Archive for the 'American Insanity' Category

A Horrifying Continuum:Trump Encourages Police Brutality.

July 29, 2017

Another day, another deranged declaration from our diseased Commander in Chief and with it yet another effort to divide America between those who adore Trump and those who are disgusted and alarmed by him. On that level, at least, the speech to a group of Long Island law officers could be said to be a rousing success, not unlike his grotesque babbling to the Boy Scouts, his “slice and dice” oration in Ohio, and his whimsical ban of transgender personnel in the military that took place earlier in the week.

Ostensibly, the visit to Long Island and the speech to law enforcement was about Trump’s plan to “eradicate” the notoriously violent gang MS-13, who in yet another example of blowback, emerged out of America’s savage policy toward El Salvador under Ronald Reagan, and are responsible for several brutal murders in the area. But, as with everything this man speaks of, the visit and the speech were really about Trump and his base.

Thus, the purpose of the visit was largely to plant or reinforce in the mind of the American public the idea that American immigrants are made up not of the millions of hard working, decent, and law abiding peoples that have built and rebuilt the country since its founding, but horrific criminal organizations such as MS-13, and thereby build support for the Trump administration’s expansion of it’s mass detention and deportation agenda.

Addressing the law enforcement officers, the President of the United States said the following: “When you see these towns and when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just see them thrown in, rough, and I said, ‘Please don’t be too nice.’

“Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over, like, don’t hit their head and they’ve just killed somebody, don’t hit their head, I said, ‘You can take the hand away, OK?’

Implicit in the words is the belief that the president has the power to simply negate protocol and the law. Implicit in these words is the message that the accused are guilty until proven innocent. Implicit in these words is a message that the President of the United States approves of police brutality.

Once again, there is no precedent for a president making such appalling statements.
Disturbingly, the statements were met with vociferous cheering from the law enforcement officers present, this at a time in which reports of police brutality, especially against people who happen not to be white, are a ceaseless national disgrace; and to be sure they were cheered just as enthusiastically by Trump’s deranged supporters across the country.
And that, I fear, is the point. In his first Inaugural Address in 1861, peering out at a nation enthusiastically set to slaughter each other wholesale, Lincoln implored and beseeched Americans to contact and embrace the “better angels of our nature. ”
Such is what great leaders do.
Conversely, like some demonic cheap rent parody of an anti-Lincoln, Trump has, from his incredible emergence as a politician, continually urged and encouraged the exact opposite of Lincoln’s sublime exhortation. To wit, he has ceaselessly, recklessly, and with absolute immunity encouraged, explicitly or implicitly, Americans to not merely embrace but valorize our basest and most brutal impulses: greed, mendacity, jingoism, violence, racism, xenophobia, vulgarity, and cruelty.

Yesterday’s remarkably repugnant statements are merely part of a continuum that has stepped up in the past week to fever pitch; merely another attempt to rile up his base and divide the nation into two irreconcilable camps: supporters of Donald Trump and The Enemy who is everyone else. There can be no middle ground because there is none meant to be. And there is no purpose, political or otherwise, other than the apotheosis of Donald J. Trump.
This is our current civil war: the dividing of Americans against the “better angels of our nature.” And, as this is all that he can understand, this is what Trump desires. This is what happens – what MUST happen—when a nation invests a toxic, malignant, astoundingly ignorant mega-narcissist with immense power. Trump does not know how to do anything other than what he is doing and is wholly, characterologically incapable of learning or even conceiving of anything that does not glorify Trump. Trump is narcissism incarnate. Trump’s war is not about Conservatives against Progressives, or Democrats against Republicans or any other recognizable political affiliation. Trump has no more loyalty to Republicans as he has to anyone or anything he has ever been connected with.
Trump rants and raves about “ loyalty,” a word in understands to mean subservience to Trump and his family and nothing more. Trump’s war is about the domination of his “movement” which consists entirely of the cult of Trump. And as he is increasingly showing, he will do and say anything to “win.”

Further, with the cowardly refusal of the members of the United States Congress to unambiguously condemn the purposefully divisive, anti- democratic, and vile statements of this ridiculous and all so dangerous figure, it may only be the beginning.

In the end, Trump will fail and fall but he will not go easily and the damage he and his will do in the process may be enormous.

