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Death by innuendo! Comments on Charley Cowen ’s musings.

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  • Charles Rachlis
    Death by innuendo!  Comments on Charley Cowen’s musings.   One has to admire the analysis of how the school closure process in our district has been
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 5, 2009
      Death by innuendo! 
      Comments on Charley Cowen’s musings.

       

      One has to admire the analysis of how the school closure
      process in our district has been “framed…. for media consumption”, as presented
      by Mr. Charley Cowen. 



      “Mr. Rachlis and his associates were simply more effective in promoting their
      more apocalyptic position as the official opposition. This allowed the closures
      issue to be framed as a reasonable beleaguered school district versus a bunch
      of unreasonable crazed leftists – a classic story line for media
      consumption.”  Cowen post on WCCUSD
      TALK yahoo group April 3, 2009

       

      Mr. Cowen sets up his critique of the WCCCQE  in a manner which couches an  ad hominem  attack on  my person, the other outspoken
      activists and the hundreds who approved of our ideas, in an explanation of how
      the media framed the story.  This
      attack is so well constructed that when fielding objection to having
      categorized  our committee and supporters
      as “unreasonable crazed leftists”, Mr. Cowen can stand back and rightfully
      claim, “ I didn’t cast  any dispersions on you it was the ‘media framing’ that I was pointing to.”  Well done and touché Mr. Cowen.  You have employed  the classic Fox network style of
      innuendo which goes something like this: “Mr. Rachlis, some people say you’re a
      flaming blankity-blank (fill in the blank), do you have a comment.”.  Once the dispersion is cast the job is
      done.

       

      Maybe there was
      some  “media framing” which I
      missed during the heat of the school closure process; when the district had
      meetings every few days.  But I
      think I would have noticed the headline: “Crazed Leftists Pelt Beleaguered
      School Board with Apocalyptic Admonitions”.   There was one article by Daniel Borenstein in the
      Contra Costa Times, which may have caught Mr. Cowen’s attention, in which it
      was  stated,

      “…opposition groups have dug in their heels, demanding no
      school closures, no teacher layoffs, restoration of program cuts, class-size
      reductions and no changes to teacher wage and benefit packages…Talk about being
      in denial.”   Daniel
      Borenstein Contra Costa TIMES 1/25/09

      Mr. Borenstein
      found it unreasonable that parents today would want educational opportunities
      for their children equivalent  or
      superior to that which we received back in the 60’s and 70’s.   During preparation to write that
      article I spoke with Mr. Borenstein, he asked me what is it you want.  I answered, “we want our kids to have
      similar or  a better quality
      education than we had back in the days before proposition 13”.  The problem for the likes
      of Mr. Borenstein is they have no historical understanding of how public
      education or other social and economic gains were won.

       

      Those who have no
      sense of how social gains like public education were won, will have no sense of
      how to defend them. Public education was won in long fought battles lead by
      labor activists who demanded an end to child labor and its replacement with
      compulsory free public education. That battle began in 1836 and resulted in
      legal change in 1938 with the passage of the Fair Labor Standards Act which  finally
      abolishing legal child labor.  Today those gains are under attack and the cuts
      we’re facing in schools across the state and the nation are the latest in the
      push for privatization of education through vouchers, charter schools and fiscal
      neglect from the highest levels.

       

      To be fair to Mr.
      Cowen he may have been totally ignorant of the innuendo he cast upon the
      community of activists who stood up against all school closures. However  we do need to address Mr. Cowen’s view
      of  our protestations as having
      been apocalyptic. 

       

      Although bees,
      frogs, rainforests, and the Artic icecap are all disappearing and  we face an
      even more devestating crisis when 
      the expected release of methane trapped for millennium in the sea bed
      under the Artic sea ice bubbles up
      to the atmosphere; I do not
      recall the WCCCQE raising these truly apocalyptic circumstances.  Rather  we limited  our
      arguments to the structural crisis of California’s revenue generation methods
      the nations priorities and  the
      consequences of the proposed budget cuts, hardley issues limited to the lexicon
      of “crazed leftists”. 

       

      The WCCCQE
      consistently pointed to the bail out of the speculators, the wasted funding on
      two unwanted wars, the revenue crisis induced by proposition thirteen’s
      corporate exemption and the breakdown of democracy in the statehouse due to the
      2/3s supermajority needed to pass a budget in this state.   Far from apocalyptic the case we
      presented is sound and is agreed upon by many who would never be described as “crazed
      leftists.” If pointing out such facts to the public results in community
      activists being painted as “unreasonable crazed leftists” one is going to need
      a lot of paint.

