Sarah B.

Last active
16 hours, 56 minutes ago
  • As well, you keep neglecting to explain how Russia got the recording of Victoria Nuland.

    I don’t have access to Russia’s intelligence-gathering sources and methods, but here’s a wild guess:

    It’s called “spying” — you know, sophisticated, state-of-the-art, electronic surveillance.

    Actually, it was Victoria Nuland herself who gave Russia the recording of her conversation with Geoffrey Pyatt. She should have known better than to engage in such an incendiary dialogue — one in which she and her neocon pal carefully plotted the overthrow of Ukraine’s democratically-elected government in Kiev and a scheme to replace it with Yats and the Rats — over an embassy telephone line that obviously was not sufficiently encrypted to avoid such easy detection. That’s called “hubris” among other things.

    In regard to your reply #41, Putin did not “invade” Ukraine, nor did he “invade” Crimea — he already had several thousand troops stationed in Crimea in accordance with a treaty between Ukraine and Russia to base a fleet of Russian naval ships there. The Russian troops did patrol the streets to keep the peace and to prevent attacks on the population by a contingent of the Ukrainian Army who were stationed there and whom the Russians convinced to leave and return to Ukraine.

    On March 6, 2014, the largely ethnic-Russian population of Crimea voted in a referendum to be formally integrated into the Russian Federation. The official result from the Autonomous Republic of Crimea was a 96.77% vote for integration of the region into the Russian Federation with an 83.1% voter turnout.

    The formal annexation was achieved not by a Russian “invasion” of Crimea, but by a democratic election in which voter turnout was extremely high and the vote for integration was extremely strong, enthusiastic, and unambiguous — the people of Crimea voted overwhelmingly to be fully integrated into the Russian Federation.

    Following the referendum, the Supreme Council of Crimea and Sevastopol City Council declared the independence of Crimea from Ukraine and requested to join the Russian Federation. On the same day, Russia recognized Crimea as a sovereign state, thus completing a peaceful transition process.

    Have you heard any complaints or cries begging to be rescued from Russia from the people of Crimea since the annexation was made official? No, of course not. The Crimeans are very happy with the outcome of their democratic election and want no part of the government in Kiev, not now and not anytime in the future.

  • Excellent background and critical analysis — very good stuff:

    Mike Whitney — August 29-31, 2014

    Washington’s “Pivot” hits a Brick Wall — Obama’s “Catastrophic Defeat” in Ukraine
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/08/29/obamas-catastrophic-defeat-in-ukraine/

    Barack Obama has pushed Ukraine to the brink of political, economic and social collapse. Now he wants to blame Russia for the damage he’s done. It’s absurd. Moscow is in no way responsible for Ukraine’s descent into anarchy. That’s all Washington’s doing, just as Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and now Syria were Washington’s doing. If you want to blame someone, blame Obama.

    Conclusion?

    There you have it; there is no Russian invasion anymore than there were WMD, mobile weapons labs, aluminum tubes, Sarin gas etc, etc, etc. It’s all BS concocted by a servile media pursuing the agenda of a warmongering political establishment that wants to escalate the conflagration in east Ukraine at all cost. Even if it leads to a Third World War.

    Petro Poroshenko’s resemblance to Slobodan Milošević is becoming increasingly difficult to deny for those of us who are inclined to believe our lying eyes rather than accept the ever-changing official narratives proffered by Obama and the State Department and Angela Merkel and NATO, who have demonstrated no genuine willingness to contain his reckless and murderous rampage “against his own people” in Eastern Ukraine, to borrow the popular but selectively-applied expression.

    When you see the latest round of false-flag “provocations” and faded, blurry, grainy, satellite photos (courtesy of Yats and the Rats in Kiev and NATO), and hysterical accusations accompanied by more sanctions against Russia, you know that the coup government in Kiev, and its hapless Ukrainian Army, and its feeble and profoundly dishonest Western backers are losing the Great Game, and they know it.

    Plus, Old Man Winter will be returning to Ukraine in late September or early October, and the coup government in Kiev is in no position to continue the fight under such harsh conditions and sustained losses on the battlefield. Putin still controls the Gazprom spigots that send natural gas through Ukraine into the Eurozone, and the coup government and their Western backers know that, too.

    The upcoming elections to elect a new parliament are not likely to improve the situation given the dire state of political, social, and economic disintegration throughout the country — with misery, death, massive destruction, and a growing refugee crisis in the Donbass — and the contentious campaigns could very well serve to make matters worse.

  • Yats and the Rats in Kiev — Sequence of Events:

    On July 24, 2014, Yats announced his resignation as Prime Minister.

    Earlier that day, the coalition supporting his Yatsenyuk Government had collapsed after parliament failed to pass legislation to increase military financing and regulate energy matters. Yats had told parliament “History will not forgive us … how are we to pay wages, how are we tomorrow morning going to send fuel for armoured vehicles, how will we pay those families who have lost soldiers, [how are we] to look after the army?” (h/t Wiki)

    During the announcement of his resignation in parliament, Yats hinted that the coalition had collapsed because politicians did not want to be seen involved in making budget cuts and had thus placed “political interest above the fate of the country”; according to him this was “a moral and an ethical crime.” (h/t Wiki)

    On July 31, 2014, the Verkhovna Rada (parliament) declined his resignation. So, Yats still remains Ukraine’s Prime Minister at the present time.

