Thursday, March 12, 2015

Is Elizabeth Warren supporting Charter Schools not Unions?



There should be some doubt about whether Elizabeth Warren is more interested in supporting the democratic establishment and the union leaders or the majority of the public and the union workers. First of all when I express concern about union leaders I don’t mean to imply that if there is a problem with them they should eliminate unions as the right wing often does. However if the unions aren’t doing as much to support the workers as they could and should or if it is possible to do it in a more efficient way that doesn’t force union workers to support candidates with money from their union dues even when the candidates don’t represent the workers as well as they could or should then a closer look is warranted. Even if supporting the best candidate helps advance their cause it also provides tacit support to a system that gives money an excessive amount of influence which may work against the best interest of the working class in the long run since they have less disposable income than the ruling class.

(This was originally posted on March 15, 2012)

I suspect this might turn out to be the case with Elizabeth Warren.

In two past Blogs about Elizabeth Warren, How sincere is Elizabeth Warren? and Elizabeth Warren is NOT as sincere as she appears!! I explained why I was beginning to have doubts about her. These reasons primarily consist of the fact that she isn’t doing what I think a sincere candidate that wants to reform the corruption would do and the fact that she has received an enormous amount of support from the establishment that she indicates that she is trying to reform. In fact it appears as if her candidacy is a creation of the Mass Media that inspired a lot of people not the other way around.

The following article may indicate even more problems than I have previously recognized:

…. An event last week underscored the challenge for Warren in crafting a message that shows her passion for working families without crossing political fault lines on union issues. The first-time candidate criticized a law championed by the state’s leading Democrats that curbed rights for teachers, firefighters, and other municipal workers to bargain over health care, saving cash-strapped cities and towns tens of millions of dollars a year.

She said the law, signed last year, was responsible for “undercutting collective bargaining rights’’ at the expense of families, a sentiment she had expressed earlier in the month to a local reporter in Brockton.

Her campaign later dialed back the comments and put her in line with the rest of the state’s top Democrats and labor leaders. Two days later, the Warren campaign said she had initially misunderstood the question.

The state’s Democratic establishment, from Governor Deval Patrick to Mayor Thomas M. Menino of Boston, viewed the law as a signature accomplishment, one that allowed them to assist struggling local governments without the contentious battles that roiled state houses around the country last year.

Patrick, the state’s top Democrat, has successfully used a nuanced strategy to court unions, winning their support while at times distancing himself on issues that have stoked public anger. In speeches on the national level, he cites his stance on public employee benefits to demonstrate his philosophy that contentious political issues can be tackled without excessive strife…..

Warren holds some positions on education that challenge union orthodoxy. For instance, she favors charter schools and the use of student test scores as a factor in evaluating teachers, as long as teachers help craft the evaluations.

But the state’s municipal health care law signed last year created a challenge for Warren. Even as many union leaders signed on to compromises last year that they said would protect the most vulnerable workers and preserve basic bargaining rights, some rank-and-file members remain angry about the law.

During a talk with party activists at an Attleboro diner last Tuesday, a teacher told Warren he was worried that the new law limiting city and town workers’ rights in bargaining for some health benefits would cost teachers in her town $1,000 to $2,000 a year. “This is unconscionable,’’ the man said.
Warren responded generally that she was “fundamentally shocked by the attacks on collective bargaining’’ and went on to discuss her vision for rebuilding the middle class.

Asked by a Globe reporter afterward to clarify her position “on what Massachusetts did last year,’’ she responded that “undercutting collective bargaining rights is not a way to strengthen America’s working families.’’ Asked if that was what last year’s bill did, she responded, “yeah, yeah, yup.’’ She answered a third question on the subject, about the problems local governments faced in paying for those benefits, responding that the problem was really caused by a crumbling infrastructure.
Two days later, her campaign retreated from those remarks.

