frankilin roosevelt

It's not about being liberal or conservative anymore y'all. That is a hype offered by the fascist whores who want to confuse the people with lies while they turn this country into an aristocratic police state. Some people will say anything to attain power and money. There is no such thing as the Liberal Media, but the Corporate media is very real.

Check out my old  Voice of the People page.

Gino Napoli
San Francisco, California
High School Math Teacher

Loyalty without truth
is a trail to tyranny.

a middle-aged
George Washington

1553 POSTS

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Saturday, 11 September 2004 at 8h 19m 11s

A war of accusations without merit

These people are something else. Kerry is attacked with accusations that are not supported by every single military document. Kerry's accusers get to travel freely around the media circuit for two weeks. The accusers parse their words and all are refuted/contested by other witnesses who were either more directly involved with the said events, or the accusers themselves admitted they had no first-hand knowledge. 4 members offered by the accusers contested the use of their names. Now we have a rampage of first-hand sources offering multiple testimony about George W. Bush. The bush records consist of 3 groups: those obtained by reporters prior to and during the 2000 election, those submitted by the bush administration, and those obtained by reporters since the 2000 election.

There should be no contest about Bush's irresponsibility, because there are many first-hand witnesses and documents independent of one another. The Swift- boat accusers are all inter-connected by the same organization and public relations firm. The whole panoply of witnesses and documents that involve George W. Bush have been obtained by different organizations, independent researches and reporters, and consist of 6 witnesses of completely different backgrounds.

Witness One is Linda Allison, the ex-wife of the Bush family friend who was to "watch" George Bush when he was in Alabama keeping the family out of trouble. ( go here for the story. )

Witness Two is Ben Barnes, the ambitious ex-Texas lieutenant governor who got a lot of wealthy Texas scions into the champagne unit to avoid Vietnam. Yes he's a Democrat. So what. The Kerry accusers are all Republicans, and what they say is refuted by documents. Where are the documents that refute Ben Barnes? Answer: they don't exist.

And Witness Three supports Ben Barnes. This witness is Colin Powell, who wrote in his own book that so many scions of the wealthy got into safe posts in the national guard. This is called corroborating background in a legal court of law. That is, the events in the testimony did occur to such a degree that the statement is believable. How many officers historically acted in the why attested to by the Kerry accusers? And A man who is in a war by default is taking the chance that he might be killed.

Witnesses Four and Five are Bob Mintz and Paul Bishop. Members of the Alabama Unit who attest George Bush was never there.

There are well-known records of drunk driving and partying by George W. Bush at the time that add further corroboration background.

But the hacks in the corporate media will tell you a lot of nonsense. Currently CBS obtained a group of memos from Lt. Col. Jerry Killian. These memos provide further proof of what should be incontestable, but the Bush administration insists otherwise. Media matters goes through the litany of accusations and refutes each one here.

The gist of the arguments are that certain parts of the of the type in the memos were "not available." Thus it has been said by certain forensic experts that the memos come from a computer. But a few forensic experts can say what they want, because other forensic experts uphold the documents.

Superscripted "th" keys were available by IBM since the early 1960's. I know this for myself because my grandmother had one my father used when he typed letters, and I remember the "th" key. A military unit had plenty of uses for the "th" key because of the need to type service units in almost everything.The thing is, the key was all the way to the far right (I think, maybe it was left) and many an officer preferred to type "th" with the two index fingers, which are each quickly adjacent to the "T" and "H" keys. Think about that.

An officer would have to thus consciously want to use the key. Consider that the only sentence where the raised "th" occurs is in the May 4th memo, where Lt. Killian orders Bush to report to the "111th" F.L.S. Administrative Office. I know this is purely speculation but, think about that.

Then there is the issue of proportional spacing, whereby the shape of the letter determines how much space a letter is given. But IBM had proportional spacing on it's models since 1941. Richard Nixon's resignation was typed on one in 1974, so were a lot of government documents.

The curlicue-type apostrophe was also available by IBM in 1953.

And the kicker is that the Font was not available. But...

In fact, Times Roman font dates back at least to 1945, as this short history explains....IBM specifically hired its designer, Stanley Morison, to adapt the font to the Selectric typewriter. In fact, the Selectric Composer typewriter, introduced in 1966, not only could insert superscript but also featured proportional type and a font called Aldine Roman , a font similar to Times New Roman that appears to match the font in the memos
Plus the the Bush administration gave documents to the press with the same "th" and the documents don't have a perfect horizontal baseline like a computer document would. Each line has a curved baseline from left to right. Had the documents come from a computer, the baseline would be perfect. There wouldn't be a difference of 3 or 4 pixels from left to right in the baseline.

Oh did I mention Witness Six retired Maj. Gen. Bobby W. Hodges, who (according to the Washington Post ) said "these are the things that Killian had expressed to me at the time."

The argument that the documents come from "Microsoft Word" is ridiculous. Anyone who has used a typewriter that is that old will recognize the type is legitamate. By the way, I used the said typewriter that my father had. Look at the documents yourself here.

----- from -----

"The CNS story, echoed by other conservative outlets, helped sparked a debate over proportional spacing, fonts, electric typewriters and superscripts as independent typographical experts weighed in with their own doubts. Some experts contacted by the Washington Post, New York Times and Salon suggested that the raised, or superscripted, "th" in one of Killian's memos was a telltale sign that the documents were created well after 1972. Yet independent researcher Marty Heldt notes that he had received an undisputed Bush military document in 2000 from the Vietnam era that clearly contains a superscripted "th." He also notes that when Killian's Aug. 18, 1973, memo is enlarged and the word "interference" is examined, it's clear the two middle e's rest higher on the page than the other two e's; that is not something a modern- day word processor would likely do."