       



      What
      distinguishes the WCCCQE from others with a similar analysis of the education crisis is
      that we add an action component to our analysis.  Since the beginning of the school closure process we clearly
      stated in print, at the speakers podium and in our picket signs that the
      institutions of governance are incapable of resolving the crisis  unless forced by  massive pressure from below.  The form that such pressure would need
      to take, to be successful, could not be limited to letters, calls to representatives,
      or the “save my school-cut their school instead” attitude adopted most
      flagrantly by the Portola 
      PSTA.  We postulated that
      strikes, school occupations and 
      solidarity across the district; as well as joint actions across the
      state and nation would be necessary to stop the closure process, the budget
      cuts and assure quality education for all.  

       

      The Richmond and
      San Pablo school bail-outs defused the communities organizing momentum. While
      we welcome funding to keep our schools going the bail-outs were limited and therefore did
      not stop all the school closures, the cuts in music programs and libraries, or
      prevent layoffs,  and attacks on
      the staff and teachers pay packages. Despite the  downturn in the communities level of activism our
      analysis and action agenda  remains
      valid.  Will the community take up
      our action proposals when the cut backs are implemented or when the bail out
      funding runs out?  That we don’t
      know. 

      What we do know is that the
      teachers and staff will need active 
      solidarity of the parents and students to prevent the  school board from slashing their  benefit packages.  And if the parents and students
      don’t  make themselves heard and
      take direct action immediatly the cuts in music, libraries and increased class
      size will be implemented.

       

      The first step is
      to show up Monday at the De Jean middle school at 7pm to oppose the school
      board’s plans.

       

      Charles
      Rachlis  4/5/09







      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Charley Cowens
      Hey, Charles- You left off the s at the end of my last name. I don t want to be confused with my distant cousin, the notorious Jim Cowen. Your quote from the
      Message 2 of 2 , Apr 7, 2009
        Hey, Charles-

        You left off the "s" at the end of my last name. I don't want to be
        confused with my distant cousin, the notorious Jim Cowen.

        Your quote from the CCTimes column is exactly the sort of thing I had
        in mind. Thanks for digging it up.

        "More apocalyptic" was perhaps not the best choice of words. How about
        "uncompromising and single-mindedly committed to a broad global
        anti-capitalist philosophy." Or even deleting "more apocalyptic"
        entirely.

        Anyway, the main point I thought I was making to Francie was that
        everyone has some sort of agenda and that's not a bar to getting
        involved in a public matter.

