Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Why Clinton Lost the Election by "George Washington"

                                                            Did Hillary Clinton throw the election?
                                                                            by George Washington

            Looking at the Clinton support from the 2008 Democratic Primary we saw an abundance of support from white working class voters.( Yet throughout the 2016 election Clinton’s support with this group all but disappeared. Not only did the support disappear but Clinton thought it proper to insult the group that gave her so much strength in the primaries. What some call a mistake I assert a sense of something more deliberate.

 “The Deplorables” became not on a calling call for Anti-Hillary sentiment but also led to a movement of sort to make sure she was defeated. Women starting wearing T-Shirts called “Deplorables” to show solidarity with each other and against Clinton. But as BAR journalist Glen Ford points out “deplorables want good jobs too”.

Hillary Clinton spent a 13 year period as first lady of Arkansas. So it stands to reason she was extremely versed with this population. It also stands to reason that Clinton would have a tangible memory of the importance of this group considering the tough terrain in swing states. In sum politicians don’t make these sort of “mistakes” unless it was deliberate. We move onto the question of strategy and lack of campaign adjustments.

We have an excerpt from long time Democratic Party operative: I don’t have to make the case that blue collar voters are, to put it mildly, less than enthusiastic about HRC’s positions on trade and the economy,” David Betras wrote in his 1,300 word missive, citing her struggles in recent primaries.(

Again we have Clinton abandoning her base from 2008. But wait it gets worse. Clinton was too close to Obama on the issue of NAFTA (her husbands debacle), the TPP, and earlier in the campaign she was fundamentally opposed to Glass Steagall (again another won of Bill’s debacles). And we have  wonderful column by former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich: ( Clinton was to the RIGHT of Donald Trump on Glass Steagall! Not that I expect Trump to actually reinstate it. Lets examine where Clinton was in 2007 on the question of bank separation. To do this we find one of her important economic policy speeches.

We find clue in this excerpt:
 “Finally, we face new threats that neither the president nor federal regulators have adequately acknowledged or addressed. Take the risk of so-called derivatives and other new financial products that Wall Street is selling.These products offer new opportunities for investors to diversify portfolios and protect themselves against certain risks. For example, a farmer here in Iowa who's worried about the price of corn could buy a derivative that increases in value when the price of corn falls, so regardless of what happens with his crop, he has a chance to break even.But derivatives also create new risks. They can swing wildly in value. It isn't always clear who owns them or how much they are really worth. Owners don't always understand the risks, which is why even the investment banks that created them are losing billions of dollars on these derivatives. And the ripples are being felt from Wall Street to Main Street.”

Clinton slams the derivatives trade but did she go all the way and call for Glass Steagall? Mostly, the following article gives her a close enough. (

Lets look at foreign policy. We have the murder of Gaddafi: Hillary Clinton remarks on murder of Qaddafi with no trial, "We came, he saw, he died"...

Then we have the issue of Syria. Many Americans are tired of American interventionism as they no longer see the benefit. The military has been strained as their soldiers come home with blown off limbs, PTSD and other health problems. Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has warned against increased engagement in Syria. (

Then behold a few weeks before the election Clinton comes out with another debacle. She calls for a no fly zone on Syria! Clinton also admitted many Syrian would be killed. ( How many Generals in the military did she piss of with this statement? More than a handful we can guarantee.

HRC was obviously talking to George Soros too much. It is past time to kick George Soros out of the Democratic Party. Soros is famous for crashing currencies. (

Finally. The tragic death of close Hillary Clinton friends under mysterious circumstances could have been enough for Madam Secretary to just want to go home and retire. Congressman Stephanie Tubbs Jones ( Arkansas Democratic Chairman Bill Gwatney. Coincidently Tubbs-Jones and Gwatney died 7 days apart. ( Democratic Party Strategist Kam Kuwata also died under mysterious circumstances. (

I don’t believe the above deaths are conspiratorial but I do believe they are enough to add grief and stress for a Presidential Candidate. In Sum combining weak banking policy, weak trade policy, hawkish foreign policy and being too close to wall st., this was a recipe for disaster. In the 2007-2008 campaign we have qualitative efforts of a strong progressive campaign to be President. The 2016 version of the Clinton campaign was 180 degrees to the opposite. We highlight this quote from a recent quote from Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer: ( We didn’t have an economic message. Presidential Politics is all about economics. Quoting the great James Carville “its the economy stupid”.  The fact through the whole campaign Hillary Clinton didn’t have an economic message is no accident. The party without a strong economic message and compelling narrative is almost always the loser.