The salon story is from Eric Boehlert, who in my opinion is a trustworthy source. It's worth a full read.

You can check out the documents yourself by looking at the pdf files. PDF is a file format called "post-script document files" -- a world respected digital representation. It makes an exact scan.

You can go to the CBS site above to get the pdf document files. I insist. I did.

They are obviously not from Microsoft Word Documents. These slanders are relying on people not seeing the documents for themselves. Once you see the documents, the idea that someone would say they come from a computer is incredible.

Desperation is what this is.

And if you can't see that well, what can I say.

Tuesday, 7 September 2004 at 0h 26m 43s

A code word for the destruction of Social Security

Social Security is often misrepresented by ideologues who have gone gaga over privatization. Listening to these folks, you hear that Big guma'ment is taking 7.5% of your hard-earned dollars that you could invest yourself, and possibly make more money. Even President Bush makes the same connotation in his current stump speeches.

In his acceptance speech at the RNC convention, Bush said :"We must strengthen Social Security by allowing younger workers to save some of their taxes in a personal account - a nest egg you can call your own, and government can never take away."

But nowhere does the president or the "privatization" critics mention 2 poignant facts about social security.

The first concerns how the taxes are collected. The "criticized" payroll taxes are paid only on the first $86,500 of income. All income above this level is not taxed. So those who make more than $86,500 are paying a smaller percentage of their income into the social security trust fund. Right now social security is solvent for the next 30 to 40 years (depending on which study you prefer to cite.) Were the crisis of solvency really an issue (as opposed to a straw man that is beaten to pursue a hidden agenda), all one has to do is raise this level to (say) one million dollars.

Or, the level could be completely eliminated, and the percentage could be reduced for those whose income is less than $100,000. These funds could also purchase the Treasury debt, rather than being used as surplus government funds to be spent by the treasury. Wouldn't it be better to invest in our own debts, than have to attract foreign investors who use the dollars to buy up American companies and property because they have purchased so many dollars?

You do not hear these simple solutions, because the critics would rather have us believe the social security system is in crisis because of inherent flaws that could be magically solved by private accounts.

So when Mr. Bush says in the next breath--

"In all these proposals, we seek to provide not just a government program, but a path - a path to greater opportunity, more freedom, and more control over your own life."

--he is really winking at his campaign contributors and promising smoke and mirrors to the nation.

Herein lies the second fallacy. Social Security was never meant to be a system in which government invests your money for you. Social Security is an insurance system. When you pay payroll taxes, you are paying the insurance premium of the Social Security safety net. To berate the system as big guma'ment taking away money that could be invested completely misses the reason why social security came into existence.

Social Security is more than a pension plan. Other components of the Social Security "insurance" system are disability, Medical care for the elderly, Veteran's benefits, Unemployment insurance, Aid to needy families with children, Maternal and child health services, Child support enforcement,Family and child welfare services, Food stamps, and Energy assistance for the poor and elderly. To speak of social security solely as a "retirement" fund, as the President and "privatization" critics do, is deceptive, and speaks volumes about the number one special-interest group that is contributing to the President's re- election fund : Wall Street broker's and investment firms, salivating over the billions of dollars they might get to manage for fees, mind you not with the small investor in mind.

How many small investor's lost that sacred "nest egg" in the last 3 years?

The idea is that we pay into this collective insurance for the simple reason that we as citizens have collectively decided that some things are too important to leave to the vagarities of life and the ignorance of small investors. Viewed solely as a pension fund, not every investor is going to be able to intelligently invest, and there is no guarantee that the stock market always operates to the benefit of the small investor. If we assume 7.5% of income, A person who averages $40,000 a year for 35 years will have $3000 a year to invest, or 100 shares of 30 dollar stock. This would be a net $105,000, not including percentage gain (interest) per year. Assuming a 6% average gain per year, and assuming nothing untoward occurs (a huge assumption) -- the reality of unemployment, hospitalization, medical bills, college expenses, house notes, bankruptcy -- this little nest egg has the potential to become a nice retirement fund of $354,363.60.

But what if the retired individual of 65 years becomes ill, or lives 20 years. Right now the United States has just had a year in which a record number of bankruptcies occurred, half of which were due to medical bills. With the recent changes in bankruptcy, the "reform" and escalating costs of the medical insurance industry, AND the relevant real-life expenses in the intervening 35 years, this nest egg may not (and probably won't) reach full potential. The investment choices of a small investment may or may not be wise, not to mention that small investors really can't compete in a stock market that consists of very large investors and hedge funds with hundreds of millions of dollars to play with. A large investor can take a temporary $500,000 loss when the market goes through a down cycle; but small investors get wiped out. So much for that "path to greater opportunity, more freedom, and more control over your own life."

It's easy for someone born with a silver spoon to talk this pap rhetoric.

The social security insurance system is AN INSURANCE SYSTEM. We as a society have decided that we don't want to leave to chance the welfare of our elderly citizens, the well-being of our children, the disability of our workers, and the misfortunes of the unemployed. Allowing those who are slightly better-off (or anyone for that matter) to be removed from pool of social security funds, reduces the potency of the fund for everyone. What will happen is the dilution and destruction of the social safety net, a lot of misfortune, and a return back to the days before the 20th century.

The Social Security Insurance program is an investment in our society, so that people are free to not worry about their future, so that people are not vulnerable to economic changes or life's misfortunes, and can spend their surplus funds on houses, small businesses, and education without taking away from their retirement pensions.

Sunday, 5 September 2004 at 23h 5m 29s

Culling the articles, editing the news

Newspaper and media edit and cull the news all the time. If you want to find out anything that is considered remotely "controversial" or "political", you have to find original sources. You can't just assume that the daily hometown paper will provide you the original, non-editted source. More likely than not, what you will read in the paper or get on the TV news is an edited or re-written version of the original story.

