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Posted by Henry_
  10,973 23 Nov 2016, 7:53 pm

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November 9, 2016 5:14 PM
Gowdy unsure of Clinton investigation, instead focusing on ‘opportunity to govern’
By Matthew Schofield

WASHINGTON

Especially in the latter stages of the presidential campaign, the call from the camp of now President-elect Donald Trump was that election day would not stop the pursuit of failed democrat contender Hillary Clinton, whom he had dubbed “Crooked Hillary” and alleged had been guilty of “very high crimes.

Whether fairly or not, the name of Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), who had led the Benghazi Committee that first uncovered the emails at the heart of the allegations against Clinton, was associated with whatever efforts might come after the vote. Now that the vote has passed, the question remains: Do Republicans go after a failed candidate, and will Gowdy lead that charge?

The day after a re-election, Gowdy’s office didn’t want to discuss that possibility, noting that the Benghazi Committeeis now over and decisions from the House Oversight Committee (of which he is a member but does not lead) on what to do or not do regarding Clinton were decisions that others would be making.
Asked to comment on the issue and what the Trump election meant, Gowdy issued this statement that didn’t deal with the matter, but did seem to speak to the need to heal the wounds from a brutal national campaign.

“The voters have given us the greatest privilege in a democratic republic, which is the opportunity to govern. It is imperative we keep our word to the American people and govern in a way worthy of their respect. Voters spoke in loud, clear terms and those entrusted with the opportunity to serve should listen and hear with equal clarity.”

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politic ... rylink=cpy
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Posted by Henry_
  10,973 23 Nov 2016, 8:53 pm

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* As the Obama administration begins its exit, a look back at Arnie Duncan. What comes next looks
to be more privatizing.

Arnie Duncan, the
nightmare:
Diane Ravitch’s devastating Arne Duncan critique: The education secretary earned his F It will take years to recover from the damage that Arne Duncan's policies have inflicted on public education

Diane Ravitch

Image

Lyndsey Layton of the Washington Post has written a sympathetic articleabout Arne Duncan and the waning of his powers as Secretary of Education. He is a nice guy. He is a close friend of the president. He cares about individual children that he met along the way. The pending reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act will prohibit him and future Secretaries from interfering in state decisions about standards, curriculum and assessment. His family has already moved back to Chicago. But he will stay on the job to the very end.

When Obama was elected, many educators and parents thought that Obama would bring a new vision of the federal role in education, one that freed schools from the test-and-punish mindset of George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind. But Arne Duncan and Barack Obama had a vision no different from George W. Bush and doubled down on the importance of testing, while encouraging privatization and undermining the teaching profession with a $50 million grant to Teach for America to place more novice teachers in high-needs schools. Duncan never said a bad word about charters, no matter how many scandals and frauds were revealed.

During Duncan’s tenure in office:

* He used his control of billions of dollars to promote a dual school system of privately managed charter schools operating alongside public schools
* He has done nothing to call attention to the fraud and corruption in the charter sector or to curb charters run by non-educators for profit or to insist on charter school accountability or to require charters to enroll the neediest children;

* He pushed to require states to evaluate teachers by the test scores of their students, which has caused massive demoralization among teachers, raised the stakes attached to testing, and produced no positive results;

* He used federal funds and waivers from NCLB to push the adoption of Common Core standards and to create two testing consortia, which many states have abandoned;

* The Common Core tests are so absurdly “rigorous” that most students have failed them, even in schools that send high percentages of students to four-year colleges, the failure rates have been highest among students who are English language learners, students with disabilities, and students of color;

* He has bemoaned rising resegregation of the schools but done nothing to reduce it;
* He has been silent as state after state has attacked collective bargaining and due process for teachers;
* He has done nothing in response to the explosion of voucher programs that transfer public funds to religious schools;

* Because of his policies, enrollments in teacher education programs, even in Teach for America, have plummeted, and many experienced teachers are taking early retirement;

* He has unleashed a mad frenzy of testing in classrooms across the country, treating standardized test scores as the goal of all education, rather than as a measure;
* His tenure has been marked by the rise of an aggressive privatization movement, which seeks to eliminate public education in urban districts, where residents have the least political power;

* He loosened the regulations on the federal student privacy act, permitting massive data mining of the data banks that federal funds created;
* He looked the other way as predatory for-profit colleges preyed on veterans and minorities, plunging students deep into debt;

* Duncan has regularly accused parents and teachers of “lying” to students. For reasons that are unclear, he wants everyone to believe that our public schools are terrible, our students are lazy, not too bright, and lacking ambition. If he were a basketball coach, he would have been encouraging the team to try harder and to reach for greater accomplishment, but instead he took every opportunity to run down the team and repeat how dreadful they are. He spoke of “respect” but he never showed it.

This era has not been good for students; nearly a quarter live in poverty, and fully 51% live in low-income families. This era has not been good for teachers, who feel disrespected and demeaned by governors, legislatures, and the U.S. Department of Education. This era has not been good for parents, who see their local public schools lose resources to charter schools and see their children subjected to endless, intensive testing.

It will take years to recover from the damage that Arne Duncan’s policies have inflicted on public education. He exceeded the authority of his office to promote a failed agenda, one that had no evidence behind it. The next president and the next Secretary of Education will have an enormous job to do to restore our nation’s public education system from the damage done by Race to the Top. We need leadership that believes in the joy of learning and in equality of educational opportunity. We have not had either for 15 years.

http://www.salon.com/2015/07/09/diane_r ... ned_his_f/


[b]Author Diane Ravitch, bio:
Diane Ravitch is Research Professor of Education at New York University and a historian of education.
[/b]
Diane Ravitch’s Blog is dianeravitch.net and has received more that 17 million hits in 30 months.
From 1991 to 1993, she was Assistant Secretary of Education and Counselor to Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander in the administration of President George H.W. Bush. She was responsible for the Office of Educational Research and Improvement in the U.S. Department of Education. As Assistant Secretary, she led the federal effort to promote the creation of voluntary state and national academic standards.
From 1997 to 2004, she was a member of the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the federal testing program. She was appointed by the Clinton administration’s Secretary of Education Richard Riley in 1997 and reappointed by him in 2001. From 1995 until 2005, she held the Brown Chair in Education Studies at the Brookings Institution and edited Brookings Papers on Education Policy. Before entering government service, she was Adjunct Professor of History and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University.
She is the author of:
The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education (2010)Edspeak: A Glossary of Education Terms, Phrases, Buzzwords, and Jargon (2007)

http://dianeravitch.com/about-diane/


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Posted by Henry_
  10,973 23 Nov 2016, 9:08 pm

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Wednesday, Nov 23, 2016 04:59 AM EST



Un-rigging our democracy: The GOP’s “unconstitutional political gerrymander” practices finally under fire Democrats need to focus on redistricting
reforms that protect their right to vote, or they'll keep losing

David Daley

It’s the best news for Democrats in weeks: Partisan gerrymandering is on a collision course with the Supreme Court.
There’s a reason why Democrats routinely get more votes — whether at the state level or in six of the last seven presidential elections — but Republicans control all the power at the federal level, as well as 69 of 99 state legislative chambers. In the ruthless Republican redistricting that followed the 2010 census, GOP politicians drew themselves all but guaranteed majorities in state legislatures and Congress, insulating themselves from voters.

The plan was called the Redistricting Majority Project (or REDMAP for short) and that’s exactly what this devastating reinvention of the oldest political trick in the book — the gerrymander — produced.

But in a Monday ruling with far-reaching national implications, a panel of three U.S. district judges, in a 2-1 decision, had enough of this corrosively anti-democratic practice. He called Wisconsin’s state legislative maps an “unconstitutional political gerrymander” and systematically dismantled the zombie myth that even our elite media won’t let die. Extreme and highly targeted partisan gerrymandering — not geography — he ruled, explains why Republicans have “locked in” control even when they receive fewer votes.

“The evidence at trial establishes that” the goal of the GOP’s maps “was to secure the Republican Party’s control of the state legislature for the decennial period,” wrote Kenneth Ripple and Barbara Crabb, U.S. district judges.
http://www.salon.com/2016/11/23/un-rigg ... nder-fire/
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Posted by Henry_
  10,973 25 Nov 2016, 12:00 pm

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Posts: 8,502
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Politics: Progressive
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Henry_ » 23 Nov 2016 7:53 pm wrote:
* As the Obama administration begins its exit, a look back at Arnie Duncan. What comes next looks
to be more privatizing.