    On August 26, 2014, Petro Poroshenko formally dissolved the current session of the Verkhovna Rada and called for early elections no later than October 26.

    Consequently, the parliamentary body responsible for conferring legitimacy on Yats by refusing to accept his resignation has now been dissolved.

    A sane government would understand that attempting to hold parliamentary elections in the midst of a violent civil war between the Western and Eastern regions of the country was more than a little dicey, but no one in his or her right mind would accuse the coup government in Kiev of sanity — except for the USG, UK, EU, IMF, and NATO — so that allows Yats and the Rats to act with impunity by their Western backers.

    Hence, all “transgressions” — demonstrably fabricated, contrived, laughable, and imagined — must be blamed on Russia. It was Putin wot did it! — he wants to invade Ukraine and take over Europe and must be stopped!

    In the final weeks of the recently-dissolved Verkhovna Rada, the members had devolved into noisy screaming matches and fist fights, which were filmed and made viral on YouTube, which might have caused “the West” some discomfort when faced with the ways in which Ukrainian “democracy” was revealed for the world to see. And guess what? Ukrainian “democracy” looks more like fascism.

    Of course, a sane government would have fired Victoria Nuland and Geoffrey Pyatt their team of coup instigators and facilitators, but the Obama administration has decided to double down on one of the biggest foreign policy fuck-ups in many decades. It turns out that American “democracy” looks a lot like fascism, too.

    When in doubt — more sanctions!

  • “This is beyond anything we’ve seen.”

    Hate the Beheadings — Love the Beheaders!

    August 22, 2014

    Saudi Arabia executes 19 during one half of August in ’disturbing surge of beheadings’
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/saudi-arabia-executes-19-during-half-of-august-in-disturbing-surge-of-beheadings-9686063.html

    The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Interior said King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is keen on combating narcotics due to their “great harm”

    Saudi Arabia has beheaded at least 19 people since the beginning of August in a surge of executions, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said.

    The deaths relate to the period from 4 to 20 August and are included in the 34 deaths ordered since the beginning of January.

    “The recent increase in executions in Saudi Arabia is a deeply disturbing deterioration. The authorities must act immediately to halt this cruel practice,” Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme, said earlier this week.

    “The death penalty is always wrong, and it is against international law to use it in cases involving non-lethal crimes and where evidence used to convict the person is based on ‘confessions’ extracted as a result of torture.”

    Decenber 13, 2011

    Saudi Arabia beheads woman for ’sorcery’
    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2011/12/2011121302059182183.html

    Amina bint Abdul Halim bin Salem Nasser was executed on Monday in the northern province of Jawf for “practising witchcraft and sorcery”, the ministry said in a statement carried by SPA, Saudi Arabia’s state news agency.

    London-based newspaper al-Hayat quoted a member of the Saudi religious police as saying Nasser was in her 60s. The official claimed she had tricked people into giving her money, claiming that she could cure their illnesses.

    Many of those executed have had no defence lawyer and are not informed about the legal proceedings against them, according to Amnesty.

    June 23, 2011

    Maid’s beheading in Saudi Arabia halts Indonesian domestic worker scheme
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/saudiarabia/8593428/Maids-beheading-in-Saudi-Arabia-halts-Indonesian-domestic-worker-scheme.html

    Migrant worker Ruyati binti Sapubi, 54, was executed after she was convicted of murdering her Saudi employer, Khairiya bint Hamid Mijlid, with a meat cleaver.

    The maid carried out the killing after she was denied permission to leave the kingdom and return to her family in Indonesia, according to officials in Jakarta.

    January 22, 2013

    Saudi Arabia’s Beheading of a Nanny Followed Strict Procedures
    http://abcnews.go.com/US/saudi-arabias-beheading-nanny-strict-procedures/story?id=18182757

    Rizana Nafeek, a young nanny from Sri Lanka, was beheaded by sword this week in Saudi Arabia, punishment for allegedly killing a baby in 2007 when she was believed to be just 17.

    The execution has spurred international outcry, given Nafeek’s age at the time of the incident and her limited access to a defense attorney. The beheading has also shined a light on the Arab kingdom’s medieval system of punishment, which includes cutting the hands off thieves, executing women accused of adultery, and flogging men accused of being gay.

    Apparently, these atrocities by the USG’s second-best BFF in the Middle East just escaped the notice of the Obama Regime, including Obama’s R2P Warrior Harpies, Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice, and Samantha Power. Still, I suspect the Harpies were relieved to learn that the beheading of nanny Rizana Nafeek followed strict procedures.

    The Saudis = Beheadings R Us!

