'Strangely silent'? Republican lawmakers weigh in on UVA crisis

Nearly two weeks after UVA Rector Helen Dragas' June 10 announcement that President Teresa Sullivan resigned because of "philosophical differences," local Republican delegates have issued statements, both calling for the reinstatement of Sullivan, on June 22, the same day that Governor Bob McDonnell tells the Board of Visitors to shape up or ship out.

In a letter to the BOV, McDonnell writes, "But let me be absolutely clear: I want final action by the Board on Tuesday. If you fail to do so, I will ask for the resignation of the entire Board on Wednesday. Regardless of your decision, I expect you to make a clear, detailed and unified statement on the future leadership of the University."

Delegate Steve Landes says in a release, "I am exploring possible legislation for the 2013 General Assembly Session which will address the training of university boards of visitors in the specific areas of transparency as well as review their governance policies.”

In a June 21 letter to Dragas, Landes writes, "[I]t is my opinion that your actions, without any thought of transparency or even a consensus of the full Board, have severely damaged the University thereby hurting students, faculty, and alumni."

He goes on to say he's been inundated by hundreds of emails from furious constituents. "In fact, I cannot think of even one contact in support of the Board’s actions," he says.

Double 'Hoo Delegate Rob Bell also has heard from constituents, no surprise, he says, given that this is a college town and the University of Virginia is the largest employer– and amount of media attention.

"The size of the headlines is the type you usually see at the end of a major war," he says.

Bell released his own letter to the Board of Visitors: "To rectify this untenable situation, I respectfully request that you reinstate Teresa Sullivan to the Presidency. Going forward, if your board still believes she should be replaced, you should conduct the appropriate transparent public meetings where the matter can be fully discussed and addressed."

With local Dems House Minority Leader David Toscano and State Senator Creigh Deeds meeting with Dragas and  now-resigned vice rector Mark Kington last week, some have suggested the Republican reticence has made the controversy a partisan issue.

"I don't think so," says Bell. "Are people saying that?"

Toscano, who issued his first statement June 14 and then another June 18 with an even stronger demand urging both Dragas and Kington to resign, alleges his Republican colleagues in the General Assembly have been "strangely silent."

In calling for Dragas to resign, Toscano says that's not a criticism of Governor Bob McDonnell, whom others have urged to step in. Toscano notes that Dragas was appointed by a Democrat, former governor Tim Kaine.

He also muses over Dragas' resistance to resignation, calling it "indicative of her misunderstanding of the situation.  Her June 21 statement was still explaining her actions while ignoring widespread calls for her to leave. "For her to still say the decision was right but the process was botched doesn't make any sense at this point," says Toscano.

Delegate Joe Morrissey has called for an investigation into the ouster of Sullivan, but Toscano says that if Sullivan is restored to her job, he doubts the investigation will go very far. "It may disclose some links we aren't aware of," he acknowledges.

Like Landes, Toscano says there are issues to discuss on the future governance of the board after a very small number of people launched the current firestorm.

"Under the Code of Virginia, the General Assembly is supposed to exercise control over the Board of Visitors," says Toscano. "We've ceded that to the governor, whose appointments are based on political patronage. We've had some fine people serve, but the General Assembly generally rubberstamps 'em."

Toscano wonders whether there should be some change to the Code to put people on the BOV who have experience in universities. Many universities have boards that are elected by alumni, he says.

"I've been thinking whether alums should have some say," he says, particularly since the university only gets 8 to 10 percent of its operating budget from the state and is so dependent on donations to make up the difference.

In the past two weeks, multiple groups have said they have no confidence in the Board of Visitors, and multiple people have called for Dragas to resign. Governor McDonnell, who has maintained a hands-off policy toward the BOV, appears to have had enough with the state's flagship university in disarray.

"I would probably call on the members of the Board of Visitors and tell 'em to get their act straight," says State Senator Deeds, who sought the governorship now held by McDonnell. "I would exercise quiet leadership."

Deeds, too, is dubious about what a legislative investigation would do at this point. "The press has done a good job of uncovering the bodies," he says.

"This is people power at this point," he says. "The faculty, the alums, the students continue to keep the pressure on."

This story is a part of the The ousting of a president special.

95 comments

I guess George Allen, despite being an alumnus, wanted to wait until he was sure which way the political winds would blow through this saga before taking a stand....

Way to go Delegate Bell.

The more bipartisan support from leaders on this, the more likely it is going to end soon and end well and by well I mean Sullivan reinstated, Dragas Resigns, BOV appointment process and representation reformed.

Ms. and Gov. Gilmore made supportive statements as well. Anybody knowe of other positive statements made by Republicans?

Did anyone call George ?

It comes down to the governor; if he indicates to Sullivan and Dragas that Dragas will not be reappointed to the board, Sullivan can resume her office and the University begin healing. If he does not indicate anything Sullivan is likely to leave and the turmoil begins anew.

The disgraced Kiernan of the Darden school helped found the Education Management Corporation (EDMC) after being with Goldman Sachs for eighteen years. Goldman led the 3.4 billion dollar buyout of EDMC. EDMC has come under numerous lawsuits for fraud and high-pressure sales tactics in eleven states. The stock price has gone form $30 to about $9.30 for this particularly sleazy company.

I don't think the governor can withstand an investigation into this mess, hence his brave letter which puts Ms. Sullivan in a horrible situation. Any person with a sense of basic human dignity would have shown Dragas to the door long ago for her underhanded dealings. Unless he was in on it from the start.

I hate to say it, but McDonnell's threat to invoke a mass firing if the Board doesn't obey a specific command of his strikes me as no better than Dragas's actions --

I don't see that Will. The Governor publicly told the BOV to resolve things one way or the other on Tuesday, but Dragas came in with a personal/secret agenda as to how she planned to get the rest of the BOV to force the resignation of President Sullivan.

Why does everyone keep leaving out STAFF? University staff employees have demonstrated loyalty too - come on elected officials, can't you see us? And our votes count too.

And on another note -- did anyone else think the Guv was sending a message in the letter to the Visitors with his emphasis on his policy initiatives with his italics, underlined emphasis on BOLD actions (as opposed to incremental.....)?

George,

Very interesting and helpful insight into Goldman Sachs, Kiernan, and EDMC. Lawsuits for fraud....

So are we to surmise that Kiernan and allies in the cabal sought to effect a business deal of some sort between UVA and EDMC? If so, then would there be potential conflicts of interest should any of the cabal own shares in the business involved? Have any state or federal laws been broken here?

Seems to me that the General Assembly needs to take some initiative and begin to exercise its oversight powers. This can include investigation if warranted. But certainly it would appear high time for the General Assembly live up to its responsibility as Mr. Jefferson intended.

Abdicating responsibility by handing off to the Governor is not proper. As we have noted the practice of the governor using the BOV as a political patronage dumping ground leads to problems of some magnitude.

Legislative redress seems warranted and that should include public hearings about reform of the board by the committee(s) with jurisdiction. Appropriate legislation can be introduced and passed in an open, transparent, and democratic manner.

I think something is there. The head council for EDMC is a double UVa grad also. (Which is very distressing) With their sleazy reputation and outstanding lawsuits against them I don't think they would be considered by any reputable school, much less UVa, but they could spin off another company very easily if the stakes were big enough.

Also the governor should have fired Dregas for bringing up Sullivan's personnel issues with persons not on the board, but he seems wholly unconcerned. I think the last thing the governor wants is an investigation.

Has anyone called George? Like he hasn't heard of this situation? I suspect the only ones unaware of it at this point are TJ et al buried in the Monticello graveyard. George doesn't want to breathe a peep for fear of losing contributions to his cause.
The near across-the-board silence from the Republican contingent sure smells rotten. If nothing else they're all afraid of coming out against their cronies since everyone gives each other lots and lots of cash. I still believe that McDonnell was part of this plan from the get-go. His letter today just reinforces how fishy his whole lack of leadership in this debacle has been. Smells to the core.

Gov McDonnell wants this over with -- and is issuing ultimatums to look like a "strong leader" -- because it's an election year and he's vying to be tapped as Romney's VP.

Kind of a Catch-22 for him: make it go away; but since it won't just yet, act tough.

For what it's worth, McDonnell's already been implicated as knowing what was going on behind BOV closed doors by Kiernan's leaked email.

Dirty politics.

Did (ultrasound supporter) Bell just learn of this? Who told him about it and what to say?

(1.) A split majority of the BoV could vote to re-instate Sullivan; (2.) on the basis of such a vote, Sullivan could re-assume the post of President, because (3.) by casting a split vote, the entire Board (including the Rector) would (on the Governor's terms) be putting itself out of business (thereby meeting Sullivan's condition that the Rector be gone).

The context of the Sullivan mess is state and national. The overall issue is education policy. While much attention on the threads has been given to the procedural issue of the firing, the broad policy issue should also be addressed because that is the real issue.

Thus, just what is going on at the state level in terms of higher education policy? How does the "philosophical", that is to say policy, difference between the board and Sullivan fit into the state context?

There is a State Council for Higher Education/Virginia.(SHEV). The overall structure for higher education at the state level is shown by SHEV at its website:
http://www.schev.edu/SCHEV/HigherEducationSysOverview.asp

The state legislature has the following role per SCHEV:
•Adopts a biennial budget
•Introduces, debates, and votes on legislation
•Establishes joint subcommittees and commissions to study issues
•Requests studies and reports

So what is the present state of play with regard to Virginia Higher Education policy and the Governor's and General Assembly's posture? Does the Sullivan mess link to some state level policy/political issues, actors, legislation, "reform" plans and the like?

Looking at the national context, the Sullivan mess takes place within the national context in which well funded and influential lobbies are seeking "educational reform" nationwide in K-12 and in higher education. Kiernan and Jones are directly linked to this national political/policy activity. Their interest and role is indicated by their board membership of StudentsFirst and organization led by the controversial Michelle Rhee.

The conservative American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) has already weighed in supporting the BOV firing. ACTA was founded by VP Cheney's wife Lynne Cheny in 1995.

Reinstatement of Sullivan, if it occurs, is not going to halt the political agenda of the "education reform" movement spearheaded by Wall Streeters and conservatives.

