Saturday, February 6, 2016

Here's What Your Teacher's Union Is Up to Today

Good for NYSUT. They put on an "activist's summit" here in B-Lo today. But in typically clueless and tone deaf fashion they handed out these t shirts.

Maybe nobody at NYSUT has spent much time of the social media lately. Oh wait I saw Karl and Andy going hard at Twitter the other day touting the non moratorium moratorium as Sullio and Lace to the Top bombarded them with reality bytes. 

If this shirt looks familiar maybe it's because you saw it here in its vertical version:

Yep there's Randi and Lily our union leaders stumping for a candidate no teacher will touch with a ten foot pole. Oh but this pic is days old and Randi is busy with other pressing union business elsewhere by now. You'd never guess would you that we are likely weeks away from seeing our unions stripped of the right to collect agency fees from members when you see the shit this lady is up to.  

Speaking of social media and "union leaders" here's what your girls is tweeting

Since neither Wienie nor any of the poverty porn tourists from TFA are actually teachers it strikes me that she really needs to open another twitter account to post shit like this as it seems posting it using a national union logo and twitterfeed should at very least be ground be impeachment. I hate the internet phrase "can't make this stuff up" but really folks? What the fuck? 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Unbearable Heaviness of Inevitability

Just so you know I'm not slapping up some unfactcheckable meme folks, here's a little follow up from that pesky David Sirota who seems to have his thumb on the pulse of a lot of things informed teachers should also know about. When the AFT and NEA threw their endorsements to Hillary Clinton with what amounted to zero input from rank and file dues paying (for now) members, this is just one of the egregious red flags many of us would have cited as grounds for endorsing mud ahead of HRC. Bear with me please as this isn't a fortune cookie sized post. In honor of Perdido St. and RBE I am going to go long on this one for the sake of making a point. Regrets to the retired teacher who told me in all earnestness how much she loved my blog but suggested I make the articles shorter. In the words of William Blake, "That which can be made explicit to the idiot is not worth my care." 

Here's Sirotta from IBtimescom:

Even by the standards of arms deals between the United States and Saudi Arabia, this one was enormous. A consortium of American defense contractors led by Boeing would deliver $29 billion worth of advanced fighter jets to the United States' oil-rich ally in the Middle East.

Israeli officials were agitated, reportedly complaining to the Obama administration that this substantial enhancement to Saudi air power risked disrupting the region's fragile balance of power. The deal appeared to collide with the State Department’s documented concerns about the repressive policies of the Saudi royal family.

But now, in late 2011, Hillary Clinton’s State Department was formally clearing the sale, asserting that it was in the national interest. At a press conference in Washington to announce the department’s approval, an assistant secretary of state, Andrew Shapiro, declared that the deal had been “a top priority” for Clinton personally. Shapiro, a longtime aide to Clinton since her Senate days, added that the “U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army have excellent relationships in Saudi Arabia.”

These were not the only relationships bridging leaders of the two nations. In the years before Hillary Clinton became secretary of state, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia contributed at least $10 million to the Clinton Foundation, the philanthropic enterprise she has overseen with her husband, former president Bill Clinton. Just two months before the deal was finalized, Boeing -- the defense contractor that manufactures one of the fighter jets the Saudis were especially keen to acquire, the F-15 -- contributed $900,000 to the Clinton Foundation, according to a company press release.

The Saudi deal was one of dozens of arms sales approved by Hillary Clinton’s State Department that placed weapons in the hands of governments that had also donated money to the Clinton family philanthropic empire, an International Business Times investigation has found.

Under Clinton's leadership, the State Department approved $165 billion worth of commercial arms sales to 20 nations whose governments have given money to the Clinton Foundation, according to an IBTimes analysis of State Department and foundation data. That figure -- derived from the three full fiscal years of Clinton’s term as Secretary of State (from October 2010 to September 2012) -- represented nearly double the value of American arms sales made to the those countries and approved by the State Department during the same period of President George W. Bush’s second term.

The Clinton-led State Department also authorized $151 billion of separate Pentagon-brokered deals for 16 of the countries that donated to the Clinton Foundation, resulting in a 143 percent increase in completed sales to those nations over the same time frame during the Bush administration. These extra sales were part of a broad increase in American military exports that accompanied Obama’s arrival in the White House. The 143 percent increase in U.S. arms sales to Clinton Foundation donors compares to an 80 percent increase in such sales to all countries over the same time period.

American defense contractors also donated to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state and in some cases made personal payments to Bill Clinton for speaking engagements. Such firms and their subsidiaries were listed as contractors in $163 billion worth of Pentagon-negotiated deals that were authorized by the Clinton State Department between 2009 and 2012.

The State Department formally approved these arms sales even as many of the deals enhanced the military power of countries ruled by authoritarian regimes whose human rights abuses had been criticized by the department. Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar all donated to the Clinton Foundation and also gained State Department clearance to buy caches of American-made weapons even as the department singled them out for a range of alleged ills, from corruption to restrictions on civil liberties to violent crackdowns against political opponents.

