A Few Random Thoughts Because I Got Nothin’

This would seem to be ... An open thread. If your thoughts run more than 140 characters, this is your place. [This post is actually by JimC -- technical glitch is preventing that from showing ...] - promoted by charley-on-the-mta

Charming family, the Kushners.

The short version is: In 2004, Jared Kushner’s father Charles, a real estate magnate in New Jersey and New York, pleaded guilty to a tax fraud scheme in which he claimed hundreds of thousands of dollars in phony deductions for office expenses at the partnerships he created to manage the apartment buildings he owned. Kushner, a major donor to the Democratic Party, also pleaded guilty to fraudulently making hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions in the names of employees and associates who didn’t know their names were being used. Finally, Kushner pleaded guilty to retaliating against a cooperating witness in the case — his sister. He did so by setting a trap in which he hired a prostitute to lure his sister’s husband into a sexual encounter in a New Jersey hotel, where the action was secretly photographed and videotaped. Kushner sent the pictures and tape to his sister as revenge, apparently motivated by Kushner’s belief that she and her husband were helping U.S. Attorney Christie and his prosecutors.

In our quest to return the world to sanity, I think we should emphasize Wisconsin. Wisconsin should be as blue as we are.

Betsy DeVos recently compared charter schools to Uber, apparently not for the first time. I find this pretty offensive.

The Tsarnaevs stole our sacred right to make fun of the marathon. When do we get that back?

Recommended by jconway, mark-bail.


21 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Fun fact

    Christopher Reeve didn’t get top billing until Superman III. In Superman, he gets third billing, behind Marlon Brando and Gene Hackman. In II, Hackman still gets the top slot.

  2. Oh, and

    If Louise Mensch is lying about her latest scoop, she should never be listened to again.

    (In case you missed it — she claims Carter Page went to Russia with audio of Trump. Quite big, if it’s true.)

  3. Three replies

    1) Agree on the Marathon.

    I think 5 years is the window-at least that’s when it appeared to be ok to make fun of New York and the federal government again after 9/11.

    2) DeVos committed a true gaffe

    As in accidentally telling the truth. A model that deunionizes and deregulates a historically unionized and regulated service and it’s workforce is basically what charters are. Oh and bypassing local government and laws simply because the corporation in question doesn’t want to follow them.

    Where it breaks down is that the taxi companies were pretty shitty cartels offering subpar service while public schools-when given equal resources and training-tend to outperform most charters.

    Now I’m working for one in Chicago now as a consultant and will likely teach at one next year-but these two particular charters are hyperaware of the bad rap and trying to counter it. By pushing teacher affirmative and collaborative models of instruction and compensation. And the current competitive funding model is actually beginning to hurt their bottom line too.

    3) Wisconsin

    Wisconsin native Rick Pearlstein had a great op-ed in the Times, which should be read in tandem with Jonathan Chaits. These are two voices on the opposite ends of the center-left who have come to the same conclusion: conservative attitudes on race/immigration is becoming more and more predictive of loyalty to conservative political campaigns.

    So Trump can be a racist Bush (eg. Neocon on Econ and FP) and likely hold his coalition despite major flip flops on trade and war. That said-populist Dems still win over a higher share of the wwc vote and the minority vote than centrist Dems. So I think we have to be populist and have a bolder racial justice platform to win competitive races.

    In WI this dynamic would result in more successful statewide campaigns by winning back rural counties and minority voters. The suburban centrist look that we are trying in GA and AZ won’t work here since the suburbs are the direct result of white flight. It’s already failed three times against Walker. The business class won’t abandon their sugar daddy and the suburban white middle class is more racist than centrist due to white flight. Similar dynamic to suburban Detroit. Win the farm counties Bernie won in the primary and get the black vote to show up in Milwaukee and you can win the state again.

    Also why the fuck don’t we challenge Paul Ryan? His district is only R+2 and has an emerging Latino population in addition to young white professeionals alongside its historic rust belt white population waiting for AMC to come back. All three groups hate this guy and he really alienated himself with the new new right (aka the alt right) with his positioning. I bet he gets a real primary and the Dems should have a real challenger ready to go.

    • I'm all for it

      If someone gives Ryan a real fight, then he can’t raise (as much) money for other races.

      • It's R+5 now

        Thanks to gerrymandering-but it’s a lot more swingy than Nancy Pelosi’s district. And Feingold managed to carry two of the five counties in his Senate run. A big issue in WI is the lack of a bench. Pocan, Baldwin, Kind and Feingold all were state legislators before they entered Congress and that bench has been decimated and demoralized in the last six years. He’s Brownbacked that state without nearly as much popular fallout.

        And people thought Thune couldn’t topple Daschle and the RSCC wastes its money on Brown those last two weeks and they both pulled upsets. Had the DCCC bothered to spend even a dollar on the KS special it might’ve been even closer than 7 points. Many are saying it could’ve been a win.

        At least Ossoff and Quist are getting resources and they are both well suited for their districts. Ossoff is s good indicator of how we can win the 23 suburban Republican districts Hillary carried while Quist could show how to win a Trump state as a Berniecrat. Ossoff’s first round is up tomorrow.