The General Assembly needs to assert its authority in the Sullivan case and to remain vigilant with regard to the activity of forces from outside Virginia targeting our educational system.

I have followed the Hook's coverage through this crisis and have found it thorough and unbiased until this Tweet. How about a nonpartisan headline 'Strangely silent'? Lawmakers weigh in on UVA crisis"? They are elected officials and these types of inflammatory partisan implications are why I am neither a Republican nor a Democrat (democrats weigh in early; republicans weigh in late, yadda, yadda). I do think it is high time the Governor issued an ultimatum to this board and I applaud that.

Re: Jacquith's rumor that McDonnell plans to reappoint Dragas to the the BofV. I do NOT think you would see GOP lawmakers of the standing of Landes and Bell coming out for Sullivan's statement right at this time if their own governor were about to kneecap them.

I'll continue to give the political rumors from Larry Sabato more credence than Waldo's.

And a second RE: Jacquith's Dragas rumor tweet.

The lede story by the Daily Progress is real NEWS reporting ... sourced, confirmed news. In this case, information that Small, former Visitor and donor of the Small Declaration of Independence Center, has written McDonnell and calls for the president's reinstatement while denouncing the damage the Dragon Rector has done to the University.

Let's stick to sourced, confirmed news. Not rumors.

http://www2.dailyprogress.com/news/2012/jun/22/governor-tells-uva-board-...

Clifford Kiracofe writes this: "the Sullivan mess takes place within the national context in which well funded and influential lobbies are seeking "educational reform" nationwide in K-12 and in higher education. Kiernan and Jones are directly linked to this national political/policy activity. Their interest and role is indicated by their board membership of StudentsFirst and organization led by the controversial Michelle Rhee."

He is correct. What is transpiring at UVa is part-and-parcel of a much bigger picture. Like StudentsFirst –– the corporate and hedge-funded front for Michelle Rhee's perpetual lies –– the goal is the siphoning of taxpayer funds into very private bank accounts. It's happening at an alarming rate. No Child Left Behind set in rapid motion, and Race to the Top continues it. UVa is not immune. At all.

Locally, notice that David Toscano and Creigh Deeds weighed in fairly early on the Sullivan affair, And Tim Kaine a bit later. Meanwhile Rob Bell, Steve Landis, George Allen, Ken Cuccinelli and Bob McDonnell remained silent, with McDonnell finally issuing a statement because, well, politically he had to. Only then, did local delegate Bell opine. But I doubt what he said is sincere. Why?

Rob Bell (and it ought to be noted that Steve Landes is almost a Bell clone) calls himself a law-and-order Reagan conservative. He’s spent much of his legislative career promoting bills that stiffen prison terms without ever explaining to taxpayers the costs of those increased incarcerations or potential alternatives. He favors the death penalty for juvenile offenders (a penalty declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court). Even though social science research indicates how crime can be best prevented, Delegate Bell ignores investments in favor of a throw-the-book-at-them plan.

Bell says he believes in and supports public education. However, when a Joint Legislative and Audit Review Commission (JLARC) analysis found that Virginia underfunded its public education system by more than $1 billion per year, Bell voted against a 2004 tax reform package that funneled more funding to public schools.

In the social arena, Bell favored a bill that would force women seeking an abortion to seek an appointment with a second physician to confirm the pregnancy. He has voted to impose more restrictions on clinics that perform abortions. He voted to require transvaginal ultra-sounds for women seeking abortions. He has voted against same-sex civil unions, and he has voted to disallow homosexuals from adopting children. These are the votes of a man totally unconcerned about his sworn oath to “support the Constitution of the United States.” So why does he care about Teresa Sullivan? Notice how he worded his belated letter to the UVa Board.

Bell also introduced a bill that would have altered the state Composite Index to siphon money from the city of Charlottesville and give it to much wealthier Albemarle County, one of the most affluent, and economically stratified, localities in Virginia and the nation.

See: http://www.propublica.org/article/income-inequality-near-you

As JLARC noted, the purpose of the Composite Index is to “promote tax equity among localities” in funding services, especially education. Moreover, local ability-to-pay is influenced by “decision-makers” who may “be relatively unwilling to pay for public services and my opt for low taxes, resulting in low revenues.” That’s what Albemarle has done; no locality in Virginia similar in wealth to Albemarle has a lower tax rate. No locality uses the land use tax subsidy nearly as much as Albemarle does. Sixty percent of all land in the county is in the tax subsidy program. This is very much by design (Indeed the farm Dragas intends to buy is in conservation easements, a companion tax subsidy that allows the wealthy to "conserve" estates they cannot or never planned to develop). For more on tax subsidies, see Biscuit Run (below):

http://www.readthehook.com/101906/flip-flopped-biscuit-run-men-want-20-m...

Rather than paying for its own services, which it can well afford to do, Bell has tried to help Albemarle take money from its neighbor. Bell claimed that the state under Little Bob McDonnell has achieved a budget “surplus” (wink). What he doesn't say is that the so-called "surplus" was attained because of $2.5 billion in federal stimulus funds, acceleration of state sales tax payments, and the raiding of the state pension fund of $680 million (to be paid back at 7.5% after McDonnell leaves office).
 
In other words, there was no "surplus."  It's an illusion.  It's a creation of political smoke & mirrors.  It's a shell game. So too is corporate-style education "reform," whether it's implemented at the K-12 level (through more testing, more charter schools, vouchers, virtual schools, and "merit pay" for teachers) or at the higher-education (the Dragas plan for UVa).

I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for Bob McDonnell and the General Assembly (especially delegate Bell's House) to do the long-term right thing. They won't. Right now it's political expediency, and short-term political cover. And then the money people will get right back to work.
  

"Thanks Hook" ... That comment is WAY over the line and borders on a personal threat.

Let's not go down that road.

Let's continue to focus on HOW the Dragon Rector carried off the coup and the flawed process that McDonnell himself acknowledges.

I would really like to see The Hook investigate the emails further. It appears to have been overlooked if the emails between Dragas and Kington (their personal email accounts) were handed over by them. If this is the case, then I question if they have released ALL of the emails or were selective with the one's that they released. I think it would also be important to request the remaining BOV's email correspondences, Strine, Simon, Governor McDonnell and Darden representatives to get a more just and comprehensive account of the behind the scenes deals.

And I think going forward, anyone who serves on the BOV must have an @virginia.edu email account to make sure their correspondences can truly be transparent.

The Hook needs to change this headline. It does not match the substance of the story. Republicans are not "strangely silent," but have spoken up.

Maybe it should read "Republicans speak up but their words are hollow"

Democracy,

Thank you for that very helpful post. While my home is in Virginia, I haven't lived in Cville for a decade and thus have not followed local poltics there. As I indicated on another post, I hold a BA, MA, and Ph.D from Mr. Jefferson's University. I am an old-U type who entered 45 years ago when there was still a strong and sincere interest in Mr. Jefferson's legacy as part of the university ethos. Perhaps I am old fashioned but I hope I am modern in outlook. And it seems to me Mr. Jefferson's vision for the university, not to mention the state of Virginia, and our Republic is timeless.

What we are facing at bottom here is a manifestation of the "culture war" which, for example, Rush Limbaugh and his type of vulgar paid propagandists express in their daily rants. Michelle Rhee and her Wall Street backers are of the same ilk.

The culture war is political. The culture war is systematic. The culture war is well financed.

The culture war being poitical involves politics. Public institutions are by definition under public control through our state government in this case. Our state government is the Governor, General Assembly, and Judiciary. The University of Virginia is under the control of our state government. As a citizen of Virginia, and a taxpayer (and donor to UVA), I appreciate this.

I haven't read Bruce's History of the University of Virginia in 40 years. I find that it is now online.
http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/BruHist.html

Seems to me that Mr. Jefferson would not find this crisis unexpected and would condemn it. He knew well the POLITICS of education and issues of culture and the relationship between culture and pollitics, and culture and education.

The historical fact is that Mr. Jefferson hoped by placing the University under the General Assembly the people/citizens of this state could exercise vigilance and oversight. He battled what he termed a certain "sect" at the political and cultural level.

In effect we now have the same battle in the form of The Academical Village versus the Corporate U.

The bottom line is this is polititcal. It is about time for the hidden political agendas to see the light of day. The public has a right to know. Academic freedom and good governance must be preserved at Mr. Jefferson's University.

The is not about a mere personnel issue and firing procedures. This is about much larger things, important things, existential things.Concerned citizens and alumni should know this and be clear about it.

Thus, citizens of the state of Virginia, and alumni in particular, will have to focus on the politics of this situation. Obviously there will be an attempt to pass this off and to then continue the culture war, perhaps more discretely. But at some point, citizens , students, faculty, and alumni will have to take a principled stand, a political stand. This involves the General Assembly and the Governor.

Great job Siva Vaidhyanathan but that's the last time I'll be watching Chris Hayes

Clifford Kiracofe writes that the Teresa Sullivan affair is about "much larger things, important things, existential things," and it "involves the General Assembly and the Governor."

Yep. And elections. And taxation (who gets taxed [or not] and for what?). And campaign finance (Citizens United). And the Constitution, and promoting the common good rather than just the interests of the "elite."

It involves the commitment that citizens have to democratic ideals, including popular sovereignty ("the People" as the source of governmental authority), freedoms for all citizens, equality, justice, tolerance, and promoting the general welfare of society.

Ultimately, it concerns the role of public education (K-12 and higher education) in a democratic republic.

If the truth of this matter ever comes to light I'd be willing to gamble large sums of money that it was the pet project of a few deep-pocketed alumni with a strong sense of entitlement and a plan to profit from the University. I suspect they saw Sullivan as an outsider and an obstacle, and they dangled the prospect of huge donations to the University and political campaigns if the Board found a way to get rid of her (with the Governor's acquiescence if not his support).

Ironically, if things had gone according to plan, they would have gotten accolades for their generosity (and possibly something at the University named after them) knowing full well their donations were simply seed money for a scheme to profit from the reputation of the University of Virginia.

