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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 46,179

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Why I don't:

If I campaign for, and vote for, a candidate with the right policies, then I've got a win/or at least hold the line situation. If I win, then I've got a politician who is actually going to fight for the right policies. If I lose, then my party is the opposition, and will mount some sort of opposition to the enemy.

If I elect someone with the wrong policies because she can win, I've surrendered before we ever made it to the front lines. I've got at least a whole term, and probably longer, of my party feeling like they have to support the wrong policies. There's no opposition to the wrong policies. There are policy shifts within my own party and the nation that move both further away, that move me further to the fringe, or throw me completely under the bus, and I'm supposed to shut up and take it out of party loyalty. Electing someone with the wrong policies from my own party doesn't hold any line. It's a lose/lose.

It's throwing my party, my country, and the 99% under the bus.

Reading through this thread again leaves me with one question.

I agree with many in this thread that the primary poses a bigger challenge for Bernie than the GE.

Since that's the case, why would Democrats who have a chance to nominate a winner who is better on every single issue than HRC, who have a chance to nominate someone who would actually work and fight to lead the country out of her neo-liberal degradation, nominate a neo-liberal instead?

Why wouldn't Democrats who align more closely with Sanders on issues not throw him their support?

The answer to that question is one I can't, while trying to honor the TOS, answer.

Of course not.

There is a massive chasm between opposing someone politically and laughing about, taking pleasure in, the death of that person.

There's a big difference even between deciding that the person should be taken down, taken out of power, and laughing gleefully about that person's death.

One is reason. The other is psychopathy: finding joy in killing people.

As for Sanders and Gaddafi? I don't find him having much to say about Gaddafi at all, except in reference to this:

WASHINGTON, March 31 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today questioned why the Federal Reserve provided more than $26 billion in credit to an Arab intermediary for the Central Bank of Libya.

The total includes at least $3.2 billion in loans that the Fed was forced to make public today in addition to earlier revelations under a Sanders provision in the Wall Street reform law.

Sanders also asked why the Libyan-owned bank and two of its branches in New York, N.Y., were exempted from sanctions that the United States this month slapped on other Libyan businesses to pressure Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s government.

“It is incomprehensible to me that while creditworthy small businesses in Vermont and throughout the country could not receive affordable loans, the Federal Reserve was providing tens of billions of dollars in credit to a bank that is substantially owned by the Central Bank of Libya,” Sanders said.


More about the bailout he's referring to:

Barack Obama recently issued an executive order imposing a wave of sanctions against Libya, not only freezing Libyan assets, but barring Americans from having business dealings with Libyan banks.

So raise your hand if you knew that the United States has been extending billions of dollars in aid to Qaddafi and to the Central Bank of Libya, through a Libyan-owned subsidiary bank operating out of Bahrain. And raise your hand if you knew that, just a week or so after Obama’s executive order, the U.S. Treasury Department quietly issued an order exempting this and other Libyan-owned banks to continue operating without sanction.

I came across the curious case of the Arab Banking Corporation, better known as ABC, while researching a story about the results of the audit of the Federal Reserve. That story, which will be coming out in Rolling Stone in two weeks, will examine in detail some of the many lunacies uncovered by Senate investigators amid the recently-released list of bailout and emergency aid recipients – a list that includes many extremely shocking names, from foreign industrial competitors to hedge funds in tax-haven nations to various Wall Street figures of note (and some of their relatives). You will want to see this amazing list when it comes out, so please make sure to check the newsstands in two weeks’ time.

This list became public as a result of an amendment added to the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill that was sponsored by Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. The amendment forced the Federal Reserve to open its books for the first time and make public the names of those individuals and corporations who received emergency loans and bailout monies during the roughly two year period between the crash of 2008 and the passage of the Dodd-Frank bill.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/why-is-the-fed-bailing-out-qaddafi-20110401#ixzz3ayfjOksj
Follow us: @rollingstone on Twitter | RollingStone on Facebook

If policy is not the first priority of politics,

I neither need nor want anything to do with politics.

The reason why the political game smacks of deception and manipulation is because it IS all about deception and manipulation. I'm not easily deceived, and I respond to attempts at manipulation with a large push BACK...not with acceptance, compliance, or tolerance.