One recent example occurred today, 5 September. The original story was written by Frank Davies from Knight-Ridder. It had this headline in the main Knight-Ridder wire : 9-11 hijackers tied to Saudi government, Graham says in new book. This story comes from Knight-Ridders Washington Bureau and was originally published in the Miami Herald. It gives the full account, and is 27 paragraphs long. You can read the original story here.

But how does this story get presented in other newspapers across the nation?

I did a google search with the phrase "9-11 hijackers tied to Saudi government, Graham says in new book By Frank Davies Knight Ridder Newspapers." I got 19 related articles, with another 66 related (according to google.)

The San Jose Mercury News:"Senator charges Saudi agents were linked to Al-Qaida. NEW BOOK SAYS WHITE HOUSE, FBI BLOCKED PROBE INTO RELATIONSHIP"
--12 paragraphs.

The story cuts off after a statement that "Saudi officials have vociferously denied any ties to the hijackers or Al- Qaida plots to attack the United States,"curiously cutting off cricism of Bush, blasting the politicization of the CIA, and the cooked intelligence that created the Iraq WMD threat.

The Boston Globe:"9/11 hijackers tied to Saudi government, Graham says in book."
--12 paragraphs.

The same edited version as the San Jose Mercury News.

Newsweek:"A Case Not Yet Closed Turn The Page: In a new book, Sen. Bob Graham examines the embers of 9/11."
--6 paragraphs.

This article by Michael Isikoff is a re- writing of the original Knight Ridder story, with some new phrases probably pulled out of the Graham book. The politicization of the CIA is missing. The connection between the FBI and the Saudi government is mentioned, and then watered down by an excerpt below.

"But Graham's conclusions about al-Bayoumi conflict with the conclusions of the 9/11 Commission report. Philip Zelikow, the staff director of the commission, noted that his panel had access to more material than Graham did and ultimately got the chance to question al-Bayoumi. They concluded that he had no connection to 9/11. "We've spent hours and hours with Bob on this," says Zelikow, who believes Graham doesn't seem open to new evidence. "He's got all these details. But it's like they're frozen in amber."

It is signifigant that Isikoff chooses Philip Zelikow as his source of rebuttal. Zelikow was the executive director of the 9-11 commission with authority to determine all interviews and oversee all evidence, but what Isikoff calls him is "the staff director." However, not only did Zelikow have extensive ties to the Bush administration, but he also was criticized by other 9-11 commission members for withholding documents from the commission. Isikoff never bothers to mention this.

According to disinfopedia, After the 2000 election, Zelikow and Rice were reunited when George W. Bush named him to his transition team for the National Security Council....Former White House terrorism czar Richard Clarke says he briefed not only Rice and Hadley, but also Zelikow about the growing al- Qaida threat during the transition period. Zelikow sat in on the briefings, he says."

"Kristen Breitweiser, a 9/11 widow, insists Zelikow has a "clear conflict of interest." And she suspects he is in touch with Bush's political adviser, Rove, which she says would explain why the White House granted him, along with just one other commission official, the greatest access to the intelligence briefing Bush got a month before the 9/11 suicide hijackings."

Isikoff then follows with a spin of the main story. "Yet even Zelikow acknowledges that Graham may be right when he says the FBI never fully unraveled a Qaeda support network that helped the hijackers—and that still may be out there...."

He ends the piece with "Who were the contacts? To this day, the FBI admits it doesn't know for sure—ample evidence, in Graham's mind, that his fears and criticisms remain as valid as ever. "

So Isikoff rewrites the Knight-Ridder article, skillfully removing the underlying implication that distorted facts were used by George Tenet to go into Iraq, and that the Bush administration wanted to cover up the Saudi connection to 9-11. Instead, Isikoff makes the story seem like FBI incompetance, which was not the theme of the Knight-Ridder article at all.

This is what Michael Isikoff does, and is the reason why you should not trust anything he writes. He is a devious, deceitful swindler of the journalistic profession. Read him for the sophistry and the spin, but read him with utmost caution.

Yahoo news:"NEWSWEEK BOOK EXCERPT: 'Intelligence Matters' By: Sen. Bob Graham.Graham Charges That Bush Administration Was Engaged in a 'Cover-Up' to Protect Saudi Arabia. 28 Pages Blacked Out of 9/11 Report Focuses on a Saudi Who Befriended Two of the Key Hijackers ."
--4 paragraphs.

Yahoo news references the original Newsweek article. The first paragraph has two sentences that refer to Graham's "charges" and "claims." This paragraph is then followed by three paragraphs that come from the Isikoff source, ending on this quote from the Newsweek re- write:"We've spent hours and hours with Bob on this," says Zelikow, who believes Graham doesn't seem open to new evidence. "He's got all these details. But it's like they're frozen in amber." Yet even Zelikow acknowledges that Graham may be right when he says the FBI never fully unraveled a Qaeda support network that helped the hijackers -- and they still may be out there.

Again, the same spin. The message is that the FBI let them get away, and they still might be out there. Don't look over there, look over here, look over here, I said look over here, and be afraid. Be very afraid.

St. Paul Pioneer Press:"Senator links Saudi agents to 9/11. Sen. Bob Graham makes claim in his new book."
--13 paragraphs.

This article edits the original, but unlike the San Jose Mercury News, one more sentence is added after the obligatory Saudi denial. This sentence is "Graham ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic presidential nomination and then decided not to seek re-election to the Senate this year."

Paragraph number 2 is also omitted in the Pioneer Press story. The omitted paragraph here is, The discovery of the financial backing of the two hijackers ''would draw a direct line between the terrorists and the government of Saudi Arabia, and trigger an attempted coverup by the Bush administration,'' the Florida Democrat wrote.