To be fair. Clinton was essentially running on Obama’s policies which have been a dismal failure particularly in the red states. So she was essentially running on Obama’s policies and not her own. To break from Obama would be to break the party. The party which is now the bootlicker of wall st greed has no direction, no policies and no vision. I can only conclude that on a subconscious level Clinton was tired of politics and that she in fact wanted to lose. Sure she can blame the FBI email, ( she has to say this for the donors who wasted their money. However this analysis gives us a much deeper view that I believe is worth considering.

George Washington  is a teacher/ union activist living in the Western US

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Join the Resistance

Because Donald Trump has refused to denounce the racist, fascist hate groups who have been emboldened by his election, an anti-fascist, anti-racist resistance has started to grow in this country which will eventualy involve tens of millions of people. It will be above ground and underground, involve politicians, clergy and educators, and will mobilize citizens in all walks of life. It will ultimarly be far bigger than anything we have previously seen in US History. Wherever I go, I see this resistance rising. It will be a powerful force keeping the worst excesses of the Trump administration in check, and will ultimarly give new life the dreams.of Dr King and others who fought to expand the nation's promise to all its people.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Trouble Comes to "My Hometown"; Post Election Race Conflict in the Nation's Schools

One area where the tensions of the recent election are being played out is the nation's middle schools and high schools where I have heard literally scores of stories-through friends- of fights and exchanges of insults between white students and latino students and white students and black students, some of which have led to students getting hurt. Anyone who thinks that the media are inventing this, or that George Soros is financing this, has their head up their ass. If anything, the media is underreporting this. And this isn't about hate groups. This is about kids overhearing their parents conversations and bringing it to school
None of this is new. In fact, it looks more and more like a repeat of what I saw and experienced in the Sixties, something referred to in one of Bruce Springsteen's most powerful songs "My Hometown"
.In '65 tension was running high at my high school
There was a lot of fights between the black and white
There was nothing you could do
Two cars at a light on a Saturday night in the back seat there was a gun
Words were passed in a shotgun blast
Troubled times had come to my hometown
We are heading down a dangerous path. It will require hard work from all over us to keep the violence and hatred from taking even more dangerous forms
And no, covering it up is not the answer!!!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Real Talk About Affirmative Action

At various points in the campaign, commentators have referred to Affirmative Action as one of the issues driving white working class and middle class support for the Trump campaign
There are a lot of misconceptions about Affirmative Action in college admissions which I need to clarify. It always surprises people in my classes when I present them with this information.

When it comes to admissions preferences by universities, especially by elite universities, advantages given to under-represented minorities come in a distant THIRD. Here in order of importance are the way admissions advantages are distributed

1. Admissions advantages given to children from very wealthy families who can pay full tuition and/or make contributions to the school. These advantages used to benefit only wealthy Americans, now they benefit global elites as colleges scour the globe to recruit full tuition payers. For documentation of this read Peter Schmidt's book "Color and Money:How Rich White Kids are Winning the War Over College Affirmative Action." The situation is actually worse now when colleges have gone "global" to seek wealthy students

2. Recruited athletes. Every Ivy League school gives 20% of its admissions sports to recruited athletes, the vast majority of whom are white. They are in sports like volleyball, soccer, lacrosse, sailing, tennis, golf, hockey softball and swimming as well as football and basketball. My children both went to Yale on sports affirmative action- my daughter because she was ranked 37 in the nation in junior tennis; my son because he was a left handed pitcher who threw 85 miles an hour. Both were smart kids, but it was sports that got them into one of the nation's most competitive schools For documentation of this read Bowen and Shapiro "The Game of Life"

3. Underrepresented minorities, a category which keeps shifting over time. Ironically, the vast majority of those recruited for elite schools under this rubric are from middle class families.
Now, if you are wondering why Affirmative Action remains such a source of resentment among many whites, consider this: most working class and middle class white kids fall into NONE of these categories.

But overwhelmingly, their resentment is directed at the SMALLEST group among those getting admissions advantages- those falling into category three.

And so we repeat one of the most depressing themes in US History: economically disfranchised whites are much more prone to blame those below them than those above them for their plight

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Brian Crowell 2014 Resolution to the AFT Demanding Support of New Deal Economic Policies for the Present

