Wednesday, May 12, 2021

The Empire Strikes Back: Cheney-Bush Republicans to Attack Trumpies with Real Republican third party

No sooner had I become overwhelmed by the corpulent body of journalism about Liz Cheney as some beacon of moral clarity than I began to feel besieged by dissents about what a wretched opportunist she really is.  -- Frank Bruni

May 12: Cheney just lost her leadership position. Who gives a shit? Well, the liberal media does, which exposes how shallow they are. 


Let's face it - Liz Chaney and her dad are despicable. No heroes to me.  As are the Bushes. As is the entire anti-Trump Lincoln Republican wing of the party. What does it say that the equally despicable Elise Stefanik is way more liberal than Chaney?

It's nice to see Frank Bruni and Maureen Dowd agree with me in their op eds in last Sunday's NY Times, May 8, 2021. The headlines say it all.

But I've been watching with interest. Why did she escalate her war with Trump? Yesterday she made another speech on the floor - and many Republicans walked out. These are calculated moves.

Certainly not because of moral fervor or adherence to democracy - remember Iraq! No, it's a calculated attempt to take back the party. And it's not a totally dumb move.

Trump has 70% of the party. But he doesn't have 30%. And that 30% is the key. Last week I heard an anti-Trumper on Morning Joe say something is coming and today I think it dropped in the NYT:

Over 100 Republicans, including former officials, threaten to split from G.O.P.

 “This is us saying that a group of more than 100 prominent Republicans think that the situation has gotten so dire with the Republican Party that it is now time to seriously consider whether an alternative might be the only option,” he said.

We know that third parties can't really win. But I don't see that as the aim. They can't win primaries with 30% but if they run in the general elections and pull 25-30% of the vote, they can help Democrats win, which they view as temporary until they regain control of the Party, which they feel they will as Trump support begins to slip -- and it will if they start losing elections.

And even internal polls show that Trump support is slipping but they are afraid to announce that.

And no worries, the Bush/Chaney wing has plenty of money, especially from corporations which will rush to help them take back control.

So imagine in battleground states the Real Republicans taking away even 15% of the vote (and some of that may come from Dems if their candidate is too far left). 

They will pick their spots. And it will be interesting to see if they will get this going in time for the 2022 midterms -- they need to start now. Or wait until the 2024 elections and run Chaney for president in key states. 

Will it work? They understand that many in the party are with them but afraid of Trump because they don't think they can win without him. But if they start to lose with him, the feeling is the spell will be broken and by 2028 they will be in control again.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Mayoral Election Update: UFT/AFT Defiantly Doubles Down on Stringer Support

If one allegation, with shaky evidence, is enough to short-circuit a political career, a new playbook is opened up, one left-leaning Democrats must take into account when embarking on future campaigns.... Ross Barkan

“I’m very proud of that endorsement because of what Scott has done and what he will do,” said Ms. Weingarten, the former president of the U.F.T. “I think he’ll be a great mayor. Am I troubled by the allegations? Of course,” she said, adding, “I’m also a unionist who has dealt with false allegations.”... NY Times report , Eliza Shapiro

The United Federation of Teachers is boosting Mr. Stringer’s embattled campaign with an advertising blitz.

Also see

Rushing to Judgment on Scott Stringer: The Nation

I don’t know what happened. But here’s what I do know. We cannot flourish as a society if a single accusation out of the blue upends an election overnight and ruins a 30-year career in politics. More information may clarify matters, but as of now, we don’t have it. Love him or hate him—and I spoke to people who consider Stringer arrogant and bullying, as well as others who think he’s “sweet,” “clumsy,” and “nebbishy”—he’s entitled to a more measured assessment, as are the voters of New York City. It is shocking that so many political figures would abandon him so quickly. Why did they do that? 

The Nation is left-progressive, as are The Intercept and Krystal Ball, and they all have raised questions, as has Ross Barkan, over the rush to judgement.

Also interesting takeaways from the NYT article of support for Stringer, who is unlikely to win, yet the AFT/UFT are not backing away. The fact that Randi seems to be leading this local battle from the national stage and not Mulgrew shows us she is still pulling the strings. He isn't even mentioned in the article.

Shapiro, not exactly teachers' favorite ed reporter made a fair point (finally):

Some parents and mayoral candidates have accused the union of slowing the pace of school reopenings in New York over the last year. But with the majority of families still choosing to learn remotely, there is no evidence of a significant public backlash against the union.

The fact is when you look at all the other candidates, the UFT doesn't really have an alternative path to Stringer, though Wiley is favored by some in the second tier leadership. Morales, favored by MORE Caucus, is too left for the union. Ironically, I recently heard a left wing NYC tennant organizer trashing her left creds because she spent a decade running an agency of a major landlord. I also often point out that Morales apparently worked in the Joel Klein anti-union administration.

Leading candidates Yang and Adams are now viewed by the UFT as existential threats. Yang is Bloomberg light as evidenced by Bradley Tusk's control of his campaign. And Adams is clearly a Charter industry clone, as evidenced by Jenny Sedlis, my old sparring partner from Success Academy, taking a leave of absense from running the ani-union Students First to form an Adams PAC. 

I speculated in my report on The Intercept and Rising exposure of discrepancies in Stringer's accuser's story that Stringer, who ended Eva's political career, is a particular danger to Success and the charter industrial complex and the political hit on him serves them well -- I never put it beyond them in alliance with the Bloomberg crowd. 

Mulgrew went off on Yang/Adams at last night's Ex bd as reported by Arthur:

Will be NYT story about how UFT and AFT have opened up support for Stringer and others. Mayor's race will really get hot and heavy now. Something we thought was happening seems to have come to fruition. Agency run by Bradley Tusk, who campaigned against UFT running Yang campaign, and Students First giving 6 million to Eric Adams. These groups have worked to get city hall back. They are now major players with two candidates. Will get ugly. All the colocation fights can be tied to these agencies. Every time something bad happens, you'll see them involved when it comes to us. 

We know who these people are, and we thought Adams would work with Students First. Thanks groups who did vetting, dug into finances, and checked who they supported and donated to. Will discuss in detail at Town Hall and DA. 

Mayor's race shaping into three person race. Stringer has allegations against him, but most unions who've endorsed have stuck. Allegations are allegations. Our group that first endorsed says we should continue.