“Elizabeth misunderstood the question asked,’’ spokeswoman Alethea Harney said. “She recognizes that municipalities here in the Commonwealth need help with health care costs and she supports efforts to reduce costs. Elizabeth is very concerned, however, about efforts in other states to undermine collective bargaining.’’

Supporters of the Massachusetts law, including selectmen and mayors, argue that it has benefited workers, sparing layoffs while ensuring that local health plans offer at minimum the same benefits offered to state workers. Union leaders have largely held their fire.

They say they plan to redouble their efforts to help Warren get elected this year after Brown’s surprising 2010 victory. Union-funded political action committees have donated at least $47,000 to her campaign. The AFL-CIO offered an early endorsement of Warren this month, while a political committee called MassUniting, whose principal officers are officials from the Service Employees International Union, was one of the first committees to target Brown with a “Bobblehead Brown’’ ad last year….. Complete article: Backing Unions a delicate mission for Warren

I have seen very little about what Elizabeth Warren’s position is on charter Schools and this article only mentions it briefly when it says “she favors charter schools and the use of student test scores as a factor in evaluating teachers, as long as teachers help craft the evaluations.” Her web page doesn’t seem to mention it at all that I can find. This is part of the problem that I have indicated in previous blogs about her; she doesn’t seem to attempt to address any of the issues any more than any other politician. Instead she waits for someone to bring it up like other politicians and spins it to her own advantage or what she expects the audience to want to hear assuming that it is within the beliefs that she is trying to support. This is typical of any politician including Elizabeth Warren. Scott Brown also seems to support Charter Schools.

Charter Schools should be considered with extreme skepticism if not outright oppositions; they enable corporations to increase their influence on the schools systems and they add the profit motive which could and often has already contradicted the primary objective of the education system. The most effective way to maximize profits often involves cutting costs as much as possible while the corporations charge as much as possible. Since this is done by politicians who often act behind closed doors it doesn’t provide many if any of the benefits that might be provided through competition when people buy food clothing or any other retail product or service that corporations have traditionally be involved in selling. The ultimate consumer is the taxpayer and the parents and children but they aren’t the ones making the decisions. Instead the decisions are being made by bureaucrats, lobbyists, business people and politicians with a steadily dropping amount of input from parents and teachers let alone students.

This isn’t the first time there was controversy over a Charter School; in 2001 there was a major effort to privatize many of Philadelphia’s Schools they were forced to scale back on this plan due to a massive walk out by students that has probably been forgotten by most people by now. They still privatized some of the schools and they also seem to have learned that they should keep additional activities like this quieter if they want to avoid additional large scale opposition from the public. A review of this take over indicates that the battle over private management continues to quietly rage on (article with additional details PDF file) while the owners of the private companies are contributing to the campaigns of the politicians that push new schools through, perhaps as soon as the public becomes more complacent. Businesses simply don’t give massive amounts of money to a campaign unless they expect to get some kind of benefit in return for that money; in this case it could and probably is the opportunity to make profits as well as increase their control of the education system that prepares the next generation of voters that may or may not be more complacent than the last.

With all the controversy over these schools they may feel that it would be much easier to do if they had a trustworthy “consumer advocate” that is considered the defender of the people to usher it through. Scott Brown might have a much harder time avoiding major oppositions due to the fact that he is already seen as a supporter of big business. As indicated in the previous Blogs about Elizabeth Warren I have serious doubts about whether or not she is truly as much of a “consumer advocate” as the propaganda about her has indicated. This could explain why she is being so quit about the subject. The Mass Media isn’t discussing it nearly as much as the y could and should and a lot of what they do provide may indicate that it is a good idea or that the problems with it may be minimal; however a closer look into other sources may indicate otherwise, which is to be expected if you consider the flaws with the basic incentives for private schools. As Stephen Goldstein (Stop the spread of Charter Schools: They are a scam!) indicates (This post is no longer available but The great charter school rip-off: Finally, the truth catches up to education “reform” phonies makes a similar point) if you Google failed charter schools or charter schools scams for starters and perhaps a few additional terms like corruption there is an enormous amount of information available to indicate that there could be many more problems with this.

