Tell The Truth: Oklahoma Teachers, State Workers Will Lose Out Again

The truth is that it's highly unlikely Oklahoma teachers, some of the lowest paid educators in the nation, will see their salaries increase significantly anytime soon.

It's time state legislators, either Republican or Democratic, and Gov. Fallin quit playing games and tell it like it is. I repeat: Quit playing games.

One Democratic legislator, state Rep. Jason Dunnington, an Oklahoma City Democrat, for example, has suggested a plan that's never going to happen. That plan is to raises taxes on higher income people in the state to pay for teacher raises. That tax-increase plan has already been called "dead on arrival" by one Republican so why even play the card? It's dishonest because it ignores the recent income-tax cuts in this state and the motivations of the Republican majority in the legislature to defund government. It would be better to just criticize Fallin and the Republican majority in the legislature for not taking action than raising false hopes.

A majority of Oklahoma voters, when they voted down a teacher raise plan, State Question 779, also have sent a powerful message to Republicans about tax increases and teacher salaries.

Here's that message: We don't want tax increases, and we don't care about education. Again, it's time to be truthful with teachers and state workers, too, so they can make the right decisions for themselves and their families.

Here's another dishonest ploy. At the same time Fallin announced an expected budget shortfall of up to $600 million next fiscal year she also said teacher raises would be a priority. Note the contradiction.

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The Sign Says More Trouble Ahead For Oklahoma Women

It seems like once we get rid of some ridiculous law restricting reproductive rights for women here in Oklahoma, another law emerges that's even more crazier than the last one.

So it goes in Oklahoma.

The good news is that the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled invalid or "unconstitutional," whatever the means in this weird place these days, a new law that would have required physicians performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. It was a slam dunk 9-0 decision and follows a similar ruling on a similar Texas law by the U.S. Supreme Court. The law was never about women's health. Anyone who says that is a liar. Doctors or anyone can dial 911 just like anyone else, and emergency medical situations rarely come up at abortion clinics. This law created by the Republican-dominated legislature and signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin was to restrict abortion in the state. That was its only purpose. Anyone who says otherwise is lying or perhaps not very bright.

Fallin basically admitted this in a statement about the ruling:

"I'm disappointed to see another pro-life law stuck down by the courts. Like many bills passed in Oklahoma, this bill was designed to protect the health and welfare of the mother along with the life of the unborn, which always should be among our society's priorities."

Unfold all of the layers of the tricky phrase "the life of the unborn" for some rhetorical insight into the right-wing movement to make abortion illegal here in Oklahoma and elsewhere, which has become a possibility because of Donald Trump's election as president and his probable U.S. Supreme Court appointments.

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Truth Can Make Money Under A Man Named Trump

I was reminded last week just how important independent progressive voices and liberal blogs are still needed in the country, especially now that president-elect Donald Trump, barring some miracle with the electoral college, will soon be the next racist and sexist leader of the so-called free world.

First, I was contacted by the eclectic and creative site Fusion, based in the Miami, Florida area, for an interview about Trump's selection of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to serve as head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt is a dangerous man when it comes to the health and viability of the planet, as I pointed out in the interview, and his EPA tenure could become one of the most catastrophic events in the twenty-first century. That could change if Democrats could win back at least one chamber of the legislative branch of the federal government in two years, but right now that looks bleak.

Second, my own main post about Pruitt's selection on Okie Funk and Blue Oklahoma was reposted by a prominent writer at the Daily Kos. This excellent blogger runs a weekly roundup of progressive blogs throughout the country, and all progressives should be grateful for it. It has been a while, but I have posted and cross-posted at the Daily Kos through the years, and it's still churning out truth on a minute-by-minute basis.

It should go without saying that the Democratic National Committee, other well-funded progressive organizations, and, yes, rich liberals should double down on a new 50-state strategy when it comes to progressive blogs and media. The blogosphere has matured, and those of us who have endured, and that includes Okie Funk (since 2004) and Blue Oklahoma (since 2006), should get the financial and technology infrastructure support we have so long deserved. This is a much better strategy for liberals than trying to play the mainstream media game and spending millions of dollars on media ads that are rendered obsolete by one short tweet by Trump or by so-called "fair" reporting, which reports his outlandish lies as political arguments or official statements, all of which threaten our democracy.

I get it that a lot of blogs and sites come and go, and, believe me, as a college professor, I know fake news is here to stay as long as the internet exists, but there's now a clear track record of progressive web writers who have been in it for the long haul and for the right reasons.

Of course, another wise course of progressive action, which could work as well as investing in blogs and/or as part of the overall effort would be for mainstream media outlets demeaned as "liberal" by right-wing folks to incorporate more advocacy journalism on their pages, sites and networks, and what I mean is advocacy for the truth. Here's stating truth, for example: No matter how much The New York Times or The Washington Post try to present what their editors might see as balanced reporting, the right-wing will accuse them of liberal bias. At what point, do these media outlets, and other media outlets, rise up defiantly to save our constitutional rights and freedom of the press? There are also many, many progressive bloggers who could be absorbed into the mainstream media. (Wink, wink.)

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