Friday, September 28, 2018

Vote: Defeat Trump and His enablers

The critical issue for this election is to defeat Donald Trump and his enablers. 
·      He has magnified racial prejudice to win tax cuts for the wealthy, to assault labor unions, and to reverse efforts to halt climate destruction. 
·       He has collaborated with the Russians while cutting health care for the poor in the U.S.  
·      We must stop him now before he and his enablers can further consolidate power.  
·      The available way to stop him is to Vote to win control of the U.S. Congress in the 2018 election.  

Trump’s Racially Divisive Politics Must Be Exposed and Opposed !
The intolerant campaign  promoted by Donald Trump and supported  by the Republican Party is a call to the “silent white majority” and a demand that 11 million immigrants be deported.  This campaign promotes a dangerous and divisive racial message.  It must be vigorously opposed.

 Donald Trump is a serial liar, he  regularly incites political violence and he  is a  rampant xenophoberacist, and  misogynist. He has sought to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S. He promises to build a wall on the border that would cost at least $35 billion to build, and billions each year to maintain.  And, it would not work. 
Trump has an overly cynical and conspiratorial view of immigration: calling for  building  walls, breaking up families,  and deporting people.  This fear mongering political message has found a very receptive base within our society among xenophobic and angry conservative older voters.

This campaign is dangerous.  It mobilizes right-wing  anti immigrant forces. Trump’s campaign is not just racism- it is a strategy to magnify racism to win the election – and we must defeat it.  He is promoting an anti Mexican, anti immigrant, anti Muslim agenda. This is more than the ranting of a fringe right. He is mainstreaming racism. 

This is Dog Whistle Politics, as described well in Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class, by Ian Haney López (2014).

The Trump campaign provides an example  of strategic racism, which is a system of racial oppression created and enforced because it benefits the over class, in this case the many billionaire funders of the Republican Party.   These groups foster and promote interracial conflict and job competition as a strategy to keep wages and benefits low and to promote their continuing white supremacy in the nation.

Jesuit Review withdraws Kavanaugh endorsement

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Ford Candidly Describes Alleged Kavanaugh Assault, Thought She'd 'Accide...

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's testimony today took our breath away. She was unwavering, compelling, courageous, and powerful—over hours in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. And yet, the Republicans are still pushing to confirm Brett Kavanaugh—with a committee vote scheduled for tomorrow morning!

Dr. Blasey Ford has done everything in her power. Now it is up to us—and we have to move fast! Can you show up at noon on Friday at the closest office of one of your senators? Across the country, outside Republican and Democratic offices, people are gathering—and together, we will say, "I believe Dr. Blasey Ford! The Senate must reject Brett Kavanaugh!"

Click here to find the Senate office nearest to you. (If there is no nearby office or if you can't make it in person, take a photo of yourself with a protest sign and post it on social media with hashtags #BelieveSurvivors and #StopKavanaugh.) You can also click here to join the national Facebook page for these actions. 
Wear black, and bring signs (you can download some here), with messages such as "Believe Survivors" and "Stop Kavanaugh"—as well as, if you wish, handwritten letters, and pictures or photos of the people you're fighting for. When you arrive, look for other protesters so you can stand together. These are rapid-response gatherings, without much time to prepare—so they'll be scrappy, and that's OK. You should gather together to take photos of all of you standing with your signs and post them on social media with hashtags such as #StopKavanaugh and #BelieveSurvivors. Then go into the office to deliver the message to your senators that they have a responsibility to believe survivors, block this frenzied and offensive process, and stop Kavanaugh!
We're working with allies including Indivisible, Planned Parenthood, NARAL, the National Women's Law Center, UltraViolet, CREDO, and MomsRising, and many more, to help build these gatherings on short notice—and we know that MoveOn members, friends, family, and neighbors will show up in communities around the country. Because we all experienced outrage watching the older white men of the Republican Party dismiss Dr. Blasey Ford and push ahead with their relentless and brazen power grab.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

California Bans For Profit Charter Schools

 Governor Brown signing CFT-sponsored AB 406, banning for-profit charter schools in California
The following is a statement from CFT President Joshua Pechthalt on California Governor Jerry Brown signing AB 406. AB 406 was sponsored by the California Federation of Teachers and authored by Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (AD-7) and co-authored by Assemblymember Tony Thurmond (AD-15).
“The education of our children should not be a profit making industry. Assembly Bill 406 is a landmark piece of legislation that will stop the practice of for-profit corporations from taking scarce resources away from our students for corporate profits. AB 406 is a critical step forward to ensure that all charter schools are accountable to our students, parents, and communities. There is still much work to be done to ensure that all charter schools in California are held to the same financial transparency and accountability laws as our traditional public schools.”
The California Federation of Teachers represents 120,000 teachers, faculty, and school employees in public and private schools and colleges, from early childhood through higher education. It is the statewide affiliate of the AFT. More information at

