Saturday, July 30, 2016

Hillary Clinton and the DNC

by Peter Dreier: Trump was born on third base but thinks he hit a triple. On Thursday night, Hillary Clinton hit a triple. 
Triples are harder to hit than home runs. They require power AND base-running ability. When you hit a homer, you can jog around the bases. To hit a triple, you have to run full-speed from home plate to third base. You have to know your own strengths and those of your opponent - do I have the speed to make it third, does the outfielder have the arm strength to throw me out? Triples take grit and determination. They don’t always excite the crowd like home runs. But they help your team win the game.
Presidential acceptance speeches should be judged both on substance and on performance. I’d give Hillary an A on substance and a B+ on performance. So, combined, it was an A-. In other words, a triple.
It contained some mildly soaring rhetoric but mostly it was: Here’s who I am, here’s what I’ll do, and here’s why Trump is dangerous. 
Clinton was both self-assured AND self-deprecating. She made fun of her policy-wonk instincts but then said that a good president has to know the details. She talked about coming back from adversity — both the defeat of health care reform (explicitly) and her occasionally troubled marriage (implicitly) — and turned it into a lifetime of grit, determination, and accomplishment. 
Her references to our Founding Fathers, and her reference to the Broadway show “Hamilton,” reminded us that all progressive change involves compromise and negotiation, which is not the same thing as capitulating or selling out. She sounded patriotic, where Trump last week sounded xenophobic.
Some pundits have said that Clinton’s strongest appeal is to women over 50 who remember when the idea of a woman president was considered unthinkable. In 1969, only 53 percent of Americans said they would vote for a woman for president “if she were qualified in every other respect,” according to the Gallup Poll. By last year, that figure had increased to 92 percent. Many younger women, who have benefited from the activism of their older counterparts, take the accomplishments of the women’s movement for granted. Perhaps so. But watching Clinton’s speech Thursday night, my 19-year twin daughters — both fervent Sanders supporters — were moved to tears. 
Clinton basked in her status as the first women to be nominated by a major political party. But she said it wasn’t about her. It was about the progress of women. And although she didn’t refer to the old labor song, “Bread and Roses,” she articulated the same sentiment of that song: “The rising of the women is the rising of us all.”
Oh, and she wore a white dress — the same color clothing that the early 20th century suffragettes wore. Was that a coincidence?
In terms of the policy agenda, she managed to explain it without being too wonky. Plus, it was the most progressive acceptance speech in my lifetime. She was generous in her praise of Bernie Sanders. She clearly was pitching it to win over Sanders’ supporters. 
She took on the gun lobby. She took on Wall Street. She took on the super-rich and big business by calling for higher taxes. She came out for free higher education, and reducing student debt, echoing Bernie’s plan. She called for making the minimum wage a living wage, but didn’t say how big. She called for a major investment in infrastructure as both a jobs program and an energy-efficiency program. She came out for paid family leave and defended a woman’s right to choose. She came out for comprehensive immigration reform. She talked about inequality and poverty - something you’ll never heard from Trump. She mentioned the Flint water crisis. Echoing Black Lives Matter, she indicted the criminal justice system as racist. But she also praised police for their courage and risk-taking. All she had to say was one line — “I believe in science” — and people got the point: Trump doesn’t. He’s a climate change denier.
I wish she had used the word “union” at least once. A stronger labor movement is central to a more progressive America. Plus, she can’t win without organized labor mobilizing its members and their families, and investing in her campaign.
It isn’t fair to criticize her for not being more specific. That’s not what acceptance speeches are for. But the contrast with Trump’s acceptance speech — all bombast, no issues, all fear, no hope — was obvious. 
It was great that she reminded the crowd of FDR with her reference to “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” using it to undermine Trump as a fear-monger. Trump vs. FDR: no contest! And, she had some funny lines. She showed a sense of humor — something many people don’t associate with HRC.
She compared her own view of the world, reflected in her book, “It Takes a Village,” with Trump’s line last week: “I alone can fix it.”
She bashed Trump’s record as a con artist who failed to pay his bills to small businesses and workers. She questioned his principles and his psychological stability. She was tough on Trump, but she didn’t come across (as he did last week) as angry and unhinged. She was calm, steady, cool under pressure.
The speech took full advantage of her strengths and avoided her weaknesses. She’s not good at belting, at modulating, or at barn-burning rhetoric, and she didn’t try to do it. She came off as more of a human being, less as a still policy junkie. 
Watching it on TV, it look liked she had the crowd on her side. Unlike Monday night, the handful of hecklers didn’t get in the way. You couldn’t hear them clearly on TV, and Hillary ignored them and didn’t get flustered. I was worried that 100-200 Bernie-or-busters would walk out as soon as she started talking and that the TV cameras would pan to the walk-outers. But either there was no walk-out or, if there was, the TV cameras didn’t show it — a sign of restraint and good journalism. 
So, from the comfort of my living room, I was very impressed. To me, triples are more exciting than home runs.
Peter Dreier is the E.P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics and chair of the Urban & Environmental Policy Department at Occidental College. His latest book is The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A Social Justice Hall of Fame (Nation Books). 

