Archives for the month of: July, 2021

Jeremy Mohler of the nonpartisan “In the Public Interest,” the leading voice against privatization of the public sector, notes that billionaire Jeff Bezos made into space sixty years after the public-funded NASA.

He writes:

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said the quiet part loud on Tuesday after flying to space in his own rocket:

“I want to thank every Amazon employee and every Amazon customer because you guys paid for all of this.”

He was right. Subjecting warehouse workers and delivery drivers to grueling conditions—even all but forcing them to pee in bottles instead of take bathroom breaks—has made Bezos the world’s richest person

This is why we need a much, much fairer tax system.

One that doesn’t allow corporations like Amazon to get away with paying less in taxes than teachers, nurses, and even Amazon workers themselves. Bezos himself paid no income tax in 2007 and 2011

One that doesn’t shell out massive subsidies to corporations like Amazon, while our communities get little in return. Bezos’s rocket company, Blue Origin, has received more than $72 million in state and local subsidies.

If it was fairer, our government could afford to make people’s lives better here, you know, on Earth. By doing things like Raleigh, North Carolina, just did when it extended free public bus fares through the rest of the year. And like Washington, D.C., just did when it raised taxes on the rich to fund housing vouchers, subsidies for day-care workers’ wages, and monthly tax credits for low-income families.

Paul Waldman is on the staff of the Washington Post. In this excerpt of his column, he says that Trump zealots will refuse to believe what the police officers said about the events of January 6. Nor will Trump devotees in the Congress be moved. The police officers saved their lives on that day, but they won’t heed what they testified. The Republican members of Congress were there as rioters plundered the U.S. Capitol and threatened the lives of Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Mike Pence. Only a thin blue line separated the mob and the esteemed members of Congress, who were only a few feet apart as they scurried to their hiding places. Yet still they say things like, “It was a normal tourist crowd,” or “it was a peaceful protest.” And they have response when Trump expresses his admiration and love for the mob that beat up police officers, shattered windows, and broke down doors in their absurd effort to reverse the election results.

Waldman writes:

There are people who believe that the moon landing never happened, that the astronauts in the footage all the world saw were actually bouncing around on a soundstage hidden away somewhere. But they aren’t making our laws, they aren’t invited on TV to discuss their perspective, and they don’t have the ability to influence millions.


Yet there are people who deny the truth of what happened in Washington on Jan. 6, despite all the video, all the contemporaneous reports, all the guilty pleas, and all the testimony. And they have a lot more power.


Tuesday’s first hearing of the select House committee investigating the insurrection, with vivid testimony from four police officers who stood against a mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters overrunning the Capitol in an attempt to overturn a presidential election, should put at least some questions about that day to rest.

Still recovering from their physical and mental injuries, the officers seemed particularly incensed that the truth of what happened that day is denied by so many on the right, from Trump himself on down.
“To me, it’s insulting, just demoralizing because of everything that we did to prevent everyone in the Capitol from getting hurt,” said Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell about the effort to minimize what happened that day, including by Trump. (“It was a loving crowd,” the former president told Post reporters Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker, “There was a lot of love. I’ve heard that from everybody.”)

Gonnell also addressed the various conspiracy theories propagated by some very high-profile figures on the right, claiming that the insurrection might have been a false-flag operation. “It was not antifa,” he said. “It was not Black Lives Matter. It was not the FBI. It was his supporters that he sent them over to the Capitol that day.”
“The indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful,” said D.C. police officer Michael Fanone, slamming his fist on the table. “Nothing, truly nothing, has prepared me to address those elected members of our government who continue to deny the events of that day.”

That denial takes various forms. Some, like Trump, assert that the riot was no big deal (“By and large it was peaceful protest,” said Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin). Others say that, while it was certainly bad, it doesn’t have anything to do with any larger political forces and should be put behind us.

