Who is stealing from teachers? Sh-h-h. It’s a trade secret.

After several years of being made to seem like another crazy “conspiracy theory” by corporate media coverage of teacher pension theft, the pension theft pattern has emerged into the open. There can no longer be a conspiracy (secret plan of destruction) theory when corporations and pension raiders have had laws passed to protect them from the open theft of our pensions via undisclosed fees for undisclosed investments to undisclosed sources.

teachers came for copy

Today the manner of theft is out in the open. Who has stolen how much? That is a (now) a legally protected “trade secret.”

The New York Times reports that New York City’s pensions are “hanging by a thread.”
Why? “Trade secrets.”

Fred Klonsky and David Sirota explain New York City’s and Illinois’ latest “trade secrets” that rip us off and endanger the length, size and existence of our pensions. Undisclosed fees – win or lose. High risk hedge and venture funds. With our money.

Fred says this about Illinois pensions.

“What percentage of Illinois public pensions are invested in the same kind of high risk, alternative investment plans as New York?
Nobody seems to be able or willing to say.
Are there hidden fees?
Can’t say.”

David says this about Illinois, Rhode Island and Kentucky’s teacher pension systems.

“Investors like Warren Buffett are saying public pension systems shouldn’t be plowing retirement savings into hedge funds, private equity and other so-called ‘alternative investments.’ That is an especially powerful argument when such investments keep allowing the financial industry to charge ever-higher fees in near-total secrecy.”

The main thing to keep in mind is that teachers paid money, from every paycheck, as legislators in hidden/open/secret agreements either never paid the allotted money into the funds or shoveled the undisclosed “trade secret” fee monies to the same people who contributed to their re-elections and their revolving door employment deals. Fraud!

In straightforward terms, legislators and fund managers are stealing our hard earned money which was our life savings to be repaid as a form of an annuity. The money did not disappear. Mistakes were not made. Natural disasters did not occur. Thieves are stealing our deferred income.

How can we stop these thieves before we end up old, homeless and destitute? That is the multi-billion dollar question.

 

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Posted in betrayal, corruption, fairness, government, greed, legislative pillage, lies, pensions, poverty, propaganda, wage theft | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Perhaps President Obama would choose libraries instead of a mausoleum.

Libraries for the living seem much more valuable than a mausoleum for one past political leader.

The Pyramid at Giza is indeed impressive. The dead guy who was in there must have been pretty important in his day.

The President Ronald Reagan Library continues the tradition of burying a VIP’s favorite items along with the personal doodads of the dead leader. Air Force One (a big airplane), his helicopter, his armored limousine, a few extraneous police-type vehicles and other stuff loom inside and above the heads of lunchroom diners and gift shop souvenir vendors. Lots and lots of big kind of important (to him) things abound. There is no mention of the Iran/Contra Scandal, the secret swap of weapons to Iran and those who used the weapons to shoot American troops. Lest anyone think this is merely some anti-republican rant, the President Lyndon Baines Johnson Library has incredible photos and oversized quotations about the war in Vietnam and cute gift shop items. Upon examining these, it appears that we won in Vietnam under his leadership. Some clearance gift items are 50% off.

Obama Library.001

The President Barack Obama Library is projected to cost over half a billion dollars to build in Chicago. The costs of staffing all 17 Presidential libraries is $70 million a year. Staffing comes from tax money alone. Maintenance and stuff is funded by city, county, state, federal, and private sources year after year.

If Chicago Public Schools each had President Barack Obama Libraries built, staffed and funded in a similar manner, imagine how much good these libraries would do for the children in Chicago. Children would love him and his libraries just as we adults revere the libraries we frequented as children, students and adults. President Obama might do for public school libraries what Andrew Carnegie did for public libraries.

Perhaps we should ask President Obama to begin a new trend of helping our living children as his legacy as a soon-to-be past President.
This actually IS for the children.