A worthy goal might be to work to put politics into the correct arena...the policy arena.

A statement to that effect might be that Democrats believe in people and finding a way to bring social and economic justice for all, whereas Republicans believe in a belligerent God, unrestricted aggression and weapons to back up their bullying, and unrestricted greed. God, Guns, and Greed.

If only that statement were true. It's not. The power center of the Democratic Party is all about unrestricted capitalism/greed creating social and economic injustices in the form of neoliberalism.

Who's Ready for Hillary?

I found this an instructive read about HRC as a primary candidate several months ago. It's still instructive.


Kathleen Geier:

Frustrated voters are demanding change, but nothing in Hillary Clinton’s history suggests that she is capable of delivering it. Clinton has far more in common with the Rahm Emanuel/Andrew Cuomo wing of the party than with Elizabeth Warren or Sherrod Brown. Not only is she Wall Street’s favorite Democrat, drawing hefty donations from the finance industry, but she has supported many of the destructive neoliberal economic policies that ushered in the crisis, such as financial deregulation and free trade. She spent years on the board of the most viciously anti-labor employer in the country, Walmart, and never once spoke up in favor of unions. She voted for the odious 2001 bankruptcy bill, which made it harder for Americans to shed impossible debt. She not only supported welfare “reform” but advocated tougher work requirements—a position that put her at odds with most Democrats.

And that’s just her domestic policy. Clinton’s neocon-friendly foreign-policy record is even worse—not only her vote in favor of the Iraq War, but her advocacy of drone strikes and her saber rattling over Syria. There are also serious concerns about her executive competence: her leadership in the 1993 healthcare-reform effort and her own 2008 presidential campaign does not exactly inspire confidence.

Jamelle Bouie:

The problem with Clinton has nothing to do with process and everything to do with substance. As others in this forum have noted, Hillary Clinton is a triangulating corporate Democrat who forged her political identity against a relentless, ideologically driven GOP and built her core support among the wealthy elites of the Democratic Party. The former makes her suspicious of (if not hostile to) the left on foreign and domestic policy, while the latter—coupled with her time as New York senator—makes her receptive to the failed ideas and expertise of Wall Street.

Doug Henwood:

Hillary (and she has clearly rebranded herself as just a first name) embodies the “New Democrat” politics of the 1990s that now seem hopelessly obsolete, no match for a world of chronic economic stagnation, polarization and climate catastrophe. She was very much a partner in inventing that ideology—business-friendly, hawkish, tough on unions and the poor—with her husband. The Clintonites purged the Democrats of their social-democratic wing, consolidating the victories of the Reagan Revolution. At this point, it’s hard to say what Hillary or the Democrats stand for, other than being protectors of the status quo. But even that isn’t so clear, given that some neocons—worried by the possible ascendancy of Rand Paul–style neo-isolationism in the GOP—have been making very pro-Clinton sounds over the past few months. She does, after all, love a good military intervention.

Of course, it's long, and includes some support for Clinton as well; I don't discount that support, or the reasons behind it, but it's weak. Not enough, in my opinion. The reasons to support are not nearly strong enough to overcome the reasons not to, at least for me. I am not ready for Hillary.

Senate Proposal Cuts Off Duncan at the Knees

There are other less incendiary articles, but I chose to post this one here simply because the idea of cutting Arne off at the knees satisfies a visceral need. I hope people will call their reps to urge support for "The Every Child Achieves Act of 2015."

Suck It, Arne

That "Hands off, feds" attitude runs throughout the bill. State plans are acceptable unless proven naught by the USED, and the feds only have 90 days to do so. The Secretary must approve a state plan within the 90 days unless the department "can present substantial evidence that clearly demonstrates that such State plan does not meet the bill's requirements." To whom will such evidence be presented? A peer review board composed of "experts and practitioners with school-level and classroom experience."

Yes, unlike the waiver system that requires state bureaucrats to bow and scrape for Duncan's official okey-dokey, now the secretary must go before actual educators and prove to their satisfaction that a state plan is not acceptable. And if they say it's not, the state still gets to appeal and resubmit. This strikes me a huge shift of the balance of power.

