Patriot Group and the Destruction of Teacher Unions: Denis Calabrese

I wanted to include this bit of right-wing rabid fascism and racism for all readers to see what we are up against in corporate America.  What follows is the raving of a semi-literate, anti-humanist who seeks to control children and their access to their world and the points of view in it by destroying teacher unions and pensions in an effort to allow parents to ‘choose’ schools.  This is done, we are told, for the teacher unions are the villains in the educational scenarios the author puts forward.  Like blaming a nurse at a hospital for a failing health care system built on corporate rot and set on the pillars of religious fundamentalism, these racists and fascists are now concentrating on Texas not just for new curriculum for text books bent on elevating their counterparts and suppressing working people’s struggles against racism, sexism, homophobia, classism, and women’s rights, but to destroy the teacher union pensions so they cannot muster the struggle to continue the fight for human rights.  As you will see, this is all in the name of God – a Christian God at that.

I will bold in black my response and italicize it within the article. 

Readers are encouraged to see the ‘filth bowl’ that is now Texas, from secessionists hawking curriculum control and censoring, to all-out attacks on unions.

Here is what follows by “Let’s Choose Schools in Texas”, a right-wing organization paving the way towards illiteracy:

 Let’s Choose Schools in Texas

By Robert Schoolfield

Big Victory for Educational Liberty in Texas!

By: letschooseschools (http://letschooseschools.com/2010/05/14/big-victory-for-educational-liberty-in-texas/)
Before I relate this story, let me give the credit for this victory to Whom it belongs.  At the risk of being “too religious”, the sovereign God orchestrated the people and the events to bring about this victory for the children of Texas.  He gave us the opportunity to be a part of His success.

 Yes human beings do not make the world it is made by the Christian God.  This is the return to supernaturalism and superstition that was the hallmark for cleansing during the Enlightenment.  Now, with the advocacy of the Digital Dark Ages by the forces of the neo-Constantinians, we can see what the right-wing crackers have in store for us if they get their way.

I want to emphasize that this is NOT a partisan victory for the Republican Party.  This is a non-partisan victory for the schoolchildren of Texas.  The power of the teachers unions in Texas is directed at maintaining the status quo in school funding that is so hurtful to schoolchildren and teachers. 

Why is it hurtful?  The author never gives reasons or evidence for his conclusions,  for there is no need.  Critical thinking, based on doubt is evil, to muster evidence for conclusions and give reasons for showing how one arrives at conclusions is non-sensical  for the hubris of the religious right.  God is the one who makes life; God is the one who must direct the course of history and thus God, the Christian God no less, is calling the shots.  This is the medieval thinking of the Dark Ages that left humans with one thousand years of little if any knowledge.  This is the attack on ‘reason’ by ‘faith’ and it continues at galloping speeds.

 Parental choice in education through charter schools, voucher scholarships, and tuition tax credits will solve these problems, but the teachers unions fight against the expansion of these reforms for the selfish reason that they will lose financial and political power.  The unions use their political power against both Democrats and Republicans with the goal of maintaining and enhancing their power.

Yes, the goal has always been to ‘voucherize’ the public education process so that writers like ‘Schoolfield’ and their children can get tax payer dollars to send their kids to religious schools which they usually cannot afford due to the fact they are private and costly.  So we are asked to subsidize their belligerent intolerance with our taxes, a clear violation of the second amendment which those on the religious right will tell you was constructed to concretize their theocratic dementia.  The ‘founding fathers’, as they are called, of this country were Deists, not Christians but Glen Beck, Hannity, Schoolfield and the like will all tell you they were Christians.

This is the story behind the Texas Attorney General’s (AG) Opinion (GA-0774) prohibiting school districts from withholding PAC contributions from teachers’ payrolls.  This ruling means that the only way that teachers unions will be able to raise political contributions is by asking teachers to write a check (or debit their credit card).  Teachers don’t like to write checks, especially when they are going to politics that they don’t agree with.