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Posted in civic duty, government, poverty, public education | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

ASL Teacher has ALS and loses both of her voices

Karen Dyer, an American Sign Language (ASL) teacher, has ALS which was once called Lou Gehrig’s Disease; this is a progressive neurodegenerative disease which has caused her to lose both her vocal abilities and her hand movements.

Karen Dyer has lived her adult life with two voices—her speaking voice and the “voice” of her hands. As an ASL teacher, mentor, consultant, interpreter and actress, she has awakened a new level of awareness within our theatre community of what it means to communicate with your hands.

She introduced the character of Chester the Jester into the Children’s Programming. Chester never spoke, only signed. As a result, countless children left our theatre smiling and talking to each other with their hands.

Karen’s good friends are attempting to raise funds via a GoFundMe site.

7988735_1452006830.9009

The expenses and needs that accompany this disease, over and above health care coverage, can be emotionally, psychologically and financially debilitating. Our goal is to ease the financial burden of home modifications, transportation needs and in-home care.

If you can afford to help Karen Dyer, please do so. For more information and to contribute, please go to her GoFundMe site.

(I know that this is a legitimate situation because my wife’s dearest friend is also a friend of Karen Dyer. Although they both live outside of Philadelphia, a thousand miles away from me and my wife, we also hope that you can help Karen and her family during this crisis.)

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Why did retired teacher Roberta Rebb die the Sunday before Christmas?

Roberta Rebb was a genuinely good person and an excellent teacher who had taken early retirement for health reasons. Most people ask how old she was or what disease she died from. It is most important in Roberta’s life to ask why she died on the Sunday before Christmas.

Christmas joy and sorrow.001

I blogged one of my friend Roberta’s emails to me with her permission while withholding her name at her request. It seems reasonable now to re-post her email and my blog to allow us all to see what the assault against retired teachers, and so many other victims of political crimes, have caused or worsened. Roberta simply tells the truth about what she was subjected to.

(Friends and fellow bloggers have filled in even more details about Roberta. From Fred Klonsky. From Glen Brown with a comment by John Dillon.)

Below is Roberta’s email and my commentary from October 25, 2015. You decide why Roberta died specifically on the Sunday before Christmas.

Dear Friends,

I just wanted you all to know how [IL Gov. Bruce] Rauner’s unconstitutional act of not providing a signed budget has affected me at my most vulnerable.   As you all know, my cancer returned this past summer and I am forced to undergo more chemotherapy which is an exhausting ordeal.  I was informed this week that my doctor could no longer treat me, despite my paying my premiums and Cigna approving 100% payment the State of Illinois could no longer make payments and has informed my doctor’s office that it would take over a year to process his invoices.  I will now have to drive 37 miles one way for treatment at Rush University which is still accepting my insurance.  With winter approaching and the exhaustion following the treatments, I will have to once again impose on friends or The American Cancer Society to get me to Chicago and back home again.

Something needs to be done about a governor holding the legislature and its citizens hostage so that he can destroy collective bargaining rights and tromp on workers’ rights.  I thank you all for your continued advocacy and willingness to fight for those of us who cannot do so.

With gratitude,
(Name withheld by request) [Roberta Rebb]

Because of a political power battle between Gov. Rauner (R) and 30+ year Speaker of the House Madigan (D), the state is not paying its bills and has no signed budget. The governor has decided to hold innocent people hostage by refusing to sign a budget which includes people under state healthcare contracts.

The immediate results are savage cuts to special education children and their families, homeless people, and my friend who has spent her entire adult life as a career teacher dedicated to serving the best interests of the children under her care. My friend must also place her mother in a nursing home because she is no longer strong enough to care for her.

Yes, there are many more people suffering as both billionaire Gov. Rauner and multimillionaire  Speaker Madigan continue immense tax cuts for their billionaire cronies and donors. Tax cuts for corporate wealth continue and actual grants of tax money pour out to corporate interests. The state government may actually be closed down. The political battle is potentially deadly – especially for the innocent victims who are the collateral damage of this War of Corruption (corruption called government) in Illinois.

