May 5, 2008
Re: “President Obama: The Preview?” (By Jon Keller, OPINION, The Wall Street Journal, Op-Ed, Page A9, May 3, 2008): Political analyst Jon Keller misses the mark on pointing out the reasons why Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has been mostly INEFFECTIVE in his brief tenure in elected political office. The real reason why “Massachusetts politics” is so terribly corrupt is because it has always been a done deal from day one.
On casino gambling, it was the state’s INSURANCE COMPANIES & other large financial industries that decided to just stick with the state lottery for regressive taxation. When “slimy” Speaker Sal DiMasi and his loyal lieutenant Representative Dan “bureaucrat” Bosley rigidly opposed Governor Patrick’s proposal, they had decided to do so at the behest of the special interest groups they solely serve.
Why would “slimy” Sal & “bureaucrat” Bosley oppose casino gambling? The answer is for the same reason “slimy” Sal’s predecessor Tommy “taxes” “felon” Finneran and “bureaucrat” Bosley all sank Clean Elections in 2003. That reason is for the state government to serve its SPECIAL INTEREST groups.
Here is how it all works.
#1 – The Massachusetts State Lottery System is a scheme to receive billions in annual tax dollars off of the backs of the poor and working class. This demographic is the exact opposite of “the corporate elite”—in this case the special or corporate interests in Massachusetts. By “bureaucrat” Bosley’s own writings, over the past 3+ decades, the state has grown the lottery from a small enterprise to help fund public education to a behemoth monster that only & purely acts as a revenue-raising instrument by the state to collect public monies from the poor and working class.
#2 – The transformation of the state lottery from its more straightforward beginnings to its insidious current state of being was done for the benefit of the state’s special interest groups, especially Massachusetts’ corporate elite, which are big financial institutions in & around Boston’s wealthy financial district. That means that the state lottery takes money from the have-nots and gives it to the haves. Daniel “bureaucrat” Bosley receives many thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from wealthy insurance companies because he & his fellow legislative colleagues are able to give them large tax breaks because of the money the state lottery raises in lieu of business taxes. In fact, Dan “bureaucrat” Bosley secretly inserted what The Boston Globe called “The Bosley Amendment” giving large-scale corporate institutions that don’t exist in his Western Massachusetts rural legislative district hundreds of millions in annual offshore tax breaks.
#3 – Casino Gambling would offset the “done deal” political lottery system that already takes public money from the poor & working class and redistributes it to the state’s corporate elite. Instead of the regressive revenues flowing to the state’s coffers for the sole benefit of Boston’s financial district & other statewide special interest groups, casinos would bank their profits in other parts of the country, such as New York City’s Wall Street or in Las Vegas, Nevada. Ergo, it did NOT matter what the merits & benefits of casino gambling would bring to Massachusetts: Increased revenues, job creation, work for union labor, tourism, and the like. What mattered was the state’s corporate elite would lose to the national corporate elite.
The bottom-line is that casino gambling was doomed to fail from the outset because its demise in Massachusetts was always a done deal. Deval Patrick was just naïve to the ways of Daniel E. “bureaucrat” Bosley, et al. It was not an error in leadership; rather it was an error in political insight and institutional knowledge for a rookie governor in the most politically corrupt state government in the history of humankind.
On public education, all the “1993 Education Reform Act” was really for was to increase the amount of federal dollars the state government receives for its schools. The state’s inequities among urban, suburban & rural school districts are terribly unjust. The Boston Globe has stated that public education does not truly exist in Massachusetts because the average or even median household could not afford to live in Wellesley and therefore could never send their children to the best “public” school system in the commonwealth.
The problem with Massachusetts politics is that if you are not part of the corporate elite or politically well connected, you get substandard public schools and a bunch of lottery tickets for public services. How could Deval L. Patrick have known that Massachusetts politics is a “done deal” and that not even Jesus Christ himself could save Lucifer from evil to the light of love?
