Archives for category: Cruelty

Jeffrey Goldberg writes in The Atlantic that Trump is contemptuous of veterans who were wounded or captured. He calls them “losers” and “suckers.”

When President Donald Trump canceled a visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris in 2018, he blamed rain for the last-minute decision, saying that “the helicopter couldn’t fly” and that the Secret Service wouldn’t drive him there. Neither claim was true.

Trump rejected the idea of the visit because he feared his hair would become disheveled in the rain, and because he did not believe it important to honor American war dead, according to four people with firsthand knowledge of the discussion that day. In a conversation with senior staff members on the morning of the scheduled visit, Trump said, “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.” In a separate conversation on the same trip, Trump referred to the more than 1,800 marines who lost their lives at Belleau Wood as “suckers” for getting killed.

The Republican Party—that is, the Trumps—made heroes of Patricia and Mark McCloskey, who had menaced peaceful marchers on their St. Louis Street with guns.

The McCloskey property abuts a reform synagogue. Its rabbi, Susan Talve, spoke up and said the McCloskeys are litigious bullies.

In 2013, the synagogue placed beehives along the wall to produce honey for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. One morning they found the hives destroyed and all the bees dead. Mark McCloskey had taken an ax or sledgehammer to them.

His issue? The fence between them sat six inches inside the McCloskey’s property line. The hives were his to wreck.

“He could have picked up the phone and said, ‘Hey, those beehives are on my property,’ and we would have happily moved them,” said Talve.

She said children at the synagogue wept when they heard the news of the hives. The synagogue maintains raised bed gardens on its property that supply some 2,000 pounds of fresh produce to a local food pantry, as well as pear, fig and apple trees.

“We were going to have our own apples and honey for Rosh Hashanah!” she said.

She said the McCloskeys didn’t contact the temple at all before lashing out.

Instead, McCloskey left a note threatening to sue the synagogue for damages if the shattered hives were not removed at once.

Media Advisory

August 17, 2020

For more information, contact:
Chris Danforth
(501)912-0168

Arkansas Public School Communities Funeral, Sponsored By: Grassroots Arkansas, the Central Arkansas Democratic Socialists of America, Arkansas Community Organizations, the National Association of Social Workers in Arkansas, and Arkansas Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival

Little Rock, AR —

What – Arkansas Public Schools & Communities Funeral

When – Monday, August 17, 2020, 6 PM.

Where – Arkansas State Capitol, starting at the Little Rock Nine Memorial and ending on the Capitol front steps.

Join us on Monday, Aug. 17 from 6 PM to 8 PM at the Arkansas State Capitol for a visual demonstration of the continued and intentional endangering of Arkansas’ children, teachers, educators, parents, grandparents, families, schools, and communities by the State of Arkansas during the ongoing COVID 19 crisis.

By continuing to withhold economic resources from Arkansans, by continuing to plan for forced school reopenings in the face of CDC best practices, and by ignoring the impossibility of safe physical attendance in the classroom, Governor Hutchinson and the State of Arkansas are sacrificing the lives and well-being of our communities so that he can stand in front of the cameras and say that “Arkansas Is Open For Business”.

We will practice 6ft distancing, wear masks, and use hand sanitizer.
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Grassroots Arkansas is a coalition of activists dedicated to fighting for an equitable Central Arkansas. We want to bring an end to social, economic, political injustice and inequality by transforming the power relations and structures that create and hold them in place. We place education at the democratic center of this struggle that reaches every aspect of our lives. Learn more at https://www.grassrootsarkansas.org/.

Emily Hoefling was principal of Leadership Prep Canarsie in Brooklyn, which is part of the Uncommon Schools charter chain. She was fired because she dared to express views that ran counter to the authoritarian culture of the chain.

Yes, she writes, it is an authoritarian regime, and it always was.

When she led a professional development session, she encouraged teachers to express their views. That was her first mistake. Their views conflicted with the company line, and she did no5 correct them. She was marched away, lectured, yelled at, and fired.

She writes:

Make no mistake about it, Uncommon Schools is an authoritarian organization from top to bottom. And dissent is dangerous for everyone — no matter your age and no matter your position.

As an Uncommon principal, I developed a reputation for being ‘unaligned to the mission’ of Uncommon Schools. And the iron fist that deals with ‘disobedient’ students and ‘difficult’ teachers is the same iron fist that deals with rebellious leaders.

Brett Peiser and Julie Jackson have not only designed and maintained the culture of Uncommon Schools, they have also created a system that will step on, silence, and erase anyone who dares to step out of line or tarnish the Uncommon brand.

Even after she was fired, she was threatened with legal action if she dared to write about what happened to her.

She did, so you should read what she wrote.

This is a powerful editorial written by the editorial board of the York Dispatch.

The Republican-controlled legislature has imposed a funding system that is literally forcing the school district to starve in order to survive.

It is an outrage.

This should be a cover story in every national magazine. It isn’t, because it’s all too common.

