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yurbud

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Member since: Sun Jul 11, 2004, 07:58 PM
Number of posts: 34,589

Journal Archives

Gun control might not deter regular criminals, but it would these mass shooters

The NRA argument about banning certain kinds of guns, simply driving criminals to the black market may have some grain of truth for career criminals who would know where to go to get those black market guns, but not for mass shooters.

Nearly all of these mass shooters have no prior criminal record, especially involvement in armed robbery or the drug trade that would make them familiar with how to buy illegal weapons.

For someone with a mental illness and poor relationship skills, the interactions it would take to figure out how to get those illegal arms and actually get them might be an insurmountable obstacle.

Sure, some of these guys might go on a mass knifing or cross-bowing, but I haven't heard of too many successful drive-bys with either of those weapons.

Right now, the military industrial complex is like the liquid terminator at the end of Terminator 2

He gets dumped into a vat of molten steel, and as he is thrashing, trying to get out before he dissolves into just plain steel, he morphs through all the identities he has taken on throughout the story.

So it is with the military industrial complex.

Politicians in Washington seemed so gob-smacked by the collapse of the Soviet Union that they accidentally talked about a "peace dividend" from reduced military spending for a while until the started casting about for new excuses for military action.

They tried humanitarian interventions. The problem was, since it was just a form of charity, once US troops were killed, the public could demand the pullout of the troops and at worst, look uncharitable instead of unpatriotic and cowardly.

They tried the War on Terror. They got a good couple of years out of that before most of the public figured you didn't need a Cold War sized military to chase around stateless terrorists who have no navy, air force, or ability to take and hold territory in the US.

Obama himself has inadvertently put the lie to need for a Cold War-sized military with his use of relatively cheap drones to kill suspected terrorists, and the use of a SEAL team and a couple of helicopters, as well as some old fashioned spying and deception on the ground to kill bin Laden.

Whether or not you agree with what Obama has done, it doesn't add up to needing twice as many aircraft carriers as the rest of the world combined, and bases in countries most Americans don't know exist.

Smelling their own flop sweat, the politicians "pivoted to Asia" to try to reignite the Cold War with Russia and then maybe China.

None of this was really a change in foreign policy, but instead a matter of what shade of lipstick they put on the pig.

It also shows that even the Cold War wasn't so much about ideology, but turf wars over who gets to reap the profits from which place.

Going after an old enemy who gave up the ideology we claimed was the reason for our conflict, just reminds us of the old lie, and how likely the new alarm is a lie too.

But what the hell will they do if the public stops buying what they are selling?

BILL MOYERS: Hedge Fund Managers not Teachers are 800 lb Gorilla in education "reform" fight

All teachers in America put together made $2 bil less than the top FOUR hedge fund managers alone.

Maybe this is why top Democratic politicians have turned their back on educators, one of their most reliable constituencies. Like bank robbers, they go where the money is, and teachers don't have enough to play at the high stakes table.

A lot of people don't seem to make the connection between the for-profit charters and Wall Street, but it's there.

The question is, if someone destroyed our housing market through fraud, and wrecked the economy in the process, why would you trust them to educate your children?



The 157,800 teachers of America’s little people, the Bureau of Labor Statistics tells us, together make about $8.34 billion a year. Hedge fund America’s top four earners alone last year grabbed $10.4 billion.

***

True enough. Hedge fund billionaires are indeed investing colossal millions in charters, educational entities — often tied closely to for-profits — that take in public tax dollars but operate independently of local school board oversight.

***

Hedge fund flacks hail this growing charter presence as a new window of opportunity for underprivileged kids in failing traditional schools. But many educators consider charters a diversion of badly needed public tax dollars into unaccountable private entities that cream off top students and refuse to take in the most challenged.

Plenty of research reinforces this perspective. One survey of recent studies, released last week, sees a charter school landscape full of “bad education, ridiculous hype, wasted resources and widespread corruption.”

Also in that landscape: plenty of high-return investment opportunities for hedge fund managers. A federal tax break known as the “New Markets” tax credit lets hedge funds that invest in charters double their money in seven years. Charters have become, notes one education analyst, “just another investor playground for easy money passed from taxpayers to the wealthy.”

http://billmoyers.com/2014/05/15/hedge-fund-titans-hum-a-happy-tune-as-they-target-public-schools/

If China & Russia do energy deals in non-dollars, what will US do?

