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Jeff Bryant

Pennsylvania Charter Schools Are A Dumpster Fire

Few if any presidential candidates seem willing to acknowledge providing families with an option to choose charter schools comes with crushing costs to everyone else in the community. In Pennsylvania, charter schools now cost taxpayers over $1.8 billion annually and account for over 25 percent of the state’s basic education funding. Pennsylvania’s surging charter school costs are direct causes of rapidly rising property taxes across the state. When public school students transfer to charters, local public schools have to make “tuition payments” to compensate charters for students who transferred. These mostly unplanned, unforeseen costs are often enough to tip district budgets into the red. And the only way to pay off the deficits and right the fiscal ship is to raise local property taxes. What’s unalterably true about charter schools everywhere is that their funding derives from the flawed belief that they can be paid for simply by taking money away from local public schools. But in Pennsylvania, these costs have turned into a dumpster fire.

Unions Back New York Climate Bill

How unions and climate organizers learned to work together in New York. Common Dreams: "New York Renews offers an encouraging example of how labor and environmental groups can work together to act on climate change. The coalition has the backing of unions like 32BJ Service Employees International Union—a property service workers union, the New York State Nurses Association, the New York State Amalgamated Transit Union, Teamsters Joint Council 16 and the Communications Workers of America Local 1108. It also has the support of a vast number of environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, Environmental Advocates of New York and GreenFaith. The bill’s strong language around labor—such as requiring that government contracts include mechanisms for resolving disputes and ensuring labor harmony—has helped quell opposition from building trade unions that typically fight robust climate proposals. The New York AFL-CIO, a labor federation representing 3,000 state affiliates, has notably stayed quiet on the bill."

John Dean Compares Trump To Nixon In Testimony

Watergate’s John Dean gives statement on potential Trump obstruction. Politico: "Chairman Nadler, Ranking Member Collins, the last time I appeared before your committee was July 11, 1974, during the impeachment inquiry of President Richard Nixon. Clearly, I am not here as a fact witness. Rather I accepted the invitation to appear today because I hope I can give a bit of historical context to the Mueller Report. I would like to address a few of the remarkable parallels I find in the Mueller Report that echo Watergate, particularly those related to obstruction of justice. And I hasten to add that I learned about obstruction of justice the hard way, by finding myself on the wrong side of the law. In both situations the White House Counsel was implicated in the coverup activity. While I was an active participant in the coverup for a period of time, there is absolutely no information whatsoever that Trump’s White House Counsel, Don McGahn, participated in any illegal or improper activity – to the contrary, there is evidence he prevented several obstruction attempts. But there is no question Mr. McGahn was a critical observer of these activities. Mr. McGahn is the most prominent fact witness regarding obstruction of justice cited in the Mueller Report. He is mentioned in the report on 529 occasions, and based on the footnotes he was interviewed at various lengths by the FBI on not less than 9 occasions. I sincerely hope that Mr. McGahn will voluntarily appear and testify. His silence is perpetuating an ongoing coverup, and while his testimony will create a few political enemies, based on almost 50 years of experience I can assure him he will make far more real friends."

Kochs Want To Invest In Conservative Dems

The Koch Brothers want to prevent future AOCs GQ: "In a memo obtained by CNBC, Emily Seidel, CEO of the Koch-affiliated political-action committee Americans for Prosperity, announced that the organization would be backing incumbent Democrats against progressive primary challenges in the upcoming congressional primaries. The memo laid out AFP's new objectives, including 'Support the primary election of lawmakers, regardless of political party, who stick their necks out to lead diverse policy coalitions. The threat of being primaried prevents policymakers from leading on difficult issues and driving principled policy reforms.' By bankrolling incumbents, they can potentially shut out future progressive upstarts like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley, both of whom beat long-sitting congressmen in 2018. The most ominous part of this plan is how much it dovetails with the objectives of the Democratic establishment, like the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, ostensibly dedicated to electing Democrats to the House of Representatives. The DCCC, which is consistently to the right of the party's voters, recently announced that it would blacklist any consultants or vendors that worked with candidates running against Democratic incumbents."

A People's Wave Can Crush Gerrymanders

How Republicans’ zeal for gerrymandering could blow up in their faces. ThinkProgress: "The thing about gerrymandering is that, barring a well-timed electoral wave, it tends to perpetuate itself. Virginia’s House of Delegates is so rigidly gerrymandered to benefit Republicans that Democratic candidates won the statewide popular vote by more than 9 percentage points in 2017, yet Republicans kept a narrow majority in the statehouse. In Wisconsin, Democratic candidates won 54% of the popular vote in the 2018 state assembly races, yet Republicans control an astounding 63% of the assembly seats. Thus, unless Democrats win the states of Virginia and Wisconsin in a crushing tidal wave that washes Republicans into the sea, the GOP will likely control the Virginia House of Delegates and the Wisconsin state assembly in 2020, when new maps must be drawn. But early polling data suggests that such a wave is possible in 2020, as under-performing presidential candidates tend to drag down their entire party. And if 2020 is a recession year, a Democratic wave might be inevitable."

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