In Philadelphia, Progressive Education Organizers Fight ‘Disaster Capitalism’ - Working In These Times

In Philadelphia, Progressive Education Organizers Fight ‘Disaster Capitalism’ - Working In These Times

Friday, July 22, 2016

Elizabeth Warren On Trump: "He Sounded Like A Two-Bit Dictator"

Trump's Dystopia

Trump's Dystopia: Trump’s dark warnings and grandiose pledges that he alone can save the troubled nation sound an ominously authoritarian note.

Harold Meyerson
Yes, Donald Trump’s acceptance speech was remarkably dystopian, painting a picture of America in which good citizens cower in their homes, afraid to stir lest they be mowed down by marauding immigrants. Yes, it was a law-and-order speech—he used the phrase four times—modeled after those of Richard Nixon, whose 1968 campaign came at a time of devastating urban riots, generational upheaval, and a bloody war that would not end. And yes, it was a speech that hurled absurd accusations, backed up by fictitious facts, at Hillary Clinton—the last in a parade of such speeches at this year’s convention.
But what made Trump’s speech truly ominous and without precedent in American politics was the role he assigned himself—and the rest of us. We are mute and defenseless. He is our voice. He alone can fix our problems. That doesn’t really leave much for the other 300 million-plus citizens of our democracy to do. It doesn’t leave much for other elected lawmakers to do, either.
Were Trump to win, he would claim not merely a mandate, but a kind of personal and mystical authority.
Were Trump to win, he would claim not merely a mandate, but a kind of personal and mystical authority. He would amend the phrase vox populi vox dei— “the voice of the people is the voice of God”—to vox Trump vox populi vox dei. Indeed, he so amended it last night.
What Trump has to offer, then, is not merely the right-wing xenophobic populism of, say, a Marine Le Pen. To this already toxic mix, he’d bring a level of personal authority and legitimacy that Le Pen and her ilk don’t claim for themselves. Armed with this additional authority and legitimacy, which no other governmental figure could claim, Trump could govern in a way that unbalances some of our checks and balances, moving our system towards a more personalist and authoritarian regime.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Chicano History Will be in the California Text Books in 2017

By Duane Campbell
History and social science textbooks in public schools in California and most of the nation are racist, class-biased, and ignore LGBT history. This condition will change in California in 2017 when new textbooks are adopted.

It is over. We won !

 At 2:45 PM July 14, 2016,  the California State Board of Education unanimously endorsed a new History /Social Science Framework for California’s public schools that includes a substantial addition of Chicano/Latino history, improved history of LGBT people, and improvements in several other histories.
This completes a 6 year effort against substantial opposition to revise the Framework.  As a result textbooks in California in 2017 will be the most inclusive ever required, and all students will be taught an inclusive history. This has been the major campaign of this blog and the Mexican American Digital History project since 2009. 

