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Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Daily Drift

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Web of Secrecy Surrounding Federal Half-a-Billion Handout to Charter Schools

by Jonas Persson
The U.S. Department of Education is poised to spend half a billion dollars to help create new charter schools, while the public is being kept in the dark about which states have applied for the lucrative grants, and what their actual track records are when it comes to preventing fraud and misuse.
Already the federal government has spent $3.3 billion in American tax dollars under the Charter Schools Program (CSP), as tallied by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD).
But the government has done so without requiring any accountability from the states and schools that receive the money, as CMD revealed earlier this year.
Throwing good money after bad, Education Secretary Arne Duncan called for a 48 percent increase in federal charter funding earlier this year, and the House and Senate budget proposals also call for an increase—albeit a more modest one—while at the same time slashing education programs for immigrants and language learners.
The clamor for charter expansion comes despite the fact that there are federal probes underway into suspected waste and mismanagement within the program, not to mention ongoing and recently completed state audits of fraud perpetrated by charter school operators.
Earlier this year, the Center for Popular Democracy documented more than $200 million in fraud, waste, and mismanagement in the charter school industry in 15 states alone, a number that is likely to be just the tip of the iceberg.
Is now really the right time to plow more tax money into charters?
Insiders Deliberate Far from the Public Eye
The Department of Education is currently deciding what states to award $116 million this year, and more than half a billion during the five-year grant cycle.
So who is in the running and what are their track records?
Which states have applied for a grant designed to eviscerate the public school system in the name of “flexibility?” (CMD's review of state applications and reviewers' comments from the previous grant cycle exposed “flexibility” as a term of art used by the industry for state laws that allow charter schools to: operate independently from locally elected school boards, employ people to teach without adequate training or certification, and avoid collective bargaining that helps ensure that teacher-student ratios are good so that each kid gets the attention he or she deserves.)

For $525, You Can Learn How To Fight Terrorists (Muslims Need Not Apply)

Just when you thought they couldn't get any more stupid and crazy ... they do this ...

NRA America: Mom Pulls Loaded Gun On Teens Bullying Her Kid

NRA America: Mom Pulls Loaded Gun On Teens Bullying Her Kid (VIDEO)
NRA wants everybody armed, but people escalate situations beyond all reason when a gun is involved.
Bullying is wrong and should be stopped.
However, threatening and menacing are not the way to stop bullying.
This mother should be commended for seeking to stop he bullying of her child ... as any mother should.
Her method of stopping the bullying though requires her to be jailed

Labor Day Weekend Brings More Excellent News About Jobs

Thanks Obama: Labor Day Weekend Brings More Excellent News About Jobs (IMAGES)Despite constant Republican obstruction, the U.S. employment picture continues to improve.

Obama Blows Republicans Out Of The Water With Fastest Job Growth Pace Since Clinton

Another jobs report, another historic success for the Obama economy.
ObamaSmile2According to the White House,”Our economy has now added 8.0 million jobs over the past three years, a pace that has not been exceeded since 2000. And while the economy added jobs at a somewhat slower pace in August than in recent months, the unemployment rate fell to 5.1 percent—its lowest level since April 2008—and the labor force participation rate remained stable. Our businesses have now added 13.1 million jobs over 66 straight months, extending the longest streak on record. In addition, hourly earnings for American workers continued to rise.”
The Department of Labor announced in the August jobs report that the economy added 173,000 jobs. Businesses added 140,000 jobs. Over the past three months, an average of 221,000 jobs per month have been added due to upward revisions.
This is the 66th consecutive month of private sector job growth under President Obama, for a total of more than 13 million jobs. The longest running stretch of private sector job growth in our history.
That’s a lot of private sector growth, an area Republicans have historically claimed expertise over.
The unemployment rate dropped to 5.1 percent, the lowest unemployment rate since April 2008. We are now at what the Fed deems “full employment”. To make this even more encouraging, August numbers are usually revised up.
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 173,000 in August, and the unemployment rate edged down to 5.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains occurred in health care and social assistance and in financial activities. Manufacturing and mining lost jobs.
Democratic Leader Pelosi urged Congress to do more for the people, saying in a statement, “Our economy continues to make progress, adding another month to the longest uninterrupted period of private sector job growth in American history. However, it is clear more can and must be done to create good-paying jobs and grow the paychecks of America’s hard-working families.”
Part of what Pelosi might be referring to is that the unemployment rate declines for whites doesn’t mean all is well:
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for whites declined to 4.4 percent in August. The rates for adult men (4.7 percent), adult women (4.7 percent), teenagers (16.9 percent), blacks (9.5 percent), Asians (3.5 percent), and Hispanics (6.6 percent) showed little change in August.
Meanwhile Republicans continue to play games with business, continuing to block reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, refusing to pass a real jobs bill, denying investments in our infrastructure, and continuing on with their sequester temper tantrum. There’s even word on the street that Republicans are looking to another government shutdown, seeing as their previous efforts in shutting down the government harmed the country so much and cost so much.
Pelosi pointed out that there are only 12 legislative days left before the budget deadline. If Republicans stay true to form, they will stop at nothing, no matter the collateral damage, in order to empower their party to make unilateral decisions that help the 1%.
It took seven years for the unemployment rate to recover from the Bush stock market crash and related Great Recession.
For every inch forward we take, Republicans rock the boat and poke at the leak until we take on more water. In spite of them, the Obama economy has made history yet again, and in the private sector to boot. Expect more wailing and caterwauling from the backseat drivers who would rather America failed than see President Obama get any acknowledgement for anything.

