“Hope and Change” redux (fool me twice, shame on me)…
Forget her recent policy flip-flops marked by a fair amount of backtracking and waffling on key proposals (including Medicare-for-All), here is a fundamental truth about Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s education stance: the Massachusetts senator has long stood with Betsy DeVos, Arne Duncan, and the school privatization crowd. Specifically, Warren has long supported a universal school voucher system and other ways of draining funds out of the public education system — giving public monies to private interests (a policy priority she makes clear in her 2003 book, The Two-Income Trap).
Despite being able to decline to enroll special-needs students — to select their student body from the higher-performing ranks — charter schools generally perform the same or worse than public schools. Meanwhile, the privatization agenda is already turning the public school system into a warehouse for discipline cases, English language learners, and the disabled — all while being held to testing regimes and other metrics designed to break teachers’ unions and close down schools, especially in communities of color.
But that stench of failure doesn’t faze the white-privilege reeking, corporate neoliberal class (nearly all Republicans before the Third Way Democrats took over the party and wiped out traditional liberalism in favor of… whatever the Koch brothers wanted).
For decades, Elizabeth Warren has stood with the oligarchs who are waging an all-out assault on the public arena — the neoliberal cabal that wants to deregulate and privatize virtually every American institution, from the United States Postal Service to FAA inspections to Social Security (which President Bill Clinton and his Republican partner, Newt Gingrich, were keen to privatize).
Nonetheless, her frighteningly slick campaign has become quite adept at offering the right platitudes while cleverly hiding Warren’s true policy preferences, which include: school privatization; greenwashing (rather than ending) the neocons’ genocidal wars in the Middle East; shielding PhRMA and the health insurance industry from the threat of single-payer healthcare; persecuting journalistic “bad actors” and whistleblowers; passing record-setting Pentagon budgets (voting to give Donald Trump more Pentagon funds than he requested); supporting official propaganda and coup attempts against democratic regimes; and promoting RussiaGate and the new McCarthyism.
All of which makes it clear that, despite her new progressive image, she hasn’t changed much from the Republican she was for a quarter of a century. She’s had no problem voting for extreme right-wingers, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, in the 1980’s and 1990’s — and Nixon and Ford, before them. And she only moved to the Democratic Party after its leadership had been taken over by the Koch brothers (with Bill Clinton passing everything the far-right ever wanted, in the name of “centrism”).
But Diane Ravitch — an education policy expert in the vanguard of protecting the public school system from the disastrous neoliberal assault — has questioned Sen. Warren’s sincerity on this issue. Ms. Ravitch, a true hero of educators for many years, continues to use her platform to give voice to lifelong public educators, as follows.
“Carol Burris, executive director of the Network for Public Education and a lifelong educator, has a message for Senator Elizabeth Warren:”
(Ms. Burris’s message, in its entirety)
There has been much discussion on this blog and elsewhere regarding Elizabeth Warren’s campaign’s choice of a former charter school teacher to introduce Ms. Warren in Oakland. She was a fellow at GO Oakland, an organization funded by billionaires such as the Walton Family, Arthur Rock and Michael Bloomberg––billionaires who are bound and determined to charterize American public schools. After leaving as a fellow, she continued her relationship by blogging for the organization in 2018, including in her blog links to get readers to sign up for GO emails.
Why does any of this matter?
It matters because when a presidential campaign asks someone to introduce their candidate. It is a carefully vetted and deliberate choice. It is naive to think the introducer is picked from the air in any competent campaign, and the Warren campaign is highly competent.
When Bernie Sanders issued his bold platform calling for a charter moratorium, Elizabeth Warren responded by saying that she too was against for-profit charter schools with no response on Sanders’ call for a moratorium.
Warren said she does not want to fund for-profits. Well, the only funding program she could influence as president, the Charter Schools Program, already does not.
No bold, progressive stand there.
What progressives need to hear from Elizabeth Warren is the answer to these two simple questions.
1. Do you support the NAACP’s charter moratorium?
2. Do you support funding the federal Charter Schools Program–which funds the expansion of non-profit charter schools?
Sanders has made his position clear. When we hear from Warren, it will no longer matter who introduces her…
* * *
While it’s good to have an open mind and give people the benefit of the doubt, I feel that progressives already have all the information we need about the lifetime cultural appropriator and longtime conservative, Ms. Warren.
Unlike Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who resigned from her Vice-Chair of the DNC position to support Bernie Sanders in 2016, Elizabeth Warren has demonstrated zero political courage and has consistently refused to fight for the left.
On November 2, 2017, this allegedly bold leader admitted (first to CNN’s Jake Tapper and then to PBS’s Judy Woodruff) that the 2016 Democratic Primary “process was rigged.”
Then she folded, chastened by the corrupt political establishment she dutifully serves. On November 10th, Warren asserted that the 2016 primary “process was fair.”
