Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Republicans and Jacobin Attack Warren After Finishing Biden Off

The Republican National Committee said Tuesday that Ms. Warren had been “caught lying.”.....
In a post on Twitter last week, Meagan Day, a writer for the socialist magazine Jacobin, drew attention to an interview Ms. Warren gave in 2007 in which she discussed the end of her career as a public-school teacher and did not describe being forced out because she was pregnant.... NYT - Elizabeth Warren Details Her Account of Losing Teaching Job Because of Pregnancy
I still favor Bernie but Wow: RNC and Jacobin tag team Warren to brand her a liar. Since Jacobin/DSA "Bernie or Bust" has seen Biden fade after the Trump attacks and has now joined the right wing Trumpites in an attack on Warren. Frankly, these campaigns, sometimes bordering on hysteria -- like how DARE the press actually say Bernie had a heart attack --  have begun to turn some leftist Bernie supporters off. I went to the original Meagan Day tweet and note how disparaging it is toward Warren (by the way, the Jacobin/DSA crowd attacks on both Hillary (deserved) and Warren, two prominent women, are also giving some women thoughts that there is something valid in the attacks of some Bernie Bros turning off progressive women.
The ref to Jacobin caught my eye since I started hearing the same attack on right wing radio - Bernie and Sid - did this hit job the other day as they switch from Biden attacks and now go after leading Dem candidates one by one as they become a threat. The essence of the attack was that Warren did not really face firing over being pregnant in 1971 despite a lot of proof that this was policy in many schools -- the idea of kids seeing a pregnant teacher might cause trauma.

So left wing press like Jacobin and some in DSA are playing pin ball with the right - with similar intent I believe -- right wingers to leave their Trump as the only candidate and the left to leave Bernie as the only candidate -- and I believe some on the left would rather see Trump win than any Democrat other than Bernie.

A DSA memo disparaged the impeachment movement with the usual attack on Dems. A prominent left wing supporter of Bernie surmised this was about:  
Making sure there's no pro-Democrat option if Bernie loses.
The logic is, in effect, to try to stop any potential left-center coalition after the primaries, ie. promoting Bernie-or-Bust - as if we'll have another choice besides the Democratic nominee in November 2020, whoever that is. We won't.
Reality check for ultra-left: Reports about Bernie cutting back on campaigning:  
It may turn out to be Warren or Bust with Bust being Trump. But watch the attacks on Warren continue.
All over the internet you can find people calling Elizabeth Warren a "former public school teacher" and saying it was her "first career." Warren was a public school teacher for one year. She immediately left the classroom, went to law school, and became a law professor. Come on 
The NYT article fundamentally supported Warren's claim she was if not openly fired, sent a message she wasn't wanted when she became noticably pregnant:
Historically, it was common for American teachers to be pushed out of their jobs during pregnancy, either through termination or the requirement of an unpaid leave of absence. In 1974, the Supreme Court ruled some of these policies unconstitutional. But not all such policies were explicitly written down and tracked, giving many female teachers little legal recourse....
Ms. Warren told CBS News that she had been hiding her pregnancy.
“I was pregnant, but nobody knew it,” she said. “And then a couple of months later when I was six months pregnant and it was pretty obvious, the principal called me in, wished me luck and said he was going to hire someone else for the job.”... The Republican National Committee said Tuesday that Ms. Warren had been “caught lying.”
Want to read more Jacobin attacks on Warren from the left?

Elizabeth Warren’s Public Education Problem By Eric Blanc

The Sanders Climate Plan Can Work. Warren’s Can’t. By Carl Beijer
The left has been attacking Warren for her former positions and the disturbing choices to give TFA people a role in her campaign. But I also found some Bernie baggage, a former major ed deformer.

Nina Turner, Bernie Sanders’s Campaign Chair, Led Charge for Education Reform as Ohio Legislator

And here is another Bernie backer, a woman, on differentiating Bernie from Warren, which is not a bad thing if done honestly instead of looking like a right wing hit job.  From The Bern Identity

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Memo from the RTC: A few Parting words from The Great Gatsby

Last show today and it is sold out.

Supporting actors: Danielle Rose Fischer (Lucille), Jose Velez (George), Samantha Caiati (Myrtle), Nick Baytler (Chester), Fred Grieco (Meyer).

Leads: left to right: Tiffany Faulkner (Jordan), Steven Wagner (Nick), Nona Varano (Daisy), Nick Safier (Gatsby), John Squires (Tom).

