Vote TFA Grifter DeRay McKesson for Mayor of Baltimore!

(We interrupt our regularly scheduled police state Café programming to bring Drew Franklin’s investigation into DeRay McKesson’s Baltimore mayoral campaign’s promise of  ‘accountability and transparency’ at

blue vest

The journalist notes at the beginning how rare it is that a mayoral campaign for a city of about 600,000 to blast onto the national media stage even before announcing any policy positions that might defeat more politically entrenched candidates, and that McKesson had even raised over $70,000 in online donations to his campaign pretty much on spec.  Beyoncé, of course is endorsing him, as well as rapper Talib Kweli.  Maybe Kweli will rap him out a song soon, perhaps even a pumped-up Weird Al Yankovitcesque take-off on Shorty Long’s ‘Devil with the Blue Vest on’ (yeah, Mitch Ryter’s cover was great). ;-)  But shoot, he knows what a media darling DeRay had become even before that, as do we all.  His name was practically synonymous with the BlackLives movement, and his Twitter followers must have numbered in the millions!

Franklin reminds us that “In 2015, Fortune included McKesson in its list of the “World’s Greatest Leaders” for his work on Campaign Zero, a “data-driven” platform that puts forth policy recommendations for police reform”.

While observing that DeRay’s extensive relationship with TFA (Teach for America) has received almost no scrutiny,  the best educational policy experts (my word, not his) regard TSA as the vanguard of the privatized school movement and teachers’ union crushing.  He notes many examples in New Orleans (post Katrina shock-doctrine), NYC, Chicago, DeeCee, and Baltimore, and that the NGO is funded by the Waltons, Gates Foundation (my, their filthy lucre-stuffed noses poking into everything they can control), and Fortune 500 corporations.

Sure, Franklin says, some of his proposals are good, including $15/hr minimum wage, and college debt jubilee for low-income kids, but that those are distinctly at odds with his regressive policies that adhere to corporate models of his funders.

So…as a good journalist would do, he phoned DeRay to ask him to answer some questions in hope that he might be ‘transparent and accountable’.  Well, not so much; Drew characterized his answers as “alternating between evasiveness and irritation”.  For instance:

“He struggled to explain how, after quitting his job, he funded his constant excursions to protests against police brutality from Ferguson to Milwaukee. And he adamantly refused to discuss subjects like campaign personnel or outside donors. Even routine questions were met with gruff responses.

“All of that is public information,” he said, when I asked about his fundraising strategy. Mckesson didn’t yield to more specific question about his campaign contributions, either, instead deferring to his forthcoming campaign finance report, which he confirmed won’t be filed until next month.

When asked if he was harvesting emails gathered by Campaign Zero to promote his mayoral campaign, as several sources told me he was, Mckesson simply said, “No comment.”

He would not give any details about his campaign’s voter database management, refusing to confirm he even maintained any kind of database at all, despite the ubiquity of the practice in contemporary elections. Nevertheless, an analysis of the source code in a DeRay For Mayor donor appeal email I obtained indicates that it was sent through a list on Campaign Zero’s web domain.

Nor would he tell me about an off-the-record policy meeting he held in January, according to the Washington Post. Among the dozen attendees were members of Campaign Zero’s planning team and Donnie O’Callaghan, a former TFA corps member and project manager for TFA offshoot The New Teacher Project. Mckesson refused to identify the “several city officials” the Post reports were at his policy meeting, telling me they did not want to be named.”

And ooopsie, his website apparently shows similar verbiage about education reform as Rahm’s, Bloomberg’s, Detroit’s mayor… standardized test score results, yada, yada, which by the by, make bucket loads of bucks for Silicon Valley, as do…online schools.

The author brings in opinions from Dr. Julian Vasquez Heilig, professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at California State University at Sacramento who writes about and researches TFA often at his website Cloaking Inequity.

You’ll love this, though.  Having asked Heilig about McKesson’s comments on assessing “the feasibility of repurposing closed schools and recreation centers to ensure opportunities are available in all neighborhoods”, you could hear the snort in his comment: repurposing for what???”, then reminding us how often those publicly financed buildings were sold to charter schools (I’d add many are private charter schools, but no matter) for a buck.  Apparently when Drew asked DeRay if he would close schools in Baltimore if elected, the Blue Vest scoffed that the Mayor doesn’t control the school system, and while answering the questions: ‘would you prevent them, allow them?’, he answered:

““That’s like asking me if I’m gonna change the bus schedule,” he said. “The mayor doesn’t manage the bus schedule.”

