Archives for category: Resistance

Several groups of Never Trumpers have created a media campaign that has gotten under Trump’s skin. He responds to them on Twitter, enlarging their audience. They don’t have loads of money, but they understand very well his egotism, narcissism, and vanity, and they hit their target time and again.

One recent ad from The Lincoln Project is a “Breaking News” headline in which the White House Press Secretary declares that “The president can read.” has posted blistering videos about Trump’s cowardice and betrayals.

Ads from Republican Voters Against Trump are testimonials from ordinary people who say why they would vote for anyone or anything rather than Trump. Even a can of tuna fish. And then there is Trump’s “Death Chart,” which he considers a victory.

This ad “Walk of Courage” was just released.

One of the most prominent members of the group is George Conway III, who is married to the president’s senior advisor Kellyanne Conway. Others were advisors to George W. Bush, Mitt Romney, and John McCain who despised what Trump was doing to the Republican Party, turning it into the party of racism and reaction and Trump-First.

They aim their videos at key swing states, hoping to peel away independents and like-minded Republicans who don’t want to support Trump’s brand of stupidity. Their videos react quickly to events, and they pull no punches. They target not only Trump but Republican Senators who protect Trump. They advertise in the D.C. market on Fox News, to be sure that Trump sees their ads.

The group has particularly targeted Washington and swing states like Wisconsin, Michigan, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. It has also spent hundreds of thousands against Republican Senate candidates in states like Arizona, Iowa and Montana.

Read Ken Bernstein’s piece at the Daily Kos and watch the Lincoln Project’s brilliant, hard-hitting video ad about the Republican Senators running for office this November who protected Trump. Learn. Their. Names.

And here Ken Bernstein posts The Lincoln Project’s tribute to John Lewis. Brilliant.

And here Ken B. posts The Lincoln Project’s warning about what’s happening in Portland, Oregon.

Black students/staff at charter schools fight back on Instagram. Lots of
amazing stuff here.


Trump and DeVos demand that schools reopen in full, in-person, on time in a few weeks, even as they block the resources needed by schools to protect students and staff from the pandemic that is raging across the nation.

Districts in which there are few or no COVID infections may choose to reopen if they have the resources to do it safely.

But in states and districts where the disease is still rampaging and where schools do not have adequate resources, reopening is dangerous.

Trump and DeVos have threatened “financial sanctions” against schools that don’t open for in-person instruction. Instead of pressuring schools, they should be fighting the spread of the disease. They could start by wearing masks themselves.

Not only are they blocking the additional funding needed for smaller classes, social distancing, personal protective equipment, and additional nurses, they demand that all public schools open despite the dramatic budget cuts and layoffs that fiscally-challenged states will impose on schools.

Matt Barnum wrote in Chalkbeat about the administration’s efforts to force schools to reopen:

Meanwhile, Trump and DeVos downplayed public health concerns connected to opening up schools, despite rising national case numbers. Trump tweeted that he disagreed with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — part of his own administration — which has issued guidance for schools around social distancing and school hygiene. “They are asking schools to do very impractical things. I will be meeting with them!!!” Trump wrote.

In other words, Trump is bullying the CDC to water down its safety guidance for schools. We already have seen federal officials equivocate for fear of Trump’s wrath. Dr. Deborah Birx said nothing when Trump urged the public to ingest disinfectants, even though it would be fatal to anyone who tried it. Just a few days ago, the head of the Federal Drug Administration was asked on CNN if he agreed with Trump’s claim that 99% of COVID cases are “totally harmless.” He refused to disagree with Trump’s patently false statement.

Thankfully, the CDC just announced that it won’t bend to political pressure to weaken its guidelines for reopening schools.

The death of any student or teacher or staff member at a school that opened too soon will be on Trump, Pence, and DeVos.

We are in the midst of a fierce pandemic, and there is no national leadership calling on us to rise to the occasion, wear masks, protect ourselves and others by following the advice of scientists. Everyone is on their own. We are adrift and rudderless.

As much as parents long to have their children in real schools with real teachers, as much as teachers long to be in their classrooms, it is not safe to reopen schools wherever the disease is active.


Stay home. Continue distance learning. Demand that our elected officials exercise leadership and require quarantines, masks, social distancing, and whatever else is necessary to curb the pandemic.

