Tag Archives: politics

NPR, Among Others, Has Lost Its Way

I am very much a child of the Sixties and Seventies. I started first grade in the fall of 1969. The war in Vietnam was on the evening news, or so I am told. Jack, Martin, and Bobby had all died during my brief life so far. The Vatican II convocation had been over for years; I only remember masses in English, with the priest facing the congregation. The Equal Rights Amendment was still a possibility. Female lectors and soon eucharistic ministers weren’t unusual, although I never served as an altar boy with a female altar servant.

It’s not that racial prejudice had simply vanished. Even as a child, I knew that there were racists in America. I might have thought they were mostly confined to the South, but I knew they existed. I also knew they were wrong. They were behind the times. They clung to outmoded, wrong beliefs. My first political memory is from the fourth grade, watching a mock debate about the ’72 Presidential race and asking what made McGovern think he could end the war in 90 days or whatever his pledge was. So, I don’t remember George Wallace being shot, but I knew as a child that he represented that segment of society that clung to the past, to white supremacy.

The environmental movement was starting. I didn’t notice as an eight-year-old when the EPA was created, but I knew that things like Earth Day and my green ecology lunchbox meant that we were trying to save the earth. There didn’t seem to be much doubt that we had to repair the environment; pollution was awful, epitomized by burning rivers (OK, only one; I was a little confused as a kid) and public service ads on TV showing fish dead in rivers due to pollution. We might have to convince greedy corporations and greed people to do the right thing and change to prevent pollution, but there was no question that the environmental movement was at some level right and necessary.

As I grew up, things got more complicated. There were women who opposed the Equal Rights Amendment, for some perverse reason. There was opposition to school bussing to achieve public school integration — even in the North. Before I graduated from high school, Ronald Reagan was taking the contrary view that government was the problem, not the solution. He didn’t say that racism in America was bad; he just implied that government efforts to address it did more harm that good. He implied that about lots of government programs. Two years earlier, Allan Bakke had sued one of the University of California medical schools, claiming “reverse discrimination.” Some whites were starting to push back when they felt they were the ones paying the price so minorities could be given the chance to succeed.

Reagan, of course, was elected President in 1980. The ERA wasn’t ratified by enough states in the time allowed for its passage; it wasn’t brought up again, but laws about women’s rights were pursued at sub-Constitutional levels. Reagan tried to neuter the EPA, but public opinion forced him to reverse that attempt.

Before Reagan’s second term was over, I completed my education and tried to become an adult, whatever that meant. I remember watching the network evening news in the fall of ’87 about that day’s stock market crash. However, I soon acquired the habit of listening to National Public Radio affiliates. They weren’t government broadcasts, although some received a minuscule amount of public subsidies. It was enough that they weren’t owned by corporations but instead were run as non-profit efforts. If they were more liberal than “mainstream,” corporate-owned TV stations, radio stations, and newspapers, maybe it was due simply to the lack or corporate influences on their choices of news items and how they were presented. The Wall Street Journal went in my eyes from a respectable major newspaper to a paper with a specific, visible slant in favor of business over other interests. Other mainstream, respected outlets weren’t so pronounced in their biases, but I’d hear rumors that GE had killed this NBC story or Westinghouse had somehow meddled with a story on one of the stations it owned. Such accusations against NPR were less common and thus more shocking the few times they came up.

I listened to NPR during the tail end of the Reagan years and through the George H. Bush years. I kept listening during the Clinton administration with its violent tug-of-war with Republicans in Congress who refused to engage constructively with the administration. Some “reforms” were passed, such as sentencing guidelines and welfare “reform.” This was also the time when traditional broadcasting and journalism were starting to be augmented by “the Internet.” By the time the Clinton administration yielded to the Gore George W. Bush administration, American politics were becoming sharply polarized. There were new channels and publications on the right that accused the mainstream media of being too liberal, never mind NPR or its even more leftist “public” rivals, such as Pacifica Radio.

My NPR affiliates changed as I moved, from the Binghamton, NY market to Elkhart/South Bend to Detroit to Washington, DC itself. I felt some sadness verging on anger as Bob Edwards was pushed out by NPR and soon ended up on for-profit satellite radio, for crying out loud! But, under Bush 41, Clinton, and Bush 43, NPR remained fairly consistent in its tone. It also remained fairly consistent as I bounced through Illinois during Obama’s rise in stature into the Presidency and my moves to Austin and then back to the upper Midwest, now in Madison, Wisconsin.

