Mitch Daniels: Crony Capitalist, Leftist Hater

(This article has been updated to include a video by Democracy Now and to include a letter by 90 Professors of Purdue University who are pushing back against Mitch Daniels as President of Purdue University.)

Muncie, Indiana – For Mitch Daniels, the first six months have been the best of times and worse of times.

While finishing up as governor, Mitch limped to the finish line by doing a complete reversal on right to work policies in Indiana; he and his buddy Richard Mourdock “lost” a half-billion dollars; and then while he appointed (stacked the deck) a board of trustees to Purdue University, the same Daniel’s appointees hired him as President while he was still Governor.

During his entire term as Governor, you could almost hear the quiet rumblings below the surface of critics who were trying to tell Hoosiers what a mistake we had made, but it was drowned out by the corporate owned conservative media outlets in Indiana. “All Hail to Mitch!, All Hail to Mitch!”

The republican party was proud of their Man Mitch even though his jobs records was questioned many times. Finally, the state’s economic development corporation was investigated by an Indiana news station and discovered that many of the jobs and companies who supposedly moved to Indiana to hire Hoosier workers, never materialized. Millions in incentives (taxpayer dollars) were given to corporations during his tenure.

He was a governor of the corporation, by the corporation and for the corporation.

When looking at statistics being released over the past six months however, Indiana is shown to have a low quality of living, poor health and wellness, and we rank near the bottom for environmental factors such as water and air quality and we have some of the highest emissions of carbon dioxide. Yes, dirty companies love Mitch – Hoosier workers and families should not be thanking him.

Most recently, Mitch received a $58,000 bonus from Purdue for learning his job in six months. I repeat, the Board of Trustees who were appointed by Mitch, and then hired him without any experience in academia, gave him a $58,000 bonus to Mitch. I wonder what former governor Mitch would say about a public university giving their President a large bonus for simply “getting up to speed on a job he wasn’t qualified for in the first place.”

According to the incoming chairman, “The incentive payment was for the first six months of Daniels’ employment and awarded his ability to develop an understanding of higher education, establish faculty relationships and show needed changes. We feel that he is justified for that because when we hired him we went out with intention of finding the very best individual we could, and we think we did. So therefore, he’s to be rewarded,” Spurgeon said.

Meanwhile, Mitch is on the hot seat since an email exchange surface where he called Howard Zinn’s historical account of US History – “Excrement” and ordered that it be removed from curriculum for teacher training classes at Indiana University.

In defense, the Board of Trustees wrote a letter, “What we see is a complete misrepresentation of President Daniels’ views and concerns. The exchange had nothing to do with academic freedom or censorship. Rather, it had to do with concerns over what is being taught in Indiana’s K-12 public schools.”

Daniels told reporters after a meeting of the board that a statement he made as governor that Indiana should “disqualify the propaganda” he saw being used in Indiana’s teacher preparation courses was meant only to keep Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States” from being taught in the state’s K-12 classrooms.

The email exchange is listed below so readers can decide what he meant, but what can we expect from a “board of trustees” who were appointed by Mitch.

The American Historical Association, a nonpartisan group that sets academic standards of review and publication for historians nationwide, on Friday issued a statement saying it “deplores the spirit and intent” of Daniels’ emails. The association said it considered any governor’s effort to interfere with an individual teacher’s reading assignments “inappropriate and a violation of academic freedom.”

“Whatever the strengths or weaknesses of Howard Zinn’s text, and whatever the criticisms that have been made of it, we believe that the open discussion of controversial books benefits students, historians, and the general public alike. Attempts to single out particular texts for suppression from a school or university curriculum have no place in a democratic society,” the statement read.

Keith Krach, who stepped down as chairman of Purdue’s board of trustees Friday, said he was unaware of the 2010 email exchange when trustees appointed Daniels president in mid-2012 but said they wouldn’t have changed his decision.

“One of the big things that we talked with Mitch about during the search and selection process is academic freedom, as we would any other president. And he not only believes in it wholeheartedly, but he’s demonstrated it as president,” Krach said.

