Rouge Forum Dispatch: Reason vs Barbarism

We Say Fight Back!

Congratulations on the publication of “Dangerous Counterstories in The Corporate Academy”  Edited by: Emily A. Daniels, SUNY Plattsburgh
Brad J. Porfilio, Lewis University in Romeoville, IL

We Remember


Boots Riley’s Dad Honored

In recent years Walter’s political work has ranged from anti-apartheid actions, to local educational and health issues, to organizing anti-war demonstrations, to participation in labor struggles, to electoral politics, to street demonstrations against police brutality, to Occupy Oakland, and beyond. He was a leader in the struggles against ballot Propositions 209 (ending affirmative action) and 187 (anti-immigrant measures).

Solidarity with Seattle. Swarm Banda (heads up Anon) Superintendent José L. Banda
(206) 252-0180
Office of the Superintendent
MS: 32-150
P.O. Box 34165
Seattle, WA 98124-1165

The Little Red Schoolhouse

For Doubters that the Ed Agenda is a War Agenda–Class and Empire’s Wars San Diego Unified’s new chief financial officer is a Naval Air Force veteran. He once helped to manage more than 200,000 people, 3,800 aircraft, 11 aircraft carriers and an annual budget of more than $40 billion. He’s worked at two school districts before coming here, and is a self-described problem-solver….You’ve got almost 17,000 people and you’re paying 100 percent of all their benefits for them and their spouses and their kids and anybody else, in 2013! That’s ridiculous….The only way that’s going to happen is if you build a bunch of relationships and say, “Look, I can do one of two things. If I pay for everybody’s health and welfare benefits, then I’ve got to increase class sizes and I’ve got to lay people off, because that’s the only way I can pay for the benefits….I’ve got hundreds — hundreds! — of excess employees. Hundreds of excess employees.
Where are they?
Every damn where. …I would say to you, watch what the board do.

Test Resistance grows The decision by a group of Seattle teachers to boycott a standardized test this winter could spill out to other cities as a decade of frustration over testing simmers.–teachers-boycott-standardized-tests0_ST_U.htm

Business Roundtable Resistance Grows (no to history, art, literature, and especially no to Marx) U.S. economic performance and job creation require a strong foundation of a well-educated and skilled population, particularly in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. A more skilled and prepared workforce will improve innovation and productivity growth, enabling businesses and the economy to expand. Indeed, it is estimated that closing the educational achievement gap between the United States and higher-performing countries could have boosted U.S. GDP by $1.3 to $2.3 trillion in 2008.(22)

Capitalist Education, as personified by Jeb Bush A nonprofit group released thousands of e-mails today and said they show how a foundation begun by Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor and national education reform leader, is working with public officials in states to write education laws that could benefit some of its corporate funders.
A call to the foundation has not been returned.
The e-mails are between the Foundation for Excellence in Education (FEE) and a group Bush set up called Chiefs for Change, whose members are current and former state education commissioners who support Bush’s agenda of school reform, which includes school choice, online education, retention of third-graders who can’t read and school accountability systems based on standardized tests. That includes evaluating teachers based on student test scores and grading schools A-F based on test scores. John White of Louisiana is a current member, as is Tony Bennett, the new commissioner of Florida who got the job after Indiana voters rejected his Bush-style reforms last November and tossed him out of office.
Donald Cohen, chair of the nonprofit In the Public Interest, a resource center on privatization and responsible for contracting in the public sector, said the e-mails show how education companies that have been known to contribute to the foundation are using the organization “to move an education agenda that may or not be in our interests but are in theirs.”   …. Florida
• FEE staff sought legislation that would count the state test, known as FCAT, as more than 50% of the state’s school accountability measure. FEE staffer Patricia Levesque wrote to a state official that she had negotiated the related language with state legislators, who were now “asking for the following, which the Foundation completely supports: FCAT shall be ‘at least 50%, but no more than 60%’ of a high school’s grade.” Pearson, the company that holds the $250 million FCAT contract and sponsors FEE through its foundation, has an obvious financial stake in ensuring that FCAT continues to be at the center of Florida’s education system.