This isn’t the first time the establishment has attempted to enable the corporate community to gain an increased control over the schools system in “Harvesting Minds,” Channel One Indoctrination of Kids (my blog review plus excerpts from the book as well and more information about Susan Linn on a similar subject) Roy Fox explored how the corporations were attempting to increase the amount of advertising in schools dramatically and how it was having an enormous effect on the ability of children to learn and recognize corporate scams and participate in the democratic system. Children subject to corporate propaganda, which is what Channel One turned out to be, are much less likely to develop the critical thinking skills they need to participate in a sincere democratic system. Charter Schools are just another way for the corporations to impose their ideologies on the lower and middle classes that can’t afford a better school system.

I have no doubt that in many ways Elizabeth Warren is better than Scott Brown but those things that make her better may also make it easier for her to help usher in these schools when the public becomes more complacent. The truth is that the best thing about Elizabeth Warren after a closer look seems to be the ability of the propaganda machine that made her seem like such a staunch advocate for the consumer and the working class when she is almost certainly not any such thing. Instead she just appears to be a creation of the Democratic party and the corporate media that made her sudden rise in popularity possible.

The fact that she seems to have changed her position after possible consultations with the state’s Democratic establishment, that may have included Governor Deval Patrick and Mayor Thomas M. Menino of Boston as well as the contributors to campaigns and other establishment figure that may be keeping a low profile should raise some questions especially when you consider the fact that her sudden rise to fame almost certainly happened with their help not because she rose through a true grass roots effort dealing directly with the working class.

Ironically the right wing has been attempting to prevent the unions from forcing the workers to pay union dues that would help political candidates like Elizabeth Warren and that money may actually wind up helping out the corporations as much as the workers. The right wing may be correct about stopping the donations for all the wrong reasons. They may be opposed to it due to the fact that it enables the Democrats to increase their control of the Congress but the corporations are also donating an enormous amount of money to the Democrats as well and the democrats are having to choose between the best interest of two different groups of donors. There may be a strong possibility that they might be supporting enough rights for workers to keep the union bosses in power and appease the workers without actually giving the majority of the workers as much political power as they expect.

Instead of donating money to democratic candidates who seem to be supporting the corporations almost as much as the Republicans perhaps they should focus more on Grass roots organizing that involves letting the workers control the debate. There was some talk about this possibility during the protest in Wisconsin when Barack Obama declined to put on a pair of “comfortable shoes” and walk the picket lines with the workers or speak up much about the protests at all.

I don’t mean this recommendation to decrease the power of the workers as the Republicans clearly do but to do the opposite and ensure that if their money is used for political purposes at all they have control over it and ensure that it isn’t used to elect a candidate that might usher in Charter Schools against the wishes of the workers and students or do other things that they haven’t been advocating. If this does happen it won’t be the first time.

Many people may have been donating to many candidates like Barack Obama, Elizabeth Warren, Howard Dean and many others only to find that they either do something to destroy their own campaign like Dean before they get elected or they break their promises after they get elected like Barack Obama. Elizabeth Warren rose to fame largely due to the fact that she was supported by Barack Obama and she also supports many of the same policies that he does, often against the best interest of the majority of the public.

The current establishment rarely if ever does what is in the best interest of the majority; nor do they make much if any attempt to educate the public about many of the most important issues; instead they routinely try to take advantage to the ignorance and lack of education of many members of the public as well as other insecurities and prejudices. One of the clearest issues where they could educate the public on a subject and impose policies that would benefit everyone is the issue of gambling which Elizabeth Warren has also been silent on. Organized gambling clearly has to be rigged in the favor of the house or else the house will go bankrupt so it is essentially a scam. The math on this is relatively simple and a sincere politician could easily educate the public about it and they could attempt to impose legislation that would inform the public about how big a portion of the funds collected are actually returned to the players. If a large percentage of the public knew that they can’t possibly receive much more than seventy-five cents on the dollar that they spend then they would be much less likely to play at all. Instead of doing this the government has been promoting an enormous amount of advertising telling the public “you can win” and preying on the naivety of the least educated and the poorest members of the public.

