Monday, August 26, 2019


"His goal – to keep a catastrophic hurricane from hitting the mainland – is not bad. His objective is not bad." -- Unnamed official
Senior Homeland Security and national security officials
During one hurricane briefing at the White House, Trump said, "I got it. I got it. Why don't we nuke them?" according to one source who was there. "They start forming off the coast of Africa, as they're moving across the Atlantic, we drop a bomb inside the eye of the hurricane and it disrupts it. Why can't we do that?" the source added, paraphrasing the president's remarks. -- Axios
 On Sunday, the White House declined to comment 
“We don’t comment on private discussions that the president may or may not have had with his national security team,” it said. -- The Hill
A senior Trump administration official
...told Axios that the president's suggestion to drop nuclear bombs into hurricanes to stop them from hitting the United States was well-intentioned.
"His goal — to keep a catastrophic hurricane from hitting the mainland — is not bad," the official, who had been briefed on the suggestion, told the outlet. "His objective is not bad." -- The Hill
Jennifer Rubin
All presidential candidates (Republican challengers and Democrats) should express grave concern about his mental and emotional fitness, as should members of Congress. If need be, hearings should be held to convey expert opinion about his observable behaviors. -- Washington Post

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Trump echoes Henry Ford

Henry Ford's Silver Legion and "very fine people" in Charlottesville chanting "Jews won't replace us". 

DT is obviously suffering from both delusions of grandeur (the "King" of Israel and the "chosen") and persecution by the media.

He's also "trafficking in classical anti-semitism", writes Yair Rosenberg in The Washington Post Tablet.
"Trump believes all the anti-semitic stereotypes about Jews. But he sees those traits as admirable”.
Most telling were DT's shoutouts to his hero, Hitler symp and notorious anti-semite, Henry Ford.

If Ford were alive today, he would be a big fan of Trump and his Proud Boys thugs who were out in force in Portland last weekend. Ford had his own Silver Legion of America (Silver Shirts) which he mobilized to spread fear and intimidation. He used his newspaper, The Dearborn Independent to promote anti-semitism.

Ford’s anti-Semitic manifesto, The International Jew, had a profound influence on Adolf Hitler. In his own book Mein Kampf, the F├╝hrer noted Ford’s achievements as an American industrialist. Hitler not only kept a picture of Ford in his office; in July 1938 the German Counsel presented Ford with the Grand Cross of the German Eagle, the highest an honor bestowed by the Reich onto foreigners.

DT's claim that Jews who vote Democratic are "stupid or disloyal" comes straight from Ford's playbook.

No wonder he is so devoted to Henry.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Madigan's boys run wild in Springfield

Madigan and Mapes
When Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan announced in February 2018 that he had fired Kevin Quinn, the brother of Madigan’s alderman and political general, he said he’d done so because of Quinn’s “inappropriate conduct” with Alaina Hampton, whom he called a “courageous woman.”
Party boss Mike Madigan's boys are out of control down in Springfield. Have been for years. It's all about the old white boys club which is the IL State Democratic Party machine and wielding power over others, especially women.

IL Playbook's Shia Kapos and Adrienne Hurst report:
A new report detailing complaints of bullying, sexual harassment, intimidation and inappropriate behavior in state government memorializes what many of us already know.
The IG report was issued by Atty. Maggie Hickey, which appears to me to be revealing a little to hide a lot. The 201-page report details dizzying instances of “intimidation,” “hazing-like experiences,” “unclear hierarchy,” “pressure to volunteer,” “favoritism” and “demeaning assignments.”
Hickey uncovered “a purported culture of negative treatment that faced people who were perceived to challenge Speaker Madigan on any issue.” She found "that the fear of retaliation that could arise in unforeseen and unprovable ways was a major — if not the major — concern.”
Chief among the bullies (and sexual harassers) named in the report is Madigan's former chief of staff Tim Mapes. But he is not alone. The IG's report let some of Madigan's boys off the hook, like Rep. Lou Lang...
The report also concludes that there was not sufficient evidence to corroborate Democratic state Rep. Kelly Cassidy’s claims of retaliation by Madigan, Mapes and Democratic state Rep. Bob Rita for Cassidy speaking out about how Madigan’s team handled harassment allegations.
...I believe Cassidy.