Teachers understand that the union protects their right to collective bargaining, a fair wage, safe working conditions, a decent pay check, health care, participation in governance and power and benefits — all a ‘no-no’ to the patrons of God and harbingers of supernaturalism.  Teachers certainly do not like to write checks for politics they do not agree with so this writer wishes they just give up their wages instead.  The writer celebrates the Neanderthal politics of the Attorney General’s Office while at the same time frothing over the rights of corporations to write unlimited checks to control government and take over people’s rights and freedoms. 

But this is all parts and parcel of the new Digital Dark ages proposed by such forces.  Where once the Nobles and landed gentry worked with the clergy to control serfs and peasants under feudalism, the new proposed backward thinking would have the corporations replace the nobles and religion to be used as it always has been –as sophistic bantering to keep people believing no other world is possible except God’s ‘afterlife’, but of course it has to be their God, right?  Not Allah, not Buddha, not Hindu Gods, not the spaghetti monster;  we are talking here about the dementia and violence of Christian Fundamentalism.

The story begins in the June 2007, when I read an article in Citizen magazine entitled Huge Breakthrough in Utah.  Toward the end of the article I read the following paragraph.

Political muscle. A key step in weakening opposition to parental choice was passage of Paycheck Protection legislation, which forbids the teachers’ union from collecting money for political purposes without the express consent of the teacher. When Paycheck Protection took effect in Utah, funding to the teachers’ union political action committee (PAC) plummeted by approximately 90 percent. “They took a serious hit,” Peterson said. “It just shows you that when teachers have an option to contribute or not contribute to the political activities of their union, they’re not interested.”

I thought that perhaps we could do something similar in Texas, and if it dropped teachers union PAC contributions by 90%, it would be well worth the effort.  In October 2007, I met with Denis Calabrese, founder the Patriot Group in Austin.  He suggested that an Attorney General Opinion would be the simplest way to prevent the school districts from withholding PAC contributions.  He sent me to Rep. Leo Berman’s office because, at the time, he was the chair of the House Elections Committee.  He believed that since this question involved PAC money that the chair of the Elections Committee would have the authority to make the AG Opinion request.

Yes, Denis Calabrese, another well-known fascist out to destroy ‘teaching’ and put in place instead ‘preaching’, for eating from the tree of knowledge is sin.  But Eve ate the apple and thus really was the first critical thinker, if we wish to accept the fantastical ravings of the lunatic ‘fringe’ now becoming the ‘mainstream’.  You can see Denis Calabrese’s donations at the Huffington Post (http://fundrace.huffingtonpost.com/neighbors.php?type=name&lname=Calabrese&fname=Denis).  Calabrese is a dangerous right-wing operative bent on forging militant ties with right-wing fundamentalists (The GOP Game Plan for 2010, The Daily Beast September 19, 2009 http://www.thedailybeast.com/author/denis-calabrese/).

I went to Rep. Berman’s office that month and talked with Patrick Dudley.  He suggested that I visit with Royce Poinsett in the House Speaker’s (Craddick) office.  I did and in January 2008 he recommended to Rep. Berman that he should file an AG Opinion request.  Rep. Berman filed the formal request on March 18, 2008.

We then started to wait, wait, and wait 26 months.  I would call Rep. Berman, and he would say, “I just called them last week and got no news.”  After so many months, I just assumed it was dead; that someone had pulled the plug on the request because it was controversial.  I had no expectation that it would ever see the light of day.

No, it was in God’s hands by now.

A friend gave me some hope.  The friend found out that the AG’s office was waiting until the US Supreme Court gave their ruling on “Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission”.  This was a very important ruling regarding what type of “electioneering” activity was permissible for a corporate entity.  The AG’s office thought that the federal ruling might affect their ruling at the state level so they waited for the federal ruling.

Yes indeed and there you have it the Pandora’s Box that authoritarian fascists see as their wet dream.  This ruling by the court not only gave unbridled power to corporations but allowed for a new landscape for social disintegration and the destruction of working people’s organizations that can never compete monetarily with the corporate mone4y stolen in the form of low wages.

