The Bert to Chris Fitzsimon’s Ernie is spinning out of control in a manner that would frighten the Tasmanian Devil:
For several years now, North Carolina conservatives have been waging a war on the poor, the vulnerable and people of color.[…]
(The Russians MADE us do it, too.) MORE:
[…] From the evisceration of the economic safety net and the refusal to expand Medicaid, to the “surgically precise” attack on minority voting rights and the repeal of the Racial Justice Act, the attacks have been regular, coordinated and destructive.
Let’s see. We’ve STILL got the most generous Medicaid package of offerings in the southeastern United States. Striking down a law that sets racial quotas in handing down the death penalty? What “surgically precise” attack on minority rights? Asking for some ID to vote? (How is that not racist to suggest that blacks can’t come up with ID?) And what evisceration of what safety net?
[…] Sadly, a similar pattern has been evident in the world of academics too. From Pat McCrory’s absurd attacks on liberal arts education to the decision to forcibly remove the highly respected former President of the University of North Carolina, Tom Ross, to the sustained under-investment in community colleges and universities, the Right has treated academia as an enemy to be starved, tamed and conquered.[…]
“Liberal Arts” are basically job security for otherwise unemployable leftist PhDs. (*The “help wanted” ads are just loaded with jobs seeking African-American Liberation majors, eh?*) *It was just CRUEL to suggest that our state’s institutions of alleged higher learning start offering more subject matter that is worth an actual damn to employers in our state.*
[…] Now, as if all of these attacks and the damage they have inflicted weren’t enough, conservatives have apparently decided to double down by merging the two efforts. Reporter Ray Gronberg of the Durham Herald-Sun has the story:
“A proposal headed to the UNC system’s Board of Governors would bar public university centers and institutes in North Carolina from providing legal representation to clients in any sort of litigation.
The broadly worded measure, submitted to the board’s education policy committee in a memo credited to member Joe Knott, would almost certainly affect organizations like the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law’s Center for Civil Rights.
The Center for Civil Rights has provided support, counsel or other aid in a variety of cases involving school desegregation, voting rights and compensation for victims of the state’s former forced-sterilization program….
[Knott’s proposal] forbids centers and institutes from filing ‘a complaint, motion, lawsuit or other legal claim,’ in its own name or for others, ‘against any individual, entity or government.’
Moreover, they wouldn’t be able to ‘act as legal counsel to any third party,’ employ people who do, or arrange for someone’s representation.
As worded, it would apparently forbid the system’s law schools, at UNC-Chapel Hill and N.C. Central University, from setting up or operating centers or institutes to help out with such things as the Innocence Project.”
These centers are just as problematic as the public defenders in our court system. How is it kosher for the state to be paying BOTH SIDES in court cases?
These centers Knott is targeting take millions in taxpayer dollars to turn right around, file litigation, and otherwise make trouble that adds even more cost to the taxpayers. And they are all doing it in the guise of EDUCATION.
[…] The proposal is, in short, a right-wing ideological twofer. Not only will the proposal further diminish the already extremely limited opportunities that exist for the poor, the vulnerable and people of color in North Carolina to see their basic rights vindicated; it has the added, bonus impact of further ridding the university system of programs that might actually teach and inspire students to pursue careers that are about expanding rights and serving others.
What? Wait. The same people, who moan and cry about conservatives starving the children and ruining their future opportunties, are protesting this clear diversion of funding away from feeding the babies and filling their heads with knowledge so leftist mayhem can be carried out AT OUR EXPENSE?
[…] A troubling and longstanding conservative tradition
Of course, the idea of attacking, defunding and restricting legal assistance programs like the Center for Civil Rights and others impacted by the new UNC proposal is nothing new for the American conservative movement. At the national level, ideologues on the right have waged war on publicly funded legal aid programs for decades. Back in the 1960’s, California Governor Ronald Reagan did his utmost to attack the attorneys of California Rural Legal Assistance – a shoestring operation of anti-poverty lawyers that had the temerity to stand up for the rights of poor farmworkers who were exploited by big agribusiness. In 1995, Newt Gingrich made it part of his so-called “Contract with America” to defund and restrict legal aid providers.
With all the high-dollar leftists out there — from George Soros to Scowly and Chris’s sugar daddy Jim Goodmon — why can’t this mischief be privatized? Reroute that money to some actual education-type activity. *Remember, it’s all for the chil’ren.*
And so it has gone ever since – especially when the legal assistance program in question does anything other than simply represent individual clients on what one might describe as a “soup kitchen basis.” Ideologues on the right may be willing to allow a handful of under-resourced lawyers to represent a tiny fraction of the poor with deserving individual legal cases – be they related to domestic violence or landlord-tenant disputes or, say, a high-interest small loan. But if a legal aid program gets serious about making a real and measurable impact by suing to vindicate the rights of a large group of wronged workers or voters or tenants, or God forbid, working to change a law or its public enforcement so that the lives of a large group of people are enhanced, ideologues on the right will be sure to take political action to stop them.
Other excellent groups could be impacted too. As drafted, the new proposal would bar any UNC “center or institute” from filing “a complaint, motion, lawsuit or other legal claim in its own name or on behalf of any individual or entity against any individual, entity, or government or otherwise act as legal counsel to any third party” or from employing or engaging anyone to take such action.[…]
The bottom line: The latest attack on the UNC centers is the byproduct of an extreme ideology that views both higher education and publicly-funded lawyers for poor people as dangerously subversive phenomena. If anything, it’s surprising that it took the proponents so long to launch their latest broadside.
Nope. The problem is you have state-funded entities competing with the private sector. The problem is also that these centers are FRAUDS. (It’s not much different from sitting around, drinking beer and eating pizza, on the clock, and calling it EDUCATION.) Uproot them from the education sector and make them fend for themselves.