Also, "the bill affirms that states decide what academic standards they will adopt, without interference from Washington." The feds can't mandate a set of standards, and they can't "incentivize" one, either. "States will be free to decide what academic standards they will maintain in their states."

And! The bill does away with any federal requirement for states to develop and implement a teacher evaluation system. It even axes the definition of a highly qualified teacher.


I'd like to see his website

deliver some clear, unambiguous, detailed statements on issues. I can read his speeches there. Right at the top of the page, without even clicking on the whole speech, a line pops out that makes me shudder:

“What if we tackled our biggest problems by using data-driven strategies, instead of conventional wisdom, or the way we’ve always done it?”

While it's a great sound bite, it's also uses a phrase that has been used as a privatization weapon for public education...I know, because I've been dealing with the destructive policies that phrase drives in my profession for more than a decade, and it gets worse every year. "Data-driven strategies" is a phrase used to reduce students to test score data and teachers to numbers crunchers.

When I click on the speech itself, he begins promoting "data-driven government" in his opening lines.

Now don't mistake me. I'm not "anti-data." I'm anti-misuse and abuse of data for political purposes, and after being under attack by exactly that for more than a decade, I don't take the phrase "data-driven" at face value any more. It pushes all of my alarm buttons.

This from "on the issues" also concerns me; the bolding is mine:

O`Malley adopted the manifesto, "A New Agenda for the New Decade": Write New Rules for the Global Economy

The rise of global markets has undermined the ability of national governments to control their own economies. The answer is neither global laissez faire nor protectionism but a Third Way: New international rules and institutions to ensure that globalization goes hand in hand with higher living standards, basic worker rights, and environmental protection. U.S. leadership is crucial in building a rules-based global trading system as well as international structures that enhance worker rights and the environment without killing trade. For example, instead of restricting trade, we should negotiate specific multilateral accords to deal with specific environmental threats.

Goals for 2010

Conclude a new round of trade liberalization under the auspices of the World Trade Organization.
Open the WTO, the World Bank, and International Monetary Fund to wider participation and scrutiny.
Strengthen the International Labor Organization’s power to enforce core labor rights, including the right of free association.
Launch a new series of multinational treaties to protect the world environment.

This is what I got on education; a mixed bag. Some sounds good, others raise red flags for this teacher; red flags bolded:

O`Malley adopted the manifesto, "A New Agenda for the New Decade": Create World-Class Public Schools

Now more than ever, quality public education is the key to equal opportunity and upward mobility in America. Yet our neediest children often attend the worst schools. While lifting the performance of all schools, we must place special emphasis on strengthening those institutions serving, and too often failing, low-income students.

To close this achievement and opportunity gap, underperforming public schools need more resources, and above all, real accountability for results. Accountability means ending social promotion, measuring student performance with standards-based assessments, and testing teachers for subject-matter competency.

As we demand accountability, we should ensure that every school has the resources needed to achieve higher standards, including safe and modern physical facilities, well-paid teachers and staff, and opportunities for remedial help after school and during summers. Parents, too, must accept greater responsibility for supporting their children’s education.

We need greater choice, competition, and accountability within the public school system, not a diversion of public funds to private schools that are unaccountable to taxpayers. With research increasingly showing the critical nature of learning in the early years, we should move toward universal access to pre-kindergarten education.

Goals for 2010

Turn around every failing public school. (Using Chicago's privatization language...ugh.)
Make charter schools an option in every state and community.
Offer every parent a choice of public schools to which to send his or her child.
Make sure every classroom has well-qualified teachers who know the subjects they teach, and pay teachers more for performance. (Merit pay based on test scores)
Create a safe, clean, healthy, disciplined learning environment for every student.
Make pre-kindergarten education universally available.


I'll be paying attention. At this point, I'm not embracing him. I'm not comfortable at this point with the number of red flags.

I'm not an anti-vaxxer, but

I personally find the current polarized frenzy to be ludicrous.

It's not the simplified black and white that the simple would like it to be. Very, very few issues are.

