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Profile Information

Gender: Female
Hometown: Florida
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 86,339

About Me

Retired teacher who sees much harm to public education from the "reforms" being pushed by corporations. Privatizing education is the wrong way to go. Children can not be treated as products, thought of in terms of profit and loss.

Journal Archives

It smacks of Socialism.

Found on Twitter.

Ridicule of Bernie supporters growing after debate...The Atlantic this time. So childishly done.

A few paragraphs just do not do this snide piece justice. In fact I doubt any number of paragraphs could make this palatable or intelligent.

Here Comes the Berniebro

The Berniebro is very irate when CNN takes its online poll results down. The Berniebro posts about that, too.

The Berniebro, now that you think about it, seems to spend a lot of time on Facebook? You wonder how that graduate degree and/or startup is going.

......The Berniebro is not every Bernie Sanders supporter. Sanders’s support skews young, but not particularly male. The Berniebro is male, though. Very male.

The Berniebro is someone you may only have encountered if you’re somewhat similar to him: white; well-educated; middle-class (or, delicately, “upper middle-class”); and aware of NPR podcasts and jangly bearded bands.

...The Berniebro is tired of reporters not letting this stupid email scandal go.

....The Berniebro, though steadfastly a Berniebro now, will not always be such. You can sense this. Soon, maybe already, the Berniebro will become a Schoolboardbro. Or a Municipalparkingbro. Or, heaven help us, a Localhistoricaldistrictzoningrestrictionsbro.

There is no purpose behind this piece apparently other than anger at us because it's hard to find ugly stuff about Bernie.

I especially like this paragraph from the comments section:

The media's problem here is that they can't do a character assassination on someone so principled, scandal-free, and consistent. So instead they have to take their pickaxe to Sanders's supporters to make people averse to wanting to be associated with these just absolutely contemptible human beings who dare to vote their conscience rather than as the media tells them to.

So it's just politics as usual: divide and conquer. The media is really sour that it doesn't hold the keys to the crown's case, and that we're not being obedient little worker ants like all the pre-internet generations had to be.

If I were the author of that article I would not take much pride in it.

It is helping to make the divisions in the primary worse for no reason at all.

Robinson Meyer is an associate editor at The Atlantic. I would expect more from someone in that position.

Bernie: "It is unacceptable that senior citizens and disabled veterans will get no COLA this year."

It is unacceptable that senior citizens and disabled veterans will not be receiving a cost-of-living adjustment.

Strengthen and Expand Social Security

Social Security has a $2.8 trillion surplus. It can pay every benefit owed to every eligible American for the next 19 years (and more than three-quarters after that).

Social Security’s assets aren’t “just paper,” as conservatives sometimes put it. Social Security invests in U.S Treasury bonds, the safest interest-bearing securities in the world.

These are the same bonds wealthy investors have purchased, along with China and other foreign countries. These bonds are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, which in our long history has never defaulted on its debt obligations.

Right now a billionaire pays the same amount of money into Social Security as someone who makes $118,500 a year. That’s because there is a cap on taxable income that goes into the Social Security system.

Substitute Sanders for Dean, 2015 for 2004...you see the same media battle all over again.

On edit to clarify: It's the "same battle", the candidates are different, much different. It's the battle that must be fought when the media starts coming out with talking points we know are not true.

Substitute BernieBots or Sandernistas for Deaniacs. We are once again considered the insurgents, sort of on the outside looking in. We are not really considered seriously at all. Yet.

You have two candidates who have taken chances by questioning party policy, irritating the party establishment....but most of all ticking off the media with justified criticism.

It's that ticking off the media that's going to be a deciding factor from now on.

Once again we have a campaign that is using the power of the internet and all the new resources it provides now that were not available in 2004.

Once again we have a candidate who is calling out the media. He's a stronger candidate, and the internet forces have grown. Will it be enough?

I found this article I remembered from 2004 on the media and Howard Dean's campaign. It reminds us that the power of that media can make a campaign and then suddenly destroy it.

When Old Media Confronted Howard Dean


‘Dean scares the institutional media out of their wits … because of what he and Internet democracy say about them.’

The Howard Dean campaign (much more than Dean himself) has come to stand for the possibility of an Internet democracy. From the beginning there was no separating the “political” and “media” tracks of the Dean campaign’s offensive. Didn’t he say early on that he was running for President because the alternative was to spend the rest of his life yelling at the TV set? Dean began his campaign with a bold exercise in definition—a job of critical journalism that big news organizations don’t perform these days. His defining thrust was against the war in Iraq, in which even before it began the traditional media were embedded. He sounded an antiwar alarm that the institutional media had muffled. Millions of people knew intuitively that his warning was wise; millions more know it now. In large dimensions and small (like his chippy defiance of “Meet the Press” moderator, Tim Russert), Dean’s campaign was a critique of the somnolent self-satisfaction that runs through our housecat press. And lots of people loved him for it.