The exchange between Tommy Franks and Senator Graham is also omitted.

The Wichita Eagle:"9/11 hijackers had support, book claims."
--3 paragraphs, all reprinted below.

WASHINGTON - Two of the Sept. 11 hijackers had a support network in the United States that included agents of the Saudi government, and the Bush administration and FBI blocked a congressional investigation into that relationship, Sen. Bob Graham wrote in a book to be released Tuesday.

The discovery of the financial backing of the two hijackers "would draw a direct line between the terrorists and the government of Saudi Arabia, and trigger an attempted coverup by the Bush administration," the Florida Democrat wrote.

And in Graham's book, "Intelligence Matters," obtained by the Miami Herald on Saturday, he makes clear that some details of that financial support from Saudi Arabia were in the 27 pages of the congressional inquiry's final report that were blocked from release by the administration, despite the pleas of leaders of both parties on the House and Senate intelligence committees.

Did you notice there is no mention of Iraq, Tommy Franks, or the politicization of the CIA to pursue Iraq? Do you think a Wichita reader is getting the full story?

Kansas City Star:"Senator: Commander Told of Military Drain by WILLIAM C. MANN Associated Press."
--17 paragraphs.

This is an AP re-write of the original article. The article waters down the issue of diverting resources to fighting Iraq, and mentions the exchange between Franks and Graham. The criticism of the Bush administration and the politicization of the CIA was omitted.

The article also considerably downgrades the saudi connection. The names and specifics are not given, and has instead a vague reference to an "apparent financial ties of Saudi officials with two of the Sept. 11 hijackers."

And notice the final paragraph :The Associated Press reported in August 2003 that the classified part of the report examined interactions between Saudi businessmen and the royal family that may have intentionally or unwittingly aided al-Qaida or the suicide hijackers.

ABC NEWS:"Senator: Commander Told of Military Drain Senator Says Commander Told Him of Early Drain of Forces From Afghanistan for Iraq"
--16 paragraphs.

If all you did was watch ABC News, you are getting the Associated Press re-write. But this is how the news media operates. A hard-hitting story comes out, followed by edited versions and rewrites that remove the main penetration of the original story, embellish the story with "he-said, she said" diatribes, and add those famous qualifying words "alledged", "accuses", "might have", or "claims."

It is amazing to me how often a well-ocumented fact is said to be "alledged" in an edited or re-written news story.

Raleigh News Observer:"Senator says commander told him of early drain of forces from Afghanistan for Iraq By WILLIAM C. MANN, ASSOCIATED PRESS."
--16 paragraphs.

This is the AP re-write.

Tacoma News Tribune:"Senator says commander told him of early drain of forces from Afghanistan for Iraq By WILLIAM C. MANN, Associated Press."
--16 paragraphs.

The same AP re-write"Senator: Commander Told of Military Drain from NewsMax Wires."
--16 paragraphs.

Again, this is the same AP press article by William C. Mann. NewsMax however attributes the source to the "NewsMax Wires." There is no attempt to give the reader the source for the original story, except by including the legal copyright to the Associated Press at the end. You would never know the William C. Mann wrote the story.

Newsmax is a poor source for information. Not only does Newsmax prefer to post only the re-writes, but it usually doesn't bother to provide sourced information. Touting itself as a truthworthy source for conservative readers, it thereafter insults those readers with spin.

Florida Ledger:"Graham says Franks warned that Iraq would divert forces By WILLIAM C. MANN Associated Press Writer."
--16 paragraphs.

The same AP re-write

Columbia Daily Tribune:"Senator’s book criticizes handling of 9/11 details ."
--27 paragraphs.

The original story from Davies is published here.

So what we have here is an original story put out by Knight Ridder, by writer Frank Davies. Then there is an AP version by William C. Mann. Also, Michael Isikoff provides a spin in a Newsweek article. How many citizens got the information they needed to make a decision? Only those who read the Davies article were allowed the complete story of 27 paragraphs.

If you got this from TV News, the story was even more gutted. Consider this take from KGBT4 news, a source which claims to "Take Action For You."
WASHINGTON A former Senate Intelligence Committee chairman says he knew more than a year in advance that American forces might be invading Iraq.

That's because he says the general running the war in Afghanistan told him about the possible plan -- and how American resources were being shifted in preparation for taking on Saddam Hussein.

Senator Bob Graham says he had the conversation with now-retired General Tommy Franks back in February 2002. No comment so far from Franks.

The Iraq invasion began in March 2003 -- over the vigorous protests of several European allies.

Graham spoke today on N-B-C's "Meet the Press." He's retiring from his Senate seat at the end of the year.

The Florida Democrat writes of his meeting with Franks in his new book, which goes on sale Tuesday.

KGBT4 News attributes their source to the Associated Press. Notice how nothing specific about the Saudi's is mentioned. Notice that nothing is made of the way the CIA presented the doctored WMD threats to justify the rush to the war on Iraq. This is typical TV news coverage. Most reporters do very little investigation of their stories and present only a simplified version of what source they choose. They could have used the more detailed Knight-Ridder source.

And you get the same exact TV News coverage (the same exact wording) in TV networks all across the country, from Florida, to Texas, to California, to Vermont, to Mississippi, to Wisconsin, to Kentucky,... in just about every state. It's as if the words were piped from central corporate headquarters to all of the TV branches. All of them with the same exact headline,"Senator says commander told him of early drain of forces from Afghanistan for Iraq ."

And the whole meaning of the original story has changed. The Original story mentions details about known Saudi financial links, mentions how the Bush administration thwarted attempts to investigate these links, discusses how CIA director George Tenet pumped up the Iraqi WMD threat, talks about diverting resources from Afghanistan to Iraq, includes a discussion with Tommy Franks that lasts 5 paragraphs, and talks about how Senator Graham was shocked when 27 pages of the details about Saudi financial links to the 9-11 terrorists were removed by the Bush Administration. If all you did was watch TV news, you'd get the impression that the story was about some Democratic ex-senator whining about draining forces from Afghanistan for Iraq.