Advertisements

Three Cheers for the Mooch: Trump Selects the Perfect Man

July 28, 2017

Contrary to the millions of Americans who are horrified, appalled and disgusted at his language, demeanor and intentions, I, for one, believe President Trump choose brilliantly and yes, honestly, in selecting Anthony “Mooch” Scaramucci, as brand new White House Communications Director. What man, I ask you, can more clearly communicate and, indeed, distill Trump’s vision of Making America Great Again than the former hedge fund predator known as the Mooch?

Even his nickname is perfect. In terms of pure vulgarity, contempt for law and tradition, hubris, decorum, ignorance and unbridled narcissism that define the Trump administration, it is almost inconceivable that The Donald could have tapped a more appropriate being. Mooch, who has repeatedly stated his love for the president and all he stands for, is outright perfection.

Thank you President Trump, for assuring all of America and indeed the world, that your vision of American greatness will be communicated even more loudly and more clearly than it has been since the advent of your presidency. And thank you, Mooch, for your brilliance and clarity.

Incapable of Governing Trump Seeks to Set America At War with Itself

July 27, 2017

If anyone were thick enough to still believe that some inner buried spark of decency would stop President Donald J Trump from setting the American people against themselves for the sole sake of gratifying his diseased and oceanic ego, his words and actions over the past three days should provide ample clarity. Incapable of passing a single piece of legislature, his own administration in operatic, barely concealed ruins, and forced to face dismal approval ratings, Trump did as Trump does, following the same grotesque path that allowed his shocking electoral victory six months ago.

In multiple ways, Trump attempted to rally his base: first degrading a Boy Scout Jamboree by turning it into an incoherent Trump Youth Rally where he mocked a former president, whined about the fake media, campaigned for his vicious and incoherent health care “plan”, threatened a member of his cabinet, and reminisced about a the travels of a fallen millionaire who lost his “momentum,” and, last but not least, encouraged an idiotic chant of “USA! USA! “

Trump’s words have to be read to be believed and even then beggars belief that these are actual statements of the President of the Untied States.

Trump then appeared at an actual Trump rally in Ohio where, before floating the idea of having his vile visage carved into Mount Rushmore, he ranted crazily before his ecstatic groupies about illegal immigrants whose apparent joy is to “slice and dice ” beautiful 15 and 16 year old girls. This, said the President of the Untied States, instead of merely shooting them as bullets would rob the “animals” of the pain they so sadistically love to inflict.

To top it all off, yesterday Trump announced (via a Tweet!) that he had imposed a ban against transgender soldiers in the military. This was done apparently with no input whatsoever from the military, who are now squirming and attempting to figure out how to react to the dictate of their insane commander and chief that they do not agree with. The decision, in short, was made on a whim and the rationale – “tremendous medical costs and disruption” – was immediately exposed by the Rand Corporation among others as pure bullshit.

No matter to our current leader and his fans.

If nothing else, the past three days billboard what anyone with any knowledge of Trump has long understood, even as they have yet to figure out an effective way of countering it or even neutralizing it. Trump has no goals other than the constant, ceaseless gratification of his ego, no beliefs to appeal to, no principles to restrain him.

Trump is about getting his way. Trump is about “winning.” At any and all costs.

Trump has his disturbingly worshipful base who, grateful for being allowed to vocalize their basest, most brutal impulses and indulge in their most infantile fantasies about what American is, has been, and will be, will follow him anywhere, even as his policies immiserate and degrade them; even as Trump degrades and immiserates any one (save his family) who have been taken in by this con man.

It was for these people these grotesque statements were made in the absolute certainty that they would keep these people in a perpetual state of mindless frenzy or fantasy.

We must understand this: Trump will do all he can to rip the nation asunder simply to gratify his ego. And as yet there is nothing stopping him from doing just that.

Paul Ryan Comes To Harlem

May 14, 2017

In a sense, the visit of such a person to such an institution made perfect sense, that much the more in the Age of Trump. After all, here you had Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, one of the leading proponents of the ceaseless war on the remnants of the social contract, fresh off his successful orchestration of a billionaire tax cut masquerading as a health care bill intended to strip millions of healthcare, visiting Harlem Success Academy, the flagship school of Eva Moskowitz, one the most successful practitioners of the publically funded privately managed scams called charter schools.