Governor Deval Patrick and the other two recent candidates for the 2010 Governor’s office all agreed that gambling should be expanded and that nothing should be done to educate the public more about it. They all considered this a good revenue source for the state. Their disagreements on the subject which were hotly contested were on which form of gambling should be used to take advantage of the credulous. This was a very good position from a political point of view due to the fact that the gamblers actually think it is in their best interest to play and they won’t reward opponents with their vote but this does an enormous amount of damage to society by praying on the poor and it doesn’t change the fact that giving money to the credulous this has been overwhelmingly demonstrated with what is called curse of the lottery. this is a routine method to take advantage of those with the least amount of political power but it comes at an enormous cost to society since the lottery is an extremely inefficient method of collecting taxes and it creates an enormous amount of social problems that cost society much more like increased crime and reliance on welfare and lack of education for those that put all their resources into gambling.

I initially thought that this might not have much influence on Elizabeth Warren except for her silence on the issue but a relatively quick Google search on the subject indicates that two of her first advisors were gambling lobbyists. The following statement may be from the opposition that may have their own problems but they raise a good issue, “It’s ironic that a so-called consumer champion like Professor Warren is already taking her marching orders from two well-connected Beacon Hill lobbyists,” said Jennifer Nassour, Chairman of the Mass GOP in a statement on their website. “All her rhetoric about standing up for consumers and fighting the special interests rings hollow when the first two people she turns to for advice are insiders paid to lobby on behalf of the gambling industry.”

This should considered further indication that the political establishment is clearly not designed to provide a sincere democracy and that they have many ways of implementing what many people consider a democracy without actually addressing the best interest of the public. Scott Brown clearly wouldn’t be any better that Elizabeth warren if anything he would be worse in many ways. It is becoming increasingly clear that the candidates that the establishment and the Mass Media present to the public as “viable candidates” are all the ones that have been approved by the elites that control the corporations and have their own agenda. In order to qualify as a “viable candidate,” according to the standards implied by the Mass Media, the fist thing that needs to be done is to collect an enormous mount of money that can’t come any where else but the corporations. The campaigns have become so expe4nsive that they’ve been trying to find way to share the expense without sharing the influence which is why they take union money without providing much if anything in return and they’re also trying to convince an enormous percentage of the public that democratic participation now requires donations which they should give. This is a variation of the poll tax that was banned by the constitution.

Now in order to participate in the so-called democratic process you have to go along with the corporate ideology and pay to play.

That isn’t the way a sincere democracy would ever work!

The most effective way to change this needs to be from the true grass roots level that enables the public to chose their own candidates and interview them from the beginning. Clearly we need to stop choosing from the candidates chosen for us by a corrupt system. Ideally this would involve a thorough Election Reform that puts the real power in the hands of the public not the corporations and political operatives.

The following are comments posted in the original post

Interesting and extensive commentary Mr. President.

Don Rich

March 15, 2012 01:53 PM

Elizabeth Warren? Dam she looks like a young Hillary Clinton. Are you sure they haven't cloned her? I understand what you are saying about the possibility's of chartered schools being potential agency's of early indoctrination but anything that promotes even some semblance of education also has value.

“or they break their promises after they get elected like Barack Obama”

Exactly! After Obama who can take anything serious a candidate for major office says when they are on the campaign trail? If you think Warren is a creep vote for Scott Brown. That’s why I voted for McCain for president. Legalized gambling is one of the true depravity's of the West. Legalized gambling lobbyists are a good indicator that she is a card carrying member of the cabal of criminals that now masquerade as senators. She is probably being groomed for the presidency.