I did a count of all the stations with the same above headline. I counted 46. I don't know about you, but that is scary.

Go see for yourself

Sunday, 5 September 2004 at 20h 6m 50s

Seattle Times cannot support Bush for president

Four years ago, this page endorsed George W. Bush for president. We cannot do so again — because of an ill-conceived war and its aftermath, undisciplined spending, a shrinkage of constitutional rights and an intrusive social agenda.

The Bush presidency is not what we had in mind. Our endorsement of John Kerry is not without reservations, but he is head and shoulders above the incumbent.

The first issue is the war. When the Bush administration began beating the drums for war on Iraq, this page said repeatedly that he had not justified it. When war came, this page closed ranks, wanting to support our troops and give the president the benefit of the doubt. The troops deserved it. In hindsight, their commander in chief did not.

The first priority of a new president must be to end the military occupation of Iraq. This will be no easy task, but Kerry is more likely to do it — and with some understanding of Middle Eastern realities — than is Bush.

The election of Kerry would sweep away neoconservative war intellectuals who drive policy at the White House and Pentagon. It would end the back-door draft of American reservists and the use of American soldiers as imperial police. It would also provide a chance to repair America's overseas relationships, both with governments and people, particularly in the world of Islam.

A less-belligerent, more-intelligent foreign policy should cause less anger to be directed at the United States. A political change should allow Americans to examine the powers they have given the federal government under the Patriot Act, and the powers the president has claimed by executive order.

This page had high hopes for President Bush regarding taxing and spending. We endorsed his cut in income taxes, expecting that it would help business and discipline new public spending. In the end, there was no discipline in it.... read more

-- Seattle Times editorial on Friday, August 27, 2004

Saturday, 4 September 2004 at 22h 41m 25s

Leave Those Children Underneath Statistics

From an article in the New York Times by Sam Dillon

School ratings issued under the terms of President Bush's No Child Left Behind law have clashed with school report card systems administered by some states, leaving parents unsure which level of government to believe or whether to transfer their children, an option offered by the law.

In North Carolina, which pioneered one of the nation's most sophisticated accountability systems, more than 32 schools ranked as excellent by the state failed to meet Washington's criteria for academic progress. In California, 317 schools showed tremendous academic growth on the state's performance index, yet the federal law labeled them low-performing.

Here in Darien, the Hinsdale South High School is one of a dozen prestigious high schools in prosperous Chicago suburbs that failed to meet a federal target and were obligated to send letters to parents explaining their shortcomings and offering to transfer children to other schools.

In Westport, Conn., the Bedford Middle School, where test scores are often among Connecticut's highest, was called low-performing because the school failed to meet the 95 percent standard for testing for the disabled by one student.

"It really bugs me that we got a black eye for a mechanical reason rather than for anything legitimate," said Dr. Elliott Landon, Westport's superintendent.

Montgomery High School in Skillman, N.J., seven miles northwest of Princeton, was honored by the federal Department of Education as a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence in 1993, and last year its mean SAT score of 1220 was 194 points above the national average. But Montgomery, too, failed to meet federal targets last year because one student's absence brought the school afoul of the federal rule requiring that 95 percent of students take standardized tests.

This law is tooted by the Administration as an effort to get rid of the "soft bigotry of low expectations." But the administration does not speak of the various criticisms about the proposed medicine. The administration also has not fully funded the act, nor has the administration addressed the many different budget cuts that schools all across the nation are having to make because of shrinking tax bases and rising insurance costs. It is a foolish assumption that a troubled school will be able to hire quality staff to teach difficult, ill-prepared students with less funds.

According to the Democratic Policy Committee's chairman Byron Dorgan,

President Bush's budget proposes the smallest increase for education since Fiscal Year 1996. While total discretionary spending for education would rise three percent (or $1.68 billion) from $55.67 billion to $57.34 billion, if enacted, this figure would be the smallest increase for education since Fiscal Year 1996, at a time when schools are struggling to meet the mandates of the NCLB.

The President's budget would severely underfund NCLB programs. Schools are struggling to provide quality services to increased numbers of students, while also implementing accountability and testing mandates. At the same time, state budget crises are forcing dramatic cuts in state education funding. Yet, the Administration proposes a small increase of only $448 million (or 1.8 percent) to $24.91 billion over the Fiscal Year 2004 level of $24.46 billion for the law. The Bush budget would underfund the levels promised by NCLB for Fiscal Year 2005 ($34.32 billion) by $9.4 billion.

The President's budget would leave millions of children behind by failing to fully fund the Title I program for disadvantaged students. Title I is critical to closing achievement gaps, maximizing student achievement, and helping all students learn. While the Administration proposes an increase of $1 billion - for a total of $13.34 billion - this figure is more than $7.1 billion below the NCLB authorized level for Fiscal Year 2005 ($20.5 billion). Overall, the President's budget leaves 4.6 million children behind. If Title I were funded at the level promised by the NCLB in Fiscal Year 2005, it would fully serve 2.4 million more - over half - of those children currently left behind.

The President's budget would fail to fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (or special education) Part B State Grants. Fully funding IDEA would help disabled students succeed and ensure that schools have the resources they need to serve all children well. The Administration, however, proposes to increase IDEA Part B funding by only $1 billion, for a total of $11.07 billion - significantly less than what is needed to move toward fully funding the program. This figure would provide 19.7 percent of the national average per-pupil expenditure - still less than half of the "full funding" level that Congress committed to paying when the IDEA was first adopted in 1975.

