Warnings from Erich Martel

I am reposting the entirety of a sobering and warning letter from my former DCPS colleague, Erich Martel, about the current political situation, which he posted on the Concerned4DCPS list-serve. I am positive he wants it disseminated. — GFB

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ehmartel@starpower.net [concerned4DCPS] <concerned4dcps@yahoogroups.com>UnsubscribeTo:ehmartel@starpower.netSat, Oct 31 at 7:33 PM

FYI – There are links to a number of articles.  Be sure to recommend to friends in Pennsylvania and North Carolina – and other states – to vote in person, if possible. 

Republicans have launched over 300 lawsuits to challenge mail ballots arriving after November 3rd.

The anti-democratic forces that have periodically threatened to tear this country apart. What Pres. Trump is threatening has happened before.  I don’t mean slavery.  I mean the unleashing of white nationalist terror to purge the South of biracial state governments after Reconstruction and the evisceration of the 14th and 15th Amendments by the Supreme Court. 

In 1896, 126,000 Black men were registered to vote in North Carolina; six years later, in 1902, only 6,100 remained registered: https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2020/11/19/wilmington-american-pogrom/  

I hope everyone agrees that every legitimate vote should be counted. I have linked a number of articles, all very unsettling. 

Erich

By now, I hope everyone is aware of and understands the seriousness of President Trump’s threats that, if he loses his re-election bid, he will not accept the results. 

On the other hand, if he wins, he will remove all restraints on autocratic power (think: Orban, Putin, Xi, Kim, Bolsinaro)

I assume everyone shares these concerns:

Trump’s Threats to the Election (as is his pattern, he signals his intentions, in part to test the loyalty of his base):

  1. The potential turmoil threatened by Trump bears some resemblance to the violence during the Election of 1876 and the consequences of the Compromise of 1877:  

Contested election results in 3 states (FL, LA, SC) + a replaced elector from Oregon led to The Compromise of 1877: https://www.270towin.com/1876_Election/ that gave the election to Republican Hayes (Democrat Tilden won the popular vote) in return for ending federal military supervision of those states to protect the biracial Reconstruction governments from White nationalist terror. This led to so-called “Redeemer” (White supremacists Democratic) takeovers and passage of “Jim Crow” laws disenfranchising and segregating Black citizens that lasted until the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed.  The spate of voter suppression laws passed after the Supreme Court’s Shelby decision makes clear that voting rights are threatened.

  1. The Barrett nomination:

If Trump loses, he and his allies will attempt to create confusion in order to find a technicality that will open a path to the Supreme Court. Barrett will be the third SC justice (in addition to CJ Roberts & Justice Kavanaugh) who was on the 2000 legal team that oppose a recount of the Florida votes in question:  https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/17/politics/bush-v-gore-barrett-kavanaugh-roberts-supreme-court/index.html .  With all the qualified judges available for SC nomination, even among those who are conservative, how is it possible to have put three veterans of the 2000 election on the SC?  Sen. Whitehouse (D-RI) explains the role of the Federalist Society.

10/13/20 (Senate Judiciary Comm.): Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse explains how Trump and his Senate allies used judicial candidate lists prepared by the Federalist Society, funded by anonymous money, to pack the Supreme Court with reliable right wing allies: https://twitter.com/i/status/1316126029522575363 and 10/14/20: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5-Snk_thAs&feature=emb_rel_end  

https://www.startribune.com/barrett-ads-tied-to-interest-groups-funded-by-unnamed-donors/572873311/

  1. Two Trump comments:
  2. July 30th, Trump tweeted:

“With Universal mail-in voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history.  It will be a great embarrassment to the USA.  Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???”

On August 1st, Brian Williams asked Yale historian Timothy Snyder, specialist on the Holocaust, authoritarianism & fascism, to analyze that tweet (https://twitter.com/TimothyDSnyder):

It is troubling to see the term “fascist” used to describe the behavior, words and actions of an American president.  It shouldn’t; fascism takes many authoritarian forms, all anti-democratic; the Holocaust was the most extreme.  In fact, German Na zi lawyers saw American race laws as a model: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/11/what-america-taught-the-nazis/540630/ and James Q. Whitman, “Hilter’s American Model” (2017).

  1. On Sept 23rd, Trump said,“We’ll want to have — get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very — we’ll have a very peaceful — there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There’ll be a continuation.”

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/trump-peaceful-transition-if-he-loses-get-rid-ballots-there-n1240896

  1. “The Election That Could Break America” by Barton Gellman

The most thorough and dire account of the many ways that Trump and his allies could throw the election into confusion is in The Atlantic:

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/11/what-if-trump-refuses-concede/616424/

If the vote is close, Donald Trump could easily throw the election into chaos and subvert the result. Who will stop him?    Excerpt:

Let us not hedge about one thing.

Donald Trump may win or lose,

but he will never concede.

Interview with Gellman: https://www.wbur.org/onpoint/2020/10/15/the-elections-threat-of-political-violence

https://www.salon.com/2020/10/18/historian-timothy-snyder-warns-that-america-is-already-in-its-own-slow-motion-reichstag-fire/

Wash Post columnist E.J. Dionne explains the role of Roe v. Wade in judicial nominations (excerpts):

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/capitulating-to-the-right-wont-end-the-judicial-wars/2020/09/23/5402f378-fdd5-11ea-9ceb-061d646d9c67_story.html

[[Why do President Trump and the Republican majority in the Senate feel empowered to launch a right-wing judicial coup? They can do so because the mainstream media have largely accepted the false terms of the Supreme Court debate set by conservatives — and because progressives and moderates have utterly failed to overturn them.