Never thought we'd go back to Bloomberg days. Yang isn't billionaire, but is tied with this group. Adams is tied with Students First. We will get word out.

This will be their selling point for Stringer, and you know it might energize some UFTers. I'm thinking about putting him first. I also view Garcia in a similar light given her support for the white upper west side parents who want schools open no matter what (she spoke at their rally in Harlem along with Yang - I was at the counter rally. -- Rally in Harlem as Parents, Educators Stage Counter Rally to Mostly White Parent Demands to Open Schools and disregard safety issues -)

Ross Barkan has a fascinating must read analysis of the mayoral race with a focus on Stringer: Scott Stringer, #MeToo, and What's Next for the Left: A major scandal roils the mayoral race.

Stringer, unlike Cuomo, had never developed any kind of reputation of acting inappropriately toward women. There were no stories of boozy holiday parties or anecdotes of hugs and kisses that lasted far too long. Stringer was especially not flirtatious. Current and former aides, many of them female, spoke highly of him. Stringer, at age 40 or 41, may have been a sexual predator. But he may not have been. The incident with Kim took place 20 years ago. There are no witnesses, as of now, that have come forward to recall that Kim related this allegation to them in 2001 or shortly after.

Barkan also points to the dangers of the MeToo movement that leaps immediatley to cancel anyone charged before a vetting process takes place and how the movement can be weaponized to bring down any candidate, especially progressives. After giving details of The Intercept report, Barkan says:

None of this, on its own, proves Kim is lying. But it does raise an uncomfortable question for the progressive Democrats most concerned about holding men in politics accountable for their untoward behavior: how much evidence is really required for an allegation? What allegations should be strong enough to end a political career? The standard set from the Stringer incident is that one allegation made by one person, no matter the time elapsed or the amount of evidence presented, is sufficient. And perhaps, they would argue, that is how politics should be conducted from 2021 onwards. Women should be believed. Once they speak out, that’s enough.

At least, with Cuomo, there are many allegations, and some of the calls for his resignation have stemmed from a potential cover-up of nursing home deaths and a scandalous pandemic response. Some of the women stepping forward against Cuomo accuse him of harassing them as recently as last year. Kim’s allegation, having taken place 20 years ago, cannot be substantiated in such a way. It is notable, too, that many long-time Stringer allies were willing to ditch his mayoral campaign entirely even though no man or woman has come forward to tell the media that Kim related the incident to them in 2001. For investigations into claims of harassment and assault, this is the initial bar of evidence that usually needs to be cleared.

If one allegation, with shaky evidence, is enough to short-circuit a political career, a new playbook is opened up, one left-leaning Democrats must take into account when embarking on future campaigns. Last year, a popular 31-year-old progressive running for Congress in Massachusetts, Alex Morse, was accused of engaging in improper sexual conduct with younger men when he was a college instructor. Morse, who had been mayor of the town of Holyoke at the time, insisted all relationships he had were consensual. No one accused him of dating men younger than the age of consent.

The allegations, the Intercept later reported, were a farce. The College Democrats at the University of Massachusetts Amherst had plotted in 2019 about ways to ensnare Morse, a young gay man, in scandal. They were all supporters of Morse’s establishment opponent, Richard Neal. The State Democratic Party of Massachusetts even coordinated with the College Democrats on how these allegations could be planted in the media. In the end, the scheme worked: Neal, the incumbent congressman, won re-election comfortably.

What happened to Morse could easily happen to other ascendant progressives in the future. Conservative political operatives—or those aligned with the Democratic establishment—can aim to coordinate or manufacture an allegation, knowing that left institutions and politicians will rapidly withdraw their support for the rising candidate. Morse quickly lost the endorsement of the Sunrise Movement and other progressive organizations, though the allegations immediately appeared dubious. If Democrats on the left want to end any semblance of due process—if allegations, on their own, are the equivalent of a conviction—than it is not hard to imagine how this will be exploited by nefarious actors.

Stringer is not Morse and there’s no evidence that other Democrats are coordinating with Kim to damage Stringer’s campaign. Kim very well might be telling the truth. The allegation lacks direct evidence, but Stringer cannot disprove it, either. It will be up to voters, ultimately, to judge Stringer, because he has rejected calls from his rivals to drop out. With more than $7 million to spend, he is forging onward, toward an uncertain finish on June 22nd.

What’s not yet clear is how Stringer will be evaluated by the hundreds of thousands of Democrats who will show up to vote. Polling in the next few weeks will tell us. It’s very possible the allegation doesn’t hurt Stringer’s position all that much. His supporters, many of whom have been voting for him since the 1990s and 2000s, aren’t all defecting to front-runners like Yang and Adams. Maya Wiley and Dianne Morales are hoping to hoover up disaffected Stringer voters, though we don’t know yet how many of these people they’ll be able to pull into their own camps. There is growing evidence in polling data that older Democrats are not so easily moved by sexual harassment and assault allegations. There’s a reason Cuomo has ignored calls for his own resignation. Some Democrats, believing Al Franken was unfairly driven from the Senate, are becoming less willing than progressive organizations and politicians to throw their own overboard, especially since Republicans almost never do.

That’s Stringer’s political calculus. Assuming no new allegations, it may work in at least maintaining a kind of stasis: a consistent third place in the polls, with the hope of a last minute surge. Stringer’s most pivotal endorsers haven’t defected yet. Congressman Jerry Nadler, the king of the Upper West Side, is still with Stringer, as is the United Federation of Teachers. Older voters of color are also not likely to judge Stringer especially harshly, since it was Spitzer, the scandal-scarred former governor, who dominated Black and Latino neighborhoods as he narrowly lost to Stringer in that 2013 comptroller’s race. It’s no accident Stringer has been hitting the church circuit every weekend.

If Stringer remains viable and manages to come close to capturing the Democratic nomination, it will be a further indictment of the nonprofit left organizations and the elected officials aligned with them. For the last decade, these organizations, like the Working Families Party, have boasted of their power to move voters, to decide the direction of the left flank of the Democratic Party. Most of the politicians who deserted Stringer are closely allied with WFP and their member organizations, and seem to believe, publicly at least, they are representative of the working class voters of this city and can mobilize them at pivotal moments.