So Long California Class Size Caps California embarked on an ambitious experiment in 1996 to improve its public schools by putting its youngest students in smaller classes. Nearly 17 years later, the goal of maintaining classrooms of no more than 20 pupils in the earliest grades has been all but discarded– a casualty of unproven results, dismal economic times and the sometimes-fleeting nature of education reform.
To save money on teacher salaries amid drastic cutbacks in state funding, many school districts throughout the state have enlarged their first-, second- and third-grade classes to an average of 30 children, the maximum allowed under a 1964 law, state finance officials and education experts said. Hundreds more have sought — and been granted — waivers authorizing them to push enrollment in individual kindergarten and primary grade classrooms to 35 and above.
“The more bodies you have in a room, I don’t care who it is, the harder it is for one person to conduct business,” said Monique Segura, a kindergarten teacher in Santa Barbara County’s Orcutt Union Elementary School District who has seen her classes grow from 20 pupils in fall of 2008 to 32 this year. “And that’s especially true when you are dealing with young children who are learning how to behave and how to conduct themselves in a classroom situation.”

Corruption Endemic to Capitalism and It’s Schools Residents of the Southwestern Community College District who expected to see former SWC president Raj K. Chopra and former vice president Nicholas Alioto arraigned in court on Wednesday were sorely disappointed.
For the second time in a month, Chopra failed to appear in a San Diego Superior Courtroom for his arraignment hearing. Defense lawyers again cited Chopra’s health as the reason for his absence. Chopra is claiming “severe depression.”
Alioto, summoned from Wisconsin, did appear, along with the 13 other defendants of the “South Bay Corruption Scandal,” an investigation San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis called the worst of its kind in county history.

Test Cheat Mumford Rejects 15 Year Plea deal Federal prosecutors, who had been expecting Mr. Mumford, 59, to plead guilty on Friday, accuse him of soliciting teachers to take certification exams for other teachers and prospective teachers in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee, falsifying government identifications and collecting tens of thousands of dollars in fees for his services over more than 15 years.   Six people, including four former teachers from the Memphis schools, have already pleaded guilty to accepting hundreds of dollars from Mr. Mumford to sit as proxy test takers. An additional 12 people from Mississippi and Tennessee have been indicted, including Mr. Mumford’s son, Clarence Mumford Jr., and a former wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cedrick Wilson.
The tests, which are taken by people who are seeking a teaching license or want to acquire new credentials in a specific subject, are known as Praxis exams, and they are administered by the Educational Testing Service.
According to court documents, Mr. Mumford hired test takers as early as 1995 and continued through at least 2010.
The ring was first detected in June 2009 when proctors for the E.T.S. realized that several people were taking tests using different names during a Praxis administration at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro. The campus police apprehended John Bowen, a substitute teacher in Memphis, after proctors discovered that he had taken a test under a man’s name in the morning and a different test under a woman’s name in the afternoon.

Fake Data in San Jose Derails Ed Projects Eleven years ago, the San Jose school district began requiring all students to pass the classes necessary for admission to the state university systems. Educators elsewhere watched with enthusiasm as early results showed remarkable success.
But San Jose Unified has quietly acknowledged that the district overstated its accomplishments. And a Times analysis of the district’s record shows that its progress has not, in fact, far outpaced many other school systems’ and, more important, that most San Jose students have never qualified to apply to a state college.
Those results should raise warning flags for other school systems, including Los Angeles Unified, that based key policy decisions on San Jose’s misreported data. The risk is that L.A. Unified’s version of a college-prep policy could drive students to drop out or delay graduation.
In 2000, before the college-prep program took effect, 40% of San Jose graduates fulfilled requirements for applying to University of California and Cal State University. In 2011, the number was 40.3%. Latino and black students have done worse. Among those who entered high school in fall 2007, about 1 in 5 black and Latino students were eligible to apply to a state college four years later.,0,7046799.story

Stanford Eyepopper! Social Class has something to do With Test scores University Graduate School of Education and the Economic Policy Institute, a research center based in Washington, said that the perceived gap between U.S. students and some of their foreign counterparts would not be as large if socioeconomic factors were considered.
The report released last week came on the heels of two major rankings in December by the Institute of Education Sciences, which caused the usual hand-wringing when they showed U.S. students lagging behind Asian and European counterparts in math, science and literacy.
But the new Stanford report said the conclusions drawn from international rankings were often “oversimplified, frequently exaggerated and misleading.”
“If the social class distribution of the United States were similar to that of top-scoring countries, the average test score gap between the United States and these top-scoring countries would be cut in half in reading and by one-third in mathematics,” the report said. It added that “social class inequality is greater in the United States than in any of the countries with which we can reasonably be compared.”