The two, after all, have a lot in common. Both owe their careers to the largesse of the richest people in the country and, in the case of Moskowitz, the politicians in their employ. Ryan, of course, is a prime example of such an employee.

Hence, Moskowitz beckoned, Ryan came.

Despite their almost limitless financial backing, and a government that seems pleased to give them both almost anything they ask, both parade around as heroic strivers for the underclass against the wily tyranny of the status quo, i. e. the public sector and labor unions.
Both are corporatists, through and through.
Please note that Harlem Success Academy is but one of three schools housed in the building in which Ryan made his visit.
What was the purpose of Ryan’s visit? A visit that necessitated police barricades and TV crews at 7:30 in the morning when I arrived to teach in the school that Ryan had no intention of visiting . A visit that brought hundreds of furious protesters whose whistles and howls I could hear intermittently throughout the day, one especially loud volley signaling Ryan’s arrival, another, his hasty exit.

For Moskowitz, Ryan’s visit was a public relations bonanza, made to show the world how connected to power she really is. A few years ago I literally bumped into presidential candidate Mitt Romney in the hall of my school as he was leaving Success Academy after visiting with Moskowitz.

It is not hard to imagine what would happen if a public school official called Ryan’s office and offered a tour of a public school.

For Ryan the visit was an opportunity to show how much and how deeply he cares about the children and people of Harlem, even if he and Donald Trump and a bunch of rich white guys recently celebrated stripping them of their healthcare while taking aim at Medicare.

Full disclosure: Ryan, who arrived hours late, did make a last minute gun-at-the –head, perfunctory visit to a special needs class in the 811 school which Moskowitz tried ruthlessly to gobble up as part of her ever expanding empire, to hell with the special needs kids who are schooled there. Almost certainly agreed to because of the pressure asserted by 811 teacher Mindy Rosier, Ryan was reportedly escorted into a classroom of children who had no idea who he was, smiled, said hello, shook the principal’s hand and was hustled up the stairs for an hour long visit with Success Academy.

Using children for political props is nothing new to Moskowitz, even if the same act would find any DOE principal out of a job and possibly in jail should they pull such a stunt. Over the past few years Moskowitz has bussed children up to Albany and had them parade over the Brooklyn Bridge, all on school time, all as their teachers were on the city’s dime, all under the pretext of giving the kids a “civics lesson.”
Ryan’s visit, presumably, was just another such “lesson. “

But what, precisely, was the nature of the lesson? What did the students learn? That it was somehow OK for the Speaker of the House of Representatives to visit their school and not the public school next door in the same building? That the students my colleagues and I teach are somehow not as important? That passing savage health care bills that will destroy people’s lives and render millions helpless so the richest people in the country can have yet another tax break is just fine?
That some people count and some people don’t ?

Yes, it made perfect sense that these two should meet, as it is so perfectly revealing of the nature of all things in the Age of Trump.

Ryan and friends celebrating stripping millions of Americans of healthcare.

Addendum: http://thechiefleader.com/news/news_of_the_week/house-speaker-gets-a-private-look-at-success-and-a/article_a5d7128c-2ab7-11e7-8d4d-6364c3ca180d.html

A NYC Teacher Speaks of His Sabotaged School

January 31, 2017

The following is the transcript of an address given by NYC Public School teacher Jim Donohue on what has happened and is happening to his school:

Hello. My name is Jim Donohue.

I’d like to start by thanking you for allowing me a few minutes to speak tonight, and I’d also like to thank Carol Harrison and Mary Atkinson from the Bronx chapter for their support in what has been a very difficult couple of weeks.

I’m an English teacher at JHS 145, where I’ve worked for the past 17 years. JHS 145 is a renewal school, and we were told (through a leak to the New York Times) that a proposal has been made to close the school at the end of the school year.

I want to share a quote with you because it precisely defines the situation my colleagues, my students, and our school community find ourselves in today. It reads as follows:

“For the past 12 years, New York City’s ‘answer’ for struggling schools was simple: warehouse our neediest students, starve the schools of support, and then close their schools if they didn’t miraculously turn around. “

As you may have guessed, that was spoken by Mr. Michael Mulgrew back in 2014 in response to Mayor de Blasio’s announcement of the Renewal school plan.