As a result, we face a crisis moment. The Supreme Court could fall into the hands of activist reactionaries for a generation or more. Preventing a political minority from enjoying indefinite veto power over our democratically elected branches of government requires getting the facts and the history right.

This polarization is the conservatives’ doing. And it did not start with Robert Bork. The current incarnation of Supreme Court warfare began in the early 1960s when the far right launched its “Impeach Earl Warren” campaign against the chief justice who presided over the Brown v. Board of Education desegregation decision and other liberal victories. /…/

Yes, liberals were very tough on Bork when President Ronald Reagan nominated him. But … Bork got a hearing and a floor vote. In the end, 58 senators, including six Republicans, voted against him. /…/

Conservatives use Roe v. Wade as a decoy. Of course Roe will continue to matter. But conservatives have brilliantly used the abortion question to distract attention from the core of their activist agenda: dismantling regulation, gutting civil rights laws, narrowing voting rights enforcement giving moneyed interests free rein in our politics, strengthening corporate power, weakening unions, undercutting antitrust laws — and, now, tearing apart the Affordable Care Act.

Conservatives would much rather talk about abortion than any of these other questions. Why? Because they don’t want the public to hear about issues related to democracy and economic justice on which the right takes the unpopular side. What they can’t win in Congress, they want to win through the courts. That is the dirty secret of conservative judicial activism that McConnell and his friends would love to keep under wraps.]]

Erich   ehmartel@starpower.net

Further reading:

Before I took leave from Kto16, there was a discussion about the president’s comments on the teaching of American History.  In response, the American Historical Association (AHA) released a statement (46 organizations have signed on as of mid-October):  https://www.historians.org/news-and-advocacy/aha-advocacy/aha-statement-on-the-recent-white-house-conference-on-american-history-(september-2020) 

Fauci  60 minutes  He describes death threats against him.  10-18-20

THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION’S PATTERN OF POLITICAL INTERFERENCE IN THE NATION’S CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE:

“USPS documents link changes behind mail slowdowns to top executives”: 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/09/24/usps-delays-dejoy-documents/

Nancy MacLean, “Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America” (2017)

https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2018/03/08/democracy-chains-interview-author-nancy-maclean

Timothy Snyder, “Not a Normal Election: The ethical meaning of a vote for Donald Trump”:

https://www.commonwealmagazine.org/not-normal-election (Commonweal is a Catholic magazine)

Timothy Snyder, “On Tyranny:  20 Lessons from the 20th Century”:

Below are a few of the 20 chapter titles and his commentaries on Trump. Some are relevant right now:

1.       Do not obey in advance

2.       Defend institutions (notice how Trump wants to reduce the federal civil service to personal loyalists)

6.       Be wary of paramilitaries (Where was Trump’s condemnation of “militia” threats in Michigan?)

8.       Stand out

10.     Believe in truth

“To abandon facts is to abandon freedom.  If nothing is true, then no one can criticize power, because there is no basis upon which to do so. If nothing is true, then all is spectacle. The biggest wallet pays for the most blinding lights.”

11.     Investigate – “Figure things out for yourself. … Subsidize investigative journalism …”

16.      Learn from peers in other countries

17.      Listen for dangerous words__._,_.___


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Descendants!

A very well-done series of contemporary photos of the descendants of famous people from a century or more ago, next to portraits of those folks. So we have a famous portrait of Napoleon in his study, next to a photograph of one of his great-great-great-great-grandsons, Hugo de Salis, wearing nearly identical clothing, and posed in the same lighting, perhaps in the very same room!

The link is here.

Thomas Jefferson? Check.

Frederick Douglass? Check.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton? Check.

And many more.

View at Medium.com

Published in: on October 26, 2020 at 12:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

Lying Right-Wingers Intensify Talk of a Coup

They accuse the left of doing precisely what they themselves are planning.

Dan Bongino, a right-wing commentator, amplified an unsubstantiated rumor that the left was planning a coup against President Trump.

Credit…

Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

By Davey Alba

• Oct. 13, 2020, 4:41 p.m. ET

In a video posted to Facebook on Sept. 14, Dan Bongino, a popular right-wing commentator and radio host, declared that Democrats were planning a coup against President Trump on Election Day.

For just over 11 minutes, Mr. Bongino talked about how bipartisan election experts who had met in June to plan for what might happen after people vote were actually holding exercises for such a coup. To support his baseless claim, he twisted the group’s words to fit his meaning.

“I want to warn you that this stuff is intense,” Mr. Bongino said, speaking into the camera to his 3.6 million Facebook followers. “Really intense, and you need to be ready to digest it all.”

His video, which has been viewed 2.9 million times, provoked strong reactions. One commenter wrote that people should be prepared for when Democrats “cross the line” so they could “show them what true freedom is.” Another posted a meme of a Rottweiler about to pounce, with the caption, “Veterans be like … Say when Americans.”

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The coup falsehood was just one piece of misinformation that has gone viral in right-wing circles ahead of Election Day on Nov. 3. In another unsubstantiated rumor that is circulating on Facebook and Twitter, a secret network of elites was planning to destroy the ballots of those who voted for President Trump. And in yet another fabrication, supporters of Mr. Trump said that an elite cabal planned to block them from entering polling locations on Election Day.