Just as Andrea Nuciforo II, or “Luciforo”, got away with strong-arming 2 women candidates out of the 2006 Massachusetts State Government Election for Registrar of Deeds in Pittsfield while anointing himself absolute & the son of bitch still collects over $86k/year + state benefits today like nothing corrupt or sexist ever even happened, there is NO turning around the system. There will always be evil versus good, outsiders versus insiders, “bureaucrat” Bosley versus Deval Patrick, “Luciforo” versus Jonathan Melle, &, tragically in Massachusetts, special interests pitted against the People.
The Wall Street Journal, OPINION, Saturday, May 3, 2008, Page A9
“President Obama: The Preview?”
By Jon Keller, “Cross Country”
“Senator Obama & I are long-time friends & allies. We often share ideas about politics, policy & language.” –Deval Patrick
There may not be two politicians on the national stage more alike than Barack Obama & Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. Both went to Harvard Law, are African-American politicians with mass appeal, & use soaring rhetoric to promise a bold new post-partisan politics.
But the 2 men differ in 1 critical area: Mr. Patrick has an executive record. And, unfortunately for the senator from Illinois, it reveals that the Patrick-Obama brand of politics is not really new. It is, in fact, something akin to the failed liberalism of old, in a new vessel.
Mr. Patrick, 52, was swept into office in a landslide in 2006. He won because Democrats were energized to capture the governor’s mansion & because he presented himself as an historic candidate. Having never held elective office before—though he was assistant attorney general for the civil rights division in the Clinton administration—it was easy for him to claim that he would not be beholden to special interests or outmoded orthodoxies. Baby boomers, eager to make a permanent mark on the political landscape, also found the idea of electing the state’s first black governor appealing.
What the Bay State got, however, is a pedestrian liberal governor who is remarkably quick to retreat in the face of pressure from the status quo.
Mr. Patrick’s first cave-in came just weeks after he was elected, and before he was even sworn into office. On the campaign trail he promised to cut $735 million in wasteful spending from the state budget. But when the Democratic Senate president rebuked him for it, the governor-elect backpedaled. The Boston Globe summed it up this way: “Patrick backed off & said he didn’t really mean it.”
Another retreat came on a common sense issue that likely might have marked him as a true reformer had he made even a losing fight of it. Massachusetts is the only state that mandates that cops, not flagmen, direct traffic at road-construction sites. Earlier this spring, Mr. Patrick proposed loosening the requirement as a way to save taxpayers millions, but quickly recanted when the police union flooded the capitol with lobbyists. Within days, Mr. Patrick told listeners of his monthly radio show “the more I think about this, the less certain I am that we can fix this top down.”
Education may be the 1 area where Mr. Patrick could have done the most to demonstrate that he is indeed a new man of the left. 15 years ago, the state enacted strict testing requirements for both teachers & students & passed reforms that encourage the creation of charter schools. The result: Massachusetts consistently places among the top performers on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Sticking by these bipartisan reforms—or even expanding them to help minority children in poor areas—would seem to be an easy call.
But to the delight of education unions, Mr. Patrick instead appears to be laying the groundwork to dismantle these reforms. He appointed anti-testing zealot Ruth Kaplan to the state Board of Elementary & Secondary Education, where she repaid his confidence recently by disparaging the college preparation emphasis of some charter schools. She said these schools set “some kids up for failure…Their families don’t always know what’s best for their children.”
S. Paul Reville, chairman of the education board, has also drawn attention for his willingness to water down certification testing requirements for aspiring teachers. Under the guise of trying to overcome a teacher shortage, the administration wants to allow applicants who have failed the test 3 times to teach anyway. When pressed on the issue, Mr. Reville said publicly that the certification test “is not necessarily the best venue for everybody to demonstrate their competency.”
1 characteristic of the Obama-Patrick brand of politics is the assertion that they can personally persuade disparate political leaders to reach a consensus. Mr. Patrick’s biggest test of this claim came this year when he proposed bringing jobs to the state by allowing casino gambling in Massachusetts. The proposal angered an odd alliance of liberals & social conservatives because gambling is highly regressive (if voluntary) tax. And it ended in defeat for the governor.