The federal ruling was decided on January 21, 2010.  After that date passed, I started to get “hopefully impatient” that the AG Opinion request had not been trashed.

So here I am on May 14, 2010, amazed that six Texans (I hope I haven’t left anyone out) and the AG’s office, guided by God, were able to push back against the mighty teachers unions in Texas.  This is the first victory in a long war for the schoolchildren, teachers, and families of Texas.  Join with us to ensure that this is the first of many successful battles on the road to educational liberty.

Yes, remember the Alamo is the battle cry.  ‘Liberty’ is ‘exploitation’, ‘freedom’ melts into ‘authoritarianism’, ‘democracy’ is now the new ‘theocracies and plutocracy’, and ‘education’ is little more than ‘indoctrination’.

Rep. Berman is going to have a press conference about the AG Opinion at the capitol on Monday, May 17 at 11 am.  Come and help us celebrate.

Here is the ‘Game Plan’ by the Patriot Group, who is little more than corporate quislers and religious fundamentalists.  But this is what we as progressive are up against and best we understand it now, for they are busy raking in cash from the newly liberated ‘people’ we call corporations to mount and continue to push forward their right wing attack on education and the Enlightenment principles.

Mission Statement

Denis Calabrese

To build a bi-partisan, volunteer-led, grassroots and grass-tops team throughout Texas in order to pass and defend Universal School Choice legislation.

Team Distinctives

The distinctives of the new “c(4)” lobbying organization will be to:

  1. Promote Universal School Choice Legislation that meets the school choice need of all Texas families.
  2. Focus on building broad grassroots and “grass-tops” support in all areas of Texas.
  3. Be a truly bi-partisan team, which will expend significant effort in both Democratic and Republican areas.
  4. Be a predominantly volunteer team. The board, CEO, officers, and grassroots organizers will all be volunteers.
  5. Build a team of supportive relationships.

1. Universal School Choice Legislation

Universal School Choice is the true goal of all who want the best for the families of Texas. Only universal school choice will:

• Result in the largest competitive free market that will provide the most alternatives for all the families of Texas.

• Be able to build political support in all areas of Texas in order to maximize the team’s political and financial power.

2. Grassroots and Grass-tops Focus

The opponents to school choice are formidable. The teacher’s unions have two powerful political assets. They have:

• Money. Significant funds are collected from the great majority of the public school teachers, who are members of a union.

• A statewide grassroots network. The major employer in every rural county is the public school system. Even in urban counties there are many employees organized by ISD and individual school.

In order to combat this powerful political foe, an effective school choice team must build the same two assets.

• Money. The new team must be funded by broad grass-tops support for visionary business leaders in all areas of the state

• A statewide grassroots network. The new team must build a broad grassroots support network among parents, private schools, churches, and other civic organizations.

3. Non-partisan Team

In the past, the school choice organizations in Texas have been very partisan. Virtually all the support has come from legislators and donors that are Republican. All legislative votes regarding school choice have closely followed party lines, although the movement has started to loose many Republican votes in addition to all Democratic votes.

Since school choice is a controversial, fundamental change in how education is funded, it can never pass with the additional baggage of being a partisan issue. The movement must take ground within the teacher union stronghold, the Democratic Party.

4. Volunteer Team

The Texas school choice movement has been handicapped by some salaried “tares”, which has choked out the volunteer “wheat”. The only way to avoid this is by having leadership positions reserved exclusively for volunteers. If leaders do not care enough about school choice to volunteer their time, then they should not be in a position of leadership. Most funds will be used to provide resources necessary for grassroots and grass-tops team building.

5. Team of Supportive Relationships

Grassroots and Grass-tops organizing is very much like team building. Whether it is a sports team or a business development team, the relational nature of team building is basically the same. The leaders invite, encourage, equip, and empower team members to make them individually more effective for the ultimate goal of passing and defending universal school choice legislation. The team corporately becomes powerful through the communication and mutual support of effective team members.

Robert Schoolfield
Phone: 512.327.9195
Mobile: 512.461.3126
E-Mail: bob@LetsChooseSchools.com