Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Remembering Kent State: May 4, 1970.

Remembering Kent State: May 4, 1970.: Photo by John Filo. This photo won the Pulitzer Prize of 1971. Murray Polner, It’s been 45 years since draft-deferred Ohio National...

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Some Corporate Reformers Described: but Many are Hidden

Mercedes Schneider,
Pam Vogel is the education program director of the nonprofit Media Matters. She has been with Media Matters since August 2015. Her previous experience includes four months in 2014 as an intern in the office of Vice President Joe Biden. For another six months in 2014, Vogel interned at the Clinton Foundation. Vogel graduated from Whitesboro High School (NY) in 2008; Vasser College in 2012, and Teachers College in 2014.
On April 27, 2016, Vogel published this piece for Media Matters, entitled, “Here Are The Corporations And Right-Wing Funders Backing The Education Reform Movement: A Guide To The Funders Behind A Tangled Network Of Advocacy, Research, Media, And Profiteering That’s Taking Over Public Education.”
Now, from the title, it sounds like Vogel’s piece is exhaustive — “a guide to the funders.” However, as one continues reading, one finds this summation:
Media Matters outlines the many overlapping connections in an echo chamber of education privatization advocacy groups, think tanks, and media outlets that are increasingly funded by a handful of conservative billionaires and for-profit education companies — often without proper disclosure.
Interestingly enough, Vogel’s “many overlapping connections” fails to include the Big Three corporate-reform-purchasing philanthropies: Gates, Walton, and Broad.
But she does include such notable names as the Scaife Foundations, Thomas A Roe Foundation, and Adolph Coors Foundation. (Tongue in cheek, my friends. Tongue in cheek.)
Also remarkable is that Vogel includes the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, which has received to date $2.6 million from the Gates Foundation just to remain in existence (i.e., for “general operating support”). She also includes Stand for Children (to date, $17 million from Gates). Still, Vogel omits Gates.

California Decision Protects Teachers' Rights to Due Process

Lily Eskelsen Garcia 
Today is National Teacher Appreciation Day,
On Thursday, April 14,  the California Court of Appeal, in a unanimous decision, overturned the deeply-flawed lower court ruling in Vergara v. State of California issued in 2014, which held that laws governing so-called teacher “tenure” were unconstitutional.
“Today was a win for our educators, our schools and most importantly, our students,” NEA President Lily Eskelsen GarcĂ­a said responding to the ruling. “Now we must return to working on real solutions to ensure all of our students succeed. Only when teachers, school boards, and administrators work together can we ensure that there is a great public school for every student.”
While the decision was good news for educators, said California Teachers Association President Eric C. Heins, it was a huge win for students.
“Today’s ruling reversing Judge Rolf Treu’s decision overwhelmingly underscores that the laws under attack have been good for public education and for kids,” said Heins. “Stripping teachers of their ability to stand up for their students and robbing school districts of the tools they need to make sound employment decisions was a wrong-headed scheme developed by people with no education expertise and the appellate court justices saw that.”

Monday, May 02, 2016

May Day and the U.S. Labor Movement

Erica Smiley May 1, 2016
The American Prospect
Some cast the labor movement as dying or even dead, but even amid attacks on collective bargaining workers are finding innovative ways to organize.

General view of the great crowds of organized and unorganized workers who took part in the May Day demonstration in Union Square, New York, May 1, 1929. , AP
On May 1, 1886, hundreds of thousands of railroad, mine, and factory workers in the United States put their livelihoods on the line and participated in a national strike to demand an eight-hour workday. They were attacked by strikebreakers and police, but their uprising led to the creation of a holiday to honor workers—May Day—now known as International Workers Memorial Day in many countries around the world.
These working men and women also achieved their immediate demand: a standard workday limited to eight hours. And while it took several more decades of struggle, the U.S. labor movement eventually won a much bigger victory: the legal right to form unions and collectively negotiate with their employers.
Today, this right is under attack in the face of some employers’ and lawmakers’ successful efforts to undercut unions through legal restrictions, retaliation, and intimidation. Indeed, only a small share of the U.S. workforce retains the right to consistently negotiate binding contracts.
Yet collective bargaining remains workers’ best weapon to fix an out-of-balance economy. According to the International Monetary Fund, the decline in unionization in the United States and many other countries over the past few decades is directly associated with an increase in the share of national income going to the top 10 percent of the population. Most CEOs are free to negotiate their own salaries and bonuses. Working people deserve the same freedom to engage in negotiations over how they will be compensated for their hard work. 