Something about the rise of Donald Trump, culminating in his election to the Presidency, shook NPR, as it shook many media outlets. The mainstream media, including NPR, consistently underestimated Trump during his primary campaign and his Presidential campaign. He was such a repudiation of fifty years of concern for the downtrodden and the minorities. He was the voice for the spiritual descendants of Allan Bakke, proclaiming that they were being held back because of considerations given to minorities. Never mind that automation killed more factory jobs than affirmative action, multi-lateral trade pacts, or illegal immigration. Here was Trump proudly making statements that might have gotten him tossed out on his ass during the Sixties and Seventies and were too extreme for widespread acceptance in the Eighties and Nineties. NPR and the rest of the mainstream media kept waiting for “respectable conservatives,” to figure out how to beat Trump, for Trump’s rising support levels hit a ceiling and for normal order among conservatives to be restored. They also struggled some with the rise of Bernie Sanders. Was the declared Independent really going to upturn the Democratic primary system and beat Hillary Clinton by running from her left? How far left was her left, anyway? Was she a moderate who was too friendly with Wall Street, or was she the progressive who had pushed for heath care reform in her husband’s early years as President, only to come up short, and later had spoken truth to power at an international women’s conference in Beijing?

The Internet gave all kinds of voices ways to find their audiences. In particular, it let well-heeled corporate influences attack the mainstream media with the rise of Fox News and conservative talk radio, and that in turn led to the rise of ultra-right, or white nationalists, or whatever label you’d like to give them to the right of the visible right. The break in the streak of forty-three straight white Christian men as President with the election of Barack Obama somehow energized those fearful of minorities. Mitt Romney spoke in 2012 of 47% of America that would never vote for him because they benefitted too much from government largesse. His comments were quickly and loudly denounced by the mainstream, but surely they added fuel to those far-right activists who were convinced they were victims somehow — or that they could get rich convincing others that they were victims, not merely unlucky in the changing economic tides of the world.

Karl Rove was wrong in 2012 on election night, when he was so damned sure that Mitt Romney had more support than the press gave him credit for, that he was going to upset the incumbent Obama. However, in 2016, those making similar claims about Trump proved right when Trump in fact pulled off the upset against Hillary Clinton. The mainstream media immediately went into a frenzy worthy of the title of this blog, “Overanalysis While You Wait.” Had Trump won, or had Hillary lost? Was she a poor candidate, or was she a victim of a quarter-century of right-wing smear campaigns dating back to the Whitewater scandal in Arkansas? Had the FBI, deliberately or otherwise, sunk Hillary’s campaign by giving legitimacy to the alleged scandal of her e-mail server? Had Russia somehow sponsored the leaks about internal Democratic e-mails that made Clinton look less like a progressive hero and more like a political operative who’d do whatever it took to win?

NPR, among others, decided to take the tact that Trump had won somehow on the merits of his positions in the eyes of the voters. Even as Trump stacked his transition team and eventually his administration with Wall Street billionaires, NPR and others decided to find those voters who had turned out unexpectedly strong and possibly against their own self-interest to vote for this populist-sounding candidate. Euphemisms like “economic anxiety” were invented as the reasons all these good American folk embraced a candidate with xenophobic, homophobic, Islamophobic, misogynistic views. Never mind that so much of what Trump had claimed from the first day of his campaign was demonstrably wrong. His supporters were treated as if their beliefs and their faith in him were rational and reasonable. Never mind that xenophobia, homophobia, misogyny, and religious discrimination were un-American and in some cases specifically prohibited by our foundation documents, including the almighty Constitution. “Economic anxiety” was presented as a powerful motivator, even as hate crimes against blacks, Jews, Muslims, homosexuals, transexuals, and other marginalized people exposed the lie that this was somehow about “economic anxiety.”