But the truth is that there was nothing isolated about the event. Those rioters came to Washington at Trump’s behest. They assaulted the seat of our government in an effort to prevent the final certification of an American presidential election. And to this day, most of the GOP continues to stoke the fires of racial resentment and contempt for the democracy that made it possible.

One of the few exceptions in the Republican Party, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) dispatched the bad-faith argument so many in his party made that any investigation of Jan. 6 should also spend time talking about protests last summer against police misconduct, during which violence broke out:

“Some have concocted a counternarrative to discredit this process on the grounds that we didn’t launch a similar investigation into the urban riots and looting last summer. Mr. Chairman, I was called on to serve during the summer riots as an Air National Guardsman. I condemn those riots and the destruction of property that resulted. But not once did I ever feel that the future of self-governance was threatened like I did on January 6. There is a difference between breaking the law and rejecting the rule of law, between a crime, even grave crimes, and a coup.


That is the heart of what made January 6 so threatening: Not just the physical violence, but the assault on the American system.

The hearings about the January 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol opened with testimony by four police officers who were beaten and brutalized by the pro-Trump mob, trying to stop the certification of the election of President Biden.

This story appeared in USA Today.

The officers’ accounts provided a dramatic opening for the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, when Trump’s fanatical supporters tried to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s 2020 election win.

“Here are highlights from their testimony.

“Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell

“An Army veteran, Gonell said his experience during the insurrection was more terrifying than serving in Iraq, where he had to conduct supply missions on roads laced with improvised explosive devices.

“Nothing in my experience in the Army or as a law enforcement officer prepared me for what we confronted on Jan. 6,” he told the panel, recounting hand-to-hand combat with the rioters that likened to a “medieval” battle.

“I did not recognize my fellow citizens,” Gonell said. One rioter, he said, “shouted that I —an Army veteran and a police officer — should be executed.”

“As he and his fellow officers were punched, kicked and sprayed with chemicals, “I could feel myself losing oxygen and recall thinking to myself, ‘This is how I’m going to die’,” Gonell said.

“Six months after the riot, Gonell said he is still recovering from injuries.”

DC Metro officer Michael Fanone

Fanone, who nearly died on Jan. 6, has emerged as one of the most outspoken enforcement officials in the wake of the Capitol riot, during which he was beaten unconscious and suffered a heart attack.

In the months since Jan. 6, he has lobbied Congress to create a bipartisan, independent commission to probe the riot and lashed Republicans for downplaying the attack.

At Tuesday’s hearing, he moved into the spotlight once again.

“As I was swarmed by a violent mob, they ripped off my badge, they grabbed and stripped me of my radio, they seized a munition that was secured to my body,” Fanone recalled. “They began to beat me with their fists and what felt like hard metal objects.”

At one point during the riot, Fanone was pulled from a line of police by a rioter who shouted “I got one!”

As he was beaten, he heard a rioter shout to “Get his gun! Kill him with his own weapon.”

” … I was electrocuted again and again and again with a taser. I’m sure I was screaming but I don’t think I could even hear my own voice,” he recounted.

“I have kids,” he responded in a plea for his life.

“I still hear those words in my head today,” Fanone told lawmakers.

An unconscious Fanone was later driven by another injured officer to a nearby hospital, where he was told he suffered a heart attack and multiple life-threatening injuries. He now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

“I thought I had seen it all, many times over,” Fanone said. “Yet what I witnessed and experience on Jan. 6, 2021, was unlike anything I had ever seen, anything I had ever experienced or could have imagined in my country.”

U.S. Capitol Police officer Harry Dunn

U.S. Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn recounted how pro-Trump protestors continued to swell at the side of the Capitol all morning on Jan. 6 before becoming violent after thousands had assembled.

Rioters chanted “Stop the steal!,” clinging to the false claim that Trump was still the true elected leader of the country. When Dunn said that he’d voted for Biden and inquired if his vote didn’t matter, the already hostile crowd became irate.

