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Mar-09-2011 12:47printcomments

Neglected Citizen--Oversight Responsibilities Haunt, Hurt 21st Century Developments

Op Ed: Part Two of new series Waves from Seaside. Citizen-Choice MUST Shape Issues, Situations, Problems To Build Cooperative Understandings and Coordinate ANY Effective Defenses.

Fading America

(SEASIDE, Ore.) - Over the past forty or fifty years --while we Americans enjoyed our leisure, with "good reasons" to relax-- certain unremitting and extremely well-funded "private interests" have been very busily at full-volume work to snatch away whatever they can of our Constitutional freedoms, and ready the nation for more-of-everything, as they now plan to plunder even and ever more-voraciously.

For most of that time "they" have worked via capture and distortion --complete or partial--of one or the other of our two essential political parties --themselves NOT an original component put into place by our Founding Fathers, but a necessary instrument developed via obvious necessity in our early years.

We've had real reason to overlook the inevitable, unavoidable, unremitting and deeply demanding citizen-action responsibilities in our vaunted American democracy, while simultaneously being seduced into very selective --and unduly comfortable !!--stages of inertia and "don't care", depending on our particular personal lifestyles made possible by those famous freedoms first envisaged and then --after much more struggle and even bloodshed than most of us today even know-- become the wonder of the world ever since, in the only real, live, strong and succeeding democracy.

Yet now the swift, inevitable destroying current has been allowed to happen. Our nation --as with all other preceding regimes of revolutionary world-consequence-- has been allowed to fall into the pit of the same self-destructive situations.

The consequences strke us all, and all of us are to blame for permitting that to happen to ANY of us, given the system and the Great Beginnings we inherited from the Founding Fathers.

Pundits insist that if all are to blame, each one escapes personal responsibility; but that merely manipulates the notorious nefarious situation into which we have plunged ourselves while strongly inhibiting and hampering ANY and ALL possible remedies.

We Americans are famed for our "exceptionalism", one characterized by precisely our own self-driven recovery from notoriously precarious, threatening circumstances.

We are about to-do-it-again...and this informed analysis states the stattus quo from which we will now proceed to full recovery and return to world leadership.

Anyone cognizant of local, state and national politics can trace out for themselves the whole series of stealthy steps-and-actions involved in this class/warfare onset-and-attack, originating in the rapid reaction to a dozen or so very wealthy families driven at first by what they saw as defense vs FDR's New Deal, then developing ("depreciating" ?!) into the fully-recorded, constantly-ongoing attacks and conspiracies and consternations ever since.

You can choose for yourselves those YOU think have had the most negative and enduring-damage/consequences; the potent-potential list is long and constantly growing; The only consistently shared component is the causative origination:

Personal inertia, mostly driven by mis-and dis-information, largely the perverting, pelf-driven destructive tool of those "private interests", carefully concentrated and consolidated through dollar-power perversions into both political parties and our once-defensible Congress.

As so often happens with a world-full of discerning citizens scattered in other nations around the world, some-of-the-same --and in some places much-more/and-deeper-- similar situations and desperate, detailed attack-and-consequence has and is now following their beginning development as nations seeking the same freedoms and the accompanying opportunities for their fellows and their progeny.

(It should be easily understood, since it has become so obvious, that many of the same "private interests" are seeking to exploit and harvest in those nations precisely as they do in our own country.)

The working conditions thus created are, inevitably and especially in those the farthest-down on the labor-pay list due to their long painful retardation-- building crises and conflict with the more historically-fortunate few, such as in the Western world, and most especially in the United States of America.

For those who worked through Part One, it should be by now completely clear and perhaps even unavoidably understood that the human action/process of CHOICE plays an overwhelmingly essential role in what these world-spread citizens allow to happen in their nations ---precisely as we have in our own in the past fifty years.

Most-recent information-theory research resonates with the massive amounts and overwhelming impact-flow of bits-and-pixels, inexorably following Moore's Law disclosing the overwhelming advance of electronic developments and astonishing plunge in cost-price for components: A factor of 100 every decade, amounting already to an accumulated factor of ONE BILLION, in the 45 years since Moore discovered his extremely accurate "Law".

Each personal-CHOICE --of underrstanding and action OR inertia-and- "leisure"-- is, for us here, a package of bits-and-pixels in that same equation, justified by still further research ion information formation-and-impacts.

THAT accounts for the huge amounts of information --mostly held in amazingly/sized data-bases--now readily available to drive more effective, more efficient and much more rapid-- communications that ever before possible in history, yet poorly or never used for political and action-planning purposes.

BUT NOW we see the shape of solid consequence, when it is so used, in "the streets of Cairo" and across the Mid East "Revolutions", as well as in the already-noted amazing advances in every form, mode and level of manufacture, trade and business, and other modern-society activity.

Surfacing everywhere, that information-flow impact has even broken like the wave of modern life it really is right over the Governor, the public-sector workers, and the state's other shareholders, its citizens.

Thus we face the same stunning array of corporate complicities and conniving, closely-connected political perpetrators, as in previous historical periods; but now they are driven by the sweeping forces of globalization unavoidably underway -- as those recent events in the streets of Cairo and elsewhere throughout the Mid East have surely shown.

What most persons --especially those who have succumbed to demonstrated American propensities for "inertia" as an essential component of lifestyle-- do not YET realize is that the wave of revolutionary fervor sweeping the Mid East is also breaking-surface and boiling-away right here in our nation --and with good reason, considering the statistics on stagnated wages and other significant advances for our staggering Middle Class, created in those "good years" following the New Deal --until the now-evident decreasing national dividend from those days is recognized for the reality it reflects.

There's a fundamental attitude-change/flow sweeping across the world, an intriguing pattern of old-and-new; it starts with the fundamentally erroneous but insistent Reagan-era "Government IS the PROBLEM --NOT the solutiion !" and the continuing hectic pursuit of "smaller goverrnment" --an impossibility given the already-apparent direction, tone, and emphases of 21st Century events already experienced.

The Reagan record --now in process of inevitable and very bitter reevaluation by both the public and specialists in history, economics, sociology and other fields-- set forth such a mixed message of misplaced emphases and misdirected ("misbegotten" ?) actions that it was only the great political and communications skills of R.R. that kept him hidden under the cloud of misimpression, mis-and-dis-information under which he can now clearly be seen to have operated. That much of that cloud of misinformation remains is indicated clearly by a Gallup poll placing Reagan in the lead among all our Presidents; polls being what they are, persons well acqainted with the demanded difficult processes will seek the truth elsewhere.

It's in the era itself and Reagan's own recorded actions, complete with their unavoidable consequences, that we can still find the truth: as in his massive military buildup, overwhelming addition to national deficit --from the 1980s $762 billion to $2 TRILLION in 1988 !-- the "Thursday Surprise"-plot vs Carter, and the notorious Iran-Contra episode, now seen as perhaps the trigger for transcendent/event and today's irrevocable changes in the Mid East.

President Reagan, suffering at the last from Altheimer's Disease, left behind the largest contribution to the national deficit of any President to that time, equalling, in fact, their totalled similar burdens-to-bear for generations to come;, including the now-retiring Boomers; and the highly pertinent damage-done by "deregulation: an open invitation to corporate and Wall Street predators"-- or "privatization", transferring control of essential operational public agencies to corporate debt-addition and assorted plunder-programs; and the impacts of heavy reliance on "supply-side economics" reflecting the Laffer Curve --which, given the historic record, has become known as a very ironic title among leading economists.

Perhaps the most pernicious action of his era was the early-and-vicious smash-attack on the air controller's union, setting into operation what has remained a union-destroying movement ever since despite historic achievement and refinement of American working and living standards and styles from New Deal days onward for decades. --including the roots of healthcare, provided then by employers as an attractive (and,then, a lower/cost benefit !) in basic industry-labor situations.

No matter what one winnows away from from fact-and-fancy, myth and many reports from this most significant period in American history, one cannot, in all good faith and common sense, now NOT seek-out-and-and believe the chimerical characterizations of this most disturbing --some will contend "most destructive"-- period in American history which those same "private interests" insist belong rightfully in the Reagan record.

Inevitably and consequentially, too, that experience has shaped and solidified --as well as traumatizing !-- the nation and its problems, promises and potential with which we must deal NOW.

"Political organizers must start from where the world is, not from where they would like it to be," stated famous radical organizer Saul Alinsky --quoted more that a dozen times in David Sirota's also now-famous 2008 book "The Uprising: An Unauthorized Tour of the Populist Revolt Scaring Wall Street and Washington" --recognized now in 2011 as among the most prescient publications of the half-century since these events began. (Book's ISBN for the serious reader: 978-0-307-39563-4.)

SO we must start from what now appears to be the truth, as we've learned to appraise, analyze and evaluate ---and then report, truthfully-- ever since.

Watch for Part Three of this Waves From Seaside series and participate yourself by thoughtful Comment. All CHOICE is a reaction to options, including informed opinions, and for that dialog must include, honor and appraise dissent.

Perhaps the most potent of Alinski principles is this one:

"A belief that if people have the power to act in the long run, they will, most of the time, reach the right decision."

What could be more truly democratic than that ?

Reader's Note:
For space reasons we've NOT included more than 150 references, book citations, quotes and excerpts from key magazine and newspaper clips, the basic sources for the factual information on which this Op Ed is founded.

For anyone seeking documentation for a single statement or fact, we will respond as we can, as rapidly as we can; for our complete list of documentations, we must charge a fee of $25 to cover working time to compile for email delivery from assorted (and wild !) writer's notes. --HCR

At 21, Henry Clay Ruark was Aroostook Editor for the Bangor, Maine DAILY NEWS, covering the upper 1/4 of the state. In the ‘40s, he was Staff Correspondent, then New England Wires Editor at United Press-Boston; later Editor for the Burlington, Vermont 3-daily group owned by Wm. Loeb, later notorious at Manchester, New Hampshire UNION LEADER for attacks on Democratic Presidential candidates.

Hank returned to Oregon to complete M. Ed. degree at OSU, went on to Indiana University for Ed.D. (abd) and special other course-work; was selected as first Information Director for NAVA in Washington, D.C.; helped write sections of NDEA, first Act to supply math, science, foreign language consultants to state depts. of education; joined Oregon Dept. of Education, where he served as NDEA administrator/Learning Media Consultant for ten years.

He joined Dr. Amo DeBernardis at PCC, helping establish, extend programs, facilities, Oregon/national public relations; moved to Chicago as Editor/Publisher of oldest educational-AV journal, reformed as AV GUIDE Magazine; then established and operated Learning Media Associates as general communications consultant group. Due to wife’s illness, he returned to Oregon in 1981, semi-retired, and has continued writing intermittently ever since, joining S-N in 2004. His Op Eds now total over 560 written since then.

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Hank Ruark April 15, 2011 8:41 pm (Pacific time)

Lynn: Thank you for your kind update, appreciated since I'm knee-deep in Part Three of this series. This makes score that much more intriguing and we need to watch as it comes down (or shoujld I write "up" !) to the U.S. Supreme Court where it is sure to be 2012-contentious...which makes for very good dialogging ! Watch for Part Three and let us know any reaction...I hope to be extremely provocative for very good future reasons.

Lynn Simmons April 15, 2011 1:16 pm (Pacific time)

It is clear that even after the unions in Wisconsin spent millions to put in a liberal judge, the people of Wisconsin agree witht their governor that to meet budget demands, they must take assertive action. Subsequently the current score for the people is Governor Walker 2 unions 0. " Vote canvassing results show Prosser won Supreme Court race." Wisconsin State Journal ^ | 04.15/2011 | Associated Press //Results from Wisconsin counties show a conservative state Supreme Court justice has won re-election in a race seen as a referendum on Republican Gov. Scott Walker's divisive union rights law. County tallies show Justice David Prosser defeated JoAnne Kloppenburg by 7,316 votes.

Hank Ruark April 14, 2011 11:06 am (Pacific time)

Tim re "Anon":
Same old smell every time, so keeps me in practice to detect, deny, defy and defeat those seeking to sink open, honest, democratic dialog by obvious misinformation and damned lies...

Tim King: You bet Hank, This guy's so mean spirited that he always fails to get his point of view across anyway.  

Hank Ruark April 13, 2011 7:45 pm (Pacific time)

Anon: Would you care (read "dare") to state here which ones of my 12-list you consider as Far Left ?
If you principled enough to make a public statement, you should have no problem with that.
But then there's that old story about the person who stated "Those are my principles...if you don't like them, I have others..."

Editor: Hank, I ran that guy's IP and guess what?  Seems to be our old pestering friend, the one with a crush on GW Bush.  I deleted his garbage in two other stories and this is the one that came through.  Same old problems, though we try to monitor these IP's better these days, oh well, I thought I'd let you and the others know, thanks.

Hank Ruark April 13, 2011 4:25 pm (Pacific time)

"Anon": You wrote: "Maybe that's why outfits like FOX are doing so well and the NY Times, the Post, etc. are doing so poorly. They push an agenda at the expense of facts." FOX is toxic spot for any true journalist, knowing that once involved there no true professional career continuance is possible. Re comparative progress vs those you name, records show others are far away ahead in circulation, income, and page and advertising counts. Only Murdoch and his money keeps alive and he's currently in continuing, growing difficulties himself not only here but worldwide and in Aussieland, too. If you dare, come direct to and I will gladly download to you solid evidence for each of those statements for what mental consumption they may impart to you.

