The DeVos phenomenon in Massachusetts

promoted by david

Betsy DeVos has absolutely no experience in public education, and she is now the Secretary of Education. This is not just a federal problem. In Massachusetts, state law (MGL Ch. 15 Sec. 1E) prohibits persons employed by or receiving regular compensation from any school system, as well as school committee members, from serving on the state board of elementary and secondary education. The MA secretary of education, James Peyser, previously served as Managing Director of the NewSchools Venture Fund, “a non-profit grant-making firm that seeks to transform public education in high-need urban communities by supporting innovative education entrepreneurs.” In other words, while DeVos and her friends were donating tons of money to privatize public schools, Peyser was one of the guys handing out the money.

It’s not enough to complain about the nonsense in Washington. We also need to act to get the Massachusetts legislature to fix the mess we have at home.

Kennedy for Governor...

promoted by david

…of Illinois.  JConway might especially be interested in this news since it connects his two home states.  Businessman Chris Kennedy, the 8th child of RFK, has announced that he will challenge incumbent Republican Bruce Rauner in 2018.  He is the Chair of the family investment firm, Joseph P. Kennedy Enterprises, and founded Top Box Foods, a nonprofit that provides healthy, affordable foods to residents of Chicago.  He is in his words not afraid of the billionaire incumbent, being very wealthy himself.

WGBH Hits New Science Controversy with Mish Michaels Debacle

promoted by david

You wouldn’t expect a science controversy at the PBS station in a place like Boston – never mind at the national science-producing hotspot behind shows like NOVA. But yet again, here we are asking what WGBH is thinking.

As the Boston Globe reports, WGBH initially hired science-denying activist Mish Michaels as its newest science reporter. The former local TV meteorologist denies the scientific consensus on both vaccine safety and global warming, saying she trusts her personal feelings more than the long-established scientific consensus. WGBH only backed away after pushback from newsroom staff:

Among those who wondered whether Michaels was right for the job was Jim Braude, host of WGBH News’s “Greater Boston,” for which Michaels was supposed to report stories. We’re told that Braude this week raised his concerns with station bosses, including WGBH News GM Phil Redo and “Greater Boston” executive producer Bob Dumas, and they have since changed their minds.

We’re told Redo and Dumas were aware of Michaels’s views on vaccines but hired her anyway.

They’re not just Michaels’ privately-held, personal beliefs. She’s actively lobbied to repeal laws that protect all of us by mandating vaccines for children entering public school, and she’s blogged on her website that she knows better than the 97 percent of climate scientists who say global warming is happening and manmade.

Five Republicans Are Looking at Virginia Senate Seat

promoted by david

Do they know something we don’t? When I heard Laura Ingraham was thinking of running, I assumed someone was whispering in her ear, hoping she’d run to tie up Kaine from raising money for other races.

But now the field seems pretty large for a challenge to an incumbent.

“It’s something [Fiorina is] taking a very strong look at,” a Virginia GOP operative told Politico before the election. “She’s not just name ID, she’s got serious definition. People have seen her, they know what she can do.”

Reps. Rob Wittman Dave Brat and Barbara Comstock, former Gov. Jim Gilmore and state Del. James Massie are all considered possible candidates. Conservative pundit Laura Ingraham has also expressed interest.

Senator Warren is in Good Company on Jeff Sessions

promoted by david

There is a photograph traveling around social media today beneath the quote from Mitch McConnell stating “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”, from McConnell as he used U.S. Senate rules to muzzle Senator Elizabeth Warren last night as the Senate debated the confirmation of Jeff Sessions to be Attorney General of the United States. The quotation is being claimed by progressives and is with lightning speed becoming a feminist hymn. The photograph shows photos of Senator Warren, Coretta Scott King, Sojourner Truth, Rosa Parks, and Eleanor Roosevelt.

I was honored to speak to Miss Rosa Parks every weekday morning from Jan. 1986 – May 1986 as an intern in the office of U.S. Rep. John Conyers, Jr. I stand with Rosa Parks, with the late Sen. Ted Kennedy who led the opposition to Jeff Sessions that very year, and with Sen. Elizabeth Warren. And I do not apologize for it. (I have gotten push-back from men against Elizabeth Warren’s “style” recently.)

Jeff Sessions, the race-baiting voting rights opponent, as Attorney General of the United States of America? This is an infamous day. Ted Kennedy, the Lion of the Senate God rest his soul, is rolling in his grave.

Thank you Senator Warren. You are the Lioness of the Senate, and you are in good company in history.

Voter Cognitive Dissonance on Obamacare and How to Fix It

promoted by david

1/3 of voters don’t realize ACA and Obamacare the same law.

My Two takeaways:

1) Education is half the battle

Civics need to be brought back into schools and fast. The media needs to do a better job telling voters how laws effect real people and not just which party is up or down.

2) Marketing is the other half

The law insures everyone and helps those who can’t afford insurance by paying the difference. That’s it. It’s actually not complicated, but every Democrat sounds like an actuary when they explain this. People don’t care *how* it works-just *that it works*.

