HITTING LEFT #104 w/ Jamie Kalven

Friday, March 22, 2019

Timuel Black's endorsement of Lori Lightfoot


Press Release – Professor Timuel D. Black, Jr., noted Chicago civil rights activist and historian, endorses Lori Lightfoot for mayor

Mar 21, 2019

Civil rights leader and scholar Timuel D. Black today announced his support for Lori Lightfoot in the current mayoral runoff election. Black, a career educator and author of several major volumes on the history of Chicago’s African-American community, released a statement about the mayoral race:

“I’ve been listening to political candidates for most of my 100 years of living. I feel confident that I can discern quality, intellect, and integrity when I hear it. I’ve been impressed by Lori’s thoughtful discussion of the complex issues we face as a city, and her commitment to make essential changes.

“Above all, I am so proud that we will have two African-American women in leadership positions When Lori becomes mayor, we will have two strong, accomplished and dedicated female executives–one in charge of the City of Chicago and the other in charge of Cook County. This is good news for the city, the county and the State of Illinois, and women especially can take great pride in this historic moment. That’s why I support Toni Preckwinkle to remain as the President of the Cook County Board, and I’m supporting Lori to take on the mantle of mayor.

“We will prove that we truly ‘hold these truths to be self-evident’–that all human beings are created equal. I’m just so pleased that I am here to witness this momentous event in our history. I’ll be casting my vote for Lori Lightfoot on April 2.”

“Dr. Timuel Black is a living legend and I am so honored to receive his endorsement for mayor,” said Lightfoot. “As an educator, a historian, and a civil rights activist, Dr. Black has always stood on the side of justice and fought to empower the disadvantaged and the dispossessed. As mayor, I will always strive to live up to Dr. Black’s immense legacy and work to lift up voices that are too often ignored.”

###

Monday, March 18, 2019

WEEKEND QUOTABLES

Garcia endorses Lightfoot

U.S. Rep. Jesus "Chuy" Garcia 
 “A new mayor in City Hall and across the hall, on the fifth floor, a very competent president of the (county) board who I had the great honor to work with for eight years and move Cook County government forward, leaving behind the old reference that it was Crook County... But Garcia also said Lightfoot “ushers in a new era that Chicago has been waiting for a long time.” -- Tribune
Lori Lightfoot
I support eliminating cash bail. Our jails should not be debtors’ prisons for the poor, and I've long supported the work of the Chicago Council of Lawyers and others to advocate for the elimination of this system. -- FB post
 White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney
"The president is not a white supremacist. I’m not sure how many times we have to say that." -- FOX News Sunday  
U.N. Anti-Nazism Resolution 
"Combating glorification of Nazism, Neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fueling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance," was approved by the U.N.'s human rights committee on Friday with 131 in favor, 3 against [U.S. was one of the three] with 48 abstentions. -- CBS News
White Nationalist Rep. Steve King echoes Trump's call to violence
One side has about 8 trillion bullets, while the other side doesn’t know which bathroom to use...Wonder who would win...” added King, apparently not noticing that his home state was depicted on the losing side. -- Huffington



***** 

Coming up Friday on Hitting Left with the K Brothers. Live at 11am. 105.5fm and streaming world wide at lumpenradio.com and then on our podcast. Flint Taylor, the people's lawyer and author of the new book, The Torture Machine. Racism and Police Violence in Chicago.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Some unsolicited advice to both mayoral candidates

Despite protests, plans for the $95 million West Side police academy sailed through the City Council on Wednesday
As readers know, I've pretty much committed to voting for Lori Lightfoot in next month's mayoral election. I won't rehash all the reasons why right now. Suffice to say that while I have big issues with both (all) candidates, I find Lightfoot, basically a good-government candidate, (no radical or @AOC by any means) to be the most unchained to the old, corrupt machinery. In a race with no true hard-core progressives or lefties in it, that's good enough for me.

On key policy issues of police and neighborhood violence, as well as on education issues, both Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle appear about the same. At yesterday's mayoral forum hosted by the Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago, both stressed more community investment as a response to street violence.

According to Chalkbeat's report on the forum:
Both candidates pledged to devote more staff and resources to public safety, and honed in on underlying issues that contribute to violence, like poverty, housing and disinvestment, while emphasizing the need to provide mental health resources in communities wrestling with trauma. 
On police reform, both oppose the Rahm Emanuel's $95M Cop Academy. But they both see more police training as at least part of the solution, in step with with the DoJ report and the negotiated consent decree. Lightfoot said yesterday, that she would even consider using some of the city's shuttered schools for decentralized, community-based training, rather than the new cop academy, just approved by the city council.

While I'm OK with more and better cop training, I can think of at least 10 better re-uses for those buildings. I'd like to push the discussion beyond training. Racist police murders, like the killing of Laquan McDonald are not mainly "training" issues. They are systemic issues emanating from a system of white supremacy and class power, where cops are the enforcers. I wish we had some candidates who would talk about systemic change. But we don't. That's left to us.

On school policy, each candidate opposes charter school expansion and further school closings. Each call for an elected school board. Neither appear to be over-influenced by the school privatization, vouchers lobbyists -- so far at least.

It's true that Preckwinkle won the early endorsement of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), an endorsement I respect, if not agree with. I think it was a mistake, on par with the AFT's early endorsement of Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders in 2016. Feeling confident back then, that Hillary would have the best chance of defeating Trump, union leaders thought they were putting a lock on a seat at the table under the new administration. They were wrong on all counts. All they succeeded in doing was splitting the rank-and-file.

The CTU endorsement of Preckwinkle was understandable in the first round of the campaign when it looked pretty certain that Bill Daley, the man from JP Morgan, would be in the runoff and the hope was that Preckwinkle would have the best chance of defeating him. They and many of us were wrong about Daley who turned out to be a paper tiger despite his massive campaign war chest. He folded like a cheap suit, paving the way for a late Lightfoot surge into first place and a significant lead in the runoff polls. It now appears Lightfoot leads Preckwinkle in every demographic with three weeks to go.

But as we all know, anything can happen

*****

Now we have two African-American women, one openly gay, running for mayor. How great is that! But it's a situation fraught with danger. The campaigns have split the progressives into two pretty hard camps. In my mind, the progressive movement in Chicago, at its peak after the Bernie Sanders campaign, might have unified around it's own candidate for mayor and IL governor two years ago. But it didn't. Instead of building on the Sanders insurgency within the party, which produced successful electoral revolts in N.Y., Detroit, and other cities, we are fighting pitched battles over which mainstream candidate will take us to the promised land.

Now attacks are flying back and forth on FB and on Twitter, including sharp personal attacks which won't easily be forgotten.