Rather than use the bully pulpit to create public pressure in favor of his proposal—Mr. Patrick told me in late March “I don’t think that the way to advocate most of our agenda is to do it through the media”—he lobbied lawmakers behind closed doors, using data that proved flimsy & skewed. In the end, his bill went down to a crushing defeat &, on the day of the legislature’s vote, he skipped town to ink a $1.35 million book deal at a Manhattan publishing house.
What should trouble Mr. Obama the most is that the stirring rhetoric of Mr. Patrick’s 2006 campaign, now being recycled by the Illinois senator (at times, word for word), is no longer connecting with Massachusetts voters. A mid-April poll found that 56% of the state’s voters disapprove of the governor’s performance. Even among left-leaning Democrats, more than 4-in-10 disapprove of Mr. Patrick.
Voters in Massachusetts had hoped Mr. Patrick’s reformist promises & appealing style would mean a makeover for a tired political culture that has long since stopped producing satisfactory results. Instead, they along with voters in southern New Hampshire & northern Rhode Island (which receive Boston news), now seem wary of the Obama-Patrick connection. These areas turned out heavily for Hillary Clinton in the presidential primaries & helped her carry all 3 states.
Mr. Obama has self-servingly said of himself & Mr. Patrick, “We are the change we’ve been waiting for.” But what Mr. Patrick has demonstrated in office is that once the initial rush of making history has waned, these fresh faces seem to offer little change beyond the rhetoric.
Mr. Keller is political analyst for WBZ-TV in Boston & author of “The Bluest State” (St. Martins, 2007)
Note: Picture is of “Deval Patrick & Barack Obama in Boston November 3, 2006”. AP.
"At a loss: A litany of woes, from taxes to high cost of housing, is driving many residents out of Massachusetts, and the state is struggling to woo others to come here, report says"
By David Abel, (Boston) Globe Staff, Sunday, May 18, 2008
Massachusetts is losing many of its native sons and daughters to other states and is having a harder time attracting transplants than the vast majority of the country.
Only about 64 percent of those born in Massachusetts still live in the state, according to a report by Northeastern University's Center for Labor Market Studies, which says it has compiled the most comprehensive data so far about the loss of state residents.
More than 2.2 million natives of Massachusetts now live elsewhere in the country, while 1.2 million people from other states live here. Massachusetts is the country's ninth worst in attracting residents from other states, the study shows. It ranked 48th in terms of losing residents to other states.
"The problem is that we just can't get people to come to Massachusetts as much as they want to leave," said Andrew Sum, the center's director and author of the report. "We need to start asking what we can do to make Massachusetts a more desirable place to live, why people don't want to come here to live."
Between 2000 and 2007, only Louisiana - which saw thousands flee after Hurricane Katrina - and New York lost more residents to other states, according to the report. More than 300,000 residents - about 5 percent of the state's population - left Massachusetts during that time, while the state's fertility rate ranked 46 out of 50 states.
Immigrants have kept the Bay State's population from declining. The state's population increased just 1.4 percent between 2000 and 2007, and there are now more than 1 million residents here who were born in another country.
Those who left Massachusetts say they are repelled by the cold, the high price of housing, the taxes - in essence, everything from the long, traffic-clogged commutes to the deep blue hue of the state's politics.
Kevin and Meg Buckingham wanted to raise their children near family and friends in Massachusetts, but they couldn't afford to stay. The Buckinghams, both of them 28, met at Westfield State College, married, and rented in Brookline, Natick, and Acton. Both had good jobs - he is an accountant, and she worked in alumnae relations at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences - but the house they wanted was out of reach.
Last year, the couple moved to Knightdale, N.C., where they built a 2,000 square foot, four-bedroom house for $171,000. Warmer weather and shorter commutes were other perks.
"There was no way we could ever do that in Massachusetts; the only thing we could find with the same amenities and the same room was for more than $1 million in Newton," Meg Buckingham said in a telephone interview. "Then there was the commute," which she said could take as long as two hours, on a commuter train, from her home in Acton to downtown Boston.
