How Conservatives Destroyed Education in the US

Conservatives and the privatization to failure in the schools…

 

On the Next American War… Syria

It’s fairly obvious the American people aren’t buying in to the justifications for bombing Syria. There are a lot of reasons, not the least because the previous President and his Staff lied America into it’s last, and longest lasting War in Iraq… And quite possibly in Afghanistan. All to accomplish exactly nothing.

The list of American national interests in Syria is very very short…

In fact you’d have to search hard to find just one.

The just isn’t any evidence on the table that should the Syrian rebels overthrow the existing government, they will be any better than the current monsters. Indeed,, the only way terrorism and extremism has successfully been destroyed in the past is to implement an even greater level of barbarity. Think Romans and Spartacus, where the roman crucified each and every “rebel” after defeating them alongside  the road to Rome. Opening the doors of the hidden armories, unleashing the gates of WMD hell – completely depopulating the region may well be the ultimate solution – but a cancerous “victory” won at the cost of our collective morality and national souls.

Ergo – We aren’t going to go there. And as such will be fighting pinpricks for the next 20-30 years as the region burns.

Giving the “bad guys” bombs to kill the even “badder guys” isn’t a strategy based in a formula for success. We tried that with Saddam. We tried that in numerous other places around the world. Didn’t work then…Won’t work now.

Sometimes, you just have to let the fire burn out by itself.

Rising Like a Phoenix? US Economy…

World power swings back to AmericaThis may well just continue to work and turn the US economy around…

As long as conservatives don’t get elected to screw it up.

The fact is, it has now become cheaper to manufacture many products in the US than in China. Those companies who haven’t made plans to “inshore” yet may well be holding losing cards. This could have a net impact on the US economy of over 3 million new jobs in 3 years. Foreign based companies have figured it out, with both Asian and European companies flocking to build plants in America. You add that to the two major “bleeding edge” chip foundries being built right here in America – and there are some fundamental economic changes afoot.

No small contributor to this shift is that energy independence thing. The US isn’t very far from being able to be self-sufficient. There are humongous reserves of Natural Gas in the Midwest, and oil reserves beggaring those in the Middle East in the Gulf of Mexico. This should mean stabilized energy costs, no longer at the whim of some crackpot oil-can Dictator.

China’s counterfeiting and Intellectual theft issues are huge for tech industries, it is also impacting firm’s brand names. I for one, have never been convinced it was ultimately profitable to move any high tech or leading edge product production to China because of the theft issue. It really doesn’t matter if you can make a big screen TV 15 cents cheaper – if the manufacturer is making knockoffs, using your logo, and selling them $100.00 cheaper. I think it’s time to cut the George Bush (pick one) support system for China. They have a huge internal market, and there is no reason their economy should not be strong once the necessary changes are made in how their government works, and business is conducted are made.

World power swings back to America

The American phoenix is slowly rising again. Within five years or so, the US will be well on its way to self-sufficiency in fuel and energy. Manufacturing will have closed the labour gap with China in a clutch of key industries. The current account might even be in surplus.

Assumptions that the Great Republic must inevitably spiral into economic and strategic decline – so like the chatter of the late 1980s, when Japan was in vogue – will seem wildly off the mark by then.

Telegraph readers already know about the “shale gas revolution” that has turned America into the world’s number one producer of natural gas, ahead of Russia.

Less known is that the technology of hydraulic fracturing – breaking rocks with jets of water – will also bring a quantum leap in shale oil supply, mostly from the Bakken fields in North Dakota, Eagle Ford in Texas, and other reserves across the Mid-West.

“The US was the single largest contributor to global oil supply growth last year, with a net 395,000 barrels per day (b/d),” said Francisco Blanch from Bank of America, comparing the Dakota fields to a new North Sea.

Total US shale output is “set to expand dramatically” as fresh sources come on stream, possibly reaching 5.5m b/d by mid-decade. This is a tenfold rise since 2009.

The US already meets 72pc of its own oil needs, up from around 50pc a decade ago. Continue reading

The New Jim Crow – Workplace Discrimination Claims Rise in Congress

This is costing taxpayers millions… Says something about our elected officials who can’t, or won’t obey the law of the land.

