With guest, Louder Than a Bomb poet Nate Marshall

Monday, April 24, 2017

It was just a dream

Mayor Duncan?  Yikes!
I woke up at 2 a.m. in a cold sweat.

In my horrific dream, it was 2019 and Arne Duncan had somehow become the mayor of Chicago. He had been brought back into town by a mysterious collective of super-rich patrons. With a $60M war-chest, Duncan was able to narrowly defeat the candidate backed by progressives (wasn't clear who that was in my dream).

Rahm Emanuel decided not to run for a third term and instead, threw his support and campaign money behind Duncan in exchange for Democratic Party support for his run for the presidency. The plan was to have DNC favorite Rahm run on a ticket with someone like Elizabeth Warren to "unite the party" against Trump. Weird -- I know.

In my dream, this secret cabal of hedge-funders and downtown hotel billionaires had spent two years trying to re-package Duncan as a "progressive" after his dismal performance as Secretary of Education and architect behind the same massive privatization and school closings that had made Rahm untenable as a mayor. These were policies that had devastated the city's black community and set the stage nationally for the Trump backlash election and the installment of Betsy DeVos as the nation's ed secretary.

But by somehow attaching himself to Barack Obama's Chicago legacy and positioning himself as the "civil rights leader of our time", Duncan was able to neutralize opposition in the African-American community, divide progressive voters and with solid support on the lake shore and Hyde Park liberals, ride victorious into City Hall.

Thank goodness, it was just a dream.

Then this morning I read this Sun-Times piece about Obama's visit to Chicago this past weekend.
Obama was invited to a neighborhood center at 420 W. 111th by former Education Secretary Arne Duncan. Duncan is now a managing partner at the nonprofit Emerson Collective and working on projects to help reduce crime in Chicago by training and finding jobs for at-risk young men.
 I'm going back to bed.


  1. I might as well let you know....I spoke about what the democrats must do to rebuild the broken party....here is the transcript of what I told Rush Limbaugh...last wednesday....RUSH: Joe in Festus, Missouri, great to have you here. Glad you called. How you doing, sir?
    CALLER: Liberal greetings from a graduate of Mark Scully University of Cape Girardeau, and I’m a Vietnam veteran. I wanted to weigh in on what happened with this so-called victory for the Democrats last night.
    RUSH: Yeah.
    CALLER: I’m not impressed by it at all. And the reason is I started checking where this money was coming from for him. First thing I noticed was the Caliber charter schools. The biggest mistake made by Democrats, specifically Obama, in the last eight years was when he brought in Bill Gates and Arne Duncan and trashed public education by starting this privatization. Now, DeVos is pretty much a mess, but at least people recognize that. They thought Bill Gates, well, he must know everything. And so that’s my viewpoint as a liberal from Missouri —
    RUSH: I need to ask you to clarify something. You think that charter schools are bad and that Obama signing on to them with Bill Gates and Arne Duncan, it angered Democrats like a sellout of public education, the teachers unions? What was bad about it?
    CALLER: The nasty secret to the billionaires is that our teachers in the classrooms are very good people that are doing a good job for the most part —
    RUSH: In the public schools?
    CALLER: — problems — (crosstalk)
    RUSH: You mean in the public schools?
    CALLER: — a source usually for Democrats, not completely of course, but usually for Democrats, teachers are a source of energy and organization and, you know, getting out the — raising the vote totals. Instead of 62% or 59% turnout, you get a larger turnout, and they stand for things that help families. And so I think that was the biggest mistake, bringing in Arne Duncan and Bill Gates. The charter schools are bad for two reasons. One, the good ones — and there are some good ones — do a lot of cherry-picking and don’t carry their fair share of the more difficult students. A lot of them are just —
    RUSH: A-ha.
    CALLER: — very bad schools that are dumping grounds that —
    RUSH: A-ha.
    CALLER: — you know, use Teach for America and very —
    RUSH: I hear you.
    CALLER: — not experienced teachers that are likely to not cost ’em much and be gone within two or three years —
    RUSH: So when they invest in the charter schools, both financially and ideologically they’re selling out the public schools and all the get-out-the-vote efforts that teachers engage in, they’re underselling the teachers and this kind of thing. And you think that had a lasting effect in this election last night?
    CALLER: Oh, I think it’s been the most dominant thing, mistake that the Democrats made in the last eight years —
    RUSH: Are you a teacher?
    CALLER: I thank you and you’re a guy that made the point about how much we’ve lost in legislatures. They don’t just affect national elections. You know, these charter schools are buying people every which way.
    RUSH: Wow, that’s just a fascinating theory. I wish I’d a had a chance to get to your call sooner today. ‘Cause you’re the first guy I have ever heard say that the Democrats’ root problem here, or one of them, is the sellout of public education in favor of charter schools by bringing in Bill Gates, who I thought was into mosquito nets, and Arne Duncan. Well, look, I appreciate the call. Joe, think about giving Mr. Snerdley your number and maybe on an Open Line Friday I’ll call you back when I have more time. Because I’m really curious about it. You sound serious, and I’d like to drill down deeper and unpack this a little bit more with you, if you ever have the time and chance. Thanks for the call.

  2. A good laugh is rare. But for me, Arne is the ultimate nightmare. That graduation plan of Rahm’s is so obviously Arne’s idea. Hapless Arne is so crafty and so dangerous even with his big basketball handshake!


    Jan Resseger

  3. Arne Duncan is a shill for the big banks. Evidence his messages to Rahm's private email account urging the mayor to make completing a student loan application a new CPS graduation requirement.

    1. Shill is too nice a word for Arne & Rahm. Thousands of FAFSA loan applications are a gold mine of personal financial information. Their banker friends no longer need to wait for college applicants to apply for school loans,they can stalk every high school grad for new victims. This reveals a deeply corrupt political culture and how these 2 insiders work for their own self interest.

    2. Arne's loan application requirement will help feed the next financial bubble- student debt. This week marks the FIFTH anniversary since student loan debt hit one trillion dollars. Since then, we have added over $400 Billion dollars to the overall total and there’s no end in sight.

  4. Again, everyone MUST read the Chicago Magazine November 2016 puff piece (& possible--no, make that probable--precursor for Arne's not-so-far-in-the-future political run), "Can Arne Duncan Save Chicago?" Yeah, Arne is working w/incarcerated youth (perhaps they're there because their neighborhoods were chopped up by Renaissance, school closings & Race to the Top {more "failing" neighborhood schools closed}--thanks to you, Arne, & your "leadership" as head of CPS, & then--a promotion! {Peter Principle}--to Sec. of D.o.Ed.--ruining & closing public schools ALL over the country!). When reading the article, you will find out that Arne's office is high above Michigan Ave. (perhaps the swankiest, priciest street in the city) &--at the end of the article, he chokes up about "these kids," & he...cries!
    But don't take my word for it--look it up & read it.
    Afraid that that part of your "nightmare," Mike, could become a daymare.

    Oh, also--wonder how much he makes at that nonprofit. He recently bought a home (in Chicago Tribune's real estate column titled "Elite Street") for $1 million + in/around Obama's neighborhood (so the kids could be close to the private school they attend--his alma mater, the University of Chicago Lab School, of course--where they don't CRAPP
    (that's PARCC) all over their students. Nope.
    That's for other people's children. And some of those very children are in those prisons where he is "helping" them.


Agree? Disagree? Let me hear from you.