    When members of the Obama Regime take a few minutes out of their vacations on Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket and the Hamptons to feign shock and outrage and claim to be appalled by the beheading of photojournalist James Foley by an ISIS fighter, presumably because Foley is an American, don’t you believe it.

    Finally, Obama and Company should have paid the ransoms for Foley and the other Americans held by ISIS. France and Spain paid ransoms to secure the release of four French journalists and two Spanish journalists, respectively, so they could return home to their families and friends.

    Obama’s retrograde Reagan/Thatcher crap about never negotiating with terrorists is just that — crap! Besides, didn’t Obama do exactly that when he negotiated the release of five Taliban “terrorists” from Guantanamo to secure the release of Bowe Bergdahl from his Haqqani network captors?

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post Late Night: Fascism for Dummies

    2014-08-22 13:46:01View | Delete

    Alice X

    Thank you so much for your kind remarks — they are much appreciated.

    I love your comments, too, and empathize with your current plight in the midst of the weakest, slowest, and worst economic “recovery” in the country’s history.

    While it may be cold comfort, at least you can be confident that you’re not alone these days and that you’re in very good company:

    “Worst. Recovery. Ever.” Except For Bankers
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-08-20/worst-recovery-ever-except-bankers

    For most (practically all) Americans%, this is officially the worst recovery ever. As we pointed out previously, wage growth has never been slower in a post World War II recovery. However, not everyone is hurting…

    Goldman Sachs Said to Raise Junior Staff’s Salaries About 20.

    This comes just weeks after Morgan Stanley announced it would raise junior banker salaries by 25%.

    Plus, we have seen the weakest post-war wage growth since 1949!

    Barack Obama and Eric Holder have served up lobster and estate-bottled champagne for the banksters and hedge fundsters since Inauguration Day 2009 — record profits, cost-of-doing-business fines and settlements, and last, but not least, no criminal prosecutions and no one ever sees the inside of a prison, except for the designated scapegoat and proverbial “Bad Apple” Bernie Madoff, who was always low-hanging fruit compared to the Big Boys of Wall Street.

    The irony was not lost on me that MarketWatch published one of the most insightful background pieces on Ferguson, Missouri, that I’ve seen to date, especially, for the way in which it serves as a microcosm of the hundreds of jobless, poverty-stricken, deindustrialized cities and small towns across the country in which the “unbanked” are robbed blind by the legalized mafia also known as payday lenders.

    PS — I’m beginning to think that being “unbanked” might be the safest position, because in the next economic crash — and it’s only a matter of when — the banksters will come after people’s savings and checking deposits as they have already done in the Eurozone and Cyprus.

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post Late Night: Fascism for Dummies

    2014-08-21 23:11:29View | Delete

    Ferguson, Missouri — It’s the economy, plus institutionalized racism, stupid!

    This was the backstory before 18-year-old, unarmed, Michael Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer — and 23-year-old Kajieme Powell, said to be suffering from mental illness, was shot dead by St. Louis police officers — and it will continue to be the enduring backstory long after the big stars from the cable-news networks decide that it’s time to pack up their satellite and sound trucks to head for the exits with an eye toward moving on to the next sensationalized spectacle.

    That said, here is some very insightful analysis from MarketWatch, of all places:

    By David Weidner — August 21, 201

    Opinion: Ferguson and money — where did all the banks go?
    http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2014/08/21/reporting-from-ferguson/

    The Missouri city, reeling from protests, has a financial system based on payday loans and pawn shops, and that’s part of the problem

    FERGUSON, Mo. (MarketWatch) — If you drive the two-mile stretch of West Florissant Avenue that has become the epicenter of nearly two weeks of protest and rioting in the aftermath of the police shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown, the first thing you’ll notice is that there is a lot to buy.

    Traveling south from I-270 toward the city’s boundary at Lucas-Hunt Road, there are a dozen fast-food restaurants — Taco Bell, McDonald’s, Domino’s, Arby’s — and a Target, Walgreens, Dollar General, Sam’s Club, Wal-Mart — just about every national retailer you can imagine.

    In that way, Ferguson’s main drag isn’t much different than any other business corridor in the heartland.

    That is, except for familiar banking names. Ferguson isn’t entirely void of banks. There is a Great Southern Bank branch, a First National Bank, and two credit unions. Bank of America Corp., Bancorp, and United Missouri Bank, have automatic teller machines along the strip. But for branches, you’ll have to go to neighboring Florissant.

    J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc., and Wells Fargo & Co. don’t operate branches in the St. Louis area. They offer brokerage and mortgage services, but those offices are in affluent parts of the county and in the city of St. Louis.

    That said, there are ample financial services in Ferguson. ACE Cash Express operates two branches on the thoroughfare. There are at least six more payday lenders. QuickCash has a presence, as does Advance America. If a Ferguson resident needs a little more than their next paycheck can afford them, TitleMax Title Loans promises up to $10,000 in short order.

    Those storefronts are bigger and bolder than any bank you’ve ever seen. There are huge “cash” and “$$$” signs.