Arnie Duncan, the
nightmare:
Diane Ravitch’s devastating Arne Duncan critique: The education secretary earned his F It will take years to recover from the damage that Arne Duncan's policies have inflicted on public education

Diane Ravitch

Image

Lyndsey Layton of the Washington Post has written a sympathetic articleabout Arne Duncan and the waning of his powers as Secretary of Education. He is a nice guy. He is a close friend of the president. He cares about individual children that he met along the way. The pending reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act will prohibit him and future Secretaries from interfering in state decisions about standards, curriculum and assessment. His family has already moved back to Chicago. But he will stay on the job to the very end.

When Obama was elected, many educators and parents thought that Obama would bring a new vision of the federal role in education, one that freed schools from the test-and-punish mindset of George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind. But Arne Duncan and Barack Obama had a vision no different from George W. Bush and doubled down on the importance of testing, while encouraging privatization and undermining the teaching profession with a $50 million grant to Teach for America to place more novice teachers in high-needs schools. Duncan never said a bad word about charters, no matter how many scandals and frauds were revealed.

During Duncan’s tenure in office:

* He used his control of billions of dollars to promote a dual school system of privately managed charter schools operating alongside public schools
* He has done nothing to call attention to the fraud and corruption in the charter sector or to curb charters run by non-educators for profit or to insist on charter school accountability or to require charters to enroll the neediest children;

* He pushed to require states to evaluate teachers by the test scores of their students, which has caused massive demoralization among teachers, raised the stakes attached to testing, and produced no positive results;

* He used federal funds and waivers from NCLB to push the adoption of Common Core standards and to create two testing consortia, which many states have abandoned;

* The Common Core tests are so absurdly “rigorous” that most students have failed them, even in schools that send high percentages of students to four-year colleges, the failure rates have been highest among students who are English language learners, students with disabilities, and students of color;

* He has bemoaned rising resegregation of the schools but done nothing to reduce it;
* He has been silent as state after state has attacked collective bargaining and due process for teachers;
* He has done nothing in response to the explosion of voucher programs that transfer public funds to religious schools;

* Because of his policies, enrollments in teacher education programs, even in Teach for America, have plummeted, and many experienced teachers are taking early retirement;

* He has unleashed a mad frenzy of testing in classrooms across the country, treating standardized test scores as the goal of all education, rather than as a measure;
* His tenure has been marked by the rise of an aggressive privatization movement, which seeks to eliminate public education in urban districts, where residents have the least political power;

* He loosened the regulations on the federal student privacy act, permitting massive data mining of the data banks that federal funds created;
* He looked the other way as predatory for-profit colleges preyed on veterans and minorities, plunging students deep into debt;

* Duncan has regularly accused parents and teachers of “lying” to students. For reasons that are unclear, he wants everyone to believe that our public schools are terrible, our students are lazy, not too bright, and lacking ambition. If he were a basketball coach, he would have been encouraging the team to try harder and to reach for greater accomplishment, but instead he took every opportunity to run down the team and repeat how dreadful they are. He spoke of “respect” but he never showed it.

This era has not been good for students; nearly a quarter live in poverty, and fully 51% live in low-income families. This era has not been good for teachers, who feel disrespected and demeaned by governors, legislatures, and the U.S. Department of Education. This era has not been good for parents, who see their local public schools lose resources to charter schools and see their children subjected to endless, intensive testing.

It will take years to recover from the damage that Arne Duncan’s policies have inflicted on public education. He exceeded the authority of his office to promote a failed agenda, one that had no evidence behind it. The next president and the next Secretary of Education will have an enormous job to do to restore our nation’s public education system from the damage done by Race to the Top. We need leadership that believes in the joy of learning and in equality of educational opportunity. We have not had either for 15 years.

http://www.salon.com/2015/07/09/diane_r ... ned_his_f/

[b]Author Diane Ravitch, bio:
Diane Ravitch is Research Professor of Education at New York University and a historian of education.
[/b]
Diane Ravitch’s Blog is dianeravitch.net and has received more that 17 million hits in 30 months.
From 1991 to 1993, she was Assistant Secretary of Education and Counselor to Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander in the administration of President George H.W. Bush. She was responsible for the Office of Educational Research and Improvement in the U.S. Department of Education. As Assistant Secretary, she led the federal effort to promote the creation of voluntary state and national academic standards.
From 1997 to 2004, she was a member of the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the federal testing program. She was appointed by the Clinton administration’s Secretary of Education Richard Riley in 1997 and reappointed by him in 2001. From 1995 until 2005, she held the Brown Chair in Education Studies at the Brookings Institution and edited Brookings Papers on Education Policy. Before entering government service, she was Adjunct Professor of History and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University.
She is the author of:
The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education (2010)Edspeak: A Glossary of Education Terms, Phrases, Buzzwords, and Jargon (2007)

http://dianeravitch.com/about-diane/


* The shame in the corporate wing of the Democratic Party, their Third Way dominance, which has led
the party to lose the confidence of Independents, liberals and Democrats alike was made clear enough
through Obama's Education policies. Let us not forget Romney essentially took no policy differences
with Obama in 2012 GE race. The privatization and the urgency to enact what I call Race To The Toilet policy,
was a policy to welcome further attacks on labor and did not advance a healthier education system, did not
remedy any disparities for children across the US who's public schools needed assistance.

The main reason I remain focused on admonishing and highlighting the monies in elections is due to the ever
closing gap between the two parties, occurring as both sides, the elite, share the same ideology...allowing the
top tier to dominate over the working class. The Democratic Party has distinctions by degrees on social issues,
and I am not suggesting those issues should be abandoned, but they should not have been detached from an
economic message of protecting Americans . Civil liberties to included combating voter suppression, gerrymandering,
that is the good fight, but Democrats at the top also allowed the powers of the presidency to prevail when
they had the opportunity to role it back., drones, NSA powers etc....to complain now when a Trump presidency
could abuse them further is the ultimate hypocrisy.
The betrayal from each party is evident, one should not
deny the snips of honesty the snake oil salesman has stated throughout this election cycle. In the minds of
too many of the working class conservative, it appears their own bias about unions will allow a further deteriorated
public education system...the elite have one main interest, their power and money. Income inequality and a well educated
electorate is not on their list of priorities..quite the contrary. Class warfare is not new, but the Democratic Party
has not fought back, the elite/corporate representatives from within have in fact enabled that divide. They will
try and rationalize that the election process if they do not "compromise"...another excuse for taking corporate
money, will leave their opponents with all the money. Koch money does indeed do just that, YET it was the people
of America who gave Obama a very real mandate to confront them, to call them out and he was suppose to
reject that influence...if he had done so, the American people would not have shown up in droves in 2010?
In 2012? In 2014? In 2016? Really, I'm suppose to believe that bullshit?


Obama’s real education legacy: Common Core, testing, charter schools By Valerie Strauss
October 21

President Obama went to a high-performing D.C. high school this week to tout the “progress” his administration has made in public education, America’s most important civic institution. To mark the legacy moment, he brought along the two men who have served as his education secretaries — Arne Duncan and John King Jr., along with D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, D.C. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, and Gen. Colin Powell and his wife Alma.
It’s what he didn’t say that was most revealing. A fuller evaluation of the Obama education legacy would look somewhat different from the one he offered.
Obama charmed the student audience at Benjamin Banneker Academic High School, joking with them and telling them he remembers some of the awkward social moments of being a high school student. As the White House text shows:
So, by now you’ve settled into the new year. Right? Adjusted to classes. You’re preparing for Spirit Week. (Applause.) Learning how to ballroom dance. (Laughter.) I remember having to do that. Getting the nerve to text that cute girl or boy in your English class. (Laughter.) I don’t remember that; we did not have texts. We had to send little notes. And then we used to actually have to go up to somebody if we liked them and talk to them. So that may happen to you someday. (Laughter.)