Hank Ruark April 13, 2011 4:08 pm (Pacific time)

"Anon": Your perspective is badly bent, sir, and your self-confidence reveals its impotence while you hide behind that sure sign of mental cowardice: "anon". Re "keft", my list of 12 has only two which might fit your description, while naming others well accepted nationally. I don't find any named by you on both sides, why not further reveal yourself by naming your choice openly and publicly, as I did ? Happens that mine from Internet are closely qualified on both sides of center and I use whole list every time prior to Op Ed-ing...what do you write, and where is it published ? THAT will tell the story... You wrote: "...easy to provide counter-info that is held up with actual objective evidence." If that's so, why not provide links --say, ten or so, to counter the number I've already set out here recently. Your choice in and of itself will prove up your vaunted both-sides lie-in-teeth... Re writers you name and their followers as "impotent", I note some sharp editors pay plenty for those named to provide content...what did you ever sell to the same level of publishing gurus ? Re followers, simply stay tuned for rest of year re budget, deficit and other open issues and you will have your solid-fact answer for sure, as will all prescient readers able to sense whether Americans still believe in their own Dream...

Hank Ruark April 12, 2011 8:03 pm (Pacific time)

Bill G.: Forgot to inform you that special report was summary of Galbraith's latest testimony to Congressional committee.

  Have you ever testified on economic matters to Congress, Bill ? Happens I've had that experience not on economics,
but on latest-then media techniques in part of NDEA, which we got passed a year later, bringing Oregon over 9 million in matching funds during the next decade.

Anonymous April 13, 2011 2:56 pm (Pacific time)

Hank all of your sources are pretty far left, and easy to provide counter-info that is held up with actual objective evidence. Maybe the best way for anyone interested in seeing the different sources out there is to read both liberal and conservative, and then weigh the evidence and see what holds up best to the truth. Maybe that's why outfits like FOX are doing so well and the NY Times, the Post, etc. are doing so poorly. They push an agenda at the expense of facts. In the end, the truth always wins out Hank, and that's why people like Alinsky, Chomsky, Reich, Klein, ad nauseum, have such impotent followers, because they have no idea what is really going on.

Hank Ruark April 13, 2011 9:18 am (Pacific time)

To all: Earlier I wrote: "... I find myself only a mere reporter, seeking authentic, accurate, and authoritative judgment from those capable, and passing along that documentation with my report." Yep -- several have asked that I now show listing of source publications often used. I'm not listing Internet ones since so numerous and varied in quality, demanding careful choice (!) as one seeks quality information there. These are all national and authoritative, open to anyone else also seeking flow of strong public opinion. So "here they are" ! : 1. TIME: on which I've depended ever since it was established. 2. Christian Science Monitor: Their new weekly, outdoing TIME now. (NOT CS but their daily published in Boston for many years, now deceased, was among best in world and a solid ongoing source for professional journalists. 3. The Progressive: because it brings together an outstanding group of writers. 4. NATION: Leader in moderate opinion-writing ever since pre-Civil War. 5, The American Prospect: For me, this is 21st Century version of NATION-work. 6. Mother Jones: Independent, investigative; winner of national Best Magazine. 7. Columbia Journalism Review (and often its counterpart American JR); simply indispensable for any professional journalist. 8. Harpers: An "early starter" similar in origin to NATION and source of much of "the best" for insightful issue-and-problem information and truly informed opinion. 9. New Yorker: Brash, independent, provocative; strong on key issues, problems and possible solutions. 10, The Atlantic: For decades a close parallel combining characteristics of NATION, and Harper's, now on development of newer style, approach and content, without missing a beat on its own character and contribution. 11. New York Review of Books: Always has been far beyond its title, providing some of sharpest insights and prescient approach of extremely well-informed writers. 12. Fortune: Much changed in recent years but still closely concentrated on business and corporate interests. AND YES -- I DO read every issue, of every one, and keep files for later reference and renewal of information when demanded for writing purposes. For more than a decade in Chicago as consultant this list sometimes numbered twenty, invaluable for both content and for leads to associates capable of special work on special problems.

Hank Ruark April 12, 2011 4:35 pm (Pacific time)

Muarry et al: You wrote:"Currently our deficit is higher than all past deficits combined since the creation of our country. " Yes --and we know where the very largest portion of them came from: the Reagan administration and those nauseating experments with "supply side", built via slashes on taxes and finally admission of failure via four big tax rises. If we are to learn, as you rightly insist we must, we had better start with open, honest, democratic reference to historic fact, do you not agree ? IF you desire direct I'm always reachable at, and will welcome your further inquiry.

Hank Ruark April 12, 2011 4:29 pm (Pacific time)

Muarry et al: Perhaps a bit too strong re Keynesian solutions but War II also brought from him statement that it took huge expenditures on war scale to prove his points...and consensus is that was fact-then and still historic event. That record was strong enough to support his huge contributionns at Bretton Woods et al, which if followed might well have rooted out cause of our recent economic unpleasantness as they were planted. Re Krugman, others you name, their reputation will survive any small nibble from either of us...esp. Krugman, whom you should see re today's further developments on forthcoming Obama statement tomorrow. Re state economies must live within incomes-now, somehow that gets too distorted if not from oddball-side, since it is economic fact of life In all economic schools of which I have any information) that so long as state controls currency the choice to use budget deficit exists...good thing, too, for all states so situated since Depression days, or all those so set up would long ago have gone bust, as you feel they must. Fact is that deficit is tool demanding careful use and we surely must continue to use due care and full control...but spending only within income is no basic solution given long term demands of every state economy, which runs on different rules than for an individual. If my Samuelson was right at hand, would cite chapter, verse, page and his actual words; will supply later. Who's your mentor, and what advanced degree or "background" do you hold ? Have you read Reich's new book ? If not, you remain basically uninformed or perhaps even misinformed...more later on that, too. See "Austerity: The False Cure", A6 in Prospect ref. already given. Your thoughtful participation appreciated, but much more meaningful with further ID and qualifications to speak so surely in a very complex area, in which I find myself only a mere reporter, seeking authentic, accurate, and authoritative judgment from those capable, and passing along that documentation with my report. So how about further ID and qualifications to build up your somewhat shadowed "right to speak', earned by life experience, special study and whatever else may apply for you...

Hank Ruark April 12, 2011 11:43 am (Pacific time)

Bill G. et al: Yours shows egregious and general misunderstanding of deficit, its demands and proper usages. SO here's "special report from American Prospect re truthful aspects of ill-chosen drive for austerity-now in face of economic-world characteristics calling for more of Keynesian sure-thing actions, as historic events have well proven" -- as promised earlier. This is part of an ongoing series over the past year, all of which are consulted and results contained in this CHOICE series. This one is in The Prospect Nov. 2010 issue Special Report "Recovery. Not Austerity" which carries ten articles in 22pp. from authoritative writers in comprehensive coverage of this entire problem-issue. Don't miss "On the Economics of Deficit" by James K. Galbraith, which carries out in depth and revealing detail the major theme of this whole report per subhead on lead-in article: "Austerity is perverse economics and self-defeating politics. Here are sensible alternatives." You probably were not aware of this special report; so NOW go find it at any library, read all ten articles, make your own special notes...and then we can continue dialog here on balanced and fair basis...until then you are fighting that whole crowd credited in the report, not me --I'm simply reporter summarizing "information gathered to shape responsible opinion" --which is objective of my Op Eds, as service to many readers who are not blessed with time and facility to pursue these matters. If you have any similar resources in use, please now state documenting information for them for my check-out, in all fairness. If you wish, come direct to, thus avoiding the overkill this tit-for-tat approach we are now forced to use, at the expense of others in time and attention. It wil be my pleasure to exchange workable sources and their key information in furtherance of our S-N open, honest, democratic, detailed-summarized and authoritative application of the key element for any working democracy -- Dialog---reflecting thoughtful, responsible citizen interaction. In my book, that's surely what our Founders had firmly fixed in their collective minds, and thus reflected in their historic inventions and establishment, our American heritage,

Muarry April 12, 2011 10:05 am (Pacific time)

Hank wrote: "..calling for more of Keynesian sure-thing actions, as historic events have well proven..." I have a graduate background in Economics, but I must have missed that evidence where Keynsian economics was a sure thing application to turn around a downed economy. Even my grandchildren, in high school, see that spending more than you have is a "fool's errand." Some people like to say that method pulled us out of the depression during FDR's Administration, but not so. The UCLA Economics Department provided peer review evidence that FDR's Keynsian policies in fact pro-longed the depression (see Obama's Stimulus policies, work? No!), and WWII's need to engage our manufacturing engine at high speed was what worked. Seems some people consider economists like Krugman as the final word in this matter, while other Nobel winners, and far more talented than Krugman see taking just the opposite tack. If huge government spending improved the economy, then go to Greece, California, and other places that tax and spend beyond available revenue. There is no proof, and never has been, that Keynesian economics works. Even Keynes himself stated in his writings that you do not spend beyond your available revenue, and that government must pay their bills, that is, no deficit spending for that would just make things worse. Once again, look at the 2009 Stimulus Bill. When you include interest, that is a trillion dollar fiasco. Currently our deficit is higher than all past deficits combined since the creation of our country. We are looking at a major catastrophe unless we make drastic spending cuts. Considering the demonstrated leadership (lack of) last year by not passing a budget, I can only pray that a bi-partisan budget is developed to trump any possible veto, for folks, we are heading for a cliff.

Hank Ruark April 12, 2011 8:27 am (Pacific time)

Bill G. et al: "Incredible angst" is surely a comparative term, defined by personal understandings, intensity and background we do not have from you. For me, recent silly-child's play re shutting down whole nation to make political ideological point comes much closer to that charge, particularly and precisely because knowledgeable world consensus of economists is that deficit reduction is not necessarily the be-all, gain-all and do-all "universal tool" it is painted to be by our conservative friends. This first-momemt in a.m., so do not have documenting file at hand, but will file later special report from American Prospect re truthful aspects of ill-chosen drive for austerity-now in face of economic-world characteristics calling for more of Keynesian sure-thing actions, as historic events have well proven. Then there are the overwhelming consequences, now well arrived, from the Reagan-era beginnings of attitude and actions, triggered by his economic actions including the beginnings of the "supply side" applications, where this whole regime of unwarranted favoristic tax/slashes as the universal cure-all for every economic disease began. Again invite direct contact ( in all fairnes to others and overall "very tight economy" here at S-N for both Op Ed and Comment-space. What's your fear of direct contact, sir ?? At 93 and ailing, surely I offer you nor anyone else any it must be the offsetting open, honest, democratic dialog itself at the root of your reluctance.

Bill Griffith April 11, 2011 7:13 pm (Pacific time)

Hank the last time a democratic congress did not pass a budget on time was 1974, so are you saying that even though the democrats controlled all of congress that they did not make a calculus, a political one (November's election), to forgo their constitutional responsibility? The incredible angst this has caused for some is unexcusable, and the use of miltary pay during a time of war for our soldiers is especially egriegous. There is no good reason for what has happened, none. The majority of American voters are no longer fooled, nor easily distracted by Alinsky-style verbiage.

Hank Ruark April 11, 2011 2:26 pm (Pacific time)

To ALL: At S-N we seek to keep Op Eds "right on nose of news" to make them of high value to you for rapid application. An exceptional number of escalating events, with deep (spmetimes obscure) relationships to same "big picture", have occurred just as Part Three was concluded --fortunately supporting and supplementing what Parts One and Two hopefully state quite clearly. SO we rebuilding some parts of Three to clearly show relationships and to illuminate meaning-of-it-all...all for the same nickel's worth of your full and open attention. To make sure we "on same page" at least in part, here are several very key documenting-source supplementing statements from "on nose of news" we mentioned, for your perusal prior to presentation of Four, upcoming soon: 1. ATLANTIC, April issue; "Learning to Love the (Shallow, Divisive, Unreliable) New Media"; James Fallows. He states my points in depth, detail far beyond space here. 2. Same issue: "A Vaster Wasteland"; Newton K. Minow: A media vision for the next half-century. Minow it was for whom we wrote part of NDEA, the historic federal-funding for media in math, science, and foreign languages, in1988, with multimillions spent across nation for consultants and teacher training and media under matching federal grants, $9 million in Oregon. 3. AMERICAN PROSPECT, May issue; Three cover-features:"Public employees take on Scott Walker and the Republicans", p.11; "Teachers fight against over-testing their students", p. 14; and an essential (!) "Auto workers reinvent the union", p.23. (Most public libraries carry The American Prospect.) 4. "See also" in TIME, April 18 issue, "HOW WILL OBAMA HANDLE RYANCARE ?", Fareed Zakaria, for common sense analysis of GOPster Ryan proposal for healthcare --with action now demanded shaping all else in any national budget and foundation for head/on confrontation over deficits, still in progress. Be sure to make notes to guide your participative Comments on Part Three --NOW UpComing Soon !

Hank Ruark April 11, 2011 1:58 pm (Pacific time)

Bill G: Per statement, complex situation involving both dissident Democrats and barrier-building GOPster action-killers, with budget-forcing thus demanding more political capital that action was worth.
Alinski "ruminations and distractions" won him world acclaim, international
awards and historical place in economic and social history...which we ain't as yet quite-done, right ??
Time presseth here,but come direct to for detail and depth when it lets up, if meds permit.