These political torturers have created the possibility of a public revolt, a revolt that could easily get out of control. The suffering is spreading, and most people are either affected or know someone who is.

The War of Threats must end.
The War of Abuse and Neglect must end.
The War of Suffering must end.
The War of Corruption must end.

Addendum: For those who do not know, Illinois teachers were required to pay 9.4% of their gross income into the state’s pension fund, and teachers were not allowed to pay into Social Security or Medicare with their own salaries. Active and retired teachers (from salary and pension checks) were also required to pay additional money for their state healthcare. [Retirees pay thousands of dollars per year from their pensions for the state mandated healthcare programs.]
In spite of what the Chicago Tribune claims, even the president of the IL Senate admits teacher pension funds are not even close to being a catastrophic problem. The IL Supreme Court also stated this in a ruling against pension theft attempts. [The state mandated healthcare programs are also being used as political tools.]

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Posted in betrayal, corporate education reform, corruption, government, greed, legislative pillage, lies, pensions, propaganda, public education, wage theft | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Massacre of the Innocents in 2015-2016

History repeats itself, or it rhymes as some insist. Rahm Emanuel’s Chicago with its school closings, intentional bankrupting of the public school system, the school to prison pipeline, and its mass killings of innocent children repeats/rhymes with the Massacre of the Innocents as commemorated in Christian churches during this season.

(Disclosure: I am personally not a very religious person, but I respect the lessons of religion and history as I endeavor to lead a “do-unto-others” life. I also honor everyone’s religious convictions.)

In the Gospel of Matthew (2:16-18) King Herod feared that a local newborn child would overthrow his throne. When he learned from the Magi, the Three Kings, that a possibly messianic child was born, he ordered the killing of all children under twelve months of age in his kingdom – The Massacre of the Innocents. His personal police carried out his wishes in the name of law and order – his law and his political order. An angel warned Joseph in a dream that Jesus would be slaughtered, so Joseph took Mary and Jesus on the Flight into Egypt.

What did the mothers and fathers of the children victims feel as the orders for police killings were carried out?

“Then was fulfilled that which was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet, saying, ‘A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because her children are no more.'”

In the years of Rahm Emanuel’s rule in Chicago, one of the most influential and powerful Democrats repeated/rhymed the massacre of innocents day after day and week after week by being the overseer of the land/wealth/power grab. Children, adults, the mentally ill, the poor, the innocent are being slaughtered in large numbers by the Chicago Police Department which is under Rahm’s control. In particular, black lives do not matter. Rahm wants his police department investigated for its participation in the murders – as he himself claims no responsibility for what he as mayor is responsible for.

Nate Rasmussen says it best.
“What do you call someone who covers up the murder of a child to further his career? Most of you are saying sociopath, but in Chicago we say Mayor.”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel - murderer.001 copy

The federal investigation should be about Rahm Emanuel.
For now, Rahm needs to resign from office, and his political cronies need to stop endorsing and protecting him.

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Posted in betrayal, civic duty, corruption, government, greed, lies, poverty, public education | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

12 Public Education Memes from 2015

If a picture is worth a thousand words, memes attempt to add a few words to increase the thousand and thereby add even more meaning. Here are a dozen of the memes I created and used in my 2015 blog.

arthurcosta

cathy-fuentes-rohwer

childhood-opt-out-now

christie-with-baseball-player-and-teacher

duncan-ravitch-a

mr-rogers-and-arne-duncan

president-obama-and-john-king-001

rahm-emanuel-not-investigated-001

rauner-autism

stephen-krashen-hunger-games

surprised-baby1

the-high-stakes-test

These are a few of the reasons that we must defend ourselves and our children from the assault against public education and public services. Decency requires that we fight in defense of all we, as civilized human beings, hold dear.

(By the way, I actually created a couple of these memes before 2015 but used them in my blog this year.)

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Posted in betrayal, charters - vouchers, civic duty, Common Core CCSS, corporate education reform, corruption, fairness, government, greed, ignorance, legislative pillage, lies, Network for Public Education - NPE, pensions, poverty, privatization, propaganda, public education, testing, wage theft | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Teachers and police officers may school Rahm.