Friday, April 29, 2016

antiracismdsa: Violence Against Donald Trump Will Help Him to Win...

antiracismdsa: Violence Against Donald Trump Will Help Him to Win...: by Duane Campbell Although well meaning, the violent protests against Trump this weekend  for his racism will help him to get elected. ...

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Stop with the Clinton campaign message that Bernie should end our campaign

Nation of Change 
I would like my friends who are campaigning for Hillary to stop telling us all that Bernie should withdraw from the race.  Your whining  serves no useful purpose.
Bernie’s campaign is about building a left opposition in the U.S. Great progress has been made in this effort.  Some 40% of Democrats now consider themselves socialist, some mean social democrats.
We still have much to do, particularly the election in California.  We are building an opposition movement.  I read the generational divide.   You haven’t convinced the millennial generation that he should drop out.  You don’t seem to get it.  Your advice has not been taken, so you give more advice.
And your campaign message that Bernie is getting too divisive is hollow.  You are obviously only listening to the Clinton campaign.  If you follow both campaigns, or progressive media, you will find that the Clinton campaign has been at least as divisive and taunting.
We need to build an opposition movement to defeat Trump.
Continuing the Bernie campaign contributes to our effort to defeat Trump.  Continuing the Bernie campaign is a statement that we support democracy, we want democracy to work.
As Bernie has said,  “The answer is, we are in this race until the last vote is cast,” Mr. Sanders said. “The people of California have a right to determine who they want to see as president of the United States and what kind of agenda they want the Democratic Party to have.

Hillary has problems.  The problems  are not created by Bernie.  Her support for Wall Street, her support for the coup in Honduras, among others,  are of her making.  Yes, they will cost her votes.  It is her history, her actions that are costing the votes- not the Bernie campaign.  See Robert Borosage’s piece on Hillary and campaign money.
 Those millions of us who have worked on the campaign will get together June 17- 19 in Chicago in a National People's Summit.  We will make our own decisions. thank you. 

Friday, April 22, 2016

We Need an Electoral Strategy Now

Why Progressives Need a National Electoral Strategy - and Fast
Bill Fletcher 

Every electoral cycle gives me the sense of "Groundhog Day" within progressive circles. It feels as if the same discussion take places over and again. No matter what has transpired in the intervening years; no matter what mass struggles; no matter what theoretical insights; progressives find themselves debating the relative importance of electoral politics and the pros and cons of specific candidates. These debates frequently become nothing short of slugfests as charges are thrown around of reformism, sell-outs and purism. And then, during the next cycle, we are back at it.
What has struck me in the current cycle are two related but distinct problems. First, progressives have no national electoral strategy to speak of. Second, elections cannot be viewed simply or even mainly within the context of the pros and cons of specific candidates. In fact, with regard to the latter, there are much bigger matters at stake that are frequently obscured by the candidates themselves.
Let's begin in reverse order. In a recent exchange on Facebook I had with a friend, he raised the point that Hillary Clinton holds some positions to the right of Donald Trump. His, apparent, point was that in a final election, should it come down to Clinton vs. Trump, it would actually not make much of a difference who won. Someone I do not know responded to my friend by pointing out that Hitler was to the "left" of certain candidates as well and that the issue of intolerance needed to be the point of focus.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Thousands of California's Register - in error- to ...

SACRAMENTO PROGRESSIVE ALLIANCE: Thousands of California's Register - in error- to ...: A survey of 500 members of the American Independent Party found nearly 3 of 4 people did not realize they had enrolled in a political part...
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