All of the rumors appeared to be having the same effect: Of riling up Mr. Trump’s restive base, just as the president has publicly stoked the idea of election chaos. In comment after comment about the falsehoods, respondents said the only way to stop violence from the left was to respond in kind with force.

“Liberals and their propaganda,” one commenter wrote. “Bring that nonsense to country folks who literally sit in wait for days to pull a trigger.”

Keep up with Election 2020

All live election updates

Latest updates on today’s polls

The misinformation, which has been amplified by right-wing media such as the Fox News host Mark Levin and outlets like Breitbart and The Daily Wire, adds contentiousness to an already powder-keg campaign season. Mr. Trump has repeatedly declined to say whether he would accept a peaceful transfer of power if he lost to his Democratic challenger, Joseph R. Biden Jr., and has urged his supporters “to go into the polls and watch very carefully.”

The falsehoods on social media are building support for the idea of disrupting the election. Election officials have said they fear voter harassment and intimidation on Election Day.

Image

Credit…

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“This is extremely concerning,” said Megan Squire, a computer science professor at Elon University in Elon, N.C., who tracks extremists online. Combined with Mr. Trump’s comments, the false rumors are “giving violent vigilantes an excuse” that acting out in real life would be “in defense of democracy,” she said.

Tim Murtaugh, a Trump campaign spokesman, said Mr. Trump would “accept the results of an election that is free, fair and without fraud” and added that the question of violence was “better put to Democrats.”

In a text message, Mr. Bongino said the idea of a Democratic coup was “not a rumor” and that he was busy “exposing LIBERAL violence.”

Distorted information about the election is also flowing in left-wing circles online, though to a lesser degree, according to a New York Times analysis. Such misinformation includes a viral falsehood that mailboxes were being blocked by unknown actors to effectively discourage people from voting.

Other popular leftist sites, like Liberal Blogger and The Other 98%, have also twisted facts to push a critical narrative about Republicans, according to PolitiFact, a fact-checking website. In one inflammatory claim last week, for instance, the left-wing Facebook page Occupy Democrats asserted that President Trump had directly inspired a plot by a right-wing group to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan.

Social media companies appear increasingly alarmed by how their platforms may be manipulated to stoke election chaos. Facebook and Twitter took steps last week to clamp down on false information before and after the vote. Facebook banned groups and posts related to the pro-Trump conspiracy movement QAnon and said it would suspend political advertising postelection. Twitter said it was changing some basic features to slow the way information flows on its network.

On Friday, Twitter executives urged people “to recognize our collective responsibility to the electorate to guarantee a safe, fair and legitimate democratic process this November.”

Election 2020 ›

Latest Updates

Updated 

Oct. 13, 2020, 8:54 p.m. ET

1 hour ago

1 hour ago

Trump, trailing in key states, lashes at Biden in Pennsylvania rally.

Harris interrogates Barrett’s stances on health care and reproductive rights at Senate hearing.

Indiana’s 10-day extension of mail-in voting is rejected by an appeals court panel.

Of the lies, Facebook said it was “removing calls for interference or violence at polling places” and would label posts that sought to delegitimize the results. YouTube said it was not recommending videos containing the false rumors, while Twitter said sharing links to disputed news stories was permitted if the tweets did not violate its rules.

Even so, the idea of a Democrat-led coup has gained plenty of traction online in recent weeks. It has made its way into at least 938 Facebook groups, 279 Facebook pages, 33 YouTube videos and hundreds of tweets, a Times analysis found.

The unfounded claim traces back to an Aug. 11 letter from two former military officers, John Nagl and Paul Yingling, to the country’s top military official, Gen. Mark A. Milley, according to researchers at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, a London-based research organization. In their public letter, Mr. Nagl and Mr. Yingling asked General Milley to have military forces ready to escort President Trump from the White House grounds if he lost the election and refused to leave.

Some online commentators seized on the letter as evidence of a coming left-wing coup. “Bootlickers Nagl and Yingling suggest a violent military coup,” read one post on Facebook on Aug. 12, which got 619 likes and comments and linked to the letter. That same day, Infowars, a conspiracy theory website, also published a piece claiming that retired army officers were openly talking about a coup by Democrats.

Mr. Nagl and Mr. Yingling did not respond to requests for comment.

On Sept. 4, the right-wing outlet The National Pulse added to the conspiracy. It published a piece pointing to what it said were the “radical, anti-democratic tactics” of the Transition Integrity Project, a bipartisan group of former government officials who analyzed how to prevent a disrupted presidential election and transition. The group published a report on Aug. 3 about its efforts, but The National Pulse said the document showed “an impending attempt to delegitimize the election coming from the far left.”

Trey Grayson, a Republican former secretary of state of Kentucky and a member of the Transition Integrity Project, said the idea that the group was preparing a left-wing coup was “crazy.” He said the group had explored many election scenarios, including a victory by Mr. Trump.

Michael Anton, a former national security adviser to President Trump, also published an essay on Sept. 4 in the conservative publication The American Mind, claiming, “Democrats are laying the groundwork for revolution right in front of our eyes.”

His article was the tipping point for the coup claim. It was posted more than 500 times on Facebook and reached 4.9 million people, according to CrowdTangle, a Facebook-owned analytics tool. Right-wing news sites such as The Federalist and DJHJ Media ramped up coverage of the idea, as did Mr. Bongino.

Mr. Anton did not respond to a call for comment.

The lie also began metastasizing. In one version, right-wing commentators claimed, without proof, that Mr. Biden would not concede if he lost the election. They also said his supporters would riot.