Mr. Kiracofe hits the nail on the head in my estimation. I entered the U. 44 years ago. I regret that the vision of a university that at that time was almost universally held by The University's constituents is being destroyed by some of our contemporaries and many of the generation just behind us. Money is not everything. Property is not everything. But you sure wouldn't know it from the actions of Ms. Dragas and her ilk. And the political dimension of all of this should be a call to action for all those who believe in open discussion and freedom of thought. The Crisis will not be over even if Ms. Sullivan is reinstated. All of us who are interested in the University will have to remain vigilant in the months and years ahead.

I agree with you, A&S Grad. I believe that's why there was such a rush to remove President Sullivan before Dragas' term on the BOV expired. I'd bet that Ms. Dragas was promised some lucrative plum to be delivered in the aftermath of the inevitable fallout and her departure from the BOV.

Here's a link to a very funny "Declaration" by the Board of Visitors:

http://crookedtimber.org/2012/06/20/the-declaration-of-independence/

*

ettu fellow employee said on June 22nd, 2012 | 9:31pm:
"Why does everyone keep leaving out STAFF? University staff employees have demonstrated loyalty too - come on elected officials, can't you see us? And our votes count too."

Here here! In virtually all statements thus far...by Dragas...by politicos...by observers...by pundits...by news outlets and media sources...by the UVA community in general...the word "staff" has been noticeably absent. (Not in all cases, but most.)

Anyone would be remiss to think for a moment that staff are not closely watching this debacle unfold, and have very strong feelings about it--feelings in support of President Sullivan and distain for the actions of Dragas and her minions.

Staff do indeed have dog in this hunt. Theirs too is a vested interest in the long-term success of UVA.

Please, do not overlook them, as this great university community is not made up only of faculty, students, alums and donors. UVA is a three-legged stool comprised of faculty, staff and students. Without any one leg, this mighty stool will surely fall to the ground.

DT:

Great point about the importance of UVA staff!

One thing to consider is whether the Board of Visitors should have a staff representative, like some other public universities.

Point well taken on staff. Logical and appropriate to have a staff representative on the BOV not to mention a representative of the faculty senate. Both could contribute to good governance and to academic freedom.

I would also say that staff represent a significant part of the historical memory of the University as an institution. Thus an invaluable part of the overall culture of the institution.

If Mr. Jefferson's vision of the Academical Village is to be saved and perpetuated, then the participation of staff in the process is an essential component.

Clifford Kiracofe, George, and Democracy:

Thank you for yours in-depth discussions of this saga created by a group of people who have accumulated power either by their appointed positions or by connection and have acted totally against the most basic democratic process that sets this country apart from those governed by dictatorship. I just wish that our representatives put the benefits of our communities, our state, and our nation above their ideological beliefs, sit down, and work our way out of the mess, not only for this particular debacle, but for many much bigger problems our country has faced. I just hope that voices like yours make the news and be on TV rather than the trivial events we are tired of seeing and hearing.

@rkn June 23rd, 2012 | 8:40am

Right on, and dig DEEPER and WIDER……

Silence is golden. So proclaimed the great guru of Virginia politics-a Byrd , one thinks.
So goes Allen, Cantor, Hurt (alum of Yesheva U , Mississippi College of Law, etc)- all cronies and pals of Governor "BOB" whom, imo, is behind this whole mess. Is he still issuing press releases from Europe where he hides (at taxpayer expense of course) ?

@D.T. June 23rd, 2012 | 11:34am
@ettu fellow employee June 22nd, 2012 | 9:31pm:

In my posts I have clearly INCLUDED staff in my posts!

I'm a retired staff member and quite sensitive to being ignored or forgotten! Staff members do have a voice but they are seldom heard, or listen to. They have always been invisible, but not to President Sullivan. She counted on us and she made us feel important too. That, my friend, are the very reasons we respect, love and support President Teresa Sullivan.

UVA staff do great work for all the people in the Commonwealth served by the University and the Hospital. Faculty across the board are critical to the work of the University and of the Hospital. Someone much wiser than I once wrote: "Socities that scorn excellence in plumbing and tolerate shoddiness in philosophy will have never good plumbing nor good philosopy. Neither their pipes nor their theories will hold water."

The most important persons at UVA are the persons with the keys to all the buildings and the ability to fix the air conditioning. Faculty would be hard pressed to teach if they could not get into the classroom buildings and did not have air conditioning in this humid, hot weather.

Is George Allen still running for office? Did he win the primary? He hasn't be heard from in a long time. I guess he is too busy riding horses and wearing his cowboy boots and western stetsons to get involved in a minor matter like this at his alma mater. Make sure to remember George's lack of involvement in this situation when you vote in November.

Tim Kaine for Virginia, Senate 2012.

Thanks, Democracy, for your on-point posts. Might be too long and chock-full for some readers, but lots of worthy information.

Old Wahoo and Concerned VA, thank you for your kind words.

Yes indeed, Old Wahoo this will be a long fight irrespective of the Sullivan matter.

The Governor will appoint a number of board members soon. Who will they be? Will they have hidden agendas? What is their "philosophy" of higher education?

There is legislation in the General Assembly concerning higher education. What is it? How will it impact the University? What sort of agendas are in play?

What is going on in the House Education Committee, for example? They have an oversight responsibiity. Delegate Morrissey, an alum, has suggested an investigation. The Republican head of the committee wants a delay. What oversight will take place?

To me, this is not a partisan issue necessarily. There are Jeffersonian Republicans and Jeffersonian Democrats and Jeffersonian Independents and so on. It should be a non-partisan or a bi-partisan issue: the perpetuation of Mr. Jefferson's vision for his University. This is a matter of core values and stewardship, good governance and academic freedom.

Perhaps a few of us concerned types might get together some to mull a course of action for the near and longer term. I am just an hour away from Cville and happy to come up. I'll be at the rally tomorrow.

Clifford Kiracofe, George, and Democracy - thank you for your valuable insights. You may very well be right, that this egregious action by the BOV is just another ugly episode in the culture war, although I certainly hope not.

If that is the case, the the question that we must ask the Governor, the Legislators and all Citizens is: Are the oligarchs really so intent on "winning" this culture war that they are willing to throw Mr. Jefferson's legacy of honor, democracy and transparency under the bus in order to further their own ambitions?" If so, then whose side are they on really, besides their own, very narrow interests? And how can any Citizen possibly stand by and allow this to happen?

Thank you Clifford Kiracofe, cville reader2, and Concerned Virginian for your kind words.

As I noted before, what’s taking place at UVa is not isolated to its grounds (although some may think that to be the case).

Indeed, one need only to look at Bob McDonnell’s efforts in Virginia to expand virtual schools run by K12, Inc. Perhaps not surprisingly, McDonnell has taken $55,000 in contributions from K12, and he has snuffed attempts to rein in the current quasi-voucher funding for students that attend virtual schools. And, even though research shows that private for-profit schools have very poor achievement records, McDonnell insists that “Virtual schools provide excellent instruction” (wink).

For more on virtual schools nationally and in Virginia, see:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/virtual-schools-are-multip...

In Michigan, state Rep. Tom McMillin (R) is carrying legislative water for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a right-wing group funded by corporations and oligarchs, including the Koch brothers, that seeks to craft public policies for the benefit of the wealthy and not the people. McMillan pushes the same discredited ideas and policies as other conservatives: he wants more tax cuts for corporations and the rich; he is opposed to affordable health care for all citizens; he doesn’t support the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment; he wants to push his religious views on everybody else and ban abortion. In education, the conservative litany continues: McMillin wants to impose merit pay, end due process rights for public employees, and dismantle public education.

Rep. McMillin recently refused to directly answer questions from his constituents about whether or not he is a member of ALEC and if he is sponsoring legislation on behalf of ALEC.

For more on ALEC, see:

http://therochestercitizen.com/representative-tom-mcmillin-refuses-to-ta...

To watch McMillin dodging questions, see:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n05bXp4MBoE

The bottom line is that conservatives (ALEC, Tom McMillin in Michigan, Bob McDonnell in Virginia, the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, Walton and Broad and Olin Foundations, Goldman Sachs, etc.) want to privatize public education.

What is occurring in Virginia (and Michigan, and elsewhere) constitutes “bad education reform.” But so did No Child Left Behind, and so does Race to the Top. Wendy Kopp, chief charlatan at Teach for America, pushes “bad reform.” Michelle Rhee and Kaya Henderson are local examples of “reform” gone wrong (Note: when will Henderson push for an authentic, independent, in-depth investigation of the cheating that took place in the DC public schools?). In Albemarle County, the central office and the school board pay little if any attention to teacher, staff, and parent input, and push badly-flawed technology as if it were cheesy-crust pizza.

The current “reform” mania in education stems from “A Nation at Risk,” a screed noted for its inaccuracy as well as its impact on reshaping public education not for democratic citizenship, but for “economic competitiveness,” a “paradigm shift” for which there was absolutely no evidence.

This brand of “reform” is top-down and almost always autocratic. It relies on secrecy and avoids transparency. Corporations and cronies are favored over principled behavior and “the People.”

And it truly is bad news: for students, for educators at all levels, for communities and states, and for the country.

Democracy; Thanks for the additional insight. I only regret that I can't get to the Lawn tomorrow. Atlanta is just too far. We are in for a long, long fight. Public ed here in Ga is constantly under attack. But so far Ga. Tech and U.Ga. have been spared this sort of takeover. I never thought that the extreme right and the oligarchs would try to take over the first truly classically liberal university in the country. But I guess I was wrong. Those who care about critical thinking and independent analysis need to take their stand with the rest of us right now. Ir Dragas and company win the U. as we have known it is destroyed.

Clifford Kiracofe wrote:

"There are Jeffersonian Republicans and Jeffersonian Democrats and Jeffersonian Independents and so on. It should be a non-partisan or a bi-partisan issue: the perpetuation of Mr. Jefferson's vision for his University. This is a matter of core values and stewardship, good governance and academic freedom."

I cannot agree more with you. This is just one small issue, compared to the enormous and complicated problems we face, but it signifies the indispensable core values of dignity, honesty, transparency, and decency in treating our fellow man/woman. These core values should, but sadly seldom, be transcendent across the political, geographical, and racial landscape. Thomas Jefferson left his vision for the University. But these same values have been moral guidelines for many across the globe. I came to this country 32 years ago seeking what was roped of me in my own backyard. What happened to President Sullivan at UVA feels to me a flashback of bad memory. We cannot and should not tolerate such an act at an institution regarded as beacon of democracy. The question is how do effectively make our voice hear, loudly and clearly. I will go the distance if there is a trail!

