GOP eliminates criticism

Today, the UNC Board Committee on Stopping Criticism of the GOP Legislature and Governor recommended that the Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity be eliminated. Not a surprise, but an outrage nonetheless. After meeting for months, “The panel’s chairman, Jim Holmes, called the review a thorough and legitimate exercise that resulted in less than 1 percent of centers being recommended for closure.”

Professor Gene Nichol, Director of the Center sees it differently and left no doubt as to the goal of the Committee when he said in response, “The Board of Governors’ tedious, expensive and supremely dishonest review process yields the result it sought all along – closing the Poverty Center. This charade, and the censorship it triggers, demeans the board, the university, academic freedom and the Constitution.”

Last week, John Hood, president of the John W. Pope Foundation, told a Charlotte paper his thoughts on the reasons for the threat, "There's a bright line between expressing opinions of your expertise and engaging in advocacy. Nichol goes far beyond the causes and solutions of poverty to personally criticize elected officials in ways that aren't academic."

Would John Hood, a visible face and prolific mouthpiece of the massive Art Pope radical, extreme, conservative nonprofit empire for over two decades, have us believe that he does not engage in advocacy? That is certainly what I call this handy brochure that was delivered to every legislator in 2011 by the then Hood-led John Locke Foundation: THE FIRST 100 DAYS: Eleven Action Items for the 2011 Legislative Session.

Make no mistake; the GOP is dead set on tearing down the first public institution of higher education in the country, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This is not just some political inside baseball that most of us can ignore. Academic freedom is being destroyed. Academic quality is being compromised. I speak especially to Tar Heel alumni when I say that Art Pope and his money aim to run our precious UNC. Unfortunately, he is well on his way to running it into the ground.

thepaulaticsblog 2/18/15

Comments

Recruiting

This story has started to get noticed by the academic press. It certainly won't help with recruiting new faculty from out of state to the UNC system - it's not just the closing of the poverty center highlighted in all the news stories, but the larger impression of micro-managing by the Board of Trustees (and Pope) that gives an impression that the UNC system isn't provide a stable environment for research and academic free speech.

If you're a young, talented up and coming academic, why would you want to start your career at a university mired in ideological battles with Pope and the state legislature?

Broad budget cuts haven't helped. This kind of action will kill the standing of the UNC system for decades.

Faculty exodus too

is to be expected. When the board of governors fires the excellent UNC president because he's a Democrat, and then starts quashing free speech and academic freedom, it will be time for some faculty members to seek greener pastures.

Which will be fine with Art Pope and his minions, because that will make it easier to turn the UNC system into a right-wing indoctrination center.

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"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014

Pope and the Poor

Wonkette really summed it up in a post today about the economic "miracle" in Kansas.

This is really what the UNC Board's decision is all about.

See, it’s not that wealthy conservatives and their Republican agents in government “don’t care about the poor,” as liberals say, nor that they only care about keeping their own taxes low. The truth is, they do care about the poor; specifically, they care about the cheap labor the poor provide, and making sure it stays cheap or gets cheaper.

This is plain as day, yet it’s overlooked even by much of the left, which tends to view poverty as a side effect of conservative policies, rather than their intended result. But it’s no accident that one can draw a straight line from virtually every GOP labor policy preference to lower wages for average workers. Unions and minimum wage laws raise worker pay; Republicans fight both. Social insurance like welfare, unemployment, and Medicaid make workers less willing to accept low wages; Republicans rail against all of these programs — again, not in spite of the fact that they help poor people, but because they help poor people. So it makes sense that companies and executives of companies that rely on cheap labor to generate profits give overwhelmingly to Republicans, and it makes double the sense when those companies are where the poor shop and eat. For them, more poor people means more cheap labor and more customers. It’s like a double-ended dildo of capitalism.

Of course, few rich conservative business owners are dumb enough to say “The less I pay my peons, the more I pay myself and my shareholders, ha ha ha” within earshot of a journalist, and media outlets striving to appear objective aren’t in the business of connecting the dots when doing so would necessarily look like an ideological critique. It’s safer for them to simply repeat what they’re told, which goes something like: “Republicans and business owners say that government spending and regulation are getting in the way of hiring.”

Yeah, and we say the toilet was clogged when we got here.