Worse, NPR has decided, perhaps by default, to legitimize Trumps administration despite the vast catalog of lies told by Trump himself and by his representatives, such as Sean Spicer, Kellyanne Conway, Stephen Miller, and Sebastian Gorka. They even refuse to label Trump’s untrue statements as, “lies,” claiming they can’t be sure enough of his intent to call them more than untruths or mistakes. When people like Spicer and Conway repeat Trump’s claims as if they are unquestionably true, even in the fact of evidence to the contrary, NPR continues to interview them and allow them air time, and they still don’t call them lies. This isn’t like eight years of opposition to the Obama administration. These aren’t policy arguments about whether healthcare should be universal or whether a President in the last year of his term can nominate a Supreme Court justice. The rate of self-serving lies, the number of policy changes being justified by demonstrable falsehoods, hasn’t yet caused NPR to stop treating these people as legitimate.

Journalists like to claim that their job is the pursuit and revelation of the truth. Some outlets, including the staid New York Times, have done so with enough gusto to become clear targets of Trump’s paranoid ire. If NPR has drawn Trump’s ire at all, it’s only by accident. They’ve forgotten the quote from Orwell: “Journalism is printing what someone else does not want published; everything else is public relations.”

NPR can’t be cowed by fear of criticism from the far right. They need to regain their old tone and adapt it to this age of routine deception by our incumbent administration. Challenge, challenge, and challenge some more, and for God’s sake, stop letting these liars and self-deceivers present their message directly. They aren’t NPR’s listeners, and they don’t deserve NPR’s consideration.

Now, What?

What happens now?

A would-be benign despot was sworn in as my nation’s leader yesterday. In his inaugural speech, he spoke of ending “American carnage.” He spoke of returning power to the people, as if he wasn’t filling his government with billionaires who are philosophically inclined to dismantle the agencies they are tasked with running. Those in his Cabinet who aren’t billionaires seem to be generals and elected officials who share his pro-billionaire stances. He thinks that only he can save us from… something, like this “American carnage” that I don’t recognize.

The media tells me attendance at his swearing in was poor; the would-be benign despot (“WBBD”) railed today during a ceremony at the CIA about the dishonest media, as if we hadn’t all seen pictures comparing crowds yesterday with crowds eight years ago. Were the pictures yesterday from early in the day, before the crowds arrived? I’m waiting for the pro-WBBD media and trolls to post pictures identifiably from yesterday that show the larger crowds, presumably from later in the day. I’m also looking for something refuting reports that the National Park Service has been barred from Twitter in petty retaliation for tweeting estimates of inauguration attendance that support the smaller estimates.

Today, hundreds of thousands, even millions, of people turned out in Washington, DC and dozens of other cities in support of progressive policies, or perhaps in protest of the wbbd. I’m not sure what their appearance changes in the short term. Betsy DeVos can still gut the Department of Education. Rick Perry can still gut research into sustainable energy and try to turn the Department of Energy into the marketing arm of the petroleum and natural gas industries like he allegedly thought it was. Scott Pruitt can still still neuter the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts until he can gut the regulations in favor of industry over environment. Andrew Puzder can make a mockery of the Department of Labor, and Wilbur Ross can make the Department of Commerce the support group for robber-barons who will loot successful companies for their own profit. Jeff Sessions seems to want to redefine “Justice” in some way that Martin Luther King and Thurgood Marshall wouldn’t recognize.

In eighteen months, especially if there is relief from gerrymandering from the Supreme Court, we can start taking back the House of Representatives and the Senate from the puppets installed by right-wing well-funded special interest groups. That might provide some push-back in favor of the environment, public education, human rights, workers’ rights, and other causes we used to take for granted.

My country will now have two parallel media: the old “mainstream media,” upon whom the WBBD has declared war upon, and the cranks and foreign influences who benefit from the WBBD’s behaviors. I’ll continue to follow the old mainstream and some outlets that were distinctly more progressive than the mainstream, trying to take nothing for granted but giving them the benefit of the doubt compared to the rabble-rousers who seem to think the WBBD’s words are truthful and moral when most of us can plainly see they aren’t.

I hope “American Carnage,” isn’t something I come to recognize. I hope the undocumented workers among me in the community aren’t rounded up and deported for no more cause than their lack of legal status here. I hope my LGBTQ friends and friends of friends can continue to live their lives openly and happily, as families or in whatever form they prefer.

I am once more part of the opposition, even more than I ever was during any prior Republican administration.

I hope this is our low point, when the scales fall from the eyes of the blind and all of us are galvanized to say, “This isn’t normal; this isn’t right; this isn’t what I want.”