Soon after the election, the camps will hopefully be able to put Humpty Dumpty back together again and unite to roll back Mayor Emanuel's boondoggles like the Cop Academy and Lincoln Yards, and to support the teachers union in their upcoming contract negotiations, and possible teachers strike.

Here's some unsolicited advice to both candidates. Whoever wins will unfortunately, at least for a while, have autocratic control over CPS -- control that neither claims to want. But the contract negotiations won't wait for the passage of stalled elected school board legislation to be passed or for the elections to follow.

Both candidates should make it clear now that their election won't mean a continuation of Rahm-ism without Rahm. First it means having a democratic (not autocratic) style of work. Second, it means clean house, if not immediately, soon after the election. Bring in your own team and tell us now who they will be. Next, it may already be too late, but playing the stall game on Lincoln Yards and the Cop Academy and call for an immediate stop to both.

In other words, show leadership now and not wait until you are elected.

Also, please stop the anti-teacher rhetoric about "supporting teachers" but supporting students "even more". The CTU has been in the lead when it comes to negotiating smaller class size, more nurses and social workers in schools and special ed resources. Teachers, students and parents have the same interests in the upcoming negotiations.

Monday, March 11, 2019

WEEKEND QUOTABLES

The musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra are on strike after walking out of contract negotiations Sunday night at 9:30 p.m. Their current contract expires at 11:59 p.m. Sunday, and they say they will not return to work until a new contract is reached.
Stephen Lester, CSO bassist on strike today
“We have been clear from the beginning that we will not accept a contract that diminishes the well-being of members or imperils the future of the orchestra,” said Stephen Lester, CSO bassist and chair of the musicians’ negotiating committee, in a statement. -- Tribune
Soon-to-be-indicted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
In response to a comment by Israeli actress Rotem Sela, who wrote on social media that Israel is a country of all its citizens: "Israel is not a state of all its citizens. Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish People - and them alone." -- Haaretz
You ask how the mayoral campaign debate is going?
Well, let's just say, with a few weeks to go, it's umm, moved to another level.


 Tucker Carlson
...Used the c-word, said women are ‘primitive’ and ‘like dogs,’ and joked about a 13-year-old being molested during newly unearthed radio appearances. -- Now This
Coming up this Friday on Hitting Left...
Jamie Kalven, writer and human rights activist.  His work has appeared in a variety of publications.  In recent years, he has reported extensively on patterns of police abuse and impunity in Chicago.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

The Preckwinkle campaign, like watching a slow-motion train wreck

Berrios & Preckwinkle...breaking up is hard to do. 
I realize, despite my best intentions, I'm a little preoccupied with this mayor's race. I've never really had a handle on it. I admit, I expected a Daley/Preckwinkle or Daley/Mendoza runoff and was amazed by Lori Lightfoot's come-from-behind charge in the opening round.

I loved it that the big-money guys like Daley and Chico turned into big losers. I was a little disappointed that Paul Vallas didn't make the cut. He couldn't even get out of single-digits. But only because over the years of battling his influence peddling in the field of education reform, I have so much unused op-research filed away on PV that I was itching for a chance to use it all.

But in the end, I was overjoyed to see two African-American women, one openly gay, and both with progressive credentials, make the cut. The inevitability of a black, woman mayor taking charge of what Carl Sandberg called, the city of "stormy, husky, brawling...big shoulders" still leaves me high as a kite -- Harold Washington high.

All the post-op pain killers I've been taking have also helped.

But another reality, not opioid-driven, is now setting in. With election day only a few weeks away, and Lightfoot apparently pulling far ahead, internecine warfare has broken out among the progressives to such a degree it's going to be hard to put Humpty Dumpty back together again when the election madness is over.

While both campaigns are going negative in their TV ads, (as Harold used to say, "politics ain't bean bag") I mainly put the blame for this on a self-righteous, dispirited and angry group of Preckwinkle supporters who can't believe they are losing and that the rest of the progressive left doesn't see Lightfoot in their one dimensional way.

Now I'm likely overreacting. I know it's probably just a small group of Facebook lefties that are portraying former Police Board chief and former prosecutor Lightfoot as a "cop" or "defender of killer cops". But the tone of the official campaign ads is nearly as negative and reactionary.

This isn't necessarily the case with the CTU leadership, which endorsed Preckwinkle when it looked like she was the only alternative to a Daley victory. I likely would have voted "strategically" for her if it came down to Toni/Daley as well. My god, I voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

CTU leaders while still strongly backing Toni, seem to be taking a more savvy and seasoned approach while still showing leadership where it really counts, in community battles, like stopping plunder of the city by Sterling Bay Corp. around Lincoln Yards.

They must realize that in three weeks there's going to be a new mayor on the fifth floor at City Hall and whoever wins, it will be a mayor who, in sharp contrast to the current one, the union can work with, one who opposes school closings, charters and vouchers, and favors an elected school board.

The union will also need its school/community base to stay unified if it is to keep the pressure on whoever's elected, especially with contract negotiations coming up and possible strike on the horizon.

FINALLY, I'M STUNNED at the ineptitude of the Preckwinkle campaign. Every day, I feel like I'm watching a slow-motion train wreck. It's not just about the reactionary overreach of anti-Lori negativity in their propaganda, which can't help but backfire. It's the daily miscalculation, the ducking a dodging, and misreading of the depths of anti-machine hostility directed at Preckwinkle on the part of voters.

"Change agents", White, Burnett and Preckwinkle
Take the past two days which saw the campaign accept official endorsements from Sec. of State Jesse White and and Ald. Walter Burnett. No matter what you think of this pair, it's impossible for most of us to consider them as change agents. Yet, the campaign pitched them both as "representatives of change".

S-T's Fran Spielman writes:
The state’s leading vote-getter and his political protege stood with Toni Preckwinkle Wednesday to help her make the case that she is the candidate for change in a change election because she has already delivered it.
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White and Ald. Walter Burnett (27th) endorsed Preckwinkle, but that was hardly surprising. Both men are longstanding Preckwinkle allies and stalwarts of the Cook County Democratic Party she chairs.
 On Wednesday, Burnett made a dramatically different argument. He argued that Preckwinkle’s decision to succeed her longtime ally, former Assessor Joe Berrios, as chairman of the Cook County Regular Democratic Organization would pay handsome dividends for Chicago taxpayers if she becomes mayor.
Then, the second shoe dropped...
Never mind that White’s office hired Joe Berrios’ sister and friend when newly-elected Assessor Fritz Kaegi fired them.
As the Tribune reported in December...
 The secretary of state’s office, which has around 3,700 jobs, has long been known as a patronage haven under both Democrats and Republicans. The two women will each make $37,992 a year as public service supervisors in the Vehicle Services Department, said Dave Druker, White’s spokesman.
Yes, change agents.

