All posts by goldstone

Another Phony Republican “Revolution”

Heads up, fellow Dems:  Republicans love to talk about “revolution” when they’re out of power — and they exploit it to leverage discontent at every opportunity.

Privatizing public schools is a great opportunity.

Today I got an invitation to join a new front group, “Parent Revolution,” asking me to grab a torch and pitchfork and get busy on Los Angeles schools:

Together, we will seize this moment, drag the LAUSD kicking and screaming into the 21st Century, and make our public schools work once again for the parents and kids of Los Angeles.

You’d never guess that this is bankrolled by Republicans, would you?

Well, look out.  Underneath the Orwellian front groups that are out to trick parents into supporting their “revolution,” this is all about privatization via charter schools.  There are untold billions of dollars at stake.

You’ll see.  Just look behind the front groups.

The shill executive director of this effort is a well-known hack consultant who plays both sides, Republican and Democratic, Ben Austin. In his front group pitch, he fails to mention the fact that he’s been on the payroll for Green Dot Charter Schools for a long time.  Before that, he worked for L.A.’s Republican Mayor Dick Riordan, another privatization moneybags, and he’s been carrying water for privatizing L.A. schools for a long time now.

The hook is this seemingly democratic appeal:

Watch our video to find out how you can transform your child’s school by getting 51% of parents at your school to sign the petition. If 51% of the parents at your school sign the petition demanding a better school, we will guarantee your child a great school, in your neighborhood, within three years.

Why 51%?  Well, that’s the magic number in LAUSD if you want to privatize a public school with a charter.

Ben’s boss is, among others, Green Dot Charter Schools, bankrolled by Republican developer Eli Broad and bearded by “non-profit” status.

Who else is paying for this “revolution”?  Mostly Republicans, of course.  And anyone else who wants to make a buck off of public funds in education.  

They’re counting on people not looking too closely behind the curtain:


The Parent Revolution was started by a coalition of organizations, led by the Los Angeles Parents Union.  Other members include Green Dot Public Schools, Alliance for College-Ready Public Schools, Brightstar, and others.

1)  “BrightStar Education Group operates for-profit postsecondary education schools,” led by Republican President and CEO Jim Haga.

2)  Chairman of the board of the “Alliance for College-Ready Public Schools” is Frank E. Baxter, one of the biggest Republican donors in California.

3)  Steve Barr, the Chairman of the Board of Green Dot, has used the charter schools to drive a wedge into the LA teacher’s union.  Union-busting wolf in sheep’s clothing? Something like that.  He’s deeply involved with Republican privatization front-group Democrats For Education Reform.  More Green Dots — and more freedom to put the public dime in private hands– is what his work is all about.

Heads up, folks.

Front groups and buzz words can go a long way towards obscuring the real Republican agenda of privatization.

Please deconstruct — and expose — other efforts whenever you find them!

[Cross-posted at DailyKos.]

Torture Memos: Impeach Judge Bybee

(We’re going to be hearing a lot about this.  I wanted to make sure that the resolution was in order, but apparently so.  It is a moral outrage to have this man sitting in judgment of anyone right now. – promoted by David Dayen)

The torture memos released yesterday are a call to action.  President Obama has done all he needs to do to enable us to rise up and demand accountability from those who directed and enabled torture.  It’s time.

Tuesday night at the monthly meeting of the largest county Democratic Party in the nation, Los Angeles, the vote was unanimous on a resolution calling for the impeachment of Judge Jay Bybee, author of the famous “torture memo” — aka “the Bybee memo.”

Unanimous.  LACDP spoke with one loud, clear voice on this.  Next week, we’ll be working this resolution at the California Democratic Party Convention in Sacramento.  And I hope Democrats (and Republicans, too) will join together in crafting resolutions calling for accountability.  It’s time to dismantle the Bush Administration’s torture policy, and bring its facilitators to account.  

The resolution urges impeachment for the man who signed the memo advising the CIA that torture is sometimes allowable under U.S. law, Jay Bybee.  Thanks to yesterday’s document release, more people than ever are learning who Jay Bybee really is.  He’s the guy who first signed off on CIA torture.

Resolution and more after the jump.  

Torture isn’t allowable under U.S. law, of course, no matter what some lawyer in the Justice Department may say.  We all know that.  And it’s time to make some folks accountable — perhaps especially Judge Jay Bybee, who now sits on the Federal Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  Impeachment is the only way to touch him, because he’s appointed to that cushy seat  in San Francisco… for  life… thanks to George W. Bush.

Beyond the memo released yesterday, here’s some background on Bybee and torture:

   * The “torture memo” of August 1, 2002 was signed by Jay Bybee when he was at Justice.  It’s now commonly called “the Bybee memo” — and it was the first deliberate step taken to legitimize “enhanced” interrogation by the Bush administration.  Sen. Feinstein famously grilled Alberto Gonzalez about the memo at his confirmation hearings.

   * In 2003, Bush appointed Bybee to the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  At his confirmation hearings, he “stonewalled,” refusing to divulge any legal opinions he may have rendered while at Justice.

   * Our CA Sens. Feinstein and Boxer both voted against his confirmation, March, 2003.    

   * The “Bybee Memo” was leaked to the Washington Post over a year later, summer of 2004.  No one knew of Justice Bybee’s role in drafting torture memos until long after he’d been confirmed.  He now has a seat for life in San Francisco.

   * A compelling argument for impeaching Justice Bybee was recently made by Bruce Ackerman of Yale Law School.

We’ll be pushing for this resolution to be voted out by the entire California Democratic Party at our upcoming convention in San Francisco.

Here’s the resolution.  If you agree with it, on the merits, please do all you can to push forward similar resolutions around the country.

It’s time we all spoke together, with one voice, to end torture!


Passed Unanimously by LACDP, 4/14/09

Whereas, the 1st Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees the people a right to petition the government for a redress of grievances; and,

Whereas the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment, the supreme law of the land under Article VI of our Constitution, requires the prosecution of those who authorize torture, waterboarding is torture, and both former President George W. Bush and former Vice President Richard B. Cheney have admitted to authorizing waterboarding; and,

Whereas former Assistant Attorney General, and current Federal Judge of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Jay Bybee signed the “Bybee Memo,” or “Torture Memo” of August 1, 2002, which advised the C.I.A. that “cruel, inhuman or degrading” treatment was at times allowable under U.S. law, and authored, co-authored and signed other memos on “extraordinary rendition” and “enhanced interrogation,” more of which are being currently revealed to the American public as the new administration brings them to light; now,

Therefore be it resolved that the Los Angeles County Democratic Party urges that the United States House of Representatives begin impeachment proceedings against Judge Jay Bybee of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, charging him with facilitating the authorization of torture while employed by the United States Department of Justice; and,

Therefore be it further resolved that a copy of this resolution with its original authorization be sent to the Office of the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, and the Majority Leader of  the United States Senate, and that copies of the signed resolution be sent to each member of the California delegation to the United States Senate and House of Representatives.

(Cross-posted at DailyKos.)