    “There are a lot of people who are unbanked,” said Todd Swanstrom, a professor of public policy at the University of Missouri, St. Louis. “They don’t have enough cash on hand to maintain a minimum deposit, and they need the cash now.”

    Swanstrom said it’s not always an initial need for money that drives the poor of Ferguson to payday lenders. They go to rollover existing debt they can’t pay down, he said.

    “They get caught in a cycle,” one that’s tough to break, given “the relative dearth of conventional banks.”

    St. Louis, at 9.7%, ranks among the highest metro areas for unbanked residents. A total of 29% of African-Americans in the community are unbanked, compared with only 3% for white residents, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. It’s the widest racial gap in the nation.

    Payday lenders in Missouri charge average annual interest rates of 455%, according to a ProPublica study. That they are flourishing in Ferguson is, perhaps, no surprise. Ferguson has a decisive African-American majority. Nationally, African-Americans use payday loans at a greater rate than whites, according to a Pew Charitable Trusts study.

    Usage of payday loans in Missouri is pegged at 11%, second only to Oklahoma, 13%, among states where data is available, according to Pew.

    The recent strife in Ferguson wasn’t caused by a lack of affordable and accessible financial services, but community leaders say the two are linked. Hardship in the region was made worse by the Great Recession and mortgage crisis. It’s created a transient population of down-and-outers who shift from rental property to rental property.

    The bleak economic profile of Ferguson is multiplied in cities and towns all across the United States, and Booker T. Washington style lectures to the “black community” from sanctimonious fraudsters like snake-oil peddler Barack Obama calling for calm and reflection, and photo ops with Eric Holder, in which he condescends to the African-American locals by cranking up the code-shifting “blackcent” — “You’re the man,” says Holder to Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson — will do little to improve the wasteland that is Ferguson and the hundreds of towns and cities across the country in the same, or similar, or worse conditions of social and political and economic rot and deterioration.

    Perhaps the toothless Consumer Financial Protection Bureau should roll into Ferguson to crack down on those ruthless payday lenders when Holder and the Black Misleadership Class (h/t Glen Ford) leave town to exploit their recent Ferguson experience for the stooges who still listen to them and actually take them seriously and/or send them money.

    I doubt that Eric Holder tells the Wall Street banksters and hedge fundsters whom he has saved from criminal prosecution that “You’re the man!” — like Obama, Holder shifts seamlessly into elite speak for those upscale encounters, cocktail parties, intimate dinners, golf and tennis dates, and vacations within the cloistered confines of gated communities located in the very best zip codes.

    Ferguson, Missouri, and its beleaguered ilk — structurally unemployed, unbanked, and poor — might as well be located on the planet Neptune.

  • Why does this remind me of the IDF surrounding a mosque in Ramallah or Gaza City…?

    Perhaps it was the direct training provided by the Israel Defense Force (IDF) to the Ferguson and St. Louis Police Departments, to wit:

    Ferguson is not Gaza … yet
    http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2014/8/ferguson-police-violenceisraeliandusmilitarizedpolicies.html

    The police violence in Ferguson and the attendant images have inspired comparisons with Israel’s assault on Gaza. The parallels between Israeli and U.S. militarized policies are not far-fetched. A cursory investigation shows that Israel maintains an extensive network of relations with U.S. law enforcement agencies at the local, state and federal levels.

    It is no coincidence that the Ferguson and St. Louis County police forces were trained in Israel in recent years. These connections are so important that the influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee touts their success and the Jewish Virtual Library lists police training as a separate category of U.S.-Israel relations. The CRI, a private counterterrorism-training outfit run by a former Israeli special forces member, promises training in “combat experience in dealing with terrorism, crime and guerrilla warfare.” Over the years, thousands of U.S. personnel at all levels of law enforcement and hundreds of senior managers, from local police chiefs to FBI detectives, have taken counterterrorism training in Israel or attended conferences sponsored by the Israeli government, security-minded conservative think tanks and even the Anti-Defamation League with little to no scrutiny for their role in the militarization of our police forces. (Emphasis added)

    The author, Mark LeVine, is a professor of modern Middle Eastern history at the University of California at Irvine, is a distinguished visiting professor at Lund University’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies, and has been a columnist for Al Jazeera English since 2008.

    The following 38-page document — published by The Law Enforcement Exchange Program (LEEP), a program of The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) — is at once a blueprint, reference manual, and mission statement documenting (and celebrating) the close relationship between U.S. police and sheriffs’departments and the IDF:

    U.S. Police Departments Trained in Israel

    Empowering Law Enforcement Protecting America
    http://www.jinsa.org/files/LEEPbookletforweb.pdf

    The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA)
    http://www.jinsa.org

    The similarity in police tactics between the IDF and the Ferguson and St. Louis Police Departments — in particular, the cavalier use of deadly force deployed by the IDF and the Ferguson and St. Louis police officers against members of the “other” population who are perceived to be “problematic” — is not coincidental in the least, nor are those tactics confined to Ferguson and St. Louis. Take a look through the referenced JINSA pdf document for a window into the template and the strategy provided by the IDF to willing police departments and sheriffs’ departments in cities and towns across the United States.