In the game of 13 dimensional chess, how would our government counter that?

What would be the effect on our economy?

Also, how is our "get tough" approach to Russia and China going to change that for the better?

Most people do not take kindly to being bullied and threatened, and might choose to retaliate in ways that makes it harder for you to keep bullying.

Orwell quote on journalism vs. PR



This might help some of the people here who have difficulty with Glenn Greenwald's work on Edward Snowden.

Would a woman as obese as Chris Christie have gotten as far in politics?

I can't think of a woman politician at such an unhealthy weight who would be seriously discussed as a presidential prospect.

There's some kind of point in there about superficiality or a double standard.

What country just sold $100 bil in US Treasuries & why is Fed covering it up?

This is a little bit beyond my knowledge of finance, but selling off large quantities of our debt is a way other countries can weaken our economy and government, and make it harder for us to afford to continue to act like the world's owner.

China hasn't said much about our efforts to pry Ukraine from Russia, but it's hard to see what China would gain from an even more unchallenged US, and why they would want to throw some cold water on us.

Not that they are the ones who did this.

Some country or countries, unknown at this time, for reasons we do not know dumped $104 billion in Treasuries in one week.

Another curious aspect of the sale and purchase laundered through Belgium is that the sale was not executed and cleared via the Fed’s own National Book-Entry System (NBES), which was designed to facilitate the sale and ownership transfer of securities for Fed custodial customers. Instead, The foreign owner(s) of the Treasuries removed them from the Federal Reserve’s custodial holdings and sold them through the Euroclear securities clearing system, which is based in Brussels, Belgium.

We do not know why or who. We know that there was a withdrawal, a sale, a drop in the Federal Reserve’s “Securities held in Custody for Foreign Official and International Accounts,” an inexplicable rise in Belgium’s holdings, and then the bonds reappear in the Federal Reserve’s custodial accounts.

What are the reasons for this deception by the Federal Reserve?

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/05/13/the-federal-reserve-and-an-unsustainable-empire/

Ted Mitchell, Leader in Privatization Movement, Confirmed as Undersecretary of Education

Source: Diane Ravitch

One of the nation's leaders of the privatization movement, Ted Mitchell, has been confirmed by the. u.S. Senate as Undersecretary of Education, the second most powerful job in the U.S. Department of Education.

Mitchell most recently was CEO of the NewSchools Venture Fund, which collects millions from philanthropies and venture funds and invests the money in creating charter chains and for-profit ventures.

Among his many other accomplishments, Mitchell served as chairman of the State Board of Education for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegegger, a time of unprecedented expansion of charter schools and deep budget cuts for both K-12 piblic schools and public higher education.


Read more: http://wp.me/p2odLa-7TI



Obama and the Senate once again put Wall Street ahead of our kids when it comes to K-12 education policy.

If Democrats stay home in the 2014 election, it will be because of actions like this.

Obama doesn't have to worry about reelection--he should dare to be a Democrat now.

ANTIWAR.COM targeted for investigation, website hacked today

This really brings the Snowden revelations home. I haven't visited Antiwar.com as much the last few years because, however glacially slow it looked like our hot wars were winding down.

Now that our government is demonizing Russia on a daily basis, I thought they might have something useful to say.

This was the first article I read. When I had a few minutes to post it here, their site was infected with malware that originated in Ukraine.

"You know, one of the interesting things is, obviously, people are very aware of the COINTEL abuses. I know you’ve had people on your show who actually participated in the break-in of the FBI and took the documents that unveiled that program. People are aware of J. Edgar Hoover’s abuses. The nature of that series of events is that the United States government looks at people who oppose what they do as being, quote-unquote, ‘threats.’ That’s the nature of power, is to regard anybody who’s a threat to your power as a broad national security threat. And a lot of times people will say, ‘We don’t yet have the reporting in this case that shows that kind of abuse.’ And a lot of that reporting is still reporting that we’re working on and that I promise you is coming."


My blood ran cold for a second reason, however, one more personal and immediate: that’s because in the summer of 2011 we discovered that the FBI had indeed targeted Antiwar.com – specifically myself and our webmaster, Eric Garris – for what they termed a "preliminary investigation" in 2004. We learned this through a Freedom of Information Act request made by someone else: in an April 2004 memosome FBI high mucka-muck speculated that we might very well be "agents of a foreign power" – and that it was high time to "sniff" around after us.