 The NYT article:


Sunday, May 9, 2021

What Should Next School Year Look Like? - An Educators of NYC Presentation - Zoom Tuesday May 11, 7PM

This is the kind of conversation the UFT should be having.

Special Education Far Rockaway teacher Daniel Alicea, the major organizer at EONYC, is doing the kind of work the UFT should be doing, following up on EONYC's enormously successful monthly Zooms on Tuesday with probably the most important issue we face:  

What Should Next School Year Look Like?

The  link to sign up. He has  assembled a fantastic panel:

Panelists Set for EONYC May Forum: What Should Next School Year Look Like?

Our stakeholder panelists include parents, education activists, educators, and leaders from our various teacher caucuses We are just days away from our May 11th online forum where we will gather with expert panelists that include parents, education activists, educators, and leaders from our various teacher caucuses. We hope to also be able to lean on the expertise of a local medical doctor, as well.

As this school year of hybrid learning in a pandemic winds down, we as educators and stakeholders have begun to reflect and formulate questions about what the next school year should look like. At Tuesday evening’s event, we hope to share our collective thoughts, ideas, and demands for what should be prioritized in the upcoming school year.

Please join our next Educators of NYC monthly meetup, on Tuesday, May 11th, at 7 PM, as we discuss: WHAT SHOULD NEXT YEAR'S SCHOOL REOPENING LOOK LIKE IN A COVID WORLD?


Last month EONYC held a panel that included reps from every caucus and interest group in the UFT, including Unity Caucus and attracted hundreds to a webinar discussion of the UFT Mayoral Endorsement process,  which is basically 3 people in a room.  

The video of this event which dove deep into UFT policy is worth seeing:

Eterno pointed to how important these type of open discussions have been in his ad for the April event.

Everyone guesses the UFT will endorse Scott Stringer with some believing Maya Wiley has a chance to be second. Is this the right decision? Is the UFT top-down endorsement process fair?If you are looking for a real discussion on the mayor's race and the Union's involvement, you will most likely be out of luck at the DA as it will more than likely be tightly controlled by Mulgrew.

This was a day before the UFT special DA where they did endorse Stringer but did not choose Wiley or anyone as a second choice. I wrote about the Stringer story a few days ago: UFT Sticks with Stringer.

Here's more from EONYC:

Please join our next Educators of NYC monthly meetup, on Tuesday, May 11th, at 7 PM, as we discuss: WHAT SHOULD NEXT YEAR'S SCHOOL REOPENING LOOK LIKE IN A COVID WORLD?

We are just a day away from our May 11th online forum where we will gather with expert panelists that include parents, education activists, educators, and leaders from our various teacher caucuses. We hope to also be able to lean on the expertise of a local medical doctor, as well.
As this school year of hybrid learning in a pandemic winds down, we as educators and stakeholders have begun to reflect and formulate questions about what the next school year should look like. At Tuesday evening’s event, we hope to share our collective thoughts, ideas, and demands for what should be prioritized in the upcoming school year.
RSVP now!!! ... as our slots to participate will go quickly.

RSVP at:

We, also, encourage you to take the pre-forum survey here if you haven’t and you can also view the preliminary results. Almost 4k individuals have responded already:
Lastly, if you have registered we will send you a Zoom link as the forum event approaches.
The forum event will also be live-streamed via Facebook Live our public Facebook page and private page.
Please share this with those in your education networks and circles.


Thursday, May 6, 2021

Krystal Ball on Stringer Charges: Are Progressives Falling For Another MeToo SCAM?

May 6, 2021, 8:30 AM

Yesterday, I had an extensive report on The Intercept investigation of the charges against Scott Stringer that have blown up the mayoral race:  UFT Sticks with Stringer Despite MORE Calls to Drop him, The Intercept Casts Doubts on Accuser, Wiley Hypcorisy on Biden and Stringer

I included links to the written story and a video of coverage on Rising.

Rising followed up the day after with Krystal focusing her aim on MeToo political hits, including the guys who primaried Nancy Pelosi and Richard Neal when fake stuff was leaked at a strategic point that made it impossible to recover. And that was my main beef and suspicians about Jean Kim who waited 20 years until just the right moment. Now people have been telling me I jumped the gun because more women may come out against Stringer. We may have to vet every woman he ever dated. Krystal, coming from the almost hard left, as does the Interecept reporter Ryan Grim, are important voices even though they risk cancellation.

Krystal Ball: Are Progressives Falling For Another MeToo SCAM?

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

UFT Sticks with Stringer Despite MORE Calls to Drop him, The Intercept Casts Doubts on Accuser, Wiley Hypocrisy on Biden and Stringer


Claims by Scott Stringer Accuser Unravel as Progressives Flee New York Mayoral Candidate. New details about Jean Kim’s role on Stringer’s 2001 campaign and her relationship to the candidate paint a very different portrait of the power dynamic at play....Wiley at the time recommended “assessing the accused’s credibility and response to the allegation in comparison to the credibility of the accuser and supporting evidence.” ....

Video: D.C. bureau chief of The Intercept, Ryan Grim, digs into sexual harassment allegations against NYC mayoral candidates, Scott Stringer and finde major discrepancies in Jean Kim's story - Rising, The Hill
As former prosecutors and attorneys deeply concerned about respecting the survivors of sexual assault and protecting the rights of the accused, we believe that justice requires a more nuanced approach than we are seeing in the current debate. We approach this, as we would any the report of any crime, through the neutral lens of investigation.... Maya Wiley, May, 2020. {MUST READ}
NY1 , a day after Stringer accused

UFT standing by Stringer in mayoral bid amid sexual abuse ...

5 days ago — Stringer denies the accusations claiming he and Kim had a consensual relationship for a brief period of time.

May 5, 2021, Report from a white privileged {old} male

Don't you love so-called "progressives?" 

I'm so glad I've never had any power - especially in my own home.

The Intercept report and great reporter Ryan Grim's appearance on Rising  yesterday might be too late to save Stringer, but I never gave him much of a chance of winning anyway. White males are not kosher this year. The way Yang is courting the Hassids, he may be the kosher one in the race.

UFT Endorsement holds

Don't get me wrong. I liked Stringer at times over the years but even he has links to Bloomberg though Micah, Lasher, his campaign manager, who many of us fighting ed deform have found to be despicable. Stringer wasn't my first choice - but actually none of them are. Much loved by the left Diane Morales once took a job in the Joel Klein anti-union pro-charter administration. But the left can conveniently forget when it needs to - except if you made a dumb tweet when you were in the womb - then cancellation for life.