Under this decision California students will finally be encouraged to know the history of Latino civil rights leaders like Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta and Filipino labor leaders like Larry Itliong, as well as an accurate and inclusive history of LGBT activists  as a part of the history of California and the nation. These topics are currently substantially absent from public school textbooks and curricula in California.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

antiracismdsa: We Won ! Chicano History Will be in the California...

antiracismdsa: We Won ! Chicano History Will be in the California...: By Duane Campbell History and social science textbooks in public schools in California and most of the nation are racist, class-biase...

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Teachers and Violence This Week

Letter Opposing Violence from National Association of Multicultural Education, 
The deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castille and Delrawn Small serve as yet another round of reminders that the criminal justice system was born out of American racism, that our police are born in a colonial settler-state country that enforces racism in every way. Whether it is fear or hate that drives our rage and violence against each other, underneath this violence rests an impossible commitment to maintain racism. The hateful attack on Dallas police, during what had been a peaceful protest, further reinforces the violence of our nation. 
This settler-state enforced, media-encouraged violence is not limited by our racism, as the mass shooting in Orlando attests. Yet racialized, gendered, and sexualized violence is not limited to national borders. In South Africa, Black lesbians and transgender communities are regularly violently targeted, while corporal punishment is the norm in Black and Coloured schools. Recent extrajudicial killings in Kenya, persecution of people with albinism in Tanzania, the maintenance of apartheid-like conditions in Palestine, and anti-immigrant violence across Europe reminds the world of a settler-state enforced – or at least silently tolerated – violence against those we frame as “the other.”
While not everyone embodies what we are taught as children, and certainly many educators fight against these notions every day, NAME reminds us that our schools do frame such racism as normal, and the everyday operation of schools fosters a context that allows violence against particular groups of people to be seen as normal. 

While we must continue the long-term struggle to transform schools and society, we must also respond today. Schools and colleges must be at the forefront of addressing the context that justifies the dehumanizing that encourages the killing of particular people. We cannot continue as normal, when our normal justifies the violence we see around us.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Stop Trump's Wall

The Berlin Wall symbolized cold war between the east and west through 1989. The Wall in Jerusalem symbolizes undeclared war today between Israelis and Palestinians.
Completing the Border Wall would be a step towards militarization of the relationship between the US and Mexico and a harbinger of things to come.
The US Mexico Border Is Under Control and Stable
The fact is the US-Mexico border is already under control according to US official reports. Numerous laws and appropriations have been enacted over the last 15 years by the US Congress and three Presidents from both parties resulting in construction of 700 miles of wall and quadrupling the border guard to nearly 20,000 members today. Radar and drones are already in use.

Register and Vote. 
With a Trump victory, we face a serious growth in officially sanctioned racism and anti immigrant prejudice.  Trump’s campaign has made an anti immigrant narrative acceptable in the main stream media- and this strategy works.  It mobilizes right wing voters.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Extension of Education Tax Initiative on the Ballot for November

 Sacramento, in front of California Middle School, leaders and members of unions and community groups stood before a large group of reporters and announced that the coalition they belonged to had just turned in more than a million signatures to place the "California Children's Education and Health Care Protection Act" on the November state ballot.
CFT vice president Joanne Waddell said, "During the recession colleges and universities cut classes, laid off faculty and staff, and increased tuition and fees, pricing higher education out of the reach of many working families. We don't want to go back to class cuts and skyrocketing tuition rates.  Our children, our puiblic schools and our community colleges cannot afford tax cuts on the wealthy."  Waddell is also president of the Los Angeles College Faculty Guild, AFT Local 1521.   
This measure proposes to extend Proposition 30.  Prop 30 has been a game changer for public education in California.  The new ballot measure will ask to extend the top bracket income taxes for the wealthiest 2% of Californians, and drop the modest sales tax that had been part of the original Prop 30.  The revenue will help ensure that California continues to move forward toward funding education for all students from pre-school through university.
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