What is the life of a child or a teacher worth? How many lives will be sacrificed to open schools in the midst of a pandemic?

Safety first. Life first. Only when it is safe for children and adults alike should schools be reopened. It is not safe now.

John Thompson is a retired teacher and historian in Oklahoma.

He writes:

I previously posted on the Profiles in Courage of Tulsans who resisted President Donald Trump’s hideous rally that was appropriately characterized as “Come for the Racism, Stay for the Plague.” That was easy; it was primarily the medical profession that stood firm for the public’s health. The main narrative was the way that Republicans, like Mayor G.T. Bynum, who I previously respected, put Trumpism over principle.

In the wake of Trump’s fiasco, as well as the way that so many Americans did what so many elected officials did not dare, I wonder if historians will see the last week’s resistance across the nation as a turning point. So, this week’s post searches the rally and its opposition for examples of 21st century politics that can be built on.

Mary Jo Laupp, a teacher now known internationally as the TikTok grandma,”” was moved by black TikTok users’ frustration about Trump hosting a rally on Juneteenth. Laupp produced a video saying, “I recommend all of those of us that want to see this 19,000-seat auditorium barely filled or completely empty go reserve tickets now, and leave him standing there alone on the stage.” It went viral and the grassroots registration social media campaign helped leave Trump in front of a crowd of about 6,200.

The New York Times reports:

Ms. Laupp said she was “overwhelmed” and “stunned” by the possibility that she and the effort she helped to inspire might have contributed to the low rally attendance.

“There are teenagers in this country who participated in this little no-show protest, who believe that they can have an impact in their country in the political system even though they’re not old enough to vote right now,” she said.

Of course, many people focus on Trump’s cry-babying over the embarrassingly low turnout, but the TikTok prank wasn’t the only reason why he looked so foolish. Had Trump supporters showed up for the outdoor rally, they could have filled the empty seats in the arena. In other words, while some true believers pledge to die for their President, apparently a large number of potential rally-goers had enough sense to stay away from a COVID “super-spreader” event.

And that brings us to the reason why the K-pop Twitter and Alt TikTok users’ intervention was so valuable. Trump had been bragging that up to 1,000,000 people would show their support for him, and the Frontier reported that as many as 100,000 were predicted to actually show up. It also profiled Randall Thom, a member of “Trump’s Front Row Joes,” who said he had attended 64 rallies. The Frontier explained, “And though Thom said he knows COVID-19 can be deadly — a 24-year-old member of his group died earlier this year from the disease, he said it was worth the risk to see the president.”

How many people in Tulsa and the home communities of Trump attendees would have been infected if tens of thousands of Trump supporters, mostly without masks, had shown up and clashed with Black Lives Matter protesters?

In terms of politics, both the local and national press looked into the thoughts and actions of rally attendees and protesters. Nondoc’s Tres Savage listened to several mixed messages from Trump supporters. A self-proclaimed libertarian said, “I just want the least amount of government invasion that I can have.” Seeming to contradict herself, “she would like to see Trump address issues in the pharmaceutical industry, take environmental action and do something in the agriculture sector ‘like get rid of the big GMOs like Monsanto.’” But she hopes that after a vaccine is developed, Trump would not require people to take it. Her daughter indicated “she won’t be voting to re-elect the president, even though she does enjoy how he trolls his opponents.”

A flag salesman, Jeff Brown, who voted for Trump but indicated that he might not vote this year, complained, “The economy is shit.” Brown said, “I’m not down with it anymore. I’m not a corporate. There’s blood in me. You break my DNA down, I got it all in there. I’m just a regular American.”

Most coverage focused on adults, and the Washington Post’s Robert Klemko also talked with Brown, but mostly he implicitly addressed the effects of the confrontation on children.

Brown told Klemko, “We’re capitalists, we offend everybody equally.” And, “The best seller of the night: [was] an Oklahoma flag with the Osage Nation buffalo-skin shield mashed up with the Confederate flag.” The salesman said that he used to believe the Confederate flag “represented slavery,” but “I have since learned a lot of other variations of the history. … I think that it’s allowed for people to have their own interpretations from their family and their experience.”