These latest endorsements are going to make it even tougher in the final three weeks, for Preckwinkle to unhook from her own ties to Burke, Berrios and the rest of her old machine pals in the eyes of the voters.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Election thoughts...Blaming the messenger.

Who thought it was a good idea for Toni Preckwinkle to duck the S-T debate?
Who on Team Toni thought it was a good idea for her to duck out on the Sun-Times debate? Her lame excuse? The S-T has already endorsed Lori. But so what? That makes no sense.

With all early polls showing Toni running far behind, you would think that there's no better place to be than in the home of the opposition, appealing directly to their base. But Toni backed away, lashing out at Lori as she ran for the door.
"Starting with the NBC debate Thursday night, we look forward to hearing corporate lawyer Lori Lightfoot defend her record representing a Wall Street bank accused of massive discrimination and of defending Republican politicians trying to hold onto their power," spokeswoman Monica Trevino wrote in a statement.
There are plenty of valid criticisms of Lightfoot, but trying to make her look like the monied, Wall Street candidate was another misstep by Team Toni. That was Bill Daley. Daley and Preckwinkle outspent Lori in the first round by 3 and 4:1.

Preckwinkle has been the most aggressive and negative campaigner so far. It's a style that misreads the times we're in, and she's used it to whip up her Facebook supporters, lashing out with personal invective against Lori voters and neutrals. This has only helped her opponent look reasonable and likeable while further dividing Toni's base.

The latest polls show Preckwinkle trailing in every demographic. Lightfoot leads among women (60%) and men (56%). Lightfoot leads among all age groups: 54% of voters younger than 50; 55% of voters between ages 50 to 64, and 55% of those 65 and older favor Lightfoot.

Team Toni's response: They say that since the poll was paid for by the pro-school privatization group, Stand for Children, it can't be trusted. Their takeaway is that SFC supports Lori and therefore they produced the poll. The argument rings similar to the Sun-Times argument. Since S-T endorsed Lori, the debate must be rigged.

Actually, the polling was done by respected Democratic pollsters FM3. Their poll found that while both candidates are viewed favorably by a majority of voters, 64% view Lightfoot favorably and 53% have a favorable opinion of Preckwinkle. However, Preckwinkle also has a greater number of detractors. While only ten percent of voters view Lightfoot unfavorably, more than one-third have an unfavorable opinion of Preckwinkle (37%).

They might have had a point about SFC popularizing the poll results, except for the fact that SFC has every reason NOT to support Lightfoot. After all, like Toni, she's running on a promise to end charter school expansion and to support an elected school board.

There's also the problem for Team Toni that everyone now has done internal polling that could easily refute FM3's poll if theirs were divergent.

Team Toni says she's not running scared. She says she's prepared to debate Lori 5 more times, including in an event sponsored by the rival Tribune. But why? Remember, the Trib endorsed her opponent Bill Daley before he was knocked out of the race last week.

Strange game they're playing. May be time for Team Toni to retool.

Monday, March 4, 2019

WEEKEND QUOTABLES

Bernie Sanders at last night's rally in Chicago: "Real change never takes place from the top on down, it always takes place from the bottom on up." (Fred Klonsky pic)

More Bernie
Asked if he's interested in any advice from Clinton, Sanders replied, "I think not.""Hillary and I have fundamental -- you know, fundamental differences. And that's what it is," he explained. -- CNN
CTU Pres. Jesse Sharkey
“The top two vote getters are people who have lifted up public education and support a number of our key policies,” Sharkey said. “That said … the case to our membership has to be about what are the concrete things we’re actually going to see.” For example, Sharkey said he was happy to hear Preckwinkle’s stance against closing schools, but he wants to hear her views on other critical issue facing the district. For instance, “can we get a nurse in every school — every day,” he said.
-- Chalkbeat
Toni Preckwinkle would keep Rahm's school chief
 Preckwinkle said Friday she plans to keep Jackson for two reasons: CPS needs stability after a revolving door of five CEOs in the past eight years and Mayor Rahm Emanuel got it right with his fifth try. -- Sun-Times
Chicago law firm explains how it pays its lawyers
 "Our system is a little more, I hate to say socialist, but it's a little more evenly distributed among the folks involved in the team." -- Crain's
 Joe Ferguson, Chicago's inspector general, wants focus on corruption 
"Chicago [is] at one of those paradigm-shifting moments. And its confluence with an election at a point in time that the city still has to grapple with significant fiscal issues because of a pension crisis both locally and at the state level, means that this corruption moment is one that actually could matter," Ferguson says. "If the shift doesn't come as a result of the election, I'm not sure what's ever going to make it change." -- WBUR [Joe Ferguson will be our in-studio guest on Hitting Left on March 29th]
Dumbest quote comes from defeated Alderman Joe Moore... 
A little democracy could be a good thing, but I think people need to understand it’s coming at a very inopportune time." -- Tribune

Friday, February 22, 2019

DAY 7 of our 'National State of Emergency'

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)
“I would say it’s better for the middle school kids in Kentucky to have a secure border,” Graham said on CBS News’s "Face the Nation. “We’ll get them the school they need, but right now we’ve got a national emergency on our hands.”
Ft. Lauderdale, FL -- It's DAY 7 of our "National State of Emergency". I hope all you are somehow surviving, safe and doing well.

I'm the kind of guy who runs towards the danger, not away from it. So yesterday, I flew down to our southern border, FT. Lauderdale to be exact, to see how Floridians were handling having Spanish-speaking immigrants and drugs flowing into their wall-less state. 

I'm also trying to escape the Chicago tundra for a while,  catch some 80-deg weather and get in the therapy pool to help speed recovery of my post-surgical knee.

Bravely carrying on in my stead this morning on Hitting Left, will be brother Fred and our favorite political strategist, Joanna Klonsky (yes, we're related). They will be joined in-studio by Ald. Scott Waguespack of the 32nd Ward and leader of the City Council's Progressive Caucus. Together, hopefully they can make some sense out of the race for mayor. Lord knows, I've tried and failed.

Yes, like everyone else who's awake, I'm mocking DT's phony, self-serving declaration and hoping it can be reversed by members of congress before he can use autocratic power to shift billions out of school budgets to pay for his fu**ing wall. I've already heard Lindsey Graham making the case that paying for the wall is more important than school funding.