“If a defeated Biden does not concede and his party’s rioters take to the streets in a coup attempt against President Trump, will the military be needed to stop them?” tweeted Mr. Levin, the Fox News host, on Sept. 18. His message was shared nearly 16,000 times.

After The Times contacted him, Mr. Levin published a note on Facebook saying his tweet had been a “sarcastic response to the Democrats.”

Bill Russo, a spokesman for the Biden campaign, said in a statement that Mr. Biden would accept how the people voted. “Donald Trump and Mike Pence are the ones who refuse to commit to a peaceful transfer of power,” he said.

On YouTube, dozens of videos pushing the false coup narrative have collectively gathered more than 1.2 million views since Sept. 7, according to a tally by The Times. One video was titled, “RED ALERT: Are the President’s Enemies Preparing a COUP?”

The risk of misinformation translating to real-world action is growing, said Mike Caulfield, a digital literacy expert at Washington State University Vancouver.

“What we’ve seen over the past four years is an increasing capability” from believers to turn these conspiracy narratives “into direct physical actions,” he said.

Ben Decker contributed research.

Published in: on October 13, 2020 at 9:26 pm  Comments (1)  

Suggestions on what to do about the Supreme Court nominee, redux

Remember the list of suggestions by Bill Svelmoe for what to do about Amy Coney Barrett’s illegitimate nomination to the US Supreme Court?

The list went viral, as you may be able to read below.

I hope that Harris and other senators are taking those suggestions seriously.

Does “school choice” serve the students?

Steve Ruis explains quite clearly why it doesn’t:

The Limits of School Choice

by Steve Ruis

I have written before about the “school choice movement,” a thinly disguised privatizing campaign seeking to suck up some of those public dollars being spent on public education. Basically, once “financiers” had ravaged all of the private economic segments, they decided that the vast untapped market of “education” was the last frontier for their rapaciousness.

Lets look at the idea from a cost benefit basis.

Suppose you live in a smallish town which supports a number of grade schools, maybe a middle school or two and a single high school. Your community does it best to create good schools with the highest community standards they can muster but, of course, there are limitations. This high school cannot offer every possible course that might serve a small cluster of students, so they focus on offering courses that will serve the majority.

So, is having a second school even an option for such a community? The answer is clearly no. Dividing the communities funds into two pools to offer the same curriculum doesn’t make any sense at all. This would involve and increase in infrastructure costs with no increase in capacity. So, could not each of the two schools focus their efforts, such as one being an arts magnet school and the other a science magnet school (just for example)? Again, this is problematic. What if the two clusters are of unequal size with the arts school having twice the number of students as the science school? And why spread them out? Why not have schools within the original school, so that classes in both areas could be available to all students? Why deprive the science students of the art classes being taught at the other school? (Scientists are often drawn to music; one of my chemistry professors was a performing cellist.)

Okay we now move up a notch. Our community is now large enough to support two high schools. Should competition between these two play a role in the running of these two schools? For example, let’s say that one school is clearly superior to the other, and you decide to let the parent’s choose which school to place their kids in. (I have seen this happen in public schools through the simple expedient of parent’s lying about where they lived, using an aunt’s address for example to get their kid into a desirable school.) In this case, knowledgeable parents will sign their kids up to the “good” school and desert the “bad” school. The “good” school will suffer from overloading issues (large class sizes, teacher burnout from trying to interact with too many students, wear and tear on facilities, etc.) and the “bad” school will suffer from small class sizes (limiting student interactions), inability to field sports teams, inability to offer classes in advanced topics due to low enrollment, etc.

Plus, you have to ask how it is that parents determine which school is good and which is bad. If we take how well they are informed when it comes to voting as an example, their education “decisions” won’t be as informed as we all might wish them to be.

Currently, schools are set up, mostly, to serve geographic communities. This does have some advantages for racists, of course, with the whole school busing movement testifies to, But there are legitimate reasons for this also. Would you want your child taking a one-hour bus ride, each way, every day for school? Would you want to drive them to school and back this way (four hours per day driving for you)? Such schools also can be more community oriented. Schools in farming regions can teach agriculture courses, for example. (I lived in a rural community in which the high school had a gunsmithing course.) Schools near technology centers can teach more tech classes, etc. That is these schools can teach topics that lead to employment in their community, which helps keep communities together, instead of kids drifting away from the community to find work. Community colleges exemplify these goals.

So, now let’s look at large school districts, having multiple high schools. Is competition between any of them at all good (outside of between student athletic or academic teams)?

To engage in competition that is considered healthy and which leads to superior “products” you have to ask whether or not the “competitors” are equipped to compete. In the major metropolitan area I now live in (Chicago), the athletic teams are segregated by school population. The really large schools don’t compete against tiny schools. The large schools have all of the advantages and would just crush the smaller school teams. The same issues apply to school academic issues. Large schools have thousands of candidates for any sport or academic team (e.g. debate, Math Olympiad, etc.). The really small schools may have only dozens. This is why they make sport movies, e.g. Hoosiers, about a small school team beating a large school team for a championship. Just through sheer numbers, the larger schools have great advantages.

So, let’s say that schools do compete. Do they have control over the tools of competition? Control over things like budget, coaching, teacher quality, etc? Largely they do not. In wealthier areas, there are alumni support groups who donate funds to support athletic teams. In poor areas, the parents cannot afford such things. In rich areas, the tax base is greater and financial support is better. In rich areas, teachers have better living conditions. School districts, no matter how much they recruit, do not determine who applies for teaching jobs at their schools, the teachers make those decisions.