Pell grant maximum award would be frozen. During his presidential campaign, then-candidate Bush promised a maximum Pell grant award of $5,100. But under President Bush's budget, the maximum award would be frozen for the third straight year at $4,050, enough to pay just 34 percent of the average annual cost of attending college - down from 42 percent in 2001.

The President's budget would pay for inadequate increases to Title I and IDEA by eliminating 38 education programs providing vital services to children. Programs slated for elimination include dropout prevention, gifted and talented, school counseling, alcohol abuse reduction, arts in education, Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnerships (LEAP), and school leadership. Many of the eliminated programs have proven track records in helping students stay in and succeed at school. Eliminating these programs seems in direct conflict with the laudable goal of increasing graduation rates which is central to the Administration's focus on literacy.

The President's budget would further undermine the NCLB by level-funding programs that work. These programs include 21st Century Community Learning Centers (which fund after-school programs), despite strong evidence that keeping children safe after school can reduce juvenile crime and prevent children from engaging in risky behaviors. 21st Century Community Learning Centers would be level-funded at $999 million - half of the $2 billion Fiscal Year 2005 authorized level. As a result, 1.32 million children who should receive after-school services would be left behind. He freezes most other major K-12 education programs without providing an inflation adjustment, including Impact Aid ($1.2 billion), rural education ($168 million), and English language acquisition ($681 million).

The President's budget includes a "choice incentive fund" that would divert taxpayer funds to private schools through a $50 million voucher program. Research clearly demonstrates that vouchers do little to improve student achievement. Yet, the President includes in his budget $50 million for a new "Choice Incentive Fund" to pay for student transfers to private and public schools - an initiative that is merely a cover for private school voucher programs. Rather than experimenting with programs that make no real difference in student achievement, we should focus on ensuring that all students have the tools for success - including smaller class sizes, high teacher quality, more parental involvement, and up-to-date materials.

Despite President Bush's emphasis on job training in his State of the Union address, his budget proposal would reduce federal spending for career and technical education to approximately $1 billion, a cut of more than $300 million from this year's funding levels.

Or, as was well stated by House Representative from Ohio Dennis Kucinich in January 2004
"New Hampshire teachers receive the 49th lowest salaries in the country," Kucinich said, "and the Bush Administration's implementation of the 'No Child Left Behind Act' is exacerbating the problem. A study by the New Hampshire School Administrators Association estimated that the Bush Administration's plan will give New Hampshire schools only $77 for every student, while costing the state $575 per student to implement....

To make matters worse, the Bush Administration has cut in New Hampshire alone: $800,000 for Pell Grant funding for lower income college students, $1.1 million for educating children in rural schools, $400,000 for teacher quality training grants, and $230,000 for safe and drug free schools grants.

You see, school districts are spending more money to implement tests than they are receiving in funding, and they are having to make cuts to comply with the laws, instead of beefing up programs that would assist the student's abilities and skills that aid their taking of these tests.

You can read what John Kerry has said about this here.

Leaving aside the rigidity of the rubric used to determine whether a school is failing, the prescribed medicine is ridiculous. The idea that competition will automatically create a better educational system ignores the reality that there are only so many seats available in those schools with good staffs and a dedicated source of funding. Poor kids with vouchers will still be turned away, and forced to go to the remaining schools. If the system becomes based on profit, than the good schools will become more expensive. And the poor schools will further wither once the students who can leave depart. The students who remain will be those students who are most in need and least prepared, and the schools will have less funds than they did before. This act is only a self-fulfilling prophesy.

There are measures that are more effective than the Leave No Child Behind (LNCB) Legislation. These consist of reducing the class size and the work load of the teaching staff so that they will have more time to devote to the specific needs of the students. Providing intervention programs such as after school tutors, and special classes that specifically address the needs of disabled and ESL students. Schools that have improved use these techniques.

The LNCB act is however merely punitive, and does not provide the funds necessary to assist troubled schools in their efforts to improve. And how can a rubric which measures improvement as a percentage increase really be an accurate assessment? Once a school reaches a certain high caliber level of achievement, how much further can the school improve? To use an analogy, when a student makes a 98% on a test, do we consider the student failing because they score a 96% on the next test?

The LNCB act was really designed by people who wanted to destroy the public school system, because despite vast evidence to the contrary, they are blinded by a belief that privatization is preferable. But, just as in the Medical Health industry, some sectors of our society are just too important and too expensive to be farmed out to for profit corporations. The role of government is and has always been to make investments in our communities that benefit society as a whole.

Competition is based on the idea that the companies who survive are those who can make the most profit for the least amount of investment. This is often referred to in economic literature as efficiency or worker productivity. In some sectors of the economy, this is preferable. But in other economic sectors, a decrease in investment for the sake of efficiency (and profit)results in a product of poor quality, a more expensive product, or both. This is certainly the case with education and medical care.

And although it might be true that the President's budget is the largest educational outlay in the history of the budget, that statement is indicative only of the natural law of increase. The budget is still about $26 billion below what was authorized in the NCLB legislation. A 1.6% increase only keeps up with inflation. The money spent on Education each year has always been higher than the previous year, so it takes a lot of sophistry to imply that the minor increase is indicative of a great new era. You can increase my $3000 monthly salary by 48 dollars (a 1.6% increase) and I will have made more money than I ever did before, but I certainly won't be able now buy a house anymore than I was the year before. The same can be said for the Education budget that is touted as the largest in history.

So when president Bush mouths off about how he is raising the bar and eliminating the so-called "soft-bigotry of low expectations," he does not fairly describe the reality of education. Instead, The "Children Are Being Left Behind Act" should be referred to as "the rigid stupidity of ideological presumptions."

