Under HB 583, those prorations go away. What else goes away? The recipient’s loss of a voucher if their income grows beyond 400%.

That’s right.

Someone could make $100,000 one year, qualify their kids for a full, $5,500 Grade 1 private school tuition subsidy, change jobs, make $200,000 a year or more for the next 11 years and keep the full voucher as long as their kid was in school.

Look, I don’t need to keep repeating this, but I will: In nearly 9 of 10 cases, kids taking a voucher perform worse on state testing than kids in the public schools they leave behind. Not to mention the racial segregation the program exacerbates.

Yet here Ohio lawmakers go and dump another $13 million or more of public money into a program that will undoubtedly subsidize the private school tuitions of wealthy, disproportionately white families whose kids never attended public schools.

Who loses? The 90% of kids who don’t take a voucher because the money comes out of their schools’ budget.

A regular reader who identifies himself as Joel wrote the following critique of the media’s negative narrative about the economy and crime. He was responding to the Robert Hubbell post about “the Media Doomsday Machine.”

So back in September the BLS [the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics] released the monthly Jobs number. A terribly disappointing 234,000 Jobs +- . It was disappointing because the same economic analysts who could not see a Housing Bubble bigger than the Stay Puff Marshmallow man had predicted 300,000 + . The fact that it was as high or higher than all but a handful of the previous 120 months never seemed to dawn on the talking heads. In October there were 677,000 Jobs added. And at the same time the number for October was adjusted 200,000 higher. It took the media all of 10 seconds to shift the narrative to “oh but inflation”
As stated by some CNBC talking head that day, inflation is an expectations game. If workers expect inflation they will ask for higher wages. If employers expect inflation they will charge more for goods and services. Inflation in September was all of 4.4 ,% high but not earth shaking. Then the (respectable) media ran stories of almost $6 dollar a gallon gas as if that was the norm. Of a Tex-ass couple who goes through 9 gallons of milk a week and was bankrupted by the cost (don’t ask about birth control). Of a Station owner in NJ who spends $1000s a week on gas for his 1970 muscle car and his 2000 Escalade.

Well the message was received, the expectation of inflation was created. Wages now contribute 8.5% of the inflationary spike. Raw materials and supply chain issues 27% of the inflation we see. And excess profits contribute 53% of the price hikes we are seeing. (EPI). It would seem the right people got the right message but it was not the American worker who in spite of all the hype does not have the power to demand wage increases on a broad based scale as they did in the past. In previous inflationary spikes inflation was driven 70% by wage increases . The media hype on inflation prior to the Ukraine war enabled corporations to profit vastly. The expectation was there. Corporate America hopped right on the band wagon. Don’t expect the corporate media to hop on board calling for an excess profits tax, or even to harp on those excess profits. Instead we will hear nonsense about low wage workers holding out for a living wage.

Was it a conscious conspiracy ? Probably not . Is it a combination of of group think and inferior reporting (IMHO) absolutely.

Moving on to Crime in NYC . In a nut shell if NYC was the safest big city in America in 2010 (according to Bloomberg) than how did it get unsafe in 2021 when every Crime Stat released by the NYPD is lower than 2010, when people felt the City was safe.

My favorite NYC crime category is rape. In 2021 there were 1491 reported rapes in NYC up from 1427 in 2020. Women be afraid be very afraid!!!. But wait there were 1755 in 2019 and 1791 rapes in 2018, when everyone thought the City was very safe.

The Right wing media generates a narrative and instead of countering it, the supposedly Liberal MSM run with the story. . Cowardly Democratic politicians who call themselves moderates hop right on board not wanting to seem like they are ignoring an issue.

If Trump was President every Republican would be calling inflation fake news and their Ivermectin downing base would be swallowing it hook line and sinker.

Many people have pointed out—since the brutal massacre of little children and their teachers in Uvalde—the absurdity of the anti-critical race theory campaign and of the efforts to frighten parents about “pedophile teachers” grooming children to be transgender. These are phony propaganda ploys meant to undermine public schools, where dedicated teachers are doing their best to educate children every day. Someone is paying to frighten parents, and we can guess who.

Just when you thought that the attack on public schools couldn’t get more bizarre and extreme, along comes rightwing provocateur Glenn Beck with an outrageous slander against the public schools of North Carolina.

In this linked video, Beck asserts that public schools are “grooming” little children to become transgender. You will see him present “documents,” but the pieces of paper do not identify any school or district. They supposedly ask children as young as kindergarten to identify their gender and to check which gender they were assigned at birth.

Leaving aside the inconvenient fact that most children in kindergarten could not read the “documents,” they appear to be a fraud.

I contacted a friend in North Carolina who is a statewide parent leader and asked her if she knew of any district that used such a survey. She had never seen it before, never heard of it, but said that Glen Beck’s video is being distributed widely among concerned parents.

If you are a parent in North Carolina, ask for evidence. Speak to your child’s teacher. Speak to the principal. Determine whether this video is true or a hoax. Given the source, I’ll bet it’s a hoax.