So, the salesman makes money from flags like the one that says “Trump 2020: Make Liberals Cry Again,” and his home-schooled son, Joshua Brown, learns supposedly multiple interpretations of history. The 12-year-old “wore a shirt reading ‘LGBT’ with a drawing of the Statue of Liberty above the letter L, a rifle above the letter G, a glass full of beer above the letter B and an image of a bellowing Trump above the letter T.”

Klemko’s reporting suggests that other, worrisome consequences of the rally could emerge over time. Even though the Trump turnout was small, and there was little violence, there was angry shouting and some guns were displayed. A nine-year-old witnessed a white man pepper-spraying a Black demonstrator. A 12-year-old girl, Alex Standridge, witnessed protesters and men wearing MAGA hats trading insults. The girl responded, “I want to be brave like my brothers.”

The Post also reported that a 13-year-old pointed out that one of the police who dispersed protesters with pepper projectiles was carrying a shotgun. And his grandmother offered him a historical interpretation of the Ku Klux Klan:

The whole KKK came out of the Democratic Party. You cannot say that it’s changed. They still use them for their purposes. And their purpose today was pitting them against President Trump, and it breaks my heart, because I value African Americans and they’ve been done wrong by the Democrats.

Nondoc’s Archiebald Browner spoke with Tulsans in the historic Greenwood District, once known as the Black Wall Street community that was ravaged by the Massacre of 1921. While the conversations reported in the Washington Post are far different from my experience, Browne’s observations were very similar to mine when attending Black Lives Matter events and historic celebrations. (My only complaint is that I’m only 67-years-old, but the young BLM organizers always called me “Sir” when repeatedly asking if I’m okay with the heat and would like some water or anything else. And when walking to the rally, I’d see miles of Black neighborhoods with families in the front yards, thanking everyone, but especially white people, for attending. This is one more reason why I believe the numbers of people supporting BLM events were seriously underestimated.)

At any rate, Browne reported, “Just one mile away in the historic Greenwood District, Black people congregated and enjoyed a community atmosphere without having to experience Trump’s rally directly.” Predictably, he heard older Blacks, like Chris Thompson Sr., “telling teenagers ‘not to go over there’ to the Trump rally.”

Different generations continue to hold differing views about how to cause change, but clearly a cross-generational listening process is occurring. Thompson said the American movement will continue, because, “It’s about justice and not to feel threatened to walk around within our skin.”

Browne quotes Thompson:

“I was having a talk with my wife and son, and we are an endangered species if you ask me,” he continued. “You have Black men after Black men. You have the justice system after Black men. You have the White man after the Black men. So where did you win at?

“At the end of the day, I do believe we have to keep maintaining a peaceful, loving walk in this matter because violence with violence is not going to really solve it. It’s going to escalate.”

So, in some ways, America is entering an era of “Which Side on You On?” Trump supporters may not agree with him on all things, and the rank-in-file may be listening more to warnings about the pandemic. But, if this weekend is representative, when true believers say there are multiple interpretations of history, they seem to protest too much. Trumpism’s success has depended on an effort to get everyone on the same page, finding reasons to condemn their opponents.

The rally’s opponents, however, come from very different backgrounds and embrace a diverse set of political tactics. And they were also there to celebrate, not just fight. I suspect that is a reason why Oklahomans seeking justice outnumbered Trump supporters during this pivotal week. The energy at Greenwood came from their sense of community. It will take a community spirit to win these political battles.

While many primary races are too close to call, due to large numbers of uncounted absentee ballots, Jamaal Bowman scored a decisive upset in his race to replace veteran Cingresman Elliot Engel, chair of the House Foreigh affairs Committee.

Jamaal is/was a middle school principal who was active in the opt out movement. He received the endorsement of AOC, Sanders, Warren, and many others, including me.

Here is the speech he gave when his victory appeared certain.

Jamaal will be a strong, clear, and informed voice for the voiceless in Congress.

Last night, I had a Zoom talk with Amy Frogge, who has served for eight years on the Metro Nashville school board.

We talked about charters, vouchers, the Dark Money that infiltrated school board races, and the promising things happening in Nashville.

She is soon leaving the board to become executive director of Pastors for Tennessee Children.