Snort!  Way-ull…yay-uss, eggzackly like that.

As many others, Franklin wondered how it was that McKesson (by then jobless) and Johnetta Elzie were able to show up in so many different venues across the country as protests occurred, and they’d Tweet them out abroad via Twitter (remember: DeRay sports a Twitter Tee now and again, and has said “Twitter IS the revolution”, ha ha.

When Franklin asked him, he answered:

“You know, people ask me this, and I—I haven’t even had to answer this. I, you know, me and you don’t have a relationship. You know, you’re a reporter to me, you know—I’ve answered it many times. I will, um, I will put that on my list of things and try to double back with you.”

Several hours later, Mckesson texted me the link to a Tweet from last spring claiming that his excursions were funded by unnamed “family and friends.”

The essay gets even more surreal when Franklin shows not just the indelible alliance of TFA, DeRay’s candidacy announcement, Brittany Packnett, and an arm of TFA Leadership for Educational Equity (LEE) that provides training and funding to aspiring politicians and candidates affiliated with TFA.  And it seems highly possible that a key reason the two TFA luminaries attended the 15,000-strong TFA 25th Anniversary Summit in DeeCee the weekend of February 5, with a heady seminar entitled “Then and Now: The New Civil Rights Agenda and Education”…may have had something to do with the fact that not long ago, the organization was facing backlash for being (ahem) racist, in that most of the black teachers that were made redundant…were being replaced by white teachers with their minimal education for certification.

Olivia Blanchard weighed in on Sept. 23, 2013: ‘I Quit Teach for America; Five weeks of training was not enough to prepare me for a room of 20 unruly elementary-schoolers.’

Stir in DeRay’s apparent high regard for ‘local technology entrepreneurs’, Bill Gate’s advocacy for Common Core and its goals (Diane Ravitch here), and yeppers, you have a recipe for corporate controlled education of the most egregious kind, but otoh, creating little corporate drones might be just what the doctor ordered, no?  Pay attention to  reTweet of black superhero below:

DeRay’s Tweets and reTweets (Tweet and re-Tweet were sittin’ on a fence; Tweet fell off…who was left?):

Vested Interests: Why DeRay Mckesson Matters’,

‘Mayoral Candidate DeRay Mckesson Is Not a Member of the Illuminati’ (wide grin)

Ha ha;  worth reTweeting five times (get it now?): ‘Opting Out Is the Wrong Choice for Our Kids’ by Charles F. Coleman Jr. Civil Rights Attorney, Former Prosecutor, Black Superhero (he must be alluding to his personal grifting for the Waiting for Superman rubbish:

“Educators, parents, political leaders, business people, and concerned citizens are determined to save our educational system. Waiting for “Superman” offers powerful insights from some of those at the leading edge of educational innovation, including: Bill and Melinda Gates, Geoffrey Canada, Michelle Rhee, Randi Weingarten, Bill Strickland, Eric Schwarz, Jay Mathews, Eric Hanushek, Davis Guggenheim and Lesley Chilcott.”  Yep, a DeRay reTweet

waiting for superman

look at that poor child…sitting in the US educational wasteland!

Way-ull; you get my grift now, yes?  VOTE DERAY FOR MAYOR OF BALTIMORE!  HE WEARS A BLUE VEST!  It smells like Nirvana to me!

13 responses to “Vote TFA Grifter DeRay McKesson for Mayor of Baltimore!

  1. late breaking deray tweet ‘n retweets:

    humor of a sort, i reckon

    sleep well; your blue vest has your backs.

  2. i’d really meant for this to be in a stand-alone diary, but as i mused about TFA and its union-busting angle, i thought again about the SCOTUS decision on Friedrichs v California Teachers Association having been slated for march. now that scalia has kicked off, the case will either have to be re-heard, or voted on by 8 judges in what would likely be a 4-4 tie vote.