Use “Deplorable,” and I’ll Take You Literally

Two months ago, I vented about Matt Drudge using the term, “the deplorables,” the way others might use a term like “auto repairmen,” or “left-handed people.” I wondered if there was any shame any longer in society, as people mocked others by claiming the term, “deplorable,” as if being called a “deplorable” was similar being called a Yankees fan by a Mets fan.

Two months later, my position hasn’t changed. Even if someone purports not to be insulted to be called a “deplorable,” they should be. I can’t imagine any society I’d want to live in deciding that misogyny, racism, homophobia, or xenophobia are OK after all. If you claim you aren’t any of those things, why are you claiming the title, “deplorable”? It’s not like claiming to be a “dumb blonde” when you’re merely blonde and can show you’re not dumb. It’s not like you’re claiming Hansen’s Disease has an undeserved reputation and that you’ll call yourself a leper in solidarity with your friends with Hansen’s Disease.

So, yes, when someone tries to mock liberals by using “despicable” as a self-descriptior, I won’t feel mocked; I’ll feel warned. That person just gave away the benefit of the doubt. They may know my brother from military service, either past or current, but I no longer regard them as honorable, regardless of their classification at discharge, if any.

When and How to Panic?

My family was raised to under-react. When all around us are losing their heads, we might be the ones assessing the threats and triaging the initial casualties before deciding how to react. Some of that comes from our dad, who was trained as a Red Cross disaster aid volunteer and a National Ski Patrolman volunteer as well. Part of that comes from having both parents having hyper-rational educations and mindsets. There probably are downsides to this, such as when people wonder if I care about something because I’m still trying to figure out how to respond rather than validating their panic and fear.

This has been a great week to under-react. Tuesday’s election results in the USA were shocking for many of us in the USA, partly because the pollsters had been so encouraging about the likely outcome, and partly because of the horror at what’s been promised by the victor and what he represents. Freedom of the press? Overrated and such an inconvenience! Prosecution of the winner for alleged crimes that have already been investigated and deemed minor or innocuous? Hey, what’s the use of winning an election if you can’t rub it in the loser’s face? Persecution based on religion? Oh, maybe it’s not a real religion, so maybe it’s fine to assume guilt and just prosecute them and exclude them! A blind trust for the alleged billionaire’s businesses? Sure (wink, wink, nod, nod)! It’s be as blind as the victor’s tax returns are transparent!

It’s eight or nine weeks until we remove “-elect” from Voldemort’s new title. Some things are being announced now, such as who’s leading certain areas of the transition team, but many things remain unknown. Sadly, he hasn’t renounced most of his stated positions, and it’s not clear what his few attitude adjustments actually mean. Worse, many of his appointments to his transition team are consistent with our worse fears. A global warming denier is heading the transition team for the EPA. Dr. Ben Carson has a role in the education area. His kids are going to be heavily involved. And a notorious science denier, Vice President-elect Mike Pence, now has oversight over the whole transition team, replacing unindicted felon and co-conspirator Chris Christie.

The Republican establishment kept control of the Senate and the House. Are they going to be a check on Voldemort after he spent so much time being disdainful of the Republican establishment, or will they try to get their patrons’ interests passed since they might align with Voldemort’s patrons’ interests as well? That, frankly, is an unknown. It’s hard to imagine veterans like John McCain rubber-stamping blatant war crimes as new American policies, but then again, it was hard to expect some of the things McCain has said in the past twelve months.

Will the Civil Service acquiesce to Voldemort’s desires, or will they slow-walk all changes in an effort to simply outlast what may be a short attention span? The political appointees will try to do their master’s bidding, but the career government workers may know why things haven’t happened that way before and why they shouldn’t, such as international laws or federal laws and regulations that can’t just be waved away. Admittedly, Pence as the replacement in case of impeachment gives us no reason to believe he’d roll back most of Voldemort’s notions, perhaps with the exception of some of the most radical ideas, such as leaving existing multi-lateral trade agreements or embracing war crimes as a way to secure der Fatherland.

So, the inner core of the new administration looks as corrupt and wrong-headed as we feared. The Congress being Republican means it won’t be as strong a check on the Executive Branch as a Democratic Senate would be. What about the courts, especially the Supreme Court?

