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Member since: Sun Jul 11, 2004, 07:58 PM
Number of posts: 36,423

Journal Archives

TOON: Tom Tomorrow sounds like a frustrated DUer

Especially by the time you get to the lower left panel.

Bigger at http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/07/13/1401176/-Cartoon-Sparky-s-inferno?detail=hide

With declining religion among young and end of Confederate fetish, what's GOP got left?

Their gay marriage, abortion, and a couple of other positions were primarily appeals to religious folks, whose numbers are declining among the young.

The dog whistle racism on blacks is out for an election or two (okay, maybe just one), and the slightly more overt, passive aggressive racism of confederate worship is finally dead at the national and state level forever.

Bashing Latinos is a path to defeat at the national level.

Their economic policy of "let bankers and corporations run wild" probably chafes even many Republican voters (though they only seem to admit it to pollsters).

People across the board seem to be sick of our "War of Terror," on Muslims.

The ginned up World War with Russia is not going to be popular once regular folks realize that's what's in the pipe.

The only thing that seems to be keeping the GOP alive right now is corporate Democrats refuse to decisively put a stake in the core economic policies of deregulation, privatization of government services that diverts our tax dollars to private profits, and low taxes on the rich.

Likewise, corporate Democrats are not acting on a different foreign policy of essentially a unipolar world governed by banks for the profit of the 1%. For all the talk of spreading democracy, both parties will back any coup against a democratic government that tries to put the interests of their own people ahead of the demands of bankers and transnational corporations like oil companies in the Middle and Central Asia, banana plantations in Central America, and sweatshops everywhere else.

In Libya and Syria, Obama has done essentially what Bush did to Iraq: replace a government they don't like with no functional government at all.

And of course that foreign policy requires a military roughly as big as the rest of the world combined and several times larger than our top two potential adversaries, Russia or China, and even a couple of times larger than both of them put together.

A truly multipolar foreign policy that didn't use our military as a way for corporations and banks to make other countries an offer they can't refuse would allow our military to shrink to a truly defensive size, and any troops killed in that role would truly be fighting to preserve our freedom. But neither of the two major parties are going to do this.

What keeps the GOP alive?

The same thing that keeps the Washington Generals alive despite their existence long losing streak to the Harlem Globetrotters: they provide the illusion of competition.

Alliance of Parents & Teachers Calls for Moratorium on New Charter Schools

You know how I know the corporate driven education reform movement is a scam?

They demand accountability from traditional public schools, so they can call them failures, but they dodge accountability themselves. And they dodge it with the help of the corrupt politicians who set up the deals like Arne Duncan.

And they avoid the difficult (and therefore more expensive to educate) students like English Language Learners and Special Education students.

They want to divert our tax dollars into their corporate profits without doing the same difficult job of real schools.

Don't we give Wall Street and hedge fund managers ENOUGH bailouts and corporate welfare without feeding our children's futures to their insatiable appetite?

When are people going to say enough?

It looks like a lot of people have, by asking for at least a moratorium on new charter schools.

Will Arne Duncan and his boss, Barack Obama listen?

June 8, 2015

The Honorable Arne Duncan
Secretary of Education
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202

Dear Mr. Secretary,

In 2010 and again in 2012, the Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General raised concerns about transparency and competency in the administration of the federal Charter Schools Program.

The Charter Schools Program, part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), offers federal funding to help establish, replicate and expand public charter schools across the country. Over the past twenty years, the federal government has spent a staggering $3.3 billion of taxpayer money to expand the number of charter schools in our communities.

The Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools (AROS), whose organizational members represent 7 million parents, community members, students, educators and school staff, believes that the public deserves more information on this program, its impacts and track record.

The OIG audit found a significant lack of accountability both within the federal Office of Innovation and Improvement (OII), which administers the Charter Schools Program, and within the State Education Agencies (SEA), which disburse the majority of the federal funds. For example, the audit found:

  • The OII did not maintain records of individual charter schools funded through the SEA grants program (p. 14) and lacked internal controls and adequate training in fiscal and program monitoring (p. 13);
  • None of the SEAs examined in the audit adequately monitored charter schools receiving the SEA grants (p. 1), or monitored the state authorizing agencies charged with licensing the schools funded through the federal program.

The failure of the Office of Innovation and Improvement and the State Education Agencies to track what happened to millions of federal dollars spent to open charter schools had these inevitable results:

  • The OIG found 26 charter schools in just three states, which closed after being awarded about $7 million in SEA grant funds during the audit period (p 23). In some cases, these closed schools received SEA grant funds without ever opening to students (p 24).
  • In many of these cases, there is no indication of what happened to assets purchased with the SEA grant funds (p 24).