    Jeff Mackler explains the case as ‘friedrichs v. public employees union’:
    “On Jan. 11, the U.S. Supreme Court during oral arguments in the case signaled its intention to deliver a body blow to public-employee unionism nationwide. The CTA today represents 375,000 school employees in California. But 9 million other unionized public employees, 36 percent of all public workers in the country, will be dramatically affected if the Supreme Court’s expected May decision voids the right of unions to collect dues from all workers represented by union negotiated collective bargaining contracts.
    During the hearing, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito indicated that he had the votes to overturn the court’s “historic” 1977 Abood v. Detroit Board of Education decision that affirmed the right of public employee unions to collect an agency fee equivalent to union dues from all workers covered by union contracts. [large snip after demonstrating that the thousands of general strikes from the ’60s onward are what brought progressive change to pay, social services, and tra la la.]

    Union officials’ limp response (because: democRats)

    Tragically, to date, not a single public-sector union—SEIU, AFSCME, NEA, AFT, CWA, etc.—has uttered a word stating or implying that should the Supreme Court’s nine judges, appointed for life to oversee capitalism’s interests, make the collection of union dues illegal, they will act to defy the Court and all other government institutions that seek to enforce their anti-union dictates. Not one of the labor organizations has offered to mobilize union power in alliance with their natural allies among the poor and oppressed to effectively void any Court decision. Tragically again, the AFL-CIO has stood virtually mute in the face of an expected decision that may well reduce the ranks of labor to an even more pitiful level than the present modern-era low.

    Now dave johnson writing at alternet says this:

    “In the Friedrichs case, there is little doubt that the court will now tie 4-4 because of the unanimous Abood precedent. The rules of the legal system say a tie in the Supreme Court means that the ruling of the lower court that advanced the case up to the Supreme Court stays in effect.
    In the case of Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, that lower court is the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. That court ruled that the unanimous 1977 Supreme Court ruling in Abood is still settled law and applies, so the California Teachers Association could continue to collect dues from nonmembers.”

  3. ‘up jumped the devil’:

    After Scalia’s Death, Lawyer for Teacher Challenging Public Unions Wants Supreme Court to Rehear Case

    “The Supreme Court could issue an order to rehear the case at any point and doesn’t necessarily need to wait until the end of the term—when it was expected to announce its ruling on the case—to do so.
    According to the Center for Individual Rights, a rehearing would occur during the Supreme Court’s next term, which begins in October, with a ruling coming in 2017.”

    Pell hilariously claims that unions would naturally want the case reheard since there would still be ‘a cloud’ over the issue, mooting solidarity.

    zounds, this is quite the fascist site, including this ‘journalist’ who explains the case.

    if you dare, listen to miz lemon-sucking friedrichs conflate a hideous teacher due to tenure with her lawsuit; my stars.

  4. a bit more general on the charter school scam. apologies wendy if this has been covered earlier. long day, a bit scattered.
    of course moi found this here and i quote:
    These findings represent a damning indictment of both Democratic and Republican administrations which have promoted and protected the profits of the “education business industry” at the direct expense of public school funding. These trends, however, have dramatically worsened under the Obama administration and his Race to the Top (RTTT). And frankly, while the CMD report is valuable, it appears to be only the tip of the iceberg, as the group was repeatedly blocked by both federal and state officials in its access to information……
    These examples of fraud and the misuse of funds are just the tip of a very large iceberg…..
    i’m in the dunce seat over here in the corner, but kan eye ax uh qwesdjun? what hasn’t gotten worse under obama? is it a surprise that the DC school system is THE WORST? worse than….gawd, don’t you just feel for michigan right now? D.C. is the worst, in this arena, precisely b/c it’s under the micromanagement of the obama admin. not “legally” or anything like that, just by proximity. all the young-eyed cherubs gazing longingly on the dept of ed funding machine.
    oh god, are we witnessing the “rebirth” of obama in deray mckesson? how big a coat hanger do we need? (apologies in advance for the dreadful imagery.)
    anyone looking at the education of youth, whom all Experts agree are The Future, thru the prism of beating the chinese or whatever….kids as nullities to be filled w/data to achieve a triumphal end, lawdy lawd, don’t even let them near the crayons.