Harvard Cheats Harvard University said Friday it has issued academic sanctions against dozens of students, bringing to a close a cheating scandal that involved the final exam in a class on Congress and drawing criticism from a high-profile alumnus.
The Ivy League school implicated as many as 125 students in the scandal when officials first addressed the issue last year.   From The Detroit News:

Obamagogue’s Chihuahua, Arne, Says RaTT is Great “Race to the Top has sparked dramatic changes, and in only the second year of the program we’re seeing those results reach the classroom,” Duncan said in a statement. “Comprehensive education reform isn’t easy, and a few states have faced major challenges in implementing their plans. As we reach the halfway point, we need to see every state show results.”

The International Hot War of the Rich on the Poor

“The guerrilla fights the war of the flea, and his military enemy suffers the dog’s disadvantages: too much to defend; too small, ubiquitous, and agile an enemy to come to grips with.”

It’s the War of the Flea–Flea Winning The emerging offshoots have altered the composition of the terrorist network, scrambling its structure and complicating U.S. assessments of the threat that al-Qaeda represents.
U.S. officials said the terrorist network’s core in Pakistan and its ability to carry out large-scale attacks in the United States have been all but demolished, leading to a shift in focus to emerging threats elsewhere.
Recent attacks on U.S. facilities in Libya and a natural gas complex in Algeria, combined with the growing strength of an affiliate in Syria, have drawn attention to the lethal potential of an increasingly atomized al-Qaeda network, officials said. And though the targets of the groups have largely been regional, their multi-national memberships and adherence to al-Qaeda’s ideology have heightened concern that the violence could eventually spread. …“What we’re seeing in North Africa and Syria is an unfortunate result of Arab Spring,” said Seth Jones, a Rand Corp. analyst and former consultant to the Pentagon on counterterrorism.

Who Lost Afghanistan? Compromise, conflict, or collapse: ask an Afghan what to expect in 2014 and you’re likely to get a scenario that falls under one of those three headings. 2014, of course, is the year of the double whammy in Afghanistan: the next presidential election coupled with the departure of most American and other foreign forces. Many Afghans fear a turn for the worse, while others are no less afraid that everything will stay the same. Some even think things will get better when the occupying forces leave. Most predict a more conservative climate, but everyone is quick to say that it’s anybody’s guess.
Only one thing is certain in 2014: it will be a year of American military defeat. For more than a decade, U.S. forces have fought many types of wars in Afghanistan, from a low-footprint invasion, to multiple surges, to a flirtation with Vietnam-style counterinsurgency, to a ramped-up, gloves-off air war. And yet, despite all the experiments in styles of war-making, the American military and its coalition partners have ended up in the same place: stalemate, which in a battle with guerrillas means defeat.

The Children Assassinated by Obamagogue’s Drones (see the list) These children are innocent. They are not different from our own children.Their lives were taken away at a very young age as part of a military agenda, which claims to be combating “international terrorism”These drone attacks are extremely precise. We are not dealing with “collateral damage”. Drone operators have the ability of viewing from a computer screen their targets well in advance of a strike.  A family home is referred to as a “structure” or a “building” rather than a house. When they target a home with family members, they kill children. And they know that in advance of the drone strike:
“Bryant saw a flash on the screen: the explosion. Parts of the building collapsed. The child had disappeared. Bryant had a sick feeling in his stomach.
“Did we just kill a kid?” he asked the man sitting next to him.
“Yeah, I guess that was a kid,” the pilot replied.
“Was that a kid?” they wrote into a chat window on the monitor.” ( The Woes of an American Drone Operator,, December 14, 2012)
These children were killed on the orders of the US President and Commander in Chief Barack H. Obama.