“One woman in a pink ‘MAGA’ shirt yelled, “You hear that, guys, this (N-word) voted for Joe Biden!” he remembered.

“No one had ever called me a (N-word) while wearing my Capitol Police uniform,” Dunn testified.

Dunn also recounted how the aftermath of the day had been a “blur” to him. At one point he broke down in despair in the Capitol rotunda and asked how the attack was even possible, he said.

In the months since the attack, Dunn has said he’s been in support groups for his mental health to deal with the trauma of the attack, declaring that “there’s absolutely nothing wrong” with seeking help. Two Capitol police officers have died by suicide in the months since the attack.

Dunn also directly addressed the rioters and insurrectionists who were at the Capitol that day, saying “democracy went on that night and still continues to this day… you all tried to disrupt democracy, and you all failed.”

DC Metro Police officer Daniel Hodges

Hodges said rioters bashed his head, kicked him in the chest, and sprayed him with a chemical irritant during the riot, among other assaults.

One attacker told him he would “die on your knees.”

During one scuffle, a rioter tried to take Hodges’ baton and another kicked him in the chest and moved his mask over his eyes, leaving him temporarily blind while under attack.

While at his post as rioters began to assemble, he saw people in the crowd in tactical gear, wearing ballistic vests, helmets and goggles, appearing “to be prepared for much more than listening to politicians speak at a park,” he recalled.

“Terrorists were breaking apart the middle fencing and bike racks and the individual pieces, presumably to use weapons,” Hodges told the committee.

In the haze, Hodges said he remembers seeing the “thin blue line flag, a symbol of support for law enforcement” being carried by the rioters who then attacked the very officers they claimed to support. Hodges was told he was “on the wrong team” by one of the attackers.

As he was being gassed and having his head smashed, Hodges recounted screaming for help until fellow officers were able to save him from the attackers.

Everyone knows how to end the pandemic: mandate vaccinations for everyone over the age of 2. When vaccines are available for children under 2, vaccinate them too. Almost everyone is vaccinated against other infectious diseases, like smallpox, mumps, and measles. Many schools will not admit new students who are unvaccinated. Why make an exception for the deadly coronavirus?

But for purely political reasons, this will not happen. Libertarians, Trumpers, and others will refuse to be vaccinated, insisting that the government can’t force them to protect themselves and the lives of their families, friends, and communities. Conspiracy theorists would spin crazy ideas about secret plots, and those opposed would go to court to prevent being vaccinated involuntarily.

And this resistance to life-saving vaccines will make it impossible to end the pandemic. At this point, most new cases and deaths occur among the unvaccinated. The anti-vaxxers will not accept direction. And they might be convinced if members of their families die. But there are ways to persuade them, like barring them from public transportation, federal jobs, and federal benefits

NYC Mayor De Blasio just approved a regulation requiring all 300,000 municipal workers, including teachers and police, to be vaccinated or to take a weekly test to prove they are not infected. WhY not require them all to be vaccinated?

Dr. Leana Wen wrote this opinion article for the Washington Post. She is a public health specialist.

With coronavirus infections climbing throughout the country and the pandemic worsening once more, the Biden administration needs to strongly urge a return of covid-19 restrictions.

The United States is on a very different trajectory now than it was back in May, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidance that fully vaccinated people no longer needed to wear masks. Even then, when cases were trending downward, many of us in public health were alarmed that the CDC’s recommendations would herald the precipitous and premature end of indoor mask mandates.

We were right. The CDC’s honor system didn’t work. The unvaccinated took off their masks, too; not enough people were vaccinated to be a backstop against further surges; and infections began to soar.

Compared with two weeks ago, daily coronavirus infections in the United States have climbed 145 percent. The most contagious form of SARS-CoV-2 yet, the delta variant, accounts for the majority of new infections. Vaccinated people are still well-protected from becoming severely ill, but reports abound of breakthrough infections. Because the CDC has inexplicably stopped tracking mild infections among the vaccinated, however, we don’t know how frequently these occur. In addition, because those infected with the delta variant appear to have a viral load that’s 1,000 times higher than that of those infected with the original strains, it’s an open question as to whether vaccinated people who contract the variant can infect their unvaccinated close contacts.