The UFT endorsement with Stringer the only choice looked like another failure in UFT mayoral races. At the very least, given some high level UFT officials' support for Wiley, I figured her as second choice and viewed not doing so as a mistake.

Now with the Intercept report Mulgrew is not looking as bad - imagine if Wiley was second choice and screaming for Stringer to drop out practically before Kim got the words out of her mouth. I'm sure teachers could rely on Wiley for support for due process if they are accused of something. Anything.

Were the charges against Stringer an outcome of the UFT endorsement which gave him legs? Do I suspect the Yang camp? Maybe not him but never forget Bloomberg fave Bradley Tusk, a major POS, is Yang's handler. If Stringer had been in single figures in the poles we would have been spared this drama.

But the UFT reaffirmed its commitment to the Stringer endorsement while MORE Caucus called for the UFT to rescind. Naturally. Some people find it funny when unionists want to throw away due process, but having been denied the same when I was drummed out of MORE, I'm not surprised that the idea of due process is forgotten when politically inconvenient.

Fuck due process: 

MORE-UFT Stands with Survivors and Calls on the UFT to Rescind the Endorsement of Scott Stringer Immediately - In light of recent allegations made against Mayoral candidate and New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, we call on the UFT to immediately rescind their..The UFT Endorsement process was undemocratic to begin with. Rank and file members had very little decision-making power nor understanding of the process....... LOL when MORE talks about democracy in the UFT

MORE clearly is pushing Morales but have they actually taken a democratic vote of all MORE members like they are asking of the UFT? They won't officially endorse Morales but are trying to shame the UFT into doing it. The left in the UFT is voting Morales and maybe some will be for Wiley. Stringer threatened to take some left votes.

I don't often love Mike Mulgrew but not backing down from the UFT choice of Stringer is gutsy in a way. I wonder if Stringer didn't give Mulgrew a heads up on the Intercept story. I'd put a few bob on that.

I may make Stringer one of my votes and will give no votes to amy candidate that called on him to leave the race. Actually, that condition may leave Stringer as the only candidate left for me. I stand for due process for teachers - and everyone else. I'm pretty sure Morales, whom I was considering, also asked for Stringer to drop out -- hooray for due process.

The Stringer case has bugged me from the start. Compare to the Cuomo story -  I believed all the people charging him. The use and abuse of power accumulates over time. Have we heard of much Stringer stuff over the past 20 years? And don't forget, he stopped Eva Moskowitz' political career -- believe me if there was dirt the Moskowitz machine would have thrown it -- which actually leads my conspiracy laden mind to think how bad for Eva it would be if Stringer became mayor ----- Hmmmm. Did the charter ed industrial complex have a role in the exposure of Stringer? Does the PR firm Kim works for have any connections? This stuff hit just after the UFT endorsement gave Stringer campaign legs. Put The Intercept on that case. And by the way - here is this little tidbit about her firm from their story:

Since 2015, TLM has represented the American Petroleum Institute, Bank of America, and a slew of other corporate, nonprofit, and developer clients. Stringer, as comptroller, led the largest divestment from fossil fuels in the world.

I had some issues with Tara Reade's Biden story due to no other women coming forth -- I assume if Biden did what he did to Reade a man with power would do it to more women. So that counts. But there is still an element of truth in her story. In some ways her story holds up better than Jean Kim's.

But the same conditions apply to Stringer. I don't see women coming out of the woodwork making charges like we hear about Cuomo. Maybe more women will emerge but they better have their ducks in a row given the holes in Kim's story. The Intercept story in full below catches her in lie after lie - I mean real lies with written records.

It's still going to be touch and go. If no one else emerges to say he groped or propositioned them, even if Stringer loses, Mulgrew looks good for standing by him. On the process they used for mayoral endorsement - not so much. Unity claims they sent out 10 billion emails and millions of UFT members, including the ghosts of dead members, took part in the process.

I smelled a rat with Jean Kim's account from the moment I heard it based on the exquisite timing. Wait 20 years until weeks before the election, when there would be little time to vet her. It looked like a hit. And it looked like it worked. I see Stringer as dead in the water and would bet on Adams being next mayor, based on rise in crime. A black ex-cop will have leeway to do certain things that will rile the left. A black Giuliani?

Stringer has been attacked for jumping on the story that Kim had petitioned for her friend Esther Yang using a petition with Andrew Yang on the same page and when the Stringer camp brought it up they were attacked. The Stringer campaign went too far in accusing Kim of working for Andrew Yang but her claims ring false about having no connection to Andrew Yang and she was just petitioning for her friend Esther and Andrew "just happened" to be on the same petition. Not that her friend Esther had anything to do with Andrew Yang, especially when his campaign put out this call for volunteers:

Join us in Door to Door knocking for Andrew Yang and Esther Yang! Canvassing is the best way to spread the word about Andrew, Esther and their policies and ...

I guess Jean Kim had no idea her good friend Esther was aligned with Andrew.  Note to Esther - Jean Kim was once Scott Stringer's friend. Watch your back.

One of my favorite reporters is Ryan Grim at the left-leaning Intercept and he appears often on Rising. Yesterday he was on the Jean Kim case as he explained to Krystal and Saagar in some detail about his investigation. (See video below).

Intern is the magic word

Stringer and Kim were part of the same social circle and they all volunteered for his campaign. She was 30 and had a job but initially claimed she was an intern - a bald-faced lie - and her explanation he told her it was an intern-like environment was bullshit as they actually had real interns. The Intercept talked to people who knew them and reported their relationship fell into the "friends with benefits" category.

In today's climate we're automatically expected to believe a female accuser, and often they are proven right. But sometimes with vetting, there are doubts. Witness the Biden accuser, Tara Reade, whose credibility was doubted over months of vetting her past. Some people still believe her and in some ways her story is much worse than that of Stringer's accuser.

Wiley Hypocrisy on Biden and Stringer: Fuck Due Process II
Note how Wiley gave Stringer less than 24 hours before calling for him to resign from the race. Progressives. People calling for Stringer to quit should also demand Biden resign. That's a joke - but hypocrisy, rear thy ugly head. I had considered listing Wiley on my ballot but she now joins Andrew Yang in Norm's "ballot hell." I give Wiley the Norm Scott POS seal for standing up for her principles of "protecting the rights of the accused.