  5. nope, the links are new to me, although i had to scan a lotta the wsws piece. tip of the iceberg, you betccha. remember zuckerburger’s big grant to charter schools in new jersey? all of the lucre went to studies, no chools thankfully went on line, from what i’ve read. did you ever watch an arne duncan talk? well, i did, and it made me wanna stuff him in a goddam basketball net. what an oaf! srsly, the best person for the kochs and alec.

    re: the imagery: hilarious, but partially due to the fact that i did want to find that particular blue vest on a coat hanger.

    no, as the comedian used to say: this country doesn’t want kids educated, just taught to be cogs in the machine. was anything not worse under obama? hmmmm….hmmmm. yes! lily ledbetter! (i know it’s long, and some folks think davis is a jerk, although i dunno their reasons, but you will be rewarded at the end.) note the quotes on the
    sidebars, as well. angry black lady, arrrg. dunno why, but she’s on the radio at twib nation with elon james white.

    ‘Drone-Court Advantage’ By Charles Davis

    but c’mon, dude; did you watch ‘smells like nirvana’? i couldn’t stop playing it, then singing it, the weirdo. ;-)

    • i did watch the weird al vid. thanks. many thanks.

      i spent my day working at (“temping”) (judge me or not. my other opportunity was at fastfood hburger joint Checker’s where they know a brother’s ‘gotta eat’ and they agree w/ the words from The Dark Knight: if you are not getting shot at, you are not doing your job.)

      ugh. leopold’s are global. hungry well-armed ghosts. (ha ha, ‘belgium’ provides some awful % of amurka’s ‘small arms’ fire. wth do any of these words even mean? “this [‘small arms’ weapon] provides plenty of crowd dispersal capability!” what do the words “america” & “belgium” mean? weapons as the ultimate sales job)

      this is not 6 degrees of kevin bacon from the arne duncan charter school deray ‘bio’ mckesson BS. unfortunately.

      • i’d hope i wouldn’t judge you, my friend, even without knowing what fmamerika might be. dunno what or who ‘leopolds’ are, either. i will say i used to work on weekends, but only cuz clients needed help, and mr. wd could father the chiirren. he laughs that i bristle when some calls come in looking for ‘a handyman’, an i say…mr. wd is a master carpenter, but knows almost all of the building trades.

        ‘ya better let go of it’, says he, ‘i’m 67 years old, and just may need to become…a handyman’. now i worked almost every year of my life since i was 16, and SS decided in their book-keeping wisdom that my income per month should amount to $467 or some such bogus figure. i never thought of keeping my SS reports for however many years. so…i had to retire due to a broken body, and mr. wd luckily has some clients here and there who appreciate his master carpentry skills…but may be that other thing soon. walmart greeter is too far away a job in time and space from our valley.

        wow, this nation’s shit’s fucked up, ennit?

        yeah, arne, O, and deray are soul brothers.

        but oh, you should hear the three hoot-owls callin’ from our backyard, with jupiter having risen, and la luna bella on the way. splendid, really. mr wd said the snow in the driveway has melted enough that i can go out and see the big sky tonight.

        • king leopold of belguim. it’s, not org. they are, by their own propaganda anyway, the leading small arms provider for the US gov’t. corporate is in Belgium. nativism, nationalism, etc., a la “election” 2016 is so much BS. lots of guns to cops too. sorry, my comment was a bit confusing. you can gimme a DWP – drinking while posting. There’s a reason why the US, w/some help, is filling the world w/guns. prison planet.

          and you wonder why so many people flip out & shoot up schools? for many, school just sucks. maybe they can divert some of that missing charter school money into armed guards? better than spending it on a music program, right?

          • yes, schools suck for many. but loads of schools now have armed ‘resource officers’ who carry, and many legislatures are now allowing guns in schools ‘for protection of students’, oh, yes. one recent case:

            at least in high schools, many of the shooters/would-be shooters were among the most bullied ‘outsiders’, as well. schools down here sign on to state ed guidelines that ‘bullies won’t be tolerated’, but of course…they are. especially jocks, of course, among gurls…it’s a different ‘mean gurls’ profile; picture the Cheerleader Class, if you will.

            ‘she wouldn’t put down her phone!’ (recently orphaned by the deaths of her mum and grandmum, new in school…)

            but ya google for resource officer stories: stun guns even on wee chirren and special needs chirren, restrained in chairs for hours, no calls to parents…so ugly and evil. what does the white house have to say about them? ‘Moar! serve and protect, defuse violence’. ah, i’m far too cynical, yes?

            oh, and it was george carlin i was trying to remember while C(ommenting)WD.

            well, i can see why you don’t necessarily relish going to work, amigo.

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