He reminded the kids that he had visited Banneker in 2011 and was so impressed that he wanted to return “because you’re an example of a school that’s doing things the right way.” Later he said he wanted every school to be “as great as this one.”
There’s no denying that Banneker is a top-performing school in the nation’s capital, and that 100 percent of its seniors graduate. But it’s unclear if Obama knows that if every school did what Banneker does, the high school graduation rate might plummet. That’s because Banneker is a magnet school where students must apply to get in — but the only entry grades are ninth and tenth. And they must maintain a B- average to stay. Kids who can’t cut it leave, but that attrition isn’t counted against the school’s graduation rate.
Obama did touch on graduation rates, touting the newly announced, highest-ever national high school graduation rate of 83 percent. He noted that “D.C.’s graduation rates grew faster than any other place in the country” this past year. He didn’t say that that “fastest-growing” designation would include D.C. charter schools in the mix with traditional public schools, perhaps because he didn’t mention charter schools at all.
Why is that strange in a speech dedicated to talking up his education legacy? Because the growth of charter schools was a key priority in his administration’s overall school reform program. Promising to promote the expansion of charter schools was one of the ways that states could win some of the money in Obama’s signature $4.3 billion Race to the Top funding competition. Today, 6 percent of U.S. public school students attend charter schools, up from about 3 percent when he took office in 2009. (It was 2 percent in 2004.) And he was standing in a city that has one of the most successful charter school sectors in the country.
Charter schools — which are funded by the public but allowed to operate outside traditional districts — have become highly controversial in the world of education, with supporters saying they promote educational equity by giving students in failing systems an alternative, and opponents saying that they operate without accountability to the public and rob traditional schools of resources they need to educate the neediest students, which charters don’t enroll in the same percentages.
While some charter schools do an excellent job, scandals — especially with for-profit companies allowed to operate charters — have become common in the sector because of little or no oversight by states. A recent audit by the Education Department’s Inspector General’s Office found that the department — which awards multi-million-dollar grants to states for the creation and expansion of charters — had failed to provide adequate oversight of some of its relationships with charter management organizations.
Meanwhile, as charter schools grow with administration support, charter supporters and opponents are in a scorched-earth war of words, with both sides claiming the civil rights mantle and accusing the other of harming children. When the NAACP, the nation’s oldest civil rights organization, last week ratified a referendum calling for a moratorium on new charters until new accountability measures can be instituted, critics accused of it being no better than the racist former governor of Alabama, George Wallace.
That wasn’t the only controversial subject Obama barely mentioned. He did not mention by name the Common Core State Standards initiative, another big priority for the administration during Duncan’s seven-year tenure running the Education Department, during which he wielded more power than any previous education secretary while also attracting more opposition than his predecessors.
Adopting common standards was also on Race to the Top’s list of preferred reforms Duncan sought from applying states, and the administration spent some $360 million for two multi-state consortia to develop new Core-related standardized tests. Duncan himself promised that the new tests would be “an absolute game-changer” in public education.
It didn’t work out that way. The tests were nowhere as sophisticated as originally promoted. The rush to get them into schools led to computer troubles in some states, some of them severe. One of the tests, known as PARCC, was abandoned by most of the states that had agreed to use it, and the overall idea behind the standards and aligned testing — that test results would be comparable across states — has not been accomplished.
The Education Department’s ties to the Gates Foundation, which funded the creation and implementation of the Core, also sparked criticism that the administration was too close to wealthy philanthropists who were intent on driving their own personal vision of school reform.
Another priority of the administration’s was creating teacher evaluation systems that were linked to student standardized test scores — yet another part of Race to the Top. This policy was also part of waivers that the Education Department gave to states seeking to avoid the most onerous parts of the flawed No Child Left Behind law. If a state wanted a waiver, it had to agree to specific reforms, including linking educator evaluations with test scores.
High-stakes tests for students are questionable enough, but the idea of putting a teacher’s job and salary at risk based on how well their students do on test scores raises a host of other problems. Assessment experts have repeatedly warned that methods used to link student test scores to teacher evaluations are largely unfair and invalid. Those experts include the American Statistical Association, the largest organization in the United States representing statisticians and related professionals, as well as the Board on Testing and Assessment of the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences.
But the administration pushed the practice anyway and the problems that developed would be amusing if the consequences weren’t so serious.
Remember that kids are tested in English Language Arts and math. So how do teachers of other subjects get linked to test scores? Some districts considered and even experimented with standardized tests in other subjects; in North Carolina, one district even tried a test in Yearbook class.
Another method was to evaluate teachers in non-tested areas by exam averages of their entire school — or by either English or math test averages. As a result, many teachers were evaluated in part on how well students they didn’t teach do on exams, as well as on test scores from subjects they didn’t teach. One superintendent lauded by the Obama administration was Michelle Rhee, who led D.C. Public Schools from 2007 to 2010 and was a pioneer in test-based assessment systems. She was so enamored with test scores that she required every adult in every school building — including the custodians and lunch ladies — to be evaluated in part by them. Duncan liked her so much that when rumors rose that she was quitting in 2010, he (unsuccessfully) tried to get her to stay.
The elevation of standardized test scores as the chief accountability metric had other insidious consequences. Under a philosophy that nearly every student could and should take some version of a standardized test to show progress, some kids were forced to take tests who couldn’t possibly know what was going on. That included a boy in Florida named Michael who was born with a brain stem but not a complete brain, who was forced to “take” an alternative version of the standardized Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. Blind and unable to talk or understand basic information, his state-funded teacher literally moved his hand to the right answers. While Michael’s disability was exceptional, he was not the only child with extremely severe disabilities to be forced to take tests because Education Department officials decided every student should be assessed with a standardized exam.

The administration’s obsession with standardized tests led to a rebellion by parents, students, teachers, principals and even superintendents. Many spoke out against testing policies — and many parents refused to allow their students to take exams mandated by states for federal accountability purposes. In New York, with the most active movement, 22 percent of students “opted out” of at least one test, and opt-outs were reported in numerous other states. It was only after the “opt out” movement began to grow that the administration conceded that kids were being tested too much.
The New York State commissioner of education who pushed the test-based teacher accountability system — which has been crashing and burning for years — was John King Jr., who left the job early after 3 1/2 years, essentially getting a public shove by Gov. Andrew Cuomo not only for the teacher evaluation fiasco but for a botched implementation of Common Core. The reason this is worth mentioning is that King — who has an inspirational personal story — is now Obama’s second education secretary.

Such micromanaging of education by the administration — traditionally seen as a local function — is what led Congress, in November 2015, to pass a successor to NCLB, called the Every Student Succeeds Act. Obama did mention the new law in his speech at Banneker:
So teachers deserve more than just our gratitude — they deserve our full support. And we’ve got to make their lives easier, which is why we enacted a law to fix No Child Left Behind, which gives teachers more flexibility to spend more time teaching creatively than just spending all their time teaching to a test. Give your teachers a big round of applause. (Applause.) They deserve it.

What he didn’t mention was that Congress was finally inspired to replace NCLB — eight years after it was supposed to be rewritten — because members of both parties wanted to stop the administration’s unprecedented exercise of federal power in education. Sen. Lamar Alexander, the Tennessee Republican who heads the Senate education committee and was a prime mover behind the new law, called the Education Department under Duncan “a national school board.” By exercising federal power in questionable ways, the administration gave an opening to Congress to send back a great deal of education of power to the states, many of which never covered themselves in glory in how they approached public education.
The notion of giving teachers “our full support” is likely welcome to them, many of whom have felt they were being targeted by the Obama administration. The 2012 MetLife Survey of the American Teacher found that teacher job satisfaction had plummeted from 62 percent of teachers feeling “very satisfied” in 2008 to 39 percent by 2012. This was the lowest in the 25-year history of the survey.
And the percentage of students who apply for teacher preparation programs has significantly dropped in recent years. He told the students to appreciate their teachers:
You all know how hard they work. They stay up late grading your assignments. That’s why you got all those marks all over your papers. They pull sometimes money out of their own pockets to make that lesson extra special. And I promise you, the teachers here and the teachers around the country, they’re not doing it for the pay — because teachers, unfortunately, still aren’t paid as much as they should be. They’re not doing it for the glory. They’re doing it because they love you, and they believe in you, and they want to help you succeed.

Actually, teachers who use their own money for their classrooms usually aren’t doing it “to make that lesson extra special.” They are doing it because without it, their kids might not have paper or books or other essentials. Equitable school funding, however, wasn’t a priority of the administration in a country where funding is largely based on property taxes, leaving school systems in wealthy areas with more to spend on education than districts in poor areas, where kids need more support. For that matter, Obama did take note of the administration’s interest in early childhood education — though he didn’t mention that it became a priority only in his second administration, by which time there was little surplus money to spend on it.
When Obama first took office, many of the people who voted for him had hoped he would make educational equity the focus of school reform policy. His selection of Stanford University Professor Linda Darling-Hammond, an expert on equity and teacher preparation, as the education leader of his transition team was a hopeful sign.
Then, instead of naming her as education secretary, as many believed would happen, he instead selected Duncan, a friend from Chicago who was deeply steeped in the corporate reform movement that embraced the Core standards, tests, data and school “choice” as the way to close the achievement gap. Darling-Hammond wrote a book, “The Flat World and Education: How America’s Commitment to Equity Will Determine Our Future,” about authentic educational equity and had two copies printed in hardback, one for her and one sent to President Obama, an effort to try to steer his reform policies toward equity.