But Maya Wiley was quick to hold off judgement on Biden in an essay she co-wrote in May 2020.

That means that step one after accepting Reade’s allegation is to investigate it. Because her allegations occurred long enough ago that the statute of limitations bars any possibility of prosecution, law enforcement agencies don't have jurisdiction to investigate, and investigation funded by either Reade or Biden would likely be viewed as lacking objectivity. But there is a vehicle for investigation — the independent press, where investigative journalists are highly motivated to seek out details and witnesses and where competing views will be aired.

Now watch how Wiley and crew cast shade on Reade for showing support for Biden many years after the incident:

Reade has praised Biden for protecting women from sexual assault. As recently as 2016 or 2017, Reade, under the name Tara McCabe, tweeted praise for Biden’s efforts to address sexual assault and retweeted the accolades of others for his efforts. In one tweet, Reade said, “My old boss speaks truth. Listen."Reade has also changed her story about the reason she left her job at Biden’s office,

Scott Stringer was on Brian Lehrer and he was really grilled by Bryan, and not in a totally fair way. Like even if they were dating, what about the power relationship - holy fuck, we must assess our power relationships before dating. Maybe we need an online form to fill out before getting permission or else expect 30 years later to be charged with something. Or male teachers -- Did you ever tell a female student she looked pretty?

Here's the Rising video

D.C. bureau chief of The Intercept, Ryan Grim, digs into sexual harassment allegations against NYC mayoral candidates, Scott Stringer.



The full Intercept report below the fold - a must read

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Numbers count - Why it is important to attend Mulgrew retiree event today Plus Debate: Attend Mulgrew Retiree Town Hall or Hold Rally at UFT HQ Instead?

Are there signs the pressure from retirees is having an impact on UFT leaders? 

Unity has used retirees as their main instrument of control of the UFT and have received 85% or more of their votes in UFT general elections and about 80% in retiree chapter elections (where most people are not aware of an election so don't vote). They have always made sure retirees are well treated - there are goodies.: Ridiculously cheap classes, refunds, trips and a good healthcare plan. OOPS! It seems risky for them to alienate retirees. Don't think they won't be watching the numbers in the upcoming chapter election. If they saw some serious slippage it might even affect how far they are willing to go in this health care fiasco.

May 4, 2021, 1:30 PM - in the middle of the Mulgrew-retiree fest.

The above is can excerpt from my post below where I argue that pushing back might have an ability to shake the UFT leadership. Alienating UFT retirees? Maybe not a good idea.

A debate broke out on the Retiree Advocate listserve Monday following the amazing webinar RA held on Sunday where 450 registered and 300 showed up. I will post the video when it's available. A key was that we had speakers from every angle and caucus and even had a doctor. But I'll say more about that another time.

I presented at the webinar and had originally supported a rally at the MLC HQ on Water St. (Municipal Labor Committee) which is meeting tomorrow - Wednesday - to possibly vote on the proposal or at least reveal whether Emblem or Aetna won the big money sweepstakes - and believe me, it's BIG MONEY - for them - and LESS MONEY for us. A poll held at Sunday's meeting indicated the majority who voted were not prepared for a rally. We also began to see that an effective rally would require more preparation and that may still happen.

Some people wanted to hold a rally ASAP and one target was a protest of sorts during Mulgrew's event today. I pushed back against holding a rally today in this email to the group and echoed James Eterno's push to flood the meeting with questions.

Monday, May 3, 11PM

Compliments to the many excellent points made so far. People should begin to come together to facilitate areas of common interest. I'm speaking for myself here and not RA/UFT or ICE/UFT.

I wanted to address some assumptions being made on the retiree advocate google listserve that attending the Mulgrew info session is a waste of time and we'd be better off having a rally at UFT at the same time.

I and others in RA do not agree with that assumption. Here's the link to register but after 9 AM tomorrow it won't work:

One of the reasons Mulgrew is even holding a town hall is due to the pressure not only by Retiree Advocate but by hundreds if not thousands of retirees as they get informed. RA organizing has been around spreading information and .the webinar was an outgrowth of that organizing. And we only learned of these proposed changes a few weeks ago from people in PSC. The UFT has used stealth to try to sneak this by us.

RA was in position to reach out due to the consistent educating and organizing over the past few years - even decades - as the only group in the retiree chapter pushing back against Unity. But this year we were able to meet more often due to zoom -- a pandemic benefit and we have focused on getting a messy email list in order, working on the FB page and expanding outreach for the chapter elections. Fundamentally, RA has been putting out newsletters aimed at retirees over these decades.

This year we reached out directly to many retirees who had been active in the UFT to run with us and that has been the basis of getting the word out. When we submitted almost 130 candidates last month - including almost every opposition presidential candidate since the 1970s --- the largest slate ever from what I hear - the Unity machine took notice. I'd bet today, a month later, we'd be able to fill all 300 slots in the election.

All indications are that the pressure we have been applying is having an impact. The very fact Mulgrew is holding this meeting is an outgrowth of that pressure. He had people tune in to our webinar and don't think the 450 registrants and 300 attendees goes unnoticed.

Rally Confusion -- Retiree votes have been key to keeping Unity in power
I'm not sure how the idea to rally Tuesday at the UFT during the Mulgrew town hall came about.
Nor the idea that attending the Mulgrew meeting was meaningless. The very opposite was presented at the webinar by James Eterno.

I get the negative history of our dealings with the duplicitous leadership. But this may be new territory for them and the opposition.
Unity has used retirees as their main instrument of control of the UFT and have received 85% or more of their votes in UFT general elections and about 80% in retiree chapter elections (where most people are not aware of an election so don't vote). They have always made sure retirees are well treated - there are goodies.: Ridiculously cheap classes, refunds, trips and a good healthcare plan. OOPS! It seems risky for them to alienate retirees. Don't think they won't be watching the numbers in this election. If they saw some serious slippage it might even affect how far they are willing to go in this health care fiasco.