Mr. Mulgrew used the term “warehouse our neediest students.” Well, I’ve come to you tonight directly from the warehouse. How else to describe a school whose students come NOT FROM ONE OR TWO zoned elementary schools in their district, but from 94 different schools located in EVERY BOROUGH of NYC? How else to describe a school with 140 students who arrived at its doors DIRECTLY from the Dominican Republic? How else to describe a school with 53 (20% of its population) shelter students, another 50 classified as Special Needs students, and another 20 with Interrupted Formal Education? We’ve done some research. NO OTHER MIDDLE SCHOOL IN THE BRONX has demographics to match this.

Mr. Mulgrew used the term “starve the school of resources”. Well, I come to you from a place of terrible starvation. How else to describe a situation in which 140 out of 298 students are English Language Learners but had NO ESL teacher for the entire 2014/2015 school year, and only 1 this year. How else to describe a situation in which 60% of a school’s population are English Language Learners, but have NO Bilingual math teacher, NO bilingual science teacher, NO bilingual English teacher and No Bilingual Social Studies teacher? How else to describe the following absurdity: One year into the renewal program, a program that promised ADDITIONAL RESOURCES to schools like ours, the DOE allowed the Success Academy to take 18 of our classrooms, which scattered our staff and students across 3 floors of a building occupied by 4 different schools, and forced us to dismantle our computer lab in order to convert it into classroom space?

Mr. Mulgrew mentioned the closing of schools, which brings me to my true purpose tonight. After attempting to systematically starve JHS 145 to death, the DOE now calls for the school to be closed. And I say “ATTEMPTING TO STARVE TO DEATH” because we are far from dead. Despite DOE claims that our students “FAIL” the state ELA and MATH assessments, we have data that shows otherwise.

Our students come to us reading at levels between Kindergarten and 4th grade. Do they miraculously (another term used by Mr. Mulgrew) achieve grade level scores on these tests at 145? No, they do not. What they do is move, consistently, from Kindergarten levels to 2nd grade, from 2nd to 3rd or 4th, from 3rd to 5th or 6th and so on.

Despite years of neglect, our students have won the Thurgood Marshall Junior Mock Trial Competition 8 times, more than any other school in the citywide tournament.

Our students have won the BronxWRITeS Poetry Slam more than any other school in the city, recently sharing the stage with Mayor De Blasio and Ambassador Caroline Kennedy in an exhibition at Goldman Sachs.

The DOE’s 2014-2015 School Quality Snapshot tells us that “86% of this school’s former 8th graders earned enough high-school credit in 9th grade to be on track for graduation,” a number that is nearly identical to the citywide average of 87% and better than the district average of 81%.

Our kids are some of the most vulnerable in the city, living in the poorest congressional district in the country, but they are smart and capable and worthy of respect. They are not failures.

Finally, I want to use a term that Mr. Mulgrew didn’t use. That term is DIRTY POOL. Because a full 3 weeks before the DOE’s closure proposal even becomes official, and 2 months before the PEP vote takes place, and despite the DOE’s claim that the closing has NOTHING to do with the charter school, Success Academy’s website has begun advertising for applicants to its new middle school, opening in 2017, at JHS 145. In recent weeks, Success Academy staff members have been measuring our classrooms, apparently 100% confident that the PEP will rubberstamp our demise in March.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I’m here to ask you for 4 things:
We ask that the UFT publicly demand that the proposal for the closing of JHS 145 be pulled from the PEP agenda.
We ask that the UFT utilize its resources in the form of media, social media, twitter, etc. speak out against this proposal.
We ask the UFT to help us move the PEP from Manhattan to the school so that the community can attend, and if that proves impossible, to supply a bus for community members to travel to the PEP.
Finally, and perhaps mosti importantly, we ask that Mr. Mulgrew come to our school to witness or participate in the student march to the District Office that we are scheduling for next week.
Thank you.

Please Contact
Jim Donohue 917-318-8762 donohuenyc@gmail.com
Craig Moss 914-319-1227 poet145@gmail.com
Deidre Walker 347-869-4810 deidremw@gmail.com