    The IDF is, of course, de facto a militarized operation, because the Palestinians of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza have been under Israeli military occupation since 1967, the Gaza Strip has been under a military blockade and siege since 2007, and Gaza has suffered repeated brutal assaults by the IDF since Operation Cast Lead (2008-2009), which is now exceeded by the still ongoing Operation Protective Edge in the numbers of Palestinians dead and injured, and in the wanton destruction of homes, hospitals, schools, outdoor markets, businesses, and critical civilian infrastructure.

    On May 15, 2014, the IDF’s snipers shot five Palestinian teenagers with live ammunition in Ramallah during peaceful Nakba Day demonstrations — two males ages 15 and 17 were killed, another boy age 15 suffered a severe chest wound, and two others received wounds to their limbs. The IDF claimed that the teenagers were throwing stones and participating in violent activity. But the shootings were caught on video, and the IDF hasbarites were caught in their lies. Needless to say, no member of the IDF has been held accountable for this atrocity.

  • Police Made Several Arrests in Ferguson and Fired Pepper Spray After Water Bottle Was Thrown

    If the recent police responses to citizens’ demonstrations in Ferguson, MO, to protest the shooting death of unarmed 18-year-old Mike Brown by a Ferguson police officer have seemed excessive, indiscriminate, and disproportionate — eerily reminiscent of the actions of the IDF against Palestinians in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza — please note the connection between U.S. law enforcement on the streets of American cities and Israel:

    By Mark LeVine — August 18, 2014

    Ferguson is not Gaza … yet
    http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2014/8/ferguson-police-violenceisraeliandusmilitarizedpolicies.html

    The police violence in Ferguson and the attendant images have inspired comparisons with Israel’s assault on Gaza. The parallels between Israeli and U.S. militarized policies are not far-fetched. A cursory investigation shows that Israel maintains an extensive network of relations with U.S. law enforcement agencies at the local, state and federal levels.

    It is no coincidence that the Ferguson and St. Louis County police forces were trained in Israel in recent years. These connections are so important that the influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee touts their success and the Jewish Virtual Library lists police training as a separate category of U.S.-Israel relations. The CRI, a private counterterrorism-training outfit run by a former Israeli special forces member, promises training in “combat experience in dealing with terrorism, crime and guerrilla warfare.” Over the years, thousands of U.S. personnel at all levels of law enforcement and hundreds of senior managers, from local police chiefs to FBI detectives, have taken counterterrorism training in Israel or attended conferences sponsored by the Israeli government, security-minded conservative think tanks and even the Anti-Defamation League with little to no scrutiny for their role in the militarization of our police forces. (Emphasis added)

    The money quote:

    However fitfully, America recognizes its race problems. Israelis are still living in the American 1950s, while Gazans remain trapped in a ghetto in which no Ferguson resident would want to live. It is unlikely that Brown’s death and the images of the last few days from Ferguson will trigger the process of demilitarization of U.S. law enforcement. But for once, it seems that Americans are coming to grips with their reality far more squarely than Israelis.

    Of course, the IDF is de facto a militarized operation, because the Palestinians of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza have been under Israeli military occupation since 1967, the Gaza Strip has been under a military blockade and siege since 2007, and Gaza has suffered repeated brutal assaults by the IDF since Operation Cast Lead (2008-2009).

    The author Mark LeVine is a professor of modern Middle Eastern history at the University of California at Irvine, is a distinguished visiting professor at Lund University’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies and has been a columnist for Al Jazeera English since 2008.

    “““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““
    The following 38-page document is at once a blueprint, reference manual, and mission statement documenting (and celebrating) the close relationship between U.S. police departments and the IDF:

    U.S. Police Departments Trained in Israel

    Empowering Law Enforcement Protecting America
    http://www.jinsa.org/files/LEEPbookletforweb.pdf

    The Law Enforcement Exchange Program (LEEP) is a program of The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) — http://www.jinsa.org

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post Poll: Support For Common Core Drops Among Teachers

    2014-08-19 16:58:03View | Delete

    And one more thing:

    Common Core for Thee, But Not for Me!

    By Valerie Strauss — March 30, 2014

    Common Core backer: For public schools, it’s great. For my private school, not so much.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/03/30/common-core-backer-for-public-schools-great-for-private-school-not-so-much/

    One of the big disconnects in Common Core advocacy is that a lot of the people who think the standards are vital to the future of America and want to see them implemented in public schools everywhere send their children to private schools that have not adopted the Core.

    President Obama comes to mind: His daughters attend Sidwell Friends School, a private school in Washington that not only doesn’t have the Common Core but doesn’t subscribe to other Obama education reforms (like linking teacher pay with student test scores). Bill and Melinda Gates, whose foundation funded the creation of the Common Core, send their children to an elite private school in Seattle that doesn’t teach by the Core (and doesn’t seem to care a whit about some of the other education reform policies Gates supports).

