Monday, February 15, 2010

Austinwatch - Green Dot Ben Austin Watch 10W07

"You know, I'm amused. I can't tell you how many foreign leaders who are heads of center-right governments say to me, I don't understand why people would call you socialist, in my country, you'd be considered a conservative." -- President Barack H. Obama (CNN's State of the Union 2009-09-20)

Report Green Dot's Ben Austin on the City Ethics Commission Complaint Form OnlineDespite all of Ben Austin's constant lies and accusations that hard working public school teachers are child molesters, [1][2] are a "special interest," [3] and aren't accountable to parents and communities, [4] those same parents and communities voted overwhelmingly for school plans drawn up by teachers and parents.

As soon as the corporate CMO cavalcade realized they weren't able to buy off the population despite busing in outsiders into neighborhoods to vote for corporate charters, the CMO/CCSA spokesworms started with their usual campaign of fear and lies. The same slime that smear teachers began complaining they weren't able to steal the community votes: "Educated Guess: Cheating has made PSC voting process has been turned into 'farce,' Cortines should 'shred the ballots'" [5]. Generalisimo Pinoche would have been proud of a statement like that.

Remember Austin claims to speak for all the parents in Los Angeles, despite the fact that he has no school age children himself, and despite the fact that his little astro-turf Green Dot spin-off has no significant grass roots base. Let's be generous to the highly paid LAPU/PR employees and say that they have 4,000 parent members. In a city of 9,862,049, they represent less than half of a one hundredth percent of the population (0.04%), an infinitesimally small figure, and certainly not a groundswell of parents even by Austin's standards of hyperbole and Ayn Rand fantasies. What's more, with no board for parents to drive LAPU/PR policy, little to no parent fundraising, and the fact that Green Dot counts parent participation in their LAPU/PR front group as part of their "community service" requirement, claims that LAPU/PR is anything but a vehicle for the Billionaire/DLC/DFER agenda are specious at best.

This wouldn't first time Austin has lied or made outrageously false accusations.

Recall in his recent LA Times Op-Ed [6], where Austin was immune to the usual Op-Ed fact checking. He blatantly lies when he says "50% of kids in L.A. public schools aren't graduating." The Los Angeles Times has recently printed the truth about this outrageously erroneous statistic.

Another example of Austin's inability to tell the truth is when he attacked me over my groundbreaking expose of LAPU/PR's nefarious "organizing" methods on the affluent side of Los Angeles. [7] Unable to refute any of the factual information in the piece, Austin used his considerable rhetorical skills to draw attention away from the truth by trying, unsuccessfully, to discredit me. Let's look at some of the things he accuses me of:

...opponents of reform who tend to communicate in the language of personal invective and childlike imaginations...

opponents of reform have said some surrealistic, bizarre and mean things

Really Mr. Austin? I have a "childlike imagination," and have written "surrealistic, bizarre" things about your Walton, Broad, Gates Foundation funded astro-turf group? I suppose I'd understand your sentiments if I was the only one who ever made the accusation...

Vindication! Unexpected voices from Emerson.

In November, the very conservative Jewish Journal featured a cover story entitled Healing the World, One School at a Time. In this excellent piece, the author speaks to precisely the same issues I discuss in my piece Code Words and Green Dot's Pandering to Westside Racism. Here are some quotes:

"There are people who think, 'The school is too black, the school is too Mexican,' and all of a sudden you see a lot of ugly things about people," Ritter Simon said. "Prejudice still exists. For a lot of people, that's a very uncomfortable zone."

Of Emerson, Bollinger said, "We heard horrible things -- that there were gangs, there was bullying, that it wasn't a safe place and the scores were so bad you couldn't get a good education.

The issue raises tough questions about race and class that many find difficult to face, parents said.

Puts things in perspective, doesn't it? Bear in mind this is the very right leaning that just printed a fact free fluff piece on how great Ben Austin is, and how he single handedly created LAPU/PR (obviously the journalist never read the infamous "Annenberg Document." which unequivocally proves LAPU's existence years before Mr. Austin jumped on that cash cow).

While I found Austin's comments about me laughable, it's still good to know that I was dead on in my article. Suddenly the surreal and bizarre are mainstream, and my alleged childlike imagination was actually the factual writings of a community activist unafraid to speak truth to the power of wealthy elite like Austin. While I could have easily written a polemic that went through point by point discrediting Austin's attack on me, I feel the Healing the World, One School at a Time piece proves my point sufficiently and vindicates me entirely. If Austin and his ilk want to avoid accusations of unsavory organizing tactics in the future, maybe they should stop their unsavory organizing tactics.

With Austin, it's always about the money. I'm not the only one following the money when it comes to Mr. Austin. Check out the massive figure quoted by Kenneth Libby at the end of this article: Can Ben Austin Speak for Parent Revolution without Speaking for Green Dot?.

Right Wingers Funded Austin's Campaign?

Right Winger Ben Austin's Campaign Contributors for his LAUSD Run, courtesy of the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission. This is a list of ideologically charged individuals who contributed to Green Dot's head school privatization and hostile take over expert's aborted LAUSD school board run for District 4. Some will argue that things would be worse had he succeeded in getting elected. Given the reactionary performance of Yolie Flores Aguilar, Inc., it's hard to say that's the case. Maybe we can thank all these Gen. Pinoche/Ben Austin fans by having a "thank a fascist day," where we contact these right wingers on the list and thank them for contributing towards the destruction of public education. Bear in mind, these campaign contributions were supposedly returned to the plutocrats that made them. I've included a copy of the document below the notes here for people who don't want to follow the link.

[1] LAPU's Ben Austin Creating Hysteria Again
[2] Is Green Dot's Ben Austin projecting when he discusses pedophiles?
[3] The irony of a guy, who works for billionaires, and himself grosses more than five times that average pay of the hard working women and men who teach in our communities to call teachers a "special interest" isn't lost on astute readers. Here's one of the many times the pathological liar from Franklin Canyon accused our working class brothers and sisters of being "special interests"
[4] Because KIPP and Green Dot are so accountable? KIPP hucksters managed to steal a fat six figure sum, while Barr pilfered a cool $51K. Remember, the so called "charter movement" is funded and spearheaded by right wing billionaires and supported by a cheerleading squad of hedge fund managers like white supremacist Whitney "we need a lot more well-off, well-educated white folks" Tilson, so its no wonder these folks have Goldman Sachs style morals that have an upside down notion of accountability. For examples of Austin and Rose discussing accountability, just scan their astro-turf blog amid all the charter school endorsements where they keep saying the "teacher" (really teacher parent) plans have no provisions for accountability. While laughable and false on its face, reactionary tools like Rick Salen, Bill Grundfest, and Jaemin Yi seem to buy into this false line of reasoning.
[7] Code Words and Green Dot's Pandering to Westside Racism
[8] So I Guess We Touched a Nerve

Right Winger Ben Austin's Campaign Contributors for his LAUSD Run


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ben Austin's conivery doesn't surprize me. When he and I attended law school at Georgetown, he used tricks to inflate his grades. He got a doctor's not stating that he had a learning disability so that he would have longer to complete his exams. for one exam, he wrote in the voice of a black woman because the prof was a black woman teaching a class on race and gender issues.