Bill Griffith April 11, 2011 8:26 am (Pacific time)

Hank R thanks for response, but still does not address question as to why the democrats did not pass a budget last year when mandated by law? Just a logical easy no spin situation that has nothing to do with Alinsky-style ruminations and distractions.

Hank Ruark April 9, 2011 7:31 pm (Pacific time)

Bill G.: Making exception for you due to your good participation, while readying Part Three... You wrote: " this shut down is a reflection on their level of leadership. " Untrue: What happened then is complex, reflects allasame head-on confrontation for ideological obsession re small (er) govt and tax slash with heavy continuing advantage for richies, begun in pre-New Deal days and carried to excess --creating huge deficits left by Reagan totalling more than all Presidents before him. Really, could look it up easily; it is right there in the historical record. Hope you enjoy Part Three; several points in it come directly from your previous strong participation here; among us, we may give open, honest, democratic dialog precusely the continued exercise that can offset such silly situations as self-wound via "shutting down the government."

Bill Griffith April 8, 2011 6:54 pm (Pacific time)

Hank Ruark how come the democrats did not produce a budget by last October 1st when they were mandated to by our Constitution? They controlled all three branches of government, so this shut down is a reflection on their level of leadership. Also please remember that Obama has kept in place nearly all of the Bush/Cheney policies, so I guess he endorses them. It is the empirical evidence, don't shoot the messenger.

Hank Ruark April 8, 2011 9:11 am (Pacific time)

To all: Must now move on to Part Three, but have favorite story to point up the disastrously inexorable move to the real debacle of shutting down an operating democracy, threatened by one party as ideological necessity, looming today since it capsulizes completely the points-made in Parts One and Two. Friends found man searching under streetlight late one night. He stated he was looking for house keys, and doing so on that side of street "because the light is better here". Draw any moral you wish from this simple story. Your choice will indicate a great deal about your own approach to the real issues and problems we all must face to solve current 21st Century dilemmas. Story used as illustration in favorite source: "The Ethical Process: An Approach to Controversial Issues"; Marvin T. Brown; Prentice Hall, 1996. I've applied this process to shape and direct open, honest, democratic dialog in this channel ever since 2004.

Hank Ruark April 7, 2011 8:02 pm (Pacific time)

Charlene: Points you raise right on the money, and I do mean the misleading,erroneous- assumption GOP mismash being wildly flourished as weapon. Re "better communication" this time around, that's offset by the very much larger and dollar-magnified effort now being made by the same interests, but with allathat time to build better deep relationships and set up corporate hidden exchanges --which of course is why FEC cannot conceivably cover the huge amounts involved --ONE BILLION by the President !!. With distortion and misninformation and non-interest magnified into the apathy we all know exists among most Americans, what can we expect but more of the same, and be sure it will be piled higher, deeper and embroidered with bills of the deepest green, too... Part Three proving difficult to confine to major points since we've raised some doodoos here, and others are only slightly hidden. But analysis-applied may overcome the overlaps and solit away the too-detailed minor-stuff..."one never know, do one ?" definitely applies to any effort to make an Op Ed !!! Should be ready by weekend...

Charlene Young April 7, 2011 6:56 pm (Pacific time)

Hi Hank. I did not respond to your comment on the Unitary Executive Theory because "it" as a total usurper of the people's power is a hypthesis that simply is an unworkable feat for even the most evil of tyrants, for there are more direct ways to assume that power don't you think? Of course the Libya situation is cause for reflection. You also wrote: "...see GOP action in forcing coming government shutdown via failed attempt to blackmail President...and watch for the destructive public opinion coming for sure, no matter what happens in either direction..." Hank it may work out differently this time. If you remember back when the government shut down under Clinton's watch, our communication capabilities were no where near what they are today. That is, the "internet" has made for immediate and widely varied instant news updates, and there are many more cable channels besides CNN. Then you have people on a national level from all parties asking why didn't the dems pass a budget last year when they controlled all branches of government? Now I have seen polls (trends actually that go back to 2009) that show over 70% of the voters feel the current government has us on the "wrong track," and nearly 6 out of ten voters don't mind if the govt. shuts down if it's about securing budget cuts. I'm sure a large share of the msm will blame the republicans, but this time I don't believe they'll get as much traction like they did back in the 90's. Of course I could be wrong. By the way did you see the vote flip in the Wisconsin judge race? Remarkable times we live in Hank. Also have been researching David Brock, will share with you later.

Hank Ruark April 7, 2011 6:48 pm (Pacific time)

To all: If you go to you can check out major story re 1925 railroad engine being brought to Tillamook for tourist runs. Weekly is well over 100 years old, longest running business in its county. Other top story, headline across entire page, is An Unhealthy Tillamook with subhead:" Survey - 24 percent of counyis children in poverty, 26 percent of adults are uninsured." Both stories are by my live-in son, who is chief writer for this small media group of six weeklies on Oregon Coast, another group spread across three states. Another son (of four) is head camera tech, live-shot specialist, at KVAL-TV/Eugene, one of top stations in state. Third is 20-yr. veteran Oregon Senator staff chief, in Salem; now raising wheat on huge ranch in E. Oregon, still writing;and fourth runs own business/industry media and communication tech firm in Vancouver, WA. with constant contact among the leaders in Washington State corporate and public sector leaders. Allathis simply to reassure readers of solid current close working contacts with broad segments of community forming public opinion in this area, supplemented by heavy flow of email and Internet contacts. "Informed opinion" demands effort, takes time, but is absolutely the foundation for any reasonable level of actual knowledge on which to base public decision on all issues. Both agreement and dissent absolutely essential for any open, honest, democratic dialog chasnnel; we are fortunate to have this one provided via strong public service insights of Tim and Bon.

Hank Ruark April 7, 2011 5:10 pm (Pacific time)

   You wrote:"the power you claim that allows them to usurp the Constitution, well that is interesting, and has been a matter of some heated conversations between friends and associates."
   NOT my claim, but that of Bush with "signing statement": I remain fully appalled at his extensive use of it with ONLY his own justification for the action, thus bypassing not only Congress, contemptuously, but also then attempting to defeat Judicial review by the third component of the strong system the Founders left as our legacy.

   You do not respond to inquiry re Unitary Executive Theory which goes even further and is often cited as justification for that kind of near-treasonous avoidance of the process foundation the Founders built in --perhaps the most prescient of all they did since it offers fine opportunities for the kind of strong government demanded in this 21st Century while simlutaneously providing precisely the system we can, if we are conscientious and careful enough via CHOICE (!), to provide the conscientious Congress and Judiciary we must then have.

   But you then attack process now underway with transformational President, with millions still believing in changes he will eventually bring, and with the trillion-dollar stimulus --as reported by some ten national authorities in my file-- already showing slow but sure progress and success.

   "Success" here demands very careful definitional check vs the negative claims made --very obviously-- for partisan political ideologies already tested over and over again and with full strong record of major failures....see GOP action in forcing coming government shutdown via failed attempt to blackmail President...and watch for the destructive public opinion coming for sure,  no matter what happens in either direction:
   We may see in streets of Washington DC at least as confrontational a situation as anywhere in the Mid East...
   (You can see by now how much turther we need to take this strong and honest dialog, and the possibllities it offers for further learning and some strong particpation by others --total intent of Op Eds from Day One and first of over 600 here, and three times that many in dailies widespread over the years.)

   Fifty working years devoted to this by choice after blundering into education via way of journalism; four sons "in the media" and at work in legislatures and other modes of service, too. Sons have combined news-experience well over 150 years,  in every mode and level; my live-with one is now chief writer and about to become next in command for burgeoning small media empire with 6 Coast weeklies and papers in three other states. He started today with 7 a.m. interview in Coastal town 50 miles away.  Son No. 4, liveshot specialist at major TV station, now shooting tsunami damage on Coast, with another Japanese tsunami-situation just reported as possibilitiy.
   Do believe allathat about them gives me some feeling for public opinion, along with 15 (count 'em from list-coming later !~) strong national magazines and still some few surviving contacts from worktime in Chicago and Washington, DC. albeit most have died off long ago... !!

   But democratic dialog, when honest and open and documented, is still  the best, strongest, finest tool we can whomp up --- which proves up PartsOneandTWO as background for fact-of-matter, an uninformed,misinformed, propaganda-driven citizens group lacking strong efforts to carry on the eternal vigilance demanded for the kind of nation we can still become...

   Will "hanp up" now on this one and whip out rest of Part Three...hope you will continue your strong and challenging participation...and best to your teacher, too.
Tell her to "keep on keepin' on" --help for education is definitely on  the way !!

Charlene Young April 7, 2011 11:31 am (Pacific time)

Hank isn't just great that we live in a country where people of different views can offer polite and engaging debate. Since we obviously are such a politically divided country, I have dedicated a large portion of my life (nearly a half century) seeing that my [former] students were provided with information from all sides of controversial issues. My oldest child, now 48, has been teaching in the public system since she was 22 (a strong union member), and has often gone against her peers in seeing that her students have access to different viewpoints. My earlier comment was about this, but more directed toward opining that a formal policy be implemented via our state legislatures to assure that counter opinions/theories be provided. Regarding your evaluation of past presidents and the power you claim that allows them to usurp the Constitution, well that is interesting, and has been a matter of some heated conversations between friends and associates. For example, let's review a partial list of campaign promises made by our current President: He was going to pull us out of Iraq and Afghanistan; close Guantanamo; dismantle the Patriot Act; have total transparency of all legislation and post all pending legislation on the internet for public viewing and response, before he would consider signing into law; have net spending cuts; increased taxes for those making over $250,000; and on and on. I recall Bush #1 saying "Read my lips, no new taxes," well that was his political epitaph for breaking a campaign promise. There are many other promises that did not bear fruit, and then the Stimulus Bill,which including interest, has been a trillion dollar boondoggle. There has been other legislation, and to use your phrase "Will of Congress"...well the congress and the president disregarded the "Will of the people", and that is what gave rise to the Tea Party and last November's election results. To foster critical thinking skills of our students, offering them different interpretations, and reminding them of all sides, will certainly advance their decision making abilities, don't you think Hank?

Hank Ruark April 6, 2011 11:55 am (Pacific time)

To all: For anyone still uninformed --or even misinformed via purposeful distortion of fact by "the noise-makers" -- here is a strong statement from a longtime "insider" who defected from the Republican party: "The Republican Noise Machine: Right-Wing Media and How It Corrupts Democracy"; David Brock; Three Rivers 2004. Brock is author also of "Blinded By The Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative". Both books are New York Times best-sellers. Brock is President and CEO of Medfa Matters for America (www.mediamatters,org) , a non- profit media watchdog organization in Washington, D.C.

Hank Ruark April 6, 2011 11:33 am (Pacific time)

C.: You also wrote:"What I would like to see is more research in the area of reporting, for example positive/negative political articles in all of popular media, and even in our school system, mainly to see if a counter-opinion has been made available to our students. This would be a very subjective task, but it is a very important assessment to make in my opinion. So much disinformation out there that needs sunlight." To which this extremely frustrated and often confused writer must say: "Absolutely right-on...and it is that sad lack that brings us to this present untenable and extremely damaging-to-democracy past." We here at S-N try to provide some small part of the offset demanded in our society now, to this overwhelming trend in and through "the media" --and the broad and continuing use of dialog-and-Comment is part of that effort. We do have other parts yet to come, and they do also revolve around usage of Comment in responsible mode and with full documentation when requested from the huge access for any issue found on Internet --naking it possible to supplement each and all life experiences with strong statements from recognized authorities as well.

Hank Ruark April 6, 2011 11:27 am (Pacific time)

C.: In same writing you state: "Why would they want something similar to the harsh oversight and ongoing decline of individual freedoms a big and growing government brings forth?" That's an unwarranted assumption, part of ongoing propganda-content originating prior to New Deal, intended to offset the growing public understanding that then-looming Real Depression demanded strong government action. Over decades since that period, most knowledgable Americans have come to understand and feel strongly that there are some things (issues, situations and problems) best left to individual action, others that demand regulation by the government --and some few that may very well demand direct government action, including control, to make for the best level of the public interest. Again, our three-component pattern for government organization exhibits not only its strength in each level of such circumstance but proves up the insight and prescience of our Founders. Which is why we need to return to their first principles and aggressively affirm our own individual and conscientious return to the careful, considered and conscientiously-tested American-citizen responsiility for the most discerning and informed CHOICE we can manage to make --requiring that we convert :information" first to "knowledge" and then use that knowledge wisely and well.