The White House did not answer a query about whether he ever read it.
Corporate reform didn’t work as planned, and perhaps that is why Obama’s speech meant to talk about his education accomplishments didn’t mention it in a substantive way. His major educational initiatives were around standards, testing and charter schools — not the kind of broad-based school reform that attempts to meet the most basic needs of students, many of whom come to school hungry, exhausted and sick. What happens in classrooms is indeed important, but reform critics argued that schools cannot systemically overcome the effects that poverty have on children.

Obama summed up his legacy this way:
So bottom line is: higher graduation rates, higher college attendance rates, more money for Pell grants and work to make sure that the interest rate on student loans haven’t gone up; working to expand early childhood education and preschool; continuing to watch and work with states as they try to implement reforms to make K-12 better; holding colleges more accountable for giving information so that students can make good decisions. We’ve made a lot of progress. We have made a lot of progress in terms of making sure that young people across the country get the kind of great education that you’re getting here at Banneker.

That’s not the important education legacy many Obama supporters had hoped he would leave.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/ans ... r-schools/
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Posted by Henry_
  10,973 25 Nov 2016, 12:19 pm

Henry_ User avatar
      
      

Posts: 8,502
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Politics: Progressive
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* Recent commentary from Obama on Hillary Clinton's defeat....I mean come on, this is getting absurd.
Who believes this? Buy maybe he is right and those loyal to him will accept his rationale.

“Hillary may have been more vulnerable because she was viewed as an insider. And the reporting around the Goldman speeches”—speeches given to Goldman Sachs executives—“might have reduced her advantage, the normal Democratic advantage, in the eyes of working people, that we were standing for them. I don’t think it was fair, but that’s how it played itself out.”
http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/ ... presidency
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  10,973 25 Nov 2016, 12:36 pm

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Numerous warning signs were ignored.


Well, there’s always a class war going on. The United States, to an unusual extent, is a business-run society, more so than others. The business classes are very class-conscious—they’re constantly fighting a bitter class war to improve their power and diminish opposition. Occasionally this is recognized.
We don’t use the term “working class” here because it’s a taboo term. You’re supposed to say “middle class,” because it helps diminish the understanding that there’s a class war going on.
It’s true that there was a one-sided class war, and that’s because the other side hadn’t chosen to participate, so the union leadership had for years pursued a policy of making a compact with the corporations, in which their workers, say the autoworkers—would get certain benefits like fairly decent wages, health benefits and so on. But it wouldn’t engage the general class structure. In fact, that’s one of the reasons why Canada has a national health program and the United States doesn’t. The same unions on the other side of the border were calling for health care for everybody. Here they were calling for health care for themselves and they got it. Of course, it’s a compact with corporations that the corporations can break anytime they want, and by the 1970s they were planning to break it and we’ve seen what has happened since.
http://www.salon.com/2013/12/01/noam_chomsky_america_hates_its_poor_partner/

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Posted by Henry_
  10,973 25 Nov 2016, 12:42 pm

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ACLU Raises Serious Concerns Over Nomination of DeVos for Secretary of Education November 23, 2016
Besty DeVoscharter schoolsSecretary of Education
Kary Moss, Executive Director of the ACLU of Michigan, issued the following statement on the nomination of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education:


We strongly urge Congress to scrutinize the record of Betsy DeVos, who has been a staunch proponent of school vouchers, a misguided idea that diverts taxpayer dollars into private and parochial schools and perverts the bedrock American value of separation of church and state. She and her husband served as the primary fundraisers and engine for a Michigan ballot initiative --Kids First! Yes! Coalition that voters soundly rejected in 2000.

She has ardently supported the unlimited, unregulated growth of charter schools in Michigan, elevating for-profit schools with no consideration of the severe harm done to traditional public schools. She’s done this despite overwhelming evidence that proves that charters do no better at educating children than traditional public schools and serve only to exacerbate funding problems for cash-strapped public districts. We believe that all children have a right to a quality public education, and we fear that Betsy DeVos’ relentless advocacy of charter schools and vouchers betrays these principles.
http://www.aclumich.org/article/aclu-ra ... -education
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  10,973 25 Nov 2016, 12:56 pm

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Unions Are Good for the American Economy More unionized workers would be even better

David Madland and Karla Walter

The essence of what labor unions do—give workers a stronger voice so that they can get a fair share of the economic growth they help create—is and has always been important to making the economy work for all Americans. And unions only become more important as the economy worsens. One of the primary reasons why our current recession endures is that workers do not have the purchasing power they need to drive our economy. Even when times were relatively good, workers were getting squeezed. Income for the median working age household fell by about $2,000 between 2000 and 2007, and it could fall even further as the economy continues to decline.

1 Consumer activity accounts for roughly 70 percent of our nation’s economy, and for a while workers were able to use debt to sustain their consumption. Yet debt-driven consumption is not sustainable, as we are plainly seeing. What is sustainable is an economy where workers are adequately rewarded and have the income they need to purchase goods. This is where unions come in. Unions paved the way to the middle class for millions of American workers and pioneered benefits such as paid health care and pensions along the way. Even today, union workers earn significantly more on average than their non-union counterparts, and union employ-ers are more likely to provide benefits. And non-union workers—particularly in highly unionized industries—receive financial benefits from employers who increase wages to match what unions would win in order to avoid unionization. Unfortunately, declining unionization rates mean that workers are less likely to receive good wages and be rewarded for their increases in productivity. The Employee Free Choice Act, which is likely to be one of the most important issues debated by the 111th Congress, holds the promise of boosting unionization rates and improving millions of Americans’ economic standing and workplace conditions.

2 Center for American Progress Action Fund |Unions Are Good for the American EconomyUnions help workers achieve higher wagesUnion members in the United States earn significantly more than non-union workers. Over the four-year period between 2004 and 2007, unionized workers’ wages were on average 11.3 percent higher than non-union workers with similar characteristics.2 That means that, all else equal, American workers that join a union will earn 11.3 percent more—or $2.26 more per hour in 2008 dollars—than their otherwise identical non-union counterparts.3Yet union coverage rates have been declining for several decades. In 1983, 23.3 percent of American workers were either members of a union or represented by a union at their workplace.4 By 2008, that portion declined to 13.7 percent.5American workers’ wage growth lags as productivity increases Workers helped the economy grow during this time period by becoming ever more productive, but they received only a small share of the new wealth they helped create. Throughout the middle part of the 20th century—a period when unions were stronger—American workers generated economic growth by increasing their productivity, and they were rewarded with higher wages.6But this link between greater productivity and higher wages has broken down.

Prior to the 1980s, productivity gains and workers’ wages moved in tandem: as workers produced more per hour, they saw a commensurate increase in their earnings. Yet wages and productivity growth have decoupled since the late 1970s. Looking from 1980 to 2008, nationwide worker productivity grew by 75.0 percent, while workers’ inflation-adjusted average wages increased by only 22.6 percent, which means that workers were compen-sated for only 30.2 percent of their productivity gains.7The cost of benefits—especially health insurance—has increased over time and now accounts for a greater share of total compensation than in the past, but this increase is nowhere near enough to account for the discrepancy between wage and productiv-ity growth.8For example, according to analysis by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, between 1973 and 2006 the share of labor compensation in the form of benefits rose from 12.6 percent to 19.5 percent.9If American workers were rewarded for 100 percent of their increases in labor productiv-ity between 1980 and 2008—as they were during the middle part of the 20th century—average wages would be $28.53 per hour—42.7 percent higher than the average real wage in 2008. 10

Unionization rewards workers for productivity growthSlow wage growth has squeezed the middle class and contributed to rising inequality.11 But increasing union coverage rates could likely reverse these trends as more Americans would benefit from the union wage premium and receive higher wages. If unionization rates were the same now as they were in 1983 and the current union wage premium remained con-stant, new union workers would earn an estimated $49.0 billion more in wages and salaries per year.12 If union coverage rates increased by just 5 percentage points over current levels, newly unionized workers would earn an estimated $25.5 billion more in wages and salaries per year.13 Non-union workers would also benefit as employers would likely raise wages to match what unions would win in order to avoid unionization.14Increased unionization would boost Americans’ annual wagesUnion employers are also significantly more likely to provide benefits to their employees. Union workers nationwide are 28.2 percent more likely to be covered by employer-pro-vided health insurance and 53.9 percent more likely to have employer-provided pensions compared to workers with similar characteristics who were not in unions. 15

Conclusion: Nearly three out of five survey respondents from a Peter Hart Research Associates poll report that they would join a union if they could, but workers attempting to unionize currently face a hostile legal environment and are commonly intimidated by aggressive anti-union employers.16The Employee Free Choice Act would help workers who want to join a union do so by ensuring fairness in the union selection process with three main pro-visions: workers would have a fair and direct path to join unions through a simple majority sign-up; employers who break the rules governing the unionization process would face stiffer penalties; and a first contract mediation and arbitration process would be intro-duced to thwart bad-faith bargaining. Passing the Employee Free Choice Act and making it harder for management to threaten workers seeking to unionize would be good for American workers. It would help boost workers’ wages and benefits. And putting more money in workers’ pockets would provide a needed boost for the U.S. economy. Increasing unionization is a good way to get out of our current economic troubles.The Center for American Progress Action Fund would like to thank the Center for Economic and Policy Research for providing the national and state-by-state analysis of the union wage premium.

