#45 being paid by Putin, according to Kevin McCarthy?

If you read the transcript of the secret June 2016 meeting among Ryan, McCarthy and other Republicans, you see that they are discussing the various methods that Putin and the Russian leadership are using to subvert all the nations to its west — including hacking the DNC and fomenting anti-democratic groups in Europe.
When McCarthy said in the transcript that Putin was paying off Mango Mussolini and Dana Rohrabacher, I think he was probably serious.
Read it for yourself and share what you think.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/apps/g/page/national/read-the-transcript-of-the-conversation-among-gop-leaders-obtained-by-the-post/2209/?tid=a_inl

That being said, of course we all should realize that the CIA and the US Government also try to subvert their opponents by bribery, propaganda, and lots of dirty tricks. And so does every other government that has the means to do so. 

However, it’s quite scary when you have a President and a party that controls 3 major branches of the US government is in thrall to a totally undemocratic, kleptocratic, and kakistocratic bunch of ruthless thieves like Vladimir Putin and his fellow oligarchs.

Published in: on May 17, 2017 at 6:48 pm  Comments (3)  

What is to be done?

The reason that American blue collar workers’ jobs and pay are so much at risk is that the capitalists are able to move anywhere in the world, and in order to earn the highest profits and remain wealthy, they seek out countries with little or no environmental standards, extremely low wages and benefits for workers, and, generally a corrupt and dictatorial government.  
Then, If the wages and benefits and environmental conditions get better for the local people (consequently bad for the bosses) they find another, more pliable government by overthrowing that one or relocating to an even lower-wage nation.
What is the solution? It’s not for American workers to enlist in the US military and attack working people overseas. Instead, we need to unite with our brothers and sisters on every continent, no matter what their skin color, native language, or prevailing religion might be, to fight for real living wages everywhere; the right for workers, students and others to organize freely for their own interests; to get rid of corrupt, undemocratic and kleptocratic governments; and to form an international united front against the international class of billionaires and parasites.

Published in: on May 14, 2017 at 7:21 pm  Comments (4)  

Yet another ‘miracle’ charter school

Upon analysis, it’s a miracle that it still keeps collecting tax dollars:

http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/post-investigation-eagle-arts-charter-chaos-are-kids-being-educated/MGH23lilkJ4eN5LRAM694L/

Published in: on May 13, 2017 at 7:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

Where have all the insects gone?

Article in Science shows alarming declines in the numbers of insects in nearly every place studied, in just the past 25 years. You may not like bugs very much, but This has a ripple effect: many birds only eat insects, and bird populations are falling as well. 

Are neonic pesticides to blame?

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/05/where-have-all-insects-gone?utm_campaign=news_daily_2017-05-10&et_rid=17050347&et_cid=1320126

Published in: on May 11, 2017 at 7:11 am  Comments (1)  

Libertarian Approach to Health Care…

… was just explained by one of its advocates. He said that libertarians do not want to prevent [poor] people from getting health care. Instead, libertarians think that the free market would disseminate information and new ideas on health care that would “fill in the cracks” and provide health care at lower costs to everybody, and that everything government does, prevents poor people from getting decent health care.

By, uh, magic.

That is complete bullhockey. What the free market does is guarantee excellence in marketing. It does NOT guarantee excellent products that everybody can afford.

Medical care IS indeed expensive, and none of us know when we might need a whole lot of it, in a hurry, or we die. (Car accidents, cancer, and so on….) And there are many good reasons for that high cost, many of them having to do with totally justified government regulations. 

These days, for example, and unlike the 1800s, doctors and other health professionals must go through years and years of very expensive training before they become CERTIFIED to treat patients. In the past, to be a “doctor”, all you needed was a few bottles of cocaine, morphine  and horse linament, a sharp razor blade, and a sign. Curing people? Well, if they were lucky and their “doctor” didn’t make them lose too much blood, they might get better.

Today, we have drugs, devices, and procedures that are amazing. I myself would have died several times over back in the old days, and I have aunts and uncles I NEVER METBECAUSE THEY DIED YOUNG around 1910-20 from stuff that nobody dies from now.
What person earning $15/hour or less can afford an MRI or a course of chemotherapy or a stint in the ICU out of their own pocket? Nearly every city ends up having all of its taxpayers subsidize hospitals to treat such patients — beyond what can be squeezed out of them at bankruptcy proceedings.

But if we had no regulations preventing patients from being turned away, then hospitals would do so much more dramatically than they already do. So what could a struggling working class person afford? Maybe a $100 fee to an untrained quack doctor or faith healer — illegal now, but I guess that is what the free market would provide if it wasn’t for those pesky regulations. (Remember Laetrile?)