RA only considered a rally on Wednesday at MLC not UFT
Retiree Advocate at no time considered a rally at the UFT on Tuesday. That's why James Eterno was asked to do a presentation at the webinar on why we should flood the Tuesday Mulgrew meeting with attempts to get questions answered. James' presentation pointed to why we should try to be there. Numbers count and leadership notices them.  -- flood Mulgrew's meeting and try to get through the screeners to ask a question. There may be thousands of people on the call who are frustrated - I think some may be more willing to come to a rally AFTER being turned back at Mulgrew's meeting. From what we are hearing, Unity will be watching the number of people who sign on tomorrow - they know they have to tread carefully with misinformation because that will come back to bite them.

Our man on the Ex Bd Mike Schirtzer asked questions tonight at the meeting about letting people get their questions in. (iI has been incredibly valuable having Mike on the EB because no opposition retirees can get elected due to Unity winner take all.) Mulgrew said it would be open -- we'll see. Mulgrew referenced the upcoming retiree chapter election to try to throw shade on RA: "Not making any decisions yet. If we have to blow it up, we will.  [GASLIGHTING]  Lots of bad information out there. There are always factions." What bad information since they've given us none?

Reports coming in point to the fact they may be in front of thousands of attendees -- which was James' point and we should not miss the opportunity to chime in if we can- and if we can't and questions aren't answered or they are blowing smoke then many people will go away being more pissed and open to our message. And if people try and are shut out we make a big deal about it.

Rally? I can only focus on one thing at a time at this time in my life.  For the record, in my webinar presentation I put forth the Retiree Advocate fall back position on a rally that since MLC is meeting Wednesday we should hold a rally at noon at their headquarters. Even with a flawed poll it was disappointing to see the outcome. I was hoping for more than 35. And we know that slippage might lead to less actually showing up. It seems most are not ready to venture out to a rally at this point but maybe in a week or so of increasing agitation, they might be. RA is ready to help organize with many of you for a rally that is well thought out and organized.

Based on the back and forth so far, especially the email from Jose with some great organizing tactics, a successful rally takes some time. I hope Jose jumps on board to assist with his expertise.

I do want to point out that there are activists in the retiree chapter who do not believe in holding protests at any union facility because they feel it feeds into the general anti-unionism we face and if a rally is held at the UFT some will not attend. I've always been willing to demo at UFT but in the interests of small u unity, there seem to be plenty of other targets.

A rally idea should be tackled after tomorrow for sometime in the near future if there is enough interest. But consider that numbers actually do count. A weak showing in a union of 70k retirees sends a message we may not want to send.

Here is Eterno's blog post tonight about the Mulgrew meeting tomorrow and reports of tonight's ex bd.

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Rally in Harlem as Parents, Educators Stage Counter Rally to Mostly White Parent Demands to Open Schools and disregard safety issues - Today, 10 AM -

61% of Harlem families have made the choice to keep their children in remote schooling (D4 = 60%, D3 = 64%, D5 = 61%) for the remainder of the school year. The KSO movement is led by privileged white caregivers who have repeatedly used the experiences of Black and Brown families as props for their agenda to rush fully reopening of school buildings. This group has spent the past year demonizing and blaming New York City teachers for the broken response by Mayor de Blasio, and the former Trump administration. They have also allied with known segregationists and right-wing racist groups who oppose Critical Race Theory and anti-racism. Now they’ve enlisted the support of problematic Mayoral candidates Andrew Yang and Kathryn Garcia.  ..... Parents for Responsive Equitable Safe Schools (PRESS NYC) 

I'm venturing out to Harlem for my first public event since March, 2020. 

There are two rallies occurring at the same time and place today at Wagner Park in Harlem (120th St between 1st and 2nd ave)
  • A "Keep schools open no matter what and fuck those lazy teachers and who cares if kids get sick since they are more likely not to be white" rally of mostly white wealthy parents
  • A counter rally in support of teachers and parents who still feel it unsafe to go back into schools at the same location is being led by Kaliris Salas Ramirez, parent activist supreme who we worked with in the successful battles to get rid of an abusive principal at Central Park East a few years ago. Kaliris and parents at the school backed teachers who were rubber roomed and pretty much saved their jobs. (Parents at Central Park East 1 Issue Press Release Calling for Removal of Principal Monika Garg).
Mostly Upper west side parents, led by people who have been linked to anti-vax and anti-mask groups, are holding the rally in Harlem - an in your face move, given that parents of color have been more unwilling to go back into schools than higher income white parents. This group has also engaged in attacks on the UFT and on teachers in general. But despite that, they are advertising that mayoral candidates Garcia and Yang will be speakers.

Here is the press release of the group pushing back:

CONTACTS: Kaliris Salas Ramirez , Liz Rosenberg 


For immediate release

Public school families & educators of Harlem, along with allies, demand school planning be rooted in community concerns and priorities for safety & equity; Denounce Keep Schools Open mayoral candidate rally (happening simultaneously) as cynical exploitation, unrepresentative of the community

WHEN: Saturday, May 1 beginning at @ 10 AM Gathering

  • ●  Rally With Speakers

  • ●  Community Conversations/Teach-ins

    Gathering and rally -- outside Wagner Playground, E. 120th St (between 1st & 2nd Aves), Manhattan Community conversations/teach-in -- The Harlem Art Park E. 120th between 3rd and Lexington

    WHAT & WHY:

    61% of Harlem families have made the choice to keep their children in remote schooling (D4 = 60%, D3 = 64%, D5 = 61%) for the remainder of the school year. The KSO movement is led by privileged white caregivers who have repeatedly used the experiences of Black and Brown families as props for their agenda to rush fully reopening of school buildings. This group has spent the past year demonizing and blaming New York City teachers for the broken response by Mayor de Blasio, and the former Trump administration. They have also allied with known segregationists and right-wing racist groups who oppose Critical Race Theory and anti-racism. Now they’ve enlisted the support of problematic Mayoral candidates Andrew Yang and Kathryn Garcia.

    On May Day, a day that we are supposed to honor labor activism, for mayoral candidates to stand with those who have actively demonized teachers for their own private interests speaks volumes. We are not your props!

    We say NO to the racist KSO movement We say NO to Andrew Yang
    We say NO to Kathryn Garcia
    We say NO to Ray McGuire

    We say NO to Maud Maron


  • ●  City Councilmember Diana Ayala

  • ●  City Council candidate Cordell Cleare

  • ●  Community Education Councilmembers from Harlem

  • ●  Harlem community students, parents, educators

Citywide ed-equity advocates

Representatives from the organizations listed below will also be available to speak to the press.