Bernie Sanders’ popularity continues to soar

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont speaking at a town meeting at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)
Who knew, when Bernie Sanders announced a run in the Democratic primary, that not only would he meet with hostility from his main opponent’s chief surrogates, but that the media would acquiesce and even collude to such a great degree?

Bernie Sanders’ Litmus Test for SCOTUS Nominee

Sanders 2012

Bernie Sanders finds his revolutionary rhetoric resonating in wingnut Iowa

Bernie Sanders speaking at a 2016 rally (Marc Nozell/Flickr)
“Brothers and sisters, you are not living in a democracy; you are living in an oligarchy,” the Democratic presidential candidate tells an audience of Iowa supporters.

Bernie Sanders Rips Trump While Calling Out The Bigoted Billionaire’s Racism

Bernie Sanders Latino Roundtable Iowa
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) ripped Donald Trump at a Latino roundtable in Iowa. Sanders stood up to the Republican bully by calling out Trump’s racism.
According to the Sanders campaign:
In a statement, Sanders said: “This country has experienced racism for hundreds of years. I would have hoped that by the year 2015 leading candidates for president like Mr. Trump would campaign on their ideas as to how they can address our serious problems, and not by trying to divide the country with racist and demagogic appeals. Clearly Trump is scapegoating the Hispanic community. Immigrants are not responsible,” Sanders stressed, “for the disappearing American middle class, the Wall Street collapse brought on by huge financial institutions’ greed and illegal behavior, the war in Iraq, income inequality or climate change.”

At the roundtable discussion, Sanders called Trump’s comments “mean” and “denigrating” to an entire group of people and accused him of using Latinos as “whipping boys” to distract attention from real problems confronting the country. He called it “absurd, racist and wrong” to blame immigrants for the nation’s problems.
“That is absolutely unacceptable,” the senator added during the roundtable discussion at the Muscatine County Boxing Club. “That kind of discourse should be removed from our politics.”
Senator Sanders was correct. Trump is scapegoating the Hispanic community, but Trump is merely building on the precedent that has been set by his party. The Republican cabal has been trying to distract the country from their unpopular policies by playing up their imaginary immigration menace for nearly a decade.
Trump has brought the thinly veiled racial dog whistles that Republicans have been using out the open by being extremely blunt and direct about his bigotry.
Bernie Sanders has integrity and courage, which is why he directly confronted Trump and ripped him for his racist tactics. The “campaign strategy” is that Donald Trump is using should have been roundly condemned by the Republican cabal. Instead of doing the decent thing, Republican pretender candidates have scrambled to follow Trump’s lead and cater to the bigots among their voters.
Since Republicans are too afraid to stand up to the bully, Bernie Sanders has risen to knock Trump down.

Inside Hillary Clinton’s Plan To Stop The Substance Abuse Epidemic

Key Democratic Congressman Skewers Benghazi Committee Says Time To Shut It Down

Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff (CA-28), a member of the Select Committee on Benghazi, wrote a blistering op-ed in the September 4th edition of The New York Times, calling for the Select Committee to be disbanded.
Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, slammed House Republicans for turning the Benghazi investigation into a partisan charade, whose sole purpose has become undermining Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. Schiff blasted House Republicans for resorting to deception and innuendo to imply that Hillary Clinton should somehow be held responsible for the Benghazi terrorist attacks.
Calling for the Select Committee to be discontinued, Schiff noted:
Since its formation, the Select Committee on Benghazi has been aimless and slow moving, not knowing what it was looking for or where. It has acted in a deeply partisan way, frequently failing to consult or even to inform Democratic members before taking action, and selectively leaking information to the press. After 16 months and more than $4 million, the committee has gained no additional insight into the attacks in Benghazi. It has nothing new to tell the families of those killed or the American people.
After noting that the committee had essentially wasted 16 months and 4 millions dollars, Schiff honed in on the reason, arguing:
Whatever their original purpose, the Select Committee’s leaders appear no longer to have any interest in Benghazi, except as the tragic events of that day may be used as a cudgel against the likely Democratic nominee for president.
The committee is solely concerned with damaging her candidacy, searching for something, anything, that can be insinuated against her. With all of the committee’s obsessive focus on Mrs. Clinton, you would think that she was a witness to the killings, instead of half a world away.
He finished his op-ed, driving his point home one last time, by stating:
A committee that cannot tell the American people what it is looking for after 16 months should be shut down. Otherwise, Benghazi will come to be remembered not for the tragedy that claimed four American lives, but for the terrible abuse of process that now bears its name.
In his passionate op-ed, Schiff spoke a fundamental truth that many Americans have already figured out. The Select Committee on Benghazi has becoming nothing more than a political arm of the Republican cabal, campaigning to defeat Hillary Clinton in 2016. The Republicans on the committee are not interested in finding truth, they are simply determined to paint Hillary Clinton as a villain and to use relentless mentioning of “Benghazi, Benghazi” as their cudgel. The strategy seems to be failing. Yet, because the Republican cabal has nothing positive to offer voters, they will undoubtedly continue to try to use the Select Committee on Benghazi as a partisan tool to malign Hillary Clinton. Good luck with that.