Everyone’s waiting to see who will replace Scalia eventually on the bench. I’ll remind you, though, that Scalia never opposed any of the Right’s favorite goals. It wasn’t Scalia who found a way to upload the Affordable Care Act, and he never embraced reproductive rights over “right to life.” Yes, some decisions will be 5-4 instead of 4-4 as they’ve been since Scalia’s death, so that may resume some of the national slippage to the right, but it won’t accelerate it. That will wait until one of the reliably progressive voices on the Court dies or steps down. I can’t imagine Stephen Breyer or the Notorious RBG voluntarily stepping down, knowing that they’re replacement would change the Court’s philosophical make-up, but Scalia didn’t step down by choice, either. Death comes to us all.

Worse, the Republican Senate of the past two or three Congresses has left many Federal court benches partly empty. Those may now all take a sharp turn toward reactionary positions. Interim decisions on issues doing eventually to the Supreme Court will sooner take positions repressing diversity and civil rights in favor of business interests and theocracy. I don’t see the Senate being too nuanced in which conservatives they consent to to fill those positions. Whoever has talked to Voldemort last will get a lot of judges the like in lasting positions of power.

Finally, there are The People. A narrow minority of them, located in precisely where Voldemort needed them to be, supported his bid for the Presidency, so Voldemort can’t say he was supported by a majority of voters or even a plurality, let alone a landslide. Still, there are already reports that some Death Eaters, especially younger Death Eaters, are being emboldened by his ascension and are already threatening and trying to intimidate the mudbloods’ counterparts in our world: Muslims, Latinos, and members of the LBGT community. There certainly have been several well-publicized cases so far, but in many cases less extreme Death Eaters are rebuking these acts of intimidation and hatred, perhaps waiting for when laws and policies will inflict similar indignities under the cover of authority. It’s also clear that many progressive groups and traditional civil rights advocacy groups are preparing for a long series of struggles to protect the gains of the past sixty years in the face of the revival of opposition to those gains.

I don’t follow British domestic news closely enough to know if their surge of Death Eater activity after the Brexit vote has continued. That’s where the safety pin was first taken as a symbol of tolerance and acceptance directed as those who might otherwise worry about tolerance and acceptance. Is it needed now in Britain all those months later? Is it needed here, or is it just a quick way for some people to feel like they’re doing something in response to this horribly upsetting election?

I’m still in under-react mode. The composition of Voldemort’s transition team tells me that concern is warranted, that the initial calls for national unity were errant or at least simplistic. I would never united behind a science denier running the EPA, even on a transition team, and it has nothing to do with things we fear but haven’t seen yet. Seeing the charlatans who will be choosing those who will set and enforce policy is enough to say, some reaction will be required. What I’m not sure about, yet, is where I’ll need to focus my support, financial and otherwise, to do the most good. I can see why Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and anti-poverty organizations like Oxfam America are ramping up fund-raising activities. I just don’t know to direct my support among them, yet. I will; it’s clear that private efforts will have to replace existing programs or counter Federal and state efforts to roll back protections.

I fear that in a year, all of those asking for my support will in fact be in positions in which my support would have been well deserved; it may be a multi-front, multi-cause debacle in our near future. However, I need more certainty than “may,” so I’m trying to wait. I live in a “red” state, one that has elected and re-elected a Koch Brothers disciple and twice now sent a tea party moron to the Senate. Will Death Eaters from the surrounding rural areas come to Madison and try to purify it of its multi-cultural, progressive nature? I hope not, but if they do, resistance begins at home. If we’re spared that particular battle, when I’ll look beyond for which causes that I support most need my support.

Keep the powder dry, but make sure “they” know we haven’t put the powder away.

No metaphors were hurt in the writing of this essay, but several were mixed poorly.  

If You Feel Insulted By Hillary….

To just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the “basket of deplorables.” They’re racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic, you name it. And unfortunately, there are people like that, and he has lifted them up.

If you feel insulted by Hillary Clinton’s statement above, what have you done to disprove it?

If you feel insulted by Hillary Clinton’s statement, how can you disprove it?

She didn’t say “all Trump supporters.” She didn’t say “half of all Americans.” She said “half of Trump’s supporters.”