McDonnell,Allen,Warner,Kaine,and the other non-native Virginians, including the dubious Hurt, have no idea as to what Jeffersonian values are and his vision for the University he founded a scant few years after the USA had won its independence from tyrants. Check the Commonwealth's motto and flag , Ms Dragas , it plainly says " Sic Semper Tyrannis" ...and if the shoe fits please wear it...
Wonderful articles by the Hook and its writers...

many thanks to the authors of the many insightful comments in this thread, George, Democracy, Old Wahoo, and my brother, Cliff!
!
it is indeed a culture war!

I will most certainly be at the rally this afternoon!

democracy,

many thanks for your detailed analysis and helpful links. It is essential for all concerned to understand the broader state and national situation so that we can better defend Mr. Jefferson's legacy. It would appear that the University is ground zero in the culture war at this time.The culture war has been forced on us, the Sullivan matter as one indication. It is now time for those concerned to organize, resist, and overcome. I am confident that with effort "We shall overcome."

Old Wahoo has said, this is going to be a long battle. And as Mr. Jefferson warned us "eternal vigilance" is needed to defend Liberty. Tuesday, whatever happens, will mark the next phase of the battle. Then comes the governors BOV appointments, legislation in the General Assembly, and so on.

Concerned Virginian, thank you for your kind words. Venturing to America many over the centuries have sought a new life, freedom, and opportunity. It is a New World here. And in this New World , Mr. Jefferson and his colleagues such as James Madison and James Monroe left us our Academical Village. We must defend this legacy.

Speaking of that, a few weeks ago I got together with an old friend of mine and his wife for an afternon cookout to catch up on things in our lives. He recently returned to the United States from his native Egypt. An intellectual and journalist, he had spent time in prison some years ago for his pro-freedom views. Views which the Egyptian dictatorship did not approve. When the Arab Spring came to a climax last year on Tahrir Square, he decided to go there and spent three nights there amidst the chaotic violence. His wife was of course extremely concerned for his safety and their US born children possibly being without a father. But she understood why he, like many hundreds of thousands of Egyptians, had to go and make a symbolic stand in this way under the threat of possible death.

I hope many will feel moved to come to the Lawn this afternoon to make a stand, to make a witness, and to defend Mr. Jefferson's vision when he said:

"This institution of my native state, the Hobby of my old age, will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind, to explore and to expose every subject susceptible of it's contemplation." - Thomas Jefferson to Antoine Louis Claude Destutt de Tracy, 26 December 1820
http://www.monticello.org/site/jefferson/illimitable-freedom-human-mind-...

@Democracy, ALL of your posts ALWAYS have the same theme...democrats good, republicans bad. You find obscure paragraphs from radical progressive sites that are only taken seriously by socialists like yourself, which thank goodness only encompass the thinking of a very small portion of our society. What you thought were insults directed toward Rob Bell, are actually what clear thinking people see as confrimation of a principled individual.

"The Hook needs to change this headline. It does not match the substance of the story. Republicans are not "strangely silent," but have spoken up."

Well, that's why there's a question mark after "strangely silent." It's a reference to Delegate Toscano's comment of last week, as explicitly stated in the article. Maybe the headline should have been "strangely silent no more..."

Interesting piece by Jim Caesar in The Post today, where he cites Jefferson:

“When wrongs are pressed because it is believed they will be borne, resistance becomes morality.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/what-would-thomas-jefferson-think...

@ WhoaNelly: I believe in government "of the people, by the people, for the people." Apparently, you do not.

As to Delegate Rob Bell. He is what he is. And, as I noted, Bell favored a bill that would force women seeking an abortion to obtain an appointment with a second physician to confirm the pregnancy. He has voted to impose more restrictions on clinics that perform abortions. He voted to require transvaginal ultra-sounds for women seeking abortions. He has voted against same-sex civil unions, and he has voted to disallow homosexuals from adopting children. These are the votes of a man totally unconcerned about his sworn oath to “support the Constitution of the United States," and its embedded values of freedom(s) for all citizens, equality, justice, and tolerance.

Bell also introduced a bill that would have altered the state Composite Index to siphon money from the city of Charlottesville and give it to much wealthier Albemarle County, one of the most affluent and economically stratified localities in Virginia and the nation.

I assume that you, Whoa Nelly, consider yourself to be one of those "clear thinking people" (wink) who see Bell as a "principled individual." Principled for, and about, what?

In late April Congressional scholars Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein wrote this in The Post: "We have been studying Washington politics and Congress for more than 40 years, and never have we seen them this dysfunctional. In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted."

I have too. For example, in the area of education, Obama's Race to the Top has no sold research basis. It's basically more of No Child Left Behind with a steroidal twist. Dumb. Retched.

But Mann and Orsntein also write this: "The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition...It is clear that the center of gravity in the Republican Party has shifted sharply to the right...On financial stabilization and economic recovery, on deficits and debt, on climate change and health-care reform, Republicans have been the force behind the widening ideological gaps and the strategic use of partisanship...Republicans dismiss nonpartisan analyses of the nature of problems and the impact of policies when those assessments don’t fit their ideology...The results can border on the absurd."

Bell is very much a part of the current crop of conservative Republicans. He fits right in with Bob McDonnell and Ken Cuccinelli (Cuccinelli wants to succeed McDonnell as governor...Bell would very much like to be Attorney General [gasp]).

Republican conservatives have become so ideologically dogmatic that former senator Chuck Hagel called his party "irresponsible," "narrow," and "intolerant." And a long-time Republican Congressional aide called his party an "apocalyptic cult." Yep.

See: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/lets-just-say-it-the-republicans-...

By the way, this was just reported too: "There is no reality-based argument that Iraq actually had WMD, after extensive searches found none, but this is hardly the first time many Americans have been certain of something that simply wasn't true... this latest poll result seems to indicate a refusal -- unique to the modern Republican Party -- to acknowledge facts...fully 63 percent of Republican respondents still believed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when the U.S. invaded in 2003. By contrast, 27 percent of independents and 15 percent of Democrats shared that view."

See: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/21/iraq-wmd-poll-clueless-vast-maj...

WhoaNelly seems a bit shrill in her 9:46 post. For my part, I do not find Demicracy's posts to
be particularly extreme or radical, rather they seem to be quite insightful, and backed up by helpful links and what appears to be some considerable expertise in this area.

It is amusing and noteworthy to see the word socialist bandied about by supporters of the hard right. I would remind WhoaNelly that what we are discussing here is, after all, public education in the commonwealth. Now, tell me, WhoaNelly, does the word commonwealth sound like a radical or progressive term to you, are supporters of the commonwealth socialists? What does it mean, after all, common wealth, wealth we share in common... Is that a socialist notion? If so should we do something about it? perhaps stop calling Virginia a commonwealth, and privatize everything that we share as common wealth, including our University. That is really what this whole discussion is about, after all, the privatization and monetization of public assets, ie the University of Virginia including its real and intellectual properties. What seems quite clear in all of this is that a group of easily identified corporate capitalists would like to take control of the university and its assets, which are public and not for profit properties, and convert them to or suborn them to their own, for profit, private interests.

There are people who believe that there is no higher aspiration than the profit motive, and among people who think and believe this way a certain set of easily identifiable and distinctive cultural traits and attributes have evolved over time. Not everyone is comfortable with these traits and attributes, and some people view these traits and attributes as perniscious in a democratic, if not socialist, commonwealth, and would even do what they can to limit the spread of these unwanted traits and attributes, and that seems to be what is happening in the response to Ms. Dragas decision to force President Sullivan to resign.

It seems that President Sullivan, who was as well liked and respected in her previous university as she has been here at the University of Virginia, was resistant to the immediate conversion of the University of Virginia into a money making venture for a few already too wealthy "donors." And why, do tell me WhoaNelly, should the common wealth we hold together as citizens of Virginia be suddenly handed over to some clever Wall Street speculators? Is it really an indication of socialist leaning or socialist ideology to want to protect our University from what amount to corporate raiders? It seems to me and others, apparently, that what was afoot here was really no different than a hostile takeover of a cash rich company, like an insurance company, by a corporate raider, or hedge fund or private equity partnership.

Hiowever, I think, from my perspective, that the question of democrat or republican really is irrelevant in this case, given that Ms. Dragas was appointed by Governor Kaine, who either didn't know better or was complicit with her agenda. Since the labor unions were weakened by outsourcing everything to china and points south or east, democrats have been forced to go to the same places and people for campaign funding as the republicans, mostly cosmopolitan finance capitalists revolving around wall street. So there is really little difference between republicans and democrats at this point since both take money from the same tricks.

however that may be, there is nothing wrong with following the money and connecting the dots and if that leads to the kinds of conclusions that Democracy and others have come to, you should not be surprised or even upset, dear WhoaNelly.

Dear Dr....I think the socialism movement in this country is a threat to more than the "hard right", it is a threat to all Americans who believe that personal responsibility is something the government should not be involved in. I was simply pointing out that every long winded post from democracy is, as you would probably put it "hard left".
After 50 years and trillions spent on the war on poverty...where are we? There are more people depending on the government than any t5ime in history. That my dear Dr. is certainly not an indicator of America moving foreword.
But back to the subject at hand…should this be a political discussion? I don’t think so.
It boils down to the question, "Is she doing her job or not?".

WhoaNelly asks if President Sullivan was doing her job or not. Well, aparently the faculty resoundingly believes that she was indeed doing her job and doing it very well, and that the Board of Visitors was not doing its job.

Again, it is a political and cultural question, whether you like it or not, that is simply the fact of the matter. Who is it that decides what her job is and whether she is doing it? Political appointees, so it is inescapably a political issue. And cultural in that what is at issue is the campus culture, whether to be a primarily business oriented cyber for profit online business that hands out debased degreeswhile turning a profit for the wall street crowd or whether to follow along in the tradition of the founders of the institution providing a well rounded education for the future leaders of our commonwealth and country.