VISUALS: sidewalk chalking, music, banners & signs


Racially Just Public Schools (RJPS) @ny4rjps
Alliance for Quality Education (AQE) @AQE_NY
Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE) @MOREcaucusUFT
Parents for Responsive Equitable Safe Schools (PRESS NYC) @safeschoolsny Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF) @cacfnyc
Teens Take Charge @TeensTakeCharge
BLM at Schools NYC @Blm_edu_nyc
NYC Opt Out @NYCOptOut
IntegrateNYC @integratenyc
East Harlem Preservation @virtualbarrio
Justice Center en el Barrio @JusticeCenterNY
Friends of Art Park Alliance (FAPA120 on FB)
Young Buck Sports (YoungBucksSports on FB)


Friday, April 30, 2021

Retiree Advocate/UFT Calls for MLC Moratorium on health care modifaction negotiations until greater transparency; Will Host Sunday eve info/action Zoom at 7PM

RA/UFT  is sending the following letter to the Municipal Labor Committee: 
To: Harry Nespoli, Chair, MLC
CC: Michael Mulgrew

The members of Retiree Advocate/UFT strongly object to the lack of transparency over the process in awarding contracts to one of two finalists in the proposed transfer of 250,000 retirees out of Medicare and into a privatized Medicare Advantage plan.

Until there is complete transparency regarding the process, with full information to those affected by this decision,  Retiree Advocate/UFT calls for the Municipal Labor Committee to declare a moratorium on this move due to the deleterious effect it will have on NYC retirees.

Retiree Advocate/UFT

I've been part of Retiree Advocate/UFT Organizers. We spent the past few months preparing a platform and a slate to challenge Unity Caucus in the upcoming UFT retiree chapter elections (ballots go out in about 10 days - if you are a retiree check the Retiree Advocate slate). We have 130 retirees running and could have had 300 to fill the entire slate but were running out of time.

Then a few weeks ago, just as we were meeting the UFT deadline for sending in our leaflet that will be sent out with the ballot, we began hearing about these negotiations going on behind our backs about pushing us all into a privatized version of our much beloved Medicare - which everyone should have but is opposed by our unions and the Democratic Party which are so tied to privatized insurance corporations that I sometimes wonder what they are getting out of it -- well, the Dems get massive donations but exactly what are the unions getting? I'll let you speculate on that in your spare time.

Once we were able to gear up and zoom meet - between our doctor appointments - possibly soon to disappear when our docs don't take the Advantage plans -- a plan of resistance began to formulate - and we forsee the battle continuing even if they make this change because we expect they might make things look good initially before the chopping block comes when people are no longer watching.

Someone in another union sent us a missive from the MLC chair Nespoli that MLC  washolding a steering committee meeting Monday, May 3 and a full committee meeting on Wednesday May 5. It is not clear if they will actually vote. Hearing this sparked our moratorium letter to Nespoli and the MLC.

Then we hear that Mulgrew is holding a meeting for retirees on Tuesday May 4 -- hmmmmmm.

COMRO Objects
A similar letter to ours was sent to the MLC on March 14 by COMRO -- what is COMRO? The Council of Municipal Retiree Organizations which includes the UFT which is represented by one of the UFT founders George Altomare who we assume was involved in sending an open letter published in the Labor Press
An Open Letter to Mayor de Blasio and the Municipal Labor Committee:
The Council of Municipal Retiree Organizations (COMRO) has learned that you are in the process of awarding a highly lucrative contract to a major health insurance company to take over administering health insurance for over 200,000 Medicare-eligible retirees effective this July 1. You released an RFP and have eliminated two of the four responders. Your technical committee is evaluating the two finalists and will shortly send their recommendations to you for a final vote. 
Nowhere in this process have you consulted with the 200,000 people and their families to determine how it will help or harm us. Medicare Part B works very well for most of us. We contributed to Medicare during our years of employment with the tacit understanding that we will have the hard-earned entitlement when we turned 65. Now we are dependent on the kindness of strangers to maintain our health and wellbeing without additional cost. We are duly concerned that these types of managed care programs have a history of making it difficult to choose doctors and specialists by introducing bureaucratic hurdles. 
The lack of transparency in your rush to change this program is both insulting and frightening to those of us who have collectively worked millions of years serving the people of New York City. How can we trust our very health to a backroom deal based on a dubious assumption of cost avoidance? 
Before this contract is awarded, you must include actual Part B recipients in the evaluation process to ensure any change in Medicare Part B will not harm us.


RA Sunday night (May 2) Info/Action Zoom at 7 PM

We expected 35 or so but so far registration has gone over 100 and we may have to buy an extended ZOOM package or stream live to FB for the overflow. You can still register:

Make sure to register early for our Zoom event this Sunday.

Retiree Advocate/UFT invites you to a Zoom Meeting
                                     Sunday  May 2 at 7PM

       Is Our Medicare Being Privatized into        
                      Medicare Advantage?
              Information, Discussion, Action

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Don't be gaslit - Medicare Advantage Horror Story

...the most important fact to keep in mind is that insurance companies are in business to make profits. The more the better. So after all the expenses of doing business they have, they have to keep the shareholders happy by having great profits. Their customers have to pay for profits. The medical costs they are responsible for paying is not a happy event for them.  ---- Facebook correspondent

Their all in cahoots - add unions

My wife worked in the medical billing field for decades and always pointed to Medicare govt run plan as being the most efficient and cost saving while private companies delayed payment and had lots of people working there who were not as capable as the professionalism of medicare people.

The thing to understand is that Medicare Advantage plans are private but have created purposeful confusion by taking the medicare name and attaching a new label. And they pay less than public medicare so many doctors won't take advantage plans. It's very like the old HIP which we always had an option to take but most of us didn't because of the permissions, limited docs, etc.

Here's what I wonder - if we had medicare for all this issue wouldn't even be on the table but the unions like the UFT are adamantly against it. So what is the advantage to unions to support a plan that fucks up so many people? Is there some sort of quid quo pro for the leaderships from private insurance since it seems like such a no brainer to end the profit system of health care?

I saw this on FB and it's not the first I heard of delays on getting to doctors when having to go through the primary physician gatekeeper who can stop you in your tracks if he doesn't approve.