Annual state wages increase if unionization increased in the United States Wages earned statewide (in $ billions)

Source: Authors’ calculations based on CEPR estimates of the union premium from the Current Population Survey Micro-Data for all wage and salary workers 16 years and older; CAPAF analysis of the Current Population Survey and Current Employment Statistics Survey (National); and unionized workforce data from Barry T. Hirsch and David A. Macpherson, “Union Membership and Coverage Database from the Current Population Survey,” available at http://ww.unionstats.com (last accessed December 2008).Note: Total wages collected includes all hourly wage and salary workers. Total wage data extrapolated from 2008 average state wage for wage and salary workers. The estimated total wages collected if unionization increased to the 1983 level does not include any estimate of the wage benefit to non-union workers. Estimated total wages would be higher if this benefit were included.
http://images2.americanprogress.org/CAPAF/2009/02/US_EFCA.pdf
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  10,973 25 Nov 2016, 1:02 pm

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Warning signs from 2009:

New Report Reveals Why GOP Hates Unions: They Raise Wages, Boost Economy

The Hoover-like GOP has been working overtime to oppose President Obama’s stimulus package while hoping he fails. Meanwhile, a reportreleased yesterday by the Center for American Progress Action Fund essentially underscores the real reasons Republicans and the business community have taken another equally short-sighted economic stance: fighting workers’ right to organize. As Unions Are Good For the American Economy points out with irrefutable statistics, unionization raises wages and boosts the economy because it puts more money in the pockets of American workers.

(The report itself, of course, doesn’t directly accuse the GOP and corporate interests of opposing economic growth and recovery, but reading its measured analysis of the economic benefit of unions leads to the inescapable conclusion that anti-union business leaders have a misguided zeal for low wages at all cost — regardless of the impact on their own workers, their firms’ productivity, their own long-term profits or the broader economy.)

In a conference callwith reporters to discuss the report, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich observed: “One reason we’re in the crisis we’re in is because consumers have run out of money....If they can’t borrow anymore, and they have to rely on sinking wages, the entire economy is in trouble, because there’s not enough demand out there.” Reich added, “The point of the Employee Free Choice Act is to end intimidation and allow workers to join unions as they have a right to do. Workers want to be in unions [nearly 60% say they’d join if they could], and if they did have unions, they’d have higher wages and benefits. And if they had higher wags and benefits, they’d have the purchasing power to buy more goods and services.”

In fact, the relative stagnation of wages over the last few decades — due in large part to effective unionbusting aimed at keeping labor costs low — helped bring on the economic meltdown because too many low-income workers were suckered into mortgages they really couldn’t afford. Those mortgages were in turn bundled into the “toxic assets” — those various nearly-worthless investment vehicles — that have weakened the world’s financial systems and brought on our free-fall recession. As Daily Kos diaristTrapper Johnreported last year, “AFL-CIO Associate General Counsel Damon Silvers lays out how the decline in unionization which began in the mid-Seventies led to the burst of the sub-prime bubble, and ultimately to today’s recession. And he wrote it way back in April.

In contrast, this new Center for American Progress report points out, if unionization rates today were the same as they were in 1983, an additional $49 billion could be pumped into the economy by workers represented by unions. As the report co-authored by David Madland and Karla Walter says, “In 1983, 23.3 percent of American workers were either members of a union or represented by a union at their workplace. By 2008, that portion declined to 13.7 percent.” And, as Reich and the report noted, “Workers in unions earn 30% higher than non-union workers.”

As Beth Shulman, author of The Betrayal of Work, observed during the conference call: “A union job transforms a low-wage job into a good job” — and a pathway to the middle-class. And those workers will be able come into showrooms, real estate offices, auto dealerships and stores across America to start buying again and paying down-payments for a home. Shulman quoted a grocery store worker who joined a union, Linda, telling her, “For the first time, I can dream for my child,” and who started putting away money for her child’s college education. “Having unionization gives people a stake in the American dream,” Shulman said.

But , as usual, big businesses and the GOP have taken a short-term, greedy look at their economic self-interest and determined they must fight the Employee Free Choice Act with all the weapons at their disposal. These include $200 million worth of smear ads, lobbying and misleading talking points; they’re claiming (falsely) that it takes away the secret ballot and will wreck the economy.

Yet, as Shulman says, “The business community knows the basic facts that are in this report: when workers have unions, they have better wages, they have better benefits, they have a voice in the workplace, so it’s not surprising they would take a hard line with this. This [bill] is important to ensure a road to the middle class and a right to organize.” She’s confident that the goals of the legislation will trump corporate special interests and right-wing ideology: “Clearly, it will get passed, because it’s in the interest of working America.”

And as Walter and other pro-union advocates point out, a level playing field for union organizing helps the economy. The higher wages paid by unions boosts productivity, reduce turnover and can even improve profits. Partially unionized Cosco, she says, has nearly 40% more in labor costs than its sister company, Sam’s Club, but has almost double the per-employee profit margin. “They invested in the jobs and lowered turnover,” she observes.
In fact, even the Heritage Foundation’s much-hyped index of “economic freedom”in countries around the world pointed to economies with the highest rates of unionization in the workforce.

As for the right-wing’s favorite whipping boys, the auto industry and the UAW, Walter and other experts say the blame should fall on the executives’ poor manufacturing decisions — not the 10 percent of a car’s cost made up by labor costs. And, despite the demonization of the UAW, the American auto-industry workers’ wages are now roughly comparable to those in non-unionized Japanese factories, but it’s the added costs of health care and pensions for union retirees over the decades that have actually raised costs. In addition, as the latest restructuring and cost-cutting plans show, the UAW has been willing to compromise — after giving up important gains in negotiations in earlier years.
The important new report shows that the original goal of the UAW — helping their workers achieve a decent, middle-class standard of living while working in factories — could also help today’s low-paid workers, especially in the growing service and health-care sectors, boost their incomes if they had the right to join a union. As the AFL-CIO Now blog reports:

The report also provides a state-by-state analysis of increased union membership on wages. An increase in the rate of union membership of just 5 percent would increase total wages by $176 million in Nebraska, $503 million in Wisconsin and $852 million in Pennsylvania.
These wages would be spread across the entire labor market.

“The essence of what labor unions do — give workers a stronger voice so that they can get a fair share of the economic growth they help create — is and has always been important to making the economy work for all Americans. And unions only become more important as the economy worsens.
“One of the primary reasons why our current recession endures is that workers do not have the purchasing power they need to drive our economy...what is sustainable is an economy where workers are adequately rewarded and have the income they need to purchase goods. This is where unions come in.”

Walter and Madland point to the disconnect between productivity and wages as a major factor in our economic crisis. Indeed, if wages had kept pace with productivity increases, rather than falling behind as they have in recent decades, average wages would be 42.7 percent higher. That’s a sizable share of the economy that workers have lost, undermining consumer purchasing power and economic security—which, in turn, hurt the nation’s entire economy in a vicious downward spiral.

That’s why protecting union rights becomes so critical to economic recovery. As Karla Walter summed up her research, “The Employee Free Choice Act is not only important because it makes it harder for anti-union companies to harass workers, it boosts unionization rates, and improves millions of Americans’ economic standing, providing families of those with union jobs a path to the middle class and pumping billions into the American economy every year.”

