Where did I serve?

Sitting in at the Oakland Induction Center. Stop the Draft Week. October, 1967.

It seems that the Ken Burn’s doc about Vietnam has stirred the patriotic fervor of some of the trolls who write to this blog.

I have received a few like this from the usual chicken hawks: “Watching the Ken Burn’s series makes me have to ask, where did you serve, Fred? Or did you?”

I assume these anonymous trolls were chicken hawks because the men and women I know who went to Vietnam don’t hide behind anonymity when they talk about their experience.

Like my friend Barry Romo. Barry went to Vietnam and came home to oppose the war as a member of Vietnam Veterans Against the War.

Barry will be on our Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers episode this Friday at 11AM on Chicago’s 105.5fm and streaming on the internet on http://www.lumpenradio.com

As for me? I registered for the draft when I turned 18 in 1966.

But the Selective Service System was set up to sort who would go to fight and who got to stay home and it was a clearly race and class based system.

Go to college and you received a deferment for as long as you stayed in school. Otherwise you were classified 1-A, which meant you were drafted.

Draftees were overwhelmingly Black, brown and working class.

Even though I was a student, I refused the privilege of a student deferment. More than that, I along with thousands of other students and non-students, organized opposition to the war.

Opposition to the draft during the Vietnam war was both a way of disrupting the war effort and exposing the unfairness of the draft itself.

In 1967 I received my notice to appear for a pre-induction physical at the Los Angeles Selective Service induction center.

My fellow members of Students for a Democratic Society came with me and caused a ruckus forcing them to lock the doors. Nobody went through the process that day.

Later that year I helped organize Stop the Draft Week in Oakland.

Tens of thousands of people surrounded the Oakland induction center preventing the buses filled with draftees from getting through.

Selective Service never asked me to show up ever again.

But I did keep showing up.

So, anonymous. That is where I served.



Take a knee Sunday.


This week’s drawings.


This week’s Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers with guests Cook County Clerk David Orr and Chicago Votes Stevie Valles.

This week’s blog posts.

Equifax, accountability and the cost of doing business.

Medicare for all? Medicare and more.

Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers. Episode #33. Cook County Clerk David Orr and Chicago Votes’ Stevie Valles.

Our problem has become that one hour isn’t near enough to talk about all the things we want to talk about, especially when we have guests like David Orr and Stevie Valles from Chicago Votes.

David is, of course, the retiring Cook County Clerk which is the office that runs the elections in Cook. This is not your daddy’s Cook County operation which was known for ghost voters and shoe boxes full of uncounted ballots.

It was a perfect match of guests. Because of the work of Chicago Votes, even Governor Rauner was forced to sign a bill allowing for automatic voter registration in Illinois. At a time of voter suppression by Repugs all across the nation, Illinois has the potential to add a million more registered voters.

But to vote for who?

And that becomes the principle issue.

How do we turn election campaigns into political movements that hold office holders accountable and elect progressives in the first place?

Money has definitely become a corrupting influence as never before.

My brother quotes Harold Wahington’s campaign manager, Al Raby, who said, we’re not leading an election campaign. We’re leading a movement.

David Orr reminds us that Harold’s election was in many ways a perfect storm of an arrogant, white, Democratic Machine, a movement and the perfect candidate.

We got to find a way to make that storm systematic.

Listen to the entire podcast here.

*Some of the pics in this post are by Lucy Gunderson Klonsky of Brooklyn, New York.

CPS CEO Claypool must go.

CPS CEO Forrest Claypool and general counsel Ronald Marmer.

The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that CPS general counsel Ronald Marmer  supervised $182,000 in work that his former law firm did for CPS while the firm simultaneously was paying Marmer a seven-figure severance package.

Inspector General Nicholas Schuler issued a report to the board and to CEO Forrest Claypool last June saying Marmer was in violation of the CPS ethics code.

Claypool, pal of Mayor Emanuel, heads the unelected board which was also chosen by the Mayor.

The Sun-Times reported last year that Marmer was getting a $1 million package from Jenner & Block LLP, the Chicago firm hired to help CPS sue the state to try to win more funding for city schools wile Marmer was on the CPS payroll.

But Schuler says six lawyers — four at CPS and two from outside firms — privately advised school officials that Marmer was violating the ethics code by supervising Jenner & Block’s work.

Only after CPS went to a seventh lawyer, in June 2016, did Claypool secure a legal opinion defending Marmer’s conduct. That opinion came from J. Timothy Eaton, a lawyer who has contributed to Claypool’s political campaigns.

“The clear inference is that Claypool had to shop through six lawyers until he found a seventh one who would publicly clear Marmer,” Schuler wrote to the Board of Education in the confidential report, which the Sun-Times reviewed.

The inspector general also wrote that administrators and Eaton have obstructed his office’s investigation “into the apparent whitewashing of Marmer’s ethical violations.”

Claypool was chosen by Emanuel to replace CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. She also was a mayoral pick and is currently serving four and a half years in prison for her role in a bribery scandal involving school consultants. Claypool was then selected  by Emanuel to be CEO. Claypool picked his friend, the unethical Marmer, as the top board lawyer.

Claypool must go.

Rahm closed record number of neighborhood public schools. Now he wants a $95 million cop school?

Rahm shows off his plans for a $90 million cop school.

Chicago’s Rahm Emanuel closed more public schools at one time than ever in American history.

Fifty schools in predominantly African American neighborhoods.

Now he plans to open a $95 million dollar cop school on the west side in Garfield Park.

While existing CPS schools go begging, many without even libraries, the cop school will  include two buildings, including one for classrooms, labs, simulators, conference rooms, an auditorium and offices.

The second building will include a shooting range and space for “active scenario training.”

The campus will also include a driving course, skid pad and and a place for “hands-on practice in real-world situations.”

No libraries for neighborhood schools. Skid pad for a $95 million cop school.

Ironically, the Cadillac facility is being justified by calls for police training in response to years of police abuse and the killing of Laquan McDonald.

Ask for training?

Be careful what you ask for.