Thursday, December 01, 2016

Vulture Capitalist to be Appointed by Trump to Treasury


by Peter Dreier
Throughout his presidential campaign, Donald Trump criticized Wall Street bankers for their excessive political influence and attacked hedge-fund managers for getting away with “murder” under the current tax code. “The hedge-fund guys didn’t build this country,” Trump said on Face the Nation. “These are guys that shift paper around and they get lucky.”
Now, however, Trump has tapped Steve Mnuchin, a 53-year-old Wall Street hedge-fund and banking mogul—and, since May, his campaign-finance chair—to be the nation’s secretary of the Treasury.
Trump’s earlier rhetoric aside, it’s actually a good match. Both Trump and Mnuchin earned their first fortunes the old fashion way: They inherited them. Trump took over his father Fred’s real-estate empire and expanded it through questionable business practices. Mnuchin, also the scion of a wealthy and well-connected family, graduated from Yale in 1985, started his career as a trainee at Salomon Brothers and soon wound up working at Goldman Sachs, where his father Robert had been a general partner.
Both Trump and Mnuchin have run businesses accused of widespread racial discrimination and other predatory practices. They both represent the excessive wealth and greed of the billionaire developer and banker class. And both men have hedged their political bets, donating big bucks to Democrats as well as Republicans.
While Mnuchin ran OneWest Bank, based in Pasadena, California, the lender engaged in a variety of predatory practices that government bank regulators scrutinized and trial judges condemned. As Treasury secretary, Mnuchin would no doubt be one of the Trump administration’s key advisors in trying to dismantle the 2010 Dodd-Frank law strengthening regulations on the financial industry, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which in its short life has already protected hundreds of thousands of consumers from bank abuse.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Reality Check: IMMIGRANT COMMUNITIES BRACE FOR TRUMP

The Reality Check: IMMIGRANT COMMUNITIES BRACE FOR TRUMP: IMMIGRANT COMMUNITIES BRACE FOR TRUMP By David Bacon The American Prospect, November 22, 2016 http://prospect.org/article/immigrant-commu...

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Trump and Resistance

Hillary Clinton won the election by 2 million votes, but Donald Trump won the Presidency in the Electoral College.  What’s that you say about democracy ?
During the last year the according to the Southern Poverty Law Center the militant, fascist, militarist, racist terrorist group Storm Front has grown to over 300,000 members.  ( one of several such groups).
These and parallel developments may require that we reconsider and adjust our basic  political strategy as developed in the strategy document.  We need a serious new analysis because the terrain of our struggle and our activity has shifted significantly.
Examples.
Some 2 -11 million immigrant workers in the US now face terrorism and possible deportation.  Over 2 million U.S. citizen children face the possibility that their parents will be deported and they will be placed in foster care.
I had a piece on the Democratic Left blog on the possible consequences of a victory by Trump and Trumpism.  http://www.dsausa.org/trump_s_racially_divisive_politics_must_be_exposed_and_opposed_dl
If you prefer video, here is a good piece  Hate Rising. http://antiracismdsa.blogspot.com/2016/11/hate-rising-with-jorge-ramos.html
This video is also up on YouTube.
The labor movement faces its most difficult assault since the passage of the Taft-Hartley act which changed the nature of organized labor in the U.S.
 Labor will be shaken to its core.  Harold Meyerson has a good piece on this on the DSA blog, Talking Union.  https://talkingunion.wordpress.com/2016/11/24/trump-and-the-crisis-of-labor/
The Trump administration’s chief military advisor advocates siding with Asad and Putin in Syria, and usually recommends U.S. military interventions in troubled areas.
This militarist approach could well set us back to the decades of U.S. intervention  from 2000- 2010. The U.S. anti war movement , or what remains of it, will have their backs to the wall.
The ecological justice movement now faces a regime that take us back to the 1970’s on ignoring climate change. – while the environmental crisis grows.  As Nomi Klein said, “This Changes Everything”.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Trump and School Privatization