Memo from the RTC: A few Parting words from The Great Gatsby
By Norm Scott
The WAVE - Oct. 4, 2019 -

I went back to see The Great Gatsby based on the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel for a second time and was even more impressed. It closes at the Rockaway Theatre Company this weekend so don’t miss this powerful story that digs deep into the American psyche. I wanted to share a few thoughts on some of the ideas contained in the Fitzgerald story and mention a few more of the actors.

The play’s narrator and conscience is Nick Carraway, impressively portrayed by Steven Wagner (who was featured in last week’s WAVE). The story he tells of love lost, found and lost again, along with the examination of the class structure of America in the 1920s, seemed in so many ways to be autobiographical. I was inspired to check Fitzgerald’s background and the similarities to both the fictional characters of both Carraway and Gatsby himself are stark. Fitzgerald split himself into two characters, thus creating a powerful story of the narrator telling the story of Gatsby, his alter ego. I believe the larger than life daring Gatsby was created in Fitzgerald’s mind as someone he would have wanted to emulate. There is a real Daisy, a Chicago daughter of wealthy society figures, Ginevra King, who seemed to obsess him and characters based on her appeared in numerous works. This comment in the film and play versions is an indication of why their relationship failed: Poor boys shouldn't think of marrying rich girls. Not that Fitzgerald was poor, coming from the upper middle class, but relatively he was and underlining the story is bastardized version of class struggle and how different the very wealthy are. A Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren he isn’t, but he does go into unexpected places for a 1925 novel, notably when he touches on the white supremacy thoughts of one of the characters and the mocking of those ideas by others. Those years were the highlight of the Ku Klux Klan.

Last week I talked about the superb lead actors, four of them new to the RTC (we hope they will be back). There was a second tier of minor but significant roles with vet RTC actor and Rockaway community leader Jose Velez playing gasoline station owner George Wilson and Samantha Caiati his wife in the role of Myrtle, the mistress of Daisy’s husband Tom Buchanan. Sam, who married director Frank Caiati a year ago, lights up the stage whenever she is on – in fact she sets the mood and sense of doom for the play in her few scenes with her intensity. Jose plays her husband in a humble, low-key manner, which only makes his final actions so effective. Fred Grieco, another RTC vet, plays gangster Meyer Wolfscheim so effectively I would run if I saw him coming down the street. Playing Myrtle’s friend, a tipsy Lucille, is RTC vet for half her life Danielle Rose Fischer, the fiancé of assistant director and sound designer John Panepinto, who staggers around the stage so effectively I wanted some of what she was drinking. Rounding out the crew is Nick Baytler, in his second role at the RTC, vividly portraying a sleazy, oily character. Nick. a salesman of sorts in real life, may have some practice.

On Monday the Tony Homsey construction and destruction crew will take down the beautiful set, including that wonderful hidden swimming pool and figuring out where to put that gorgeous yellow roadster replica, then start building the set for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, the final show of the year, opening November 8 and running for three weekends, taking us right up to Thanksgiving week.

Norm posts all his RTC and School Scope articles on his blog,

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Trump Gets What He Wants: Impeachment will still leave him standing while cutting Biden at the knees.

With Biden at one point looking like the most dangerous to Trump, his actions make perfect sense. Push out story after story about how corrupt Joe is even if risking impeachment by the Dems in the House, knowing full well he will not be convicted in the Senate. Thus he runs again against a preferred candidate like Warren or even Bernie, whose own prospects aren't looking too good lately, especially with his heart issue that might create just enough doubt to move less faithful votes toward Warren or another candidate. Bernie is the oldest candidate in the race.

But Biden has not only been under attack from Trump.
The left/progressive wing of the Dems have also been going at him since he declared. And other shaky moments have shown the Trump strategy may have only escalated the situation against Biden and might actually give Warren a quicker path, thus actually making the process or running against Trump somewhat easier for her if her momentum holds up.

I'm still for Bernie but am annoyed as some of the stridency of Bernie or Bust -- Bust means Trump. Warren has been under attack from the Bernie left/Jacobin crowd who are throwing the kitchen sink against her: she's a deceiver, she takes big money and tells others not to, her education plan is bad, she stole Bernie's ideas, she is a Hillary plant - etc.

There are serious issues with Warren on education and Bernie's plan is much better and Bernie we know is adamantly pro-union since forever and when he shows up on a picket line we know he means it. But there has also been an article circulating about Bernie's top assistant Nina Turner who supposedly was involved in a big way in ed deform in Cleveland, with views that compare with Warren's old ed views, posted on the Intercept.

Nina Turner, Bernie Sanders’s Campaign Chair, Led Charge for Education Reform as Ohio Legislator

Here is a pro-Warren piece in Esquire: What We Learn from Elizabeth Warren.
Trump and crew may be laughing at the idea of how he can mock and rattle her plus the idea that there are a lot of men and many women who will not vote for a woman plus the center Dems who are very nervous over Warren.