The significance of the "foreign agent" phraseology was underscored when the Snowden revelations came to light: for the "legal" rationale behind the NSA’s police state operation is that targets are alleged to have a "foreign" connection. Technically, the American version of the KGB isn’t supposed to be conducting surveillance on any US citizen without a requisite "foreign" connection – and here was the FBI inventing one, or at least trying to. Since there is no such connection – Antiwar.com is run by Americans, and has no overseas organization or funders – I assumed, at first, that this exempted us from the NSA’s spying.

As time went on, however, and it became clear that a "foreign connection" could be established by discovering a "two-hop" or even a "three-hop" link to an entity deemed foreign, I started getting a little nervous – and yet still my innate skepticism remained largely intact. After all, wouldn’t it be awfully stupid for the NSA – and the FBI – to be spying on a legitimate constitutionally-protected non-criminal enterprise such as Antiwar.com? The danger of being caught, I thought, was too great: it would all come out eventually.

http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2014/05/13/the-american-republic-is-dead/

RAVITCH: Anti-testing Momentum Grows --links to stories of states fighting back

It is heartening to see bipartisan resistance to a national policy that is the result of bipartisan corruption.

Hopefully, bottom up democracy can force Washington to stop selling our kids futures like pork bellies to the hedge fund managers who see education privatization as their next bubble.

FairTest: Anti-Testing Momentum Grows
by dianeravitch

Opposition to the testing madness of the Bush-Obama administrations continues to escalate, as parents, teachers, and student react to excessive testing across the nation.

Here is the Fairtest update:

An increasing number of stories report criticism of Common Core tests and rising opposition to other high-stakes standardized exams. This week's clips include updates from 20 states, several excellent commentaries and links to important reports.

The Gathering Resistance to Standardized Testing

http://www.alternet.org/education/gathering-resistance-standardized-tests

State Political Rifts Sap Support for Common Core Exams

http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/05/07/30tests.h33.html

The Cost of Our Testing Obsession

http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/costs-testing-obsession-article-1.1785275

Why a Common Core Testing Moratorium is Needed . . . Now!

http://www.fairtest.org/common-core-assessments-factsheet

Competitor Sues to Overturn Pearson' s Common Core Testing Contract

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/marketplacek12/2014/05/american_institutes_for_research_challenges_pearson_common-core_testing_award_in_court.html

Pearson's History of Testing Problems

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/05/06/a-history-of-pearsons-testing-problems-worldwide/

Test Expert: Most California Schools Not Ready for Common Core Exams

http://www.thecalifornian.com/article/20140507/NEWS12/305060040/Test-expert-Most-schools-not-ready

Tryout of New California Test Plagued by Computer Problems

http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-new-tests-20140512-story.html#page=1

Common Core Testing Raises Question About Who Is in Charge of Connecticut Education

http://ctmirror.org/op-ed-common-core-raises-question-who-is-in-charge-of-education/

Florida Governor Approves One-Year Pause on School Grading Consequences

http://www.news4jax.com/news/scott-approves-1year-pause-on-school-grades/25951312

Student Testing a Major Issue in Idaho School Chief Election

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2014/may/08/rivals-idaho-schools-chief-differ-student-testing/

Illinois Suburbs Push Back Against Testing

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/education/ct-school-ratings-overhaul-sidebar-met-20140511,0,478278.story

Louisiana Tax Dollars at Work: Training Teachers to Administer High-Stakes Tests Which Grade Their "Effectiveness"

http://wwno.org/post/back-school-training-teachers-give-high-stakes-tests

http://wwno.org/post/behind-test-using-test-scores-grade-teachers

Why Standardized Testing is Ruining Maine Schools, Hurting Our Kids

https://bangordailynews.com/2014/05/08/opinion/why-standardized-testing-is-ruining-our-schools-hurting-our-kids/

Massachusetts Teachers Union Elects Strong Foe of High-Stakes Testing as President

http://www.gazettenet.com/home/11920874-95/barbara-madeloni-of-northampton-foe-of-standardized-testing-elected-president-of-110000-member-massa

A Fairer Test Score Measure for Massachusetts

http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2014/05/06/fairer-test-score-measure/sjpTO5mv9hldIrfUxLC2rJ/story.html

Common Core Field Testing Seen as Another Unfunded Massachusetts State Mandate

http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20140509/PUB04/405080312/1040