Now don't get me wrong. There is an undeclared national emergency down on the southern border that needs responding to. Thousands of immigrant children have been separated, possibly permanently, from their parents and families and hundreds, including infants and toddlers, still remain in custody, unaccounted for, in government camps.

While Nancy Pelosi tries to get a few Repugs to join with Democrats in reversing the SOE, some veterans groups are blasting DT for abusing power with his bogus declaration and slamming his plan to take money intended to build housing for military families and waste it on a racist border wall.

In El Paso, Sunday, hundreds of educators protested the government's treatment of immigrant children in a "teach-in", saying that as mandatory reporters, they are obliged to speak out against detainment and family separations.

Shout-out to protest organizer, Mandy Manning, the 2018 National Teacher of the Year, who teaches newly arrived refugee and immigrant students in Washington state.

I'll try and send more reports on the National State of Emergency from down here on the border as the week progresses.

Stay strong, America!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Progressives split in Chicago race. Can they unite against Daley in a runoff?

With the first round of the mayoral election only a week away, things are starting to get hot and heavy. Progressives are split at least three ways (Toni Preckwinkle, Lori Lightfoot and Amara Enyia) and there's lots of vitriol back and forth among their camps..

Cook County party boss Toni Preckwinkle, with early support from many progressives, including the CTU and SEIU seemed like the clear front-runner a month ago.  The SEIU endorsements alone translated into roughly $2M in cash and in-kind contributions to Preckwinkle and nearly two dozen full-time campaign workers and upwards of 500 part-time volunteers.

Bill Daley, the man from JP Morgan and the candidate without a shred of progressive pretense, has replaced Rahm Emanuel as the darling of Chicago's 1%-ers. They've gone all in on Daley because, 1) they fear a takeover of the city by left-wing insurgents of the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez type and 2) his early lead in fundraising has them believing he's a for-real candidate, who can win.

The irony is that the modern notion of Democratic Partyinsurgency they're so afraid off, goes back to Harold Washington's victory over the Daley machine in 1983. But the latest attempt at building a progressive electoral coalition petered out after the collapse of the Bernie Sanders coalition in 2016 leading to the election of J.B. Pritzker as governor with no real progressive opponent.

The current Internecine warfare over mayoral choices results from progressive groups not being able to unify around candidates for mayor and governor two years ago.

Instead, Rahm, their main electoral target with plummeting poll numbers following his Laquan McDonald cover-up and his school-closing debacle, pulled a slick move and abandoned the race altogether, before we had a chance to beat him. Even though #RahmResign was exactly what progressives had been demanding, it took many of them them by surprise, as Amisha Patel of the Grassroots Collaborative admitted on our show on February 1st.

Without Rahm as a unifying target, the door was left open for a gaggle of old-line, well-financed Democratic Party regulars to jump in and suck up all the money and organizational support.

Mendoza, Chico, Daley and Preckwinkle, none of whom dared enter the race while Rahm was still in it, all jumped in and immediately got the support and credibility from the party bosses and powerful donors who had been sitting on the sidelines. Daley was the biggest beneficiary with $7M in big-donor money. $2M coming directly from Republican billionaire Ken Griffin.

But the good news is that despite their swollen campaign coffers and TV advertising, none of the party machine regulars or great-white-hope alternatives (Paul Vallas & Gary McCarthy) have been able to create any excitement at the base and break from the pack.

If the vote were taken today, undecided or none-of-the-above would be the clear winner. According to most recent polling, the top 5, including underdog and party outlier, Lori Lightfoot are all with a few points of each other and any two could make it to the runoff, especially if this becomes a low-turnout election.

Lightfoot, who if elected, would become the city's first black, woman, lesbian mayor, is a clear underdog. But she's gained momentum and funding in recent weeks, especially after picking up the Sun-Times endorsement, while Preckwinkle and Mendoza have failed to improve their numbers since being connected to the Burke/Solis scandal.

Progressive Preckwinkle supporters, including those in the CTU and SEIU, who backed her early when union haters Rahm, Vallas and McCarthy seemed like her main opponents, probably did so more because they thought she would win rather than  because of fundamental political agreement. But now they're stuck with her even as her campaign falters and stumbles towards the finish line.

They fear a Lightfoot victory next week will lead to Daley's election in the finals and are training all their tactical guns and money on Lightfoot. For her part, Lightfoot sees Preckwinkle as part and parcel of the Burke/Berrios party machinery and has been gunning for her from the start.

Lori Lightfoot goes head to head with Toni Preckwinkle ally, Rep. Martwick“You were a Joe Berrios surrogate for the entire campaign. You filed this bill [to appoint rather than elect assessor] to profit yourself. Who benefits from a system that’s not changed?” Lightfoot said.
Things really came to a head this week when State Rep. Rob Martwick, closely tied to Berrios and Preckwinkle, tried to disrupt a Lightfoot presser and ended up in a well-photographed head-to-head, David vs. Goliath confrontation with the candidate. Martwick is authoring a bill that would make the County Assessor an appointed, rather than elected position. The bill is obviously meant as payback against anti-machine guy, Fritz Kaegi who defeated Boss Berrios in the assessor's race.

But the damaging confrontation instead meant more bad press for Preckwinkle and the machine. Martwick had to back off, claiming that his bill was only meant as a "conversation starter" while Preckwinkle was forced to issue a joint statement with Kaegi, opposing the Martwick bill.

If all this has your head spinning as you enter the voting booth, join the crowd. Daley seems like the main beneficiary of all this mayhem in the progressive camps, if he and Preckwinkle wind up in a runoff. A Daley/Mendoza runoff is also possible if Preckwinkle continues to stumble.

Amara Enyia, running with big campaign donations from rappers Chance the Rapper and Kanye West, hopes to pick up support from young black activists and hard-left organizers. But she doesn't seem to be gaining traction as the race draws to a close.

But if somehow if Lighfoot pulls an upset on Feb. 26, the whole thing is up for grabs. The progressives only hope is for some kind of reconciliation between Lightfoot, Preckwinkle and Enyia supporters and that's not likely.

But in a close, low-turnout election, anything can happen.

Buckle up and vote.


I'll be AWOL for Friday's Hitting Left show when brother Fred tries to make some sense of all this with Chicago campaign strategist, Joanna Klonsky and Progressive Caucus leader, Ald. Scott Waguespack. But I'll be tuning in to WLPN 105.5 FM, via live streaming on www.lumpenradio.com from 11-noon CT. I hope you will join me. 


