It’s funny, but the United States used to be a Republic. You know, a nation of laws, not of men. I guess that if enough people break a law then it was a bad law to begin with and they should instead be rewarded.
From Hitler to Pinochet and beyond, history shows there are certain steps that any would-be dictator must take to destroy constitutional freedoms. And, argues Naomi Wolf, George Bush and his administration seem to be taking them all
Tuesday April 24, 2007
Last autumn, there was a military coup in Thailand. The leaders of the coup took a number of steps, rather systematically, as if they had a shopping list. In a sense, they did. Within a matter of days, democracy had been closed down: the coup leaders declared martial law, sent armed soldiers into residential areas, took over radio and TV stations, issued restrictions on the press, tightened some limits on travel, and took certain activists into custody.
They were not figuring these things out as they went along. If you look at history, you can see that there is essentially a blueprint for turning an open society into a dictatorship. That blueprint has been used again and again in more and less bloody, more and less terrifying ways. But it is always effective. It is very difficult and arduous to create and sustain a democracy – but history shows that closing one down is much simpler. You simply have to be willing to take the 10 steps.
As difficult as this is to contemplate, it is clear, if you are willing to look, that each of these 10 steps has already been initiated today in the United States by the Bush administration.
Read the rest of the article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/print/0,,329789179-103680,00.html
Intel Corp., the world’s largest computer chip maker, has partnered with two Saudi Arabian software companies to develop an electronic version of Islam’s holy book and a training computer for teachers packed with the government-approved curriculum for schoolchildren.
And you say, "Yeah, so what? It’s just Intel doing smart business, right?"
As corporations become more-and-more influential across society, due largely to the fact that governments are becoming less-and-less effective as they drown in their own politically correct effluence, corporate choices have a serious impact on the direction of society as a whole. What does "government-approved curriculum" include? How about this quote from the Center for Religious Freedom on the Saudi’s state policy:
Government textbooks and publications teach that it is a religious obligation for Muslims to hate Christians and Jews and warn against imitating, befriending, or helping them in any way, or taking part in their festivities and celebrations. The state teaches a Nazi-like hatred for Jews, treats the forged Protocols of the Elders of Zion as historical fact, and avows that the Muslim’s duty is to eliminate the state of Israel.
Global corporations cannot continue to think that they can maintain a politically "neutral" position and continue to chase the almighty-buck no matter the consequences. Let me share another famous quote:
"The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil."
It sounds to me as if "political" is just a euphemism for "duck-and-run" as far as state and union officials are concerned. Given the choice between delaying the WASL math requirements for 3 years, or failing 49% of the students and facing an angry backlash from parents, what do you think the politicians will do?
The cowards in Olympia will do the expedient thing, and the finger-pointing will continue from all sides until some enterprising legislator suggests that we "relax" the requirements and everyone runs pell-mell to lower standards in order to look good to their constituents. Chris Vance’s statement, that "it’s just not politically possible" to tell parents the truth and make them face the consequences of their choices for government and education leaders is a graphic illustration of why the Republicans will continue to hold a minority position in the House. I think spelling lessons should be the first course of order, starting with the word "backbone".
Gregiore – the feel-good liberal of choice is worried about "demoralized" students, never mind the fact that they will be taking remedial math courses when they get into college, and wondering why they even bothered with high school (assuming they get into college with their correspondingly low SATs). Charles Hasse, president of the WEA has the most telling quote in the article, pointing his finger at the Superintendent of Public Instruction’s "poor testing policy" which could be taken to mean that the teachers are teaching to the test rather than teaching good math skills in order to get a high graduation rate, and their dereliction has finally caught up with them.
It’s not a matter of "too little money for school reform" as stated in the article, but too little determination by politicians, school officials, union leaders, and parents to affect change for the benefit of our students in spite of the political fallout.
At the end of the article, they ask:
What worries you most about the recent spate of school shootings? Parents, how safe do you feel sending your kids to school? Are you planning to make any changes? Kids, do you feel safe at school? Selected responses will be published.
What worries me most?
That stupid bureaucrats are going to launch huge, expensive, and worthless programs, that will only pander to a reactive public in order to gain votes. "I voted for School Safety" will be the mantra, and of course they will pass the "School Safety Act of 2006" which will mean:
- More psychological profiling of our children
- More drugs dispensed to children in order to modify their supposed disorders
- More invasive probes into children’s homelife in order to validate bureaucratic intervention
- More central control of education budgets by the Dept. of Education
The federal system for approving and regulating drugs is in serious disrepair, and a host of dramatic changes are needed to fix the problem, a blue-ribbon panel of government advisers concluded yesterday in a long-awaited report.
Another quote from the article:
The increasing number of uninsured patients is also a major problem that limits access to care. "We have an epidemic on our hands," Schoen said. "The number of uninsured is up 6 million over the last five years. The number of states with 23 percent uninsured is now 12, up from four just five years ago. This is moving across the country, and is getting worse every year."
According to the PEW Hispanic Center (quoting from U.S. Census and DOL statistics) Undocumented Residents (Illegal Aliens) living in the United States are somewhere around 11 million*. You think there might be some correlation?
In back-to-back rulings in cases involving Microsoft Corp. and General Motors Corp., the court upheld state formulas for determining what non-California corporations pay in taxes.
A ruling against the state would have cost California’s treasury $500 million in refunds and $100 million annually in lost revenue, state officials said.
"This was a very big victory for the state," said Tom Dresslar, a spokesman for the California attorney general’s office. "If the state had lost these cases, we would have had to give back more than a half-billion dollars."
In a statement, Microsoft said: "While we are disappointed with the court’s decision in this case, we’re still in the process of reviewing it and weighing our options. In the meantime, we do not believe that this decision will have a material impact on the company."
Dresslar said the ruling should lead to dismissal of dozens of other suits filed by out-of-state companies challenging the state’s tax assessments.
"Fortunately, the court saw things our way, so the state’s budget situation is not going to be worsened," he added.
Hmmm…. no conflict of interest by the courts here. Let’s see…
- The judge is an agent of the state
- The state pays the judge his income
- It’s an appointed position (Nominated by governor, confirmed by Commission on Judicial Appointments; retention election)
Now why would a judge make any other determination?
It’s not just "Islamo-Facists" but a clash of cultures at the root of the problems between the West and the Middle East. There’s no middle ground it this conflict.