What are your thoughts?

VIDEO: McConnell demands Sen. Warren's silence on Sessions

Bumped. How very delicate the sensibilities of poor Mitch McConnell seem to be. - promoted by david

Just Sen. Warren read from Coretta Scott King’s blistering 1986 letter opposing Jeff Sessions’ nomination as a federal judge.

Well, that was too hot for rabid power-monger and Destroyer of Democracy Mitch McConnell. This is sickening:


Having been found by McConnell in violation of the rules impugning the character of another member, she will apparently not be allowed to speak any further on Sessions’ nomination.

Do they think they can shut her up? Or any of the rest of us?

Joy in the Streets

promoted by david

Parades are getting old, but no team (since the 2004 Red Sox) has deserved a parade as much as this one.

Are there lessons for Democrats? I think so. A reminder …

Look, All I Ask Is that the Democratic Party Be as Good as the Patriots

"Keep it Simple, and Take Credit"-A Primer for Progressives

promoted by david

This is a great piece in Democracy worth your time.

It makes the argument that the stuff progressives did take credit for was too fucking complicated like Obamacare. And the stuff that was simple: a targeted middle class tax cut and the shovel ready jobs from the stimulus was barely discussed.

Either Democrats complicate their initiatives enough to be inscrutable to anyone who doesn’t love reading hours of explainers on public policy, or else they don’t take credit for the few simple policies they do enact.

It also describes how FDR made sure WPA was stamped over every single New Deal project (you’ll still see them all around Massachusetts today). The original Social Security advertisements said simply: “a monthly check-for the rest of your life-thank Democrats’. And we know the right has this figured out. When Bush passed a tax cut, he sent a letter in the mail alongside the rebate check taking credit for the law and the Congress that passed it. Obama did nothing similar for his tax cut. Frankly, Trump got more mileage out of “saving” 500 Carrier jobs than Obama did saving half a million auto industry jobs in 2011.

Anyway, worth the read and worth discussing how we can do that locally for the things on the fire (Fair Share, Voter Choice, Carbon Tax).

UPDATE - #NODAPL - the pipeline is being green lighted AND a documentary filmed onsite will be at MassArt 2/17/17

promoted by charley-on-the-mta

Meanwhile, Morton County and National Guard are back stuffing Native Americans in Dog Crates and taking selfies in pride about doing so.

Here is a sample of a first person account:

“When our bus pulled in to the Morton County facility, we saw that the bus before us had already unloaded the other Water Protectors into the dog kennels and they had been stripped down to their base layer of clothing and it was freezing co

ld in the garage.

There were police officers and National Guards standing around casually eating pizza and joking with each other. From my window I had a view of the cage where they were holding the men. I could hear them singing and chanting #mniwiconi to keep their sp

irits up. It felt good to hear that, I felt connected to them even though they were outside of the bus we were on because we are all one heart, one mind and one prayer.

As we were looking out the window, someone pointed out that 2 National Guard officers were taking selfies with their personal phones with a view of the men in the cage behind them. Sure enough, there they were smiling and laughing as they posed and snapped pictures of our Water Protector brothers in cages behind them who were doing their best to hold each other’s spirits up. It was disgusting to see them take such pleasure in it.

We sat on the bus for hours and most of us had to pee so bad but our requests to use the bathroo

m were denied. At one point the female guard said “ok, stand up if you have to go bathroom and can’t hold it” so we all stood up. She lau

ghed and walked off the bus. I was in the very back of the bus and a young woman who was in the seat across the aisle couldn’t hold it anymore and pee’d in her pants then jumped out of the back of the bus with zip ties still on. I assume they took her to get cleaned up but I never saw her again after that. When they had our bags labeled there was a Jane Doe bag that none of us recognized so it may have been hers.

My zip ties were hurting so bad and my hands were swollen. My right eye was hurting and I couldnt see out of it but I just tried to meditate through all of that because I knew it wouldn’t do any good to ask for help. My nose and mouth still had dried mud on it and my friend Tiffany kept offering to let me wipe it on her scarf but I felt bad doing that so I just let it be. Eventually they started taking us off the bus to do mug shots and bag our clothes before we went into the kennels. When it was my turn I lilililiiii ‘d towards the men’s cage so my brothers would feel my love and they responded with Akiša’s, war cries and shouts of “I love you!”

I hadn’t slept for so long and tried to lay on the concrete inside the cage to sleep but all it did was chill me to the bone so I just sat up and waited for what felt like hours more until they took us up to our jail cells. A reporter was in there with us and she asked the jailer for her phone call but he flipped out on her and basically said we shouldn’t push his kindness, like it was a gift to us.

They told us that they were going to be shipping our brothers and sisters off to several different locations and my heart sank for them. I had no idea in that moment the torture they would endure during their transfer but I already hurt for them.

There’s so much running through my mind constantly.. memories of what happened and images of people I love being hurt. Some things I may never share with anyone aside from those who already know because they lived it with me. I’m trying not to let these things break my heart. It’s my burden to carry and I pray for strength to do it gracefully and not let it harden my heart.

2/6/17 First Person account by Holy Elk Lafferty – FB Sacred Stone Camp”

There is a movie “The War of North Dakota” that had a first, director’s cut screening that I saw last night while most were watching football. Once it is uploaded to Youtube I will share a link here for you all. It is edited footage taken in Standing Rock, with interviews of those seen in the direct actions there. There will be a screening at MassArt next Friday, 2/10/17 .I will post the details in comments though once I have them.

Pruitt = Cancer

Trump and Bannon have made it perfectly clear that they intend to destroy the government. Bannon has said as much. That means that the protections we’ve voted for ourselves over the years are going to be cut out, abandoned, destroyed, and the earth salted beneath. We will suffer actual physical and monetary harm because of it. Our kids and grandchildren will be even worse off.

Scott Pruitt is the embodiment of Government-by-Vandalism. Scott Pruitt is not in the Environmental Protection business. He’s in the pollution business.

You wouldn’t appoint a serial killer as police chief. You wouldn’t hire an arsonist as fire captain. And you wouldn’t hire Scott Pruitt to protect anything but a polluter’s bottom line. He actually argued against regulating lead and mercury – saying the science was inconclusive. He could not state that the acceptable exposure to lead for children is zero — absolutely no safety whatsoever. Since the scientific literature is utterly conclusive about these, one can only surmise that the Trump administration views our injuries — poisoned kids, destroyed futures — as an acceptable cost of business. Children’s delayed development and unrealized human potential are externalized costs for profitable business.

He did not pledge to leave alone California’s tougher emissions standards, which predate creation of EPA. He refuses to recuse himself from adjudicating those very cases in which he brought suit. That’s textbook conflict of interest. He professes not to know about the effects of global warming — gosh golly well who knows what will happen – which is denial. So I have a few drinks …

He will have no scruples about either substantive matters of scientific fact, nor procedural questions like states’ rights/federalism. He’s in the business of wielding power on behalf of the moneyed, so as typical from this administration, we should expect absolutely no consistency of logic or principle. The Pruitt EPA will introduce mischief and FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) on behalf of polluters, and cripple the agency’s law-mandated work.

Compared to the huge outcry against DeVos — whose comical ineptitude and ignorance detracts nothing from her demonstrated record of actual malignity — Pruitt is a trained assassin. He exists in order to expose the public to great danger, to undo protections that have done us a great service over the last several generations; which have saved countless livesspurred innovation and yes indeed — job growth, and saved us many billions of dollars.

This is the worst possible time for federal turnaround on carbon emissions – what we do in the next 20 years determines whether we have a planet capable of supporting human civilization, or not. (Action is urgent — which makes state action happening in MA even more important.)

Environmental protection is an absolutely fundamental role of government, every bit as critical as police protection, fire departments, and courts of law. There is no more a right to introduce toxins to the air, water, and soil, than to dump your trash and sewage on your neighbor’s lawn, or poison his water-well, or drive on the left side of the road just because you feel like it.

And no one has the right to commandeer the entire planet’s habitat for their own private, vanishingly short-term profit.

I have to wonder about people like this, who sell their souls for a little money, or just to be the bagmen for the rapaciously wealthy. What will your life amount to? is this it? Was this your idea of a good life?

All this for a little bit of money?

 

In spite of stated support, Tillerson's ExxonMobil lobbied against MA's carbon tax

This ought to be a massive bombshell — nationally, but certainly for us here in MA. Rex Tillerson insisted that Exxon supported a carbon tax, as has been its stated position. Extreme skepticism was warranted: If you “support” a tax, but really support politicians who don’t, then your position is a feint.

Energy and Policy Institute got the goods on them here – Exxon lobbied against statewide carbon tax bills in MA:

A review of 2016 lobbying disclosures filed with the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts revealed that a registered lobbyist opposed two carbon tax bills – S.1747 and S.1786 – (along with a number of other climate-related bills) on behalf of ExxonMobil.

A disclosure form filed by lobbyist William J. Coyne, Jr., shows that Coyne took “oppose” positions on both carbon tax bills on behalf of his “client” ExxonMobil (see here for an overview of Massachusetts lobbying law). The lobbying took place sometime between January 1 and June 30, 2016, when Rex Tillerson was still CEO of ExxonMobil.

A lobbyist disclosed opposing a 2016 revenue neutral carbon tax bill in Massachusetts on behalf of ExxonMobil.

ExxonMobil disclosed a total of $49,236.96 in “salaries paid” to Coyne in 2016, made in two equal payments of $24,618.48 and covering the time periods between January-June and July-December.

This is a direct contradiction of Tillerson’s and Exxon’s statements of support for a carbon tax.

If you’d like to give a middle finger to Tillerson, Exxon, global warming, Trump, and lying hypocrisy generally — call your legislators to support a carbon tax. You’ve probably been calling a lot lately anyway.