When we starve our schools, we destroy the education of the children who attend them.

The editorial says:

York City School District is trapped in a death spiral.

It’s stuck under years-long state management that limits how money can be spent. Charter schools are annually sucking more than $25 million from its budget. Miserly state lawmakers foist the responsibility for funding public education on local officials, thereby fostering a system that rewards students in rich communities and punishes those in poor ones. And York City taxpayers are fed up with paying taxes that are up to double what’s paid in richer districts with more valuable property.

It’s no wonder that, under these conditions, York City Superintendent Andrea Berry presented a slash-and-burn budget for the 2020-21 school year containing $6.2 million in cuts. And, sadly, it’s no surprise the district’s school board went even further, last week approving a budget that axed 44 positions, including 32 teachers.

And, even so, York City’s 2020-21 budget still boosted taxes. That’s how bad things really are.

Really, what choice did district officials have?

York City school officials are trapped in a budgetary spiral that’s plagued poor, largely minority communities throughout the U.S. for decades. Under-represented at the statehouse, their calls for funding reform fall flat.

Like anything stuck in a trap, eventually the grisly choice of gnawing off one’s leg is the last, best available option.

Easily available metrics, such as test scores, drive the moneyed classes from the city, exacerbating blight and crashing property values.

The poverty increases the demand for not-for-profits, which, in turn, remove more property from the tax rolls.

And, all the while, Republicans in the state Legislature tout the myth of “school choice,” a particularly insidious bit of libertarian conservative dogma — concocted in response to the integration of Southern schools — that conspires to privatize the American school system and funnel taxpayer dollars to religious institutions.

The results will be devastating for York City’s students and society at large.

Interested in the performing arts? Too bad.

Hoping to grow from an introduction in the humanities? Those options are even more limited now.

Programs such as these are, in a very real sense, the foundation of a well-rounded education, one that prepares students to take their place as active citizens in a representative republic. But, more often than not, society has decided that the liberal arts aren’t for poor kids.

Make no mistake, York City’s plight is one destroying urban districts throughout the country. Just ask Connecticut Superior Court Judge Thomas Moukawsher, who, in 2016, wrote a blistering ruling that attacked the very foundation of the system under which public schools are funded in this country.

His 90-page ruling was an indictment of the disparity between rich districts and poor ones that the U.S. funding model breeds.

“So change must come. The state has to accept that the schools are its blessing and its burden, and if it cannot be wise, it must at least be sensible,” Moukawsher wrote.

And yet, with the inherent systemic flaws well-established, school districts such as York City remain trapped and must eat itself just to survive.

Officials there had little choice this past week.

But the fact that they were left without any other options is neither moral nor just.

Thanks to Peter Greene for sharing this blistering but accurate editorial.

In the midst of the pandemic, with Americans subject to a deadly disease, the Trump regime filed yet another court effort to invalidate Obamacare. This would strip millions of people of health insurance.

How cruel.

Do Trump voters know?

Video was recently released of a police officer arresting a 6-year-old girl at her charter school in Orlando. Clearly the school called the police after the child engaged in unruly behavior. The charter school has 89 students and five teachersP. The students are 89% African American.

This is “no excuses” at its worst.

Newly released police body-camera video shows an officer in Orlando, Florida, arresting a 6-year-old girl who had zip ties put around her wrists at her school as she cried to be let go.

The video, which was provided Monday to NBC affiliate WESH of Orlando by the attorney for the child’s family, shows the incident on Sept. 19, which resulted in the firing of Orlando police Officer Dennis Turner.

‘Please let me go’: Video shows 6-year-old sobbing during arrest at Orlando school
Turner was involved in the arrest of two 6-year-olds in one week in September, among them the girl in the video. He was fired within days.

In the video, an officer is seen putting zip ties on the child’s wrists with her arms behind her back as the girl asks “What are those for?” and then cries “Don’t put handcuffs on” and “Help me, help me, please help me.”

As she is walked outside, she wails “Please let me go” and “I don’t want to go in the police car.”

In a police report, authorities said police were responding to a report that the 6-year-old had “battered three staff members by kicking and punching them” at her school, the Lucious and Emma Nixon Academy in Orlando.

Politico Morning Education reports:

DEVOS’ INTERIM FINAL RULE: The rule carries out DeVos’ policy, first announced in April, that is being challenged by two lawsuits for restricting which students can receive CARES Act (H.R. 748 ) grants. It will take effect immediately after publication in the Federal Register, which the department said would happen on June 15.

— DeVos said in a statement that the rule was aimed at eliminating any “uncertainty” for colleges about how they must distribute the funds, while carrying out the department’s “responsibility to taxpayers to administer the CARES Act faithfully.”

— Democratic lawmakers have pushed back, saying the rule violates the intent of the CARES Act. “As students across the country are struggling to make ends meet in the face of unprecedented financial challenges, Secretary DeVos’ efforts to deny some much-needed aid is cruel,” said Senate HELP ranking member Patty Murray (D-Wash.). “These extreme eligibility requirements will not only harm students, but they are also contrary to Congressional intent.” Read more from Michael Stratford.