Rahm is too connected to jail.

Or… is he?

Rahm Emanuel NOT investigated.001

The Chief of Police was fired by Rahm for covering up a police murder. Covered up and paid millions in taxpayer money to the family of the murdered 17 year old black youth. Covered up for 13 months while Rahm gets himself re-elected. Then the head of the “Independent” Police Review Authority, who was personally appointed by Rahm, quits. Next the Chief of Detectives unexpectedly and suddenly leaves.

The CEO of the Chicago Public Schools was imprisoned for fraud. Appointed Board of Education members profit from closing schools and paying charters, charters they are invested in. The Chief Financial Officer and the Chief Accountability Officer of the Chicago Public Schools both jump ship right after Rahm loses an Illinois Supreme Court case which tried to claim that Chicago doesn’t have enough money to pay its debts for teacher and public employee pensions. However Rahm continues to give away millions and millions of tax dollars annually to the connected and their connections. DePaul University, an expensive private Catholic university, will receive millions for building a second basketball arena. Billionaire George Lucas will get megabuck tax dollars to build his museum. The list goes on and on.

But Rahm claims to not have enough money to pay teachers or to keep schools from closing. Even more teachers are scheduled to be fired and even more programs will be cut in schools where children are struggling to survive and become educated. Teachers have a strike authorization vote on December 9, 2015.

So this is where the “schooling of Rahm” stands as of this moment. Two different sets of situations from the police and the teachers could cause the Rahm phenomenon to implode.

Rahm Emanuel is one of the most connected and powerful Democrats in America. He forces a severe Tea Party ideology and a pure Republican austerity program onto Chicagoans. Corruption is bipartisan; billionaires and their political cronies collude and steal from the middle class. The sole ideology is destructive greed. Rahm may drag down Hillary and the entire Democratic Party during the next election.

Yet, somehow, Rahm isn’t even under federal investigation. Why?

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Posted in betrayal, civic duty, corporate education reform, corruption, government, greed, legislative pillage, lies, pensions, public education, testing, wage theft | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

The Rats Are Jumping Ship: Captain Rahm Emanuel Is Still Captain

Mayor Rahm Emanuel may take the entire Democratic Party with him. As Captain Rahm of the appointed school board, wealthy cronies all, Rahm cannot avoid facing yet another corruption laden scandal such as his Chicago Police-As-Killers cover up.

Yet, his past school board CEO is in jail for self confessed corruption which made millions for her and her friends as over fifty public schools were closed for lack of education tax money. There are no accurate numbers available of all the children “lost” during the process. No numbers of the suffering children and parents denied their basic rights to a decent education in decent surroundings are available.

Of course there is more than enough money for charter schools which profit even the appointed school board members who invest in them.

Now Rahm and the gang claim that there is not enough money for teachers and essential education programs. (Rahm had also claimed there was no money for teacher and other public employee pensions until the Illinois Supreme Court told him that there was no way his plans to cut, diminish or abandon pension debts were constitutional.)

The Chicago Teachers Union has a strike vote coming up in a few days, a vote based on Rahm’s latest financial claims and anti-teacher and anti-union ideologies – Democratic Party majority Chicago ideologies. Rahm may take the Dems down with him.

CPS rats jump ship - Rahm Emanuel.001

Well, both the Chief Financial Officer and the Chief Accounting Officer of the Chicago Public Schools jumped ship a mere few days ago. Perhaps they do not wish to share adjoining cells with the ex-CEO of the Chicago Public Schools. Perhaps they live in fear of disobeying Rahm, the head of the powerful Chicago Democratic Party Machine. Perhaps. Perhaps. But “WHY?” is the real question.

Rats jumping ship is totally expected when the ship is ruled by Captain Rahm Emanuel.

Will Rahm resign? Most people living in Rahm’s Chicago would be better off if Rahm was jailed.