Taxpayers foot bill for Hill harassment claims

The number of discrimination and harassment claims on Capitol Hill has doubled in the past five years — and taxpayers have shelled out hundreds of thousands of dollars to settle those disputes.

new report out Thursday says 168 claims were made in fiscal 2010 alleging discrimination and harassment — compared to 87 claims reported in fiscal 2006. Fifty-seven of the claims made last year were based on race, while 41 claims involved age, 34 involved gender and 28 involved disabilities, according to the report from the congressional Office of Compliance.

The harassment and discrimination claims stem from 105 cases filed with the Office of Compliance last year, meaning one person could make more than one claim. The vast majority of cases involve the large workforce under the Architect of the Capitol and Capitol Police, with about a fifth of the cases coming from House and Senate offices.

While the total number of complaints has risen, the payouts in settlements fluctuate year to year.

In fiscal 2010, taxpayers paid $246,271 to settle nine matters brought to the OOC over the years. That’s a big drop from the previous year, when $831,360 was spent to settle 13 claims. The cash awards settled matters of discrimination and harassment, as well as retaliation claims and disputes over contracts and pay. Since fiscal 1997, taxpayers have footed the bill for more than $13.2 million in cases resolved by the OOC.

Claims of retaliation and intimidation have also grown in the congressional workplace — from 46 claims in fiscal 2006 to 69 in fiscal 2010.

The OOC, which is charged with protecting congressional workers and facilities, is urging lawmakers to take extra measures to ensure Hill staffers are well aware of their rights. The OOC called for all offices to post a list of workers’ rights and require training for managers and staffers on how to prevent inappropriate conduct at the workplace….(more)

ANOTHER Recession??????

And the whole world walked off a cliff…

Anyone else get the feeling the “experts” don’t have a clue how the economy actually works?

U.S. Economy Tipping into Recession

Early last week, ECRI notified clients that the U.S. economy is indeed tipping into a new recession. And there’s nothing that policy makers can do to head it off.

ECRI’s recession call isn’t based on just one or two leading indexes, but on dozens of specialized leading indexes, including the U.S. Long Leading Index, which was the first to turn down – before the Arab Spring and Japanese earthquake – to be followed by downturns in the Weekly Leading Index and other shorter-leading indexes. In fact, the most reliable forward-looking indicators are now collectively behaving as they did on the cusp of full-blown recessions, not “soft landings.”

Last year, amid the double-dip hysteria, we definitively ruled out an imminent recession based on leading indexes that began to turn up before QE2 was announced. Today, the key is that cyclical weakness is spreading widely from economic indicator to indicator in a telltale recessionary fashion.

Why should ECRI’s recession call be heeded? Perhaps because, as The Economist has noted, we’ve correctly called three recessions without any false alarms in-between. In contrast, most of those who’ve accurately predicted a recession or two have also been guilty of crying wolf – in 2010, 2005, 2003, 1998, 1995, or 1987.

A new recession isn’t simply a statistical event. It’s a vicious cycle that, once started, must run its course. Under certain circumstances, a drop in sales, for instance, lowers production, which results in declining employment and income, which in turn weakens sales further, all the while spreading like wildfire from industry to industry, region to region, and indicator to indicator. That’s what a recession is all about.

But how can we have a new recession just a couple of years after the last one officially ended? Isn’t this too short for an economic expansion?

More than three years ago, before the Lehman debacle, we were already warning of a longstanding pattern of slowing growth: at least since the 1970s, the pace of U.S. growth – especially in GDP and jobs – has been stair-stepping down in successive economic expansions. We expected this pattern to persist in the new economic expansion after the recession ended, and it certainly did. We also pointed out – months before the recession ended – that because the “Great Moderation” of business cycles (from about 1985 to 2007) was now history, the resulting combination of higher cyclical volatility and lower trend growth would virtually dictate an era of more frequent recessions.

So it comes as no surprise to us that, with the latest expansion only a couple of years old, we’re already facing a new recession. Actually, such short expansions are hardly unheard of. From 1799 to 1929, nearly 90% of U.S. expansions lasted three years or less, as did two of the three expansions between 1970 and 1981. In other words, such short expansions are unusual only with respect to recent decades…

Increasing Number of Latinos Identify as Native American

In some Latin American countries – being Native American is a definite negative. Discrimination, such as that experienced by Native American people in Southern Mexico is common. So historically, a lot of Hispanics have run away from their Native American background (Not unlike the disappeared black folks in Mexico). So this is interesting…

Ana María Tekina-eirú Maynard, right, dances at the 2010 Taíno Day ceremony in Puerto Rico.