Diane Ravitch. NY Review of Books. Nov.27,2016.
In early September, Donald Trump declared his commitment to privatization of the nation’s public schools. He held a press conference at a low-performing charter school in Cleveland run by a for-profit entrepreneur. He announced that if elected president, he would turn $20 billion in existing federal education expenditures into a block grant to states, which they could use for vouchers for religious schools, charter schools, private schools, or public schools. These are funds that currently subsidize public schools that enroll large numbers of poor students. Like most Republicans, Trump believes that “school choice” and competition produce better education, even though there is no evidence for this belief. As president, Trump will encourage competition among public and private providers of education, which will reduce funding for public schools. No high-performing nation in the world has privatized its schools.
The motives for the privatization movement are various. Some privatizers have an ideological commitment to free-market capitalism; they decry public schools as “government schools,” hobbled by unions and bureaucracy. Some are certain that schools need to be run like businesses, and that people with business experience can manage schools far better than educators. Others have a profit motive, and they hope to make money in the burgeoning “education industry.” The adherents of the business approach oppose unions and tenure, preferring employees without any adequate job protection and merit pay tied to test scores. They never say, “We want to privatize public schools.” They say, “We want to save poor children from failing schools.” Therefore, “We must open privately managed charter schools to give children a choice,” and “We must provide vouchers so that poor families can escape the public schools.”
The privatization movement has a powerful lobby to advance its cause. Most of those who support privatization are political conservatives. Right-wing think tanks regularly produce glowing accounts of charter schools and vouchers along with glowing reports about their success. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a right-wing organization funded by major corporations and composed of two thousand or so state legislators, drafts model charter school legislation, which its members introduce in their state legislatures. Every Republican governor and legislature has passed legislation for charters and vouchers. About half the states have enacted voucher legislation or tax credits for nonpublic schools, even though in some of those states, like Indiana and Nevada, the state constitution explicitly forbids spending state funds on religious schools or anything other than public schools.
More: Read it on line. 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Trump : The Privatization of Public Schools



It is hard to find anyone more passionate about the idea of steering public dollars away from traditional public schools than Betsy DeVos, Donald J. Trump’s pick as the cabinet secretary overseeing the nation’s education system.

For nearly 30 years, as a philanthropist, activist and Republican fund-raiser, she has pushed to give families taxpayer money in the form of vouchers to attend private and parochial schools, pressed to expand publicly funded but privately run charter schools, and tried to strip teacher unions of their influence.

A daughter of privilege, she also married into it; her husband, Dick, who ran unsuccessfully for governor of Michigan a decade ago, is heir to the Amway fortune. Like many education philanthropists, she argues that children’s ZIP codes should not confine them to failing schools.

But Ms. DeVos’s efforts to expand educational opportunity in her home state of Michigan and across the country have focused little on existing public schools, and almost entirely on establishing newer, more entrepreneurial models to compete with traditional schools for students and money. Her donations and advocacy go almost entirely toward groups seeking to move students and money away from what Mr. Trump calls “failing government schools.”

Conservative school choice activists hailed her on Wednesday as a fellow disrupter, and as someone who would block what they see as federal intrusion on local schools.

Former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida, where Ms. DeVos helped push legislation establishing tax credits for scholarships to private schools, called her an “outstanding pick,” a “passionate change agent to press for a new education vision.”

“Her allegiance is to families, particularly those struggling at the bottom of the economic ladder, not to an outdated public education model that has failed them from one generation to the next,” he wrote on Facebook.

Frederick M. Hess, the director of education policy studies for the conservative American Enterprise Institute in Washington, called Ms. DeVos a “smart, principled small-government conservative who’s experienced in politics and versed in the relevant policy.”

But to teachers’ unions, she is anathema.

Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, called Ms. DeVos “the most ideological, anti-public education nominee” since the secretary of education was elevated to the cabinet level four decades ago.
 
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