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

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What's the best short story by known author about death of a loved one?

Can I post polls asking what positions we want Hillary to take on issues without it being locked?

Some of her more centrist supporters might see it as an attack, but my intent is to show if we vote for her, what we want to see done in exchange.

The Broken Chessboard: Brzezinski Gives Up on Empire

In retrospect, Brzezinski's book, THE GRAND CHESSBOARD, reads like the "to do list" of everything that has happened in foreign policy in the last 20 years.

His ideas were also echoed in the Project for a New American Century, that essentially said we should grab all we can before Russia, China, and other emerging powers get their shit together. I'm using "we" very loosely. 99.9999% of us don't benefit from being the world's only superpower anymore than a factory worker in Britain did at the end of the 19th century.

This sounds like the masters announcing through their trusted servant that the smash and grab is over--it's time to make nice before everybody else gets together and fights back.

You know what would have been nice though? If we skipped the last 20 years of killing people in Eurasia, getting our troops killed there, and squandering our wealth making more enemies, and just got to the part where we make nice with the emerging powers and create a stable world together.

But then the very wealthiest Americans wouldn't have been able to stuff their pockets with quite so much of other people's money, most Americans being other people too.

The main architect of Washington’s plan to rule the world has abandoned the scheme and called for the forging of ties with Russia and China. While Zbigniew Brzezinski’s article in The American Interest titled “Towards a Global Realignment” has largely been ignored by the media, it shows that powerful members of the policymaking establishment no longer believe that Washington will prevail in its quest to extent US hegemony across the Middle East and Asia. Brzezinski, who was the main proponent of this idea and who drew up the blueprint for imperial expansion in his 1997 book The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives, has done an about-face and called for a dramatic revising of the strategy. Here’s an excerpt from the article in the AI:

“As its era of global dominance ends, the United States needs to take the lead in realigning the global power architecture.

Five basic verities regarding the emerging redistribution of global political power and the violent political awakening in the Middle East are signaling the coming of a new global realignment.

The first of these verities is that the United States is still the world’s politically, economically, and militarily most powerful entity but, given complex geopolitical shifts in regional balances, it is no longer the globally imperial power.” (Toward a Global Realignment, Zbigniew Brzezinski, The American Interest)


Trump parrots public school corporate take over slogans

Trump seems to be actually reading standard corporate-written GOP talking points now.

It's too bad the bad policy he's touting is largely bipartisan with Obama appointing two secretaries of education who backed the privatization of public schools agenda.

A good way to get teachers to vote FOR Clinton/Kaine instead of just against Trumpence, would be to explicitly repudiate this agenda and say hedge fund managers and for profit corporations seeking to divert public education dollars to their own pockets won't dictate education policy in her administration, educators, academics, and parents will.

If these rich folks really were concerned about public education, they would demand what they get for their children in real private schools: small class size, highly educated teachers empowered with the flexibility to teach with materials and methods that meet the needs of kids not vendors selling tests and materials.

And they would demand that rich folks like themselves pay more taxes to provide that kind of experience for all kids.

They do not.

There is no such thing as a fact in Trump’s roadshow. Instead, as Trump lashes out at enemies, he glosses over major issues or utters ill-informed opinions. A telling example was his speech’s brief smear of traditional public schools and embrace of privatized K-12 education. He read lines that were little more than charter school marketing slogans.

“On education, it is time to have school choice, merit pay for teachers and to end the tenure policies that hurt good teachers and reward bad teachers. We are going to put students and parents first,” Trump said. “Hillary Clinton would rather deny opportunities to millions of young African-American children, just so she can curry favor with the education bureaucracy. I am going to allow charter schools to thrive, and help young kids get on the American ladder of success: a good education and a good-paying job.”

Trump is serving up some charter school Kool-Aid, suggesting, as the multi-billion-dollar charter industry reflexively does, that it offers one-size-fits-all solutions for educating America’s youths. The fact that charter schools, especially those run by branded corporate franchises, have a record of questionable academics, increasingly segregated schools and are structurally prone to fiscal self-dealing—all facts documented in recent years by investigative reporters nationwide—is irrelevant to Trump.

One of the fundamentals of mainstream journalism is having to report what public figures say. That tenet, however, lends them a credibility that may not be deserved. It can be knowingly manipulated, such as Trump’s timing of incitements and outrages that have netted billions in free coverage. In this case, when Trump clearly is reciting charter industry talking points about opening up K-12 public schools to privatization—after saying said next to nothing about public education during the past year—what are we to make of it?


PIC: Quote from corporate ed reformer "Democrat"

If Democratic Party politicians want to widen Hillary's lead, they might inspire their base of teachers by repudiating groups like this and the bipartisan, corrupt, privatization of public education that diverts tax dollars meant for educating our kids into the pockets of hedge fund managers and for profit corporations.