Monday, February 18, 2019

WEEKEND QUOTABLES

Victory in Denver Teachers Strike.
Harry Roman, Denver Teachers Union President
During the daylight hours, Roman said he found it surreal to look outside the window of the Denver Central Library’s fifth-floor conference room and see masses of red-clad teachers marching and chanting about the wages he and his team were trying to improve. “It felt like, ‘Wow, we’re creating a movement here,’ ” Roman said. “It was very, very touching.” -- Denver Post
Lindsay Graham
Kentucky kids would be better off if school funds were diverted to the border wall. “I would say it’s better for the middle school kids in Kentucky to have a secure border...We’ll get them the school they need, but right now we’ve got a national emergency on our hands." -- TPM
Senior German official 
"We fool ourselves if we think Trump is just an aberration,” said a senior German official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak candidly. “Trump is a symptom more than a cause.” -- Washington Post
Dr. Angela Davis comes home to Birmingham
It was here [at Carrie A. Tuggle Elementary School] I watched black teachers stand up and “take exception" to white representatives of the board of education calling them by their first names. Where “I acquired, the consciousness of what it means to stand for black freedom...Here is where I acquired the sense of possibilities to resist...This school helped shape my sense of relationship with my community.” -- AL.com

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Memo to Paul Vallas: Lose the broom

“There’s nothing Chicago politicians fear more than this broom." -- Paul Vallas

So here's Paul Vallas, running for mayor of Chicago and carrying around a broom in his TV ads,  a prop designed to portray him as the anti-corruption candidate. Clever, right? He's the one who's going to sweep corruption out the door.

It harkens me back to 2008 when D.C. schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee posed holding a broom for the cover of Time Magazine and then  was implicated in one of the country's biggest test cheating scandals. Rhee became the darling of the corporate-style school reformers and school privatizers who poured millions into her Students First organization. Then, after serving as a corporate exec with a fertilizer company, she tried to become Trump's ed secretary but lost out to Betsy DeVos.

Now comes another former big-city school chief with a broom, the guy who was Gary Solomon's mentor. You remember Solomon. The force behind the biggest scam --SUPES -- ever to hit the Chicago Public Schools. Solomon and his partner in crime, former CEO at CPS, Barbara Byrd-Bennett are now doing prison time for that scam. But it was Vallas who taught Solomon the ropes and somehow, he's walking free, carrying a broom, and running for mayor of the country's third largest city.

After leaving CPS, Vallas developed ties with education consultant Solomon during his tenure at the Philadelphia and Louisiana districts. He then named Solomon to run his Synesi consulting company. Solomon had become adept at penetrating school districts from around the country after buying off their top school officials with perks and bribes in exchange for expensive consulting contracts.

According to the Tribune:
When Solomon worked as vice president of sales at The Princeton Review, the Philadelphia district Vallas ran was a client. Solomon later launched an educating consulting firm that touted itself as connected to the “Vallas model” of school reform. Vallas, who had no formal links to Solomon's firm, chastised the consultant for trying to capitalize on Vallas' reputation.
But Vallas got over his annoyance. He took Solomon with him as a consultant when Vallas moved to Louisiana to rebuild a school district battered in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina. A few years later, Vallas was recommending to Peoria that it hire another Solomon-run consulting firm, though no contract was signed. Vallas disputed the assertion that he had pitched work specifically for Solomon's firm.
Vallas previously has told the Tribune he stopped working with Solomon in 2010, but has declined to explain why.
My advice to Vallas. Ditch the broom. It doesn't wear well.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Will Chicago elect a mayor who's back in bed with Bezos on HQ2?

 
Toni Preckwinkle and Bill Daley on board with Bezos. 
...bringing Amazon to town will probably cost untold millions in tax credits—money diverted straight from the state's coffers. That spells a tax hike for everyone else as the state jacks up taxes to compensate for the money it's giving to Amazon.
-- Ben Joravsky
Like Freddy Krueger in Nightmare on Elm St., Amazon boss Jeff Bezos and his HQ2 plan for Chicago just keeps coming back from the dead. It looks like, now that New York has said no, Rahm/Rauner's $2.5B tax and land giveaway to Bezos is back on the table in Chicago.

How can that be with Rauner gone, Ed Burke on his way to jail, and Rahm on his way out the door? It can only happen if Gov. Pritzker and a new Chicago mayor are ready, willing and able to meet all of Bezos demands and accept his unsubstantiated estimates of tens of thousands of "high-paying city jobs".

And which of the current mayoral candidates is ready to bend over for Bezos? According to Crain's there's only two (maybe three) -- Bill Daley, Toni Preckwinkle and possibly, Paul Vallas who hasn't said yet.

While I would expect no less from Daley and Vallas, I'm still amazed that Preckwinkle, who's only in the race because of backing from CTU and SEIU, is willing to play ball with union-buster supreme, Bezos. The jobs Bezos promises are unsustainable and without long-term security. Amazon has the highest employee turnover this side of Walmart and their working conditions are reported to be the worst of any major corporation.

Burke may be under indictment and Ald. Danny Solis may have gone underground, wire and all. But the spirit of pay-to-play and quid pro quo, obviously still lives on among these three.

ONE MORE POINT, if I might... Bezos is also a big backer of charter schools and other school privatization schemes in the state of Washington. According to a report in the Nation, the Bezos Foundation has donated to Education Reform Now, a nonprofit organization that funds attack advertisements against teachers’ unions and other advocacy efforts to promote test-based evaluations of teachers. Education Reform Now also sponsors Democrats for Education Reform (DFER).

Other education philanthropy supported by the Bezos Foundation include KIPP, Teach for America and many individual charter schools, including privately funded math and science programs across the country.

Monday, February 11, 2019

WEEKEND QUOTABLES


Raise Your Hand on return of PARCC
“To have the Illinois test ready for spring, ISBE has basically adopted PARCC for one more year,” the group said in a statement. -- Sun-Times
John Dingell's last words
Opponents of the Medicare program that saved the elderly from that cruel fate called it “socialized medicine.” Remember that slander if there’s a sustained revival of silly red-baiting today. -- Washington Post
Amy Klobuchar's poke at Clinton
"I think we're starting in Wisconsin because as you remember there wasn't a lot of campaigning in Wisconsin in 2016. With me, that changes." -- The Hill
Toni Preckwinkle
 “Can we count on you when it’s needed to say no to the teachers union?” Flannery asked. “Of course,” Preckwinkle said. “Of course.” -- Chicago Tribune
Robert Reich
 America will never be a socialist country,” Donald Trump declared in his State of the Union address. Someone should alert Trump that America is now a hotbed of socialism. But it is socialism for the rich. Everyone else is treated to harsh capitalism. -- Guardian

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Rahm hard at work trying to clean up his legacy on education

Rahm and his predecessor, Richard M. Daley. 
In the latest issue of The Atlantic, Mayor Rahm Emanuel tries to do a clean-up job on his years of crisis-ridden, chaotic one-man rule over the Chicago public schools. "I used to preach the gospel of reform," writes Rahm. "Then I became the mayor."