Hank Ruark April 6, 2011 11:14 am (Pacific time)

Charlene: You wrote: ""Founders" as desiring certain outcomes that I must admit I find shocking. For example Hank, can you imagine some people are saying the Founders wanted big government? They wanted just the opposite. Why would they want something similar to the harsh oversight and ongoing decline of individual freedoms a big and growing government brings forth? My goodness that would be colonial England all over again." Entire bibliog. on Founders demonstrates pragmatic concern for "most effective" and "wisest" form of government. Surely they sought pattern for what would serve best at lowest cost in facility, personnel and funds, but their overall overriding absolutely demanded test was for pattern to control English denials. What they invented from deep, long-continuing study of history, philosophy, human nature and practical everyday necessities of any possible governmental operation is the three-component system we inherited, with each safeguarding against intrusion and deterioration by the others. Do you know background and details of Unitary Executive Theory used to support aggressive added-strengths to Presidency ? Every President has inevitable opportunities to usurp and abuse what the Founders gave us --and some have done so remarkably, regaining huge additional powers for both short- and longer-term operations -- Bush I and II among worst, with Reagan close behind; and many other Presidents inviting, seeking, accepting any possibility to build the power of the Presidency. Do you know about Presidential use of "signing statement" immediately after signing new law from Congress --to declare HE thinks some part is --in his sole jjudgment-- "unConstitutional" and does not qualify as binding on him, so he will ignore and defy it by acting as if it were inapplicable ? Bush II used that pretext some hundreds of times, often adding explicit, binding instruction to agencies and hundreds of U.S. employees to disregard "Will of Congress" and kowtow to "Will of President". Obviously this demands more dialog than space here permits; we should work it over in depth and detail via further contributions to follow. But cannot close without pointing to facts laid on here as still further proof of mis-, dis- and perverted-purposely information as well as historic fact of which the broad range of American citizens is totally unaware --per Parts One and Two.

Charlene Young April 5, 2011 11:53 am (Pacific time)

Hank I have been looking around, and have gone to the "progressive" link you provided, but it is evident that the FEC ( is the gold standard when it comes to wanting to see the talley of political donations. These accounts no doubt go against the many myths that have been cultivated in the public information exchange, but it's never to late in my opinion to educate people with correct information. I often hear people refer to the "Founders" as desiring certain outcomes that I must admit I find shocking. For example Hank, can you imagine some people are saying the Founders wanted big government? They wanted just the opposite. Why would they want something similar to the harsh oversight and ongoing decline of individual freedoms a big and growing government brings forth? My goodness that would be colonial England all over again. It reminds me of some of the maladjusted children I came across during my career in education who would often use distraction in their obvious attempt to fool people. I have seen many of these children evolve into maladjusted adults over the years. A very sad outcome that breaks my heart. You see some of these types of individuals parroting people like Lenin and those of his ilk. You recall Lenin's saying "Accuse others of what you are doing." ? What I would like to see is more research in the area of reporting, for example positive/negative political articles in all of popular media, and even in our school system, mainly to see if a counter-opinion has been made available to our students. This would be a very subjective task, but it is a very important assessment to make in my opinion. So much disinformation out there that needs sunlight.

Hank Ruark April 4, 2011 9:12 pm (Pacific time)

C.: Yrs at 10:57 states: "Once again I would like to see other credible sources that could be used in a legal environment [court], if they exist. Don't all advertisers also have to maintain financial records that show whose paying them under penalty of law? " Much experience early in reporting-time showed me how little such "required record" means, and how massively, badly abused is the entire effort to make sure it is credible. Dunno about any national legal requirement, but Vermont had none then, and doubt if that chesty legislature would ever enact one.. AND again, what's the point without massive real enforcement, which is doubtless very poor usage of tax-payer funds these days ? But does make fine example for those who will still contend gov't. is too large, too costly, too intrusive...if and when any such effort does now exist.

Hank Ruark April 4, 2011 8:51 pm (Pacific time)

To all: Purposely refrained from any mention of recent Supreme Court decision ("Citizens") allowing massively unrestricted expenditure for political purposes by see if anyone would cite or refer to it. Since that, too, proves up point of the two-parts so far, check that one out via Google for background; and be sure to see Part Three for explosive and extremely damaging implications for every person as American citizen

Hank Ruark April 4, 2011 11:42 am (Pacific time)

To all: YES ! There are ways to support, extend, preserve, protect and guarantee the effectiveness of democracy's citizens. Here's short-signal sending rocket-sign for one: "Public Supports Higher Funding for NPR, PBS According to a new survey, Americans think the federal government spends 5 percent of its total budget on public broadcasting. In reality, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting receives roughly one-hundredth of 1 percent of our nation's budget. Perhaps the most astounding result of the survey was that even though the majority of people radically overestimate the budget for NPR and PBS, they still support that funding and many want to see it increased. Josh Stearns," Note the massive misinformation about the funding truth involved;we allow that misinformation to prevail at choice, as this 3-parter is surely making clear. When we decide we truly care enough to take the drastic massive action demanded, then we can achieve what that Alinski quote points out now happens part of the time, anyhow. Motivation, means and massive resources are there, ready and open to our use. What is missing is the collective political will to bring it into being, thus beginning completion of what the Founders intended. What can shape that political will is the overwhelming total of our individual choices -- when we choose to put them to positive use.

Hank Ruark April 4, 2011 11:31 am (Pacific time)

C, et al:Excellent example of how huge monies/manipulation is now being achieved is found at this link: What possible U.S. government legal action via FEC could even begin to hamper, much less prevent, massive intervention by those dependent on preservation of economic inequalities as here demonstrated ? This one can open dialog on national action to present, then preserve and protect, the legal and essential monies contribution as part of the inescapable citizen choice on whiich the remaining strengths of our democracy already and inescapably rest ?

Hank Ruark April 4, 2011 10:57 am (Pacific time)

Charlene: Yours is admirable summary on what perhaps should happen, but our inescapable reality is that it is not and has not ever taken place. WHY that is is of course the issue here, including the continuing negative impact of the inertia and lack of citizen responsibility which is the theme of this 3-part series ---so far notably exampled simply by the running tone and content of the fairly strong Comment-level so far ! Unfortunately the very broad river of ways to move monies already in deep existence is being constantly supplemented by the activities of many lushly-paid lobbyists, whose own activities, by any D.C.-based observation, now outrun at least in dollars-moved the "contributions"for which that legal liability to report to the FEC means very little. We need to probe, dissect and fully explore what pragmatic, realistic ways can be developed for practical party-based participation via dollars-given for the ordinary effect thus multiplying precisely the impacts well defined in that last Alinski-quote ending Part Two. That's inevitably become an essential task for Part Three, a bit neglected due to the large and sometimes challenging responses to the first two shots, which (some will regret) encourage me to "keep on keepin 'on" Send your emailer; I really do have situation impacting your interests.

Charlene Young April 4, 2011 9:11 am (Pacific time)

Hank thank you for your response. Possibly you have other "credible sources" that acknowledge a more accurate accounting of political donations (including tabulating methodology) that superseed the FEC's accuracy? I believe the FEC's accounting is also reflected in IRS filing records which are under congressional oversight as well as Inspector General reviews that are done via bi-partisan authority. There exists a major criminal liability if records are falsified in any way. As far as hidden donations, well there are rumors coming from all sides that I have heard about, but the only significant prosecutions on a national level have come from that period in the mid to late 1990's when we had well over 100 people taking the 5th during those rather acrimonious congressional hearings. More importantly, we have a clear record over 20 years long that shows "heavy hitter" (hundreds of millions in political funding) donation pattern that I provided with the "opensecrets" link, below post. Once again I would like to see other credible sources that could be used in a legal environment [court], if they exist. Don't all advertisers also have to maintain financial records that show whose paying them under penalty of law? This allows for multiple crosschecking to confirm donations used in this manner by all interested parties, including the media. Thanks Hank.

Hank Ruark April 3, 2011 8:01 pm (Pacific time)

Charlene: Best if we start with authority statement re FEC criticism: here it is: (From Wikipedia as easiest to access...) "Criticism Critics of the FEC, including campaign finance reform supporters such as Common Cause and Democracy 21, have complained that the FEC's bipartisan structure renders the agency "toothless." Critics also claim that most FEC penalties for violating election law come well after the actual election in which they were committed. Defenders of the agency point out, however, that the Commissioners rarely divide evenly along partisan lines, and that the response time problem may be endemic to the system. To complete steps necessary to resolve a complaint - including time for defendants to respond to the complaint, time to investigate and engage in legal analysis, and finally, where warranted, prosecution - necessarily takes far longer than the comparatively brief period of a political campaign. Additionally, some critics claim that the commissioners tend to act as an arm of the "regulated community" of parties, interest groups, and politicians when issuing rulings and writing regulations. At the same time, however, other critics, such as former FEC Chairman Bradley A. Smith and Stephen M. Hoersting, Executive Director of the Center for Competitive Politics, criticize the FEC for pursuing overly aggressive enforcement theories, and for infringing on First Amendment rights of free speech.[3]" To which I will simply add unavoidable distrust in their numbers, and some of their actions, since obviously they know only what those contributing wish to tell them. Their investigative arm is ineffective, politically embalmed and often at odds with elected President; they seem reluctant to pursue some of the most questionable information providers, while damning some others to overly-aggressive investigation, often seemingly for minor and sometimes even meaningless matters. That sums up rather completely experience with them when I was "on the street" in Boston at United Press, and through the years at other reporting-work locations including two major universitities. Again, more if and when you decide to risk direct contact at; I repeat, I have information for you in your own interest. Thanks much for your thoughtfful, sensitive and sensible participation, and hppe to continue cut/ups with you.

Hank Ruark April 3, 2011 7:45 pm (Pacific time)

Mike: You wrote: "the unions right away estranged themselves from half the voters and a large percentage of union members who are not of the far left ideology." Cited here as example of absolutely silly and unhelpful statement since it is missing any stated time or period to make it mean what it ostensibly reads-to-mean... Surely you do not intend it to apply to the current scene, since it is so obviously in error in reference to union=action and its reaction from the public; nor can it be intended for earlier period when massive union actions were winning our common-now 5-day work week, 40-hr. employment practice, vacation and home-time and illness and other health benefits...for which we are all surely now positioned to be grateful for that effort. IF you wish further dialog, yoy have my emailer and I await your query or quibble or any reasoning you may be able to rescue....

Hank Ruark April 3, 2011 7:39 pm (Pacific time)

Mike: Your position is both erroneous and ridiculous, sir...perhaps here worse than for other thread where responses really resonate reader evaluation for you. "Public opinion" studies negate your points, mostly on consequences of the 30-40/year attack on fair, accurate and complete coverage of major issues and problems...documentation deep and definite on your direct contact at, too lengthy here. You speak as if you have either special training, or experience, or other background; please state what if any-such you have, as Charlene so openly did...that might improve your credibility for obvious lack of understandings re "contributions" by both the associations and groups shown at C's link, and other statements. In a climate where one very-shaky would-be Presidential candidate states rapidly that even if Presidential campaign costs $60 million, he can afford the run, flat facts such as at link mean very little, only demonstrating how small a oart most of those groupsp play. Monies expended on political influence now by private-sector business, corporate and allied groups, and only fractionally matched by public interest groups, is through so many channels and hidden in so many complex corners that all we know for sure is that there is far too damned much of it being both morally and illegally used as abusive political weapon, bringing on extreme deterioration of the processes intended and then proposed by our Founders. Time here currently short; much more to come via Op Ed and thankfully this Comment channel, too.

Mike April 3, 2011 8:07 am (Pacific time)

I went to the link Charlene posted, , it was an eye-opener. I had no idea that some of these public and private organizations donated in that fashion. Talk about putting all your eggs in one basket. Not very good strategies for some, especially all the public unions. Considering that we're pretty much a 50/50 country politically, the unions right away estranged themselves from half the voters and a large percentage of union members who are not of the far left ideology. My position is that many of the polls out there that support union positions are "weighted" improperly and are more of a "push an opinion" rather than measure opinion. Just look at recent voting patterns, that's where you find the most accurate opinion on issues, especially fiscal issues. Follow the money...

Charlene Young April 2, 2011 11:59 am (Pacific time)

Hi Hank. You wrote to a below poster: "...Still maintain naivete to believe FCC (You mean FEC?), even for their stated election figures, due to long experience with so-called "primary sources" whose numbers turned out to be both distorted and misrepresented..." My question to you Hank, is what other sources out there trump the FEC? Afterall it is their lawful responsibility to account for political donations. Any other sources would base their numbers on what? Obviously it's pretty clear that it has been the unions (collectively) who have provided a substantial percentage of political donations and they go almost exclusively to democratic candidates and to referendum issues that they favor. Public employee unions represent a tiny fraction of any state's populace and yet manage to have one of the loudest voices. Please keep in mind that a significant percentage of union members disagree with the union's specific political party contributions, and that's an issue that needs to be addressed in court, in my opinion. In regards to corporation donations, they are all over the political spectrum. For example the Wall Street banking crowd has primarily donated to democrats, and Obama was the number one recipient. Though they also donate to republicans, there is considerable misinformation about this corporate group. Have you seen the tally of contributions coming from the major media corporations and their employees, which includes editors and other policy-makers? Far and away going to the democratic party. I would greatly appreciate your sources that counter the FEC so I can review. Hank the below link provides a clear breakdown on major political donations between 1989 and 2010, and I would highly recommend that readers review. It certainly puts things in perspective by quashing the considerable disinformation out there. Would be interested in your assessment. Please note the "party legend" on the far right of this link and see Goldman Sachs political donation amount. This data is from the FEC records. Thanks Hank/

Hank Ruark April 1, 2011 11:13 pm (Pacific time)

Roy: Be not too concerned re crazy-case reactions to stress-filled public occasions by anyone or members of any group.
Daily-pages history reek of them through decades, as some years filing state wire for United Press out of Boston taught me early-on in own life experience.