Saturday, 4 September 2004 at 4h 28m 23s

Bush lives in a bubble

We know how the Bush administration has handled the war: It fouled up royally. First, it had bad intelligence. Second, administration members shut their eyes and their minds to all advice, to all of the caveats from the intelligence community, that didn't justify going to war. Third, the administration disregarded sound military advice that a lot more troops would be needed than it was sending. Fourth, by not giving the U.N. weapons inspectors time to finish their job, the Bush administration lost the support of France, Germany, Russia and most of the rest of the world. Fifth, it did not stop the looting. Sixth, it did not anticipate and prepare for the resistance. Seventh, its occupation has been nothing but a cluster-blunder. And eighth, it has overextended the U.S. military but stubbornly refuses to admit it....

I noticed that Mr. Bush has added Afghanistan and Iraq to the roster of democracies in one of his campaign ads, which, in a bizarre fashion, has clips of the Olympics. Neither Iraq nor Afghanistan is a democracy. They are both led by U.S.-appointed people. Both rely on U.S. forces for security. Both are unstable, are dominated by warlords and are far from peaceful.

Mr. Bush seems to have a talent (some would call it a mental aberration) of believing that things are so if he merely says they are so. Thus, Iraq, which he once said had weapons of mass destruction, is now a democracy in his mind, despite the fact that no elections have been held. He also believes that we have a robust economy, which is something else that is not in sync with reality.

That's what worries me most about President Bush. He seems to live inside a bubble created by his staff and cronies and to be genuinely unaware of what's going on outside his bubble. It is very dangerous to have a president who cannot see the world as it really is. Novelist Ayn Rand once observed that while we can ignore reality, we cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.

President Bush has proven to be all campaign and no governance. Every word out of his mouth, every policy, seems to have been crafted by campaign aides with the goal of not accomplishing anything but his re-election.

That, too, is a dangerous situation. Every president has to keep an eye on the electorate, but the best ones have always tried to do the right thing even if their campaign aides objected. A true leader will do the right thing and then try to convince the voters that he has done so. An empty suit will do whatever his campaign manipulators tell him is best for the re-election campaign.

-- Charley Reese, For Friday, September 3, 2004

Friday, 3 September 2004 at 3h 7m 13s

Kerry takes off the Gloves, but will the Media show it.

The Kerry campaign has just released the following prepared remarks, to be delivered tonight at a campaign rally in Springfield, Ohio.

"We all saw the anger and distortion of the Republican Convention. For the past week, they attacked my patriotism and my fitness to serve as Commander-in- chief. Well, here's my answer. I'm not going to have my commitment to defend this country questioned by those who refused to serve when they could have and by those who have misled the nation into Iraq.

"The Vice President even called me unfit for office last night. I guess I'll leave it up to the voters whether five deferments makes someone more qualified to defend this nation than two tours of duty.

"Let me tell you what I think makes someone unfit for duty. Misleading our nation into war in Iraq makes you unfit to lead this nation. Doing nothing while this nation loses millions of jobs makes you unfit to lead this nation. Letting 45 million Americans go without healthcare makes you unfit to lead this nation. Letting the Saudi Royal Family control our energy costs makes you unfit to lead this nation. Handing out billions of government contracts to Halliburton while you're still on their payroll makes you unfit. That's the record of George Bush and Dick Cheney. And it's not going to change. I believe it's time to move America in a new direction; I believe it's time to set a new course for America."

Which soundbite will the corporate media allow? Will there then be a cut to a "political analyst" who says that Kerry is out of touch with America, something else that is mean-spirited and derogatory, or just plain irrelevant and stupid?

Perhaps instead the corporate media will focus on the "irresponsible antics" of the 10 or 15 protesters who shed their suits on the RNC floor in the middle of Bush's revision of history --- uh, I mean acceptance speech.

There I go again, Bush-bashing in a way only a Clinton-hater could love.

By the way, rumor is that Tony Blair is sick of President Bush's incompetence. Bush has been begging him to come to the United States to give him a medal, so there can be a photo-op moment of Bush looking presidential. But Blair refuses.

The word is out. Bush is an incompetent, petulant, desperately mean bastard.

Sorry if you're ignorant ass thinks that the truth is Bush-bashing.

No, I'm not. Get an education and leave me alone.

Thursday, 2 September 2004 at 6h 16m 1s

Liberators or Occupiers

Zell Miller preceded Vice President Dick Cheney, saying that "nothing makes this ex-marine more mad" when American troops in Iraq are called "occupiers" instead of "liberators" by what he calls democratic "partisans."

Well sir, tell that to the Iraqi's.

When United States troops remained in Germany and Japan after World War Two, not one soldier, NOT A SINGLE SOLDIER was shot or killed by militia groups.

How many American soldiers have died since the day Bush landed on an Aircraft Carrier and announced "Mission Accomplished?" As of September 1st 2004, twice as many as were killed before the mission was accomplished.

And don't liberators do deeds like repair the infrastructure, rather than skim off billions for profits or importing cheap labor instead of hiring unemployed young Iraqi's in need of work?

Do liberators round up random groups of teenagers, toss them in jails like Abu Ghraib, and subject them to humiliation akin to (if not outright) torture?

Do liberators appoint corrupt Baathist officials and promulgate a constitution instead of holding free elections, because the Bush administration was more interested in creating economic opportunities for foreign investors and multinational corporations? This is what happened when General Jay Garner was pulled out of Iraq in June 2003 and replaced by Paul Bremer.

And is it to liberate Iraq that appointed ambassador John Negroponte says this week that he is going to divert reconstruction spending into security forces? Will the Iraqi's see Americans as liberators when they are dying from depleted Uranium, who have sewage in their water supply, and who can't get more than 4 hours of electricity because privatization has been an absolute failure. Does that hate in their eyes come from the love they have for what is presumed by speakers at the Republican podium?