Mapes' response couldn't be any worse..
"The recent criticisms made against me do not truly appreciate the size of the responsibility of my position.”
The size of his what??? And then comes the classic...
If my demeanor or approach to my job did not instill trust and a healthy work environment, I apologize.”
That's not much of an "IF".

As for Boss Madigan, who serves as chairman of the state party and is the longest serving statehouse speaker in the U.S., his phony self-crit may be even worse. It's that old, "I didn't do enough of the right thing to change the world." And after all, who among us has?
“I take responsibility for not doing enough previously to prevent issues in my office, and continue to believe that we, collectively, need to do more in the Capitol to improve our workplace culture and protect the women and men who work here who want to make a difference in the world.” 
Which brings me to the case of Alaina Hampton

She was one of Mike Madigan’s longtime political operatives who questioned the powerful House speaker’s actions in a federal lawsuit that also alleged retaliation, and for months criticized his handling of sexual harassment claims.

Madigan & Hampton
But Hampton has paid a heavy price. She's been blackballed and unable to work in her chosen profession anywhere within Madigan's reach. In February, 2018, she outlined accusations against Madigan aide Kevin Quinn — a younger brother of Ald. Marty Quinn (13th) — claiming he sent her barrages of unwanted text messages and phone calls in pursuit of a romantic and sexual relationship.

As part of the retaliation, Hampton alleged the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), under pressure from Madigan, refused hire her to help with a political campaign, and the union is refusing to provide documents she claims may prove retaliation was at play.

Hampton said she and teachers union lobbyist D’Javan Conway exchanged text messages in which Conway indicated the union was “eager and ready” to have Hampton work with them on Johnae Strong’s campaign for state representative of the Fifth Legislative District in the 2018 election. The union and United Working Families, a grassroots political group, endorsed Strong for the seat.

However, Hampton said Conway eventually told Hampton union officials had learned she was “on the outs” with Marty Quinn, the suit said. Hampton said the union then ended communications with her.

Hampton subpoenaed documents, including copies of texts, from Conway, union vice president Stacy Davis Gates and Emma Tai, who is executive director of United Working Families, to support her retaliation claim.

According to the Cook County Record:
The union officials and Tai have balked, with their attorney, Josiah Groff, saying the subpoena requests would be burdensome to satisfy and seek irrelevant and private information. In particular, the requested information involves political strategy discussions that need to be kept under wraps, according to the suit. 
Rep. Carol Ammons, vice chair of the women’s caucus, told Playbook in a statement:
“Alaina Hampton’s story is unfortunately a common one. I hope that the due process taking place results in truth and justice. Her determination gives other women hope for a future where these kind of incidents are uncommon and eventually nonexistent.”
According to Capitol Fax's Rich Miller:
 Madigan may have expressed public contrition in 2018, but I know for a fact (because I’ve argued this point with them) that some members of his organization have privately never forgiven Hampton for coming forward. She, in some minds, is the disloyal one for airing Madigan’s dirty laundry in public.
 Now if this story of political intrigue and retaliation is getting too complicated to follow (it is for me, at times), we will try and sort it all out this Friday on Hitting Left with the Klonsky Bros. when Alaina and Joanna Klonsky will be our in-studio guests.

Tune in Friday from 11-noon CT to WLPN 105.5 FM in Chicago and streaming live at 

Monday, August 19, 2019


Truckers blocked a highway in Kentucky last week in solidarity with coal miners who were protesting over wages that were left unpaid when a mining company abruptly shut down. (Kristian Thacker for The New York Times)
Perplexed Pizza Hut delivery woman
“I’ve got some pizzas here from Bernie Sanders,” said a perplexed Pizza Hut delivery who pulled up on Friday afternoon. Someone involved with the protest had apparently gotten word about it to someone with the Sanders presidential campaign. -- Harlan County miners block a coal train (NYT)
Borowitz Report
“As we have stated, Greenland is not for sale,” a spokesperson for the Danish government said on Friday. “We have noted, however, that during the Trump regime pretty much everything in the United States, including its government, has most definitely been for sale. Denmark would be interested in purchasing the United States in its entirety, with the exception of its government,” the spokesperson added. -- New Yorker
French Resistance fighter Madeleine Riffaud
"I was just 19 when I cycled up to a German officer and put two bullets in his head". -- The Local
Nikole Hannah-Jones
Black Americans have also been, and continue to be, foundational to the idea of American freedom. More than any other group in this country’s history, we have served, generation after generation, in an overlooked but vital role: It is we who have been the perfecters of this democracy. -- 1619 Project
Slavery denier, Newt Gingrich

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Environmental Justice: Water crisis in Newark worse than Flint, on Booker/Christie's watch

A pallet of bottled water is delivered to a recreation center, Tuesday in Newark. 