When DUers tell someone who refuses a small pox vaccination for their child that:

their child ought to be isolated from the general public: http://www.democraticunderground.com/10026191344#post6

that his choice affects everyone and will spread: http://www.democraticunderground.com/10026191344#post55

that he's potentially putting others at risk, making him despicable, selfish, and ignorant: http://www.democraticunderground.com/10026191344#post87

when routinely vaccinating for smallpox ended in the U.S. in 1972, just WHO is ignorant?

When politicians decide to make vaccinations an issue, and the masses follow along obediently, lining up to battle it out because a small fraction of people want to refuse vaccinations, despite the fact that all 50 states require vaccinations for children entering public schools...while shoving the much larger problem of poverty, and much more frequent other categories of child neglect and abuse under the rug, I'll damned well say:

I'm not an anti-vaxxer, but if you are so damned concerned, where is your outrage and energy addressing those other much more frequent and widespread neglects and abuses? Refusing vaccinations is just one. Is it that neglect and abuse aren't an issue until they spread to others? Is that it?


I believe that

there are currently two standardized tests developed for the CCSS: PARCC, and the "Smarter Balanced" test. All of the 46 or so states that have adopted the CCSS will be giving one of those two tests.

My state, and therefore my district and school, will be giving the Smarter Balanced test, so I don't know anything about PARCC. We haven't seen the Smarter Balanced test, but there is a practice test available online that we've been exploring. There might be a practice test online for PARCC that you could take a look at.

As far as "teaching to the test" goes...that's been the norm since the introduction of high stakes testing, first at the state level in some states, and then at the federal level with NCLB. States that wanted a waiver from NCLB had to 1. Adopt CCSS or another set of FEDERALLY approved standards...good luck with finding "another set." 2. Use high stakes tests based on those standards for both accountability systems and educator evaluation systems.

In other words, NCLB hasn't really gone away; it's been fed some steroids and re-branded.

The very existence of high-stakes tests ensures that there will be teaching to the test. When you threaten people, they are going to circle the wagons.

As the high-stakes testing mandates have grown more powerful, so has the focus on "data driven" instruction. Teaching to the test.

None of this is new. It's just, as I mentioned above, been re-branded.

As far as the CCSS, or any other set of standards, or any test goes? It's not the standards, nor the test that are at the root of the problem. It's the misuse and abuse of those standards and tests. It's the high-stakes. And that misuse and abuse is embedded in the mandates that the public education system must abide by. Mandates created by politicians and corporate power mongers. Non-educators.

Your concern, the concerns of all advocacy groups, should be about the political manipulation of the system through high-stakes tests rather than about one set of standards or one test.

As far as the difficulty of the test goes? I can't speak to PARCC, but I can say that the practice version of the Smarter Balanced test is certainly no walk in the park. Since there are no correct answers given, I've been in meetings with teachers taking and discussing that practice test...highly educated professionals who can't agree on correct answers to many items. That's often because of the prompts to choose the best example/s or sentences providing evidence for something, when all of the choices provide that evidence. The argument then becomes about which is "best," and how many "best" examples there are, since the prompts leave the number of possibilities open-ended.

For the record, teachers have been speaking out against high-stakes testing and the damage it does to public education since it first reared its ugly head back in the 90s at the state level. We spoke up loudly enough when GWB took office and it went federal that his Sec of Ed called us "terrorists." And all along, the general public bought the story about how those high stakes tests were needed because we were mostly incompetent, and the nation needed to bust teachers' unions and fire all those bad teachers.

If parents and the rest of the general public had listened, had "had our backs," from the beginning, we wouldn't be in the current situation. I hope someone is listening now.

This quote:

"Sometimes, educators are better at starting new things than we are at stopping things – several decades of testing ideas have sometimes been layered on top of each other in ways that are redundant and duplicative, and not helpful."

This is problematic. He is saying that he's an educator. He's not. And, his stuff isn't "new." His, and Obama's, "things" are continuances, extensions, and enrichment of the policies in place when he was appointed. They are even more destructive to public education than the precursors.

So, in one sense he's correct: HE is not very good at "stopping things," especially since ending the destructive toll taken on public education by high stakes testing was never his goal. If actual educators were in charge of education policy, you'd see them "stopping things."
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