It’s time for the CDC to issue new guidance that takes into account these emerging concerns. It can reiterate that vaccination is safe and effective by stating that the vaccinated are safe around others who are also fully vaccinated. In settings where everyone is known to have immunity, no additional restrictions are needed.

However, if vaccinated individuals are around those who remain unvaccinated, the unvaccinated could pose a risk to the vaccinated, particularly those who live at home with young children or immunocompromised family members. So the CDC needs to state, as it should have in May, that unless there is a way to distinguish between the vaccinated and unvaccinated, indoor mask requirements should be reinstated. Los Angeles County has issued such a mandate. The federal government should urge other jurisdictions to follow suit.

This is particularly urgent in areas with escalating outbreaks. Covid-19 hospitalizations in southwest Missouri have already surpassed the winter peak there. Multiple hospitals in Arkansas are full, with doctors treating younger, and sicker, patients, including tweens. In these low-vaccination areas, the pre-vaccine tools of masks, distancing and avoiding indoor gatherings need to be deployed again to stem the surge.

Unfortunately, the areas with the lowest vaccination rates are also the ones least likely to implement mask mandates. Still, leadership from the Biden administration can make a difference. There are many businesses and local jurisdictions that look to the federal government for direction. Those that dropped mask mandates after the CDC’s change in tone could be convinced to reinstitute them.

The federal government could also use this opportunity to — finally — incentivize vaccination. It could say that areas with high vaccine uptake do not need to reimplement mask mandates, and mandate vaccination on planes and trains and in federal buildings. And it can finally get behind a vaccine verification system that would allow restaurants, gyms, workplaces and universities to create safe, maskless environments where everyone is vaccinated.

Lack of strong federal leadership impedes the ability of local jurisdictions to implement policies that protect their residents. In Los Angeles County, the sheriff stated that he would not enforce the new mask mandate, calling the order “not backed by science” because it conflicted with the CDC guidelines. This is a clear demonstration of how local health departments rely on the political cover provided by the CDC to enact unpopular but necessary actions.

A more cautious approach from the CDC would also realign the entity with leading health-care organizations. On Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued new recommendations for schools that emphasized universal masking for everyone 2 and older. Notably, and in direct contradiction to the CDC, it stated that even vaccinated individuals should be masked in the classroom. These pediatricians recognize the reality on the ground: Without proof of vaccination, the unvaccinated have been behaving as if they were vaccinated, which has disincentivized them from getting inoculated and contributed to the surges we are now seeing.

The Biden administration has done many things right during the pandemic, but it made a grave error with its premature return to normalcy. It must hit reset and issue new guidance that addresses the escalating infections, waning interest in vaccination and unknowns of the delta variant. If it doesn’t, we could well be on our way to another national surge — and one that was entirely foreseen and entirely preventable.

Peter Greene has written a powerful case against the argument of the school choice lobby, who insist that children should choose a school that affirms their parents’ values. The choice lobby says that it causes conflict when students go to school with others who don’t share their worldview and challenge their beliefs.

Greene refutes this assertion:

The argument here, pushed daily on Twitter by Cato’s Neal McClusky, is that “public schools leave people no choice but to be at each others’ throats” and that the system leaves no choice but to either ban or impose policies and ideas. Therefor, the argument goes, school choice offers a chance to make all the conflict go away. Folks over here can choose a school that actively pursues diversity and anti-racists policies, while folks over here can choose a school that actively blocks such policies. Allowing diverse school approaches will, the argument goes, somehow reduce the conflicts currently tearing at the social fabric of our country

So first we get a school that separates from the original public district so that it can keep out all sorts of diversity and anti-racist programs. But then that school splits over a conflict about whether or not to teach creationism. Then the creationism school splits over an argument about which books to ban from the school library, and then that school splits over policies regarding LGBTQ+ students. The continued spinning off of entities based on new policy disputes will be familiar to anyone who knows the Protestant church. Meanwhile, many parents will factor in location and student body demographics for their decisions, and of the many schools spun off to “settle” the various disputes, half will fold because they don’t make enough money. 