Amy is one of the heroes featured in my book SLAYING GOLIATH. Watch our discussion and you will understand why. She has chosen a life of service and made a difference.

You can watch here.

The Alabama Charter School
Commission decided to revoke the charter of Woodland Prep, which had not yet opened.

Blogger Larry Lee has the inside scoop.

He wrote:

In the end, it was as much a story about a very rural community that simply refused to quit fighting and standing up for what it believed in strongly. It was about a community that takes pride in its public schools and refused to be bulldozed by a group of education “experts” from out-of-state who were far more intent on making money than helping children.

It was widely believed that the charter was part of the Fetullah Gulen charter chain, one of the nation’s largest. For unexplained reasons, the charter decided to open in a small rural community where sentiment ran against it, commitment to the local public schools is strong, and local people look askance at Muslims (and possibly other religions).

Larry Lee wrote many posts about Woodland Prep. See here and here.

It is really dumb and insensitive for out-of-state people to plant themselves in a rural community, announce that they intend to open a school to compete with the local school and expect to be welcomed.

This is a story of a community organizer, Monica Cannon-Grant, who has used her character, determination, and passion to create a force on behalf of the black community of Boston. She is relentless. She demonstrates the power of one person to make change. She makes real the quote attributed to Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world: indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Monica Cannon-Grant began her day on Thursday as she begins most days: grocery shopping for 1,700 people.

Wearing a black T-shirt printed with the words “I can’t breathe,” she lifted barrels of mayonnaise and enormous tins of tuna into her Restaurant Depot cart.

“Today is the first memorial for George Floyd,” she said quietly as she rolled the cart down the aisle.

She has not had much time to grieve lately, or even to rest.

Cannon-Grant, who is 39 and lives in Roxbury, organized the Tuesday march in Franklin Park that drew tens of thousands of people to protest police brutality and demand action in Boston. Though it followed on the heels of a protest that ended in violence downtown, she made clear that her march, which started with a “die-in” at Blue Hill Avenue, would be peaceful. And it was.

Cannon-Grant, who is at turns a firecracker and a mother bear, has also been distributing about 1,750 free meals a day, through the restaurant Food for the Soul in Dorchester, to people in the neighborhood who have struggled since the coronavirus hit. She is the mother of six children, two of whom she adopted as teenagers.

“Anything that goes down in the community, positive or negative, it almost has to go through Monica,” said Chris Lewis, a fellow activist who has known Cannon-Grant since they were children.

The two threads of Cannon-Grant’s work last week—feeding hundreds of people while at the same time agitating for specific policy prescriptions to end police brutality—help illustrate her overarching vision for change in the city. She has been inspired by the legacy of the Black Panther movement, she said, which challenged police violence while running massive “survival programs,” such as free breakfasts for school children that paved the way for the government’s free breakfast program.

Cannon-Grant’s focus, she and others said, is making sure the Black community in Boston can protect and serve itself.

“I studied a lot of the work that they did and how they were able to uplift and take care of their own communities,” Cannon-Grant said, sitting outside Food for the Soul as volunteers prepared free lunches inside. “My hope is to embody the Black Panther movement.”

In that spirit, Cannon-Grant hired her own security to keep the peace during the march in Franklin Park.

“I don’t have a relationship with the police department, and honestly I can’t depend on them to protect me. So I started reaching out to men in the community,” Cannon-Grant said. She offered them $100 to look out for instigators of violence and to de-escalate interactions with the police, which they did. In the end, around 50 Black men from the neighborhoods where the march took place acted as eyes and ears during it. They declined to be paid, she said.

Large numbers of people tend to follow her lead, said Donnell Singleton, the owner of Food for the Soul, who has worked with Cannon-Grant for years.

“Here’s Monica, with a sea of people behind her,” Singleton said of seeing her at Franklin Park on Tuesday.

Cannon-Grant has long been a thorn in the side of city and state politicians, urging them to take action to prevent violence against Black and brown people in Boston. She grew up in the Franklin Hill neighborhood of Dorchester, and attended the Jeremiah E. Burke High School.