    Diane Ravitch weighs in on the elite Lakeside School in Seattle, where Bill Gates was a student, and where his two children are enrolled:

    What Bill and Melinda Gates want for their own children
    http://dianeravitch.net/2014/03/19/krazyta-explains-what-bill-gates-wants-for-his-own-children/

    References to Common Core and standardized tests and “getting rid of bad teachers” are nowhere to be found in the mission statements or on the websites of Sidwell Friends or the Lakeside School — nor is there any mention of Michelle Obama’s gruesome, tasteless, “Let’s Move” school lunch program with its misguided fetish about the “scourge” of childhood obesity rather than attempting to confront the real problem, which is systemic, structural, widespread childhood poverty.

    What’s for Lunch?
    http://www.lakesideschool.org/ftpimages/252/download/Food%20Service%20Mission.pdf

    At the Lakeside Middle School, cookies and snacks are served after 10:00 a.m.; soda pop will not be available until after second lunch. At the Upper School, snacks and soda are served all day long, but candy bars are not sold until the last class of the day is over. Take that, Michelle Obama!

    Of course, Michelle Obama’s own precious daughters enjoy hot lunches prepared fresh-from-scratch every day by chefs on-site using local and organic foods whenever possible:

    Sidwell Friends Lunch Menus for May 2014
    https://www.sidwell.edu/documents/menus/P12W1-W4US.pdf

    One of my favorites from the Sidwell Friends Upper School Lunch Menu:

    May 19, 2014:
    Chilled Strawberry Soup
    Great Green Salad
    Local Potato & Asparagus Salad
    Philly Cheese Steaks (classic entrée)
    Ciabatta Veggie Melt (vegetarian entrée)
    Farmer’s Market Vegetable Saute
    Organic Baked French Fries
    Melon

    Typical soups du jour at Sidwell Friends include Borscht, Tuscan white bean, Italian bean and kale, calico wild rice, Thai chicken coconut soup, local butternut squash soup, chilled cucumber and mint soup, and chilled blueberry soup.

    Other delectable Sidwell Friends lunch items include:

    Crusted tilapia
    Herb roasted chicken
    Strawberries and chevre salad
    Freshly baked muffins
    Pesto cream & garden fresh marinara sauce
    Cheese tortellini
    All natural house-made chicken fingers
    Scallion rice
    Roasted edamame & Shitake mushrooms
    Jicama mango slaw
    BBQ sliders
    Pesto pasta
    All natural rosemary chicken
    Fresh herb risotto
    All natural beef nachos
    Vegetarian stuffed Portobello mushrooms
    Baked lemon herb tilapia
    Arugula, fennel and parmesan salad
    Baked organic French fries
    Baked three-cheese lasagna
    Pepperoni flatbread pizza

    “Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me.”

    ~~ F. Scott Fitzgerald
    “The Rich Boy” from the short story collection All the Sad Young Men (1926).

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post Poll: Support For Common Core Drops Among Teachers

    2014-08-19 14:45:54View | Delete

    If weasels had a language, that language would sound like Arne Duncan:

    By Valerie Strauss — June 24, 2014

    How Arne Duncan talked about Common Core without mentioning ‘Common Core’
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/06/24/how-arne-duncan-talked-about-common-core-without-mentioning-common-core/

    Here’s how Education Secretary Arne Duncan just gave a speech that discussed the Common Core State Standards without actually mentioning the words “Common Core.”

    Duncan was in Texas on a trip that included an appearance in Austin at the 2014 annual convention of the National PTA, at which he gave a speech after being introduced by National PTA President Otha Thornton. In the speech (titled “A Vision for Better Education: Areas of Surprising Agreement” by the U.S. Education Department, which posted the speech here), Duncan talks about various education issues, including “new, higher learning standards that many states have adopted.”

    Of course he was talking about the Common Core State Standards. But the speech as posted on the department’s Web site has not a single mention of the words “Common Core” — even though Duncan used the word “standards” nine times. At one point in the speech, he talked specifically about the Core, but, again, didn’t mention the name of the initiative, according to the speech on the Web site. [...]

    The author speculates about Duncan’s apparent reluctance to mention Common Core by name:

    Why wouldn’t Duncan want to actually mention the words “Common Core” when he is talking about the Common Core? Could it be that in some places the Common Core is becoming somewhat toxic amid growing opposition to the initiative from different parts of the political spectrum? (Emphasis added)

    The answer is obviously “Yes!”

    But, what can one expect from Arne Duncan, the man who referred to himself as the CEO of Chicago’s Public Schools, rather than the superintendent or chancellor. The fact that Obama tapped Duncan to be his Secretary of Education tells us all we need to know about where the neoliberal president stands on public education.