TRUMP TO CONGRESS: ENACT SCHOOL CHOICE: President Donald Trump on Thursday said he is renewing his call on Congress to “finally enact school choice now.” During his State of the Union Address earlier this year, Trump promoted his administration’s proposal to create a new $5 billion federal tax credit to expand school choice. The Education Freedom Scholarships and Opportunity Act, introduced in the House as H.R. 1434 (116) and the Senate as S. 634 (116), has no Democratic cosponsors in either chamber. “School choice is a big deal,” he told his audience during a “Transition to Greatness” roundtable in Texas.

— Trump said unions and “others” are against school choice for the wrong reasons. “Access to education is the civil rights issue of our time,” he said, adding that he has heard that for “the last, I would say year, but it really is.” He said, “And it creates competition and other schools fight harder because all of a sudden they say, ‘Wow, we’re losing it, we have to fight hard.’”

— DeVos tweeted a video clip of Trump’s statement and wrote, “Education is the pathway to a stronger tomorrow and a stronger America for all. Thankful for @realdonaldtrump’s unwavering commitment to ALL our nation’s students and their success.

In another act of gratuitous cruelty, Betsy DeVos insists that undocumented students should get no emergency aid, although Congress did not pass such a restriction.

Politico reports:

DEVOS SEEKS TO ENFORCE RESTRICTIONS ON PANDEMIC RELIEF GRANTS THROUGH REGULATION: The Trump administration will roll out a new regulation this week that restricts which college students may receive emergency grants to cover expenses like food and housing.

— The Education Department says it’s moving to publish, as soon as today, an “interim final rule” that requires colleges to exclude undocumented students and others who don’t qualify for federal student aid from a more than $6 billion emergency cash grant program under the CARES Act, H.R. 748 (116). Such rules typically take effect immediately.

— The new regulation will carry out — now with the force of law — a policy that DeVos first outlined in April. Democrats and college officials have cried foul, arguing that it goes against the intent of the CARES Act, which does not include any explicit restrictions on which students can receive the funding.

— Meanwhile, two states — California and Washington — have brought legal challenges against the guidance. In the face of those lawsuits, the Education Department backed away from the significance of the guidance, promising not to enforce it and downplaying it as “preliminary.”

— It’s not yet clear exactly how DeVos’ new regulation will be worded. But Education Department officials indicated in documents filed with OMB that the administration will move ahead with its contentious position on who can receive relief — limiting funding only to those students who are already eligible for federal financial aid under Title IV of the Higher Education Act.

— Happening today: The expected release of the new regulation this week coincides with a federal judge in San Francisco holding a virtual hearing today on California’s motion for a preliminary injunction blocking DeVos’ guidance. Another judge has set a similar hearing in the Washington state case for Thursday.

I just finished the four-part series streaming on Netflix titled “Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich.”

It is an engrossing program, and it rightly focuses on the voices of the survivors (the women who speak out clearly prefer to be known as “survivors,” not “victims.”)

The indictment of Epstein is powerful. He lured scores of young, underage girls to his mansion in Palm Beach for his sexual pleasure. Some say that he engaged hundreds of girls, some as young as 14.

Epstein lived a life of splendor. In addition to his home in Palm Beach, he owned a mansion in Manhattan, a beautiful spread in New Mexico, an apartment in Paris, but he claimed that his home was an island that he owned called Little St. James, also referred to as Pedophile Island or Orgy Island. He also owned two jets.

You will see some celebrities, including Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew, and Alan Dershowitz. They appear in photographs with Epstein, but their memory of any relationship with him has faded. Jeffrey who?

Nothing is said about his relationship with Harvard, although he is seen wearing a a Harvard sweatshirt.

The fact that he taught at the private Dalton School in New York City is noted, which was curious since he never earned a college degree. Not mentioned is that he was hired by the Uber-conservative Headmaster Donald Barr, father of the current Attorney General William Barr.

The chief villain of the series Obviously is Epstein, as is his chief enabler Ghislaine Maxwell, daughter of the conservative British media mogul Robert Maxwell.

Another major villain is Alexander Acosta, who was the U.S. Attorney in Florida, who should have prosecuted Epstein years ago for sex trafficking of minors but instead made a secret sweetheart deal that allowed Epstein to get a short sentence that permitted him to leave jail six days a week, twelve hours a day to do as he wished. Trump named Acosta as Secretary of Labor, but when his velvet glove treatment of Epstein was revealed, he was forced to resign.

The survivors of Jeffrey Epstein were persistent in demanding accountability. For years, they thought that he would always be protected by his wealth and powerful connections. They were scarred for life by this monster.

The last episode raises questions about whether he committed suicide or was murdered. When you see his cell, it is hard to imagine that he hanged himself.