And if you believe that socialism is a threat to the united states and to the commonwealth in which we live, then you are a little late on the scene to do much about it since social security, medicare, public education, public infrastructure and many other socialist public amenities have long since become permanently woven into the fabric of our society. And if you, in spite of living in a country where socialism has long been a part of everyday life, you would like to see other examples of successfully socialist countries, visit France or Germany and see how socialism has transformed their societies from squalor and extreme poverty in which most people lived until the end of the 19th century when socialist labor laws began to be enacted that protected the majority of workers from abuse by the 1%ers then known, in this country, as Robber Barons.

Beyond that, if you would like to delve a little deeper into the neo-conservative ideology that characterized the Bush administration, and got us into an unnecessary war under false preternse that has since bankrupted our treasury, you might enjoy reading about the life and work of Leo Strauss, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_Strauss for an introduction.

You will notice that he speaks of gentlemen and philosophers, the gentlemen existing only to serve the philosophers, who exist in a realm beyond good and evil, and who are therefore unrestrained by the norms of morality that apply to mere gentlemen. These god-like philosphers need not justify themselves to the gentlemen who serve them, rather the gentlemen ought to be content to serve and obey without question In this way we can understand the role of President G W Bush as that of a gentleman, while others close to him played the roles of philosophers. This is Straussian neo-Conservatism not a philosophy that easily lends itself to the notion of commonwealth, but it is increasingly the dominant ideology of the cosmopolitan power elite who have been so well served by Professor Strauss and his students, many of whom had positions of high authority during the Bush II years, and who will surely come back with a vengence as soon as Romney takes office. If you liked the way the Bush years ended up, you will love Romney. And the little side show here at UVA is just the tip of the iceburg.

IMO, SCHEV = overpaid state employees who continually pass ideas around but do very little. Don't expect big things from this group.

In reference to WhoaNelly's point about more people being dependent on the government than ever before i would point out that there are more people living in the united states than ever before, and that since the "financial crisis" that was carefully orchestrated at the end of the Bush II admninistration, more people were put out of work than at any time since Hoover brought the house down in 1929. Unlike the years of Franklin Roosevelt, the poor man's friend who put America back to work with public works projects, socialist public works projects from one end of the country to the other, including the Alderman Library at the University, most of the public school buildings in the county, the current public library in Charlottesville andtens of thousands of other public works that still serve all of us well decades after they were paid for, President Obama has not been able to put America back to work because the Republicans in Congress will not let him.

Oh, there was plenty of consensus about bailing out all (well not quite all, wink wink) those too big to fail banks, ensuring that the CEO of Goldman Sachs got his 66 million dollar bonus at taxpayers expense. But public works to put the working clasas back to work? Oh, that's socialism, terrible, can't have that, why those poor out of work workers, they will just have to buck up and try harder... Meanwhile let's give some more money to the uber-rich wall street bankers who used an elaborate shell game to wreck the economy for their own benefit. Goldman Sachs has never had higher profits. So where did all the money go that used to pay wages for workers who paid taxes and spent money in the local economy? If you look into it you will soon discover that there are hundreds of billions of dollars, trillions, parked, sitting on the sidelines. The wall street crowd sucked all the capital out of the economy and left a wreck, and empty husk. Instead of the government intervening, as it did in the days of Roosevelt with laws like the Glass Steagle act and public works projects that built dams and bridges, libraries and public schools, highways and railroads, permanent long lasting infrastructure that benefitted everybody, today all the government does is give more money to the banks. Is it any wonder there are more people out of work and on relief than at any time since the Great Depression? And is this because of socialism. I think not, it is rather a direct result of corporate capitalism, or corporate socialism run amuck. The deregulated years of Bush II allowed the finance capitalists free rein to do as they pleased, and some of them, like Mr. Jones, became very rich, while most people ended up suffering loss of net worth, loss of homes, loss of jobs, loss of any chance of future prosperity. And then they had to heap even more money on the already rich with al the government bailouts lavished on the favored banks and industrialists by the Bush regime and by Timmy the Treasurer in the Obama regime. So with al the money sucked out of the economy by the endless war and the "financial Crisis" that so benefitted certain banks and bankers, there has been less and less to go around, and as a direct consequence there is now a "Crisis" in higher education. Those that favor the bankers and uber-rich call for austerity, belt tightening, privitization, monetization, re-orientation toward profit making, and so on.

It all becomes rather transparent if you just step back and look at it for what it is.

It seems to me that defunding public higher education and k-12 public education is wrong headed. It is exactly the role of government to provide valuable public ammenities that all share for the common good or common wealth. Public education, in my opinion, should be given the highest priority, and if my tax dollars are used to fund the operation of the university, I am glad of it.

Free public education is socialism at work, and free pubic education is one of the things that made the United States a great country. I'd like to see it stay that way.

@WhoaNelly June 24th, 2012 | 11:27am

President Teresa Sullivan WAS doing her job but has been rudely interrupted by Ms. Dragas and her hitchman. Have you ever ONCE stepped on the grounds of the University of Virginia to find out if she was doing her job? Perhaps a quick trip to the steps of the Rotunda today you’ll out!

Well said Dr. Kiracofe!

"With local Dems House Minority Leader David Toscano and State Senator Creigh Deeds meeting with Dragas and now-resigned vice rector Mark Kington last week, some have suggested the Republican reticence has made the controversy a partisan issue." If this is a political ploy by Republicans, why did Kington and Dragas meet privately with these Democrats? Both of these characters were also originally appointed by Democrats. It seems some people will take any and every opportunity to throw stones at the political party they support even if it means twisting the truth. It didn't take me long to read the comments because after a while I started skipping over the crap.

"Under the Code of Virginia, the General Assembly is supposed to exercise control over the Board of Visitors," says Toscano. "We've ceded that to the governor, whose appointments are based on political patronage. We've had some fine people serve, but the General Assembly generally rubberstamps 'em."
If the General Assembly would do its job, it would be harder for people to buy their way onto state boards.

We have folks ranting about culture wars, oligarchs and transvaginal ultrasounds, and you think that WhoaNelly's comments are "a little shrill"????

It's pretty easy for a forum like this to descend into groupthink since the conspiracy minded seem to have the most time on their hands, but let me give you a view from outside the bubble some of you have created here:

I'm sure that 95% of us agree that the BoV royally screwed the pooch when a few of them forced Dr Sullivan out and the rest apparently aquiesced in the decision. Even if it was the right decision, the way they went about it was so reprehensible that those responsible should be fired. I'm on your side there folks. However, when you start raving about oligarchs and other unrelated matters like abortion politics, half your allies start rolling their eyes. It makes you look like loons to a lot of people who are with you on the issue at hand. Stick with what we all want here and now and the Governor, etc. will treat you like serious people. Go off on tangents like transvaginal ultrasounds and online concpiracies for which no one has any proof, and you're easily dismissed as a bunch of crazies.

"Bell also introduced a bill that would have altered the state Composite Index to siphon money from the city of Charlottesville and give it to much wealthier Albemarle County, one of the most affluent and economically stratified localities in Virginia and the nation."

Actually, this is the one thing that Bell has actually been right about in his time in Richmond. About 15% of Albemarle County property tax revenue goes directly to the City of Charlottesville. Yet, the Composite Index counts this money as if it is available to Albemarle County Schools rather that Charlottesville City Schools. Exactly why shouldn't that be corrected? This isn't ideology, it's bookkeeping.

this for Carrboro Pete, whoever you are...

Actually, in trying to understand why President Sullivan was forced to resign
we are left little choice but to try to scan the available evidence for hints since there has been such a deliberate veil of secrecy hung all around the events that led up to the resignation. No note takers at the meetings, no meaningful comments by the players, what are we to do but try to see past the surface of things.

If in the process of connecting the various bits of information we have a discernable pattern emerges that involves individuals playing on the national level while using people at the local level to implement their objectives, then some might call this a conspiracy. I suppose more than two people acting in concert to achieve a goal through covert means might be seen as a conspiracy. Others might say this is using political means to achieve a business objective. Call it what you will, it does seem clear enough by now that interests outside the state of virginia have been involved in influencing and attempting to influence the actions of the Board of Visitors and that they have been successful in doing so in the short term, even though they might not, ultimately, be successful in attaining the overall goal.

I don't need to go over it all again here, others in these threads have sketched the picture fairly clearly. Briefly, it seems there are wall street speculators who would like to take control of the university in order to derive a financial benefit for themselves and reshape the curriculum to suit their interests, ideological and financial, long term. Moving President Sullivan out of her post was a necessary step in the game plan, it seems, because she was, apparently, resistant to this initiative. And that, I suppose, is the nub of the "philosophical difference" between her and Ms. Dragas.

And, it seems, this same process is in progress at other universities across the country.
Basically the game is to starve the university of resources from the state, wait for budgetary problems to mount, then say the sky is falling and that the only way to fix it is to privatize the university. Then the wall street types step in and pick up the property for pennies on the dollar, and begin turning it into a profit center, eliminating anything that does not return a profit or suit their agenda... It seems that includes Liberal Arts education that promotes critical thinking. It seems the big money investors are more interested in turning out drones who will do as they are told rather than critical thinkers who might ask too many questions...

Sounds sort of cynical, but when you try to see beyond the veil of secrecy that's what it seems is happening here and elsewhere, and I am not the only one saying it, as we heard on the lawn this afternoon.

So it is good that the community is energized alerted to the real danger at hand, a danger that goes far beyond the forced resignation of the president.

Now since Ms Dragas is said to have retained a high power public relations firm for a $950,000 retainer paid with funds from the foundation, we can expect its operatives to do what they can to blow smoke and confuse things, to spread disinformation and doubt, to use ridicule to dismiss criticism of the Board's actions, and do what ever dirty tricks they can to advance the goals of Ms. Dragas in the usual manner. And, of course, this makes me suspect comments aiming to deflect those seeking to illuminate the real motives of Ms. Dragas. It is natural to expect operatives of this public relations firm to anonymously participate in these threads using names other than their own. Which brings me back to Carrboro Pete ... just wonderinig...