Former Newark Mayor and presidential candidate, Sen. Cory Booker is acting like he just discovered that the lead-contaminated water system has been poisoning the children and families of his city for years. The latest figures from federal observers show that children in Newark's Essex County are in fact nearly four times more likely to have elevated blood lead levels than those in Flint.

Now, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued a dire warning about lead contamination, and New Jersey environmental officials found a problem with “ineffective corrosion treatment” at one of the city’s two water-treatment facilities.

In addition, according testing found that 2 out of 3 filters tested in three Newark homes failed to effectively reduce lead contamination.

In a tweet on Wednesday, Booker called on the federal government to step in.
"Everyone deserves clean, safe water," Booker wrote. "It's shameful that our national crisis of lead-contaminated water disproportionately hits poor black and brown communities like my own."
But where has Booker been up until this past week when the media started shining light on the crisis? He still hasn't taken any responsibility for the problem even though he was Newark's mayor from 2006 to 2013.

Small point...He might have used that $100M he got from Zuckerberg as a start in alleviating the problem instead pissing it away on charter schools.

As The Root reported earlier this year, in an open letter to Donald Trump, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka urged him to spend money on fixing the city’s and the nation’s old water-delivery systems, rather than a border wall.

Former Gov. Chris Christie was even worse. He actively covered up the crisis and downplayed the need for federal intervention.

The Klonsky Bros. will be talking environmental justice and toxic racism tomorrow, 11-noon CT, on Hitting Left with Chicago socialist alderman, Byron Sigcho and Juliana Pino, policy director at the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization. Tune in to WLPN 105.5 FM in Chicago and streaming live on

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Ald. La Spata needs to dump Moreno's plan for Von Humboldt School

Von Humboldt closed in 2013 when the district shuttered 50 schools. In July of 2015, IFF (formerly known as Illinois Facilities Fund) bought the school for about $3.1 million 
This from Mina Bloom at Block Club Chicago:
Nearly 200 Humboldt Park residents, teachers and teacher advocates packed into the Von Humboldt Elementary School auditorium this week to weigh in on a long-stalled plan to turn the shuttered school into an apartment complex geared toward teachers. At the chaotic two-hour-long meeting Monday night, the majority of residents who spoke during public comment lambasted the developer behind the project, East Coast-based RBH Group, and Ald. Daniel La Spata (1st). 
They took turns slamming the project, saying it doesn’t address Humboldt Park’s gentrification-fueled displacement problem and that teachers won’t be able to afford the apartments. Some said they’d much rather see officials reopen the school, which closed in 2013 when the district closed a record 50 schools.
“We would like to see the school be back open,” local teacher Jhoanna Maldonado said to cheers. “Whether there’s 10 kids, 100 kids or 2,000 kids in this neighborhood — every kid should deserve to go to their neighborhood school. If that’s not the case, it should be housing for families who have been displaced from our neighborhoods.”

 My note this morning to Ald. La Spata...
I'm surprised to hear that you are continuing your corrupt predecessor's backing for the Von Humboldt condo plan. The current version of plan was originally part of a deal indicted Ald. Joe Moreno worked out with RBH developers, a self-interested community group [that used to oppose gentrification], and with Teach for America (TFA) to house charter school teachers contracted to CPS to replace those lost to Rahm's mass school closings. Once media caught wind of it, the charter school plan was dropped and shifted to this so-called "teachers housing" scheme. It should be rejected and the building used for public good, including a new smaller public school.
Side note... RBH announced back in April, that it started a $700 million fund to invest in Teachers Village projects in Opportunity Zones. The firm already has developed a Teachers Village in Newark, New Jersey. It includes three charter schools, a daycare center, apartments and more than 70,000 square feet of retail. 
Ald. La Spata responded promptly:
It seems there’s still a lot of misinformation out there on what this project is. I’ll make sure to respond later with more details.
Thank you for the quick response, Alderman. And thanks for opening this up for community debate and discussion. I look forward to continuing the conversation. I trust you will do the right thing.