As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton also accused some of these countries of failing to marshal a serious and sustained campaign to confront terrorism. In a December 2009 State Department cable published by Wikileaks, Clinton complained of “an ongoing challenge to persuade Saudi officials to treat terrorist financing emanating from Saudi Arabia as a strategic priority.” She declared that “Qatar's overall level of CT cooperation with the U.S. is considered the worst in the region.” She said the Kuwaiti government was “less inclined to take action against Kuwait-based financiers and facilitators plotting attacks.” She noted that “UAE-based donors have provided financial support to a variety of terrorist groups.” All of these countries donated to the Clinton Foundation and received increased weapons export authorizations from the Clinton-run State Department.

  • So if we're going to get up on our high horses about the Saudis and their wacky Wahhabist ways -- flogging bloggers, chopping mofos heads off, subjugating women as a rule and generally acting like stone age asshole petrozillionaires who knowingly overpay for Somalian charcoal to help fund Boko Haram's terror waves

  • and if we're going to get bent about Qatar's Pharoahesque plans to build soccer stadiums for their dubiously acquired 2022 World Cup using migrant slave labor -- you know when they hire a migrant they snatch his papers so he can't leave the place -- this hit a major blip on the radar about the time of the Nepalese earthquake when Qatar denied Nepalese laborers their requests to return home for funerals of loved ones because the show must go on

  • and if we're going to purse our lily white lips and scowl at the United Arab Emirates for funding ISIS and running a major human trafficking operation in the region, then maybe, just maybe, Hillary shouldn't be taking any of their money for hers and Bubba's Foundation and selling them all fighter jets, machine guns and rockets as a baksheesh for their largesse?

Any politician who takes money from a government with this amount of blood on its hands then facilitates weapons deals with them is nobody a teacher's union needs to be in bed with. Remember about the time Weingarten was catching holy hell for lining up with Al Sharpton to attack the NYPD she quickly threw herself into the philosophical hunt for the kidnapped Nigerian school girls? Before I blocked her I saw her tweeting about it. Strange how things come around isn't it that her choice for President is cool with accepting cash and making deals with people who are also giving cash to the very same terrorists who kidnapped those poor school girls. The other day the Chicago Teachers Union withdrew its $3/4 of a million out of Bank America to protest the debt swaps Bank America advised CPS to engage in which have cost the district over $500 million. See how that works Randi? 

If you realize mid waltz that your partner reeks of brimstone and has a pair of horns sticking out of his head you do well to end the dance. CTU decided they'd danced with the devil long enough and decided to take their business somewhere else. It's what most of the teachers I talk with daily say about the Hillary endorsements too. Nobody voted for it or supported it and the tiny handful who insisted on it are going to be held accountable for their chicanery if not now then later.  It's called doing the right thing. And if Randi and Lily want to race around New Hampshire in their "Union Hacks for Hillary" hoodies God Bless them cause they sure as hell won't be doing so with the blessing of the unwashed rank and file.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Union Members -- Who Do You Love?

Here Are Rank and File Comments on the AFT Video for Hillary

I pay AFT dues and I'm a local union prez. I do not support Hillary Bush at all. Bernie Sanders is THE pro-union choice. Randiband her band of political wannabes are looking to privatize education (Broad, dear Randi? Hillary promise you the sec of ed position?) no matter what they say. This was a power play and many of my fellow rank n file AFT members are mad as Hell at our so-called union.

This comment needs a love button #FeelTheBern


With due respect for AFT leadership, as a member dedicated to the improvement of the education of my urban students, most of whom are at the mercy of the policies of the reform-money-driven PA legislature, I cannot in good conscience agree with this endorsement, nor its timing.  Ms. Clinton, a former Wal-Mart board member, has a record that shows her as a proponent of privatization of of education through conversion to charters in New York, Florida and elsewhere.  Wal-Mart is rabidly anti-union.  I have found nothing in the record that says that Ms. Clinton was anything but silent in public discussion concerning their demonstrated goalsl to destroy and inhibit organized labor wherever possible. Many of those funding her campaign expect more of the same.  Honestly, so do I and many, many of my peers are extremely skeptical.  Burn and churn is not what our public school system needs.  Every teacher I know pays hundreds even thousands out of their own pockets in a vain attempt to provide a little of what our neighboring suburban school districts provide without hesitation.  Teachers themselves will lead the way out of this debacle, but we need political leadership who does not actively work against us, disingenuously accepting money from the EMO funders at hedge and equity firms.  I don't work for BCG:  I work for my students. The polling firm that sampled the AFT is run by Ms. Clinton's campaign co-chair from 2008.  Her current campaign manager is connected still to Wal-Mart and ought to have Teach for America banners on his suit.  Ms. Clinton is indeed connected.  But as much as I truly long for a female president, I think the previous and likely continued damage done by her highly-touted connections to my students precludes her as POTUS. Is it that simple?  Am I naive?  Yes, I believe it is that simple.  No, I don't think I am naive, except in my belief that a meaningful, real discussion will take place concerning public schools in our country and each of our states.  At the end of the day, we each vote one by one.  As far as we know, corporations have not taken over the actual casting of ballots.  Bernie Sanders is more transparent, is not bought and paid for and shows signs of potential to be an educational patriot by beginning the process of forcing corporations to serve public education, and not the other way around.  In guarded solidarity, R. Connaire

+Rob Connaire I absolutely agree with your views. As a public school teacher and AFT member, I am furious about the union's endorsement of Hillary Clinton. This was a backroom deal designed to destroy Bernie's chances. This teacher supports Bernie Sanders!