"And, it seems, this same process is in progress at other universities across the country.
Basically the game is to starve the university of resources from the state, wait for budgetary problems to mount, then say the sky is falling and that the only way to fix it is to privatize the university." Those conspirators must be everywhere. Taking VA as an example, the decline in public funding of state universities occurred while members of both parties where in the governorship.
"And, it seems, this same process is in progress at other universities across the country.
Basically the game is to starve the university of resources from the state, wait for budgetary problems to mount, then say the sky is falling and that the only way to fix it is to privatize the university." I am a member of this public relations firm and I want my $950,0000 now. Or $25,000 now and the rest later. Okay, $10,000 and we'll call it even.

There was a very insightful piece in The Post on Saturday about the UVa fiasco titled "Question in U-Va. tumult: What should premier public universities be?"

I've noted previously that what is transpiring at UVa is not isolated to its grounds, but is part-and-parcel of a much bigger, picture. And while that picture has multiple painters, including some who are Democrats, most of them are hard-right Republicans stoked with an ideology that has undermined the financial health and stability of the nation and a majority of its citizens while transferring huge sums from public treasuries to very private bank accounts.

Some excerpts from the Post article:

"Inspired by the accountability movement that has swept through the nation’s primary and secondary schools, and driven by financial woes that show no sign of abating, the leaders of U-Va.’s governing board went after Sullivan, portraying her as clinging to fusty old ways, impeding progress and productivity."

"At the center of the conflict are governing board members, many of them successful business people, appointed by Republicans and Democrats alike, who want schools to behave more like corporations..."

"Such an approach risks losing sight of a university’s purpose, said Harold T. Shapiro, an economist who was president of the University of Michigan in the 1980s and Princeton University in the 1990s. 'It’s very easy to focus on what’s popular or profitable,' he said. 'But corporations and universities have different social functions. State universities like Virginia need to ask the people of their state: Do they really want a university of great quality'?”

"Virginia spends $8,600 per in-state student at U-Va. — far less than North Carolina, which spends $26,000 per in-state student at its flagship in Chapel Hill, or Maryland, which supports such students at College Park to the tune of $18,000 a year."

"People in both parties have bought into this idea that universities can be run like corporations, but you can’t cut professors’ pay, or they’ll leave. Nobody wants to pay for anything in this country anymore, and you’re beginning to see the results.”

"As details of the clandestine operation leaked out, it appeared that a small clutch of board members and alumni had initiated and embraced Sullivan’s removal, and many had ties to a single U-Va. address: the Darden School of Business."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/question-in-u-va-tumult-what-should-...

There was another piece in The Post yesterday, by David Shreve, a UVa Professor of economic history. He writes this:

"The board’s thinking reflects the shortsightedness, timidity, and economic policy misunderstandings displayed by similar boards throughout the nation. Connected to this are related myths about the privatization of public services and the meaning of “business practices” as they might be applied in a public undertaking such as the University of Virginia, partially privatized or not."

He says that Helen Dragas' agenda, and the defense she puts forth for her deceit and duplicity "and the 'new model' it recommends in place of the old, is based upon a serious misconception, derived from faulty economic theory, an almost complete ignorance or misreading of economic history, and a shallow appraisal of the 'virtues' allegedly carried by the 'new model'.”

And he concludes that "An equitable and progressive tax system foundation is an essential part of overall economic success. You either lay such a foundation and help everybody, or you do not and you wind up harming or limiting the opportunities for everybody. Right-side-up, progressive tax policy, based on ability-to-pay and a gradual but very broad progressive rate schedule, creates widespread prosperity."

See: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/what-u-va-needs-af...

Now, hard-right conservatives who get their "news" from Fox may call this "socialism." But organizations like the National Football League have already figured out that doing what's best for ALL of its for-profit teams ends up helping each individual one too.

See: http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7396840n&tag=contentBody;storyMed...

@ Dr. Kiracofe: thanks for your thoughtful comments (though I'm not sure they penetrated WhoaNelly's dogmatism)

@ Michael: Rob Bell and Ken Boyd are wrong to try and siphon money from the city to pay county education bills...the revenue-sharing agreement was approved by a county board and 60 percent of all county voters...moreover, the county land-use subsidy to big (and mostly wealthy) landowners is larger than the revenue-sharing funds that go to the city...if the county wants more money, it knows where to find it.

@ WhoaNelly and Cville Eye: I notice that you fail to mention anything written about Republicans by Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein, two of the most eminent Congressional scholars in the nation. Your silence speaks volumes.

@Carrboro Pete: The UVa fiasco is most certainly NOT just about UVa, and that's the point. Try reading this as a starter:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/question-in-u-va-tumult-what-should-...

And by the way, assuming you actually read the article, there is no STEM crisis in the U.S., just as there is no public education "crisis." And climate change and global warming are very much for real. And supply-side economic policies never actually "trickle down" to everybody else.

As Noriel Roubini put it in 2008: "Like scores of evangelists and hypocrites and moralists who spew and praise family values and pretend to be holier than thou and are then regularly caught cheating or found to be perverts, Bush hypocrites who spewed for years the glory of unfettered Wild West laissez-faire jungle capitalism allowed the biggest debt bubble ever to fester without any control, and have caused the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression." Most of us will be paying for it for a very long time.

See: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/sep/18/marketturmoil.credit...

And, as Joseph Stiglitz notes, "market forces alone can’t explain why the U.S. has more inequality than any of the other advanced industrial countries in which similar forces are at play. Market forces don’t exist in the abstract. They are shaped by laws and regulations. And those in the U.S. shape markets in ways that enrich the top — but don’t necessarily enhance growth and efficiency."

Stiglitz adds: "There are economic reforms that would generate more growth, greater efficiency, more opportunity — and lower inequality. These include more effective enforcement of and stronger competition laws; better corporate governance laws, so that CEOs can’t get as large a slice of corporate revenues; an end of the giveaways to corporations — of corporate welfare in all of its guises, including preferential tax provisions, giveaways of our country’s natural resources at less than fair market value and drug procurement at prices far higher than fair market value."

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0612/77280_Page2.html#ixzz1ynniRYst

In the essay by David Shreve that I cited, Shreve began his piece with two relevant Jefferson quotes:

“I think by far the most important bill in our whole code is that for the diffusion of knowledge among the people....the tax which will be paid for this purpose is not more than the thousandth part of what will be paid to kings, priests, and nobles who will rise up among us if we leave the people in ignorance.” Thomas Jefferson to George Wythe, 1786

“Another means of silently lessening the inequality of property is to exempt all from taxation below a certain point, and to tax the higher portions of property in geometrical progression as they rise.” Jefferson to James Madison, 1785

Like I said, this is not just about UVa.

If there's any GroupThink –– what psychologist Irving Janis described as "close-mindedness," the pressure to conform and the silencing of dissent, insulation and isolation of leadership and a lack of critical reflection –– then it rests within the UVa Board of Visitors and with today's hard-right Republican party.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0612/77280_Page2.html#ixzz1ynnDj9Rc

Thank you, again, to Democracy for your patient but relentless, step by step, and most insightful explanation of this issue. Someday I'd like to meet you and shake your hand.

Yesterday on the Lawn, speaking from the steps of the Rotunda a professor from the Classics Department read to us in the original Greek the inscription over the entrance to
Cabel Hall at the other end of the Lawn before reciting the English translation which is

"You shall se the truth and the truth shall make you free."

So my thanks to you, Democracy, are for your illuminating posts that explain in plain English what has been happening around us in this most unfortunate chapter of our University's history.

Lol..Yes Dr., you and democracy should meet. You could surely solve the worlds problems sipping tea with your little finger in the in the air. Love to jump into this but I need to go to work to support your utopian socialist world.

To my dear WhoaNelly,

Actually, I am not a tea drinker, preferring coffee. I might add that
I would be pleased to meet you someday, too, to learn more from you
about your perspective on all of this, and just how to correctly hold the cup.

You might be interested to know that I work, too, having made my living as a stone mason and masonry restoration artisan here in Albemarle County these last 40 odd years.

One further note is that I am not sure we have achieved Utopia just yet.

I want to especially thank you for your stimulating comments here and for all
the valuable insights that you have so generously contributed to this discussion that have so helped us to focus on the real problems we face.

Although I do not wish to disappoint you, I think your confidence in my ability to solve all the world's problems, while quite flattering, may be misplaced. But thank you for it, anyway.

See the new blog by "Friends of The Academical Village" for research and analysis:

http://academical-village.tumblr.com/

For example per Kington:

"X-10 Capital Management, LLC Managing Director
Kington Management Corporation President
Columbia Capital, LLC Founding and Managing Member
Member of the Board of Dominion Resources (2005-)
Bush-Cheney ‘04
Cantor for Congress
Center for the Study of the Presidency Trustee
Forward Together PAC
George W. Bush for President
Kington Foundation Trustee"

@ WhoaNelly:

“The fundamental cause of trouble in the world is that the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.”
― Bertrand Russell

“Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.”
― Benjamin Franklin

Thank you, Democracy and Dr. James Bartholomay Kiracofe (?related to Clifford Kiracofe). It is refreshing to read argumentation back up by facts (and of course those who disagree would not call it fact but fabrication) from those who still have maintained a sense of civility and calmness to express their views and leave aside comments that contribute to nothing substantive. It is easy to label someone left or right wing like a lot have done. It is a lot harder to swallow the fact and admit one is wrong. I enjoy all of your writings and quotes, particularly the one from Democracy, “The fundamental cause of trouble in the world is that the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.” A grog in the bottom of a well can only see so much the sky above.

For A Concerned Virginian,

Thank you, and, yes, I am very proud to say that Dr. Clifford Kiracofe is indeed my older brother who has had a long career in public service and education.

@Democracy...and my favorite "Whether you think you can, or you think you can't, you're right....Henry Ford

@ Dr. Kiracofe, I apologize for having misjudged you. Anyone who has worked for 40 years as a stone mason is alright in my book. Democracy's reputation precedes him on this blog and others. His mistake is labeling anyone who does not subscribe to his point of view as ignorant. But then in my 55 years walking this Earth I have noticed that condescension runs rampant in the annals of liberalism.
I personally think Ms. Sullivan got a raw deal. I also believe that with determination, things usually work out for the best.