Huckabee Cornered On MSNBC: Why Condemn Hillary As Lawbreaker But Support Bigot Kim Davis?

Huckabee Cornered On MSNBC: Why Condemn Hillary As Lawbreaker But Support Bigot Kim Davis? (VIDEO)Watch Mike Huckabee get blasted for supporting the criminal who won’t issue same-sex marriage licenses.

This Republican Writer Has Made Bizarre Sexual Writings, Death Threats About Clintons

Rick Wiles Waiting For Obama To 'Say He Is A God'

Rick Wiles Is Insane
Two years ago, “Trunews” host Rick Wiles wondered if President Obama would use a trip to Jerusalem to “declare himself as God.” While that didn’t happen, Wiles has now offered new evidence that Obama will soon announce his godhood: A dream from a friend. Wiles dedicated... 

Walker’s Terrifying Vision of America

Thousands Of Doctors Are Protesting Trump's Plan For Mass Deportation

Which Republican Cabal Candidate Is Brave Enough to Refuse to Support Trump?

Donald Trump

Trump’s New Loyalty Pledge Doesn’t Mean Anything

Trump owns as many guns as he has favorite bible verses

Donald Trump, via Gage Skidmore / FlickrTrump owns as many guns as he has favorite bible verses
Trump would rather not say what kinds of guns he owns. I wonder why.

Red-Faced Trump Fans Keep Emailing The Wrong ‘Megyn Kelly

Red-Faced Trump Fans Keep Emailing The Wrong ‘Megyn Kelly’ (IMAGES) Megan Kelly, not to be confused with well-known Fox News hack, Megyn Kelly, has been getting harassed by angry Trump fans ever since the wingnut ...

With Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis Behind Bars, Her Office Scrambles To Issue Marriage Licenses

With KY County Clerk Kim Davis Behind Bars, Her Office Scrambles To Issue Marriage Licenses (VIDEO)With Kim Davis in jail, 5 out of 6 Rowan County, Kentucky deputy clerks have fallen in line to issue marriage licenses.

Bad News, Bigots!

Even Trump Isn’t Backing Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis
Featured Image via Ninian Reid (Flickr)/Carter County Detention CenterYou know you’ve crossed a line as a bigot, when even Trump turns his back on you.

Texas challenges what little is left of the Voting Rights Act

Flag of Texas, via Wikimedia CommonsTexas challenges what little is left of the Voting Rights Act
Not one to be messed with, Texas is challenging what little is left of the Voting Rights Act.

What About All the People Jailed in America Just for Being Gay?

Fossil Fuel Execs Literally Getting Rich off Destroying the Planet

Quick Hits

Denver man sent to prison for stealing more than $465,000 from dead mother's retirement benefits
Alaska woman busted after stealing police car with husband handcuffed inside
Google worker turns sister's stories into hilarious 'Burning Man' musical
Federal court says Indiana religious non-profit groups must comply with Obamacare

Morning Joe Cuts Segment Where David Ignatius Debunked Clinton 'Server' Scandal

Morning Joe Cuts Segment Where David Ignatius Debunked Clinton 'Server' Scandal: UPDATED

More Fun With Selectively Edited Videos!

More Fun With Selectively Edited Videos!

Fox Follies – Fox Lies Matter!!!