Can you deny that there are white supremacists supporting Trump? Can you deny that wanting a wall on a country’s border is almost the textbook example of xenophobia? Can you deny that the candidate himself has a long history of misogynistic statements, or that his supporters routinely refer to Hillary Clinton’s gender as if it’s relevant? If that’s not textbook sexism, what would be? Can you deny that Trump’s various proposals to limit or “vet” people coming from strongly Islamic countries demonstrates a fear of Islam, is textbook Islamophobia?

Even if you try to argue that one of the above positions, such as building a wall on our Mexican border, is justifiable, it doesn’t mean it that’s not also xenophobic; you’re merely arguing that xenophobia isn’t a bad thing in this case. You’re merely arguing that xenophobia doesn’t merit inclusion in Hillary’s “basket of deplorables.”

Suppose someone supports Donald J. Trump for some reason other than racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and Islamaphobia. Suppose they have a strong revulsion to Hillary Clinton, Jill Stein, and Gary Johnson, or they merely have a strong revulsion to Secretary Clinton that they rationalize on other grounds, such as the e-mail server, and regard Stein and Johnson as not real alternatives.

That doesn’t make Hillary Clinton wrong about “half of Trump’s supporters.” This only means we found someone, as unlikely as it sounds, in the other half of his supporters. It may mean that we found someone who believes adopting the Republican brand absolves someone of all sins and faults.That may be unfair to the keepers of the Republican brand. It may mean only that adopting the Republican brand is enough to counteract all sins and faults. I can’t quite say that puts someone in the Basket of Deplorables, but this year more than most makes it clear, such a belief is at best highly questionable.

So, Hillary Clinton broke a dubious rule of political decorum and said something unflattering about some of her opponent’s supporters. Get over it. She wasn’t wrong, and Trump has said far worse about far more people many, many times, arguably being wrong almost (almost???) every damned time.

Theories of Governing

In some theories of government, the brightest and the best would work together to guide people so that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Those with intelligence and learning would craft policies and messages. Those with charisma and poise would deliver those messages and implement those policies. Drives for vengeance would be focused into quests for justice. Individual ambitions would be joined together for collective gains. The thinkers would warn the implementers about unintended side effects of their proposed actions, such as how a heavy hand on a minority group in an attempt to avoid trouble might in fact engender the exact kind of trouble that was to be avoided, that sometimes counter-intuitive reactions have the desired effects.

On the other hand, we have the Harvard Law graduate who thinks that the government that governs least is best. He seems not to wish to unite all of us to raise us all up together; he seems eager to gather his own personal power, be it destructive or constructive, doing what he can to increase his power. If the message from the people is rage and retribution, he’ll be happy to lead the charge against the misunderstood minority and apparent villains, not bothering to explain a more nuanced view of things.

There’s probably a theory of politics that notes that an easy way to win an election is to be sure that you run against an unelectable opponent. Does the progressive left really have such subtle power that they could stoke enthusiasm for demagogues such as Trump and Cruz simply so HRC’s polarizing effect seems minor compared to her opponents’ polarizing effects? Not the Senator from Vermont; the narcissists from Texas and New York, of course.

It’s a shame that wiser, cooler heads seem to have decided to profit from polarization instead of joining forces for the greater good.

Then again, sometimes my faith in mankind’s quest for the greater good just seems quaint and naive. Go figure….

Wisconsin State Legislative Hypocrisy

The Wisconsin state legislature is one of those bodies that loves it when Washington defers decisions to states. They didn’t want to be forced into expanding affordable medical care, so they opted out of federal medical insurance subsidies for the nearly poor. They would have been in favor of dumping the Common Core education standards in favor of local standards instead of making sure businesses throughout the country would know what a high school degree from Wisconsin meant. They’re not the only state to feel this way, but the Kochian State of Wisconsin is certainly currently one of the more vocal advocates for telling Washington to mind its own business.

That makes this article, then, doubly interesting. The state legislature is denying its municipalities and counties the option to become sanctuary cities and to issue local photo IDs. Both of these measures, of course, are aimed squarely at illegal immigrants. Not the terrorist ISIL types; no, these are aimed at the illegal economic refugees from Latin America who are our restaurant bussers, our home cleaners, and our other menial laborers.

The Wisconsin state assembly doesn’t want “local” control; they want state-level, Koch-endorsed control.

I’m fairly sure these legislators are completely unaware of the irony of their actions.

I’m not. And I’m as angry as I always am with the Kochian State of Wisconsin.