Talk about “excrement” – just listening to Mitch lie about his email exchange, and the board of lapdog “trustees” run interference after giving Czar Daniels free reign over the university makes a person gag. How would you like to be a “leftist” at Purdue now knowing that your president is a Howard Zinn hater?

In the meantime, we took a gander at Wikipedia, a “leftist” version of truth, to see what from Zinn’s history book could be so objectionable to Mitch that would cause him to order it removed from school reading lists.  Based on a quick review, here are aspects that we think Mitch might fail to grasp and/or would cause anxiety and discomfort to his ideology:

In Chapter 5, A Kind of Revolution, Zinn wrote that “governments – including the government of the United States – are not neutral… they represent the dominant economic interests, and… their constitutions are intended to serve these interests.”

This means that Tea Party Republicans who vote for “Right to Work” legislation and other ALEC corporate funded agendas are political payback for these corporations who fund republican campaigns. Our Indiana government serves the will of corporate interests – not the interests of Hoosiers.

In Chapter 11, Robber Barons and Rebels,  covers the rise of industrial corporations such as the railroads and banks and their transformation into the nation’s dominant institutions, with corruption resulting in both industry and government.

Is a “Robber Baron” someone who appoints board members to an organization, and then asks them for a half million dollar a year job with a $58,000 bonus just for showing up the first six months?

Then in Chapter 19, Surprises, covers movements that happened during the 1960s, such as second-wave feminism, the prison reform/prison abolition movement, the Native American rights movement, and the counterculture. People and events from the feminist movement covered include Betty Friedan‘s The Feminine Mystique, Women’s International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell, Patricia Robinson, the National Domestic Workers Union, National Organization for Women, Roe v. Wade, Susan Brownmiller‘s Against Our Will, and Our Bodies, Ourselves.

We all know how Mitch loves prisons, and what he and Richard Mourdock thinks about women, so we can guess the feminist movement covered in Zinn’s history book caused some aggravation.

Finally, in Chapter 23, “The Coming Revolt of the Guards”, Zinn talks about future radical movements against the inequality in America. Zinn argues that there will eventually be a movement made up not only of previous groups that were involved in radical change (such as labor organizers, black radicals, Native Americans, feminists), but also members of the middle class who are starting to become discontented with the state of the nation. Zinn expects this movement to use “demonstrations, marches, civil disobedience; strikes and boycotts and general strikes; direct action to redistribute wealth, to reconstruct institutions, to revamp relationships.”

Do you think he meant like Occupiers? Zeitgeist? Food movement? Commonwealth orders? Socialist movement?

It’s good to be King and ban truths that tell people about their history from a different perspective. Deep down inside we all know that we didn’t do the Native American’s any favors by removing them from their lands and setting them up on reservations. We were taught to be the cowboy and kill Indians because they did harm to the white man. Even while we were being told this, we had a feeling something wasn’t right.

Based on what we know about Mitch today, I’d say he and his Purdue Board of Trustees, “Speaketh with fork tongues!”, and will have plenty to defend over the coming days, weeks, and months as West Lafayette will become a hotbed of controversy and even more young people will be drawn to Howard Zinn and want to know why Zinn’s perspective is so feared by the neo-cons of the republican party. One short summary read from Wikipedia gives a strong sign of why and watching the video below from a fellow Hoosier on Democracy Now will create new fans of Zinn’s factual representation of our historical heroes, and both kids and teachers will ask for a copy of his works. Maybe, just maybe, we can also discuss removing the real propaganda written about our history by corporate media and publishing giants today.


Mitch Daniels Emails by Tyler Kingkade

And here is the letter written by 90 Purdue University Professors challenging Mitch Daniels response to why he wanted to censure Howard Zinn’s account of U.S. History:

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Todd Smekens

Journalist, consultant, publisher, and servant-leader with a passion for truth-seeking. Enjoy motorcycling, meditation, and spending quality time with my daughter and rescue hound. Spiritually-centered first and foremost. Lived in multiple states within the USA and frequent traveler to the mountains.
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