These findings were backed up by a recent report by the Center for Media and Democracy, which conducted further investigation into the program at both the federal and state levels.

We at AROS would add our own concerns to those raised by the OIG. For example, is the Department of Education tracking the impacts of the program on student outcomes? Nationally, charter schools are disproportionately located in communities of color. Why? And they serve disproportionately fewer English Language Learners and students with disabilities. How does the Department justify these disparities? Would the $3.3 billion that has been spent on this program over the last 20 years have been better spent strengthening our traditional public schools rather than creating new, privately operated ones?

Mr. Secretary, as Congress debates reauthorization of ESEA, the Department is calling for a 48% increase in funding for the Charter Schools Program, despite mounting evidence of significant fraud, waste and abuse within the charter sector, and despite the warnings of your own Office of Inspector General that federal charter start-up and expansion funds are not adequately monitored or accounted for.

AROS would like to respectfully ask the following:

  • What specific steps has the Department of Education taken in response to the OIG audit of 2012 to ensure greater accountability, within both the federal Office of Improvement and Innovation and at the state level, for how the federal charter expansion funds are used?
  • Will the Department of Education begin, with any new grants released to State Education Agencies, to maintain publicly accessible records of which schools receive these funds, the students served, and the operational and academic performance of each school?

In April, the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools released a public letter to the leadership of both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, calling for a moratorium on new federal funding for public charter schools. Our students and communities are not served when federal funding for education is distributed without accountability or transparency. We need to get it right.

We look forward to receiving your response.


Leigh Dingerson, interim coordinator and contact
202-288-2304 or Ldingerson@gmail.com

On behalf of The Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools:

The American Federation of Teachers
The Alliance for Educational Justice
The Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University
Center for Popular Democracy
Journey for Justice Alliance
National Education Association
The National Opportunity to Learn Campaign
Service Employees International Union

Jeb Bush's Education Agenda is a Privatization Nightmare (Will Dem Candidate Do Otherwise?)

The great tragedy of this is that Hillary and any other DLC Dem will likely pursue the same privatization agenda albeit with better funding for the current system they are helping kill. But that is roughly like Pol Pot giving you a double rice ration while he decides if you are too educated to live.

Our K-12 education policy has been bought and is being dictated by hedge fund managers and hyper-wealthy individuals who see it as a potential source of profit like the Pentagon. Politicians in both major parties have sold our kids future like chattel.

We need a national candidate who will call bullshit on this and put education policy back in the hands of educators and academics who are called greedy for wanting to make a middle class standard of living--unlike the "reformers" who see this as a way to make their next billion.

“There’s nothing else as large in all of society. Not the military—nothing—is bigger.”

That’s how Randy Best, Jeb Bush’s business partner, sees public education, as an untapped market where untold billions are to be made when kids and their families become educational customers. Touting his impressive assault on public education while Florida governor in yesterday’s announcement of his 2016 candidacy, Bush may become the loudest proponent yet of turning public education into a for-profit enterprise.

Before getting into Bush’s record and financial interests in for-profit education, a full understanding of the dystopian horrors of for-profit, privatized education is necessary. Bush offers it with a handful of Milton Friedman-esque catchwords and focus-grouped slogans, and it may be that the proposals sound innocuous and vaguely innovative until the slightest scrutiny is applied to the ideas — at which point, it’s difficult to imagine much worse than public education turned into a for-profit market. Because the most basic and collectively understood truisms about markets, when applied to children, take on a horrifying character.

First off, most businesses close. Something like 8 in 10 businesses close within 18 months. It’s an inconvenience when I drive up to a business to find it’s closed its doors. It’s a whole different situation if I’m an eight-year-old with my backpack on and that’s my school—and it’s the middle of the school year, like it was for students of a Dallas charter school in January of this year.


Russia hasn't offered Greece BRICS bank membership: finance minister (yet?)


What will happen if the BRICS bank gets up and running and they offer terms don't run this kind of bust out scam on countries that Western banks have?

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia has not offered Greece to become a member of the New Development Bank that is being created by the BRICS group of five major emerging nations, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said on Thursday.

"We have not offered (membership to Greece)," Siluanov told journalists.

In May, Russian media reported that Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak offered Athens to become the sixth member of the New Development Bank that is being formed by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Leaders from the BRICS countries are meeting at the group's annual summit next week in Russia where they are expected to officially launch the bank, along with a joint currency reserve fund.


GREEK MP: In Greece, People Are The Measure (unlike here)

It is possible to imagine a Democrat saying something like this.

