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Member since: Sun Jul 11, 2004, 07:58 PM
Number of posts: 39,405

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Does anyone use the word CORRUPTION when writing letters to Congress and President?

I do.

You can make a lot of policy arguments, but I wonder if that one word doesn't get under their skin a lot more since they know that most of the things they are doing that piss off progressives they are not doing out of principle but because of campaign donations, jobs for relatives now and for themselves after they leave office, and the invaluable praise of the media owned by those making the bribes.

Does anyone really think Democrats think privatizing public education is a good idea? or that turning over the national public school curriculum to one company is?

Anybody who went to college knows that textbook companies change texts every year or two just to force students to buy the newest edition instead of an old, used one--the vendors running common core will do the same thing.

They will eventually acknowledge some of the criticisms of teachers and parents, and then, by gosh, the only remedy will be to buy the new curriculum, new tests, new software, and maybe even all new iPads capable running dancing monkey holograms that will be ESSENTIAL to the new material.

It is even more obvious in trade, foreign policy, and inaction on Wall Street crimes.

If the White House was negotiating in the interests of the American people, would the TPP be kept secret?

How did invading Iraq and Afghanistan help average Americans? How did breaking Libya and now attempting to break Syria and Russia?

When we pretend that it is just a matter of policy choice A or B, we give politicians an "honorable" way to say no to us.

If we call things by their right names, especially directly to the politicians, they might start to get nervous.

And that would be a good thing.

Cost of Benghazi vs. 9/11 vs. Bill Clinton's sex life probes?

The only thing I've seen so far is the Pentagon saying it ran into the "millions," but I'm wondering if it has surpassed what was spent on 9/11 investigations or even the much higher figure of what was spent on investigating Whitewater and where Bill Clinton put his penis and when did he know it.

Cost of 9/11 Commission: $15 mil

Cost of Whitewater & Lewinsky: $47 mil

Cost of Benghazi: ?

Benghazi dead: 4

Whitewater & Lewinsky dead: mostly sperm, no full people

9/11 dead: 2,996

Republicans have an odd sense of proportion.

Global Warming, Republicans, and Florida voters

It just occurred to me that when Floridites vote for Republicans who refuse to acknowledge global warming or take action against it, they are voting for most of their state to no longer exist.

Even if you don't care about the environment, the fate of the human race, or the planet, you might care about property values dropping to zero because the property in question is underwater.

Come to think of it, even if you didn't believe in global warming, wouldn't you be worried that so many other people do, that your property value would drop even if the state doesn't become a large coral reef?

For most of us, global warming is a question of how much of an inconvenience and disruption it will ultimately become.

For people who live on what is essentially a wide sandbar in the ocean, it seems like they would take it a lot more seriously.

MARKETING PRO: Common Core propaganda fails: Well-financed education “reformers” fight common sense

If Democrats were really worried about losing the midterms, they might consider doing a 180 on feeding our kids to the wolves on Wall Street.

In addition to eroding our kids public education, DC Democrats have put the knife in the back of one of their largest and most consistent constituencies, teachers.

Tell all the hedge fund managers to keep their campaign donations and grants to schools that come with strings that turn into nooses and instead make those sociopaths pay more taxes and use the money to improve public schools to model the best of real private schools and past public schools before we started letting Wall Street and dilitante billionaires looking for a new public asset to plunder dictate education policy.

Jeff Bryant

For years, elites in big business, foundations, well-endowed think tanks, and corporate media have conducted a well-financed marketing campaign to impress on the nation’s public schools an agenda of change that includes charter schools, standardized testing, and “new and improved” standards known as the Common Core.

These ideas were sold to us as sure-fire remedies for enormous inequities in a public school system whose performance only appears to be relatively low compared to other countries if you ignore the large percentage of poor kids we have.

But the “education reform” ad campaign never got two important lessons everyone starting out in the advertising business learns: Never make objective claims about your product that can be easily and demonstrably disproven, and never insult your target audience.

For instance, you can make the claim, “this tastes great” because that can’t be proven one way or the other. But when you claim, “your kids will love how this tastes,” and parents say, “my kids think it tastes like crap,” you’re pretty much toast. And you make matters all the worse if you respond, “Well, if you were a good parent you’d tell your kid to eat it anyway.”


RAVITCH: Apathy about growing monopoly in education materials

Public education curriculum is becoming the next big monopoly. If a handful or only one company sell s the testing, textbook, and other curriculum materials to schools, how much say will parents and teachers have about what's in them?

And if parents and teachers have legitimate gripes, who are politicians more likely to listen to, them or the monopoly that can put a big chunk of change in their pockets?

Robert Shepherd on Apathy about the Death of Competition for Education Materials

by dianeravitch

It is curious that though many supporters of the Common Core standards want choice among schools but celebrate the standardization and lack of choice among suppliers of education materials. They want to multiply choices of schools while standardizing learning and standing back while only two, perhaps three at most, mega-publishers create nearly identical products for the nation's students and schools.