At the heart of all this is a drive for fairness and a level playing field for workers — the right to bargain for decent pay and benefits. As Stewart Acuff, the special assistant to the president of the AFL-CIO, says caustically, “If the bosses can bargain with their boards of directors for their $200 million salaries and $10 million bonuses while they were screwing up their companies, workers ought to be able to bargain for their kids’ health care and wages they can count on.”
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/art-levine/new-report-reveals-why-go_b_168132.html
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  10,973 25 Nov 2016, 1:10 pm

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Reporter Who Laughed at Keith Ellison’s Trump Prediction Gives Platform to His Anonymous Critics
November 23, 2016

The New York Times on Tuesday published an article portraying the Obama White House as skeptical of Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison’s ability to lead the Democratic National Committee. Ellison, who endorsed Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primary and is viewed by many as a sort of Sanders proxy, declared his candidacy earlier this month, emphasizing a need to prioritize grassroots organizing.

The Times article signaled that the establishment of the Democratic Party is opposed to Ellison’s bid for DNC chair, and laid out an argument questioning the congressman’s ability to lead the party.

One of the article’s two authors, Maggie Haberman, was on an ABC News panel with Ellison in July 2015 when he suggested that Donald Trump might end up “leading the Republican ticket” and that there was a real possibility of his capturing the presidency. Haberman burst out laughing:

The Times article claims that Obama’s White House is “uneasy with the progressive Mr. Ellison,” and that it has “begun casting about for an alternative, according to multiple Democratic officials close to the president.” It notes that some senior Democrats are backing Labor Secretary Tom Perez and former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm — both of whom were Clinton surrogates during the 2016 election — for the top DNC spot instead.

The piece also notes some of the concerns about Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, that have been aired in recent weeks: He has left-wing views on the Middle East conflict; in his youth he had some affinity for Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan; and he would be a part-time, not a full-time, leader of the DNC.

The Anti-Defamation League, an influential Jewish American group with right-wing views on the Middle East, is quoted saying that while Ellison isn’t anti-Semitic, he has taken positions on Palestine “on which we strongly differ and that concern us.” No Arab American or progressive Jewish American groups are quoted, even though the Jewish anti-occupation group J Street has defended him and he has been a close ally of the Arab American Institute.

The sources for the article’s assertion of White House unhappiness with Ellison are all anonymous. Wikileaks disclosures of emails sent to Clinton campaign chair John Podesta revealed that Haberman, who formerly worked for Politico, was seen as a reliable conduit for the Clinton team. In a January 2015 email, campaign spokesman Nick Merill wrote, “We have has a very good relationship with Maggie Haberman of Politico over the last year. We have had her tee up stories for us before and have never been disappointed.”

https://theintercept.com/2016/11/23/reporter-who-laughed-at-keith-ellisons-trump-prediction-gives-platform-to-his-anonymous-critics/
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  10,973 25 Nov 2016, 1:15 pm

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November 25, 2016
Former IAEA Director: 'Very Dishonest' to Claim Iran Violated the Nuclear Deal
Robert Kelley says the Iranians have stuck to the agreement for a full year now
http://therealnews.com/t2/story:17776:F ... clear-Deal


November 25, 2016
Iranian Government Preferred Trump But Will Have Second Thoughts Now That His Team is Emerging
Trita Parsi tells Paul Jay that the Iranians thought Trump's anti-interventionist language would be better that Clinton's declared antagonism; but now that Flynn, Pompeo, and Pence have been chosen, regime change is likely back on the table







http://therealnews.com/t2/story:17731:I ... s-Emerging
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  10,973 25 Nov 2016, 1:18 pm

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Life, Apartheid And Palestine: Michael Brull Meets John Dugard, South Africa’s ‘Father Of Human Rights’ By Michael Brull

on November 23, 2016

International Affairs

One of the leading opponents to apartheid, and later a prominent critic of Israel, John Dugard spoke with New Matilda’s Michael Brull recently.
When John Dugard came to Sydney, I was excited. I have a lot of respect for him, and was going to not only meet him, but interview him at length. Dugard has a tremendous record of advocating for principles of human rights and anti-racism, first in apartheid South Africa, then in Palestine.

Most people I know haven’t heard of Dugard. It was only in law school that I learned about his record. I conducted some research into law and apartheid in South Africa, reading through back issues of law journals, to see what legal academics had to say at the time. Aside from those praising Dugard, and what Dugard himself wrote, much of the literature came back to Dugard in some way or other.

In legal circles in South Africa, Dugard’s contributions are widely known, and are treated with something approaching reverence. From the early 1970s, Dugard wrote scathing critiques of judges and legal academics in apartheid South Africa. He argued that whilst judges claimed to be merely impartial upholders of the law, in fact they were actively making choices to defend infringements on civil liberties and injustice.

Dugard also acted as lawyer, or legal consultant, in numerous cases challenging apartheid law and practices. In 1978, Dugard was the founding director of the University of Witwatersrand’s Centre for Applied Legal Studies. This innocuous name masked its agenda: it was a human rights centre.

Edwin Cameron – who worked at the Centre for Applied Legal Studies in the ’80s, and later became a Justice of the Constitutional Court – reviewed Dugard’s record in the South African Journal on Human Rights.

Cameron noted that “Dugard wrote at a time when the norm for academic critics was deference to the courts, sometimes unctuous. By contrast, his writing was candid, honest and outspoken.”

For voicing his critiques, Dugard “faced opprobrium and even prosecution (for quoting Dr Nthatho Motlana, a banned person), but he did not waver.” Cameron concluded that “the clear voice of Dugard’s denunciation of apartheid collusion by lawyers and judges deserves credit as one of the reasons why today we have a law-based constitutional order whose legitimacy is politically unquestioned.”

In the 1980s, there was a famous debate between Raymond Wacks and John Dugard. Wacks argued that the moral judge should resign from the apartheid bench. Dugard thought it was better for them to do their best to make whatever humane rulings they could.
Despite their disagreement, Wacks had nothing but respect for Dugard:

“Few students who have passed through the University of the Witwatersrand School of Law in the last twenty years will have failed to have been deeply inspired by Professor John Dugard. As a teacher, he has encouraged almost a generation of future lawyers to recognize the potential of law as a means of attaining justice and, at the same time, to examine the extent to which the law of South Africa subverts that very objective. His influence on the practice and teaching of law is, I believe, considerable. He has, almost single-handedly, developed an important jurisprudence of the erosion of human rights in this country and, in the process, won international recognition and respect as a tenacious champion of liberty in a society in which it is under relentless siege.”

Ismail Mohamed was appointed by Nelson Mandela as the Chief Justice of South Africa in 1996. In 1998, Mohamed said that one
“clear truth needs vigorously to be recognised: the contribution of John Dugard and the small coterie of young and vigorous academics whom he attracted, in chiselling away at the very foundations of orthodox jurisprudential perspectives in South Africa and in restructuring the moral and jurisprudential values of generations of lawyers who began to permeate the practice and teaching of the law, has been among the most crucial, the most profound and the most decisive even if not the most visible of the influences which have impacted and which will continue to impact on the structure of our legal universe.”

More simply, legal academic Max Du Plessis observed that “Dugard is regarded by many as the father of human rights in South Africa”.

Du Plessis observed that though Dugard was among the final 10 candidates considered for the Constitutional Court by Mandela, he was “not appointed despite his towering stature”. Dugard went on to receive a prestigious Chair in international law at Cambridge University, and served as a judge on the International Court of Justice.

In 2000, Dugard was appointed to a United Nations Commission to investigate human rights violations in Palestine during the outbreak of the Second Intifada. In 2001, he was appointed the UN Human Rights Council’s Special Rapporteur on human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
in full: https://newmatilda.com/2016/11/23/life- ... an-rights/
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  10,973 25 Nov 2016, 1:23 pm

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Bernie Sanders on Donald Trump’s Victory, Identity Politics, and the Failures of the Democratic Party

His improbable run for the presidency sharpened Hillary Clinton and awakened a new generation of voters, but has Bernie Sanders got what it takes now to turn his moment into a movement?

In a presidential campaign that was less about hope and change and more about resignation and horror, there was, thankfully, one candidate who provided a dose of inspiration and emotional uplift. Bernie Sanders may not have won his party's nomination—and his indefatigable stumping on behalf of Hillary Clinton didn't change the outcome in November. Even if the Vermont Senator had been the one facing Donald Trump, it's far from clear he would have won. But Sanders nonetheless recognized the discontent and anger that so many Americans were feeling in 2016 and, unlike our president-elect, proposed solutions to their problems that sought to bring the country together rather than tear it apart.