    Karen Lewis, the president of the Chicago Teachers Union, has slammed “CEO” Secretary Arne Duncan for being unqualified for the job of Superintendent of the Chicago Public Schools and for being unqualified for the job of Secretary of Education by orders of magnitude. In the following interview from 2011, Karen tells us everything we need to know about Arne Duncan and then some — it’s good stuff:

    Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis on Rahm, Brizard, Arne Duncan, and the Longer School Day
    http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/Felsenthal-Files/November-2011/Chicago-Teachers-Union-Pres-Karen-Lewis-on-Rahm-Brizard-Arne-Duncan-and-the-Longer-School-Day/

    Karen Lewis is a fierce opponent of Common Core — in May 2014, the Chicago Teachers’ Union House of Delegates passed a resolution opposing use of the Common Core State Standards in teaching and testing in the Chicago Public Schools.

    Chicago Teachers Union Passes Resolution Opposing Common Core
    http://www.commondreams.org/views/2014/05/11/chicago-teachers-union-passes-resolution-opposing-common-core

    Read the “Resolution to Oppose the Common Core State Standards” for an exquisite articulation of everything that is wrong with Common Core and why that is the case. The irrepressible voice of Karen Lewis is discernible in every paragraph of the text.

    PS — I use the term “weasel” in the vernacular sense to denote a sneaky, untrustworthy, disingenuous person. My apologies to those adorable furry nocturnal predators found throughout the Americas, Africa, and Eurasia, who may have been hurt or offended or insulted by the reference to Arne Duncan — he is indeed a different kind of mammal (and not the good kind).

  • The article doesn’t mention whether or not President Obama is aware of this. I can’t believe that he would knowingly permit such an outrage however prior to the November elections.

    If Obama is not aware of this development, then his head is buried deep in the Canadian tar sands and he doesn’t want to know. Perhaps [...]

  • Generic Democrats are easy to spot cuz they have a Dkos stamped on their forehead.

    I’ll see your generic Democrats — with Dkos stamped on their foreheads — and I’ll raise you an exponential number of generic Democrats with “Digby” stamped right across their asses!

    Actually, it doesn’t make much difference how big the bet, because the Dkos and Digby Democrats are running on empty and are perfectly poised to lose seats in the House and Sentae come November 2014.

    Are you all in? No, me either.

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post Over Half the Country is Voting Wrong

    2014-08-12 15:10:22View | Delete

    Not to long ago the Democrats held Congress with a gridlock-proof majority. The 1% got what they wanted little opposition and the 99% settled or worse – because of “gridlock.”

    Ah, yes, those halcyon days when Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid wielded the gavels over huge Democratic majorities in both the House and the Senate with a nominal Democrat in the White House. The 1% got everything they wanted and then some, while the 99% got cruel and unusual punishment also known as Obamacare.

    When the GOPers refused to cooperate by creating the gridlock, the Democrats themselves eagerly stepped into the breach to protect the interests of Wall Street and the 1% (and the 0.1%) and the profits of AHIP, PhRMA, and the Big Hospital Cartels — Max Baucus, Ben Nelson, Joe Lieberman, Blanche Lincoln, Evan Bayh, Mary Landrieu, Bob Casey, and Mark Warner, to name but a few stalwarts, took turns playing gatekeeper for Haves and Have Mores.

    Those determined Democrats labored night and day to save the country from the dreaded, watered-down, neutered public option (always a cynical sop to the keep the liberals and progressives on board) and then voted Nay in droves (along with many of their fake liberal-progressive colleagues) to kill the Dorgan Amendment.

    Since it doesn’t make a dime’s worth of difference which corrupt party controls the House and Senate, I hope the GOPers pick up even more seats in the House and that the GOPers take control of the Senate in November, and I hope the GOPers in both houses make Obama’s final two years in the White House a living Hell!

    Neither of my Senators (both Democrats) is up for re-election in November, and rather than vote for my famously liberal-progressive U.S. Representative in the House (also a Democrat), I will write in H.R. 676.

    Obama and the Democrats deserve no less than a crushing midterm defeat on Election Day 2014 — they have earned it!

    PS — With regard to Obamacare, I’m still rooting for failure.

  • Sarah B. commented on the diary post A Mixed Reaction From the Americas on Gaza by BrandonJ.

    2014-08-05 20:48:14View | Delete

    Perhaps the action in Gaza should be officially called “The Sanders-Franken-Warren Genocide.”

    I’m absolutely with you thus far, but I would amend your list to include more of the truly deserving among those who have earned their places on the Wall of Shame, some of whom have on occasion been known to adorn the liberal-progressive banner: [...]

  • Jews say these things?? Does this paper have an editor??? Is anyone fired???

    There is an important distinction to be made between Jews per se — which implies that Jews are monolithic in ideology, political beliefs, sentiments, and traditions — and über Zionists such as Yochanan Gordon and his ilk, who not only say such things but are expressing a growing sentiment among many racist, colonialist, theocratic, ethnocratic, ultra-nationalist, fascist Israelis who envision pinnacle of the Zionist project, The Jewish State, as one that is virtually devoid of Palestinians — and that position is especially common among the crazies in the settlements.

    Founded in 2012, the Times of Israel is a relatively recent edition to the various Israeli news venues available in print and online, and the editorial board claims to pride itself on having no political leanings.