And she has never raised the subject again (way to fight for honest primaries and “democracy,” Senator!).
KID GLOVES FOR WALL STREET
Outside of a history of grandstanding and wagging her finger at the banks, Elizabeth Warren has done astonishingly little to champion the 99%. Watching her scold Wall Street executives may be cathartic for some partisans, but it doesn’t amount to much when the Senator proceeds to endorse one of Wall Street’s all-time favorite politicians, Hillary Clinton.
And she endorsed Sec. Clinton after a year of snubbing her natural ally — the only FDR-style candidate in the race, Bernie Sanders — who was filling huge stadiums, bringing millions of new voters into the party, and promising to beat Donald Trump by 9-15%, on average. In 2016, Sen. Sanders was positioned to utterly trounce two of the right’s most loathed figures, Hillary Clinton and her family chum, Donald Trump. Yet Elizabeth Warren spent the entire season on the sidelines, until the most conservative Democrats needed her, at which point, she finally stood up… for the historically racist candidate running to Trump’s RIGHT!!!
Warren’s bloviating at Wall Street execs means even less when one considers that she has never pushed to prosecute in a court of law (like she wants to do with Trump) the criminals whose fraud brought the Western banking system to its knees in 2008. She merely grandstands and scolds bankers for the cameras.
Even more devastating to her “anti-Wall Street” image is the fact that Warren lent her name to the merest fig-leaf “reform” of banking practices (the much vaunted, yet toothless CFPB) — while the leader of her party was bailing out Wall Street on Main Street’s back to the tune of $16 trillion and wiping out the post-Civil Rights Era gains of African-American households, per the Pew Research Center.
While I applaud the Senator’s call for a reinstatement of Glass-Steagall (which would separate commercial banking from investment banking), why hasn’t Warren proposed legislation to repeal the Commodity Futures Modernization Act — a law that legally prohibits the regulation of derivatives (aptly dubbed “financial WMDs” by Warren Buffett)?
As long as the CFMA stands, another crash, far more devastating to our economy, is inevitable.
Yet Elizabeth Warren, bane of the bankers, is silent.
DEPLORABLE FOREIGN POLICY/COMMITMENT TO HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRACY
Sen. Warren has always stood with the oligarchs, at home and abroad, the corporatocracy, and the Military Industrial Complex: on matters of war, the surveillance/police state (she praised Obama’s revised NSA-spying program), and with regard to persecuting independent journalists and whistleblowers (whom she condemns as “bad actors” whose revelations damage national security: the classic right-wing, neo-fascist line, regarding such heroes).
She has voiced support for the continuation of U.S. sanctions on Venezuela — sanctions that the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights likened to a “medieval siege,” calling Washington’s policy a “crime against humanity.”
And like the rest of the neocons in our pernicious duopoly, Sen. Warren demands new elections for Venezuela.
(Why? So the violent faction run out of Washington can bomb more pro-government voting precincts and government buildings? Burn more POC alive? Hang more barbed wire across busy thoroughfares? Firebomb more aid trucks? The U.S. empire has been seeking to nullify the majority of Venezuelans’ votes — by coup or by crook — for decades. And yet, Warren sees Maduro as the problem.)
SO WHAT GOOD IS SHE? HONESTLY?
And recently, she’s backtracked on student loan forgiveness and M4A (Medicare for All). And she’s working overtime to divide the progressive vote for Sanders, paving the way for Joe Biden’s campaign and the DNC to rig 2020 for another sure loser, giving Trump another four years in office.
So, what good is she? Honestly?
Returning to Warren’s history of supporting school privatization…
While some establishmentarians (who LOVE Warren) have tried to muddy the issue, the truth is quite simple: In Oakland, CA, Sen. Warren and her campaign chose to elevate an individual who has long worked to promote charter schools, the think-tank policy fellow, Sonya Mehta. In doing so, Warren was signaling to The Walton Family, Mr. Bloomberg, and the rest of the billionaire-privateer class that she’s still on their side, not the public’s, when it comes to education matters.
Even if she were capable of defeating Donald Trump in 2020 (a dubious prospect, at best), “President” Warren won’t just continue the neocon wars and the neoliberal looting of our society, she will continue the Clinton-Bush-Obama-Trump assault on the public education system. She will continue shoving our children into an unregulated private school system that doesn’t require its teachers to have credentials — and is broadly failing — consistently outperformed by a public education system that is weathering a full-scale assault from the corporate class and morally bankrupt politicians like Elizabeth “Cherokee” Warren.
The “Native American” who refused to stand with the Standing Rock Sioux even when they were being brutalized by police, under President Obama, for trying to defend the Ogallala Aquifer from the fossil fuel industry… not Warren’s fight (she’s got bigger fish to fry, aspiring to help “Cuppa” Joe court those moderate Republican votes in 2020).