Monday, August 12, 2019


In the wake of the largest U.S. immigration raid in a decade, educators in Mississippi this week were left to console and support children with detained parents.
Celina Moreno, the president of Intercultural Development Research Assoc.
It's a time for schools to proclaim very loudly that all of their students are valuable ... that they're not expendable and their families are not expendable. School districts should also develop emergency plans so they're not left scrambling if an immigration raid leaves children traumatized or homeless. -- Edweek
Steve Bannon
"President Trump is not a racist." -- Interview. Then ["Grits ain't grocery, eggs ain't poultry..." -- Little Milton].
Joe Biden
"Poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids.” -- Town hall in DesMoines
Beto O'Rourke on Trump's Epstein-conspiracy theory
"He’s changing the conversation if we allow him to do that then we will never be able to focus on the true problem, of which he is a part." -- The Hill

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

A Dystopian Vision Of American Education

In the wake of the latest wave of politically-driven, mostly white, male supremacist terrorism that left at least 31 dead in El Paso and Dayton, Trump and the Republicans are scrambling to create a narrative that acquits them and their leadership of culpability and collusion in the bloody affair.

In the past few days, the GOP line has shifted blame away from Trump's demagogic violent appeals to his racist supporters, on to the mentally ill, video games, and "fake news".

That was exactly the imagery laid out in the El Paso shooter's "manifesto".

Their narrative portrays America as a holy battlefield in a war in defense of white, christian values and a future of Republican political power.

It now includes a dystopian vision of schools as armed camps with gun-toting teachers, cops and militia surrounding school buildings and waiting for the invading enemy of infidels to make their next move.

This represents a giant-step past their previous neoliberal vision of school "choice".

Their current line was best articulated by Trump adviser Sean Hannity yesterday. The Fox News host is calling for a volunteer army of armed ex-cops and soldiers that would be “everywhere.”
"I'd like to see the perimeter of every school in America surrounded, secured by retired police ... have one armed guard on every floor of every school, all over every mall, the perimeter and inside every hall of every mall."
“Every school,” Hannity said. “Secure the perimeter of those schools. Equip them with retired police and military, they should be on every floor of every school.”
There are close to 100,000 public and 35,000 private K-12 schools in the United States so a force large enough to “surround the perimeter” and be on each floor would require several hundred thousand people, if not more. -- Huffington Post

Aside from the fascist, police state implications, school safety and curricular issues involved in all this, Hannity's plan leaves me wondering how it matches up with veteran cops' view of their own retirement. 

I may be wrong, but I can't imagine that hundreds of thousands of veteran 1st-responders are dreaming about spending their golden years guarding the perimeters of schools and shopping malls for no pay, instead of fishing or hanging out with the grand kids. 

Deplorables are jumping for joy at the reports that the Dayton shooter wasn't a Trump-supporting white supremacist. But I don't see why they're so happy. Here's an early report on what motivated this 2nd-Amendment gun freak.

Arm this guy with a military-style assault weapon? Great say Republicans.

Monday, August 5, 2019


Beto O’Rourke

...asked by a reporter on Sunday what President Donald Trump can do "to make this any better".
"What do you think? You know the shit he's been saying," said O'Rourke, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate. "He's been calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals. I don't know, like, members of the press, what the fuck? Hold on a second. You know, I—it's these questions that you know the answers to." 
"I mean, connect the dots about what he's doing in this country," O'Rourke continued. "He's not tolerating racism, he's promoting racism. He's not tolerating violence, he's inciting racism and violence in this country. So, you know, I just—I don't know what kind of question that is." 
Sandra Beyda-Lorie, dean of the College of Education at NIU
“Stagnant salaries that have not kept pace with other professions, under-resourced schools that contribute to stressful working conditions and the climate of teacher bashing." -- WBEZ
 Angry Dayton, OH crowd to Republican Gov. DeWine
"Do something...“We are tired of vigils!”...“What do we want? Gun control! When do we want it? Now!” -- Washington Post
NYT Editorial
White supremacy, in other words, is a violent, interconnected transnational ideology. Its adherents are gathering in anonymous, online forums to spread their ideas, plotting attacks and cheering on acts of terrorism. -- We Have a White Nationalist Problem
Trump obfuscates
“If you look at both of these cases, this is mental illness. These are really people that are very seriously mentally ill. -- Slate