This was a Resolution Brian Crowell wanted the American Federation of Teachers to adopt in 2014. Needless to say it got nowhere. It demanded some action on the economic conditions that fueled the candidacy of Bernie Sanders and the election of Donald Trump:
A Resolution
In light of the NeoLiberal Economic Policies that openly attack the poor and middle class, The American Federation of Teachers has formally resolved the following and ask The American Federation of Teachers to support the following:
We demand that the American Federation of Teachers adopt the following policies, taken in the spirit of President Franklin Roosevelt’s Economic Bill of Rights:
We demand the right to:
Employment, with a living wage
Food, clothing and leisure
Farmers rights to a fair income
Freedom from unfair competition and monopolies
Medical care
Social security
Consistent with President Franklin Roosevelt's 2nd Bill of rights, and in the light of current issues facing the nation’s teachers, we also demand the following of our unions and associations:
We Demand that AFT must fight to defend veteran teachers from being forced out of their jobs by administrative harassment.
We Demand that AFT must fight to dramatically increase the number of teachers of color in our classrooms.
We Demand that AFT must stand up as strongly to denounce Democratic politicians who attack teachers and public education as Republican Ones.
We Demand that AFT actively support Constitutional Protections for Migrant and and Documented workers and children.
We Demand that AFT actively organize to unionize retail workers, fast food workers, childcare workers, domestic workers, home care and hospice workers, and to advocate for these workers a living wage.
Consistent with The New Deal Legislation of the 1930's we Demand that AFT advocate for WPA/TVA work and employment programs to alleviate homelessness and poverty.
We Demand that NEA actively actively engage policy makers to enforce Constitutional Protections for LGBT Citizens.
We Demand that AFT actively pursue policies that protect public education from Unfair Competition from Charter Schools.
We Demand that AFT actively pursue policies that promote Equal Equality and Equal Pay For Women; without compromise.
Consistent with Farming Legislation of the 1930's, We Demand that AFT pursue policies to promote small and medium size farming in lieu of large agribusiness farming.
Consistent with The Hill Burton Act of 1946, We Demand that AFT pursue policies to fully enact a single payer health care system.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

"Trump's Walkin' on the Fighting Side of Me"- HT to Merle Haggard

I hear Trump talkin' bad,
About the way we have to live here in this country,
Insulting all our immigrants
And gripin' ' bout those who come here to be free.
And I don't mind him speaking out,
And standin' up for things that he believes in
But when Trump talks down our immigrants
He's walkin' on the fightin' side of me.
Yeah, walkin' on the fightin' side of me.
Talking down a way of life
My grandparents all came here to achieve.
If you don't love all people
Let this song I'm singin' be a warnin'.
If you're talking down our immigrants
You're walkin' on the fightin' side of me.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Hamilton Remix- A Bright Ray of Sunshine Amidst a Cataclysmic Election- Guest Post By Alison Dobrick

