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Member since: Sun Jul 11, 2004, 06:58 PM
Number of posts: 37,529

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Which countries have come up with a form of democracy that ISN'T dominated by Wall St & banks?

We talk about various ways to fix our system here, from campaign finance reform to making it easier for third parties to get into the game, but it occurs to me that nearly all governments ignore the will of the people and do what the bankers tell them on key issues like austerity, bailouts, wars, trade deals, and the like.

Maybe Iceland, Venezuela, and some of the other Bolivarian democracies in South America do it to some degree, but what do they do or what else can be done to make our democracy real instead of a rubber stamp for whatever the already wealthy want?

Scientology taught at public funded charter school

Teachers at public funded charter schools have to use scientology teaching methods and watch videos praising L Ron Hubbard.

My guess is that the politicians granting the charters do not give a rat's ass about what these guys teach as long as their donation checks clear.

We have to figure out how to make this corrupt education reform radioactive so that in spite of the personal financial temptations for politicians, they will know their career is over if they push this agenda.

At the encouragement of the superintendent Robert Duffy, many of the kids at the six schools, which serve 1,000 students, are taught using Applied Scholastics, a teaching method researched and developed by Scientology founder, L. Ron Hubbard.


Katie Donahoe, a teacher who used to work at Robert L. Duffy High School in Phoenix, spoke to NPR about her training in Applied Scholastics at the organization's headquarters. She said:

"They didn't start off talking about instruction. They started off talking about L. Ron Hubbard," says Donohoe, who was there at the urging of her new superintendent. Later that fall she would start teaching English at Robert L. Duffy High School in Phoenix. But first, she was asked to get familiar with Hubbard's methods.

"The next stop was to watch a video talking about how great Applied Scholastics was," Donahoe says. Among those in the video were Isaac Hayes, Tom Cruise and John Travolta.


David Sirota explains education "reform" really about profits over people

GREENWALD: Bush speechwriter Frum latest to admit Iraq War for OIL

Probably the only insider who has talked about this in much detail is Colin Powell's former chief of staff, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, who laid out the broader agenda of controlling the world's oil.

But I would like to hear somebody in leadership in the Democratic Party be as honest and as detailed as Wilkerson and stop talking to us like children or pretending that they were simply "misled" themselves.

Anyone old enough to remember the Cold War with an IQ over room temperature should have known that even if Saddam had NUKES, he could never dare use them on us or give them to terrorists who might because he knew (like every other world leader), that the result would be his entire country being reduced to a radioactive parking lot.

Money talks in Washington, and it's time our elected representatives tell us what exactly it demanded of them before the Iraq War and what the outcome was they wanted.

Frum's most interesting revelation comes from his discussion of Ahmed Chalabi, the Iraqi exile whom many neocons intended to install as leader of that country after the US took over. Frum says that "the first time met Ahmed Chalabi was a year or two before the war, in Christopher Hitchens's apartment". He then details the specific goals Chalabi and Dick Cheney discussed when planning the war:

"I was less impressed by Chalabi than were some others in the Bush administration. However, since one of those 'others' was Vice President Cheney, it didn't matter what I thought. In 2002, Chalabi joined the annual summer retreat of the American Enterprise Institute near Vail, Colorado. He and Cheney spent long hours together, contemplating the possibilities of a Western-oriented Iraq: an additional source of oil, an alternative to US dependency on an unstable-looking Saudi Arabia."

Yet few claims were more stigmatized in the run-up to the Iraq War, and after, than the view that oil was a substantial factor. In 2006, George Bush instructed us that there was a "responsible" way to criticize the US war effort in Iraq, and an "irresponsible" way to do so, and he helpfully defined the boundaries:

"The American people know the difference between responsible and irresponsible debate when they see it. They know the difference between honest critics who question the way the war is being prosecuted and partisan critics who claim that we acted in Iraq because of oil, or because of Israel, or because we misled the American people. And they know the difference between a loyal opposition that points out what is wrong, and defeatists who refuse to see that anything is right."


Great Indian ad campaign on intervening in domestic violence without confrontation

This is cool. A group in India made this ad campaign about how to intervene in domestic violence without getting into a conflict yourself.

It's one of a series and I had to watch them all in one sitting (they're only about a minute each).

I stumbled across it in an article on interrupting date rape violence like Steubenville, and it's similar to the most effective approach to curb bullying, which tackles the "bystander effect" when most of the bystanders disapprove but do nothing to intervene.

Here's the article with links to all the videos.

choose your Jedi Pope...

ARGO v. Reality: Iran's then president wanted hostages free, Reagan campaing didn't

I have a feeling the real narrative is eventually going to win out.

Iran Contra started before Reagan was even president with a behind the scenes deal to delay the release of the hostages until after the election.

For some reason, Democrats never put this knife in the ribs of the GOP.

Or maybe if they tried, the media would suddenly become very interested in some celebrity's dysfunction, violent videogames, or steroid use by Dancing with the Stars contestants.

Bani-Sadr said he and all other major candidates for the Iranian presidency supported releasing the hostages. He noted that after taking that position, he won the election with 76 percent of the vote. He added:

“Overall, 96 percent of votes in that election were given to candidates who were against . Hence, the movie misrepresents the Iranian government’s stand in regard to hostage-taking. It also completely misrepresents Iranians by portraying us as irrational people consumed by aggressive emotion.”

The October Surprise

However, after becoming president on Feb. 4, 1980, he found his efforts to resolve the hostage crisis thwarted. Bani-Sadr said he discovered that “Ayatollah Khomeini and Ronald Reagan had organized a clandestine negotiation, later known as the ‘October Surprise,’ which prevented the attempts by myself and then-U.S. President Jimmy Carter to free the hostages before the 1980 U.S. presidential election took place. The fact that they were not released tipped the results of the election in favor of Reagan.”

