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Topics - Cain

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Aneristic Illusions / Still trust the BBC? You shouldn't
« on: October 07, 2013, 01:25:54 pm »

The Richard Nixon school of ballet and the arts / Vo Nguyen Giap is dead
« on: October 04, 2013, 10:32:52 pm »

Aneristic Illusions / So, the Mail wants to play THAT game?
« on: October 02, 2013, 09:08:46 am »

Aneristic Illusions / America's allies!
« on: October 01, 2013, 06:29:57 pm »

Aneristic Illusions / US government shutdown hilarity
« on: September 30, 2013, 06:17:51 pm »

Aneristic Illusions / Obama, Bush, Rezko and WMDs
« on: September 28, 2013, 12:54:22 pm »

Aneristic Illusions / Exaro news - now subscription free
« on: September 21, 2013, 09:05:49 am »


Aneristic Illusions / The "End Game" memo
« on: August 23, 2013, 11:25:21 am »

When a little birdie dropped the End Game memo through my window, its content was so explosive, so sick and plain evil, I just couldn't believe it.

The Memo confirmed every conspiracy freak’s fantasy: that in the late 1990s, the top US Treasury officials secretly conspired with a small cabal of banker big-shots to rip apart financial regulation across the planet. When you see 26.3 percent unemployment in Spain, desperation and hunger in Greece, riots in Indonesia and Detroit in bankruptcy, go back to this End Game memo, the genesis of the blood and tears.

The Treasury official playing the bankers’ secret End Game was Larry Summers. Today, Summers is Barack Obama’s leading choice for Chairman of the US Federal Reserve, the world’s central bank. If the confidential memo is authentic, then Summers shouldn’t be serving on the Fed, he should be serving hard time in some dungeon reserved for the criminally insane of the finance world.

The memo is authentic.

But what was the use of turning US banks into derivatives casinos if money would flee to nations with safer banking laws?

The answer conceived by the Big Bank Five: eliminate controls on banks in every nation on the planet — in one single move. It was as brilliant as it was insanely dangerous.

How could they pull off this mad caper? The bankers’ and Summers’ game was to use the Financial Services Agreement (or FSA), an abstruse and benign addendum to the international trade agreements policed by the World Trade Organisation.

Until the bankers began their play, the WTO agreements dealt simply with trade in goods – that is, my cars for your bananas. The new rules devised by Summers and the banks would force all nations to accept trade in “bads” – toxic assets like financial derivatives.

Until the bankers’ re-draft of the FSA, each nation controlled and chartered the banks within their own borders. The new rules of the game would force every nation to open their markets to Citibank, JP Morgan and their derivatives “products”.

And all 156 nations in the WTO would have to smash down their own Glass-Steagall divisions between commercial savings banks and the investment banks that gamble with derivatives.

The job of turning the FSA into the bankers’ battering ram was given to Geithner, who was named Ambassador to the World Trade Organisation.

This has long been suspected, but it's nice to get some confirmation.   They shattered global financial regulations to allow the "big five" to engage in casino capitalism - and that's why, when it all went to shit, the crisis went global.

Aneristic Illusions / CIA/ISI disrupting Pakistani peace talks again?
« on: August 22, 2013, 01:50:30 pm »
Pakistan announces negotiations with the Tehrik-i-Taliban this morning:

A senior Pakistani Taliban commander has welcomed the government’s recent offer to hold peace talks.

Asmatullah Muawiya said in a statement Thursday that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif demonstrated political maturity by reiterating his offer to hold peace negotiations in a speech over the weekend.

A senior Pakistani Taliban commander then gets iced by IED:

A Pakistani Taliban commander believed to be harbouring foreign militants was killed along with four others in a roadside bomb explosion in South Waziristan tribal agency, officials said Thursday.

Ghulam Jan, believed to be a key commander of the outlawed Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), was killed along with four accomplices when the improvised explosive device targeted his vehicle on Wednesday evening in Birmal tehsil, located about 27 kilometres from Wana, the main town in South Waziristan.

And this is hardly the first time that this has occured.  After the CIA went on their revenge mission for the Khost CIA post suicide attacks, the Pakistani Taliban withdrew from peace talks with Sharif's newly elected government.