...What happened to Dean in Iowa and New Hampshire was not as much about politics as it was about an assault by commercial media on the very idea of a self-willed, self-defining citizenry. Dean scares the institutional media out of their wits—not because of who he is or what he might do as President, but because of what he and Internet democracy say about them. And because Dean is their worst nightmare, they tried to crush him like a bug.

Much was made then of the concept of blogging. There was no Twitter back then. Facebook had just been launched early in 2004. You Tube didn't launch until 2005.

Days before the New Hampshire primary, author and syndicated columnist Richard Reeves made the shrewd observation on our “The Blogging of the President: 2004” broadcast that something fundamental had changed since John F. Kennedy and television exalted each other in 1960. Since then TV networks have discovered that American audiences are more interested in football than in politics. Sure enough, as the Democratic candidates headed out of New Hampshire, the media were conditioning us to understand that everything that happens in the Super Bowl is more important than almost anything that is at stake in the presidential campaign.

It’s a dismal moment in American media—just the right time to be developing a real conversation on the Web. The revolution will not be televised, but maybe it will be blogged.

For Howard Dean it was death by media, as one South Florida paper called it.

So far Bernie Sanders' coverage has been relatively neutral, but at least twice during the debate he called out the corporate media.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Utter chaos at Florida's Okaloosa County School Board meeting.

I could swear heard the 2nd speaker say "deliver us from pizza" and "thine is the kingdom of the pesto and alfredo". Found at a Daily Kos diary.

You might need to turn your speakers down when they really get going.

A U.S. trade director looking for professors to help sell still-secret TPP.

From Campaign for America's Future:

Ramping Up The Campaign To Sell The Secret TPP

The U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) Director of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement is shopping around to professors, trying to get them to help “expand the conversation” around the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with the public – even though TPP is still secret. In other words, “We can’t share what’s in TPP with you, but would like you to write about how great it is.”

Here is an example of a professor being solicited to write about how great TPP is, without knowing what is actually in it:

From: Gainer, Mitch <Mitchel_J_Gainer@ustr.eop.gov>
Date: Wed, Oct 7, 2015 at 12:45 PM
Subject: USTR Trans-Pacific Partnership professor outreach

Dear Professor XXX,

The U.S Trade Representative is enthusiastic to inform you and your office that The Trans-Pacific Partnership has closed ministerial negotiations!

We believe that your expertise in labor standards in international trade would be significant in expanding the conversation about the benefits of this historic trade agreement to your larger community. I would be delighted to set up a call if you are interested in writing an op-ed, writing a blog post, doing research, or being on background for reporters – to highlight the benefits of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. We would love to provide you with as much information as we can and answer any questions....

"as much information as we can"....oh yeah. And we hope you don't ask too much about it cause we can't tell you until it is actually over and done.

More of the letter at the link.

It is signed;


Mitch Gainer
Director of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative

Entire Tennessee school district closed because of Obamacare.

From Jen Hayden's diary at Daily Kos. This is unbelievable, but real.

Tennessee official offers mind-blowing explanation for abruptly closing entire school district

A Tennessee school district is making the news after it was announced the entire school district was closing up until further notice due to lack of funding. It is unimaginable this could happen in the United States, right? Especially so abruptly, in the middle of the school year, leaving parents and students in a lurch.

Clay County Director of Schools Jerry Strong has offered an explanation for the shocking closure. Inept management? Nope. Inability to pass local taxes to support the school? Oh, no way. The head of Clay County schools says the whole thing is due to Obamacare:

"Clay County's inability to generate the revenue to offset the mandates is what's caused this to come to a head," he said. "The straw that broke the camel's back was really the Affordable Care Act for us and it has made it very difficult for us to have our employees properly covered and meet the mandates of the law. That was going to require new revenue and the commission felt like they couldn't do that through a tax increase."

Strong said the county commission, which funds the schools, has declined to increase property taxes and a proposed wheel tax referendum vote won't take place until March.

Thanks, Obama! Through your insidious plan to get affordable healthcare for educators, you have forced their hand. For a party that once touted themselves as the "party of responsibility," they sure seem lack any personal accountability for their own misdeeds. Clay County, Tennessee residents aren't doing themselves any favors here either. Consistently identified as one of the most impoverished counties in the entire nation, they've turned extremely Republican in recent years. The district, which Vice President Al Gore once represented, has gone "severely conservative" in recent years. The county went overwhelming for Romney in 2012 (62/37) and they elected Tea Party Republican Diane Black to Congress in the "Tea Party wave" of 2010.

For now, Clay County residents appear to be reaping what they sowed. It is just too sad that the biggest losers in all of this are the children of Clay County.

Jake Tapper, Don Lemon call Facebook a place for "kids". "Kinda big with the kids." Putdown.

Yes, I am including the video from You Tube from GOP War Room site. It's the only one I see because this segment of the combined CNN/Facebook poll appears to have been taken down by CNN.

Strange how Jake Tapper and Don Lemon keep referring to the voters on Facebook as "kids". Tapper says it's "kinda big with the kids." All ages on Facebook, so it just sounds strange

Regarding the debate Lemon keeps saying "all the kids are talking about it". Says it several times.

I think it is weird. I think probably the reason behind it is to make the huge numbers on Facebook not matter because it is a bunch of "kids".

Lemon and Tapper are NOT stupid people. Correction Tapper is NOT a stupid person. They know perfectly well that people of all ages inhabit Facebook.

This is the media we face as we continue through the primaries. They seem to be all pre-programmed to say stupid and silly things. They really do think we are stupid.

I would like to think Jake Tapper is using sarcasm, but it does not come across that way.

It really doesn't matter who media declared as winner of debate. It was good for Bernie.

It was good for our party.

Disclaimer: I do not care who "won". It was a great debate. I think it was a mistake for the main media sources to so suddenly and loudly proclaim that Hillary won. It was not fair to either candidate, and it was done so quickly it had a "ready-made already-decided" air to it.

We are not the only ones finding it hard to reconcile that Bernie appears to have won the debate in all the big online internet polls. The fact that Hillary was immediately declared the winner by the media was not only noticed here, at Daily Kos, and elsewhere.

I found the comments at the end of this article interesting.

Bernie Sanders says debate performance prompted $1.3 million in donations

To show just a few:

8:17 AM EST
I watched the entire debate, something I have not done in over 20 years. Having read what some of the media "saw" I have to wonder - what debate were they watching? It certainly wasn't the debate I watched. What I saw was Bernie Sanders unfailingly addressing the real issues this country faces. What I saw was a very rich Hillary Clinton demean everyone of us that is not rich by suggesting she has had the same kind of struggles and experiences - like making such a big point that one of her son-in-laws is a FACTORY WORKER for goodness sake. I saw Sanders say - point blank - health care (not insurance) for everyone. I heard Clinton suggest possible help for those in poverty, the rest of us are on our own. I heard Sanders defend - no EXPAND - Social Security. I heard Clinton suggest SS doesn't need to be cut. I saw a Sanders that was genuine, believable, and impassioned.


Two things were very clear. Sanders won on content, stomping Clinton in every post-debate reader poll. And the media handed the victory to Clinton.


6:19 AM EST
Every single poll every focus group. I mean just every single metric had Bernie winning and I guess this is another clue. But yet all the articles say Hilary won, CNN said she won and disregarded their own focus groups and poll number that had Bernie at 81 to Clinton 13. Its incredible.

There are others at the link in the comments.

I just don't think they did Hillary any favors by announcing that she won so quickly. It really did show up the pre-planned mind-made-up nature of the corporate media we deal with. It made the media look bad.

Proud of Bernie getting so much national attention, so that made him the winner of getting himself noticed.

EB-5 Visas, charter schools. Law passed in 2000 near end of Bill Clinton's presidency.

The EB-5 visa has a lot to do with the huge amounts of money being given to charter schools. Public education in America is suffering because of it.

Silence no more.

Thanks to a little discussed law passed in 2000 at the end of Bill Clinton’s presidency, Banks and Equity firms that invest in charter schools and other projects in underserved areas can take advantage of a very generous tax credit, as much as 39% to offset their expenditure in such projects. In essence, that credit amounts to doubling the amount of money they have invested in just 7 years.. Moreover, they are allowed to combine that tax credit with job creation credits and other types of credit, and collect interest payments on the money they are lending out-all which adds up to far more than double in returns.

And it’s not just U.S. investors who see the upside of these investments. Rich donors throughout the world are now sending money to fund our charter schools. Why? Because if they invest at least $500,000 to charters under a federal program called EB-5, they’re allowed to purchase immigration visas for themselves and family members, yet another mechanism in place to ensure that the money keeps rolling in.

More implications of this visa from Fortune Magazine.

The dark, disturbing world of the visa-for-sale program

Increasingly, the skilled and the poor are out of luck. But the rich are another matter. The program (EB-5 is short-hand for the government’s fifth employment-based visa “preference”) allows well-heeled foreigners to leap to the front of the line by simply plunking down $500,000.

.....Today EB-5 commands bipartisan support—and it’s booming. Believers tout the program as a “win-win-win” that helps immigrants and U.S. workers, and provides valuable investment in American communities. A trio of billionaires—Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and Sheldon Adelson—recently endorsed the program in an op-ed column in the New York Times.

.....The EB-5 program isn’t overseen by a financial regulator but by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), part of the Department of Homeland Security. Accustomed to processing visas and conducting immigrant background checks, USCIS is ill-equipped to review business plans, job- creation studies, and securities offerings. The SEC retains the power to police fraud. What that means is the agency has no mechanism to sniff out a problem until it has exploded, at which point the agency can only clean up the mess.

Excellent article but very long. A few excerpts do not do it justice.

The Florida charter school industry has been especially hit hard by these visas.

Chinese expected to invest about 90 million dollars in Florida charter schools in 2013

Chinese investors are taking advantage of the EB-5 investment visa program, the so-called "green card via red carpet," by putting millions into Florida's charter schools and an aquaculture farm in Central Florida.

Under the EB-5 program, through investments of at least $1 million — or $500,000 for "targeted employment areas" — foreign nationals are able to obtain legal residency in the US so long as the money they invest will help secure or create at least 10 full-time jobs.

A group of Chinese investors have put $30 million into the state's charter school program to date and are looking to invest three times that amount in the next year, Ilona Vega Jaramillo, director of international business development for Enterprise Florida, the state's economic development arm, said in a US-China roundtable discussion last week.

She would not name any of the investors, citing confidentiality.

I just did a search for some more up to date articles, but not much at all about charter schools since 2012.

I did find this page showing some of the EB-5 projects in SE Florida.

Southeast Florida EB-5 Regional Center


Southeast Florida EB-5 Regional Center, LLC. is an approved EB-5 Regional Center by the "Department of Homeland Security" and the "United States Citizenship and Immigration Services" (USCIS) and has the authority to offer investment opportunities to qualified foreign investors who wish to invest in our Regional Center projects in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami/Dade counties , and other counties with USCIS qualified projects in the State of Florida.

Our projects are I-526 "Shovel Ready Exemplar" approved that provides for faster processing our investors.

This program is known as the "EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program" of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).


Southeast Florida EB-5 Regional Center will promote job creation, economic growth and increase domestic investment by aligning capital within specific investment projects in targeted geographic areas in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami/Dade Counties in the State of Florida. We may review and approve EB-5 projects outside of this area within the state provided they meet the guidelines of the USCIS for EB-5 Visa Program.

A couple of pictures at the link, with no further explanation as to whether they are present or future projects.



And from the first link in the OP:

I much agree with this statement.

Any questions about why Charters are so popular with the wealthy? Any questions why the wealthy insist on supporting Charters even though the research is quite clear. Ever wonder why it is next to impossible to get any statistical information out of charters?

Money cures conscience!

So how in the world in that big money investment of 90 million plus in Florida charter schools coming along? Well....

Florida’s big charter school problem (which Jeb Bush manages not to talk about)

Fast forward to 2015. Has anything changed? Not much, according to a new exposé on Florida charter schools, this one done by the Sun-Sentinel, with the headline: “Florida’s Charter Schools UNSUPERVISED — Taxpayers, students lose when school operators exploit weak laws.”

It says that in the past five years, 56 charter schools in South Florida have closed because of mismanagement and/or other issues, and that “a handful” of them “owe a total of at least $1 million in public education money to local school districts” but because districts have a hard time documenting spending, the amount could be much higher.
The story says:

Unchecked charter-school operators are exploiting South Florida’s public school system, collecting taxpayer dollars for schools that quickly shut down.

A recent spate of charter-school closings illustrates weaknesses in state law: virtually anyone can open or run a charter school and spend public education money with near impunity, a Sun Sentinel investigation found.

Florida requires local school districts to oversee charter schools but gives them limited power to intervene when cash is mismanaged or students are deprived of basic supplies — even classrooms.

Once schools close, the newspaper found, districts struggle to retrieve public money not spent on students.

Not going so well.

Unfortunately the names of the EB-5 half million dollar donors must remain secret. It's at times like the long distance landlord, I imagine.

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