Though Bani-Sadr has talked and written about the Reagan-Khomeini collaboration before, he added in his commentary on “Argo” that “two of my advisors, Hussein Navab Safavi and Sadr-al-Hefazi, were executed by Khomeini’s regime because they had become aware of this secret relationship between Khomeini, his son Ahmad, the Islamic Republican Party, and the Reagan administration.”


Michigan teachers say paycheck cuts qualify them for food stamps

Do you think this will make future college students want to become teachers?

People don't go into education for the money, but we do expect to have a roughly middle class standard of living and not have to stand in line for food stamps to feed our families.

Too many Democrats seem to agree with Republicans that the only time the bucks should flow to education is when some hedge fund manager trust fund baby stands to make a profit from it.

We've got to change that.

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Tina Ratliff never expected her teaching career would qualify her for public assistance.

The second-grade teacher at Grand Rapids Public Schools’ Burton Elementary was among nearly 150 teachers summoned by their union’s crisis team to pressure school officials Monday, March 4 to settle a pending contract and do something about applying a state law limiting what school districts and other public employers pay for employee health insurance premiums.

Since Feb. 15 when the district began deducting back health insurance premiums over what it’s allowed to pay under the state’s Publicly Funded Health Insurance Contribution Act of 2011, Ratliff said morale among teachers has suffered dramatically and a sort of depression has set in. Some are losing $300 per pay check.

“I am a five-year teacher who brings home $555.39 for two weeks and who currently qualifies for a Bridge Card,” Ratliff told the school board Monday to loud applause from her colleagues. “How is this possible?"


Tell teachers' retirement fund to DIVEST from standardized testing companies

If you aren't a teacher, but know someone who is, please forward this to them.

As the teachers rebellion against standardized testing grows, it's time to flex our real muscle: tell the teachers' retirement system to take our money OUT of standardized testing companies.

The retirement fund just recently set a precedent by divesting from gun companies, but corporate backed education reform is threatening the very existence of public education by buying politicians and policies that benefit Wall Street at the expense of our kids.

We need to make sure they aren't using our money to kill our jobs and our schools. I'm providing contact information for California, but if you post other states in the comments, I'll be glad to add that to the post itself in updates.

In California, you can contact CALSTRS, our retirement system at http://www.calstrs.com/contact-us
800-228-5453 • 916-414-5040 (Fax)
P. O. Box 15275
Sacramento, CA 95851-0275

Feel free to use or modify this brief message:

As a member of CalSTRS, I ask that since you have divested from companies whose guns kill students and teachers, you also divest from the corporations pushing education "reform" that are killing public education so they can cannibalize the corpse.

Start with those pushing endless repetitive high stakes testing, like Pearson, ETS, and McGraw Hill.

As an educator, I do not want to invest in businesses that corrupt our public education policy for the financial gain of a few.

I look forward to hearing your plan of action on this.

You can also tell your union to demand that CalSTRS divest from corporate education reform companies, starting with testing companies. Just change the message slightly:

As a member of CFT (or CTA) I ask that since CalSTRS has divested from companies whose guns kill students and teachers, I ask that you direct CalSTRS to also divest from the corporations pushing education "reform" that are killing public education so they can cannibalize the corpse.

Start with those pushing endless repetitive high stakes testing, like Pearson, ETS, and McGraw Hill.

As an educator, I do not want to invest in businesses that corrupt our public education policy for the financial gain of a few.

I look forward to hearing your plan of action on this.

In the AFT, you can contact:

Gary Ravani
K-12 Council President
Administrative Office
California Federation of Teachers
2550 North Hollywood Way, Suite 400
Burbank, CA 91505
818-843-8226, Fax 818-843-4662

If you are in CFT but not a K-12 teacher, contact:

Joshua Pechthalt, President

In the CTA:

President Dean Vogel
E-mail: dvogel@cta.org
P.O. Box 921
1705 Murchison Drive
Burlingame, CA 94011-0921
Phone: (650) 552-5307
FAX: (650) 552-5007

Check back later for a proposal on what we could do WITHOUT testing companies that would also save states a lot of money.


Rahm's DLC, neoliberal, corrupt policies tank him in the polls

Rahm is as close to a pure DLC corporate Democrat as you can get. He is to those who have the reins of Democratic Party what Dick Cheney was to the GOP in the Bush years: the ugly heart of coal that no amount of PR and propaganda can pretty up.

Democrats like Rahm are why the GOP is still alive instead of long dead and buried. He reinforces the stereotype that all politicians are alike and will do pretty much the same thing on the big issues because in his case, it's essentially true.

We need more choice than one party that gives away our country to corporations while shredding the social safety net and another that gives us a sleeping pill and then shreds quietly.

Overall, according to the survey of 600 voting-age Illinois residents, 50 percent say they at least lean toward disapproval of his performance as mayor, versus only 19 percent who somewhat or strongly approve, or lean toward approval. That's a margin of 31 percentage points.


Specifically, just 2 percent of Chicagoans surveyed said they strongly approve of the mayor's job performance, with 12 percent somewhat approving and 5 percent leaning that way. At the opposite end, 13 percent strongly disapprove, 9 percent somewhat disapprove and 13 percent lean toward disapproval.

In Chicago, that gives Mr. Emanuel a net minus 16 rating, down from the plus 4 he had in September, when 37 percent approved and 33 percent disapproved.

Notably, the share of those disapproving of Mr. Emanuel's job performance hasn't moved much, going from 33 percent to 35 percent. The big shift has occurred in the “mixed feelings” category — up from 21 percent to 30 percent — and the “not sure” category, which went from 12 percent in September to 16 percent from Feb. 12 to 15, when the survey was conducted.


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