It's a lot harder to imagine leaders of either of the two parties here ACTING on these principles and going to mat for the American people against moneyed interests.

Instead, we get Obama telling Wall Street he's all that stands between them and the pitchforks, but he would protect them. Then he continues with their bailouts, trade deals, and toppling of regimes that don't do business exactly the way Wall Street banks dictate.

The Democrats can either become our Syriza or like they will lose the faith of the American people and be replaced by a new party that does look out for us.

Manolis Glezos
Member of the European Parliament for Syriza

"Man is the measure of all things: of the things that are, that they are, of the things that are not, that they are not." -- Protagoras

Under these principles, democracy was created 2,500 years ago. Democracy was born out of need. The need of liberation from tyrannical regimes. The need of human liberation from centuries of oligarchy, absolutism, obscurantism. In the 2,500 years that followed, the setbacks were countless. There were some regimes that referred to themselves as "democracies," but only used this as a cover to impose absolutism.

These enemies sowed economic, political and environmental dictatorships in the name of "democracy," always creating enemies out of the general public and with the end goals of money and power.The current Greek government, which resulted from the January 25th elections, was also born out of need, the Greek people's need to get rid of politics that make "money holy and blessed."

In the name of balance sheets, the previous government threw away, like needless numbers, people and their needs.


Neocons Urge Embrace of Al Qaeda

I'm having a hard time keeping track of which terrorist group we are supposed to be afraid of, which are now freedom fighters, and how much it depends on what our government thinks of the government they are terrorizing.

But since al Qaeda is supported by our close ally Saudi, there's no way neocons were tempted to use them for a little terror here in 2001 to give Americans an attitude adjustment in favor of war.

The latest evidence of a sea change in establishment thinking is a blog that Ahmed Rashid, a prominent Middle East correspondent, recently published on The New York Review of Books website. Entitled “Why We Need al-Qaeda,” it argues that Al Qaeda and its Syrian affiliate, Al Nusra, are evolving in a more moderate direction in growing contrast to its rival, the super-violent Islamic State. So why not use Al Nusra as a counterforce against both Bashar al-Assad and ISIS?

As Rashid puts it: “Unlike ISIS, which demands absolute subjugation of the inhabitants of any territory it conquers (surrender or be executed), al-Nusra is cooperating with other anti-Assad groups and recently joined the ‘Army of Conquest’ alliance of rebel militias in northern Syria. Moreover, in contrast to ISIS’s
largely international and non-Syrian fighting force, al-Nusra’s fighters are almost wholly Syrian, making them both more reliable and more committed to Syria’s future.

This is dramatic stuff. After all, Rashid is not taking aim at some minor doctrine, but one that has been a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy since 9/11. Moreover, he’s not the only one talking this way. Since Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan flew to Riyadh in early March to meet with Saudi King Salman and discuss ways of upping support for the Syrian Islamist opposition, there has been a veritable boomlet in terms of calls for a rapprochement with Al Qaeda.

Within days of the Riyadh get-together, Foreign Affairs went public with an article arguing that even though “the United States is the closest it has ever been to destroying al Qaeda, its interests would be better served by keeping the terrorist organization afloat.”
Lina Khatib, director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, wrote a few weeks later that “while not everyone likes Nusra’s ideology, there is a growing sense in the north of Syria that it is the best alternative on the ground – and that ideology is a small price to pay for higher returns.”


TOON: How to tell a terrorist from a wacko

Why is it we forced "de-nazification" on Germany but not the equivalent on Confederates?

In some respects, Lincoln was too kind to Southern leaders, wanting a gentler, conciliatory reconstruction rather than bringing their leaders low and root out violent racists the way Ulysses S. Grant later did as president--but too late to have the public behind him.

As Dylan Roof lamented, the Klan and other racist groups never quite recovered from Grant's work in South Carolina.

It seems a little reminiscent of the Wall Street bailout. Wealthy Southern planters profited mightily from the labor of slaves, started a war that damaged the entire country, and Lincoln was most concerned about bringing those very enslavers and traitors back into the family.

That soft approach seems to have led to Jim Crow and the lingering injured pride of Southerners, whose heroes were allowed to keep their honor.

What will happen if mainstream media tries to take down Bernie like it did Howard Dean...

with the "Dean Scream" and it doesn't work?

I have suspected that a day will come when the mainstream media and its manufactured conventional wisdom would not influence enough people to change the course of events.

With Bernie's poll numbers in spite of being a dreaded "socialist," it looks like that day is getting a lot nearer.

How will the financial and political elite control the game then?
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