Unfair to use her influence on kids as example since only small proportion of teachers ever so react; no documentation on hand but memory states much smaller than for average in society as whole
That's because every teacher reaches that status only via long and very probing examination and actual work under observation....more than can be said of many other professions.

Re economics involved, see current issues of American Prospect, NATION, TIME, others for Keynesianism 101 information making precisely the opposite case on full and extremely well-documented history of past depressive incidents, of War II years and aftermath, and of other closely parallel situations.
Difference cometh because no nation supporting its own currency need ever follow what seems commonsense pattern to us as individuals, need never run short of monies for state usage, and can use deep deficits in ways barred to individuals and all others except other nations.
Major economists agree very rarely on big-points, but on this one most will now accept use of deficits, often far larger than ours currently, as long-established standard practice, with the reallity that of other dangers if unused. I know this sounds to be upside/down but it is documented fact, well illustrated in the publications cited above; no issue dates and titles and page references simply due to working situation here where they are momentarily unavailable -- in my mag-files down painful passage of steps I avoid at night. Will cite for you and others later.

Come direct to for full dialog and all fairness to others here, we need to stick to point of Parts One and Two, in preparation for forthcoming Part Three (and possibl;y-more-too !)
Thank you for your thoughtful and concerned participation.

Hank Ruark April 1, 2011 4:23 pm (Pacific time)

Bikk G.: Re "primary source"-polish for FEC, please cite their total-amount in last election for Rove et al, as given for their legally-admitted effort. Will make great contrast with other reports on total efforts from that group, under other cover-and-color than legal-wrapped report.

Hank RUARK April 1, 2011 4:18 pm (Pacific time)

To all: Sadly mine e.31 10:48 to Bill went flying out to some cloud, inadvertently sent....small remainder carried in another comment. Main point and detail contained so superfluity and disrelevance and badly erroneous nature of its target --will reproduce when time (and meds/working schedule) allows; I am allowed only two hours Internetting....

Hank Ruark April 1, 2011 4:14 pm (Pacific time)

Bill G.: Sorry-had thought you referred to all political contributions, not simply the small fraction involved in recent vote. Still maintain naivete to believe FCC, even for their stated election figures, due to long experience with so-called "primary sources" whose numbers turned out to be both distorted and misrepresented. Ask any experienced political writer; it is longtime shameful situation at state level, well recognized within the profession. BTW, what's your status ? Writer, businessman, teacher, explorer --or just curious bystander ? IF you wish full credibility, you need to show more than name, as do all 80+ of us for S-N content writing. Then, too, you might consider doing your own Op Ed, if this series so motivates you to seek satisfaction in nailing down small differences which make no real impact on point of two-so-far: Naive, misinformed, uninformed, ignorant, and misled Americans, comfortable within lethargy of own lives, are sadly and insanely damaging democracy by non-attention to citizen responsibilities. Do you DISAGREE with that-last ? If so, there's YOUR Op Ed, which we await with interest and disclosure of your qualifications to comment in detail and depth, with your own choice of some similar sources-work to build an informed opinion.

Roy April 1, 2011 8:28 am (Pacific time)

What is tragic about what's going on regarding our horrible economy, is that hard decisions must be made, and so many people just don't understand that to save jobs we have to reduce spending to match revenue. What is so hard to understand? Look at California, it is a union friendly state but has been laying off thousands and the layoffs are increasing. What the below story unfortunately shows happening is selective law enforcement. We are heading down a very dangerous trail. "Wisconsin woman charged with email threats (Early school teacher!). Madison - A 26-year-old woman was charged Thursday with two felony counts and two misdemeanor counts for allegedly making email threats against Wisconsin lawmakers during the height of the battle over Gov. Scott Walker's budget-repair bill. In that email, she purportedly wrote, "Please put your things in order because you will be killed and your familes will also be killed due to your actions in the last 8 weeks." Katherine R. Windels of Cross Plains was named in a criminal complaint filed in Dane County Criminal Court. The subject line of the second email was: "Atten.: Death Threat!!!! Bomb!!!" Another solid case for private or home schooling. Can you imagine the poison she's pouring into the young minds under her charge? //FOLLOW-UP: "Windels is not in custody. The D.A.'s office says she won't be arrested. The district attorney's office said Friday morning, the 26-year-old will now make her initial appearance Thursday, April 21. If convicted on all counts, she could face up to seven years, six months in prison." So why did the union -member police not arrest her? The Wisconsin Atty General forwarded the evidence to the county DA two weeks ago. What has taken so long. A death threat of elected officials! Something really stinks! Will Eric Holder investigate?

Bill Griffith March 31, 2011 6:47 pm (Pacific time)

Hank nothing quite so good as a primary source, and the FEC is that one. Below is some real numbers to wrap one's mind around: "The largest outside contributor in those November (2010) congressional races was not the dread Chamber of Commerce (as some refer to as corporate donations), but a union -- the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). It gave $87.5 million to candidates -- followed in fourth place (after the Chamber and Rove's American Crossroads) by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU, at $44 million) and in fifth place by the National Education Association (NEA, at $40 million).

Hank Ruark March 31, 2011 10:48 am (Pacific time)

Bill Griffith March 30, 2011 6:34 pm ( Bill: Yrs demands line-for-line response so here it comes: Hank the national unions are politically powerful money machines. Just go the website of the Federal Elections Commission and see their massive funding, and who they are funding. Authoritative national source indicates about ten-to-one ratio for private-sector funds vs all others accumulated from

Hank Ruark March 31, 2011 11:02 am (Pacific time)

To all:
Just noted error in my emailer as given previously. This is correct one: (ipns, NOT ipnd)

Hank Ruark March 31, 2011 10:59 am (Pacific time)

Inadvertentky sent incomplete comment to Bill Griffin; rest follows: Anything would be better than the staus quo. Not necessarily: too easy to slide still further into desperate swamp of bad ideas and indefensible damaging deficient funding. Sure things could worsen, but when I see Wisconsin will no longer collect union dues from the workers, we'll see how well the worker's do paying their dues on their own. Should prove interesting. State collection of union dues is simple commonsense of management with point raised and agreed via collective bargaining....whole attack-mode in the states mentioned, brightly illuminated in Wisconsin, is revision of well-tested, widely accepted system built from consensus over years by workes and those responsible at state level for fairness to worker AND taxpayer --one of the great, proven, established, historic benefits of union organization, which is real target of those engaged in such misinformation as represented in the assumption that dollars paid to public sector workers for their efforts are in any way any more "from the taxpayer" than those in use by private sector for political purposes, and coming from the economy precisely as do the dollars-paid for professional effort to public sector workers.

Hank Ruark March 30, 2011 7:53 pm (Pacific time)

Charlene: Please contact me at my email for information you may appreciate in your own interest.

Bill Griffith March 30, 2011 6:34 pm (Pacific time)

Hank the national unions are politically powerful money machines. Just go the website of the Federal Elections Commission and see their massive funding, and who they are funding. The same thing can be seen in all 50 states, and all cities and towns across the nation. They absolutely dwarf the political contributions of the taxpayers, who are providing the money for these unions. Not right! As far as removing incompetents, that can be done with relative ease. Ask any Human Resource specialist what they would do? When over 90% (on average) of school funding goes to a top heavy staff, then it's time to reallocate. This would be up to state legislatures in most cases. Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, to name just a few states, are embarking on improving their educational systems. Maybe from them, some decent models will develop. Anything would be better than the staus quo. Sure things could worsen, but when I see Wisconsin will no longer collect union dues from the workers, we'll see how well the worker's do paying their dues on their own. Should prove interesting.

Hank Ruark March 30, 2011 11:10 am (Pacific time)

To all: Don't miss whole series of new information stories re huge corporate tax avoidances, more than 75% of what's properly due from profit response as economy recovers. Anyone like to dialog on trillions-lost over past 30 years, and causes for that strikingly successful plunder-attack on U.S. national revenues ? Come direct at, and we may both learn much more of the truth. Continuing theme in OP Eds since it is major cause for funding-furor which affects education, fundamentally the unavoidable massively-major issue of our social era.

HanK RUARK March 29, 2011 11:42 am (Pacific time)

To all: Note attacks on teachers in their classrooms already now occurring in Bakersfield, CA. --where student ratio has been allowed to move up to 40 per class. That student/ratio is one long supported by both research and plain old commonsense experience, with the longrun understandings built from many decades of actual operations. For anyone seeking to challenge it, be sure to apply in Bakersfield or some other burdened school system, to test out your theory of how many kids it takes to kill off any possibilities of real learning for all others inadvertently forced into untenable situation. What will non observant parents do when suddenly kids are no longer in closed-schools but present and in full demand-mode allatime at home ? Can --and has !-- happen. Strikes me this whole dialog points up very well basic concept of Parts One and Two --and can hardly wait to build up still more in Part Three, now in work. Best to all, and for any volunteers you will have no problem in finding now-beleaguered schools and boards ready to do anything --and I can feel for them, having "been there" in similar circumstances long years ago.

Hank Ruark March 28, 2011 2:04 pm (Pacific time)

Bill: Precision in language is the key to full understandings. You wrote:"The unions have become a political money-machine who only want to increase their power, well they are on their way to extinction." Can you now expand, extend, and document that statement, with sources for it as quoted ? To me it is strongly reminiscent of Far Right Reagan-era wording when the Presidential Actor smashed the Air Controller's union --first step in a planned assault now well recognized--with mainstream media overwhelming the public with what was first step in the continuing attack I mentioned. My file counts some 20 separate national sources for solid review and reevaluation of the Reagan era, start of this whole attack plan,most appearing recently re his centennial. Re language precision, mine re American education woefully under-funded speaks of what we know we should be doing as well as what we try to do NOW --with two trillion dollars in corporate/other tax-breaks annually slicing the meat of the matter first. Given the large number of schools flying in the face of heavy difficulties because forced to operate with perhaps half-again as many students per classroom as we know should be the happy ratio, it's worth time to consider what could be done with half of that national-income robbery. Do you really believe schools now enjoy the support, both in dollars and parental/citizen activity, that they deserve ? If not, have you ever stopped to think WHY that has happened in the past four decades ??? For detailed economic analysis, surprisingly from world-renowned source in Australia, see "Deficit Mania Is Built On a Series of Destructive Neoliberal Myths"; William Mitchell, NATION Apr 4, pp.11-17 --and I'm waiting for your direct queries !!! Most of my experience, which includes a decade of learning media consultant visits to Oregon Schools from the ORDept.ofEd, indicated very clearly that underfunding was the major problem especially in rural areas. Did you ever meet with six local school boards in one week ? Testify before a Legislative Committee re $9 million in federal matching funds ?

HanK RUARK March 28, 2011 12:20 pm (Pacific time)

Anna, Bill: Anna wrote:"Possibly shutting down the unions in public education and allowing superindentents to fire the incompetents will help turn things around. " To shut down ANY union requires denial of Constitutional rights for association and representation under law - do you really wish to impose that on the very large group of honestly-involved and hard-working, mostly underpaid, teachers ? Also,what method,means and measures do you propose to capture ONLY those few truly incompetent teachers from the huge throng of strivers,doers, and great guiders, composing most of our realiistic teaching force ? Please detail that last because there are literally hundreds of local school boards seeking precisely what it is you seem to feel is easily available, simple to use, and requires only regular staff, without the special qualifications generally recognized as demanded for this complex task. Old cliche from Ed 101: "Hard to define strong teaching legally and even harder to measure it, but I damned well know it when I experience it in action."

Hank Ruark March 28, 2011 12:10 pm (Pacific time)

Bill: Your thoughtful, well-presented points appreciated; sorry if tone re Anna seems "angrified" --comes from fury of frustration vs the 30-year impacts of an extremely well-funded Far Right attempt to misinform, disinform, deny and defy real achievements in education despite longtime underfunding and other very distressing damages-done purposively by those whose simple, sometimes sole and often more complex motivation is to kill off as much costs as possible. With 50 years close contact with media and education, can elucidate in depth and horrifying detail. If you wish to explore, my, with your name, will get rapid thankful attention. There are many real problems, but curriculum, funding, and other false issues built over those years are not the real's more a matter of real attitude, understandings, and solid, factual, checkable information. For more in general, see Part Three in this series, now in work. We brought this on ourselves --and only response is what we Amercans, in our noted "exceptionalism" mode, always do --FIX THE DAMNED PROBLEMS !!!

Bill Griffith March 26, 2011 6:39 pm (Pacific time)

I read Anna's post, and though it's a little more intense than what I would write, she does share similar views of millions of us. Also you have state legislatures currently crafting legislation to reduce union influence in public education. Since governors and legislators ran campaigns about these matters, the public has given them a mandate. We are now just observing a minority of squeaky wheel protestors who will soon fade to black as new laws are passed. I also agree with Anna that this is about protecting our students. When I was in school, we led the world in math and science, now we're way way down on the list. Pretty simple to look at a timeline and see the causal variables involved, and the voting public has also figured it out, or at least a majority. The unions have become a political money-machine who only want to increase their power, well they are on their way to extinction.

HanK RUARK March 26, 2011 1:47 pm (Pacific time)

Anna B.: Many would rapidly question any educcational action out of Texas ! Re unions and firing incompetents, you betray deep misunderstandings of both issues and what's now demanded for ongoing effective action for both. Do you have any concept whatsoever of where curriculum develo'ment comes from, and of the tortuous process demanded by law ? On what do you base "sweeping generalizations' such as these, other than high school achievement ?