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Posted in betrayal, charters - vouchers, civic duty, corporate education reform, corruption, government, greed, legislative pillage, lies, privatization, public education | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Retired Teachers: Collateral Damage – chemotherapy

(From a dear friend and fellow retired teacher)

Dear Friends,

I just wanted you all to know how [IL Gov. Bruce] Rauner’s unconstitutional act of not providing a signed budget has affected me at my most vulnerable.   As you all know, my cancer returned this past summer and I am forced to undergo more chemotherapy which is an exhausting ordeal.  I was informed this week that my doctor could no longer treat me, despite my paying my premiums and Cigna approving 100% payment the State of Illinois could no longer make payments and has informed my doctor’s office that it would take over a year to process his invoices.  I will now have to drive 37 miles one way for treatment at Rush University which is still accepting my insurance.  With winter approaching and the exhaustion following the treatments, I will have to once again impose on friends or The American Cancer Society to get me to Chicago and back home again.

Something needs to be done about a governor holding the legislature and its citizens hostage so that he can destroy collective bargaining rights and tromp on workers’ rights.  I thank you all for your continued advocacy and willingness to fight for those of us who cannot do so.

With gratitude,
(Name withheld by request)

Chemotherapy.001

Because of a political power battle between Gov. Rauner (R) and 30+ year Speaker of the House Madigan (D), the state is not paying its bills and has no signed budget. The governor has decided to hold innocent people hostage by refusing to sign a budget which includes people under state healthcare contracts.

The immediate results are savage cuts to special education children and their families, homeless people, and my friend who has spent her entire adult life as a career teacher dedicated to serving the best interests of the children under her care. My friend must also place her mother in a nursing home because she is no longer strong enough to care for her.

Yes, there are many more people suffering as both billionaire Gov. Rauner and multimillionaire  Speaker Madigan continue immense tax cuts for their billionaire cronies and donors. Tax cuts for corporate wealth continue and actual grants of tax money pour out to corporate interests. The state government may actually be closed down. The political battle is potentially deadly – especially for the innocent victims who are the collateral damage of this War of Corruption (corruption called government) in Illinois.

These political torturers have created the possibility of a public revolt, a revolt that could easily get out of control. The suffering is spreading, and most people are either affected or know someone who is.

The War of Threats must end.
The War of Abuse and Neglect must end.
The War of Suffering must end.
The War of Corruption must end.

Addendum: For those who do not know, Illinois teachers were required to pay 9.4% of their gross income into the state’s pension fund, and teachers were not allowed to pay into Social Security or Medicare with their own salaries. Active and retired teachers (from salary and pension checks) were also required to pay additional money for their state healthcare.
In spite of what the Chicago Tribune claims, even the president of the IL Senate admits teacher pension funds are not even close to being a catastrophic problem. The IL Supreme Court also stated this in a ruling against pension theft attempts.

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Posted in betrayal, civic duty, corruption, government, greed, legislative pillage, pensions, public education | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Hillary/Bernie Political Kabuki Theater Has Been Scripted Just As High Stakes Testing Has

Why must the Democratic Presidential Primary Debate be scripted like the teacher preparation of children for the mandated high stakes tests? The arguments and limits are pre-framed for a targeted consumer.

This will not be a debate. Corporate education reformers who contribute huge amounts of money to candidates and political lobbyists will not be revealed by name. Teachers will continue to be evaluated and fired as children are labeled and monetized within the framework created by billionaire corporate education investors. The faux-debate will also have the preordained candidate who says whatever it takes to get elected. She will be “challenged” by those who are actually there to attack the popular candidate who dares to speak truth to power, Bernie Sanders, who will be painted as the cartoon stereotype of the crabby old man.

Children, parents, teachers and everybody deserves better than this political Kabuki Theater of the Absurd which will take place tonight.

The script has been pre-written. Only the “performers” will be important.

Hillary Bernie Kabuki Debate.001

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Posted in corporate education reform, corruption, government, legislative pillage, privatization, propaganda, public education, testing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments