Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Civility? Do the Math

Do the math...
Two years ago, Chicago Public School budgeted for 454 librarians.
Last year: 313 librarians.
This year? 254. -- WBEZ

They're not librarians...Comcast is doing all right, here and most everywhere. Their proposed $45 billion takeover of Time Warner Cable Inc. has Rahm Emanuel and 70 other city mayors applauding like trained seals.
“We’re proud to have the support of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel,” writes David L. Cohen,  Comcast Comcast’s executive vice president and chief merger lobbyist. 
Comcast want them. Rahm helps. 
IBT reports that Rahm wrote a letter to the FCC on Aug. 22 saying he believes the merger would be good for the Windy City, maintaining and enhancing Comcast’s “generous presence” in the area. And by GENEROUS, Rahm means...
  • Big campaign contributions from Comcast and its employees, including from Cohen himself, who contributed $5,000 to Rahm’s mayoral campaign. 
  • Cohen also contributed $10,000 to the Chicago Committee, which the Chicago Tribune has described as Emanuel’s “other political fund." 
  • In all, records from the Illinois State Board of Elections show Emanuel’s mayoral campaign and his other municipal political organizations have received $50,000 from Comcast employees since he began running for mayor in 2010.
  • Comcast was also one of the top donors to Emanuel’s congressional campaigns, giving $46,000 to Emanuel between 2003 and 2008, according to records from Open Secrets. 
  • Additionally, employees of Comcast made more than $25,000 worth of contributions to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee when Emanuel chaired that organization, according to data from

Civility... Am I being uncivil by mentioning these things? Some of the most uncivil people from the ranks of corporate reform and brass-knuckles philanthropy are now lecturing overly-polite progressives and resistors on the need to be more "civil". This, even as they spend millions to promote dirty personal attack ads and otherwise defame their political opponents. By civil, they mostly mean "pipe down".

Chairman, U of I Board of Trustees
How about Chris Kennedy? Civil or uncivil?

Until 2012 well-mannered billionaire's son Chris Kennedy (yes, those Kennedys) was president of Kennedy family business Merchandise Mart Properties. He's no educator, but he now heads the U of I Board of Trustees and gets to decide who's "civil" enough to teach American Indian Studies there.

The Tribune reports: 
In defending its decision to rescind a job offer to Steven Salaita, a professor who posted controversial tweets about Israel, University of Illinois trustees said they would not tolerate demeaning speech. The university's position — particularly its use of the word "civility" — mirrors language used by U. of I. Board Chairman Christopher Kennedy when the board denied emeritus status in 2010 to retired faculty member Bill Ayers, the controversial University of Illinois at Chicago professor and Vietnam War-era radical.
Get it? War-mongering -- civil. Opposing war or Gaza bombing -- uncivil. The un-hiring of Palestinian-American Prof. Steven Salaita -- civil. Protests by faculty, academic and civil rights organizations like The Modern Language Association, Center for Constitutional Rights, the Illinois chapter of the American Association of University Professors, and the national AAUP -- uncivil. A major public university whose mascot remains a mocking, racist "Chief Illiniwek"--to this day--civil?!

U of I mascot, civil or uncivil?
The university rescinded Salaita's job offer in early August after he  tweeted critically about the Israeli assault on Gaza. He was accused of using "inflammatory language."
"We need to learn how to live with each other, to argue, to discuss, to arrive at truths and to move on — and that requires a lot more effort than having a shouting match or name calling," Kennedy said, pointing to Salaita's "manner in which he expresses himself, not the expression itself."
Business Math Translation...
Kennedy goes on: "We have to be sensitive to the community that we were founded to serve. ... At the University of Illinois, we take enormous tax subsidies from people in our state. We can't be so cavalier to think that any behavior is acceptable."
He forgot to mention donations from wealthy pro-Israel donors.

The Nation reports:
Under the spurious claim of protecting “civility,” the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has caved in to the McCarthyite bullying of the Israel lobby.
In the face of mass protests, the university is now offering Salaita a financial settlement to avoid a CIVIL suit. An admission of wrong-doing? Of course.

"Political civility is not about being polite to each other. It's about reclaiming the power of 'We the People' to come together, debate the common good and call American democracy back to its highest values amid our differences."  -- Parker Palmer, author and educational philosopher. 

1 comment:

  1. Comcast is headquartered in Philadelphia. Its Executive Vice President and Democratic Party power broker in PA is David Cohen. He is a major funder and supporter of Pennsylvania's ALEC Governor Corbett. Not coincidentally Corbett has given major tax breaks to corporations.

    Comcast has received real estate tax breaks. This despite a severally underfunded School District which has been taken off of life support after years of being starved for resources. Recently the state and city gave Comcast a $40 million grant for yet another tower, to exceed the height of their current headquarters, as tallest building in the city.

    The many in the general population may not have figured it out, but to the power they are one party of and for the 1%.


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