Anna Bosley March 25, 2011 3:18 pm (Pacific time)

The state of Texas has been making some practical strides in education by demanding that the student's textbooks are accurate, not agenda-oriented. This of course has caused some controversey, but the opponents of this book updating have failed to back up their concerns with actual facts. There lies the problem with public education, there has been no accountibility for those who depart from sound curriculum coupled with proven learning theory and embark on a propaganda campaign. Just look how our students compare to their peers around the world! Possibly shutting down the unions in public education and allowing superindentents to fire the incompetents will help turn things around. Just look at the quality of students we had prior to the union influence coming about. There are plenty of civil service laws that protect the teachers, but we need to protect our students from obvious teacher incompetence.

Editor: I'm curious, what did you think of Benito Mussolini?

Hank Ruark March 22, 2011 4:03 pm (Pacific time)

C, et al: Education is by far key problem we must solve to maintain and advance our democracy. Here are several refs. to key issues with fully authoritative information, to guide the forthcoming very probing examination sure to occur, in which S-N dialog should lead: 1.The new Christian Science Monitor weekly, replacing famous daily no longer published, with NO RELIGIOUS emphasis but superb coverage. March 21 issue has special report on Turnaround Schools, showing "how some of the worst schools in America have actually begun to get better". "See also" p.23 "Cut the deficit ? A job fir kindergartners" detailing how we can save ONE TRILLION yearly via tax reforms. Re charter-school successes, there's a reason built into how evaluation is done. See American Prospect 11/2010 p. 25 "Repeat Performance: Do charter schools help kids by holding them back ?" Serious readers of S-N will find some sharp thought and strong opinion in these refs. with moretocome from Op Eds soon.

hank Ruark March 20, 2011 3:05 pm (Pacific time)

C. et al: Again you reach heart of the matter, friend C. -but somehow I seem to feel a certain tone of resentment and of disdain for some actions of the union leaders on your feeling of their drive for power uber alles, even best outcomes for the kids. You declare positive differentiation as constant for private (non-union) vis public (union); may be true but then there are essential differences with deep effects, often difficult or impossible to cut from comparisons. Definition of "private" here assumed as mostly "charter" schools, run via for-gain management, often with less than same requirements of public schools, such as taking EVERY student no matter what background. Detail here meant simply to illuminate for readers the extremely difficult situation existing for solid dialog with two professionals re education, demanding close ageement on terms of any real comparison and evaluation... Which makes the point of the Op Ed that much more penetrating since the very lack of that absolute essential detail is by far the largest contributor to the whole set of conditions and issues and consequences which force us into this conflicted, complex and confrontational mess in the first place. We need strong, continuing, open, honest and democratic dialog --and then very strong action with legislatures and Congress and the rest of the mechanisms of our democracy,, if we are to achieve wha you point out as so very demanding solutiion. I totally agree with your suggestions for further action --and strongly believe that only precisely what is happening here can ever bring it about...which, since I can only add my little-bit, may well explain that "guilty" feeling ! And then there is the wide-open possiblility of too-sure "opinion" based on incomplete information, from which we all suffer tremendously these days of tsunami-waves of "information", much of it from very dubious sources. I try never to forget that the very first rule of analysis is to "Check the source !". More soon on this, and thanks again for your very fine, strong and intriguing participation.

Charlene Young March 20, 2011 1:01 pm (Pacific time)

Hank regarding your inquiry: "Do YOU share mine own sense of real guilt in not doing much more, and more aggressively, over the years and NOW !!??" No! My mother's career took her to seven states and overseas. My late father (died at 94), her husband, was in the military, and they traveled extensively, as I did until my college years. Regarding academic resources for our students and how that impacts their learning, well there is a considerable range, and controversy in this matter. Since you find high achieving students with sparse resources compared to other school districts that have high spending on students with low achievement, my view is that it's a misleading simplification that more money will cure the achievement gaps. Removing incompetent teachers and administrators would be a good first step. How do you do this? State legislatures need to get into the trenches and pass some rules/regulations to provide essential oversight on performance standards that include removing those who fail to meet those standards, "immediately." As you may know, this is when the lawsuits begin, and the unions fund those lawsuits for obvious reasons, in that, their Golden Goose is cooked when incompetents are removed. Seems that there is an endless list of causal variables that have positive/negative impacts on the learning process, but for my nickel, I have seen the differences that exist (on "average") re: student performance between private and public students, even correlating socio-economic factors. The private school environment (non-union) wins very easily over the public school environment (union). Well Hank we both know where we're coming from, so I guess we'll see how things play out over the next few years, maybe months though, as layoffs tick up. So my prayers are that people who really care about the children, take the time to evaluate the historical achievement data, for the solutions are quite clearly available to turn this doomed train around, but time and money are in short supply..

Hank Ruark March 19, 2011 11:21 am (Pacific time)

C.: My very best regards to your mother, 96, former EdDept, Dean. Please let us know where her undoubtedly strong and insightful service (how else with you as proof ?) took place. I hope to make it at least to 96 --my sister, lifelong teacher and also EdDept. teacher, got to 97...!

Hank Ruark March 19, 2011 11:17 am (Pacific time)

Charlene: Thanbk you for the fully comprehensive and strikingly strong real background in this complex world of education about which we dialog. I respect, welcome and rejoice to find someone with the insights, feelings and understandings so pertinent and meaningful to the issues. That's the great strength of dialog when honesly, openly, democratically put to work --and now we know for sure the solid background from which your contributions come. Do you consider education generally underfunded in light of so-called "local control" via School Board action often based on lack of insights into real issues ? At OrEdDept. for decade I visited many schools and classrooms, finding most less than well-equipped with what it takes these days to work most effectively with pupils. Continuing longterm contacts from my days at national level (NAVA et al) and via LMA-Chucago consulting for another decade shape my own approach. Thank you for thoughtful, provocative dialog and I hope we can continue with the objective to add much more attention...and perhaps even motivate some action !!...on what I'm sure we agree is a broad, complex problem truly threatening our style and mode of democracy. Do YOU share mine own sense of real guilt in not doing much more, and more aggressively, over the years and NOW !!??

Charlene Young March 19, 2011 9:21 am (Pacific time)

Hank you inquired about my professional background: I first started teaching in 1962, shortly after graduating from the University of Oregon. Taught 4th grade for three years while pursuing my M.A.T. and secondary certification, and two years later later received an MEd. I then taught in several high schools in the Portland metro area, and was a member of the union from the time it was made available to me. When I left public school teaching after 23 years I was a union steward. My husband spent many years on a school board (an elected "unpaid" position) in our suburban community, and we were frequently at odds over educational policy matters, though he was a in a different school district than I was. Note: I finally began to understand what my husband was talking about regarding "growing and damaging" union interference, which is far worse today. After leaving the public school system I went into teaching/administration in the private school system, and could not have been more pleased professionally and personally. At the age of 60 I retired from fulltime teaching after 38 years. I then did substitute teaching in the public and private school systems until I turned 65. Now at the age of 71 I still volunteer my services. My mother, currently 96, mentored me all through my teaching/administration career. She was a university professor and an Educational Department Dean. So in some manner, I have been highly involved in teaching/administration for nearly a half century, and I'm still learning new things everyday. After decades of practical experience I consider that public service unions have become a hindrance not only to public education, but have morphed into a growing financial burden for the taxpayers. Can they once again become relevant and helpful to society in the public arena? Doubtful, for they have been infiltrated by some who could care less about students, their union members and the taxpayers, only in increasing their power. Also, you may have noticed that some specific "party" politicians will not protect the interests of their boss (taxpayers), but will grant increased salary and benefits in exchange for political contributions. One of my children is a school principal and has been trying to remove low performing teachers, but is finding that a nearly impossible process. She also states that the quality of school administrator's is declining more each year, an observation we share. One just has to look at the average test scores over the years to see what's been happening. Then of course we have those who have zip teaching/administration experience (and ability), but they always seem to know what to do, and that's been our problem: people who know nothing about the art of teaching, but sure think they do. Are you familiar with the growing percentage of public school teachers who have their children in the private school system?

Hank Ruark March 18, 2011 8:42 pm (Pacific time)

To all: NATION Washington correspondent John Nichols did the overwhelmingly detailed and deeply, authoritatively documented special report-mentioned. The issue date is March 21, 20ll; title is "The Spirit of Wisconsin", reflecting the undeniable fact that Walker/GOP have far overreached themselves in this situation and it has now become irrefutably seen nationally and across the world as a sure tipping point in public recognition of union function and necessity in our economy, now so obviously under sharp attack by those who would create from adversity the opportunity to defy public opinion and destroy the union movement entirely via manipulation of a false-front semi-issue --the Wisconsin pseudo-crisis affecting the budget --as well exposed by Walker's " This is our moment " statement and his on-record, in-same-bill, attempt to set up no-bid power/plant give-away/price deal with the Koch interests.

hank Ruark March 18, 2011 5:12 pm (Pacific time)

To all: For superb review with depth and detail of entire Wisconsin debacle, triggered by Walker subversion of collective bargaining right by continuing refusal to accept worker/union cooperation and compromise, now noted internationally as open attack on union function and continuance of the Reagan era beginning, see current issue of NATION for special report.

hank Ruark March 18, 2011 11:47 am (Pacific time)

C;: You wrote: "How about those people who have a right "not" to join a union? How do those states that are "right to work" compare economically with those that have unions running the show? Also how are the employees doing that are not union and work for the government? Times are a changing, and as usual, it's a follow the money scenario, which we have little of." 1. "Follow the money": Choice is the answer here, too. We have floods of it, more available, all that's needed is to close off heavy corporate tax-breaks, unfair favor-rich policies, illegal and truly unconstitutional actions like Walker et al in other states. Heavy documentation found all over Internet from proven and widely cited authoritative sources. Painful proof: GOPster chief perpetrator Trump threatening to spend $60 million of personal fortune to bribe way into chief executive position as President, unstating actions to follow. More painful proof: Ratio of average worker pay vs average corporate executive rising steadily, now more than 400-1. Many CEO's in multiple-millions range, while millions of worker and middle class struggle desperately, with huge growth in standard measures illuminating differences in resources. 2. 22 states have "right-to-work" laws, with varying degrees of protection; most other states have regulations and processes. It is safe to say NO WORKER can legally be forced to join union OR to assign payment of dues vs his will and choice to join. Again, the Internet full of documentation; media likewise: see neww CSM weekly for two-page feature full of information stating facts. 3. Comparison made extremely complex by crowding economic, social, education and other impacting factors; clearest studies show some advantage for strong-union situations. Pattern maintained in comparison of realistic take-home pay in most areas, with workers at all levels better off where unions active and recognized, with the public sector group usually slightly lower than private sector when comparable educational, demanded responsibilities properly accounted-for. 4. "Times are achanging" - Absolutely ! With proven, fair and comprehensive union accomplishments strongly characterizing areas making advances in general level of life style for citizens, on same bases as continuing struggles ever since preceding the New Deal. Confrontation to advance general worker status and better life opportunities continues on even more-complex and broader- front than ever, driven by inevitable consequences of corporate design to be and become always and forever money-maker with inevitable drive to lower costs in any way possible and achieve profits even at cost to workers and the common good, as built into democracy in various formats. For third time, YOU are invited to come direct to my email address:, for full dialog and deep-resource documentation, rather than deface thread with obvious attempt to modify and manipulate and thus defy and deny overwhelming facts of realities now. My offer to document each and every assertion made in Op Ed still stands, but not for simplified side-issues meant to harass and manipulate rather than add via dialog to learnings for all. IF you have special qualiifications or experience, please now cite and document each of your unquantified and/or documented statements via commonly-recognized non-partisan sources. Might tell us what grade level you taught, where, for how long, and include any information of advanced study or working experience qualifying your statements here; mine on public record elsewhere in S-N, with background of over 600 Op Eds published here.

Hank Ruark March 16, 2011 4:17 pm (Pacific time)

To all:
Previous access to Giroux statement and his professional emailer seems somehow to have gone astray
SO HERE IT IS AGAIN, to provide you with "see with own eyes" reliable source information from a noted and honored professional economist --one of three I used for preparing this Op Ed.

Henry A. Giroux currently holds the Global TV Network Chair Professorship at McMaster University in the English and Cultural Studies Department. He has taught at Boston University, Miami University of Ohio, and Penn State University. His most recent books include: Youth in a Suspect Society (Palgrave, 2009); Politics After Hope: Obama and the Crisis of Youth, Race, and Democracy (Paradigm, 2010); Hearts of Darkness: Torturing Children in the War on Terror (Paradigm, 2010); and he is working on two new books titled Zombie Politics and Culture in the Age of Casino Capitalism and Education and the Crisis of Public Values, both of which will be published in 2011 by Peter Lang Publishers. Giroux is also a member of Truthout's Board of Directors. His website is

I add this note simply because of prior mention in response to C., and to make sure each and every reader here has full access to essential authoritative statement.

hank Ruark March 16, 2011 3:40 pm (Pacific time)

To all: Must add that use of personal story-situations is met to illuminate special experience bearing directly on my own professional credibility here, and in no way to build up any credit for those situations --which, in all honesty, often came about by chance as much as by CHOICE !!