In the end, “Well, if they don’t like that policy, they’ll be able to choose a school with which they agree,” will turn out to be a false promise.

Some choices are not healthy.

We have seen the use of school choice to avoid conflict before. After Brown v. Board of Education, lots of folks decided they had a problem sending their white children to school with Black students, and they “solved” that conflict by creating schools that let them choose segregation. When it comes to the current CRT panic, there may well be some schools that have gone a step too far with their anti-racist work (though–plot twist–those schools keep turning out to be not public ones). But an awful lot of the panic is fueled by folks opportunistically whipping up some good old-fashioned white outrage over encroaching Blackness, and we’ve been here before.

Some choices are not good for the country. We do not benefit from having a bunch of white kids taught that slavery wasn’t so bad and the Civil War was just about state’s rights. We do not benefit from having students taught that science isn’t real. We do not benefit from having students taught that Trump is really still President and 1/6 was just some unruly tourists. And we so very much don’t benefit as a society from schools that segregate both students and content based on race. Not all possible choices should be available. 

Bubbles do not banish conflict.

I agree with the part of the premise that says, more or less, “Holy crap, but we are spending a lot of time arguing bitterly and separating ourselves into chasm-separated camps!” What I don’t get, at all, is how separating the children of these warring factions into their own separate education bubbles is going to help. How will having been immersed in nothing but the particular view of their parents’ camp prepare them to be workers, neighbors, and citizens in a society where other people with other views exist. 

Upon graduation, will they proceed to a college or trade school that is also designed to strictly fit with their parents’ beliefs? And then will they search, diploma in hand. for employers who also embrace only the world view that these well-bubbled citizens have been taught is the One True View? 

How does growing up in a bubble prepare you for life outside it–particularly if your bubble teaches things that are neither nuanced or accurate views. 

Greene has much more to say about why it’s wrong and unhealthy for society to encourage growing up in a bubble, where the only people you meet agree with you.

Open the link. Read on.

Wagma Mommandi and Kevin Welner write in The Progressive about the ways that charter schools select and remove students. These practices are not permitted in real public schools.

Some make it difficult to apply, like the charter in Philadelphia that required parents to travel to a private golf club in the suburbs to seek admission. Or the charter school that sent recruitment letters, but not to the zip codes with the highest number of black and brown families.

Some charters have rules so strict (“no excuses”) that it is easy to suspend students repeatedly to get rid of them

Are charter schools “public schools,” as their advocates claim? Many are not.

Bruce Baker is a school finance expert at Rutgers. For years, he has been concerned about the lack of transparency and accountability in the charter industry. In this post, he foresees the possibility or likelihood that recent Supreme Court decisions pave the way for charter schools to become religious schools and he suggests a model that would protect the charter concept from being corrupted.

https://schoolfinance101.wordpress.com/2021/07/16/charter-schooling-in-the-post-espinoza-fulton-era/

He writes:

Charter schooling is at a critical juncture and the future of charter schooling across US states can take either of two vastly different paths. On the one hand, charter schooling could become increasingly private, more overtly religious, openly discriminatory and decreasingly transparent to voters, taxpayers and the general public.  On the other hand, charter schooling could be made more public and transparent and be shielded from religious intrusion and all that comes with it. We recommend a policy framework which advances the latter and protects against the former.

Maryland, he suggests, has a model for charters that other states should emulate.