It was wrong, she thought, that some politicians celebrated an overall reduction of violence in Boston, even as it continued in poor and majority-Black neighborhoods. After her teenage son twice had a gun pulled on him outside the family’s home, she decided enough was enough. She started attending every public safety meeting the city had, insistently pressing politicians on her central concern.

“They’re like, ‘Oh we’re doing great,’” she said. “So explain to me why my street is shot up 15 times and my son had a gun pulled on him twice? Why is this normal?”

Assisted by a source she won’t divulge, she began posting almost every shooting or stabbing that took place in the city on her Facebook page with the hashtag #ViolenceinBoston in 2017. That also became the name of the nonprofit she launched that year, to provide direct resources like food and housing to Black and brown victims of violence in Boston.

If she didn’t post quickly enough, bystanders or those involved in shootings would send her Facebook messages to let her know what happened. “Shots fired outside my house … 2 shots in my driveway,” read one message she received last month.

“There’s been many a night, late at night, that I get a call from Monica and there’s a crime scene that she’s telling me to meet her at,” said former city councilor Tito Jackson, one of Cannon-Grant’s mentors and close friends.

As someone without a college degree or institutional affiliations, Cannon-Grant and her peers felt she was often dismissed by elected officials and others in power as not having much to add. And so she took to inviting herself, being so persistent and sometimes disruptive that she couldn’t really be ignored.

Beginning in 2018, she launched a nearly yearlong campaign to get Mayor Martin J. Walsh to meet with her. She called him out on Twitter and blasted him on Facebook Live videos; in a typical post from October 2018, she wrote, “Today makes 99 days since Mayor Marty Walsh called my cell phone agreeing to meet with me. Last night Boston’s 47th Homicide…He loves press conferences to give the perception he’s doing something but he’s not.” She was particularly outraged by comments he made in July 2018 addressing shooting victims in Dorchester, which she thought blamed them for the violence they suffered.

“If you want to kill each other — it’s a horrible thing and I don’t want to stand here as mayor and say, ‘You know, we’re justifying that’ — you kill each other,” Walsh said at the time.

Finally, after what Cannon-Grant described as “256 days of advocacy,” Walsh met with her. Sharing a plain bagel at Soleil, they cut right to the chase.

“Can you stop calling me a motherf*****?” Cannon-Grant recalled Walsh asking at the beginning of the meeting.

“I said, ‘Sure, I need you to also stop getting in the media, talking about Black men in the community as if you actually understand what it is to be a Black man.’”

Then the two had an honest conversation, both said in interviews, one that opened up an avenue for them to work together. Walsh said he had made comments out of frustration and concern at seeing people dying day after day.

“And I told him I feel the same way and since then, we’re aligned in our frustration,” Cannon-Grant said. “You’re supposed to disagree, you’re supposed to have conversations and then figure out how you could work together.”

The mayor has since directed funding and resources to Violence in Boston, as well as the Food for the Soul project.

“We certainly weren’t mortal enemies, but there was definitely a lot of conflict there and barriers to communication,” Walsh said in an interview. “And that hour — maybe a little longer — broke down those barriers.”

The story of her evolving relationship with Walsh over the past two years is also the story of her own changing role in the city, from that of a marginalized activist beating down the walls of those in power, into someone who wields significant power and influence on behalf of her community.

“A lot of what she was acting out on at first was her own pain,” said Thaddeus Miles, director of community services at MassHousing. Now, he said, “She’s more strategic around her thought and she’s worked with her allies in a different way.”

As a sign of her growing stature both in the city and beyond, she hosted a town hall last week that featured Senator Elizabeth Warren, Representative Ayanna Pressley, and Emerald Garner, a daughter of Eric Garner, a Black man who died after being placed in a chokehold by a police officer in New York. The group discussed how to pass federal legislation mirroring state legislation targeting police brutality, including a California law banning the use of deadly force by police if there is a reasonable alternative, and a New York bill requiring that police provide medical help to those in custody who request it.

Cannon-Grant ran for state representative in 2016 and lost. Then in 2017, she organized the Fight Supremacy rally on the Boston Common the week after a white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Va. Politicians and even other activists at the time worried that it wasn’t a good idea, Miles said — that she didn’t have the organization to pull it off. They feared it would disintegrate into a violent clash between white supremacists and protesters.