Charlene Young March 16, 2011 2:47 pm (Pacific time)

Hank in today's paper was an article about "19,000" (that's "nineteen thousand") teachers in California who are losing their jobs because of a budget crisis. California, one of the highest taxed states is run entirely by a party friendly with the unions, and that public employee union money got them elected. Still these politicians could not prevent the layoffs. Of course keep in mind that businesses have been migrating away for a while, as is happening in other states like Wisconsin and Ohio that have been rather unfriendly to business, so tax revenue has been shrinking while public salaries and benefits have been increasing. Note: See how Oregon recently passed business friendly legislation? They are waking up, at least some of them. I wonder how many teachers will lose their jobs in Wisconsin. If some do and considering the population difference I wonder how it will compare on a ratio level? Bet Wisconsin union members do better than those in California. Also, I imagine those running the political power in Wisconsin probably did not get much in the way of political union money, if any, for campaign purposes, etc., but still they have been focused on saving jobs. Time is the enemy to the union bosses right now, because they know that their members will eventually realize that to save their jobs, things are going to have to change. Plus the majority of union members did not leave their jobs during the protests. The secret ballot is anathema to unions. Each Wisconsin school will now add additional time on each school day to meet state standards for required class time because of the protests. No doubt that will cause considerable inconveniece for many people who will have their schedules messed up. Especially parents arranging daycare, etc. Hank you wrote: "Right of association includes right of choice to be union member, democratically represented via collective bargaining." How about those people who have a right "not" to join a union? How do those states that are "right to work" compare economically with those that have unions running the show? Also how are the employees doing that are not union and work for the government? Times are a changing, and as usual, it's a follow the money scenario, which we have little of.

Hank Ruark March 16, 2011 11:18 am (Pacific time)

To all: Sorry if any of my responses seem a bit "angrified" and even bear a further tone of depreciation for the Commenter. Here we seek dialog as strong and very active democratic tool to deal with the reality of issues and problems. When it is reduced to debate-point vs debate-point, with no true connection to Op Ed issue itself, most writers tend to feel under professional attack. For my part --perhaps due to mine own very peculiar lifelong situation of activity in two professions (education and journalism) simultaneously, I see each response as further opportunity to attempt teaching with any journalistic skills and experience simply as guide and tool. If anyone feels oherwise, I repeat, I regret that outcome --but must point out that dissent and strong response to it is the very heart not only of dialog here, but of effective operation for our democracy. That's WHY we are a representative Republic, with a successful system the envy of most of the rest of the world. We need to make sure we do all we possibly can to keep it that way... Thanks to all for thoughtful and very sensitive and sensible participation.

Hank Ruark March 16, 2011 11:08 am (Pacific time)

C. 10:03: You wrote: " They are not the same! You have taxpayer funds versus private funds. We are in a situation both nationally, and in many states, where tax revenue outgo exceeds the incoming revenue. Private companies, regardless of their size must respond to their market conditions, and our government entities must respond to their (available) taxpayer resources." See Giroux source for comprehensive statement re why you are in such really egregious error re what you state as if private-sector and public-sector operate as separate economies. There is also the question --since you raise point re law and full enforcement !-- of contract obligations already made in full good faith by both public workers and their administrators, and without fail achieved only via legal action by state legislature. Are we to abandon those obligations ? If NOT, then good faith negotiation MU be the solutioin --already profoffered to the Governors in all states considering this direct-attack on human rights of association and collective bargaining instead of action on what has been repeatedly fair and sensible decision by those workers under this unprovoked open attack -- so recognized nationally and internationally, by authoritative sources, many of which are included in documentation for this Op Ed. Fortunately, we are all in precisely the same boat, with cooperation, NOT conflict. competition and contempt, the essential element to keep us all afloat. GOPster sell-out to corporate and private-gain interests is now firmly embedded in our history, with malign consequences also on record in those pages and much more happening right now. For any further query, please consider using my direct emailer, to avoid further unfair demand for space, time and editor attention on points solidly documented in both the Op Ed itself and in further responses.

hank Ruark March 16, 2011 10:53 am (Pacific time)

C. 10:06: You wrote:""Here is another reason public unions should not be allowed to collectively bargain with politicians running a local or state government. " You omit any ID for the source, so it is impossible to evaluate its worth, except on content-alone. On that basis one must immediately point out that this threat-technique is common in politics, got its start in the Reagan era as cover-up for demanded tax-cuts favoring rich, has been widely used ever since --and is by no means confined to union usage, in either public or private sectors. So much for false-issue, which can only clutter-up thread here, in open conflict with my personal invitation to you to come direct via my email given. That is prima facie evidence of intent simply to seek public note rather than to extend effective dialog. I repeat to you: Come direct. I have some qualifying querries awaiting your email address.

Hank Ruark March 16, 2011 10:44 am (Pacific time)

Friend Bryan: You wrote: "This has been going on in the military since LBJ. Most of you reading the above have no idea of the previous high standards we had in all segments of society. This is why we are declining as a nation. Look at our kids who graduate from high school who cannot function in the job maket. We are developing an underclass that an under-achieving police force will be charged in dealing with. " These are sweeping generalizations completely unsupported except for your name. For credibility and further response here, please supply your choice of national recognized non-partisan published authoritative statement --OR you might seek room for your own Op Ed from Editor Tim, who continues to search for well/informed writers. As motivation, I state here with full professional authority that our school system is NOT in failure, does excellent job given its societally imposed restrictions, and is in need of MORE FUNDING and MORE FREEDOM to really serve our nation. IF you wish to respond, come direct to me at Be sure to state your experience quaifying your generalities.

hank Ruark March 16, 2011 10:36 am (Pacific time)

To all: For convenience and your own personal contact, here is full detail on Henry Giroux whose economic study negates concept of "taxpayer dollars" manipulated by public sector workers. Note his email address; please send him your further queries re his conclusions: Henry A. Giroux currently holds the Global TV Network Chair Professorship at McMaster University in the English and Cultural Studies Department. He has taught at Boston University, Miami University of Ohio, and Penn State University. His most recent books include: Youth in a Suspect Society (Palgrave, 2009); Politics After Hope: Obama and the Crisis of Youth, Race, and Democracy (Paradigm, 2010); Hearts of Darkness: Torturing Children in the War on Terror (Paradigm, 2010); and he is working on two new books titled Zombie Politics and Culture in the Age of Casino Capitalism and Education and the Crisis of Public Values, both of which will be published in 2011 by Peter Lang Publishers. Giroux is also a member of Truthout's Board of Directors. His website is ------------------ It is unfair to burden S-N threads with side-issue discussion diluting direct examination of an Op Ed. This Op Ed 3-parter makes its major point on very dangerous/damaging impacts of inertia and citizen irresponsibilities continuing over past 40/50 years. Comments should stick to that main issue. For others, come direct to

Hank Ruark March 15, 2011 12:09 pm (Pacific time)

To all:
ONLY government can create legal tender and place it into circulation among the citizens.
ANY dollars so circulated remain in absolutely same condition and status whether exchanged by citizens for the products/services profiting corporate or other businesses, or paid to public sector employees for work achieved.
Dollars used by corporate or others for their own political purposes came from the public, precisely as dollars used for their own choice of political action by public sector employees. Fact is, all dollars come from taxpayers to either private or public sector users who direct them for whatever choice is made.
Dollars do NOT change-color when passed for public-sector employee choice of political action via union representation; nor do they suddenly light up bright-green when used for corporate purposes !!
Right of association includes right of choice to be union member, democratically represented via collective bargaining.
Reader's Note (deleted by error in Op Ed as-published) instructs all on how to obtain documentation on these points, and Editor Tim has each major reference involved.

Brian Haggerty March 15, 2011 12:43 pm (Pacific time)

Your public service unions in action--DAYTON, OHIO -- The Dayton Police Department is lowering its testing standards for recruits. It's a move required by the U.S. Department of Justice after it says not enough African-Americans passed the exam. Under the previous requirements, candidates had to get a 66% on part one of the exam and a 72% on part two. The D.O.J. approved new scoring policy only requires potential police officers to get a 58% and a 63%. That's the equivalent of an ‘F’ and a ‘D’. It becomes a safety issue for the people of our community,” said Dayton Fraternal Order of Police President, Randy Beane. “It becomes a safety issue to have an incompetent officer next to you in a life and death situation." This has been going on in the military since LBJ. Most of you reading the above have no idea of the previous high standards we had in all segments of society. This is why we are declining as a nation. Look at our kids who graduate from high school who cannot function in the job maket. We are developing an underclass that an under-achieving police force will be charged in dealing with. God help us!

Charlene Young March 15, 2011 10:06 am (Pacific time)

Hank, the criminal behaviors, regardless of who is doing it, must be addressed with a no-nonsense application of the law. You agree? Here is an email with link I just received and it's relective of some very serious threats by those who enforce our laws: "Here is another reason public unions should not be allowed to collectively bargain with politicians running a local or state government. Union leadership – including those from law enforcement and firefighters – have sent letters out to local businesses demanding they publicly oppose the efforts of Wisconsin’s legislature and governor or face the consequences. Not only are they suggesting they publicly oppose the fiscal measures in Wisconsin, they are flat out telling them they will publicly boycott businesses who do not proactively do so..."In the event that you do not respond to this request by that date, we will assume that you stand with Governor Walker and against the teachers, nurses, police officers, fire fighters, and other dedicated public employees who serve our communities." In other words, your silence means your business will be targeted with a public economic boycott. This is what the liberal/union/progressive/statist does. Threaten you, your business and your families economic security. "...imagine police and firemen “boycotting” a business that does not support their union’s ideology...burn baby burn?" Ricco Act?"

Charlene Young March 15, 2011 10:03 am (Pacific time)

Hank you wrote: "I disagree with your interpretation on solid grounds that what union does is no different than what corporate does when funds go into corporate-controlled pensions, and often to ditto healthcare plans, as well as for other similar responsible actions. Your statement reflects a basic misunderstanding of how fiscal matters are handled in both business and unions..." They are not the same! You have taxpayer funds versus private funds. We are in a situation both nationally, and in many states, where tax revenue outgo exceeds the incoming revenue. Private companies, regardless of their size must respond to their market conditions, and our government entities must respond to their (available) taxpayer resources. The recent elections put people in to deal with these fiscal matters, and that's what's happening. For example, even if the public schools in Wisconsin had reasonable progress (they are extremely deficient), the same budget/cost-saving measures would be needed. This is all political, and in time will be exposed as a power grab by a very few, not a situation that betters union members, in fact if the union stops the current signed/official law of the land, lay-offs will be in the thousands in Wisconsin.

HanK RUARK March 14, 2011 7:49 pm (Pacific time)

C. et al: For yours re "crominal activities" in the Madison Confrontation and elsewhere, see Part Three upcoming, where it is handled in some detail based on national sources you seem to insist on overlooking. The trigger-event, as almost all sources agree, was Walker's actions, and if you insist on hanging blame on someone, it is completely obvious where to start given the comprehensive coverage now showing his continuing refusal to avoid what has been broadly and internationally recognized as a direct and intended attack on union function and existence. Per mine own many/years-file, 90 percent of the situations trace quite directly to Far Right membership --and it was a "conservative" who handed me that white envelope which I tore up in his face...

HanK RUARK March 14, 2011 7:42 pm (Pacific time)

C.: You wrote " Why should the government have to go through the time and expense of taking that money and sending it to a union when it is the union members "dollar" and their responsibility? " I disagree with your interpretation on solid grounds that what union does is no different than what corporate does when funds go into corporate-controlled pensions, and often to ditto healthcare plans, as well as for other similar responsible actions. Your statement reflects a basic misunderstanding of how fiscal matters are handled in both business and unions, as I know from having written on management matters for more than fifty years. If you wish, can send refs. to aid in your new learnings. The flat fact supported by authoritative national sources is that it is mis- or dis-information to use this lying label for funds --unless, of course, your politics forces you to do so, as with Walker and longtime Far Right political propagandists. To do so is to deny workers precisely the collective power of their collective actions, including the same handlding of funds enjoyed by the other side. I regret the necessity of overloading Comment-here with a point I suggested you manage direct vie email; if you wish further, do so now...I consider it completely explained for you in unmistakably correct and completely documented fashion, and I have sent Editor Tim a major reference document for his working file on this now-clear point, long the contention of GOP propagandists. On your request by direct email, I will transmit to you the same documention for "see with own eyes" --a very necessary component in the learning process, as you will surely understand as a longterm teacher. BOTH actions are simple services to the employee involved and guarantee of automatic payment protecting both employee and employer ; in my estimation and understanding, the action is well qualified and expected and understood and fully appreciated on both sides, despite being manipulated for propaganda purposes.

Charlene Young March 14, 2011 6:34 pm (Pacific time)

Hank I'm 100% in agreement with your statement: "It stops being taxpayer, government or any other dollar the instant it is paid out to whomever earns it --from that instant, it is THEIR DOLLAR, and they are the hell-free to use it as they damn well see fit !!!!!!" As a former union member who was also in a leadership position, back in my younger years, I've always felt that each individual union member is responsible for paying their dues. Why should the government have to go through the time and expense of taking that money and sending it to a union when it is the union members "dollar" and their responsibility? I assume you agree after re-reading your above statement, correct?