I'm not sure what gospel of reform Rahm was preaching in the first place. With no background in education and a long string of inept and corrupt managers surrounding him, His policies were neither research-based nor educationally sound. Rather they represented a googob of top-down, politically-driven policies and strategies that had more to do with breaking the union, real estate speculation, patronage and disinvestment in black and Latino neighborhoods than in anything curricular or pedagogical.

His mantra during his first campaign was, more classroom seat time equals better learning outcomes, holding up Houston, of all places, as his model. "The data shows that the longer you stay in the classroom learning,  you'll learn more...", claimed Rahm.

But we never were shown any such data. Maybe because, none existed. Everything depended on what was happening in those classrooms, how crowded they were, and who was teaching in them and what else was going on, inside and outside of school.

That led to the first of many clashes Rahm would have with the CTU and it's president, Karen Lewis. ultimately leading up to the great teachers strike of 2012. That strike would end in victory for the union which was able to gather wide parent and community support.

Rahm's revision of history has him winning the strike and Karen Lewis conceding on the longer school day.
My initial doubts emerged four days into what turned out to be the first Chicago teachers’ strike in three decades. After a series of arduous negotiations with Karen Lewis, the union president, we’d arrived at the basic contours of an agreement. In return for higher salaries, Lewis accepted my demands to extend the school day by an hour and 15 minutes, tack two weeks onto the school year, establish universal full-day kindergarten, and rewrite the outdated evaluations used to keep the city’s educators accountable.
In fact, it was the teachers who won that strike, fighting for much more that high wages, but smaller class size and an end to layoffs and much more.

Now Rahm claims to be a school-reform apostate who has abandoned "the gospel of teacher-focused reform for a more top-down approach centered on empowering principals." As any educator could have told him, real reform is not just about power struggles between principals and teachers. It’s more about school/community relationships and adequate resources.

Since Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that he wasn't going to run for a third term, it seems all he's interested in is cleaning up (whitewashing) his brand. That's perfectly understandable if his goal is making a credible transition from the public, back to the private or non-profit (foundation or university) sector at the end of his term, the way his predecessor Rich Daley did after his notorious parking meter deal.

That won't be as easy as it's been for him in the past when he managed investments and other enterprises for the likes of Bill Clinton and Bruce Rauner. For one thing, he's got a poor track record when it comes to enticing giant companies like Amazon into Chicago by hook or by crook. Chicago still owns the reputation as the most corrupt city in the most corrupt state in the union. We still don't know how high up the current Burke/Solis scandal will go or if Rahm can steer clear of it. And despite finally getting a school budget passed in Springfield, Rahm still has to own the fact that he drove CPS finances in the debt hell.

Then there's his role in the cover up following the police murder of Laquan McDonald.

Finally and probably most important is the destruction he's left in the wake of his policy of mass school closings in the city's black communities, replacing them with school vouchers and privately-run charter schools. It was his misleadership on the schools, more than anything, that bottomed out his poll numbers and caused him to finally drop out of race for mayor.

He can now spend his time remaking his brand and rewriting history.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Candidate Bill Daley, the man from JPMorgan Trust

MY FAVORITE BILL DALEY QUOTE -- "I stopped wearing a tie every day when I joined the hedge fund. It's a lot easier."

He doesn't always tell the truth, but at least great-white-hope mayoral candidate, former Commerce Secretary Bill Daley, the man from JPMorgan Chase,  and the Swiss hedge fund Argentiere Capital, tells the Daily Line straight-up where he's coming from and where he's heading.
"I’m proud of the fact that I am pro-business."
Unlike some of the new-found progressives running for office, Daley has been consistent in his contempt for progressivism and liberal politics. In case you had any doubt, he supports building the new Cop Academy and Sterling Bay's Lincoln Yards. He's a strong supporter of charter school expansion. He's a teacher union hater (Peter Cunningham is his campaign manager for chrissakes), and he's calling for camera-bearing drones on every block in Chicago.

You want more? In response to CTU’s demand for higher pay and hiring nurses, librarians and aides Daley offers this:
“Conceptually, everyone would like to see everybody get a pay raise as much as she could, and give everybody whatever they want. The reality is, we have to deal with reality."
“Let’s be honest, ‘progressive’ is just because Democrats didn’t want to call themselves ‘liberals’ anymore because it was such a negative term… [I'll make] sure that the economic pie grows and isn’t just the economic pie of government, it’s the economic pie of the private sector, which is much larger and much more meaningful than government’s ability to affect things. 
No, that's not a quote from Trump.

But when I say he's not always truthful, I mean...
 “I’ve been fortunate over the years of having a lot of friendships and relationships around the country. I had one senior businessperson, a Republican, give me a substantial amount of money and has no interest in Chicago other than his attitude was we need reasonable sensible leadership in urban America,” he said. While many connected Chicagoans have donated to his campaign, including the Ricketts, former Tribune owner Sam Zell’s trust, and dozens of Chicago-based investors, he said, “The people that have supported me don’t play in the game of Chicago politics, they have no business interest in that sense."
Yes, you heard it here first. None, zero, nil of Daley's biggest campaign contributors, including Cubs owner Tom Ricketts, former billionaire Trib owner Sam Zell, Byron Trott, CEO of BDT Capital Partners, or Christopher Reyes and M. Jude Reyes, executives of Reyes Holdings,  play politics in Chicago and have "no business interests" there.

If that sounds to you too much like Trump claiming he has never had business interests in Russia...well.

And if you aren't familiar with the billionaire Reyes brothers, they are among the Republican Party's biggest donors.
During his 18-year tenure at Chicago Title’s National Commercial Services unit, Chris Reyes has received increasing responsibility in various departments. Currently, he oversees the Local Commercial Operation responsible for underwriting and closing transactions involving all of Chicago’s trophy buildings, such as the Sears Tower, John Hancock building, Merchandise Mart and AON Center. Most recently, Chris and his team completed the largest commercial deal that has ever closed in Chicago, involving 32 different properties and a price tag of $3.2 billion.
Reyes makes Eddie Burke look like a novice.

I'll stop here. Don't even get me started on the ways Daley is ducking and dodging on #MeToo and women's choice issues. Let's just say that if Daley is elected (latest polls have him in the lead in fundraising and near the top for white voters), you can expect nothing more than a continuation of Rahm's 1%er policies, including massive taxpayer investment for super real estate projects, disinvestment in isolated neighborhoods, autocratic rule over the schools, and less police accountability.