    • Charters vs Uber

      From their inception, charter schools (and private school vouchers) have been a euphemism for government funding of lily-white schools for racist parents.

      The concept of “Charter schools” plays the same role in this philosphy as “Creationism” plays in the anti-evolution crusade — truthy-sounding, apparently innocuous, and yet landing in exactly the same place. It is no accident that so many of the parent who crave charter schools also believe that the earth is 6,000 years old.

      It is also no accident that Ms. Devos is pursuing ways to provide private school vouchers in spite of the flagrant constitutional issues that plague them.

      When the current administration — and the white racists that support it — face the reality that their pet projects are flagrantly unconstitutional, they simply seek ways to bypass those constraints.

      Uber, and ride-sharing services like it, broke a monopolistic strangle-hold that taxi companies used to gouge riders while providing abysmal service.

      The suggestion that public school systems are remotely comparable to those taxi companies is deceitful racist rubbish. I see no truth in her analogy at all.

      • Careful

        There are plenty of people (including some I know personally) who have taken advantage of charters and are not the least bit racist. Also, minority families frustrated with public schools are often among the strongest supporters of vouchers.

      • ?

        In the Boston area anyway the issue has been that Charters are less diverse and have far fewer white students than public schools. In Boston the average charter is 60-70% students of color while the public schools are closer to 50/50. Some charters, including the one I am considering working with, are closer to 90% students of color.

        Cambridge Charter School has to maintain the same racial balance as the city schools due to their controlled choice program-but most districts with charters are predominately low income/high minority populations. These trends are similar for Chicago, Philly, New York, and most infamously New Orleans which is the first fully charterized district serving almost an entirely black student population.

        The cities with the biggest majorities against charters were lily white wealthy suburbs like Carlisle-Concord and Lynnfield while the places it narrowly passed were cities like Salem and Chelsea with a history of troubled public schools.

        I am not endorsing charters-I wrote against Question 2 on these pages. But it’s no accident DFER backed primary challengers were candidates of color and that some of the biggest vote totals were in minority districts. That’s not the result of white people wanting charters-politically speaking its minority families who disproportionately had students in charters. This was part of the reason Barack Obama, Deval Patrick, and Cory Booker are huge charter fans. Locally one of the reasons Sen. Chang-Diaz pushed a compromise was due to pressure from her district where charters are popular.

        Now what real reformers like Ravitch want is decoupling school funding from property taxes so we can have real equity. This is something you won’t find conservative or progressive politicians or mainstream liberal publications like the Times or the Glob endorsing. You underestimate how badly neoliberal approaches to education have become the norm across the spectrum, not even Sanders endorsed the Ravitch approach.

        DeVos is clearly against public education as has the right for a long time. It’s one of the most popular and successful public goods we have left and she wants to take it away. Hence the rhetoric of “government schools” and introducing private sector concepts like competition, vouchers, and now charters into the mix. But an argument could be made the status quo is actually more racist since it limits the quality choices minority students have access too.

        Charters as currently configured are a band aid at best for the specific students they serve and a placebo to obfuscate the systemic racial inequities still present in society. And in MA anyway-they can be parasitical from a funding standpoint.

        The comparison to uber is due to their neoliberal origins which prioritize the creative destruction of the market over government regulations that protect consumers and workers. It’s hard to argue the current rideshare compensation model protects workers-and for women, minority and disabled passengers it could be argued they skirt consumer protections as well. That said-I have a lot more respect for teachers unions than I do for the cab cartels which refused to innovate their products for the digital age and also were gaming the system for decades. I haven’t used a cab in four years. Rideshares are a vastly superior product for an able bodied white male like me. But that doesn’t mean they are any more noble or any less racist than charters.

        • Good primer on neoliberalism in education

          In today’s Atlantic

          • Good piece

            DeVos in 2015, from jconway’s link.

            We are the beneficiaries of start-ups, ventures, and innovation in every other area of life, but we don’t have that in education because it’s a closed system, a closed industry, a closed market. It’s a monopoly, a dead end. And the best and brightest innovators and risk-takers steer way clear of it. As long as education remains a closed system, we will never see the education equivalents of Google, Facebook, Amazon, PayPal, Wikipedia, or Uber. We won’t see any real innovation that benefits more than a handful of students.

            Horrific. She doesn’t believe in public education at all.

        • AMEN @ separating school funding from property taxes

          I enthusiastically agree that it is tying school funding to property taxes that creates the issue.

          Any protections for women, minority and disabled passengers associated with taxis are happy accidents. The core issue is the medallion system created by government (with the strong support of medallion owners).

          Rideshares have nothing to do with charters. The public school system is NOT a monopoly created primarily to benefit a small class of moneyed owners. If anything, the proposed “privatization” efforts of public education strive to make it exactly that.

          • That's a fair point

            I think down the road once cars are automated that ride shares can and should be fully integrated into a modern public transit system. That said-there is far more competition between them and between taxis now than there used to be before.