The report details the state's litany of woes in keeping its working population: Between 2004 and 2006, the state saw a net loss of 120,000 residents between the ages 16 to 65. Of those, nearly 44,000 had some college education, another 20,000 had an associate's or bachelor's degree, and more than 27,000 had master's degree or higher.
The study also found that the loss of workers spanned the spectrum of jobs: In 2006, 533,882 workers had left Massachusetts, including 50,558 managers and 78,848 office administrators. It also lost 78,316 salesmen, 34,992 construction workers and 31,746 food preparers and servers, according to the study.
"We have a real worry about where the workers to sustain the economy are going to come from," said Paul S. Grogan, president of the Boston Foundation, which commissioned the report. "The loss of residents matters very much, because we need the population and talent level to keep the area vital and to ensure we have the public and private investment needed."
Grogan and others blame the loss of residents on the state's rising housing prices, loss of jobs, and its failure to market itself to residents of other states.
"We have a terrible reputation as not being business friendly," Grogan said. "We have to make substantive changes and not suggest that marketing ourselves is beneath us. We have to shake ourselves out of our complacency."
Mark A. Sullivan Jr., executive director of Citizens for Citizens, an antipoverty agency in Fall River, said he sees the loss of residents in the number of vacant apartments and empty storefronts around Fall River.
He has two children in college and doesn't expect them to stay in Massachusetts. "There just aren't enough jobs," he said.
Officials in Governor Deval Patrick's administration say they are working to give residents more reasons to stay.
Since the administration took power in 2007, the state has gained 20,000 jobs, the average price of single-family homes has dropped about 10 percent, and the governor has proposed spending more than $2 billion to upgrade the state's public college and university system, said Dan O'Connell, secretary of the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development.
He said improving state colleges is vital to retaining residents because about 60 percent of students who attend state schools take their first jobs in Massachusetts, while less than 30 percent of those at private institutions stay for their first jobs.
"We're looking forward, not backward," Sullivan said. "The challenge is not to look at the historical numbers but to devise the programs that will retain the individuals in the Commonwealth."
But for some of those who have left, it's hard to imagine returning.
Cindy Homer grew up in East Boston, went to Anna Maria College in Paxton, left the state for a while and returned in 1988 to live in Salem. But she and her husband couldn't cope with all the congestion and relative inflation. The 55-year-old mother of three now lives in a 2,500 square foot home in New Mexico for which she paid $160,000.
"I love the people and the scenery and the seasons and the ocean, food, and cultural activities in Massachusetts," Homer said. "You have everything there that anyone could possibly want, but the cost of living is outrageous."
Others are less concerned about the cost of living than they are about the left-leaning politics of Massachusetts. Derek Hoskins, 34, prefers to spend $650 in gas a month to commute from his home in Rindge, N.H., to his office in Northborough. He doesn't want to bother with the taxes, gun laws, and other regulations that distinguish life in Massachusetts from New Hampshire.
"When I drive across the border into New Hampshire, I feel as if a weight has been taken off my shoulders," said Hoskins, who moved from Fitchburg last year. "I no longer have a state government that wants to dictate what I do."
Yet, some would return if they could.
Ann Ellison, 65, lived in Massachusetts until her apartment building in Charlestown was sold about 10 years ago. She looked around the area for an apartment with the same $700 rent, but the closest she could find was in Central Falls, R.I.
"I didn't feel like moving, but I couldn't find any place that didn't take most of my income," said Ellison, who continues to commute to her job in Cambridge. "I miss the restaurants, the supermarkets and stores. There are a lot of things I miss. I just can't afford it."
David Abel can be reached at email@example.com.
- Jonathan Melle
- Amherst, NH, United States
- I am a citizen defending the people against corrupt Pols who only serve their Corporate Elite masters, not the people! / My 2 political enemies are Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr., nicknamed "Luciforo" and former Berkshire County Sheriff Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr. / I have also pasted many of my political essays on "The Berkshire Blog": berkshireeagle.blogspot.com / I AM THE ANTI-FRANK GUINTA! / Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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