            Today’s release of two songs on the Hamilton Mixtape a long-awaited labor of love was a bright ray of sunshine during this cataclysmic storm of an election. My Shot (Rise Up Remix), by the Roots, featuring Busta Rhymes, shows definitively that Hamilton’s multiracial, up-to-the-minute portrayal in hip hop and song of idealized, distorted history was just the beginning of its cultural power.
Hamilton has become a cultural legend in its year and a half of existence. Accolades and superlatives cannot express the musical’s brilliance, beauty, and innovation; I am joined in this opinion by so many, from the Obamas to PBS to the corporate and government institutions funding opportunities for students to experience the groundbreaking show. Yes, I am a grown adult, and yes, upon listening I very quickly developed the intense fan-ship now known throughout the internet as “Hamilaria,” symptoms of which include playing/performing the album daily in the car; spouting verses and references (admittedly, to a possibly exasperating extent); and going into significant debt for a ticket with an obstructed view. For many of us, the excellent musical provided brilliant, Americana-themed escapism, especially needed during these troubling, pre-election days.
My musical- and hip hop-loving soul was enraptured, but my mind was still bothered about the ways in which history’s portrayal in Hamilton can be considered problematic or even offensive. Activist Ishmael Reed provocatively contends that having “black actors dress up like slave traders” does not mitigate the effects of presenting history in a way “that endowed slave traders and Indian eliminators the status of deities” (Counterpunch, 8/21/15). In The Public Historian (2/16), Rutgers scholar Lyra Monteiro compellingly analyzes Hamilton’s “erasure of black history.” The horrors of slavery, and its essential, foundational nature to the economic success of our country, are only glanced from a distance in Hamilton. Worse, abolitionist impulses are aggrandized, and slave owning is ignored or even joked about (Monteiro, also a fan of the show, has provided and interesting and thorough analysis of this elision).
As a white educator aligned with the goals of #BlackLivesMatter, I did not want to shy away from the possibility that Hamilton subtly supported white supremacy by focusing on the same “Dead White Males” treated as flawless heroes in most American History textbooks and classrooms (Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Loewen is a great source on this strong, nationalist tendency). Meanwhile, I’ve been enthralled by the work of Columbia professor Christopher Emdin, who focuses on the power of hip-hop and what he calls America’s “neo-indigenous cultures” to provide new, effective, sometimes therapeutic practices and philosophies for educators of today’s students.
Could Hamilton be a source of real, relevant learning about history, values, and life for today’s diverse students? Or was it a rendering, though in “neo-indigenous” hip hop, of elitist American history that we should all “learn important life lessons” from? My Shot (Remix) perhaps answered both of these questions in the affirmative. But these questions, the song told us, are just the beginning of understanding what Hamilton means and will mean as a masterwork of our American culture.
Inimitable creator Lin-Manuel Miranda has explicitly drawn connections between the historical and current struggles embodied in hip-hop music and his vision of Hamilton. He tweeted the lyric “I never thought I’d live past twenty. Where I come from some get half as many” in connection with the miscarriage of justice in the case of Tamir Rice. Analysts of lyrics have noted that “This is not a moment, it’s a movement” echoes the language of #BlackLivesMatter. Daveed Diggs’ verse at the BET Cypher (10/13/15) speaks volumes, in a characteristically hip hop, multi-layered, brilliant way: “Playing these dead presidents, I’m getting my reparations!”
My Shot (Remix) begins with the beat of soldiers marching, and the now-familiar strains of My Shot, but brings the musical commentary on contemporary social justice that partly inspired Hamilton full circle. Now, the revolutionary soldiers, the “young, scrappy and hungry” men who embody American hopes for freedom and democracy, are cast as today’s mistreated, misunderstood black youth: “When even role models tell us we’re born to be felons / We’re never getting’ into Harvard or Carnegie Mellon.” Now, the foundationally vital plans, poetry, and patriotism of Alexander Hamilton are compared to the way that one can never give up dreams in the face of the many obstacles he or she faces: “That’s why you hustle hard, never celebrate a holiday / That’ll be the day I coulda finally hit the lottery.” Hip hop’s mastery of using words to communicate multiple layers of meaning is on display here; Black Thought references ideas from Alexander’s refusal to “take a break” from his work in the show to today’s insistently hopeful (yet sadly desperate) widespread practice of playing the lottery daily.
Busta Rhymes’ voice, lyrics, and persona are, like Lin-Manuel Miranda’s mind, incomparable. Busta’s presence on the Mixtape attests to Miranda’s deep respect for the hip hop masters who inspired him. Customary growl calmed to a stern rumble, Busta adjures listeners to “Rise Up” today, implicating himself and all of us as responsible to work to improve society: “When are folks like me and you gonna rise up? Every city, every hood, we need to rise up.” Busta’s volume and intensity rise, and marchers for civil equality, women’s liberation, and voting rights, or against police brutality and prejudice, appear in the mind’s eye as an unbroken chain of quintessential American-ness, as American as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.
The artists who created this remix evince passion and brilliance that make me proud to (in the words of Puerto Rican American rapper Joell Ortiz’s words, who also has a verse on the Roots’ song), “Be American, express how [I] feel, and take the credit.” Hamilton makes clear connections between history and modern life; Busta’s exhortation to “Rise Up” together and make a difference, despite the imposing odds stacked against many in society and against our society itself, could not have come at a better time.

Alison Dobrick, Ed.D. is Associate Professor of education at William Paterson University of New Jersey, and Director of the William Paterson University Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies. She is currently working on HiPP (the Hamilton in Paterson Project) which brings Hamilton, hip hop education, and Paterson, NJ together for meaningful learning experiences in local history, hip hop music, and multiple literacies.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Response in the Bronx Community to "Before the Fires"

 The response of people in the Bronx and neighboring communities to "Before the Fires: An Oral History of African American Life in the Bronx from the 1930's to the 1960's" has been one of the most gratifying aspects of publishing this book. As background, "Before the Fires" is the outgrowth of a community history initiative called the "Bronx African American History Project" which has recorded more than 300 oral history interviews during its 14 years of existence. None of these interviews would have been possible without the support of community residents and community leaders who wanted their voices recorded and the response to the book has reflected the power of that community input. Since the book was published in September, my co-author and I have been hosted by two local cultural organizations- the Bronx Museum of the Arts and the Bronx Music Heritage Center- two public high schools- Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom HS and Community School for Social Justice- and one African American Church- Grace Baptist Church in Mount Vernon. In all of these events, there has been enthusiastic audience participation in discussing the stories contained in the book, and encouragement for us to record more. Universally, people have applauded the book's appearance as a sign that their view of Bronx history- one in which Black people's community building and culturally creativity was foregrounded- could no longer be ignored. Everywhere we went, people expressed pride in the book's appearance and took ownership of it.  They urged us to get maximum publicity for it, not as a way of enhancing the reputation of the authors, but of affirming the value of the communities whose history it recorded and celebrated.

It is hard to put in words how much this experience affected both Bob Gumbs and me emotionally.It affirmed our vision of this book as a true community product, one which people whose lives were highlighted in the book could claim as a window into the world they grew up in, ans still look back upon with
great affection and respect