It seems being a Taliban commander is especially dangerous when talk of peace is in the air.  Funny, that.

Aneristic Illusions / Of course. What a ridiculous assertion
« on: August 22, 2013, 10:10:07 am »
I get what this Foreign Policy article is trying to say, despite some legitimate concerns about Malala's father.  But really, couldn't have they researched this just a little better?

The simple statement, "Malala Yousafzai, an innocent schoolgirl," has become increasingly contested through a counter-narrative that labels her a "CIA agent." What use the CIA would have had for a 14 year-old girl in Swat is of course a complete mystery.

Yes, the idea of US intelligence recruiting a child agent is utterly ridiculous:

At the time of the meeting, the boy didn't know that the United States had decided to kill a man named Adnan al-Qadhi, and had turned to its allies in Yemen for assistance. Now the Yemeni government needed the child’s help. The Republican Guard officers told him what they wanted him to do: plant tiny electronic chips on the man he had come to think of as a surrogate father. The boy knew and trusted the officers; they were his biological father's friends. He told them he would try. He would be their spy.

He was 8 at the time.

Like I said, I get what FP are geting at.  But maybe the reason conspiracy theories are so prevalent in that part of the world is that they are often the target of conspiracies.  Instead of infantalizing foreigners and treating them as simpletons who cannot appreciate sophisticated western political discourse, maybe we could try and see things from their point of view for once?  Crazy talk, I know.

11 years since No Child Left Behind!

You are a college professor.

I have just retired as a high school teacher.

I have some bad news for you. In case you do not already see what is happening, I want to warn you of what to expect from the students who will be arriving in your classroom, even if you teach in a highly selective institution.

No Child Left Behind went into effect for the 2002–03 academic year, which means that America’s public schools have been operating under the pressures and constrictions imposed by that law for a decade. Since the testing requirements were imposed beginning in third grade, the students arriving in your institution have been subject to the full extent of the law’s requirements. While it is true that the U.S. Department of Education is now issuing waivers on some of the provisions of the law to certain states, those states must agree to other provisions that will have as deleterious an effect on real student learning as did No Child Left Behind—we have already seen that in public schools, most notably in high schools.

Even during those times when I could assign work that required proper writing, I was limited in how much work I could do on their writing. I had too many students. In my final year, with four sections of Advanced Placement, I had 129 AP students (as well as an additional forty-six students in my other two classes). A teacher cannot possibly give that many students the individualized attention they need to improve their writing. Do the math. Imagine that I assign all my students a written exercise. Let’s assume that 160 actually turn it in. Let’s further assume that I am a fast reader, and I can read and correct papers at a rate of one every three minutes. That’s eight hours—for one assignment. If it takes a more realistic five minutes per paper, the total is more than thirteen hours.

Further, the AP course required that a huge amount of content be covered, meaning that too much effort is spent on learning information and perhaps insufficient time on wrestling with the material at a deeper level. I learned to balance these seemingly contradictory requirements. For much of the content I would give students summary information, sufficient to answer multiple-choice questions and to get some of the points on rubrics for the free response questions. That allowed me more time for class discussions and for relating events in the news to what we learned in class, making the class more engaging for the students and resulting in deeper learning because the discussions were relevant to their lives.

From what I saw from the free response questions I read, too many students in AP courses were not getting depth in their learning and lacked both the content knowledge and the ability to use what content knowledge they had.

The structure of testing has led to students arriving at our school without what previously would have been considered requisite background knowledge in social studies, but the problem is not limited to this field. Students often do not get exposure to art or music or other nontested subjects. In high-need schools, resources not directly related to testing are eliminated: at the time of the teachers’ strike last fall, 160 Chicago public schools had no libraries. Class sizes exceeded forty students—in elementary school.

Now you are seeing the results in the students arriving at your institutions. They may be very bright. But we have not been able to prepare them for the kind of intellectual work that you have every right to expect of them. It is for this that I apologize, even as I know in my heart that there was little more I could have done. Which is one reason I am no longer in the classroom.

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