And now in the wake of these compiled failures, the urge for stability is so great that we are in the midst of creating a police state headed by a new thug named Allawi, using the same police that Saddam used, and the same prisons where Saddam tortured.

Living in a bubble, blind patriots don't connect the ineptitude of the Bush administration to the current results, since they have assumed the morality of ending one dictator will automatically produce a glorious democracy of freedom regardless of history and deep rifts in the Iraqi state. We don't take up arms in the United States when we disagree politically, but will the well trained, armed militias of the Kurds, Shitites, and Sunni's do so.

According to observers with 20-30 years of knowledge and real experience in the region (as opposed to the ideologues who safely write position papers in the cubicles of statuesque offices at think-tank Washington D.C.) no one in Iraq believes the elections of 2005 will matter at all.

This is not a "miscalculation." That word implies that you dutifully multiplied 2 and 4 and ... oops ... you got 6. This is a disgraceful failure, and the vehemence of rebuttal is just defiant denial. Not only did the administration not study for the test, not only did they not pay attention in class or do their homework, but they also presumed they didn't even have to read the book on how to effectively pursue foreign policy and warfare.

But some people who take a shit will eat it too.

Beating the chest and shouting "USA" is not going to change reality. And completely misses the point. Admitting that the Iraq war is a disaster because of incompetence and lies is not anti-patriotic. Are we going to chop off our nose to spite the face?

Two sources you can consult : Robert Fisk and juan cole.

Thursday, 2 September 2004 at 4h 0m 12s

The Party that does not Hate

Picture of old geezer with squishy face, wearing a band-aid on his chin to mock Kerry -- based on lies that he believes to be true.

Thursday, 2 September 2004 at 5h 57m 24s

Schwastikaneger Lies Again

On Tuesday, 31 August 2004, at the GOP conventions, Schwarzenegger said:

I finally arrived here in 1968. What a special day it was. I remember I arrived here with empty pockets but full of dreams, full of determination, full of desire.The presidential campaign was in full swing. I remember watching the Nixon-Humphrey presidential race on TV. A friend of mine who spoke German and English translated for me. I heard Humphrey saying things that sounded like socialism, which I had just left.

But then I heard Nixon speak. Then I heard Nixon speak. He was talking about free enterprise, getting the government off your back, lowering the taxes and strengthening the military.

The facts? There was no presidential debate in that election. Nixon never debated Humphrey.

Mister, I-don't-take-no-special-interest-money-unless-it's-corporate-special- interests Schwastikaneger lied.

Yes Schwastikaneger said he took no special interest money, and when asked why he's taking millions from corporate lobbyists by some upsnippity reporter, Schwastikaneger said he meant unions.

And what things did his friend translate sounded like "socialism?" Could it be that ole Schwastikaneger threw uneducated nonsense to the hungry idiotic dogs so that he could fed of off their irrational screams?

Hubert Humphrey of all people. Hubert Humphrey was a great speaker with a passion for the rights and freedoms of all men. This is the man who bravely made a speech at the 1948 Democratic convention where he wanted his party to enter the "beautiful light" by ending southern segregation and add a civil rights plank. Was ending the culture of racism socialism?

He happened to be Vice President when Lyndon Johnson was president, and became the Democratic nominee by default after Johnson resigned and Robert Kennedy was assassinated. What could Schwastikaneger be talking about? What could Humphrey have said that "sounded like socialism?"

Let's look at some Humphrey quotes from

Fortunately, the time has long passed when people liked to regard the United States as some kind of melting pot, taking men and women from every part of the world and converting them into standardized, homogenized Americans. We are, I think, much more mature and wise today. Just as we welcome a world of diversity, so we glory in an America of diversity-- an America all the richer for the many different and distinctive strands of which it is woven.
--Hubert H. Humphrey "All-America Tribute to Archbishop Iakovos," speech, 15 Jan. 1967, Chicago, Ill.
Much of our American progress has been the product of the individual who had an idea; pursued it; fashioned it; tenaciously clung to it against all odds; and then produced it, sold it, and profited from it.


"We cannot use a double standard for measuring our own and other people's policies. Our demands for democratic practices in other lands will be no more effective than the guarantees of those practiced in our own country."
"I am not here to judge whether people are locked in poverty because of themselves or because of the society in which they live. All I know is that they are there and we are trying to do something about it."
"It is all too easy for a society to measure itself against some abstract philosophical principle or political slogan. But in the end, there must remain the question: What kind of life is one society providing to the people that live in it?"
"When we say, 'One nation under God, with liberty and justice for all', we are talking about all people. We either ought to believe it or quit saying it ."
"Equality means equality for all - no exceptions, no 'yes, buts', no asterisked footnotes imposing limits."
"Be clear where America stands. Human brotherhood and equal opportunity for every man, woman, and child, we are committed to it, in America and around the world."
"What you do, what each of us does, has an effect on the country, the state, the nation, and the world."
"My philosophy has always been that benefits should percolate up rather than trickle down."
"There is no such thing as an acceptable level of unemployment, because hunger is not acceptable, poverty is not acceptable, poor health is not acceptable, and a ruined life is not acceptable."

Which one of these statements sounds like "socialism" to the schwatstikaneger? I don't hear any calling for government control of the means of production in any of these quotations. I don't hear any calling by Humphrey for the workers to take over the factories.

What I do hear is a sense that there is a moral obligation by our society to have a bottom level, a bare minimum so that no one should have to be born into poverty, ignorance, or suffer the indignity of bankruptcy merely because they become sick. This does not mean government handouts or welfare queens. This means food stamps so that children don't have to starve. This means a free public education so that everyone has access to the same opportunity. This means that no one should be exploited or profit from the sick and disabled.

All too often, that word is abused by politicians with a hidden agenda and a vain eye looking at power. Schwastikaneger is no exception.