It is a mistake for Dems to think that any one of them can beat Trump and that he is weakened so much now. But Warren at this point is looking like she can take him on. Hillary still got 66 million votes and Warren doesn't carry her baggage.

However, if Warren look real strong, the Trump/Republicans will swiftboat her with anything they can dig up. And if they can't dig something up they will make stuff up and be believed by their core.

Then there are the rumors of Hillary sitting in the wings to rep the center Dems if things go sour -- she thinks all she has to do is flip not that many votes from last time and many people who sat it out will come back after the Trump years. I even commented on a socialist FB page how I still prefer her to Trump.

There is another angle. Trump gets convicted in the Senate due to some Republicans seeing a better path for them with Pence as president running in 2020. An interesting article in Politico explores this idea.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

School Scope: On Warren, Bernie, health and education

School Scope:  Ed News to Use
By Norm Scott 
Submitted for publication in The WAVE for Oct. 4, 2019

Last week I wrote about the cheating scandal in Maspeth HS where kids were allowed to graduate if they fog a mirror and how the powers that be in the DOE and the UFT turn the other way because high grad and test score numbers make them look good. This week’s revelations are that di Blasio also knew about it and ignored it. Duhhhhhh!

Others stories broke around: “The chancellor reiterated his support this week for “formative assessments” — which he has said would be offered four times a year — to help the education department understand whether students are mastering material across the system in “real time,” Carranza’s Four Exam Plan Raises Student Overtesting Fears Prepping for test this way is just another form of cheating.

The Chicago teachers union voted by 94% for a strike. Many consider the union’s 2012 strike as being the spark that not only set off teacher strikes around the nation, but strikes in other unions like the General Motors autoworkers, which have been on strike for weeks. Some Dem candidates have rushed to union rallies. The Democratic Party, which despite labor support had been ignoring the broad interests of labor for decades, which some view as having led to enough defections in swing states to have elected Trump, has been rushing to show support for unions. But those of us who watched the Dems in-action are always suspicious because the leaders of the Party also owe allegiance to the corporate world, which has much antipathy to unions. These kinds of internal conflicts play out in many ways inside the party.

Reports surfaced that corporate heads have told Dem party leaders that if Warren were to get the nomination they would either sit the election out or support Trump. Note that these people don’t really think Bernie has any real chance and if they did they would be in an even greater panic. Paul Krugman took on this issue in an Oct. 1 column in the NYT, Warren vs. the Petty Plutocrats. Interesting to see Krugman, who used to trash Bernie and praise Hillary and the Democratic center, move further left.

But Warren, now that she is in a good position, built on her using many of Bernie’s ideas, has supposedly been giving party leaders some  assurances that she could be worked with, unlike the uncompromising Bernie, while some of his backers have gone on the attack against Warren. One of the big issues has been her sketchy record on supporting public education and teachers. Education progressives have been concerned over her history, as evidenced by this story the other day in the left wing Jacobin, a big Bernie supporter: Elizabeth Warren’s Public Education Problem. (   Bernie’s education plan is more in line with where I stand but I try to live in a real world and in this election other than a few awful candidates on education (Booker, Wang) I will live with Warren and hope that if she won, the support of teacher unions will counter the backing of the ed deform educational industrial wing of the party like Democrats for Educational Reform(DFER).

Private health insurance have 20% admin costs and can afford to slap their names on stadiums while Medicare has 2% admin costs. Every dime they make in profit comes off our backs. Yet, my union, the UFT and its national, the AFT, has joined other unions by taking a centrist position on the health care issue, repeating the argument that union members would lose their current health plans that they are supposedly so in “love” with. I think our union leaders are wrong. All unions members who turn 65 “lose” their plans and go into Medicare while continuing their former primary plan as supplementary, which we still need under Medicare. There are few if any complaints.

On the surface many candidate plans seem similar. A friend of mine studying the issue clarified: "Medicare as we know it should never be confused with Medicare for All. Our Medicare is totally entwined with private industry -- for supplemental coverage (Medigaps and Medicare Advantage) and for drugs (totally for-profit companies, and the feds will dump a penalty on you if you don't enroll in one).  We pre-pay into it all our working lives, and continue to pay through extra plans, substitute plans, and copays/coinsurance. Bernie is offering something new:  Single payer.  Bernie's April bill, though called ‘Medicare for All’, is designed totally differently from ours and proposes an entirely new tax structure.  It will not coexist inside the current one, like our Medicare does.”

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