Charlene Young March 14, 2011 5:53 pm (Pacific time)

Hank you wrote: "C.: Your mention of "criminal behavior" got past me...if you wish to open that very thorny topic, send email for direct and I will happily furnish you much more than you will care to read --and guess what side it will be on !!!" I was pretty clear that I was referencing the poster named "Mitzi" concerning criminal behaviors, the links she provided, and that her allegations were throughout the public domain via the media. No doubt we both could generate considerable history of bad behavior of people of all political bent, but my post was about Wisconsin of the "now." Possibly you have a list of those arrested so far in Wisconsin, the damages that have been reported and the threats made (criminal behavior,etc.)? You would be hard pressed to say it was not coming from those in the unions or connected to them. Just the damage done to the statehouse marble floors will be a huge expense that is so irresponsible. As the clock and calendar move forward Hank, more will be exposed, so maybe in a few months we can do a comprehensive tally, okay? I'm not a wagering individual, but in this case I may rethink that.

HanK RUARK March 14, 2011 10:36 am (Pacific time)

C.: Your mention of "criminal behavior" got past me...if you wish to open that very thorny topic, send email for direct and I will happily furnish you much more than you will care to read --and guess what side it will be on !!!
   Haven't kept files for 40 years for nothing...and authorities involved are comprehensive and unchallengeable --some at various state levels,too.
   Record starts with mine own D.C. time just as K-Street began to win its name; first incident is bribe-attempt.
   I tore white envelope in half, threw it back; later discovered $100 bill had been inside.  The throwee sought special coverage in work for the NDEA draft we finally got passed --with help from Newton Minow, then chief counsel for major film-producer EBF, later famed for TV-description as "vast wasteland" when FCC chief, with new article NOW in CJR repeating points and setting forth new directions.
   Allathis summarized here to show how one must work to build "informed opinion" !!!--re off-top-of-head Comment.....

HanK RUARK March 14, 2011 10:51 am (Pacific time)

To all: Further re essential information easy to find, shaping Op Ed points: 1. 1848 vs 2011l TIME 3/21. pp.12/13. 2. "Role Model-Reagan" and Reaan Revelation", TIME, 2/7, multipaged. 3. Myth of Triangulation,Robert Reich,p,44, American Prospect,April 11 4. The Commandments, strong summary re Constitutional criticism. pp.70-76, New Yorker, 1/17.2011. All added to documentation for Three-Parter, now numbers over 100 refs.

HanK RUARK March 13, 2011 8:01 pm (Pacific time)

Smokin' J; Your ref. to those you consider far too effeminate applies in reality at least as much to Far Righters and Birchers and TeaPers, et al, et al, as to any you identify by clumsy allegation. It also raises certain inexorable and unavoidable issues re human rights in this land where we vaunt our freedoms and our individualiies, while simply also reflecting certain attitudes on you yourself... You might wish to be somewhat more circumspect, sir, in how you try to express yourself in a public channel which reaches far beyond your usual circles, as so illuminated.

Hank Ruark March 13, 2011 7:42 pm (Pacific time)

C.: You wrote: "...exposes the political agenda of the union leadership and who they fund with taxpayers money." It stops being taxpayer, government or any other dollar the instant it is paid out to whomever earns it --from that instant, it is THEIR DOLLAR, and they are the hell-free to use it as they damn well see fit !!!!!! Those dollars were paid to state workers for their work, thus became their own, had absolutely no further connection with taxpayers, free for their personal use as they saw fit --an American right ! -- and in no way "funding with taxpayer money" when sent to union legal agencies to support legal union activities. IF we apply "taxpayer"-funding rule to these dollars as you state it (direct from GOP propaganda book !) then we must do-same for corporate, contractor, and all others paying into corporate PAC's (legal channel) for contributions to their CHOICE to support --right ? That's the GREAT THING about CHOICE --it demonstrates a whole list of universal human rights, supported directly by each citizen's responsibility within a democracy. The lack of foresight to rise from that easy-bed of inertia-and-comfort and USE that RIGHT is the whole purpose and point of my three-parter Op Ed series...and I thank you for this opportunity to further illuminate what the Op Eds try, in my faltering way, to make absolutely clear... !!! Once the dollar is passed, it is no long taxpayer dough but belongs to whomever controls it as open, honest payment for their effort, product, or other compensatable action; and thus entirely open, free, uncontrolled, not smearable as taxpayer or any other source-named dollar. Your "mis"-understanding is right out of old GOPster-propaganda I countered early in Reagan era --and is now well ensconced in national authoritative sources far beyond mine, some of which I have here on record, snatched from Internet within last week.

Hank Ruark March 13, 2011 7:20 pm (Pacific time)

C. et al: Re "threats", too many from both sides in all truth --making point of my Op Ed that much more pointed. Re "recall"-future, irrelevant to reality of situation since whole focus should be --and is, nationally-- on attack to kill off unions via depriving them of the main tool for their still-demanded action in defense of worker surely under attack, as again reality surely offers, with national authorities and much data as proof. Thanks for your thoughful, civil and continuing participation; hope others learn from your wise approach !! But facts-are-facts, and there is simply no question of concerted GOP plan for national attack to finish the job that Reagan started. Perhaps we need three-parter to cover all the mean detail now easily obtainable for anyone who will but seek out the true history of that era. Might start with rundown on Project for New American Century, which led by Cheney et al set up frame for what became our CHOICE of attack on Iraq. Do you know that sorry story ??

Charlene Young March 13, 2011 9:51 am (Pacific time)

Hank I read what you said about "Mitzi's" links, but the threatening acts she discussed and linked have been all over the media. To take some source that some may question their reliability does not change the documented facts that these threats and criminal behaviors took place. Regarding upcoming recalls in Wisconsin, well good luck with that. Please realize that the law is now in place, and if the democrats manage to take a majority of seats, which is unlikely, especially in the "House", they would have to have a super majority for the Governor can veto any legislation that does not have a super majority in both the "House" and "Senate." As per state law, Governor Walker will not be able to be recalled for at least one year after he was sworn in, and my guess is that by then "likely voters" in Wisconsin will be more informed about what actually took place as the emotionalism and disinformation washes away and exposes the political agenda of the union leadership and who they fund with taxpayers money. Things are changing, and elections have consequences. Who said that?

Hank Ruark March 12, 2011 3:43 pm (Pacific time)

    Already familar with your link, but checked it out anyhow...
   For anyone seeking distorted mis- and disinformation as propounded for years-now from the Hoover Institution et al, this is one to add to your list.
  Fact I record check here and thus even increase its impact a bit is solid proof of the profound propaganda tone, content, and intention of this site.  

  For serious S-N readers, disregard the somewhat offputting content of the link as given by Mitzi (and forgive her for the implied insult ! --she obviously doth not recognize that fact), and "see with own eyes", for consideration with any working cells still operating in YOUR OWN brain.

   Then perhaps you  will wish to re-read the final
Alinski principle cited in my Op Ed.

Hank Ruark March 12, 2011 3:30 pm (Pacific time)

To all: For those seeking to define "threat" and parsing words/exchanged here with no sure definition of understandings on both sides, consider possibility that your responses simply extend, support and strengthen Part One and Part Two. CHOICE-here as recorded makes completely clear the very elements envisaged and denoted in One and Two, with excellent demonstration of levels both of full information and then some critical cogitation, leading on to insightful analysis. "Stay tuned" for Part Three which will parse, remove prolixities and consider obvious propaganda-wording from anguished, angry responses; and perhaps provide somewhat more normal and useful further extension of open, honest, fact-based --and obviously democratic !--dialog. Here you pay your nickel by providing attention and you are surely free then to disregard or choose to dialog-further -- with that latter action a sure sign that something in the attention-achieved is also motivation and mental/muscle for whatever dialog you CHOOSE to supply here. There's little profit from that nickel you spent, but that CHOICE-you-make is worth our effort --and in and of itself proves up the perfect ironic point of our overall statement so far...

Smokin' Joe March 10, 2011 6:40 pm (Pacific time)

So much for Governor Scott Walker caving, right? The Drive-Bys yesterday were all excited they had some e-mails, Governor Walker was caving. Well, if this is caving, my friends, we need a lot more caving like this. The message here is: "Go Ohio! Go Indiana! Go New Jersey! Go Idaho!" As the protesters keep chanting, the whole world is watching. Time to show us how this is done nationwide, make us proud over and over again. How are you people? I'm doing well, ... The left is imploding. We see it in front of our eyes. Say I'm not a combat veteran, but if some dude comes to my place with a torch, and does not like my opinions, then they will get a good close up look at me fingering my trigger if they pose a life threatening situation. How about those effeminate limp-wristed girlie-boys who put people's "IP" online and tells people to find them or who alters written words of posters. Now these types will be put online with all available demographics so people can see what filth they have living around them. No doubt they all look like sissy 1960's scummy hippies. DIG?! (

Mitzi March 10, 2011 6:26 pm (Pacific time)

I use to live in Wisconsin and to let you know that in Wisconsin you must be in office for a year before you can be re-called. Only half of the state Senators are eligible for recall. Almost all the Repubs being targeted are in districts that voted heavily for Walker. With the opposite being true for the Dems. It’s gonna be a tough slog for the Dems to make any ground. They are more likely to lose ground if they pursue a recall. Since you will have all these outsiders coming in trying to interfere, expect some blowback from the citizens, but especially from those folks who are fed up with these childish (and violent) union tactics. Below is a story my sis from Madison sent me..."WI Dem Threatens Female Republican Rep. After Assembly Vote: “You Are F***king Dead!” Friday morning after the Assembly vote to approve Governor Scott Walker’s budget repair bill Democrat State Rep. Gordon Hintz turned to Republican Rep. Michelle Litjens and said: “You are F***king dead!” 620 WTMJ reported: State Rep. Gordon Hintz was issued a municipal citation in Appleton earlier this month for violating a city sexual misconduct ordinance. Hintz was arrested for sexual misconduct earlier in the week – in a prostitution sting. "Rep. Gordon Hintz told reporters today that his arrest for sexual misconduct is a distraction from larger issues facing the state." So who are the criminal thugs? -- Now that is a real threat, not one made up out of a nebulous statement.

Hank Ruark March 10, 2011 3:31 pm (Pacific time)

"NOW": I note you conceal your real name and perhaps true background, while uttering illegal threats in a public channel. Editor referred to probability whlle you in contrast offer action in reality. When you properly ID-self, we can then compare on factual basis for real evaluation life and professional backgrounds involved. Re use-of-trigger, as you openly state you are ready to do, that surely constitutes threat. Nothing similar is found in my article, and I stand by and can document every statement. I do not find it needed to hide my record or qualifications; they are completely publicized elsewhere in S-N. True patriots do not boast of their valor sometimes demanded, resulting in death of others. Yours re makes clear the reality of the main points made in the Op Ed itself. Have fun with gun, and I hope you shoot youself right in the ,,,,,,,,,,

NOW, just do it!! March 10, 2011 11:56 am (Pacific time)

This concentration of resources by some on the Wisconsin situation allows for more union busting legislation in other northern states to go relatively unabated, a good thing for America. The incredibly vile behavior of the Wisconsin union members(my guess is that many are anarchists and paid thugs doing most of the "acting out") will begin to whittle away national supporters of this union movement. There are innumerable documented death threats by these radicals. Watch FOX and see the recorded history of this! May death find them soon, real soon, in a lawful manner, of course. I saw that the editor responded to one poster about these people coming to that poster's residence...I dare say if someone came to my home and threatened me or my family with violence my state self-defense law's allow me to use deadly force if I feel fear of death is imminent. I am an actual combat veteran, not someone who just served in a combat zone, and have no problem using deadly force. No doubt the editor has no concept of what I'm talking about. Maybe you should actually just write stories from personal experience, rather than padding your irrelevant resume' which quickly exposes the dearth of your life experience, and poor educational background. Go get a torch and come to my house. You have no "real" experience, just bs bravado. Typical wannabe that will never amount to a hill of beans. Your incitement will have a time of "lawful" accountibility in 2013. I promise that on the lives of all I love.

Hank Ruark March 9, 2011 8:32 pm (Pacific time)

'Anon": I concur with Editor Tim's solid evaluation of anyone so insecure as to hide behind anonymous and not have guts enough to siggn what he says with real name. What THAT does to any credibility you might have for your inane, uninformed and ignorant statement depends upon level of Enlightenment among our truly serious readers, able to operate their OWN brain-cells.

Anonymous March 9, 2011 6:32 pm (Pacific time)

Governor Walker and the elected leaders in Wisconsin just passed a bill to help take care of part of their budget shortfall. Today we are all BADGERS. As Obama loved to say: "Elections have consequences." Also Idaho is now passing a similar bill, which will mean when layoffs come it will not be by seniority, among other things. Maybe we can get rid of the chaffe in our school systems all over the country and get back the kind of learning environment the kids need. Unions served a purpose once, but not anymore. They are run by thugs and are becoming more of a marxist money grabber rather than a supporter of employee rights. Bye Bye unions and welcome back freedom of choice for all our workers.

Editor: Hey man be careful, all those pissed off hard working people might just grab their torches and head for your house.  If so, be sure to tell them about your affection for Gov. Walker.  Most Americans think he's a real piece of shit.

Hank Ruark March 9, 2011 3:56 pm (Pacific time)

To all: Rove-written attack-ads appearing today put nice flourish of "see with own eyes" on this one...repeating first-shot from RR vs air controllers seeking first and foremost historic sofety actions not then accomplished for a full decade.

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