Robert Shepherd posted a comment about the death of competition in the marketplace for educational materials. Consolidation started years ago as large companies bought up small companies, and as small companies found they were financially unable to compete with the giant corporations. Those trends have accelerated to the point where only two or three corporations control the education publishing industry. He wonders if anyone cares. I say yes, but no one knows how to stop this monopolizing trend. We feel powerless. To whom do we direct our complaints? This is not an oversight. Creating a national marketplace for vendors of goods and services was an explicit purpose of Race to the Top.

Joanne Weiss, who was Arne Duncan's chief of staff and who directed Race to the Top, wrote in The Harvard Business Review:

"The development of common standards and shared assessments radically alters the market for innovation in curriculum development, professional development, and formative assessments. Previously, these markets operated on a state-by-state basis, and often on a district-by-district basis. But the adoption of common standards and shared assessments means that education entrepreneurs will enjoy national markets where the best products can be taken to scale.


Cliven Bundy showed it's time to look at how little we get from business use of public land

Grazing is probably the least of it.

From mining to fracking, oil drilling, and timber leases, are we getting what our assets our worth?

What do we get compared to what those companies would have to pay to use someone (or a corporation's) private property?

This is also one "tax" we can impose without being threatened with them taking their business elsewhere--Bundy can't exactly move his cattle to graze in Bangladesh and the Koch brothers can't move their coal mines to Africa.

Former National Security Advisor explained current Russia policy almost 20 years ago

Zbigniew Brzezinski was Jimmy Carter's National Security Advisor, but he laid out in pretty blunt terms what our foreign policy was and would be for all the decades that followed.

He now brags about how the public was misled into thinking the Soviets started their Afghan War, but our support for the Mujahadeen started before that to lure the Soviets into a trap, as he says in this interview:

Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.


This astroturf rebellion has been played out over and over for decades in country after country where their governments refused to play on the terms Wall Street bankers, oil, sweatshop, and plantation corporations dictated.

In his book THE GRAND CHESSBOARD, his explanation of our goals in Eurasia are likely what is driving our current conflict with Russia:

“America is now the only global superpower, and Eurasia is the globe’s central arena. Hence, what happens to the distribution of power on the Eurasian continent will be of decisive importance to America’s global primacy and to America’s historical legacy.” (p.194) “It follows that America’s primary interest is to help ensure that no single power comes to control this geopolitical space and that the global community has unhindered financial and economic access to it.” (p148) …

The world’s energy consumption is bound to vastly increase over the next two or three decades. Estimates by the U.S. Department of energy anticipate that world demand will rise by more than 50 percent between 1993 and 2015, with the most significant increase in consumption occurring in the Far East. The momentum of Asia’s economic development is already generating massive pressures for the exploration and exploitation of new sources of energy and the Central Asian region and the Caspian Sea basin are known to contain reserves of natural gas and oil that dwarf those of Kuwait, the Gulf of Mexico, or the North Sea.” (p.125) …

“…how America `manages’ Eurasia is critical. Eurasia is the globe’s largest continent and is geopolitically axial. A power that dominates Eurasia would control two of the world’s three most advanced and economically productive regions. …About 75 per cent of the world’s people live in Eurasia, and most of the world’s physical wealth is there as well, both in its enterprises and underneath its soil. Eurasia accounts for 60 per cent of the world’s GNP and about three-fourths of the world’s known energy resources.” (p.31) …
(Excerpts from The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy And Its Geostrategic Imperatives — Zbigniew Brzezinski, Basic Books, 1997)

Taken as a whole, Brzezinski’s “Chessboard” is a pretty straightforward strategy for ruling the world. All one needs to do is seize critical energy supplies and transit lines, crush potential rivals, and subvert regional coalitions, or as Brzezinski breezily puts it, “keep the barbarians from coming together.”


Our leaders in Washington like to focus on just what happened in the last 24 hours or a few weeks at most, but it's important to look at the bigger picture and what foreign policy is about overall.

A cynical thought on Armenian genocide, genocide in general, & politics

Maybe somebody else figured this out a long time ago, but the publicity in America about the genocide coincided with the West's push to break up the Ottoman Empire.

Once it was gone and replaced with Western colonies and a neutral to pro-West Turkey, our government saw no self-interest in pushing the issue, so it was swept under the carpet for most of the last hundred years.

That would also fit the pattern of genocides that get noticed in our media and that seemingly prompt action from our government.

By contrast, ones like that in Indonesia in the 60's or East Timor a decade and a half later are unknown here beyond academic circles.

Will the American public buy the New Cold War with Russia?

Last summer, the American people prevented Washington from becoming more directly involved in the war in Syria.

Now Washington seems to think they can crank up a new Cold War with Russia over this business with Ukraine.

Are they American people going to buy it?

Any chance our new Cold War with Russia will be cancelled due to budget deficit concerns?

If not, wouldn't our government have to make a plausible argument that Russia is a direct threat to us here in the US?

I might be a little rusty on my history, but since they sold Alaska, they haven't invaded any territory in the Western Hemisphere or even got much further than some islands pretty close to the Eurasian land mass.

It also seems unlikely that Russia would want to start a nuclear exchange that would leave the whole world dead, including Russians.

Or are we going to back to the pre-Iraq War logic of our enemies are like the villains in cartoons and action movies who don't mind dying and taking their whole country with them if they can wing the good guys on their way out?
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