Parents Boycott New Jersey ASK Test

http://tri.gmnews.com/news/2014-05-08/Opinion/Parents_boycott_NJ_ASK_test.html

How to Refuse New Jersey Tests for Your Child

http://thealternativepress.com/articles/misinformation-and-half-truths-is-this-what-we-h

Student: Standardized Tests Taking a Toll in New Mexico Classrooms

http://www.santafenewmexican.com/life/teen/are-standardized-exams-taking-a-toll-in-the-classroom/article_c0064cf3-f1d4-5576-bca7-1b7747a2bd44.html

A Conversation About Tests New York Teachers Can't Have

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/07/nyregion/principals-want-to-complain-about-new-york-state-tests-but-explanations-have-to-wait.html

The Pseudo-Science of New York's Common Core Tests

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alan-singer/common-core-pseudoscience_b_5280441.html

Ohio Teachers Seek Three-Year Delay in High-Stakes Testing

http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2014/05/10/ohio-teachers-union-wants-delay-in-high-stakes-testing.html

Oklahoma Legislature Passes Bill Giving Parents a Voice in Overruling Grade Promotion Test

http://kfor.com/2014/05/12/bill-passes-giving-parents-and-teachers-a-voice-in-3rd-grade-reading-test/

Testing Expert: Oregon's Assessments Should Be Designed by Local Educators

http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2014/05/student_assessments_should_be.html

Oregon Teachers Seek Common Core Testing Moratorium

http://www.oregonlive.com/education/index.ssf/2014/05/oregon_teachers_union_calls_fo.html

They'll Never Catch Pennsylvania's Worst Test Cheating Culprits -- Politicians Who Mandate High-Stakes Exams

http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/attytood/Theyll-never-catch-the-real-culprits.html#IQAktHH1XgkwVvho.99

Philadelphia "Culture of Cheating" Reflects Standardized Exam Misuse

http://news.yahoo.com/principal-teachers-face-criminal-charges-philadelphia-test-scandal-202509850.html

Different Value-Added Systems Produce Wide-Range of Results in Pittsburgh Schools

http://www.post-gazette.com/news/education/2014/05/12/Pittsburgh-Public-Schools-state-use-different-formulas-to-calculate-value-added-by-schools/stories/201405120068

Rhode Island School Board Resists Mounting Pressure to End Graduation Test

http://www.providencejournal.com/breaking-news/content/20140512-r.i.-board-of-education-stays-with-necap-as-graduation-requirement.ece

Nashville Tennessee to Take Up Anti-Testing Resolution

http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/education/2014/05/09/nashville-board-will-take-anti-testing-measure/8903165/

Another Test Cheating Probe in the Home of the "Texas Miracle" Which Begat "No Child Left Behind"

http://blog.chron.com/k12zone/2014/05/teachers-at-2nd-hisd-school-face-firing-in-cheating-probe/

Texas Teacher Evaluation Earns a Failing Grade

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/outlook/article/Lee-Sridharan-Sung-HISD-gets-a-failing-gradede-5460933.php

Are Texas Children Allowed to Read for Pleasure Any More?

http://www.victoriaadvocate.com/news/2014/may/10/ys_education_matters_051114_239099/?features

Virginia Parents Start Organizing Opt Out Campaign

http://www.nbc12.com/story/25497436/sol-opt-out

How NCLB Waiver Revocation Will Hurt Washington State Schools

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/05/08/how-students-will-be-affected-by-federal-revocation-of-washingtons-nclb-waiver/

Obama-Duncan Testing Policies Contradict Their Own High-Sounding Statements

http://www.edweek.org/tm/articles/2014/05/06/tm-ntoy-obama-evaluation.html?cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS2

New Study Casts Doubt on Rating Teachers by Students' Test Scores

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/good-teaching-poor-test-scores-doubt-cast-on-grading-teachers-by-student-performance/2014/05/12/96d94812-da07-11e3-bda1-9b46b2066796_story.html

Standardized Testing Focus is Part of 19th Century Model of Education

http://www.centredaily.com/2014/05/13/4176028/henry-g-brzycki-why-standardized.html?sp=/99/145/

Bob Schaeffer, Public Education Director
FairTest: National Center for Fair & Open Testing
office- (239) 395-6773 fax- (239) 395-6779
mobile- (239) 696-0468
web- http://www.fairtest.org


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