Worst of all, like everything Wall Street does, they could be creating a bubble that pops, screwing your kids out of a decent neighborhood school to attend, or even out of any school at all, as is already happening with school closures.

Will the Democratic Party show these cannibals of our kids futures the door?

The GOP Should Fear The Rise Of Democratic Tories (from a conservative!)

I know this is from a conservative source, but as more Republican pols and trendsetters back Hillary, this seems to be the direction things are going: as the GOP becomes so virulent in their racism and xenophobia, Democrats will become the more acceptable business party, and the GOP will wither to a niche party for angry, ignorant cranks.

The question is, whether this is what Democratic voters want or need. And whether a new opposition party will form on the right, left, or both.

The opportunity this gives the Democrats is clear: they will have the latitude and incentives to expand their coalition, forming the equivalent of a new American Tory party. Socially liberal in the sense of redistribution and the occasional catering to identity politics appeals, Democrats will have the opening to become even more corporatist and pro-business, collaborating with groups and companies who find the Republicans too toxic to sponsor. This would give Democrats the freedom to ignore a number of their more radical members and just offer lip service to the Democratic Socialism of Bernie Sanders, instead expanding their appeal to suburban voters who have proven more difficult to win in recent years. As the only globalist game in town, the elites will naturally sort into the Democratic coalition, which currently looks to dramatically expand its foothold among the college educated. Republicans will be left with a messy coalition patched together with duct tape, which cannot agree on just about anything, including on whether they agree.


The Justice Department Is Going To Stop Using Private Prisons

Two truths here that conservatives and conservative Democrats hate to admit:1) government does some things better than the private sector and 2) privatizing government functions, giving taxpayer money to for-profit companies to provide government services, leads to corruption and less accountability.

If Democrats admitted this and started repeating it, they might start clear out the walking dead of the GOP.

WASHINGTON ― The Justice Department plans to stop using privately run prisons that typically house undocumented federal inmates following a report finding they are less safe than those that are federally run, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates said Thursday.

Yates said the Justice Department’s goal is “reducing — and ultimately ending — our use of privately operated prisons,” according to a memo Yates issued Thursday. The memo was first reported by The Washington Post.

“Private prisons served an important role during a difficult period, but time has shown that they compare poorly to our own Bureau facilities. They simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs, and resources; they do not save substantially on costs; and as noted in a recent report by the Department’s Office of Inspector General, they do not maintain the same level of safety and security,” Yates wrote in the memo.

Stock prices of the country’s two biggest private prison companies ― Corrections Corporation of America and GEO Group ― nosedived by nearly 25 percent Thursday morning. Other big players in the industry ― including Emerald Correctional Management, Management & Training Corporation, Community Education Centers and LaSalle Southwest Corrections ― are privately held companies.


TOON: immigrant stereotypes that make no sense together

I'm embarrassed I never noticed this before.

TOON: GOP voter ID paradox

This could apply to a lot of issues.

"We don't want to pay fur no damn gov'mint byoorockracy. We just want them to do shit fur us."

Teachers Unions Mean Better Teachers, New Study Says

To hear the hedge fund managers, real estate moguls, and software billionaires trying to reshape public education tell it, unions are the worst thing to happen to education ever since they supposedly make it impossible to fire crappy teachers.

A new study shows they have the opposite effect though: districts are more careful to weed out the bad apples before they get tenure.

And the reality is, a lot of districts (and those billionaires) don't care about how good or bad teachers are--they just want to replace expensive experienced ones with inexpensive inexperienced ones, which is why Teach for America exists.

When will we start basing our public education policy on what people with some expertise in the field say instead of what some rich guys who are looking to lower their taxes and/or siphon off our tax dollars for their profits from charter schools, software, and the real estate of closed schools?

If Democrats wanted to win back supermajorities in the House and Senate, they could say that they were dead wrong to try to privatize public education, and the correct role for the wealthy in our schools is to pay more taxes to lower class size and increase social services instead of testing, punishing, and draining money away in their various scams.

All that stuff you hear about how teachers unions protect bad teachers through the evils of due process and their general uniony badness? A new study for the National Bureau of Economic Research says nuh-uh. EduShyster interviews the study’s author, Eunice Han:

By demanding higher salaries for teachers, unions give school districts a strong incentive to dismiss ineffective teachers before they get tenure. Highly unionized districts dismiss more bad teachers because it costs more to keep them. Using three different kinds of survey data from the National Center for Education Statistics, I confirmed that unionized districts dismiss more low-quality teachers than those with weak unions or no unions. Unionized districts also retain more high-quality teachers relative to district with weak unionism. No matter how and when I measured unionism I found that unions lowered teacher attrition.

This isn’t all theoretical. Thanks to Republican state governments in Indiana, Idaho, Tennessee, and Wisconsin, Han had the chance to see how this played out in recent years:

If you believe the argument that teachers unions protect bad teachers, we should have seen teacher quality rise in those states after the laws changed. Instead I found that the opposite happened.

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