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yurbud

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

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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


http://wp.me/p2odLa-7T0

Will Israeli society collapse because they sent a former prime minister to prison?

I'm not with many past and present actions of Israel toward, Palestinians, their neighbors, and even the US, but on this issue, they may have proven themselves a superior democracy to ours.

From Richard Nixon through George W. Bush, we have been told solemnly and repeatedly that we can't hold our presidents accountable for serious crimes (sexual indiscretions apparently excepted) or the very pillars of our form of government would collapse.

Come to think of it, that argument was expanded in 2008 to cover Wall Street banks and their executives.

Now Israel has done us a great favor and not only convicted one of their former prime ministers of a a crime, but sentenced him to prison time.

What happens as a result should set a precedent for us. If Israeli civil society collapse in shock and sudden loss of faith in government, the somber warnings of our senior politicians and MSM will be proven wise and sound.

If Israeli society and polity continues more or less as before or is even improved by this action, SHOULDN'T WE FOLLOW THEIR EXAMPLE?

What do you think will happen in Israel as a result of this conviction and sentencing?

GEOPOLITICS instead of BS on Russia

Crucial reading that includes quotes on neocon defense strategy that seems to have changed little from Bush to Obama. Obama has a better grasp of the English language and slightly subtler methods, but on foreign policy he's still pursuing the same business-first, unipolar world policy.

In Russia's case, it's about getting in the way of their oil and gas business to divert the profits to the "right" companies, keep Europe and Asia from integrating economically, and keep that income away from Russia to keep them from emerging as a new superpower or even regional power.

I didn't vote for that.

In fact, I thought I was voting for the exact opposite when I voted for Obama.


Putin’s main interest in Ukraine is commercial. 66 percent of the natural gas that Russia exports to the EU transits Ukraine. The money that Russia makes from gas sales helps to strengthen the Russian economy and raise standards of living. It also helps to make Russian oligarchs richer, the same as it does in the West. The people in Europe like the arrangement because they are able to heat their homes and businesses market-based prices. In other words, it is a good deal for both parties, buyer and seller. This is how the free market is supposed to work. The reason it doesn’t work that way presently is because the United States threw a spanner in the gears when it deposed Yanukovych. Now no one knows when things will return to normal.



The overriding goal of US policy in Ukraine is to stop the further economic integration of Asia and Europe. That’s what the fracas is really all about. The United States wants to control the flow of energy from East to West, it wants to establish a de facto tollbooth between the continents, it wants to ensure that those deals are transacted in US dollars and recycled into US Treasuries, and it wants to situate itself between the two most prosperous markets of the next century. Anyone who has even the sketchiest knowledge of US foreign policy– particularly as it relates to Washington’s “pivot to Asia”– knows this is so. The US is determined to play a dominant role in Eurasia in the years ahead. Wreaking havoc in Ukraine is a central part of that plan.

Retired German Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Jochen Scholz summed up US policy in an open letter which appeared on the Neue Rheinilche Zeitung news-site last week. Scholz said the Washington’s objective was “to deny Ukraine a role as a bridge between Eurasian Union and European Union….They want to bring Ukraine under the NATO control” and sabotage the prospects for “a common economic zone from Lisbon to Vladivostok.”

Bingo. That’s US policy in a nutshell. It has nothing to do with democracy, sovereignty, or human rights. It’s about money and power. Who are the big players going to be in the world’s biggest growth center, that’s all that matters. Unfortunately for Obama and Co., the US has fallen behind Russia in acquiring the essential resources and pipeline infrastructure to succeed in such a competition. They’ve been beaten by Putin and Gazprom at every turn. While Putin has strengthened diplomatic and economic relations, expanded vital pipeline corridors and transit lines, and hurtled the many obstacles laid out for him by American-stooges in the EC; the US has dragged itself from one quagmire to the next laying entire countries to waste while achieving none of its economic objectives.

FULL TEXT

Arne Duncan Undercutting Senate Dems On Student Loan Reforms

Thanks, Arne.

Another classy move from our most corrupt Secretary of Education.

If the Democrats in the Senate are trying to do something vaguely progressive that will actually help people, the Obama administration should either cheerlead, help, or at least get out of the way.

I guess if it doesn't put money in the pocket of the already wealthy as common core, repetitive standardized testing, and privatized charter schools do, it shouldn't be done.