Jack Heart

March 15, 2012 03:56 PM I'd like to think otherwise, but my observations lead me to believe that anyone who is willing to engage in what's going to be demanded of them in order to secure enough backing to successfully run for any significant office, is compromised by the process. The nature of human behavior allows the perceptual shifts necessary to rationalize compromising ethics one step at a time, until a complete shift effects a moral blind spot, then there's no capability at all to connect original intention to it's actual corruption.

Those who triumph then are carefully groomed by everyone around them who wants something to think they are great. From the adulation of the masses (and there will be adulation, even for those most hate) to the acceptance of the affluent, it all conspires to render anyone who plays, part of the system. It's impossible for anything else to really happen. It it does, it's simply an anomaly and they'll be out on their ass or dead, soon enough. Those who wouldn't be so compromised aren't know to us, because they aren't going to play. They're the ones who leave politics very early in life, having realized they can't be what it requires.

Yes, the election process has to be changed, the media involvement has to be changed, many, many things have to be changed, however I can't see that happening when those who like it this way are in complete control and so many are too ignorant to perceive what's being done to them (and even if they weren't, what are the remedies? Constitutional Amendment?). If that's what we need, there's where the energy needs to be focused, because shining more light on this process seems to have been done forever, to no end and to no avail.

R for effort though. Ms Warren, like others before her, seems to be just a potential for a deeper degree of disappointment than others from whom I'd expect nothing good. Hey, maybe I should vote for Santor... Uh, forget that.

Samasiam

March 15, 2012 06:25 PM I am not a fan of charters or high stakes testing, but unions and charters are not necessarily mutually exclusive. In Chicago, charter school teachers are attempting to organize.

Bob Simpson

March 15, 2012 07:53 PM teachers are the new scapegoats, and unions

Kathy Knechtges March 15, 2012 09:09 PM

[r] this is where the litmus test happens. pragmatic gamesmanship is a slippery slope. To win the game to change the game if you think you have to join their rigged game thus they've won over you. i wonder about warren and was concerned from the get go she was slow to get obama's number. it is tough bucking the status quo but the issue is the saturatingly corrupt status quo. libby

libbyliberalnyc March 16, 2012 07:45 AM

Jack, I wouldn’t vote for Scott Brown either; instead I would vote for someone else even if I had to write him in. If the number of third parties votes go high enough then others will realize that there is an option to the most corrupt democrat and the most corrupt Republican.

Also, as far as legalized gambling goes if it is done right and the public is informed about it I wouldn’t oppose it. I presented an option for this in the last of my list of ten potential ballot questions.

Sam, Elizabeth Warren almost certainly was prepared for the job ahead of time by the establishment; at first I thought she might have been sincere despite a few doubts but the closer I look the clearer it is that she was a somewhat-well-prepared candidate from the start.

As far as changing the system goes the absurdity is becoming so obvious that many people are waking up and some reform is inevitable. The bigger potential problem might be that some candidates that are prepared usher in the reform and do no more than they have to in order to appease the public and lull them back into complacency.

Bob, this is true but unions have generally been opposed to them when possible, presumably because they do make it more difficult to unionize and unlike many other trades the people that go into teaching are often concerned as much about the students as they are about their own income. Even if they have unions at Charter Schools they won’t be as efficient as they would be if they didn’t have corporations constantly trying to increase profits or impose ideology when the opportunity presents itself.

Kathy, who ever provides the greatest threat to those in power often become the scapegoats of the propaganda machine can make it stick.

Libby, at first I thought she might have been a sincere supporter of Obama that might not have caught on but now that she is being just as manipulative, or perhaps more effective in appearing to care it seems to me that she almost certainly was part of the establishment all along.

Thanks all
zacherydtaylor
March 16, 2012 09:44 AM
Wow those gambling lobbyist sure know who to follow?
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Algis Kemezys
March 18, 2012 05:57 AM





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