In the process, the self-declared socialist became an unlikely hero to both frustrated working-class Americans and a new generation of young voters. Sanders—his hair unkempt, his Brooklyn accent untamed—brought campaign crowds to their feet with wonky calls to reinstate Great Depression-era banking legislation. And now, in the wake of Trump's election, Sanders has become a crucial voice in determining the direction of a depressed and decimated Democratic Party. We spoke about all that, and about the path ahead for Sanders, in two conversations—one prior to the election and another that took place this past weekend. A condensed and edited transcript of our conversations follows:

GQ: Presumably there are people who voted for you in the Democratic primary and then voted for Donald Trump. If you could have gotten them in a room, what's the message you would have given them to try to convince them to vote for Hillary Clinton instead of Trump?

Sanders: Well, I think that what Trump understood—that many Democrats do not—is that while we are better off today, under Obama, than we were eight years ago, much better off, there are millions and millions of working families in this country who are really struggling.

Trump posed as a champion of working families—somebody who is going to take on the establishment. And it's beyond belief that he could do that. This is a guy who's a billionaire who doesn't pay anything in federal income taxes, who outsources his jobs for his companies to Bangladesh, China, Mexico, and Turkey, and who has been sued time and time again by workers for not keeping up his end in contracts. But nonetheless a lot of working people voted for him.

What I would tell those people if I were in the room with them, and I suspect that I was because I did a lot of traveling for Hillary Clinton, is, "Don't believe everything that this guy says. There is no particular reason to believe that he is gonna follow through on the promises that he made." And already we're beginning to see that.
There are some Democrats, like Harry Reid, who say that it's a mistake to try to work with Trump at all. Why is that view wrong?

Clearly there is no working with a president who believes in, or will bring forth, programs or policies based on bigotry, whether it is racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia, and there can be no compromise on that. There can be no compromise on the issue of climate change, which is a threat to the entire planet.

But if Trump is prepared to work with me and others on rebuilding our infrastructure and creating millions of jobs, on raising the minimum wage, on passing Glass-Steagall, on changing our trade policies—yes, I think it would be counterproductive on issues that working-class Americans supported and depend upon if we did not go forward.

Is there any silver lining to the fact that Trump's victory will help ensure big changes to the Democratic Party—changes that could push it in the progressive direction you favor?

No, I would not say that there's any silver lining in Trump's victory. It is scary, and I think there are many, many people throughout this country who are very frightened about what will happen over the next four years. So I don't see any silver lining.

But what we are working on right now is to transform the Democratic Party. I will introduce legislation that will raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Mr. Trump talks about his concern about working families. I look forward to him supporting it. I am going to introduce legislation—I or somebody else, it's not just me—demanding pay equity for women workers. I hope Mr. Trump supports that. We're going to have very definitive legislation on infrastructure. I hope Trump supports that. Trade policy, Trump based his whole campaign on trade. So it's not a question of us working with Trump. It's a question of Trump working with us.
http://www.gq.com/story/bernie-sanders- ... al_twitter
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  10,973 25 Nov 2016, 1:31 pm

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The revenge of the 'Oxy electorate' helped fuel Trump's election upset

President-elect Donald Trump won several states that had long been Democratic, like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan, as well as swing states, like Ohio and Florida, on his way to a seemingly improbable electoral victory earlier this month.

Chris Arnade, an independent journalist who has spent the past four years traveling the US to document the opioid crisis, was one of the few who weren't surprised. After traveling tens of thousands of miles in working-class communities along the Rust Belt and elsewhere, he found one constant.
"Wherever I saw strong addiction and strong drug use," Arnade told Business Insider, he saw support for Trump.

Official voting data has suggested a similar correlation. Since the November 8 election, Shannon Monnat, a rural sociologist and demographer at Pennsylvania State University, has dug into the results. She found that counties that voted more heavily for Trump than expected were closely correlated with counties that experienced high rates of death caused by drugs, alcohol, and suicide.

Two other factors were strongly correlated with Trump "overperformance," Monnat found: the percentage of white voters in the county and its ranking on Monnat's "economic distress index." The index, which Monnat has used in her research for years, combines the percentages of people who are in poverty, unemployed, disabled, in single-parent families, living on public assistance, or living without health insurance.
Monnat wasn't surprised by the correlation.
"I expected to see it because when you think about the underlying factors that lead to overdose or suicide, it's depression, despair, distress, and anxiety," Monnat told Business Insider. "That was the message that Trump was appealing to.
"People are literally dying," she added. "There was such a sense of hopelessness that it makes sense they would vote for massive change."
Image

That correlation surfaced across the US, not just in areas of heavy Trump support like Appalachia and the Rust Belt, Monnat said. Even in counties with high mortality rates relating to drugs, alcohol, and suicide that Trump lost, he overperformed relative to 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
HistorianKathleen Frydl, who has closely followed the opioid crisis, noticed a similar phenomenon unfolding on election night. Traditionally blue counties that she knew to be hard hit by opioids were flipping to Trump.

After "recovering from the shock," she began comparing the drug-overdose death rate with voter performance in critical states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan.
What she found was striking.

Six of the nine Ohio counties that flipped from Democrat to Republican in 2016 logged overdose death rates far above the national rate of 14.7 people per 100,000. Nearly every Ohio county with an overdose death rate above 20 per 100,000 saw voting gains of 10% or more for Trump compared with Romney and/or drops of 10% or more for Hillary Clinton compared to President Barack Obama in 2012. Only Butler County, home to Miami University, and Hamilton County, the jurisdiction for Cincinnati, did not conform to this pattern.
Twenty-nine of 33 Pennsylvania counties with overdose death rates above 20 per 100,000 conformed to the same pattern and/or flipped from Democrat to Republican entirely. (You can see Frydl's comparison of county vote totals and overdose death rates here.)
The phenomenon led Frydl to dub such voters the "Oxy electorate."
'A sea of correlations'
The Economist found similar voting trends, though it argued that combining life expectancy and public-health metrics, such as obesity, heavy drinking, and physical activity, was the most accurate predictor of Trump's outperformance of Romney.

Even in the Ohio counties that The Economist pointed to as evidence of its analysis — Knox and Jefferson — the overdose death statistics bear out. Jefferson County, whose margin of victory for Trump was 30 percentage points higher than Romney's compared with 14 points for Knox, according to The Economist, had an overdose rate in 2015 of 28.8 per 100,000. Knox's was nearly half that, at 15.1 per 100,000.

Renowned statistician Nate Silver, the editor-in-chief of FiveThirtyEight, argued on Twitter that education levels were still the most accurate predictor of Trump voting trends and that linking heroin deaths with voting was a "spurious correlation." Many analysts have pointed to percentage of non-college-educated white males as the leading predictor of Trump performance.

Frydl said, however, that there was a "sea of correlations" uniting these communities across the US, noting overdose deaths rates, mortality rates, education levels, and race, among others. And while she said "correlation does not equal causation," the characteristics can help analysts understand why Trump’s campaign had such appeal.
Similarly, Monnat suggested that the rates of drug-, alcohol-, and suicide-driven mortality she looked into were not in and of themselves enough to explain why voters gravitated toward Trump. Rather, she said, they are "reflective of the structural problem."

These are communities that feel "marginalized" and "left behind" by globalization and the larger economic structure that has taken place over the past several decades, Monnat said. These are communities that have lost high-paying manufacturing and mining jobs, have seen their downtowns gutted for Walmarts and big-box stores, and have seen low-wage service jobs fill in the employment gap.
In these communities, it's not just about an economy that's failing them, Arnade said, but how the very structure of their communities has changed, for both rich and poor. Social networks have become "broken" and people feel "humiliated," he said.
'America does not seem great'
Image The Hard Times Tavern seen in Fort Gay, West Virginia, in 2014.
REUTERS/Robert Galbraith



The coming of the opioid crisis in the Rust Belt and Appalachia felt a lot like the economic problems that preceded it — something over which its residents had no control.
People were unprepared for the opioid crisis and, "what's more, believed they had done nothing to deserve it," investigative journalist Sam Quinones wrote on his blog Monday. Quinones investigated the causes of the opioid crisis extensively in his 2015 book, "Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic."

"The effects of opioid addiction ripple out far beyond addicts to affect entire communities," Quinones wrote, killing their "buoyancy of spirit" and leaving them open to the "foreboding that seemed to motivate many voters."

In an interview with the Columbia Journalism Review, Arnade described the prototypical "white working class" community that he visited: Prestonsburg, Kentucky, a coal town of 3,500 residents, most of them white. Here's how he described its turn toward Trump:

"There's a real strong sense of community, but the entire community is feeling humiliated. The whole town feels like it's suffering, and with the economic decline has come a large increase in the things that follow: addiction, breakup of families. The place feels very hurt."