Taino Festival in Puerto Rico

More Latinos identify as Native American, census shows

When Ana María Tekina-eirú Maynard filled out her census form last year, she checked the box for Latino, and for the first time, she also checked the box for Native American.

It had taken her more than 30 years — plus research and genetic testing — to discover her ties to the indigenous Taínos of Puerto Rico, to claim her identity and re-learn what she thought she knew of her history.

She’s not the only one. Since 2000, the number of Hispanics who identified themselves as Native American grew from 407,073 to 685,150, according to the 2010 census.

Some attribute the increase to immigration from parts of North and South America where there are large indigenous populations. In some cases, it’s because of recently discovered ties to native cultures.

Growing up in the Bronx, New York, and spending summers in Puerto Rico, Maynard said she had no words to identify who she was. She just felt “different.”

“It is one thing to know that you have indigenous blood,” Maynard said. “And I have always known it. I look at the faces of my mother and grandmother, and that reality is undeniable.”

But Maynard had long been taught that Taíno Indians, the indigenous people of Puerto Rico, were “gone, dead and buried” for centuries, decimated by Spaniards who arrived on the island in the 16th century.

“Why would you question what you have always been taught and what was considered as common knowledge?” she asked.

Still, 14 years ago, Maynard founded the Puerto Rican Folkloric Dance & Cultural Center in Austin, Texas, to preserve the culture of indiginous Puerto Ricans. Today, Maynard gives dance and singing classes as a volunteer at the center, in addition to her full-time job as an engineer with IBM.

Four years ago, Maynard heard about the work of Dr. Juan Carlos Martinez Cruzado, a geneticist from the University of Puerto Rico. In an island-wide genetic study, he found that at least 61.1% of those surveyed had mitochondrial DNA of indigenous origin.

Cruzado’s findings eventually cast doubt upon the notion that the Taínos of Puerto Rico had been completely extinguished but suggested that they assimilated.

“When I learned about (Cruzado’s) work, my life changed,” Maynard said. “It was an awakening that the Taíno heritage was not extinct.”

 

Hispanic Children Now Largest Number of Poor in America

One is six American children are now living in poverty…

Isn’t it time to raise some hell in this country?

Hispanic Children Make Up Largest Share Of Poor Children In U.S.

The largest group of poor children isn’t white for the first time in U.S. history, according to a Pew report released Wednesday.

There were 6.1 million Latino children living in poverty in 2010, that’s 37.3 percent of all of the nation’s poor children, compared with 30.5 percent who were white and 26.2 percent who were black, according to the report. The Great Recession, which pushed increasing numbers of American children into poverty, hit Latino families especially hard, the report found.

The unemployment rate among Latinos is currently 11.1 percent, significantly higher than the national rate of 9.1 percent. And the high jobless rate is affecting their kids; twenty-five percent of children in black and Hispanic families had one unemployed or underemployed parent last year, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

Hispanic households were also devastated by the foreclosure crisis; almost half of the victims of loan modification scams were Hispanic, African American or Asian, according to a report from the Homeownership Preservation Foundation.

The pain has yet to end. Seventeen percent of Latinos lost their home or were at risk of losing it in June 2010, according to a CNN Money analysis of Center for Responsible Lending Data. That’s compared to 11 percent of African American homeowners and 7 percent of white homeowners, according to CNN Money.

The foreclosure and jobs crisis exacerbated Hispanic child poverty rates, according to the Pew report. An additional 1.6 million Latino children were pushed into poverty between 2007 and 2010, a boost of 36.3 percent. By comparison, the ranks of white children living in poverty swelled by 17.6 percent, while the number of black children living in poverty grew by 11.7 percent.

In addition to economic woes, high birth rates among Hispanics living in the U.S. may also explain why Hispanic children make up the largest share of children living in poverty, the Pew report found. Hispanic children make up 23.1 percent of the nation’s children, due mostly to their high birther rates, according to the Pew report.

The rise in Hispanic children living in poverty is part of a larger trend of a rise in child poverty since the recession. One in four U.S. children under six are living in poverty, according to the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire. And that rise isn’t limited to pockets of the country.Child poverty rose in 38 states in the last decade, a report released last month by the Annie E. Casey Foundation found.

The boost in child poverty is indicative of the rise in poverty in the nation as a whole. The U.S. poverty rate increased last year to 15.1 percent, according to Census data released earlier this month. The ranks of the nation’s poor swelled to 46.2 million, the most since the agency began keeping track.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 143 other followers