That didn’t happen. Instead, she drew tens of thousands of people to the Boston Common for a peaceful march.

“People started to take her seriously,” said Miles.

But even with increased recognition, Cannon-Grant continues to agitate when she deems it necessary.

In one notable example from 2019, she interrupted a panel featuring Governor Charlie Baker, Attorney General Maura Healey, and House Speaker Robert DeLeo in the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Fla. The panel was meant to assess how Massachusetts had achieved such a low rate of deaths from guns.

“I’m sorry but there are Black and brown folks sitting in this room that I brought with me who are victims of gun violence in Black communities that get ignored every day,” Cannon-Grant said from the darkened audience. “No disrespect, but we were screaming way before Parkland.”

She then brought her own chair onto the stage, filled mostly with white men in suits, and began taking questions from the audience.

Anne Grammer, the 82-year-old cofounder of Cape Cod Grandmothers Against Gun Violence, was so moved by Cannon-Grant’s words that, a few weeks afterward, she drove to Cannon-Grant’s house and offered to volunteer for her.

“Anything she asked me to do, I will do,” Grammer said.

Cannon-Grant credits her fighting spirit to her grandmother, who worked the polls and was the head of her tenant association in Boston for many years.

“My grandmother was a fighter,” Cannon-Grant said, laughing. “She would invite the city councilors to the cookout to curse them out about what they didn’t do for the community.”

That’s how onlookers describe Cannon-Grant, too.

“You’re definitely not going to control her,” said Jackson, “and you’re not going to contain her, either.”

Stephen Dyer was in the Ohio legislature when the state’s Edchoice voucher program started as a small initiative. Since then, it has grown, despite research showing that it provides no education benefit to students while taking money away from public schools.

In this post, he announces the launch of a program to educate the public about how vouchers harm their public schools. Every dollar allotted to a voucher school is a dollar less for public schools.

As districts face huge budget cuts in the coming school years, it behooves them to defend every dollar they can so their students have all they need to succeed. That’s why the folks at Real Choice Ohio, which fought for years to help districts cope with charter school losses to great success, have started a series of workshops to help districts educate and inform parents nd their communities about the dangers of the EdChoice vouchers to their kids and other kids’ futures.

The first pillar of these conferences deals with the overall problem facing districts and the kids theiy serve. I am helping to lead this pillar, complete with Power Point presentations and I will be moderating an all-star panel on the EdChoice and voucher problem next week.

Open the post to learn how to sign up.

Robert Kuttner is editor of The American Prospect. He writes a blog called Kuttner on Tap.

If You Can Stand It, a Little More Optimism.

Now we find out what America is made of. And what we see, a week after George Floyd’s police lynching, is this:

Protests are continuing and they are increasingly peaceful, except for police violence. Protest leaders are working with local governments to contain both police rampages on the one hand and provocations and opportunistic looting on the other.

More than at any time since the civil rights era of the 1960s, white America has some compassion for pent-up black frustrations. A majority of Americans approve of the demonstrations and reject police violence. And 55 percent of white Americans tell pollsters that black anger is fully justified.

Meanwhile, Trump keeps revealing what he is made of, and his own support keeps dropping. And Joe Biden has found his inner Bobby Kennedy and made his best speech ever. I don’t care who wrote it; Biden gave it.

The focus of the election, increasingly, will be Trump’s callous and opportunistic use of a crisis that required healing. He is setting himself up for a landslide repudiation, well beyond the Republican margin of theft.

Also encouraging is the united response of governors and mayors. Trump may have the power on paper to call in the Army and the National Guard. But that is no match for the combined power of an aroused citizenry and resistant local officials. His troops can’t occupy the whole country by force.

We will see more mass demonstrations. They will be peaceful except for the efforts of rogue cops and Trump’s storm troopers to inject violence. And by fall, the consequence will be a mass revulsion against Trump.

As Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, one of America’s finest, wrote in concluding an eloquent New York Times op-ed piece:

“Let us vote against state-sanctioned violence, vitriolic discourse and the violation of human rights. In memory of George Floyd and all the other innocent black lives that have been taken in the recent and distant past, let us commit to registering black people, especially black men, to vote.”

America is stronger, better, wiser than Trump. And America will survive Trump. Then the real work can begin.