Once teachers are hired, is there an infrastructure in place to determine which are really good, which are adequate and which are so poor as to deserve being fired? The answer is kinda sorta, unfortunately. Unlike in business, there are no production or sales parameters that can be used to determine which people are pulling their own weight. (My own experience is that the vast majority of teachers are “competent.” Very few are brilliant or exemplary and also very few are so bad as to need their contracts terminated.

Now, are their any examples of what competition does for the schools? It turns out there is. A recent survey determined the highest paid “state employee” of each state of the US. Who do you think it turned out to be highest paid state employee most frequently? The governors? The presidents of university systems? The heads of public healthcare networks or public utilities? In most states, the highest paid state employee . . . drum roll, please . . . was one of the state’s university’s football coaches. This is what competition gets you . . . vastly overpaid employees . . . which always have vastly underpaid employees elsewhere as a compensation. In a university system where Nobel-prize winning academics can only hope for a salary as high as $200,000 annually, football coaches make five, six, seven million dollars for the same term.

So, we must be very careful in determining who reaps the benefits of competition as it isn’t always the people being served.

I cannot fathom a scenario in which school competition benefits the students most. We have seen charter school after charter school close business, some do this before they have officially opened. In business this is acceptable, but in educating the youths of our community, this is unacceptable. Those students are required, by law, to be educated. The money spent to educate those students at the closing charter schools is gone. But those students will be lined up for admission at the public schools the very next day and they cannot be turned away . . . no “Sorry, you have already spent your allocation of public education money, you will have to wait until next year to continue your education.” Imagine having been sold a lemon of a car and then dumping that and lining up at a government office for free public transportation. Is that happening anywhere? Does anyone actually want that kind of “education insurance”?

The charter school movement is sucking the funds out of our public schools systems. They are enabled in this effort by supportive politicians which make up supportive laws just for them . . . and these politicians receive “campaign donations,” aka bribes, from the charter operators to do this, often using public funds they were given for other purposes. (Any public school system doing that would result in people in jail.) The charter operators claim to offer “school choice” . . . but do they? Testing shows that charter schools are little different from public schools in educational outcomes. They differ solely in their ability to go out of business, which they do at alarming rates. So, what kind of choice is this? It is a bogus choice. It is like a restaurant making extravagant claims about the quality of their food, so you go and find out that their food is awful. The restaurant doesn’t care because they already have your money and they aren’t dependent upon repeat business. This is the Achilles heel of the “competition” argument. Modern marketing allows people to be hoodwinked into buying what they are selling. When they don’t deliver, you have no recourse. And, they are not dependent upon you being a repeat customer.

There is a word for this kind of business, several actually: scam, con, Ponzi scheme, etc.

Now, I do not deny that there are some reputable charter schools, who serve students adequately. But are these really a “choice” that makes anything better? Imagine a community that has a dozen different car dealerships. Then someone opens up a second, say, Chevrolet dealership which offers the same models at the same prices as the one already there. Do you really have any additional choice or are you and the other car buyers just spreading your car buying money around into more hands?

Published in: on October 8, 2020 at 7:53 pm  Comments (1)  

Anger AND Schadenfreude

I don’t want Fat Donnie to die right away.

I’d prefer that he suffer for a while.

I hope he lives long enough (though in pain and mabe on a ventilator) to see him and his gritting Republican enablers get swept out of office in a landslide.

I hope he lives long enough to get put out of the office, and indicted on numerous counts of fraud, criminal money laundering, rape, bribery, extortion, and more.

I hope he goes bankrupt so bad that the Russian mafia and Deutsch Bank both send people to rearrange his anatomy in unpleasant ways.

But most of all I want blacks, whites, asians, Latinos, etc who belong to the middle class and working class and poverty stricken class to realize that we are not each other’s enemies: we are being divided and set upon each other by the agents of the tiny class of billionaires who don’t want ANY of us to have decent schools for our kids. Or decent, guaranteed medical care. Or healthful food in stores. Or decent pay or any job security. While they make out like — I was gonna say “bandits” but the Koch brothers, the Walton family, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Vladimir Putin, Saudi monarchs, and all the rest — they are wealthier than any ruling class ever dreamed of being in the past.

Yet they want more.

LEt us keep note of all the sycophantic grifters and perverts in his entourage, and not forget their sins nor forgive them too easily. Let us remember all the racist and fascistic thugs that hang onto Fat Donnie’s latest lies, no matter what. Those people cannot be trusted under any circumstances. Remember them!

Published in: on October 2, 2020 at 11:34 pm  Comments (1)  

How to stop a Coup

I am more and more certain that Trump and his racist gangs of violent thugs will attempt a coup when the polling results come in after November 3.

A racist coup d’etat (or armed overthrow of the government) has, in fact, happened before here in the US: Wilmington NC, in 1898. Look it up. There was also an unsuccessful attempt by bankers to overthrow FDR in 1934.

Here are some ideas from one group on how to stop a coup.

===========

10 Things You Need to Know to Stop a Coup

1. Don’t expect results Election night.

Election season 2020 is shaping up to be very unusual. Many mail-in ballots may not be counted until days or weeks after Election Day. Since Democrats are expected to use them more frequently than Republicans, voter tallies are expected to swing towards Democrats post-election night (they call it a “blue shift”). A wave of confusion may unfold starting Election night.