I DO NOT support Hillary Clinton at all.

I am a member of the AFT and the AFT does not speak for ME.  I do not support Hillary Clinton. You should look at her voting record and public support and comments on critical issues both nationally and internationally and equally important look at the big money that supports her campaign.  The AFT video on Hillary Clinton is an embarrassment to thinking and inquiring minds.  As teachers, our job is to help our students to gain the tools, skills and confidence to be critical thinkers.  Your video tells me AFT members are voting for the President of United States because she's "electable...wonderful person...supports nurses...believes in what we believe in..." This is the emotional knee jerk propaganda that American are feed and blindly shallow.  Hillary Clinton is not about saving unions-any union for that matter.  She support the TTP - all aspects of it as she supported NFTA .  Randy you know what NAFTA did for working people and unions and if you don't, you should.  Shame on you Randy for selling out the AFT - another nail in the union coffin.

Remember the AFT convention where Mulgrew gave his punch you in the face and push you in the dirt speech in defense of the precious Common Core Standards neither he nor any of his Unity Caucus slugs even use on a daily basis? The Chicago Teacher's Union was having none of Common Core and they were all about making it known. Mulgrew and Weingarten as usual contrived to shut down any and all dissent by limiting discussion of said standards. But while comments were allowed it was tweeted by some rank and filers that a clear pattern was emerging--- a division between teachers who were forced to use these shittily crafted Gatesean standards and those of the "union leadership" class whose daily bread has nothing to do with spending an entire mind numbing month reading "St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Werewolves." In short, the people being forced to use the CCSS knew them for the insidious, time wasting, age inappropriate steaming piles of shit they are while those busying themselves with lunch dates, AFT tote bags and wearing red t-shirts for photo ops in their local's newsletter consistently made the point that Mulgrew was right about the standards and anyone who disagreed had best have a solid supplemental dental plan.

Forgive me if I seem stuck on a theme here friends but this two-tiered sleight of hand used by so called "leadership" has no place in our current modus operandi and will be even more outrageous in the coming landscape of Post-Friedrichs unionism. We all witnessed the disgust and outrage of our colleagues when we learned that Weingarten had slid the AFT endorsement to Hillary when none of us were paying attention. Lily waited a few days in the hope of making her sell out look more deliberative than Weingarten's then she too handed NEA's blessing to the pantsuited one. I have noticed various unions on social media going to same way, too many, but not all. 

The chart below explains it quite succinctly and it's as sharp a divide as the one witnessed at the AFT Convention. Rank and filers given a voice spoke loudly for Bernie Sanders just as they did against Common Core. Top Down "leadership" affiliates where rank and file were muzzled and management were free to bang home their own imperatives were quick to throw their support to Bill's wife.  Where it says anything about "membership polling" remember that's what AFT and NEA claim to have used as well. Do you know anyone who was contacted for either of these polls? Yeah me either. It sounds almost legit but it's usually pure bullshit. 

Have a look:

OrganizationWho They EndorsedTheir Endorsement Process
American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE)Hillary ClintonExecutive council vote following polling of membership
Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA)Hillary ClintonExecutive board vote informed by membership poll
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)Hillary ClintonExecutive board vote after collecting member feedback
American Federation of Teachers (AFT)Hillary ClintonExecutive council vote after non-binding survey of membership in summer 2015
Brady Campaign to End Gun ViolenceHillary ClintonDid not respond to requests about how decision was made
Human Rights CampaignHillary ClintonBoard of directors vote
International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE)Hillary ClintonExecutive board vote
League of Conservation VotersHillary ClintonBoard of directors vote based on recommendation from political committee
NARAL Pro-Choice AmericaHillary ClintonPAC committee, staff, and president decision
National Education Association (NEA)Hillary ClintonExecutive board and PAC council vote
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)Hillary ClintonExecutive board vote
United Food and Commercial Workers International (UFCW)Hillary ClintonExecutive board and president’s collective decision after focus groups and polling with members
American Postal Workers UnionBernie SandersExecutive board vote
Communications Workers of America (CWA)Bernie SandersThree-month process involving meetings, discussion, culminating in an online vote
Democracy for AmericaBernie SandersOpen online vote
MoveOnBernie SandersOpen online vote
National Nurses UnitedBernie SandersExecutive council vote after internal poll showed overwhelming support for Sanders
Working Families PartyBernie SandersOpen online vote followed by national advisory board action

I won't tell you what you just read. I will tell you though that the status quo is broken and it doesn't serve rank and file. In a country where all the wealth is going to the top 1% are we willing to continue to go along with a top down style of unionism that puts us all at risk while our so called leadership cavort with the very parties who are hell bent on ending public education? I'm done with business as usual. Maybe Bernie won't bring on the revolution this country needs. But as union members we need one now more than ever. As Preet might say, Stay Tuned...