Monday, September 24, 2018

Charter Schools Money Pouring in to Superintendent Race

Both sides of California’s neoliberal divide will find something to like in “Getting Down to Facts II,” the sweeping new report on the state of public education released this week by Stanford University and PACE (Policy Analysis for California Education). The good news: Overall test scores and high school graduation rates are improving, the achievement gap is narrowing, and out-of-school suspensions and school expulsions are decreasing. The bad: This progress has been limited, and California’s education landscape continues to be rife with inequality.
Some highlights:
·      California will need to find an additional $22.1 billion per year to give all kids an adequate education.
·      The state’s charter authorization, oversight and renewal laws are a hot mess, though urban charters score well for academic growth.
·      California lags behind most states in providing medical and mental health services, as well as school counselors.
·      California’s highest-needs schools get stuck with the least-experienced and worst-paid principals.
·      All the progress with new standards, curriculum, instruction and assessments is under threat by the qualified-teacher shortage crisis.
EdSource is predicting that this year’s race for California Superintendent of Public Instruction will be the most expensive ever. Again. With seven weeks to go before Election Day, the same pro-privatization billionaires that in 2014 unsuccessfully poured $10.4 million into unseating current state schools chief Tom Torlakson have already surpassed that amount in new fundraising for Marshall Tuck. That leaves the teachers-backed candidate, Assemblyman Tony Thurmond(D-Richmond), at a two-to-one money disadvantage.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

The Left Needs Strategy for 2020 and Beyond


Progressives Need a Clear Strategy for 2020 and Beyond—Here Are 5 Guidelines

We have significant numbers. But we need to continue to build our ranks, and mobilize behind a winning political strategy.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Monday, September 10, 2018

Obama Returns To Campaign Trail, Directly Attacking Trump |

It's been 53 years since the Voting Rights Act became law, strengthening our democracy and ensuring that every American could exercise their right to vote.

That might seem like a long time, but when you think about our country's history, it's really not long at all: Just a few decades since all those brave men and women -- knowing they'd be intimidated, turned away, or even beaten -- stood up to fight for their right to cast a ballot anyway.

These courageous leaders didn't lead that movement for themselves alone. They led it for future generations, too. They led it for us. Michelle Obama. 

Now, it's our turn. We need to honor their legacy. We need to continue their work. And that's why I'm reaching out to you today, 

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Invest in Education taken off Arizona ballot

Ricardo Cano
August 29, 2018
Supporters of the measure expressed outrage over the court’s decision as news spread on social media late Wednesday afternoon.