During this time expect false flags and outlandish claims. Be very cautious with news. Don’t simply pass on whatever seems dramatic examples of wrongdoing — but take the time to check if it has been verified, already debunked, or from a source you don’t trust.

Encourage people in your community to prepare for some uncertain weeks. As election results start coming in the message needs to come through loud and clear: count all the votes.

2. Do call it a coup.

People who do power grabs always claim they’re doing it to save democracy or claim they know the “real” election results. This doesn’t have to look like a military coup with one leader ordering the opposition to be arrested.

We can know it’s a coup if the government:

  • Stops counting votes;
  • Declares someone a winner who didn’t get the most votes; or
  • Allows someone to stay in power who didn’t win the election.

Here’s just one possible scenario: the night of the election (November 3) no victor is determined. Ballots keep getting counted. Meanwhile, there are claims (likely with minimal evidence) the incoming mail-in ballots now being counted are fraudulent. On December 14 the delegates for the electoral college meet in the state capital. But if the results are being contested, Governors and State Legislatures may each send in different results — one reflecting the results from voters, the other claiming “it’s a fraud” and “we know best” — undermining the integrity of the voting process.

This set of differences has to get resolved on January 6 by the new Congress. And if the House and Senate don’t agree about the result, then a convoluted process unfolds where the newly seated House selects (one-state-one-vote) the President and the Senate (by Majority) votes for the new Vice President. (#ShutDownDC provides a very helpful break-down of these steps.)

In any scenario, if any of those three principles are violated, we have to declare loudly and strongly: this is a coup.

3. Know that coups have been stopped by regular folks.

Coup attempts have happened all over the world, and over half have failed. That’s because coups are hard to orchestrate. Because they are a violation of norms, they require quick seizure of multiple levels of institutions with a claim that they are the rightful heir.

Coups tend to fail when government institutions (like elections) are trusted, there is an active citizenry, and other nations are ready to become involved.

The role of citizenry is crucial. That’s because during the period right after a coup attempt— when the new government is claiming it is the “real” government — all the institutions have to decide who to listen to.

A failed coup in Germany 1920 gives an example. The population felt beaten down by defeat in World War I and high unemployment. Right-wing nationalists organized a coup and got the help of a few generals to seize government buildings.

The deposed government fled but ordered all citizens to obey them. “No enterprise must work as long as the military dictatorship reigns,” they declared.

Widespread nonviolent resistance quickly began. Printers refused to print the new government’s newspapers. Civil servants refused to carry out any orders from the coup. And leaflets calling for an end to the coup were spread by airplane and by hand.

There’s a story of the coup leader wandering up and down the corridors looking in vain for a secretary to type up his proclamations. The acts of resistance grew and eventually the democratic government (which still had grave problems) was returned to power.

The moments after a coup are moments for heroism amongst the general population. It’s how we make democracy real.

4. Be ready to act quickly — and not alone.

Typically power grabs are organized in secret and launched suddenly. Most campaigns that defeat coups do so in days: Soviet Union in 1991 took 3 days, France in 1961 took 4 days, and Bolivians in 1978 took 16 days.

It’s rare for any country leader to publicly admit they might not respect the results of an election. There’s some good news in that — because people who stop coups rarely have the chance to get training, warning, or preparation. In that way, we’re ahead of the game.

A group of DC insiders called the Transition Integrity Project ran multiple simulations on Trump attempting to hold onto power no matter what. In every simulation they concluded that a “show of numbers in the streets may be decisive.” Regular people make the difference.

To start preparing, talk to at least 5 people who would go into the streets with you — the safest way to take to the streets is with people you know and trust. Talk to people you know in civil service and various roles about how they could non-comply with coup attempts. Use this time to get yourself ready to act.

5. Focus on widely shared democratic values, not on individuals.

In Argentina 1987, a coup got started when an Air Force Major, resenting attempts to democratize the military and bring it under civilian control, organized hundreds of soldiers at his base.

While the civilian government tried to quietly negotiate a settlement, people took to the streets. Against the government’s pleading, 500 regular citizens marched to the base with the slogan “Long live democracy! Argentina! Argentina!” They could have spent time attacking the Major. Instead, they were appealing to their fellow citizens to choose democracy.

The Major tried to keep them away with a tank, but the protesters entered the base anyway, and he knew that open firing on nonviolent civilians would cause him to lose more credibility. Soon 400,000 people took to the streets in Buenos Aires to rally in opposition to the coup.

This gave strength to the civilian government (which had largely been absent). Civic organizations, the Catholic church, business groups, and labor unions united under a pledge to “support in all ways possible the constitution, the normal development of the institutions of government and democracy as the only viable way of life of the Argentines.” The coup plotters lost their legitimacy and soon surrendered.

This approach is different than protesters going in the street with a list of issues or a grievance against a vilified leader. Instead, it’s exalting widely-shared core democratic values. In our project we use the language of “choosing democracy.”

6. Convince people not to freeze or just go along.

Imagine that at your job a corrupt boss gets fired and a new one is brought in. Instead of leaving, your old boss says, “I’m still in charge. Do what I say.” A bunch of your co-workers say, “We only take orders from the old boss.” At that point, doubt arises.

That doubt is how coups succeed. Enough people freeze. Even when only a few people go along with the coup and act as though that’s normal, people may reluctantly accept it as inevitable.

In all the research on preventing coups, there’s one common theme: people stop doing what the coup plotters tell them to do.

In Germany, from military commanders to secretaries, they refused to obey the orders of the coup. In Mali they called a nationwide strike. In Sudan protestors shut down government-supported radio stations and occupied airport runways. In Venezuela all shops were closed.