        Charley Cowens
        http://www.twitter.com/ccowens



        On Sun, Apr 5, 2009 at 10:23 PM, Charles Rachlis <crachlis@...> wrote:
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Death by innuendo!
        > Comments on Charley Cowen’s musings.
        >
        >
        >
        > One has to admire the analysis of how the school closure
        > process in our district has been “framed…. for media consumption”, as presented
        > by Mr. Charley Cowen.
        >
        >
        >
        > “Mr. Rachlis and his associates were simply more effective in promoting their
        > more apocalyptic position as the official opposition. This allowed the closures
        > issue to be framed as a reasonable beleaguered school district versus a bunch
        > of unreasonable crazed leftists – a classic story line for media
        > consumption.”  Cowen post on WCCUSD
        > TALK yahoo group April 3, 2009
        >
        >
        >
        > Mr. Cowen sets up his critique of the WCCCQE  in a manner which couches an  ad hominem  attack on  my person, the other outspoken
        > activists and the hundreds who approved of our ideas, in an explanation of how
        > the media framed the story.  This
        > attack is so well constructed that when fielding objection to having
        > categorized  our committee and supporters
        > as “unreasonable crazed leftists”, Mr. Cowen can stand back and rightfully
        > claim, “ I didn’t cast  any dispersions on you it was the ‘media framing’ that I was pointing to.”  Well done and touché Mr. Cowen.  You have employed  the classic Fox network style of
        > innuendo which goes something like this: “Mr. Rachlis, some people say you’re a
        > flaming blankity-blank (fill in the blank), do you have a comment.”.  Once the dispersion is cast the job is
        > done.
        >
        >
        >
        > Maybe there was
        > some  “media framing” which I
        > missed during the heat of the school closure process; when the district had
        > meetings every few days.  But I
        > think I would have noticed the headline: “Crazed Leftists Pelt Beleaguered
        > School Board with Apocalyptic Admonitions”.   There was one article by Daniel Borenstein in the
        > Contra Costa Times, which may have caught Mr. Cowen’s attention, in which it
        > was  stated,
        >
        > “…opposition groups have dug in their heels, demanding no
        > school closures, no teacher layoffs, restoration of program cuts, class-size
        > reductions and no changes to teacher wage and benefit packages…Talk about being
        > in denial.”   Daniel
        > Borenstein Contra Costa TIMES 1/25/09
        >
        > Mr. Borenstein
        > found it unreasonable that parents today would want educational opportunities
        > for their children equivalent  or
        > superior to that which we received back in the 60’s and 70’s.   During preparation to write that
        > article I spoke with Mr. Borenstein, he asked me what is it you want.  I answered, “we want our kids to have
        > similar or  a better quality
        > education than we had back in the days before proposition 13”.  The problem for the likes
        > of Mr. Borenstein is they have no historical understanding of how public
        > education or other social and economic gains were won.
        >
        >
        >
        > Those who have no
        > sense of how social gains like public education were won, will have no sense of
        > how to defend them. Public education was won in long fought battles lead by
        > labor activists who demanded an end to child labor and its replacement with
        > compulsory free public education. That battle began in 1836 and resulted in
        > legal change in 1938 with the passage of the Fair Labor Standards Act which  finally
        > abolishing legal child labor.  Today those gains are under attack and the cuts
        > we’re facing in schools across the state and the nation are the latest in the
        > push for privatization of education through vouchers, charter schools and fiscal
        > neglect from the highest levels.
        >
        >
        >
        > To be fair to Mr.
        > Cowen he may have been totally ignorant of the innuendo he cast upon the
        > community of activists who stood up against all school closures. However  we do need to address Mr. Cowen’s view
        > of  our protestations as having
        > been apocalyptic.
        >
        >
        >
        > Although bees,
        > frogs, rainforests, and the Artic icecap are all disappearing and  we face an
        > even more devestating crisis when
        > the expected release of methane trapped for millennium in the sea bed
        > under the Artic sea ice bubbles up
        > to the atmosphere; I do not
        > recall the WCCCQE raising these truly apocalyptic circumstances.  Rather  we limited  our
        > arguments to the structural crisis of California’s revenue generation methods
        > the nations priorities and  the
        > consequences of the proposed budget cuts, hardley issues limited to the lexicon
        > of “crazed leftists”.
        >
        >
        >
        > The WCCCQE
        > consistently pointed to the bail out of the speculators, the wasted funding on
        > two unwanted wars, the revenue crisis induced by proposition thirteen’s
        > corporate exemption and the breakdown of democracy in the statehouse due to the
        > 2/3s supermajority needed to pass a budget in this state.   Far from apocalyptic the case we
        > presented is sound and is agreed upon by many who would never be described as “crazed
        > leftists.” If pointing out such facts to the public results in community
        > activists being painted as “unreasonable crazed leftists” one is going to need
        > a lot of paint.
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > What
        > distinguishes the WCCCQE from others with a similar analysis of the education crisis is
        > that we add an action component to our analysis.  Since the beginning of the school closure process we clearly
        > stated in print, at the speakers podium and in our picket signs that the
        > institutions of governance are incapable of resolving the crisis  unless forced by  massive pressure from below.  The form that such pressure would need
        > to take, to be successful, could not be limited to letters, calls to representatives,
        > or the “save my school-cut their school instead” attitude adopted most
        > flagrantly by the Portola
        > PSTA.  We postulated that
        > strikes, school occupations and
        > solidarity across the district; as well as joint actions across the
        > state and nation would be necessary to stop the closure process, the budget
        > cuts and assure quality education for all.
        >
        >
        >
        > The Richmond and
        > San Pablo school bail-outs defused the communities organizing momentum. While
        > we welcome funding to keep our schools going the bail-outs were limited and therefore did
        > not stop all the school closures, the cuts in music programs and libraries, or
        > prevent layoffs,  and attacks on
        > the staff and teachers pay packages. Despite the  downturn in the communities level of activism our
        > analysis and action agenda  remains
        > valid.  Will the community take up
        > our action proposals when the cut backs are implemented or when the bail out
        > funding runs out?  That we don’t
        > know.
        >
        > What we do know is that the
        > teachers and staff will need active
        > solidarity of the parents and students to prevent the  school board from slashing their  benefit packages.  And if the parents and students
        > don’t  make themselves heard and
        > take direct action immediatly the cuts in music, libraries and increased class
        > size will be implemented.
        >
        >
        >
        > The first step is
        > to show up Monday at the De Jean middle school at 7pm to oppose the school
        > board’s plans.
        >
        >
        >
        > Charles
        > Rachlis  4/5/09
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >
        >
        > ------------------------------------
        >
        > Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
        >
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