No, definitely not a progressive.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Problem: How to talk about Chicago politics on community radio?

Amisha Patel of the Grassroots Collaborative, will be our guest Friday on Hitting Left

Friday's Hitting Left show should be a good one. Brother Fred will be back from vacation and Amisha Patel from Grassroots Collaborative will be our in-studio guest. As you might expect, we'll be talking about the current list of Chicago's pay-for-play politics and machine scandals in the roll-up towards election day.

These will include, of course, the mayor's Lincoln Yards/Sterling Bay land giveaway which was being greased up until recently by prison-bound real estate attorney, Ald. Ed Burke. Sterling Bay had to dump him after the the feds arrested him. And then there's the little problem of having possibly the dirtiest alderman of 'em all, wire-wearing Danny Solis, sitting atop the zoning committee.

Amisha and her group have been in the forefront of the struggle to put the Lincoln Yards project on hold, at least until the new administration comes in and the city council has time to vet it. Problem is, it's looking now like the top-monied mayoral candidates all have strong Burke/Solis machine ties and unless the polls are way off (entirely possible) City Hall will likely remain in hands that are just a corrupt as Rahm's, or even worse.

Let's hope there's at least some progressive change coming in the aldermanic races, where some insurgents, women, teachers, and candidates of color have a chance to unseat the incumbents.

As listeners know, Hitting left is aired on a community radio station WLPN 105.5 FM in Chicago. It is live-streamed on lumpenradio.com every Friday from 11-noon CT. According to latest numbers I have received Friday, 30-50 thousand listeners are regularly tuned in to Lumpen Radio, with many more listening to our show each week on Mixcloud or downloading it on podcast.

I love being a part of community radio and that's exactly what our show is all about-- community building. But having a political show on a community radio station also has its drawbacks. One of which is language censorship. We cannot uses language that is considered obscenity based on "community standards" without facing serious fines.

As far as Fred and I are concerned, that's not a problem. Mom raised us right and we've managed to get most of our guests to clean up their act for our show. Our producer also keeps a hand on the red bleep button and he's had a pretty strict interpretation of allowable words.

Here's the problem. We're talking about politics and politicians from the likes of our "pussy grabbing" president to Alds. Burke and Solis here in Chicago. We often find ourselves unable to quote them directly or even report the news accurately without resorting to metaphors and code language.

For example, the Sun-Times reports:
The affidavit, sworn out by FBI special agent Steven Noldin, portrays Solis as deeply in debt and routinely on the prowl for sex, Viagra, campaign contributions and other favors.
...In July 2015, Solis called Caldero with another request.
“I want to get a good massage, with a nice ending. Do you know any good places?” the alderman said.
 When Caldero promised to arrange the liaison, Solis asked, “What kind of women do they got there?” “Asian,” Caldero said. Oh good. Good, good, good. I like Asian,” Solis said.
See what I mean? Chicago politics is so vulgar, is so racist, it's unfit for community radio standards. So we have to constantly find alternative ways to talk about it while still keeping our political edge. Actually, it's not such a problem that we can't and don't have fun with it.

Thanks for sticking with us.


Rahm's Wintrust Arena is a monument to neighborhood disinvestment



As we learn more and more about how Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his corrupt cronies in the City Council, like Ed Burke and Danny Solis traded development projects for personal and political gain, it's worth taking a look back on one of Rahm's early superprojects.

The plan for a new DePaul basketball stadium, now called Wintrust Arena, was announced about a week before City Hall closed 49 public schools and nearly all the city's mental health clinics in 2013, was met with heavy protests when it was it was proposed. Protests grew louder after the mayor approved $55 million in tax-increment financing (TIF) funds to pay for it. Ultimately, it was financed through $82.5 million in tax dollars levied by the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, the quasi-governmental agency that oversees McCormick Place and Navy Pier. It also received $82.5 million from DePaul University, which will use the arena for 23 men’s and women’s home basketball games. It's still not clear what the final cost (not counting operating costs) actually was. But it's probably up around $250 million.

To community residents, the new arena was a slap in the face, continuing the pattern of moving public investment towards downtown and lakefront private development and away from the neighborhoods, from schools and city services.

Not only that, but as many of us predicted it would, the shiny new arena now sits mostly empty during games and events. The supposed anchor team, DePaul men's basketball Blue Demons, which for the past decade or more has refrained from recruiting inner-city Chicago high school players, is not a draw. I went to a WNBA game there and you could sit anywhere you wanted. So many empty seats.

Arena operators claim the building broke even on its expenses during its first year of operation and will turn a profit of roughly $350,000 per year in its second and third years of operation, respectively. But if you go to a ball game at Wintrust you can't help but wonder.

DePaulia, Managing Editor Shane Rene writes:
As the Blue Demons settle into their second season at DePaul’s new 10,000-seat Wintrust arena, men’s basketball fans showed little interest in attending the Blue Demons’ 2018-19 non-conference slate, according to documents obtained by The DePaulia via Freedom of Information Act. 
Through DePaul’s final and most well-attended non-conference game of the season — a crushing last-minute loss to Boston College — Wintrust saw an average of 1,274 fans scan their tickets for each game. Out of the Blue Demons’ nine home games over that time, five saw fewer than 1,000 spectators. 
If there was ever a private university that didn't need a taxpayer (TIF) funded arena, it is DePaul, the largest private, Catholic university in the nation. Wintrust Arena now sits as a near-empty monument to the Rahm Emanuel, pay-to-play era in Chicago politics.


Monday, January 28, 2019

WEEKEND QUOTABLES

Susan Klonsky and Tim Black talk oral history and Sacred Ground on Hitting Left radio
Timuel Black
 Change is going to come. How will you participate in making that change the one that you would like to have? Because the other side will have people participating to keep it like it is or make it go back the other way. Trump says ‘make America great again.’ My attitude is, make America like it ought to be. -- Chicago Tribune review of  'Sacred Ground'.
Susan Klonsky
...who wrote the book with Black, said the two aimed to “document a fairly typical story of the life of a community.” It just so happens this community was where Harold Washington had ties, former President Barack Obama started on his political path, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. made a stand on desegregating housing in the Chicago area. (Black invited King to visit and speak in the city as early as 1956 and helped to organize the notable march on Washington in 1963.) -- Tribune review
L.A. teacher/striker Larry Strauss
Overcrowded classrooms are a brutal expression that our students don’t matter. They are someone else’s kids – and all too often they are no one’s kids. -- Guardian
L.A. teacher/striker Cristopher Bautista
Bautista was teaching “Cannery Row,” John Steinbeck’s classic tale of Central Coast haves and have-nots. “I’ve been teaching about the [Los Angeles] strike to my kids,” Bautista said on Day 5 of the UTLA walkout, which ended last week with the union making incremental gains in wages, classroom sizes and support staff. Bautista sees thematic overlap between Steinbeck’s book and the L.A. work stoppage, which drew international attention. “It’s about class struggles, what people need to get by, low pay. There are parallels.” -- L.A. Times
Actress Alyssa Milano
“The red MAGA hat is the new white hood.” -- The Wrap
Ann Coulter
... on Believing Trump’s Wall Promises: “OK, I’m a Very Stupid Girl”. -- Slate


Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Kamala Harris announces on King Day. And why not?