Coups are not a time to just watch and wait until “someone else” figures it out. No matter who you are you can be part of choosing democracy.

7. Commit to actions that represent rule of law, stability, and nonviolence.

Stopping a coup is dependent on the size of mobilizations and winning over the center. It is really a fight for legitimacy. Which voice is legitimate? Some people will have already made up their minds. The aim then is convincing those who are uncertain — which may be a more surprising number than you expect.

But to swing to our side, that uncertain center has to be convinced that “we” represent stability and “the coup plotters” represent hostility to the democratic norms of elections and voting.

We prevent that possibility when we dehumanize potential defectors, make sweeping statements like, “the police won’t help”, never encourage people to join our side, and create chaotic scenes on the street.

Historically, whichever side resorts to violence the most tends to lose. In a moment of uncertainty, people pick the side that promises maximum stability, respects democratic norms, and appears to be the safer bet. It’s a contest of who can be the most legitimate.

Mass resistance to coups wins by using walk-outs and strikes, refusing orders, and shutting down civil society until the rightful democratically elected leader is installed. For mass movements to succeed against coups, they should refuse to do violence to the other side.

8. Yes, a coup can happen in the United States.

It may be hard to imagine that a coup could happen in this country. But whenever there is an order to stop counting votes, we call it a coup.

Even by the strictest definition of coups, there has been a militarized coup in the United States. In 1898 after reconstruction in Wilmington, NC, seeing the rise of a prosperous and successful Black population, white racists organized a coup. They gave rallying cries like, “We will never surrender to a ragged raffle of Negroes, even if we have to choke the Cape Fear River with carcasses.”

Despite a terror campaign before the election, Black turnout was high and a slate of Black candidates was voted in. Black power was met with white supremacist violence, with white squads killing 30 to 300 people, including newly elected officials. Over 3,000 Blacks fled this extreme violence, and the era of Jim Crow began.

9. Center in calm, not fear.

It’s scary to believe we’re having to talk about a federal coup in the United States.

And we know that fearful people are less likely to make good decisions. Let’s aim for calm and avoid hyperbole. Be a reliable source by double-checking rumors and spreading high-quality facts. Sure, read social media… but spend some time, you know, doing real things that ground you.

Breathe deeply.

Remember how you handle fear.

Play out scenarios, but don’t become captured by them.

We’re doing this to prepare, just in case.

10. Prepare to deter a coup before the election.

The best way to stop a coup is to never have one. People are doing lots of good work on issues of voting rights, urging turn-out, stopping repression, uncovering fraud, and getting people to commit to democracy. That may be enough.

One of the easiest things you can do is to sign the pledge to Choose Democracy and get a lot of people across the political spectrum signing the as well!

Because the best way to stop a coup is to deter it.

Published in: on October 1, 2020 at 10:55 am  Comments (1)  

The Cheater-in-Chief

www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/09/27/us/donald-trump-taxes.html

A long story, full of graft and lies by MangoMussolini.

Published in: on September 30, 2020 at 8:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

100 good reasons to push for a Biden Landslide

And then keep the pressure on afterwards!

Copied from a friend:

I’ve heard from people that they want a reason to vote FOR Biden beyond that he’s not Trump. Okay, I respect that, so I went on his website, poured through his policies, and came up with 100 reasons to vote for #JoeBiden that don’t mention Trump.