"And in comes Trump with a message of restoring pride — partly through white identity — that resonates there, because from Prestonsburg, Kentucky, America does not seem great."
Trump's attack on immigration and globalization was the perfect "one-two punch" in a place like Prestonsburg, Arnade said. It "punches downward" by scapegoating others, like immigrants and minorities, and upward at what the working class views as a "rigged system" pushed by politicians with "fancy educations."

But Arnade said it was too easy to vilify such voters as "racist and stupid," even if Trump's racial appeals may have resonated. Many Trump voters in those communities, he said, voted for Obama and were voting "to kick over the system."
'A social policy failure'

Frydl described the movement from economic decline to opioid crisis to Trump support as "a nested chain of causality," wherein the anchor is the loss of industry and economy in the Rust Belt and Appalachia.

Frydl too saw the Trump win in such areas as a vote against the status quo in the same way that a vote for Obama was in 2008. In that way, she thinks Trump's upset is a "de facto" judgment on Obama's failure to be the "change agent" many thought they were voting for.

"The people in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and the steel belt that voted for Trump were aware that the steel mills closed in 1983," she said. "They were aware of that in 2012 when they voted for Obama. There is something specific to the opioid crisis in the last four years that is a social policy failure that deserves to be treated as discrete."

Frydl, who has written a history of the drug war in America, believes that the Obama administration’s response to the opioid crisis signaled to many addiction-ravaged areas that "their suffering was not registering with the Democratic Party establishment."

The administration's landmark bipartisan bill passed earlier this year to address the crisis, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, was seen as modest, at best. Attorney General Eric Holder failed to hold Purdue Pharma, widely considered to be the main source for opioid overprescribing in the 1990s and 2000s, or other pharmaceutical companies to account for their part in the crisis, Frydl said. And even as the government cracked down on legal prescription drugs, heroin from Mexico and synthetic opioids from China flooded in to meet demand.

After decades of systemic economic decline and the government's failure to address the subsequent public-health crisis, Trump's outsider campaign was perfectly primed to capitalize on the so-called Oxy electorate's fears about foreign influence and loss of status.

"I'm not sure why we didn't think it would impact the presidential election," Monnat said. "It's finally come to bear, and we're going to have to deal with the repercussions of that."
http://www.businessinsider.com/trump-vo ... hs-2016-11
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Posted by Henry_
  10,973 25 Nov 2016, 1:39 pm

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Trump Is Legally Correct: Ethics Rules Do Not Apply To Him 1, November 23, 2016

Donald Trump is under fire for saying this week that he is not legally bound to avoid conflicts of interest because such ethical standards do not apply to him. Various commentators objected but Trump insisted “The law’s totally on my side, the president can’t have a conflict of interest.”Trump is legally correct. There is a public disclosure rule that applies but not a binding conflict of interest law. The federal law exempts not just the President but also the Vice President.

The controversy erupted in an interview with the New York Times in which Trump stated “In theory I could run my business perfectly and then run the country perfectly.” Well, “perfectly” is a value-laden term rather than a legal term. Suffice it to say that he can decline a blind trust and run both “legally.”

Under Title 18 Section 208 federal executive branch employees are barred from participating in matters where they have financial interests. Thus, employees use blind trusts to avoid the conflicts since they do not have knowledge of their investments. However, Section 208 expressly exempts the president, vice president, members of Congress and federal judges. The section states:

“Except as otherwise provided in such sections, the terms ‘officer’ and ’employee’ in sections 203, 205, 207 through 209, and 218 of this title shall not include the President, the Vice President, a Member of Congress, or a Federal judge.”
in full: https://jonathanturley.org/2016/11/23/t ... ly-to-him/
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Posted by Henry_
  10,973 25 Nov 2016, 1:58 pm

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* The election for the presidency is over and what transpires over the next year and a half will
set the stage for elections 2018...who remains in control within the Republican Party and what
will occur within my party..who will ultimately lead the Democrats.


Until then, stay well everyone and best to all.
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Posted by Cannonpointer
  19,856 29 Nov 2016, 1:29 pm

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Henry_ » 10 Nov 2016 9:23 am wrote:
* An interesting opinion piece, my differences are that there is nothing left of the Democratic Party.
I had thought Clinton, had she won, might very well destroy what was left if she did not allow
for meaningful reform. but I was wrong. Trump blew up whatever was left of the Democratic Party,
it is a shell of the promise and political influence it had in 2008. It will be wise for liberals , Democrats,
Independents to examine all the players who assisted in this train wreck..their complicity as well as
ensuring they're not influential going forward. Hillary and Bill are done, but their like minded minions and
their think tanks won't leave without a push.....the fight goes on.


The Liberals Didn’t Listen: The Immense Cost of Ignoring Tom Frank’s Warnings


By William K. Black
November 8, 2016 Kansas City, MO

I am writing this article late on election night in my office at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, about a mile from the home in which Tom Frank grew up just over the state line in Kansas. Beginning with his famous book, What’s the Matter with Kansas, first published in 2004, Tom Frank has been warning the Democratic Party of the increasing cost it was paying by abandoning and even attacking the working class, particularly the white working class. Some political scientists tried to savage his work, pointing to Bill Clinton’s electoral success and arguing that the disaffected members of the working class were also less likely to vote. Frank returned to the theme just in time for this election with a new book – Listen, Liberal – that documents in damning, lively narrative the New Democrats’ war on the New Deal, their disdain for organized labor, and their antipathy for what they viewed as retrograde white working class attitudes.

Frank kept showing the enormous price the working class were paying as a result of the economic policies of the Republicans and the New Democrats, and the indifference to their plight by the leaders of the New Democrats. Senator Bernie Sanders consciously took up the cause of reducing surging inequality and became a hero to a broad coalition of voters, many of them fiercely opposed to the New Democrats’ embrace of Wall Street cash, policies, and arrogance. Sanders set records for small donor fundraising and generated enormous enthusiasm. Sanders knew he would face the opposition of the New Democrats, but he also found that progressive congressional Democrats would rarely support him publicly in the contest for the Party’s nomination and even union leaders sided overwhelmingly with Secretary Hillary Clinton, the New Democrats’ strongly preferred candidate.

Hillary did not simply fail to reach out to the working class voters that the New Democrats had turned their backs on for decades, she infamously attacked them as “deplorables.” This was exactly the group of potential voters that was enraged because it believed, correctly as Tom Frank keeps showing us, that the New Democrats looked down on them and adopted policies that rigged the system against the working class. Hillary’s insult confirmed their most powerful bases for their rage against her. Her insult was an early Christmas present to Trump. Her attempt to walk the insult back was doomed.

Hillary Clinton handled things so miserably that she allowed a plutocrat whose career is based on rigging the system against the working class to become the hero of the working class. That is world-class incompetence. Had she followed Tom Frank’s advice she would today be the President-elect. The real cost, however, of her failure will be enormous damage to our democracy, the safety of the world, and the damage that President Trump will do to the working class as he systematically betrays their interests.

The first test of whether the Wall Street-wing of the Democratic Party has learned any of the lessons Tom Frank tried to teach them is whether President Obama will continue with his threat to try to have the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) approved by the lame duck session of Congress. Obama, who was elected on the promise that he would stop TPP, should listen to Senators Sanders and Warren and honor his promise to the voters to stop TPP. He must begin the process of the Democrats winning back the support of the working class.
The leaders of the democratic-wing of the Democratic Party need to move forward assertively to retake control of their Party. The current head of the DNC has been exposed as part of the effort to prevent Senator Sanders from winning the nomination. She should resign tomorrow. The Clinton's should cease acting as Party leaders.

A period of enormous corruption and elite fraud is coming soon as the Trump administration brings its signature characteristic – crony capitalism – to bear to control all three branches of government. Trump promises to deregulate Wall Street, appoint top supervisors chosen for their unwillingness to supervise, and appoint judges who will allow CEOs to loot with impunity. Trump promises to outdo even the savage anti-media and anti-whistleblower policies of the Obama administration. The House and Senate committee chairs will intensify their blatantly partisan use of investigations while refusing to conduct real oversight hearings revealing the elite fraud and corruption.

The progressive Senate Democrats will have to be innovative and stalwart in these circumstances to find ways to blow the whistle repeatedly on the mounting corruption. Their challenge will be to lead despite having no real institutional power. Democrats should start by doing what they should have done in 2004 – take Tom Frank’s warnings deadly seriously.
http://neweconomicperspectives.org/2016 ... more-10710
The something may have been odious, but at LEAST the repukes did SOMETHING about corruption in the party. It's time for democrats to get their TEA on: TREACHERY ENOUGH ALREADY.

Clingon stole the nomination OPENLY. What will the rank and file do about it?
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