If Fox “News” has not been trying to foment a Race War, it’s doing a pretty good imitation. The negative way it portrays Black folk, as opposed to the respect with which it gives White folk, has been a cornerstone of the station since it went on the air. Whether it’s Bill O’Reilly amazed that Black folk didn’t behave badly at a popular Harlem restaurant, to its biggest Race-Baiter, Sean Hannity, still trying to live down his close ties with neo-Nazi Hal Turner from Bergen, to all-White panels discussing the Black experience.
This is not new. What is new is Fox trying to prove Black Lives Don’t Matter.
Which is why this Change dot org petition is so funny:

Well, who takes that call from the President, instead of saying “I’m sorry, aren’t you the guy who started this?” This is the President who inflamed racial discourse in this country, who put a target on the backs of American police officers. How did he do that?
Well number one, the Attorney General went to the funeral of the fellow who tried to grab the gun of the police officer in Ferguson and ended up dead for doing so. He sent the Attorney General to the perpetrator’s funeral, and now he has the audacity to issue a two-faced statement. Why?
Maybe because when they polled it, it looked like people are getting the idea that he’s trying to create division and our society. Well, guess what? He’s been trying to do that ever since Cambridge, that professor who was locked out of his house, the police officer thought, gee, it could be a robber. They did the right thing. They asked him questions.
The President has to have a beer with the guy after he tears him down for doing his job.
Where to being? Let’s start with The Big Lie: The police did far more than ask Professor Henry Gates — one of the most respected educators in this country — questions. They arrested him. He was hauled in for MWB, Mouthy While Black. Gates had already proven to the police officers that it was his house he was trying to break into, but he was arrested anyway. Therefore, the president was right and the police acted stupidly. The only reason President Obama had to have the silly Beer Summit to quell Right Wing Outrage for having told the truth.
Oddly enough, that incident also underscores the #BlackLivesMatter message because if Skippy Gates were White, the cops would have helped him break into his own house.
However, any lie necessary in order to smear the president, such as Fox Figures Demand Obama Make Remarks Condemning Violence Against Police Days After He Did Just That:
On behalf of the American people, I offered Mrs. Goforth my condolences, and told her that Michelle and I would keep her and her family in our prayers. I also promised that I would continue to highlight the uncommon bravery that police officers show in our communities every single day. They put their lives on the line for our safety. Targeting police officers is completely unacceptable — an affront to civilized society….So we must offer [Mrs. Goforth] our comfort — and continue to stand up for the safety of police officers wherever they serve.
By Thursday those Foxy Friends on Fox & Friends were calling it a War on Cops, but the stats don’t lie: Fact-Checking FOX News: More Police Were Killed Under Reagan & Bush Than Obama. In the article Are more police getting killed? A look at officer deaths the Associated Press debunks the Fox lie:
Shooting deaths of officers are actually down 13 percent compared with the same January-to-September period in 2014. There were 30 shootings last year and 26 this year. Those figures include state and local officers, as well as federal agents. The figures also include two accidental shootings, Groeninger said. Suicides are not included.
Deaths have declined through the decades. The average number of officer shooting deaths for the first six months of each year — which is how the memorial fund gauges trends — was 62 through the 1970s.
The worst half-year period over the past five decades was in 1973, when 84 officers were shot and killed in the first six months alone. Through the early 2000s, the six-month average fell to 29.
In May, the BBC wrote that US police kill more than two people a day, report suggests, yet you never hear about that on the Fox “News” Channel, especially if the victims are Black.

CONSIDER THE SOURCE: Newsmax reports that according to a new PPP Poll: Fewer Republicans Like Megyn Kelly After Trump Battle.

FOX BYTES: “Gender Bender”: The Troubling Way Fox & Friends Discusses A Transgender Student’s Use Of Her High School Girls’ Locker RoomBill O’Reilly Links Planned Parenthood To VA And Other Mass ShootingsFox Host Stokes Fears That Obama May Send “Terrorist Prisoners To Your Town”Fox’s Napolitano Condemns Attacks On “Anchor Babies” Without Acknowledging His Colleagues Promoted Them‘You’re an Activist!’: O’Reilly Gets in Heated Confrontation with Jorge RamosTrump Goes On A Twitter Tirade Against Fox News’ Karl RoveOutnumbered Attacks Michelle Obama Over Healthy School LunchesFox & Friends Agrees with Trump: Jeb Should Speak English So We Can Understand HimSeriously? Elisabeth Hasselbeck Doesn’t See Problem With Baptism On Public School Football Field!Fox’s Gutfeld: Trump Should ‘Stop Running as Ann Coulter’Fox News Fooled By College Freshman Blogger In Attack On 9/11 Literature CourseFox News To Air Hour-Long Special In Support Of CMP’s Smear Campaign Against Planned ParenthoodFox’s Neil Cavuto Asks If Trump Is “Imitating The Likes Of John F. Kennedy” In Press ConferencesFox’s Kilmeade: “Trump Is 100 Percent Right,” Bush Shouldn’t Speak Spanish To The PressHannity Falsely Claims Hillary Clinton Has Never Criticized “Countries That Have Atrocious Human Rights Records”The Fox News Primary For August: Trump’s Feud With Fox Only Widens His Airtime LeadFox Hosts Cheer Trump’s Attack On Bush For Speaking Spanish