1.) $15.00 federal minimum wage
2.) Reinstate DACA – allowing new applicants to apply
3.) 12 Weeks federal paid family leave
4.) Universal Pre-Kindergarten/Childcare for ages 3 and 4
5.) Tuition free college for those with household income less than $125,000.00
6.) Allow student loans to be relieved in bankruptcy
7.) LGBTQ+ Equality Act in the first 100 days in office
8.) Rejoin the Paris Climate Accords
9.) Decriminalize cannabis use and expunge convictions
10.) Eliminate cash bail system
11.) Eliminate mandatory minimum sentences
12.) Outlaw all online firearm and munition sales
13.) Restore the voting rights act
14.) Create a new $20 billion competitive grant program to spur states to shift from incarceration to prevention.
15.) He’ll triple funding for Title I Programs
16.) Appoint the first Black Woman to the Supreme Court of the United States
17.) Reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
18.) Ensure the US achieves a 100% clean energy economy and net-zero emissions no later than 2050
19.) Protecting Biodiversity, slowing extinction rates and helping leverage natural climate solutions
20.) Develop a plan to ensure that America has the cleanest, safest and fastest rail system in the world, for both passengers and freight
21.) Expand the safety net for survivors
22.) Confront online harassment, abuse and stalking
23.) End the rape kit backlog
24.) Address the deadly combination of guns and domestic violence
25.) Change the culture that enables domestic violence
26.) Support the diverse needs of survivors of violence against women
27.) Protect and empower immigrant women
28.) Lead the global effort to end gender-based violence
29.) End capital punishment
30.) End federal private prisons
31.) End all incarceration for drug use alone and divert individuals to drug courts and treatment
32.) Invest in public defenders’ offices to ensure defendants’ access to quality counsel
33.) Expand and use the power of the US Justice Department to address systemic misconduct in police departments and prosecutors’ offices
34.) Reform qualified immunity for officers
35.) Ban choke-holds/neck restraints by police
36.) Launch a national police oversight commission
37.) Stop transferring weapons of war to police force
38.) Free access to testing for all with national testing board
39.) Double drive through testing sites
40.) 100,000 contact tracing workforce
41.) Guarantee first responders have priority access to PPE
42.) Emergency paid leave for anyone who gets COVID or needs to take care of a loved one
43.) Free housing for health care workers to quarantine
44.) Ramp up large scale manufacturing of as many vaccine candidates as necessary
45.) Nationwide vaccination campaign to guarantee fair distribution
46.) Ask every American to wear a mask
47.) End the mismanagement of the asylum system, which fuels violence and chaos at the border
48.) Surge humanitarian resources to the border and foster public-private initiatives
49.) End prolonged detention and reinvest in a case management program
50.) Rescind the un-American travel and refugee bans, also referred to as “Muslim bans.”
51.) Order an immediate review of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for vulnerable populations who cannot find safety in their countries ripped apart by violence or disaster
52.) Ensure that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel abide by professional standards and are held accountable for inhumane treatment.
53.) Revitalize the Task Force on New Americans and boost our economy by prioritizing integration, promoting immigrant entrepreneurship, increasing access to language instruction, and promoting civil engagement.
54.) Convene a regional meeting of leaders, including from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Canada, to address the factors driving migration and to propose a regional resettlement solution
55.) Raising the corporate tax rate to 28 percent.
56.) Requiring a true minimum tax on ALL foreign earnings of United States companies located overseas so that we do our part to put an end to the global race to the bottom that rewards global tax havens. This will be 21% — TWICE the rate of the Trump offshoring tax rate and will apply to all income.
57.) Imposing a tax penalty on corporations that ship jobs overseas in order to sell products back to America.
58.) Imposing a 15% minimum tax on book income so that no corporation gets away with paying no taxes.
59.) Raising the top individual income rate back to 39.6 percent.
60.) Asking those making more than $1 million to pay the same rate on investment income that they do on their wages.
61.) Tackle the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women
62.) Ensure tribal nations will have a strong voice and role in the federal government
63.) Restore Tribal lands and safeguard natural and cultural resources
64.) Joe will dramatically increase funding for both public schools and Bureau of Indian Education schools.
65.) Invest $70 billion in Tribal Colleges and Universities and Minority Serving Institutions.
66.) Ensure full inclusion of people with disabilities in policy development and aggressively enforce the civil rights of people with disabilities.
67.) Guarantee access to high-quality, affordable health care, including mental health care, and expand access to home and community-based services and long-term services and supports in the most integrated setting appropriate to each person’s needs and based on self-determination.
68.) Expand competitive, integrated employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
69.) Protect and strengthen economic security for people with disabilities.
70.) Ensure that students with disabilities have access to educational programs and support they need to succeed, from early interventions to post-secondary education.
71.) Expand access to accessible, integrated, and affordable housing, transportation, and assistive technologies and protect people with disabilities in emergencies.
72.) Advance global disability rights
73.) Double the number of psychologists, guidance counselors, nurses, social workers, and other health professionals in our schools so our kids get the mental health care they need
74.) Invest in our schools to eliminate the funding gap between white and non-white districts, and rich and poor districts
75.) Improve teacher diversity
76.) Support our educators by giving them the pay and dignity they deserve.
77.) Invest in resources for our schools so students grow into physically and emotionally healthy adults, and educators can focus on teaching.
78.) Ensure that no child’s future is determined by their zip code, parents’ income, race, or disability.
79.) Provide every middle and high school student a path to a successful career.
80.) Start investing in our children at birth.
81.) Double funding for the State Small Business Credit Initiative.
82.) Expand the New Markets Tax Credit, make the program permanent, and double Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) funding
83.) Improve and expand the Small Business Administration programs that most effectively support African American-owned businesses.
84.) Increase funding for the Minority Business Development Agency budget.
85.) Make sure economic relief because of COVID-19 reaches the African American businesses that need it most
86.) Reserve half of all the new PPP funds for small businesses with 50 employees or less
87.) Help families buy their first homes and build wealth by creating a new refundable, advanceable tax credit of up to $15,000
88.) Protect homeowners and renters from abusive lenders and landlords through a new Homeowner and Renter Bill of Rights.
89.) Establishing a $100 billion Affordable Housing Fund to construct and upgrade affordable housing
90.) Fully implement Congressman Clyburn’s 10-20-30 Plan to help all individuals living in persistently impoverished communities
91.) Expand access to $100 billion in low-interest business loans by funding state, local, tribal, and non-profit lending programs in Latino communities and other communities of color and strengthening Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs
92.) Expand broadband access to every American.
93.) Protect and build on the Affordable Care Act to improve access to quality health care in rural communities.
94.) Expand access to high-quality education in rural schools.
95.) Transform our crumbling transportation infrastructure – including roads and bridges, rail, aviation, ports, and inland waterways.
96.) Expand bio-based manufacturing to bring cutting-edge manufacturing jobs back to rural America.
97.) Strengthen antitrust enforcement
98.) Introduce a constitutional amendment to entirely eliminate private dollars from our federal elections
99.) End dark money groups
100.) Ban corporate PAC contributions to candidates, and prohibit lobbyist contributions to those who they lobby

Repost from: David Ferree

In order to change the minds of others we must break through their wall. I encourage you to share this.

VOTE BIDEN/HARRIS2020 🇺🇸💙

BidenHarris2020

Published in: on September 30, 2020 at 7:29 pm  Comments (1)  

A very apt photo

Published in: on September 30, 2020 at 7:16 pm  Comments (1)  
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