Maryland provides one example which is sufficiently tight in this regard. Charter schools are authorized by, governed by and financed through their host county school districts. Further, while private management companies may be hired to “operate” the schools, employees of the schools are under county district contracts. That is, teachers and other certified staff in Maryland charter schools are public employees and themselves “state actors,” even when they work under the direction of a private management company. 

This model provides for increased public transparency, and at the same time, minimizes potential for religious intrusion on the charter sector. A truly public governing board (like the district board of education, appointed or elected) would not be able to exclude from management contracts, firms with religious ties or origins on that basis alone. But, given that instruction is provided by public employees and the school governed by public officials, the school would be bound by constitutional requirements regarding discrimination and the provision of religious curriculum (here, the establishment clause prohibits advancement or promotion of religion).

Ed McBroom is a dairy farmer in Michigan. He is also a Republican state senator who chairs the Oversight Committee of the legislature. It was his job to determine whether the election of 2020 was marked by fraud, as Trump said on many occasions. McBroom led hearings and investigated the claims. After eight months of searching, McBroom said he was unable to find evidence of fraud. His committee’s conclusion: “This Committee found no evidence of widespread or systematic fraud in Michigan’s prosecution of the 2020 election.”

The stakes could hardly have been higher. Against a backdrop of confusion and suspicion and frightening civic friction—with Trump claiming he’d been cheated out of victory, and anecdotes about fraud coursing through every corner of the state—McBroom had led an exhaustive probe of Michigan’s electoral integrity. His committee interviewed scores of witnesses, subpoenaed and reviewed thousands of pages of documents, dissected the procedural mechanics of Michigan’s highly decentralized elections system, and scrutinized the most trafficked claims about corruption at the state’s ballot box in November. McBroom’s conclusion hit Lansing like a meteor: It was all a bunch of nonsense…

“Our clear finding is that citizens should be confident the results represent the true results of the ballots cast by the people of Michigan,” McBroom wrote in the report. “There is no evidence presented at this time to prove either significant acts of fraud or that an organized, wide-scale effort to commit fraudulent activity was perpetrated in order to subvert the will of Michigan voters.”

For good measure, McBroom added: “The Committee strongly recommends citizens use a critical eye and ear toward those who have pushed demonstrably false theories for their own personal gain…”

Soon after the report was released, Trump issued a thundering statement calling McBroom’s investigation “a cover up, and a method of getting out of a Forensic Audit for the examination of the Presidential contest.” The former president then published the office phone numbers for McBroom and Michigan’s GOP Senate majority leader, Mike Shirkey, urging his followers to “call those two Senators now and get them to do the right thing, or vote them the hell out of office!”

McBroom had grown up a “history nerd.” He idolized the revolutionary Founders. He inhaled biographies of George Washington and McBroom had grown up a “history nerd.” He idolized the revolutionary Founders. He inhaled biographies of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and Teddy Roosevelt. He revered the institution of the American presidency. And here was the 45th president, calling him out by name, accusing him of unthinkable treachery.

The Atlantic has the story. I hope it is not behind a paywall.

The Boston Globe wrote about other Republican officials who investigated the election results in their state and told the truth. The Globe titled its story: They kept the wheels on democracy as Trump tried to steal an election. Now they’re paying the price.

There was Republican Bill Gates, a member of the board of supervisors in Maricopa County, Arizona (Phoenix). He and his colleagues certified Biden’s victory and were reviled by angry Trump supporters.

There was Liz Cheney, who sacrificed her leadership position in the House of Representatives rather than follow the party line. She put her oath to the Constitution above the wishes of Trump and paid the price.

There was Aaron Van Langevelde, who lost his position on the Michigan Board of State Canvassers because he voted to certify Biden’s victory (Biden led Trump by 150,000 votes in Michigan). The Republican leadership punished him for his courage.

Van Langevelde revealed he faced pressure from political leaders to withhold certification in a March 26 speech at Cardozo Law School, which he provided to the Globe and which has not previously been reported.