What a future. No thanks. Government regulations were generally put there for very good reasons (though I’m sure some could be revised or deleted). It would also help if something as complicated as a replacement for the current health care system actually was published and printed and was subjected to hearings and debate, rather than pushed through with none of those features.

Let’s just enroll EVERYBODY in a health care system that does as much prevention and small-clinic care as possible, and fund it by general and progressive taxation of everybody according to their means. And give everybody the health care they need.

I know it might sound awfully Communistic, and even Sermon-on-the-mount Christian, but really. We have the money. What we don’t have is enough men and women of good will.

Published in: on May 6, 2017 at 4:45 pm  Comments (3)  

Graphic essay on “School Choice” and Segregation

Very powerful. See it here:

http://fusion.kinja.com/graphic-essay-betsy-devoss-school-choice-movement-isnt-1794866688

Published in: on May 5, 2017 at 12:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

Different City, Same Results: Students in DC who use vouchers to go to private schools do WORSE than their peers who don’t 

First paragraph from today’s WAPO article:

“Students in the nation’s only federally funded school voucher initiative performed worse on standardized tests within a year after entering D.C. private schools than peers who did not participate, according to a new federal analysis that comes as President Trump is seeking to pour billions of dollars into expanding the private school scholarships nationwide.”

“D.C. students who used vouchers had significantly lower math scores a year after joining the program, on average, than students who applied for a voucher through a citywide lottery but did not receive one. For voucher students in kindergarten through fifth grade, reading scores were also significantly lower. For older voucher students, there was no significant difference in reading scores.

“For voucher recipients coming from a low-performing public school — the population that the voucher program primarily aims to reach — attending a private school had no effect on achievement. But for voucher recipients coming from higher-performing public schools, the negative effect was particularly large.”

You can find the actual report at this link:

https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/pubs/20104018/pdf/20104018.pdf

Published in: on April 27, 2017 at 4:44 pm  Comments (2)  

What New Orleans Charter Schools are like 12 years After Katrina

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2017/04/25/everything-wrong-charter-schools-display-new-orleans

Published in: on April 25, 2017 at 5:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

Education “Reformers” have no idea what they are doing…

Here is Steve Ruis pointing out what I’ve been saying for years:

https://stephenpruis.wordpress.com/2017/04/25/international-test-scores-and-other-meaningless-drivers-of-policy/

Published in: on April 25, 2017 at 12:36 pm  Comments (1)  

CG on Vouchers

From Caroline Grannan via Facebook:

School vouchers (public money for private school tuition) are one of the many things that sound really good until you look a little more closely. To paraphrase President Trump, nobody knew it could be so complicated. Here are some things.1. The fantasy that poor kids are going to Town or Hamlin or you-name-it Elite Private Acres Academy is delusion. Vouchers would no way cover the tuition, and those schools don’t want and couldn’t handle challenging low-income students. That’s why the private-school sector doesn’t really support vouchers — they’re afraid they might be pressured to accept students they don’t want and aren’t equipped to serve.

2. In places where vouchers have existed for a long time, educational achievement and the fortunes of impoverished kids have not budged. (Milwaukee has been voucher mecca, since the ’90s. There’s been no benefit for kids or the community whatsoever.)

3. What has happened is lots of theft, corruption and waste as people open phony private schools just to rake in the public funds. Plus presumably plenty of well-meaning incompetents who didn’t intend to steal, but find that it’s not that simple to run a school.

4. If not means-tested (given only to low-income families), vouchers are welfare for the privileged who are already using private schools.

5. Vouchers just given to low-income families will mostly send them to bare-bones private schools or the frauds, crooks and incompetents mentioned above, since they won’t cover tuition at elite private schools and elite private schools only want the very most carefully selected high-functioning low-income kids. 

6. Private schools are not magic. Their benefit is that they select their students and don’t accept challenging, troubled, hard-to-teach or high-need students. Obviously, they’re not going to solve the real challenges of education since they won’t touch them. Also, people who think private-school teachers are better, that’s BS. They are teaching handpicked students. If you plunked a class full of high-need, impoverished students into their school, they would face the same challenges all teachers do. 

7. So, vouchers for private schools aren’t going to help any kids whom private schools don’t want to accept, and those are the ones who most need help. And that means a privatized school system isn’t going to solve any problems. All it will do is harm public schools and the kids they serve, and ultimately eliminate public education, which is the real intent.

Published in: on April 21, 2017 at 3:26 pm  Comments (2)  
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