If you're very well read at all, you saw this coming decades ago when the right wing of the Republican Party made decisions to put all its efforts into winning local political offices, including school board and part-time state legislator jobs.
The efforts have picked up considerably.
Children are often the chief victims of these policies. In Kansas, a mass teacher exodus has left more than 700 teaching jobs unfilled. North Carolina cut 10,000 teachers and teaching assistants in the state’s public schools, and eliminated preschool for 30,000 children.
. . . Nearly 90 percent of the Republicans in the House of Representatives are on the far right of the conservative spectrum, described by Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institution as “a radical insurgency — ideologically extreme, contemptuous of the inherited policy regime [and] scornful of compromise.”
This is also true of GOP state legislators. Republicans hold super-majorities in many states and have wasted no time in adopting radical elements of the Republican agenda. What they’ve done so far provides a telling picture of what a red America could look like.
North Carolina is a poster child for how far a red state can go. Though its voters are almost evenly divided between the two parties, the Republicans have overwhelming majorities in the state legislative chambers, and the party has dominated the congressional delegation since the 2011 redistricting. Before 2010, the state’s congressional delegation was made up of eight Democrats and five Republicans.
In the 2012 North Carolina congressional races, Democrats won more votes than the Republicans — 50 percent to 48.9. Yet gerrymandering gave the GOP nine seats and the Democrats four. Republicans today hold 10 House seats, though they won only 55 percent of the 2014 congressional vote. The current state legislative numbers are similarly disproportionate: 74-45 in the house and 34-16 in the senate.
In 2011, when the Republicans took over in North Carolina, they soon began to implement a conservative agenda. They loosened gun rules, limited citizens’ rights to bring civil lawsuits and cut funds for early-childhood education programs. After a state panel warned of rising sea levels from global warming in 2012, the legislature banned any use of climate-change science in setting coastal policy.
In 2013, when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a key section of the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder, state Republicans immediately introduced and passed a massive voter suppression law — it has 20 provisions, 19 of which make it harder to vote. The law has since been challenged, and a trial has just concluded.
In that same session, North Carolina reduced unemployment benefits, cut back government regulations, resumed executions and allowed concealed handguns in bars and restaurants. It also repealed the Racial Justice Act, which allowed convicted killers to be spared the death penalty if they could prove racial bias.
Meanwhile, North Carolina ended its earned-income tax credit, extended tax breaks for wealthy taxpayers and replaced its progressive income tax with a 5.75 percent flat tax. Low-income earners now pay at the same rate as multimillionaires.
The North Carolina GOP has also revised local election rules in some of the state’s few Democratic pockets in ways that could increase GOP power. One measure, for example, banned Greensboro from changing council districts without the permission of the state legislature. All other North Carolina cities and towns don’t need such permission. A federal court struck down the law, ruling it had “no rational basis.”
. . . Republicans’ current state-level margins are so large, however, that they may survive substantial losses even if the Democrats do well in the 2020 state elections. Should that happen, the GOP could again be able to oversee the 2021 redistricting in the states they control.
Yet demographics in some states are changing. A few — including North Carolina, Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida, Nevada and Virginia — could turn purple or even solidly blue in the 2020 election. But that would require voters who are dismayed at what is happening to begin this process by turning out heavily in the 2018 mid-term elections.
The odds of this happening seem slim. Though there is an awareness of the problem among some in the party and among some wealthy donors, most Democratic politicians and voters seem uninterested in who controls the states. Remarkably, that goes for the national party leaders as well.
Unless this changes radically, what the Republicans have done in the past five years may be just a prelude to what’s ahead.
The situation in Greece in now at a boil.
Funny how Germany is always the nexus.
My guess is that just like in pre-World War II days, the Germans are a subtext for who's really controlling the chess match.
And it is chess.
Paul Craig Roberts
As I have emphasized since the beginning of the Greek “sovereign debt crisis,” the point of the orchestrated crisis is to loot Greece both of its assets and its sovereignty.
The looting plan has now been published. You can read about it here
The 'Asset Development Plan' for Greece is out and it's all go for the privatization of the country. Hellenic sea ports, air ports, motorways, petroleum companies, water and gas supply, real estate, holiday resorts - it's all for sale.
Debt-laden Greece has been forced to sell the family silver in an all too familiar tale with ancient history repeating itself.
The Hellenic Public Asset Development Fund has been published by German Green MEP Sven Giegold who said the Greek people "hardly know" what will be sold off and that they have "the right" to know.
The selling of Greek assets to raise $56 billion (€50bn) was demanded by Greece's creditors, the Troika. The document reveals that 66 percent of a gas distribution and processing firm will be sold to Azerbaijan; 35 percent of Greece's first oil refinery firm will be sold off along with 17 percent of its electricity distributor and 65 percent of gas distributor Depa.
All rail and bus services will go under the hammer — along with the Greek telephone and postal service.
Even before the bailout deal was completed and the money arrived safely in the Greek banks, the Germans had won their bid to take over 14 Greek airports for the next 40 years, paying $1.36 billion (€1.23bn) for the privilege.
FRAPORT will own and operate Greece's most popular tourist island airports.
Of the $56 billion (€50bn) needed in asset stripping and bank shares, only $8.69 billion (€7.7bn) has been agreed so far.
Nick Dearden, economic expert and campaigner, says it makes "no sense to sell off valuable assets in the middle of Europe's worst depression in 70 years."
Writing in "Global Justice Now," Dearden says: "The vast majority of the funds raised will go back to the creditors in debt repayments, and to the recapitalization of Greek banks.
"From German airport operators and phone companies to French railways — who are getting their hands on Greece's economy. Not to mention the European investment banks and legal firms who are making a fast buck along the way.
Dearden continues to offer a scathing attack on the asset stripping of Greece."The self-interest of European governments in forcing these policies on Greece leaves a particularly unpleasant flavour … workers will be sacked and their conditions made worse, while the elite of Europe profits."
It seems ancient history is repeating itself."Privatization in the context of the bailout accord is tantamount to expropriation, like forcing a bankrupt to sell the family silver in order to pay off debts…the victorious Northern European governments are now inviting their companies to partake in the spoils."
In 1871, the ancient Greek city of Troy was crudely excavated by German businessman and archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann using dynamite which destroyed many significant artefacts; his exploration methods condemned.
But the spoils of Troy always remained in Schliemann's hands — who in 1884 handed the entire collection to Berlin. Today's Greek spoils are in the hands of the Troika which will oversee every deal made and decide where the money goes.
And the citizens of Greece, who finally realized what was happening, got it together at the voting booth and voted this down.
Yeah. Remember this NC (and the rest of the US red states' oppo leaders who still have a working attention span).