Kamala Harris announced her candidacy in the 2020 presidential race on King Day. And why not? An electable black woman (running against Trump at least), a California senator, who will run a little to the left of a Joe Biden or Hillary Clinton and potentially become the first African-American woman U.S. president? (Obviously, no dick problems here.) I'm not jumping on board yet. It's way too early, at least for me to pick a favorite. But I'm glad Harris is in the race, in what's obviously going to be a crowded field. 

Some lefties are already throwing up #NeverKamala signs. This according to Branco Marcetic whose attempted slam piece, "The Two Faces of Kamala Harris" in the latest issue of Jacobin, actually makes her look pretty good, at least when compared to the other Dem Party regulars.

I have big issues with Harris over her record as a state prosecutor. For one, she opposed an early release program for non-violent offenders claiming it would diminish the prison labor pool. For another, her apparent support for the death penalty.

Here's an interesting connection. Harris began her political career as the DA in San Francisco, a job that later led to her becoming the state's attorney general and then senator. You don't see many progressive big-city prosecutors and I'm not prepared to say Harris is one of them.. Chicago's Kim Foxx is one and Philly's Larry Krasner is another breaking from the mass-incarceration, racist law-and-order mode.

But look who's following in Harris' path and running for DA in San Francisco this time around?

It's none other than brilliant, young movement activist lawyer, and friend of mine, Chesa Boudin.

DeChesa Boudin files papers for district attorney, flanked by Supervisors Hillary Ronen and Aaron Peskin. (Image: Nuala Sawyer)

According to the San Francisco Chronicle:
When he was just over a year old, his parents — left-wing radicals in the Weather Underground — took part in a Brinks armored car robbery outside New York City that ended in the murder of two police officers and a security guard.
Before he could walk, he was making monthly trips through prison metal detectors and steel bars to visit his mom and dad. Like many other children of incarcerated parents, he was set up for a life of hardship and heartbreak. 
But nearly four decades later, Boudin, 38, is a deputy public defender in San Francisco. His impressive ascent to the office includes becoming a Rhodes scholar, earning a law degree from Yale and clerking for two federal judges. He recently helped upend California’s cash bail system, which was widely seen as inequitable to people of color and the poor.
I obviously can't vote for Chesa, but my check's in the mail. Yours too, I hope.

Monday, January 21, 2019

WEEKEND QUOTABLES on MLK Day

"The King is Dead" and "Long Live the King" are seen written on a store in the 1400 block of North Sedgwick on April 7, 1968, two days after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination. | Sun-Times file photo

Classic Mike Royko (April 5, 1968)
Hypocrites all over this country would kneel every Sunday morning and mouth messages to Jesus Christ. Then they would come out and tell each other, after reading the papers, that somebody should string up King, who was living Christianity like few Americans ever have. -- Chicago Daily News
Pence compares Trump to Dr. King
Claims, "both leaders have inspired Americans to change through the legislative process". -- Newsweek
Michelle Alexander's King Day Op-ed
 Similarly, many students are fearful of expressing support for Palestinian rights because of the McCarthyite tactics of secret organizations like Canary Mission, which blacklists those who publicly dare to support boycotts against Israel, jeopardizing their employment prospects and future careers. -- NYT, Time to Break the Silence on Palestine
Director Alan Sorkin goes after young, elected Dems
"The young Democrats newly elected to Congress should "stop acting like young people".  Sorkin said he believes Democrats should say the party is "not just about transgender bathrooms". -- CNN
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez responds
"News Flash: Medicare for All & equal rights aren’t trends," 29-year-old Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest woman elected to the House, wrote in response to a video of Sorkin's interview.
"When people complain about low turnout in some demos, it’s not because communities are apathetic, it’s bc they don’t see you fighting for them. If we don’t show up for people, why should you feel entitled to their vote?" -- The Hill


Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Hard to get a handle on mayor’s race. Some polling please.

Polls show community support growing for striking L.A. teachers.

Why no serious polling on Chicago mayor’s race since the Burke debacle? Before Burke, poll leader, Preckwinkle was at only 18%. Could someone make the runoff with 12-15%. Maybe candidates are embarrassed to learn their numbers are so low.

Yes, interest in the race is waning since Rahm dropped out and current front-runners are all late-comers to the race with strong machine ties.

Progressives have no real horse in it despite early CTU/SEIU endorsements of Preckwinkle. But her team’s campaign stumbles have some lefties moving towards Amara Enyia and Lorie Lightfoot. Voters yawning. Am I wrong? I’d like to see some polling please. Media seems just focused on the money race.

Brother Fred and I will be talking about all this and more on Friday with BLM and Assata’s Daughters organizer, Page May along with Tom Gradel, co-author of Corrupt Illinois: Patronage, Cronyism, and Criminality. Tune in 11–noon at WLPN 105.5 FM in Chicago. Live streaming at www.lumpenradio.com.

Speaking of polling, this one shows strong public support for striking teachers in L.A.. The SurveyUSA poll found that almost two-thirds of people polled support the strike, with 15 percent opposed and about 20 percent unsure.

LAUSD Supt. and corporate shill, Austin Beutner is trying his best to scab-out the strike. That could make things hot on the picket lines and even hotter once the strike is settled.

Top Democrats are split on the strike, with DNC Chair Tom Perez, Sens. Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren supporting the teachers and corporate-wingers led by Arne Duncan attacking them. Several progressive House members have also declared their support with Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chairs Pramila Jayapal (Wash.) and Mark Pocan (Wis.), as well as Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) and Ro Khanna (Calif.) tweeting their solidarity.

Remember in 2010, when Duncan came out in support of the L.A. district posting pictures of teachers in the LA Times? It was an attempt to "shine a light" on teachers whose students had lower than average standardized test scores. Duncan claimed there were thousands of teachers longing for their scores to be posted in the new media. He even predicted that in the years ahead, hundreds of school districts would be doing the same.

What a crock that was.