WhoaNelly June 25th, 2012 | 6:01pm: "But then in my 55 years walking this Earth I have noticed that condescension runs rampant in the annals of liberalism."

WhoaNelly, June 25th, 2012 | 8:30am: "You could surely solve the worlds problems sipping tea with your little finger in the in the air."

@A&S...touche'...omg, you read them all...

Not all of them, but then in my 50 years of walking this Earth I have noticed that projection runs rampant in the annals of conservatism. When I saw your comment about liberalism I figured a good example of condescension wouldn't be too hard to find. :-)

I will admit to being a little condescending from time to time. :-)

Actually, I am often shocked by both sides of the isle these days. We used to be first Americans, party second...

I'm just being a smartass, WhoaNelly. You seem willing to consider alternate points of view, which is rare.

Actually A&S Grad, WhoaNelly is NOT very willing to consider other points of view, especially if they are based in fact.

WhoaNelly claims to be "better educated in regards to politics than your average voter" and says he has "always been a republican because I believe in personal responsibility."

Yet, he fails to acknowledge that Republican presidents (Reagan, Bush1, Bush2) piled up massive budget deficits and debt, started a needless war over mythical weapons of mass destruction and failed to pay for it, broke the economy (Bush2), and bailed out the Wall Street bankers who caused it (Bush2). Instead, he blames it on "failed progressive policies that have beaten our economy to a pulp." Of course, he does not –– and cannot –– pinpoint any of those policies. It's far easier for people like WhoaNelly to pass the blame –– saying inane things like "The liberal policies for the last 40 years have brought this country to its knees, created more poverty, strangled industry and are reducing America to a nanny state bent on destruction" –– than it is to take any personal responsibility for what their own policies have done.

{Note to WhoaNelly: It was President Clinton who actually balanced federal budgets and produced budget surpluses. See: http://www.factcheck.org/2008/02/the-budget-and-deficit-under-clinton/]

And while Republicans across the nation try to suppress voting, WhoaNelly claims that no such effort exists. In fact it does. See: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/27/opinion/27wed1.html

Whoa Nelly claims, incorrectly, that "In the last election there were indictments all over the country over voter fraud by ACORN and the like." And he says that "an army of Republican poll watchers, especially in minority neighborhoods...will be needed to prevent liberals from once again stuffing ballot boxes and gaming the system."

Meanwhile, a detailed study by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law on voter "fraud" concluded that "on closer examination, many of the claims of voter fraud amount to a great
deal of smoke without much fire. The allegations simply do not pan out." More ominous, the Brennan study noted that "claims of voter fraud are frequently used to justify policies that do not solve the alleged
wrongs, but that could well disenfranchise legitimate voters."

See: http://www.truthaboutfraud.org/pdf/TruthAboutVoterFraud.pdf

The fact that Whoa Nelly complains about "Obama and his socialist connections, or his Islamic connections" suggests strongly that he gets most of his "news" from Fox. This is a guy who commends right-wing conspiracy nut Alex Jones for having a good "head on his shoulders" and who cites discredited, inaccurate and very selectively-edited videos from right-winger James O'Keefe as "evidence" of what he calls "mass voter fraud."

I noted previously that I believe in popular sovereignty and democratic governance, and the critical role that public education plays in a democratic republic like ours. I believe in a government "of the people, by the people, for the people." And I agree with economic historian David Shreve that " Right-side-up, progressive tax policy, based on ability-to-pay and a gradual but very broad progressive rate schedule, creates widespread prosperity." History proves him right.

thank you again democracy.
who was it that said "ignorance is bliss?"

Some interesting perspectives here:

http://academical-village.tumblr.com/

@ Dr. Kiracofe

"Thought would destroy their Paradise.
No more;—where ignorance is bliss,
'Tis folly to be wise."

Thomas Gray, Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College

I believe in a government "of the people, by the people, for the people." @democracy we haven't had that in a while. Now we have government of the people, by the government, for the government. They even want to tell me how much soft drink I can have at a time.
" Right-side-up, progressive tax policy, based on ability-to-pay and a gradual but very broad progressive rate schedule, creates widespread prosperity." Maybe for the deadbeats. This character suggests that a person working 60 hours a week making the same per hour as a person working 20 hours a week should pay at a higher tax rate. It seems the 60hr/wk is sacrificing time with his family so that the 20hr/wk can spend more time with his. It says the 60hr/sk should help pay for the 20hr/wk's education so that the 20hr/sk will one day be his boss. It seems the only one "progressing" here is 20hr/wkj. 20hr/sk prospers with Earned Income Credit. 60hr/wk doesn't get any. Greece isn't prospering.

Your link http://academical-village.tumblr.com/ says "pack mentality" is alive and well in the General Assembly. I think the letters would be more effective if each person wrote his own. It's easier to assume the writer has at least read what he has written, although ghost writers are used quite widely these days. Many times, especially during election season, a party will compose a lot of letters and leave them at headquarters for people to sign and send to an editor or place in an ad.

P.S. it reminds me of the people in the audience who clap after every speaker at a City Council meeting if the speaker uses the right buzz words despite his point.

for cville eye

i was born in the time of truman and grew up during the eisenhower years. in the 1950s there were high tax brackets, as high as 90%. the 1950s were the years of greatest prosperity our country has ever seen, and during those years of great prosperity President Eisenhower continued with huge public works programs, like the national highway system, even while paying off the earlier public works programs initiated by President Roosevelt, including things like the alderman library at uva and most of the public school buildings in the county, like broadus woods. and even though these two presidents, one democrat and one republican, spent a lot of public money on public works and put a lot of people to work in the process, the national economy enjoyed a period of unparralleled prosperity in which everyone shared, rich and poor, and the things public money was spent on benefitted everyone then and continues to benefit us today, 60 years and more later, long after these investments in public ammenities have been paid for. the wisdom of these two presidents is self evident.

against this background we have the legacy of george bush who spent more dollars and got less for them (for the taxpayers who provided them) than any president in our history.
the legacy of george bush and his neo-con puppet masters has been national failure, failed wars in iraq and afghanistan, failed national economy, failed banking system, and an empty, bankrupt national treasury systematically plundered by the no-bid war profiteers and the hedge fund gangsters on wall street who reaped billions of dollars in profits and commissions floating all those government bonds that have saddled us (non 1%ers) with an endless burden of debt that has stolen our future so people like lloyd blankfein, ceo of goldman sachs, could enjoy his 66 million dollar bonus at our direct expense.

and you sir seem to argue in favor of the changes to the tax code that have, step by step, destroyed the prosperity we (the 99%ers) once enjoyed so that the wall street gangsters
can have it all. a most revealing exposition of this process may be found in david kay johnston's book "perfectly legal"

http://www.amazon.com/Perfectly-Legal-Campaign-Benefit-Everybody/dp/1591...

the illusion perpetrated by illusionists like rush limbaugh is that conservative republicans are for small government and fiscal responsibility. the government of george bush disproves this since he created the biggest government payroll and burocracy in history while overseeing the bankrupting of the treasury, carried out by his treasury secretary paulson, himself former ceo of goldman sachs.

during the bush years we saw the real goals of the neo-con gang: take over the government for the direct benefit of the 1% at the direct expense of everyone else. the bush regime racked up more debt than any other modern presidency, transfered the money borrowed at tax payers expense to the no-bid war profiteers and the cosmopolitan finance capitalists behind them, and did it directly, in front of everyone, handing out billions of dollars directly from the treasury to the war profiteers and bankers in the largest direct transference of wealth in recorded history. take from the poor and give to the rich, that's the republican way. not that the democrats are much different these days... the problem is deeper than republican vs democrat, it really has devolved into a class war. the trick that guys like rush play is getting average people to buy into their own destruction by spreading jingoistic mis information. in nazi germany there was a minister of propaganda who developped the practice of the BIG LIE, if you tell it enough times people start to believe it, even at the end of world war 2 many people in germany believed they were winning the war.

so if you want to believe the policies of bush 2 were beneficial to the nation as a whole you are free to do so, and you might even convince others you are right. if romney wins it will be a vindication of the big lie theory of propaganda.

one of the good things about the 1950s in america was that there was enough prosperity to go around and everybody's life got better year by year, the rich got richer, sure (even though they were paying in the 90% tax bracket), but everybody else was getting richer, too, and that is what made the country so strong.

now peaceful prosperity is just a dream for everybody but the 1%, and it is because of the tax structure. it is the tax structure and the people who want to keep it like it is that is ultimately responsible for the economic distress in the nation generally and at the university specifically. returning to the tax structure of the eisenhower years, or even of the clinton years that produced the budget surplusses squandered by bush2, would go a long waym in a short time to correcting the problems faced by our university and our country. and the rich would still be plenty rich and steady getting richer. . the problem is the insatiable greed of the mostly newly rich 1%ers who will stop at nothing to gratify their obscene cravings for ever more money, no matter what the cost to everyone else. obscene greed and a meanness and selfish stingyness like the world has never seen.. ultimately is is a cultural failing. that a class of people with values like this was allowed to take over indicates a failure of the ability to transmit the core values of our common wealth.

That President Sullivan was re-instated made national news!!! The voices of students, faculty, and concerned residents finally come to bear fruit. I am not quite sure if it is the pressure combined with the courage of the whole board or just the pressure alone turned the tide. The next step is how to avoid such fiasco to happen again!

The Dr. shows his true color...envious green.

Now I'm not just yanking your chain, WhoaNelly. The Dr. makes an impassioned argument and you immediately dismiss the whole thing as jealousy. It never occurs to you that he might want a better life not for himself, but for others. In your mind his conclusions couldn't be the product of anything other than naked self interest.

I wrote earlier that in my 50 years of walking this Earth I have noticed that projection runs rampant in the annals of conservatism. Thank you for making my point.

Your welcome...