    But, if you read the headlines and content on the news pages, and especially the editorial page, it doesn’t take long to realize that the claim is just a conceit. Their political and editorial leanings are clearly those of the Likud Party and are perfectly in sync with the government of Bibi Netanyahu and the hardliners in the Knesset.

    Yes, the Times of Israel has an editor and an editorial board, and they were perfectly content to publish Mr. Gordon’s Op-Ed and only took it down when screen shots suddenly lit up the Twitterverse and the blogosphere over the weekend — Mondoweiss is where I first encountered it last Friday — and the piece became a bit of an embarrassment given the notoriety and push back it received from fellow Jews and non-Jews alike across the globe.

    The likelihood that anyone will be fired for this snafu is nil. The editors just want the story to drift as quickly as possible down the memory hole. Next time they will probably go for a more coded and less incendiary lede to avoid the irritation of having to take down an Op-Ed which they initially approved and published in the first place.

  • Great analysis from Moon of Alabama:

    Cuba: Obama Promised Better Relations, Sent USAID For “Regime Change”
    http://www.moonofalabama.org/2014/08/cuba-obama-promissed-better-relations-sent-usaid-for-regime-change.html

    Using an fake HIV project in Cuba also shows the utter stupidity of the wannabe spies at USAID. Cuba is the state with the lowest HIV infection rate in the Caribbean. Its rate is even lower than the rate in Canada and Switzerland and only a third of the HIV rate in the United States. Anyone who starts a HIV prevention service in Cuba rather than in a hundred other countries sticks out like a large red pole in the blue Caribbean sea.

    Complete List of countries by HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rate
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_HIV/AIDS_adult_prevalence_rate

    As of January 5, 2011, all of the data in the following table comes from three tables from the World Health Organization in conjunction with UNICEF:

    Cuba 0.2 (WHO/UNICEF 2011) — Cuba 0.1% (CIA World Factbook 2012 est.) — Compare and Contrast (developed countries):

    Germany 0.1; Norway 0.1; Finland 0.1; Poland 0.1; Japan 0.1; South Korea 0.1; New Zealand 0.1; Denmark 0.2; Sweden 0.2; Netherlands 0.2; Greece 0.2; Australia 0.2; Israel 0.2; Belgium 0.3; Luxembourg 0.3; United Kingdom 0.3; Ireland 0.3; Iceland 0.3; Canada 0.3; France 0.4; Austria 0.4; Switzerland 0.4; Italy 0.4; Spain 0.4; United States 0.6; Portugal 0.7; Ukraine 0.8; Russia 1.1

    AIDS is only one-sixth as common on a per-capita basis as in the United States.

    The Cuban government operates a national health system and assumes fiscal and administrative responsibility for the health care of all its citizens. There are no private hospitals or clinics as all health services are owned and operated by the government. Could there be a connection between the availability of healthcare and effective sex education and the lower rates of HIV/AIDS in Cuba?

    Like the rest of the Cuban economy, Cuban medical care suffered following the end of Soviet subsidies in 1991. Plus, the stepping up of the US embargo against Cuba under the draconian Helms-Burton Act (1995) also had an negative effect.

    Cuba has one of the highest life expectancy rates in the region (CIA World Factbook):

    Total population: 78.22 years
    Country comparison to the world: 59
    Male: 75.92 years
    Female: 80.65 years (2014 est.)

    Cuba has a lower infant mortality rate than that of the U.S. (CIA World Factbook)

    Cuba total: 4.7 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 5.04 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 4.33 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)

    United States total: 6.17 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 6.75 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 5.56 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)

    Consequently, Team Obama — featuring Hillary Clinton, Samantha Power, and Susan Rice — were not only determined to to keep the vicious and counterproductive embargo and sanctions in place, they have been actively engaged in regime change in Cuba as well. Go figure.

  • fairleft — thanks so much for the link, which I have bookmarked, and for your great work on this devastatingly painful and important topic. Along with documenting the atrocities by Israel and the IDF on the besieged people of Gaza — and continuing under the radar against the Palestinians in the West Bank and East [...]

  • The IDF also walked back their lie that one of Gaza’s soldiers was wearing a suicide vest.

    I haven’t seen a link to the walk-back on the “suicide vest” meme, but I’m not surprised that the IDF is walking it back given that it was one of their most preposterous lies in recent days. Why would [...]

  • Sarah B. commented on the diary post The ‘Incremental’ Genocide in Gaza by CTuttle.

    2014-08-03 18:00:55View | Delete

    Edit — Sorry about that bit of housekeeping debris in the opening line, but, alas, there was no edit feature to come to the rescue.

  • Sarah B. commented on the diary post The ‘Incremental’ Genocide in Gaza by CTuttle.

    2014-08-03 17:58:05View | Delete

    Add the Islamic University in Gaza City to the growing list of atrocities and outrages: — “Likes” — ’ Israel strikes university in Gaza City http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/08/israel-strikes-university-gaza-city-20148283821707200.html

    Israeli aircraft have struck a major university and other targets in the Gaza Strip as troops continued their military campaign on the Palestinian enclave for a 26th day. A large [...]

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