WASHINGTON -- The Department of Education is stonewalling Democratic lawmakers' efforts to protect student borrowers from sky-high interest rates and dishonest loan practices, driving a wedge between Senate Democrats and the Obama administration over economic policy in an election year.

This week, two dozen Democratic senators led by Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts introduced a bill that would enable millions of borrowers to refinance expensive student loans at significantly lower interest rates, allowing many to save thousands of dollars a year.

The proposal is a central element of Senate Democrats' election-year "fair shot" agenda, and enjoys broad support from the party's leadership. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) expects to bring the legislation to a vote after Memorial Day, forcing Republicans to take an unpopular position if they wish to block the bill.

But it’s not just the Republicans who pose an obstacle. Over the past year, Education Department officials have refused to share critical information with legislators and outside supporters that could have helped shape the legislation. Members of Congress said they have been denied access to information that would determine how many borrowers could benefit from refinancing programs, how much money individual borrowers could save, and the impact of the legislation on the federal budget deficit.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/07/arne-duncan-student-loans-senate_n_5276211.html?utm_hp_ref=politics


RAVITCH: Bombshell Report: $100 mil in Taxpayer $$ Wasted or Stolen by Deregulated Charter Schools

Apparently the Dept. of Ed inspector general came to similar conclusions.

The particular kind of misspending, on luxuries and excessive salaries for execs, and even diverting funds into their other businesses tells you what the real priorities are of these hedge fund managers and trust fund babies who suddenly took an interest in our kids.

Lets hope they don't develop a similar concern for our kidneys.

I wonder if Arne Duncan misplaced the report or just fired him.


Bombshell Report: $100 Million in Taxpayer $$ Wasted or Stolen by Deregulated Charter Industry

by dianeravitch

A new report reveals massive waste, fraud, and corruption in the charter industry, where private corporations control public funds with minimal oversight or accountability.

"FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 5, 2014

CONTACT:

Kyle Serrette: KSerrette@populardemocracy.org, 202-304-8027
Sabrina Stevens: media@integrityineducation.org, 720-295-0238

A new report released today reveals that fraudulent charter operators in 15 states are responsible for losing, misusing or wasting over $100 million in taxpayer money.

“Charter School Vulnerabilities to Waste, Fraud And Abuse,” authored by the Center for Popular Democracy and Integrity in Education, echoes a warning from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of the Inspector General. The report draws upon news reports, criminal complaints and more to detail how, in just 15 of the 42 states that have charter schools, charter operators have used school funds illegally to buy personal luxuries for themselves, support their other businesses, and more.

The report also includes recommendations for policymakers on how they can address the problem of rampant fraud, waste and abuse in the charter school industry. Both organizations recommend pausing charter expansion until these problems are addressed.

“We expected to find a fair amount of fraud when we began this project, but we did not expect to find over $100 million in taxpayer dollars lost. That’s just in 15 states. And that figure fails to capture the real harm to children. Clearly, we should hit the pause button on charter expansion until there is a better oversight system in place to protect our children and our communities,” said Kyle Serrette, the Director of Education Justice at the Center for Popular Democracy.”

“Our school system exists to serve students and enrich communities,” added Sabrina Stevens, Executive Director of Integrity in Education. “School funding is too scarce as it is; we can hardly afford to waste the resources we do have on people who would prioritize exotic vacations over school supplies or food for children. We also can’t continue to rely on the media or isolated whistleblowers to identify these problems. We need to have rules in place that can systematically weed out incompetent or unscrupulous charter operators before they pose a risk to students and taxpayers.”

"The report can be found at http://www.populardemocracy.org and http://www.integrityineducation.org.

dianeravitch | May 5, 2014 at 6:08 pm | Categories: Charter Schools | URL: http://wp.me/p2odLa-7Qe

PIC: $143 BILLION in one photo of four people

Someone posted this on Reddit. I don't know who two of the people are other than Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.

If you divided that money evenly between them, that would be enough for them to do whatever the hell they want for the rest of their lives, and maybe ten generations of their descendants would never have to work a day in their lives even if you threw in a 50% inheritance tax every generation.

And all those generations of non-workers would have plenty of cash to buy our political system and overrule democracy.

If conservatives really believe Climate Change isn't real....

shouldn't they move all their think tanks, media empires, personal homes to and invest heavily in the real estate in FLORIDA?

So should the oil, gas, and coal companies and their execs who pay for climate change denial.

They could probably get some bitchin' deals on the property of the eggheads and lefties worried about the state losing 99% of it's surface area.

They should put their money where their mouths are.
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