People from around the world are risking life and limb to come here and reap the opportunities that this country has to offer. These industrious people evidently don't see America through the same eyes as the good doctor. I have spent much time over seas, traveling and building schools and medical clinics in countries where the people there would love to have the opportunities that we enjoy here in America. I see people in America who are quick to take other peoples hard earned money and give it to the have-nots, but I rarely see them actually spend there own money and time. There is always an exception to every rule. Compared to roughly 90% of the rest of the world’s population, ALL Americans are rich. I never finished college. There have been times when I didn't have 2 nickels to rub together. But I have managed to put 4 daughters through higher education, and build a decent life for my wife and myself. I did it through sacrifice, hard work and determination. When I see people rant on about how greedy the affluent are it just makes me shake my head in disgust, ingrates. I have lived in the same America that the Dr. has and I see something different. I see a country that offers unlimited opportunity. That opportunity is there for ANYONE who applies themselves and works for it. This incessant whining about the 1% is a wasted, misguided effort. Thanks for reading.

I would be seriously surprised to find out that the Dr. actually listens to Rush Limbah, but that's another topic. How long is the Bush excuse going to be viable? Another four years? 8 years? I guess the highest number of people on food stamps in our history is still Bushes fault. I guess almost doubling the deficit in the 3 1/2 years that Obama has been in power, more money spent than the last 16 administrations combined, is Bushes fault. I'll tell you that the Bush years were nothing to write home about, but 9/11 was a game changer. At some point these things are owned by the people presently in power. We have seen unprecedented power grabs by the present administration. Obama owns the deaths of all the civilians killed by drones the last 3 1/2 years, who does the Dr. think is reaping the profits there? Troop serge in Afghanistan…Obama, does the Dr. think that was a good thing? Obama owns the trampling of our laws and constitution in the last four years. Giving temporary amnesty, in contrary to the laws written by a congress elected by the people to people who are here illegally to garner votes is unprecedented. Suing states for upholding federal law that Obama doesn't happen to agree with is over the line. Telling companies that they can’t build factories in right to work states is un-American. Hilary Clinton and Eric Holder have been seen at the Bilderburg conferences, what does that tell you? Are they part of the neo-con conspiracy…say it ain’t so Dr. Democracy and the Dr. are two peas in a pod. The last 4 years have seen more debilitating government regulation thrust on American business that at any time in history. Regulating the coal industry out of business so we are forced to embrace a green industry that has not yet been invented is a real good idea. Shutting down oil exploration in the gulf while countries around the world are pumping it out as fast as they can was not a good move. Not to mention that it put 20,000 people out of work. This president is a novice. He couldn’t run a taco stand for a profit. Playing the race card at every turn is another favorite of the left. The Dr. talks about the prosperity of the fifties, he failed to mention that during that decade America was supplying the world with food and material goods. The whole of Europe, half of Africa and the Orient had to be rebuilt from the devastation of ww2, and America was in the cat bird seat. I think that diatribe above by the good Dr. is a whole lot of nonsense. There always has been, and there always will be a 1% in the world. Get over it.

@ Dr. "i was born in the time of truman and grew up during the eisenhower years" Actually I am over 80 years old which has absolutely nothing to do with anything discussed here.
"in the 1950s there were high tax brackets, as high as 90%. the 1950s were the years of greatest prosperity our country has ever seen..." There is no causal relationship between the 90% tax rate on a handful of people and the prosperity of the 2950's. A bigger imputus was the introduction of CREDIT into the working man's household. Stores started offering revolving charge accounts to people they did not know personally. Before the store owner had to know the customer personally or have his employer to attest to customer's credit worthiness before he could go "on the books." Later, stores started offering lay-away plans and banks started offering Christmas savings accounts. Eventually chain stores started offer store credit cards to preferred customers and then the big advent of bank cards. As years went by people used credit so much they became dependent upon it. Credit spawned ever expanding consumption. People could buy homes and cars. The cars allowed companies to expand to suburbia and people moved there to live and work. Government did not build any of that and did not employ the car makers or the house makers. Their children were able to borrow money to attend college and become upwardly mobile using credit. New furniture could be bought for homes and people could buy more clothes. A new class of people were able to travel on their vacations and not stay with relatives. All do to credit. Yes, road-building augmented this growth but did not serve as the root cause of it. Rail, marine and air traffic also helped spur the growing economy. Of course, credit has had a substantial effect upon government revenues through sales, meals and lodging taxes among others. These taxes would not be nearly as voluminous without CREDIT. If the government spends some of this fairly new money, good, but it does not serve as the foundation for our economy. What we call government waste has also gone directly into the economy. However, taking my money and giving it to somebody else has not made a large number of the recipients prosperous or even self-sufficient but rather dependent upon every handout they get. It has also fed the poverty pimp industry which circulates billions of dollars but rarely directly back to the people that actually provided the funds through taxes. It also allows the ever-growing wealthy tax breaks and tax credits. None of this helps the 60 hr/wk person of whom I spoke earlier. It also doesn't help the 20 hr/wk with his ability-to-pay because he really isn't paying for it. He serves as a pass-through. The 1% isn't and can't pay for it either. It is being paid for by the 60 hr/sk tax payer.

for my dear whoanelly,
i think the war in afghanistan is a terrible mistake and waste of blood and treasure, as was the war in iraq. i voted for obama because i thought he would be less dangerous than his opponent who my brother knew in the senate and who appears to have a serious problem with uncontrollable fits of rage, among other problems. it does not seem to me that the democrats, including obama, are really so very different from the republicans, and in any case these days they all get their money from more or less the same places. I am no particular fan of obama and I do not think his health care policy is a good one because it simply forces me to give money to a private for profit health care company that will do all it can to deny coverge if i ever make a claim. so obamacare put fifty million uninsured people like me on a silver platter and handed it to the for profit health care industry following a model pioneered by mitt romney in massachussets. what i wanted was a national mutual insurance that we could choose, a company run by civil servants, so no multi million dollar salaries, and where the profits were paid to the policy holders. but we couldn't have that because the for profit health care companies spent 70 million dollars lobbying congress to prevent it.

There are neocons among the democrats, when the democrat are in power, and among the republicans when they are in power. Hillary Clinton is no angel and it amazes me that she became secretary of state, and i am glad she is not my wife. I do not know much about eric holder. as far as the bilderburgers go i think they are an equal opportunity group, but probably have seen more republicans than democrats over the years join their meetings. so far as the level of debt rung up by the obama government, seems most of it was spent bailing out the economy wrecked by bush2. i would have spent the money on public works rather than bailing out banks and bankers, but that's just because I tend to favor giving breaks to the working class people like me who were put out of work by the bankers on wall street who seem to have ended up with all the money... and I guess obama has had to spend a lot of money on winding up bush's war in iraq and the other one in afghanistan. I do not like the way he has handled either one, should have just brought the troops home and let the people out there settle their own differences...

many observant muslims believe democracy is a religion, and a religion that places the will of man above the will of god, so they don't want it because they believe god already revealed his will in how men should be governed in the teachings of the prophet mohammed, and that they have all they need to know about law in the koran. so it is pointless for us to bankrupt our country trying to establish democracy in places like afghanistan where many if not most people do not want it.

it's true that in the post ww2 era we were in the cat bird seat, but take a look at how much we spent winning the war all over the world, providing arms and supplies for our allies, and then the marshall plan after the war to rebuild the damaged areas. so we went into a lot of debt during the war. still, the 1950s were a period of great prosperity here in the united states and my intended point was that even with 90% tax brackets on the wealthy the wealthy managed to get wealthier, but so did everyone else, and there was plenty left over for building roads and dams and bridges and many other public works that employed millions of people and provided public ammenities we all enjoy and benefit from even today.

my point is that the current tax structure gives very large tax breaks to oil companies that have never had higher profits and obviously don't need tax breaks, and to other corporations that are enjoying windfall profits, and to the wealthiest individuals. I have no objection to people being wealthy, there are always going to be wealthy, middling, and poor in the world. but what i do object to is the kind of income inequality we now have, which is quite different from the 1950s. The distribution of wealth has become disproportionate in ways that are affecting the wellbeing of our society, as seen in the declining funding of state universities, for example, or in the levels of unemployment for another. If the tax structure was returned to the way it was before bush 2 many of the economic problems we have in our country would be greatly diminished, and there would still be pleanty of very wealthy people and very profitable corporations.

what has happened is that too much capital has been concentrated in the hands of too few and the result is increasing hardship for the many at a time of greatly increasing wealth for the few. In the fifties there was one wage earner in most households because one wage earner could earn enough to support a family. now the norm is for both spouses to be working. and in many cases even with both spouses working there is not enough. so the standard of living for most people has been steadily drifting down while the standard of living for the very rich has been shooting up faster and faster. And this is because of how the tax code is written.

Now with Grover Norquist having all the republicans sign his no tax increase ever pledge
we are frozen into a level of revenue insufficient to fund things like state universities and other public ammenities because we spend too much money making war in far away places. a few very wealthy individuals make big profits from war, even though the cost of wars is bankrupting the country. I suppose the main difference between democrats and republicans is this norquist no tax increase pledge and that republicans are more inclined to start wars than democrats.

Bush2 lowered revenue stream (cut taxes) and increased spending quite dramatically. So the budget surplusses left over from the clinton years evaporated as bush2 burned through money making war in iraq and afghanistan. bush2's policy of lowering taxes and increasing spending was disasterous, as we have seen. but since the republicans have all signed the norquist pledge, we will not be increasing tax revenue, so the only way to balance the budget is to cut spending, but the republicans and a lot of democrats don't want to cut military spending, so the cutting comes out of things like higher education and social services. that places a greater and greater burden on the middle and lower class who experience hardship as a result while the very rich keep getting very much richer.

that's how i see it and it does not seem right to me, and i make no apology for seeing it that way, but there is not much i can do about it.

even though it seems pretty clear that romney will win in november i will vote for obama if i vote because i think obama is less likely to start another war.

and this will conclude my comments on this thread.

@Dr., thank you for your response and clearing up your point of view. I agree with most of what you wrote (shocked?) Raising taxes my taxes would certainly not improve my lot in life, I'm not rich by any stretch of the imagination, just comfortable. I rather subscribe to the point of view that the more money left in the private sector, more growth is the result. Government waste and redundant programs leads one to believe that the government does not show any responsibility with our hard earned tax contributions. In fact, a successful government program is very hard to find. I also see a sharp decline in America’s stature. But, this is still the best place on Earth to pursue ones dreams.
America was the world’s savior in WW2, pride in that period of history is not misplaced. But, I agree, no war since that time has been justified.