I’m married to a man who is a retired NY teacher, so this change will impact me. 
Having been covered by a Medicare Advantage plan before we married, I can tell you the blah blah corporate speak is baloney. 
Here are some facts to think about.
Administering the Medicare program costs 2%, while private insurance companies pay between 12 and 18% to administer their programs. The insurance companies also have the expenses of paying executives high salaries and bonuses, country club memberships and expenses, and whatever other perks they get, and paying dividends to their shareholders. How can they possibly claim it will cost the insured less? Less of the premiums paid will go for medical care, that’s for sure. 
When the people negotiating the programs say the retirees will have better medical care, that is like sprinkling fairy dust on our brains. You can’t call a specialist and make an appointment. You have to see your primary care doctor and get his approval to do that, and he has to give the doctor you want to see a referral. Some offices are less efficient than others, and your referral may not get to the specialist. 
You can’t go to a hospital without going through the same thing unless it’s an emergency situation. You can’t get a test or procedure or surgery or anything out of an ordinary office visit without getting a referral. The specialist cannot order these things for you. It has to be your primary care physician, who is not an expert in anything. 
My late husband and I had a Humana advantage plan, and I’m convinced it caused his death. 
He became ill with a cough and his physician treated him for post nasal drip. He was getting worse instead of better. We wanted to go to a pulmonologist, but specialists cost the primary care physicians money (a great incentive to keep costs for the insurance companies down), so he wouldn’t approve it. Finally, when we were in the office one day after several months of worry, I loudly, with a waiting room filled with patients, shouted, “My husband is getting more and more sick and is losing weight like crazy, and I don’t see any concern from you. Look at him! He has to see a pulmonologist!” The doctor said “His lungs are clear.” I said “I’m sitting 10 feet away from him and I can hear him wheezing from here! Don’t tell me it’s post nasal drip!” He listened to his lungs with a stethoscope and finally agreed to give him the referral. Of course, when we went to the pulmonologist, they hadn’t received it, but their staff made a phone call and had it sent over. But that kind of stress is what we had to deal with when we were dealing with lung cancer. And that wasn’t the end of it. My husband had many, many scans, endoscopies and biopsies without finding a single cancer cell, all while he had advanced lung cancer and his chest kept filling with fluid. 
Don’t let them subject you to this. You deserve better, which you have now.


April 28, 2021 - Democracy Prep Charter Founder Seth Andrew Stole YOUR money -

A former senior adviser in the Obama administration was arrested Tuesday on charges that he stole more than $200,000 from a network of charter schools that he founded and used the money to get a lower interest rate on a mortgage for a Manhattan apartment, federal prosecutors said. The founder, Seth Andrew, 42, is accused of taking money from bank accounts controlled by Democracy Prep Public Schools, which teaches mostly low-income students of color in New York and other states, and used it for the purchase of a $2 million apartment, prosecutors said. ..NYT,

Today's NY Times has a piece about Seth Andrew using charter school money to buy an apartment in NYC. That money is public funds used to fund charters. The NY Times has its own funny way of framing things with this headline: Former White House Adviser Is Charged With Stealing From Charter School Network

Now I know about good old Seth since he started the Democracy Prep charter scam in 2005 when the public floodgates opened to charters. He even left some whiny comments on some of my blog posts over the years. And of course Obama, the ed deformer in chief, hired him to deform education around the nation. He spent a few hours teaching in Korea before becoming an ed expert in his early 20s.

Now while Democracy Prep claims they were the victims, it is actually the public that was the victim since the money Seth stole really came from public funds. And it further exposes the charter scam that it is about making money, not about the kids.

As always, Ed Notes was on his and Dem Prep's case> Here are a few articles I wrote about Seth Andrew, including a visit I made to a public school housing one of his schools.

2011: Stop Democracy Prep Charter Takeover of PS 197M in Harlem

Democracy Prep Streamrolls PS 197: Hats Off to Antoine Bogard for Leading the Resistance- Where was the UFT?

July 17, 2013
August 12, 2013

ED NOTES Aug. 27, 2014 :

Charter Angst: Democracy Prep Parent Ready to Pull Child After 5 Days

All I see every morning and evening is this tall man dressed in bright clothing yelling at the parents every single day since school started... parent at Democracy Prep

DP founder Seth Andrew - or Eva Moskowitz in drag
Oh the joy in this comment on another beloved crooked charter, especially with today's news (see Perdido) about Eva Moskowitz and her move to the financial district - call it "Wall St. Empire" - which might make a good HBO series to follow the gangster-ridden "Boardwalk Empire" - with Eva playing a gun moll who makes Steve Buscemi's character look like a nun.


On September 2, 2013 I wrote:

On the Democracy Prep Plantation: When Zero Tolerance Becomes Psychological Warfare

  • all the teachers at this charter school are white and from out of state. The school's administrators did manage to get two coaches that are African-American from the New York City area. They are the two in charge of the detention room. Is there something wrong with that picture?.....
  • his teachers were directed to video tape him in every classroom. One of the teachers according to him followed him with a camera into the lunch room when he went to pick up his lunch, followed him up the stairs into the hallway and continued videotaping him while he was eating lunch.....
  • It's time to examine the police state structure of some of the charter schools model in the minority community in New York... Former Democracy Prep mother
Ahhh, that ole' plantation mentality at Democracy Prep. Message to Seth Andrew: Don't tick off a parent who is a professional journalist.

Gary Rubinstein pointed out just how bad the Democracy Prep (relative to public schools despite their significant advantages) test scores were in this post: Petrilli’s Desperate Attempt To Save Democracy Prep’s Reputation.  Now, as Gary says, I don't view school success and failure based on test scores. But if charters are going to make big claims based on the scores, then die by the sword. Especially when they set up a regressive "zero tolerance" situation (when there are so many progressive means of discipline, like restorative justice.

another parent who removed her child from Democracy Prep (from their point of view: mission accomplished).

Extracting high test scores at Success 
And even with these policies they still had horrible test scores. Eva is smarter at extracting high scores I guess. Has anyone checked to see if kids at Success
Academy schools still have their fingernails?





Here is the article from the Times:

Seth Andrew, who served in the Obama administration, stole more than $200,000 to help him buy a $2 million Manhattan apartment, prosecutors said.