Monday, July 11, 2022

Racist Bannon Strikes Again, Con't

As January 6th hearings resume this week, including a primetime hearing Thursday night, Donald Trump needs a way to slow down or derail the testimony train, and the perfect candidate for that is living trash elemental Steve Bannon. Marcy Wheeler on why Bannon, why now:

Back on June 29 (less than two weeks ago), Bannon moved to delay his trial until October, claiming — as many other accused January 6 criminals have — that publicity associated with the January 6 Committee makes it impossible to get a fair trial. It was a reasonable claim for the Proud Boys to make. But thus far, Bannon has no more figured in the hearings than other passing faces in the mob.

Indeed, DOJ mocked Bannon’s claim, noting that he had been mentioned just twice in more than fourteen hours of hearings, one of which was just a description that he had blown off the Committee subpoena.

In fourteen hours of hearings, Bannon merited no more than thirty seconds of attention.

Presciently, DOJ noted that no one but Steve Bannon and his lawyers are talking about Steve Bannon.

Bannon responded on July 6, just four days ago, presenting entirely irrelevant data that counted how many times his name has shown up in the press, then attributing all of that to the Committee, and not his own big mouth.

Then he opened his own big mouth and caused what he claims he’s trying hard to avoid: a press torrent of mostly inaccurate reporting.

Two weeks ago, Steve Bannon needed to be something more than a thirty second man in hopes of delaying his trial. And multiple outlets jumped to do his bidding


So now Bannon almost certainly will accomplish multiple things if he really does have a deal with the January 6th Committee to testify: a reason to delay his own trial, a voice to attack the credibility of other committee witnesses, a way to fill the news cycle with bullshit to cloud the truth, and a way to get back in Trump's good graces.

Keep in mind this isn't about Bannon's legal fees. Trump isn't paying them, supposedly, but that doesn't mean Bannon doesn't have the money. No, this is about mutual self-interest at the expense of the nation.

Bannon's case judge is not impressed one bit.


A judge said he would not delay the contempt of Congress trial of Steve Bannon on Monday, just one week before it is set to begin.

Bannon was indicted last year for refusing to answer questions from the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Bannon, who had stonewalled the committee since October 2021, had a last-minute change of heart over the weekend, a decision his lawyer attributed to a letter from former President Donald Trump that waived a purported claim of executive privilege. The Justice Department maintains that Bannon's offer to testify was nothing more than a “last-ditch attempt to avoid accountability.”

Trump's own lawyer, Justin Clark, according to the Justice Department, told the FBI that Trump “never invoked executive privilege over any particular information or materials" and offered no basis for Bannon's "total noncompliance" with his subpoena.

Judge Carl Nichols, who previously ruled that Bannon could not argue that he was not guilty because he was relying upon the advice of his lawyer, ruled Monday that Bannon cannot present evidence that he relied upon old opinions from the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) regarding executive privilege either.
Slovenly little carbuncle.


We Don't Need No Education, Con't

As I've been saying for years now, one of the major goals of the GOP is to get rid of public education as we know it and replace it with for-profit charter and private schools as well as publicly-funded religious education. Public schools as we know them will be eliminated, replaced with the promise of "top quality schools" that of course will have limited numbers of students, leaving everyone else out in the cold with no promise of even being able to attain education.  

It's why Republicans want to force parents to pay for schools directly with charter school schemes that have failed only due to scope, and those who can't afford schools will find that work ages have been lowered so that kids can still be sent to do the jobs that nobody else wants to do for less than minimum wage.

And the newest testing ground for this total workhouse replacement mess? The state of Arizona under Gov. Doug Ducey

As Gov. Doug Ducey signed Arizona’s universal school voucher expansion into law Thursday, public education advocates geared up for a petition drive to block the effort, promising once again to use a public referendum to halt universal access to the Empowerment Scholarship Account program.

The program is now the largest school voucher program in the country. It changes the very nature of how families in Arizona can spend public education dollars by opening up the option for all students to spend a portion of tax funding initially allocated to public education at private schools.

Ducey, who will complete his term as governor in January, celebrated the law.

"This is a monumental moment for all of Arizona’s students. Our kids will no longer be locked in under-performing schools," he said in a statement Thursday. “With this legislation, Arizona cements itself as the top state for school choice and as the first state in the nation to offer all families the option to choose the school setting that works best for them."

Public education advocates called it a disaster for Arizona schools.

“Arizona voters will be eager to reject HB 2853 (Universal ESA Voucher Expansion) once and for all on the November 2024 ballot, sending a clear message to national privatizers that Arizona voters overwhelmingly support public schools and want our lawmakers to prioritize them,” said Beth Lewis, Save Our Schools Arizona director.

She said the group would start printing petitions the moment the bill went into law and distribute them among volunteers across the state already doing voter outreach work.

“Arizona voters are fed up with majority lawmakers who are prioritizing their wealthy donors and greedy special interests over the Arizona students, parents, and citizens they are supposed to represent."

The tug of war between laws passed by Arizona’s school choice-minded state leaders and public education groups like Save Our Schools Arizona is far from new, but there is no promised outcome.

If Save Our Schools Arizona and its supporters can secure 118,823 valid signatures before September 24, the voucher expansion will be placed on hold until November 2024, when voters get a chance to weigh in.

A similar voucher expansion was successfully stopped through a public referendum in 2018.

But the most recent voucher expansion, as well as court rulings like the one that killed Proposition 208, the voter-approved tax increase for education, show how those efforts can be curtailed. The Legislature could also repeal the voucher law next year and replace it with a similar bill, thus nullifying the referendum effort.
The problem, as with so many other Republican-created disasters that we're dealing with now. is supply.

There are only X number of seats in the top-performing schools. Those will go to those already paying to live close to top-performing local schools. Everyone else gets their second, or third, or fourth, or...their last choice. It's reverse busing.

And this is all going to require lots of non-union teachers, you see.

The education requirement for teachers in Arizona has changed. Under legislation Gov. Doug Ducey signed earlier this week, a person only needs to be enrolled to get their college degree to begin teaching in public schools. It’s a big change, and it’s been met with mixed reactions.

Jens Larson said there was a teacher shortage back when he joined the profession in 2000. “I was hired as an emergency certified teacher. I had a degree but I didn’t have the teacher credentials that were needed,” Larson said.

For 14 years, he worked at the Phoenix Union High School District. He said the low pay, lack of respect, and resources led him to leave. Since leaving, he started Phoenix Youth Circus Arts Program and continues to work with children. “I have more fun teaching circus than I do teaching geometry, I have to admit that,” he said.

But this new change, SB 1159, he said, was a stretch. “The situation will be even worse if you’re dealing with either younger people or even less well-educated people,” Larson said.

“It could work, obviously there’s no one size fits all plan,” said Christopher Ramsey, a Phoenix teacher. Ramsey also benefitted from the teacher shortage years back. “I’m a teacher, and I taught for two years while doing an accelerated master’s program, so I didn’t have my teacher’s degree,” he added. He said if you have the right person, it could work.

The Arizona Educators Association, or AEA, fought this legislation. “You have to have some experience. It’s going to allow people to do on the job training, and that’s where it’s scary,” Marisol Garcia, the President of the AEA, said. 

Charter schools are going to hire all sorts of "teachers" under this plan, but what they won't be is unionized. Arizona's public education system is going to collapse spectacularly in the next few years, and it's only a matter of time before red states follow suit with this awful scheme.

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