            And your analysis that an instrinsic public good is being privatized is another differentiator. That is not the case with education. I do think when DeVos and other neoliberals make the comparison they are pointing to a deregulated and deunionized market as a norm they want to see everywhere. The Atlantic piece really dives deep into how that theory works in practice with these education schemes.

            So much of our modern school, transit, housing and economic is designed to keep the affluent away from the poor and whites away from non whites. And linking property taxes to education funding is a particularly insidious way to skirt around Brown.

            • Why is it...

              …that you an STom seem to see a big racial conspiracy in this? Property taxes have nothing to do with whether or not kids are segregated by race. The city in which I live and town in which I teach both do geographic elementary districts and you have multiple races represented in all the schools. Both communities have single high schools which accommodate the whole spectrum of kids that age. Transit, if anything it seems would have the effect allowing people to mix more my moving around and when I use public transit I certainly see a diversity of backgrounds. I’m not a fan of charters, vouchers, or local property taxes as the chief source of school funding, but I don’t think it’s helpful to ascribe ulterior motives like this to those that support them.

              • We know ...

                It isn’t a “big racial conspiracy” to admit that economic inequality is a HUGE driver of racial inequality.

                Do you also accuse Elizabeth Warren of seeing a “big racial conspiracy” when she correctly raises the same concerns?

                Here are her words, cited from the above link:

                “After Brown v. Board of Education and the court-ordered segregation of public schools, many Southern states established voucher schemes to allow white students to leave the education system and take taxpayer dollars with them, decimating the budgets of the public school districts. Today’s voucher schemes can be just as harmful to public school district budgets, because they often leave school districts with less funding to teach the most disadvantaged students, while funneling private dollars to unaccountable private schools that are not held to the same academic or civil rights standards as public schools.”

                The history of voucher programs is racially charged in ways that are reminiscent of poll taxes and literacy tests.

                • It may be the motive...

                  …and I wouldn’t be surprised if it were in the South in the immediate aftermath of Brown, but again, in some contexts it is minority families who support vouchers and we should always be careful about broad brushes. I think Warren chose her words more carefully and I don’t cringe quite as hard at the way she put it compared to how you and JConway seemed to. As far as standards, that varies greatly as often private schools have HIGHER academic standards than public and many are at least as committed as public schools to non-discrimination.

    • What is our message...

      …for suburban and rural voters? It should be obvious, but so much obvious has been proven not to be so lately. So many states which are reliably blue are only such because of their huge metropolitan areas. If you look at a county map of the US there is a lot of red and very little blue. Surely these voters are struggling in ways we can address as well.

      • There are two complimentary paths

        The old right/left spectrum we’ve been used to since the Reagan era is finally dying off. No voter under 40 is socially conservative. The old culture war will still animate the right for another decade within its primaries but it can’t be relied on to win general elections. It’s high water mark was the 2004 election when gay marriage was arguably toxic to Democratic candidates. Now it’s backed by 70% of the country, along with choice and marijuana legalization. Even among Republicans under 40.

        What’s scary is that the new culture war is going to be about race and immigration and how that plays into the wider class war over the distribution of wealth in a globalized economy.

        There’s a new elitist v globalist spectrum. On the right these can be represented by the Ryan Wing and the Bannon Wing of that party. On the left this can be represented by the Clinton and Sanders Wing. There is also growing evidence that the nationalist voter bloc is far more racist than it is populist-so a class based approach that doesn’t acknowledge race will not be electorally successful. I strongly disagree with Bernie Sanders and Thomas Frank on this point.

        I agree with them there is a subset of populist who will hold their nose for a nationalist populist over a globalist and would vote for an inclusive populist instead. These are your Bernie/Trump voters and I think they can be reached.
        These are half of the new swing voters. The other half are Bloomberg Republicans strongly turned off by nationalism. So far the tax cuts and flip flop back to a neoconservative foreign policy is winning them back-that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t reach out to them either.

        If you compare the Clinton/Sanders totals in Rust Belt states it’s obvious that the Bernie approach to economic issues is the way to go. But if you look at the 23 Republican House districts Hillary carried, her approach is the way to go. Ossoff is a racial progressive backed by John Lewis-but also a fiscal conservative backed by some traditionally Republican business groups. That’s the model to try in the Southeast and Southwest. Places where the white working class is too nationalist to be won over by populist economics.

        But the Bernie model works well for the Midwest and the Mountain States. So let’s see if Ossoff and Rob Quist win their special elections. I think this strategy is the right one for recruitment and how to win back Congress. It’ll also be difficult to find a candidate in the sweet spot between these strategies for the presidency. But Kirsten Gillibrand, Liz Warren, and Amy Klobuchar are women to watch. I think Beto O’Rourke and Tom Periello are also good candidates to watch.

  4. Blue....? Who? Us?

    Vermont and Colorado are trying to get to single payer…..New York and California are aiming for $15 minimum wage…..New York looking to get free college for many….

    And Massachusetts?

    We gave a huge tax break to General Electric….

  5. Thank you for the correction

    Speaking of glitches … any site news?

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Mon 24 Apr 11:20 AM