The school-funding measure is off the ballot., The Republic

An Arizona Supreme Court ruling Wednesday knocked the Invest in Education income-tax measure off the November ballot.
According to the ruling, the measure's description "did not accurately represent the increased tax burden on the affected classes of taxpayers."
The measure, recently titled Proposition 207, was expected to bring in $690 million in additional funding for Arizona public district and charter schools.
Supporters had framed Prop. 207 as a way to fully restore the more than $1 billion in cuts to education funding since the recession.
( ed. note. California did this with passage of Propositions 30 and 55.  The major work on the campaigns was by the teachers' unions and the Democrats.)
Prop. 207 would have raised income-tax rates by 3.46 percentage points to 8 percent on individuals who earn more than $250,000 or households that earn more than $500,000. It also would have raised individual rates by 4.46 percentage points to 9 percent for individuals who earn more than $500,000 and households that earn more than $1 million.
Currently, both incomes are taxed at the highest state bracket of 4.54 percent. So, under Arizona's graduated tax, an individual who makes $750,000 now pays about $33,000 in state income taxes. Under the #InvestInEd proposal, the individual would have paid about $53,000.
The complaint alleged the petitions were misleading because they referred to the proposed tax-rate increase as a "percent" increase and not the more accurate "percentage point" increase. According to the complaint, the tax rate would have seen a 76 and 98 percent increase and not a 3.46 and 4.46 percent increase.
Raising the stakes in November
Supporters of the measure expressed outrage over the court’s decision as news spread on social media late Wednesday afternoon. Many — including educators responding on the Arizona Educators United Facebook page that advanced the #RedForEd teacher-activism movement — said the decision upped the stakes of the November election.
Education had already been among the most significant issues driving this election. Much of what has fueled the issue for voters came from a sentiment that state leaders have not done enough to address the decade-long funding cuts to public education.
Prop. 207 had the backing of progressive groups — including the Arizona Education Association, the state’s teachers’ union — and many education advocates, but it also produced polarizing discussions over how it proposed to restore education funding.
Jaime Molera, chair of Arizonans for Great Schools and a Strong Economy, celebrated the ballot measure's disqualification, calling the measure "fatally flawed."
Molera and the Arizona Chamber of Commerce had challenged the measure in court.
“Not only was the initiative poorly crafted, it was the wrong plan. It would have harmed all taxpayers, small businesses, and would not have delivered on its promises for teachers, while weakening education reforms that were achieved in a bipartisan fashion under Proposition 301," Molera said in a statement.
Opponents of the measure have alleged the proposed income-tax hike would have been catastrophic for Arizona's economy and small-business owners. Opponents did not offer alternative funding proposals, though they generally supported Gov. Doug Ducey's #20by2020 plan to raise teacher wages.
The Arizona Chamber of Commerce, Ducey and other state business leaders have largely ignored a proposal by former PetSmart CEO Phil Francis and several others to raise the sales tax by a cent to bring in more money for education. 
Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas' suggestion to raise the sales tax has also been ignored.
'Completely unprecedented'
The Prop. 207 campaign gathered 270,000 signatures within 10 weeks to secure the measure on the ballot after it was first introduced during the #RedForEd teacher walkout.
Thousands of volunteers — many of them spurred on by the #RedForEd teacher-activism movement that erupted in early March and culminated in a six-day statewide teacher walkout — mounted a grassroots effort to help gather the needed signatures.
The measure had stalled as supporters and opponents fought two separate court battles. Supporters successfully argued one of those challenges — that a committee of state legislators used biased wording to describe the measure in publicity pamphlets.
The other, brought forth by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, led to Wednesday's court ruling.
David Lujan, treasurer for the Prop. 207 campaign, told The Arizona Republic that the measure's disqualification is "completely unprecedented" and is "reversing the work of thousands of people in Arizona who collected signatures to put it on the ballot."
Lujan said the measure's removal means that voters will no longer have the option to decide on a plan to restore those education cuts.
"Now it makes the November election that much more critical," Lujan said. "Arizona's public schools cannot wait any longer for our politicians to continue on with no plan to properly fund our schools.
"We need to elect people who care more about investing in education than passing more tax cuts."
Blaming Ducey
Supporters of Prop. 207 immediately placed blame for the measure's defeat on Ducey, who is running for re-election.
David Garcia, the Democratic nominee for governor, on Wednesday said Ducey had “stacked” the state’s highest court, leading it to shoot down Prop. 207.
Ducey has appointed three of the seven judges who sit on the court's bench. The governor also signed legislation in 2016 that expanded the court from five justices to seven.
“The stakes for the race for governor in Arizona just changed utterly and irrevocably,” Garcia said. “We must elect pro-public education candidates up and down the ballot to prevent this kind of corruption in the future. I’m proud to stand with our educators, parents and kids.”
The Ducey campaign did not immediately comment on Wednesday’s court ruling. A spokesman for Ducey said Wednesday evening that the governor was still reviewing the five-paragraph ruling.
Joe Thomas, president of the Arizona Education Association, and Noah Karvelis, a teacher who gained local fame and scorn for his role in organizing the walkout, addressed the ruling in a Facebook live video on the Arizona Educators United page.
Activity on the private Facebook page had mostly been dormant compared with the height of the teacher-activism movement. But Wednesday's video address drew a higher-than-usual audience.
Thomas called the ruling "a dirty, low blow by the governor.”
"Voters have been cheated out of this opportunity," Thomas told teachers in the group.
He added: "Don’t mourn, organize" and encouraged teachers and education supporters to wear red on Thursday.
Republic reporter Maria Polletta contributed to this article.

Monday, September 03, 2018

Labor Day Message - For Educators

A growing and enduring middle class, great public schools, a living wage, affordable healthcare and college, a decent retirement, a voice at work and in our democracy, communities that are safe and welcoming—these are American aspirations, and they are what the American labor movement has fought for, for generations. We have fought to ensure these aspirations are attainable for everyone, no matter your ZIP code, race, religion, ethnicity, sex or gender identity.
That’s who we are as a labor movement and as the American Federation of Teachers. And what further binds AFT members together, whether you started working just this week or 30 years ago, is that we make a difference in the lives of others. Every day, we care, we fight and we show up for our families; for the patients, children and citizens we serve; for our communities; and for the freedoms we cherish as Americans. 
This is the 10th year I’ve penned a Labor Day message. It allows me to honor the work of the 1.7 million educators, nurses and health professionals, and public service workers who constitute our union. But this Labor Day can’t just be a day to honor working people, or to march or picnic or go shopping or take those last deep breaths of summer. 
Everything we’ve fought for and have attained is on the line right now—labor rights, civil rights, voting rights, educational opportunities and our democracy itself. Just as it fell to our founders who forged our unions long ago, it falls to our generations, millennials and baby boomers alike, to be the ones who stop the march toward a new Gilded Age and ensure everyone who calls America home has the freedom to secure a better life. 
That’s what the labor movement does: We fight for voice and freedom at work and at the ballot box, just as striking teachers did this past winter and spring. Unions are the best vehicle for working people to secure a better life. Together, we make possible what would be impossible for individuals acting alone. We are the best hope for a fair and decent America. 
The other side—Betsy DeVos, the Koch brothers—they know this. That’s why they’ve spent so much of their time and money trying to take unions out. They call it freedom, but, in reality, they want people to fend for themselves. Alone. They like the current system of winners and losers, and will use their money and power in our economic and political system to keep their power. What they didn’t expect is that working people would see through their facade and overwhelmingly rejected right-wing efforts to divide us and destroy unions.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.