“We were asked to take power we didn’t have. What would have been the cost if we had done so?,” Van Langevelde asked. “Constitutional chaos and the loss of our integrity.”

“There were a lot of people who would have preferred I said nothing, voted no, or abstained. I am sure a lot of people didn’t want me to make it to that meeting,” he continued. “I did everything I could to make it to that meeting, even though I knew it would cost me my position on the Board….”

That backlash could very well cost some Republicans their political careers. In Georgia, Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger stood by the election results that gave Biden a narrow, 11,779-vote lead and resisted Trump’s entreaties to “find” more votes for him. Now, Raffensperger faces a challenge from a Trump-endorsed congressman, Jody Hice, who embraced Trump’s “stop the steal” movement. Few in the state are betting on Raffensperger’s survival.

“He’s done, he’s over,” said Jay Williams, a Republican strategist in the state. “There’s just no way he’s going to recover.”

Vice President Mike Pence let Trump’s fictions about the election fester through much of the fall, but he ultimately presided over the certification of Biden’s victory at the Capitol after rioters called for him to be punished — even hanged, some said. The move was widely seen as a betrayal by the Republican base and could imperil his political ambitions…

In Philadelphia, Al Schmidt, a Republican city commissioner, pushed back on the conspiracy theories that revolved around his city through television appearances and press conferences, particularly after Trump claimed repeatedly that, “bad things happen in Philadelphia.”

“They were lying about what was going on in front of us,” said Schmidt, who was still working in the city’s tabulation facility when, on Nov. 11, Trump tweeted about him by name. Soon, he and his family received threats that named his children and called him a traitor.

“What they were really saying is, ‘If you lie, this will go away,’” Schmidt said. He wouldn’t….

As some key officials who resisted election chaos lose their jobs, face uncertain political futures, or retire, experts are also worried about another development. Since January, at least 14 states have passed bills in state houses that give partisan lawmakers more power over elections and election officials….

Gates, the member of the board of supervisors in Phoenix, can see the latest iteration of that from his office. He has a view of the Veterans Memorial Coliseum, where his county’s ballots were “audited” by a private company in an exercise that is widely seen as a sham.

Gates opposes the audit. He and his colleagues refused to hand over ballots and voting machines until they were forced to do so under a court ruling following a subpoena from the Senate president. He has continued to speak out against the audit, even as it draws a parade of Republicans around the country who have come to admire it.

“This is about an attempt to delegitimize our democratic system,” Gates said.

For now, he is trying not to let the threatening messages — including a voice mail reviewed by the Globe that called for him to be given an “Alabama necktie” — get to him. And though he wrestled with the decision, he’s resolved to run again to keep his job, in an attempt to keep the guardrails on the electoral system for next time.

“If following the law … leads me to losing my next political race, that’s fine,” he said. “We have to stand up to these people.”

Fred Klonsky writes that when slaves were emancipated in Washington, D.C. in 1862, the slave owners received payment for the loss of their property, but those who had been enslaved received nothing.

Not everyone thought paying reparations to slaveowners was a good idea.

 “If compensation is to be given at all,” the abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison said at the National Anti-Slavery Convention in Philadelphia in 1833, “it should be given to the outraged and guiltless slaves, and not to those who have plundered and abused them.”


https://preaprez.wordpress.com/2021/07/16/when-emancipation-came-to-washington-d-c-the-slaveowners-were-paid-reparations/

National Alliance for Public Charter Schools’ Nina Rees talked about congressional efforts to reduce federal funding of charter schools.
— Watch on www.c-span.org/video/

House Democrats want to ban for-profit charter management organizations, as Biden promised. Rees thinks this is terrible. CSPAN quotes the NPE report on for-profit EMOs (Chartered for Profit). Listen to call-ins at the end, which are opposed to charters. One call-in comes from Carol Burris, who wrote the NPE report. Rees makes for/profit charters sound benign. They are not. They are in it for the money.