Fisk on the New Face of AQ Now he hides in – or bestrides, if you believe what you are told – Mali. Al-Qa’ida is back in action, but this Algerian war veteran is an intriguing symbol of the path down which Osama bin Laden’s damaged creation now slouches. For Belmokhtar’s Afghan war record is clouded by his cruel participation in the vicious 1990s conflict with the military regime in his own country – he was born in the Algerian city of Ghardaia 40 years ago – and by the corruption which has embraced so many North African Islamist militias.
When he travelled to Afghanistan, he was only 19; when he fought the equally ruthless pro-government paramilitaries in Algeria, he had learnt that wars do not necessarily end, that victory is achieved through the humiliation of your enemies, rather than military conquest.
But Belmokhtar was a child of his country’s history. Born almost exactly a year after the French colonial power retreated from Algeria, he grew up speaking the language of his country’s former oppressors. His French was perfect, and those few Westerners who met him – usually as his captives – were to recall his fluency. Kalashnikov at his feet, Belmokhtar would ostentatiously read the Koran – the mirror image of Bin Laden – as a leader of al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb and then, having left its ranks long after its apparent defeat in Algeria, as the chef of al-Muwaqqiun bil Dima, uncomfortably but chillingly translated as “Those Who Sign With Blood”. Those who were to survive the atrocities at the In Amenas gas field last week – and, I suppose, those who did not – were to discover what this meant.

US Plans a Drone Base in N. Africa The United States military command in Africa is preparing plans to establish a drone base in northwest Africa to increase unarmed surveillance missions on the local affiliate of Al Qaeda and other Islamist extremist groups that American and other Western officials say pose a growing menace to the region.  For now, officials say they envision flying only unarmed surveillance drones from the base, though they have not ruled out conducting missile strikes at some point if the threat worsens.
If the base is approved, the most likely location for it would be in Niger, a largely desert nation on the eastern border of Mali, where French and Malian troops are now battling Qaeda-backed fighters who control the northern part of that country. The American military’s Africa Command is also discussing options for the base with other countries in the region, including Burkina Faso, officials said.

Syria Threatens retaliation for Israeli Attack The Syrian Foreign Ministry has sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon complaining about yesterday’s Israeli air strike against them and expressing his sense that Syria has a “right to defend itself, its territory and sovereignty” from such strikes.

Civilian and Vet Suicides (nothing to do with endless war and financial collapse, all is well) “There is a perception that we have a veterans’ suicide epidemic on our hands. I don’t think that is true,” said Robert Bossarte, an epidemiologist with the VA who did the study. “The rate is going up in the country, and veterans are a part of it.” The number of suicides overall in the United States increased by nearly 11 percent between 2007 and 2010, the study says.

Disarm the People! Whatever strictest possible gun-control regime is instituted by favored liberal politicians, the family who threw that party will still have all the guns that it wants at its disposal. Donald Trump will still have his carry permit. Goldman Sachs will have all the weapons it wants for its private army, which will still be working as an allied brigade of the supposedly public branch of the ruling class’s armed forces, and which its PR people will make sure are never crudely referred to as a “militia.”

The International Economic War of the Rich on the Poor

Modern-Day Slavery: Half A Century As A Sweeper
As Narrated to Yoginder Sikand
Never before—and I am now almost sixty years old—has anyone asked me to recount the story of my life. No, not even my own children have asked me this. I don’t blame them at all. After all, who wants to hear the story of a mere sweeper? It isn’t that I’ve earned a lot of money or that I have become a famous or powerful man that someone would like to know about my life. But, anyway, since you insist, I will tell you something about myself.
I was born in a small village in eastern India shortly after the British had left the country. My family belonged to a caste that was considered to be among the lowest of the low. Our ancestral profession was, as long as we could remember, removing carcasses from the village, clearing the drains and cleaning people’s toilets. My father did this work, just as his forefathers had done before him, but after some years it was next to impossible for him to maintain his family on the meager income that he earned from this occupation. And so, he left the village and went to Calcutta, where he got a job as a sweeper in a jute mill

Taibbi on Mary Jo White as Boss of the SEC America’s top financial cop should be someone who doesn’t owe his or her nest egg to the world’s biggest banks.
Read more:

The Student Loan Bubble Most of us are have seen headlines about the burgeoning student-loan crisis. As of August, for instance, student loans had topped $914 billion — an increase of $10 billion in less than half a year, even as most debt was falling around the country. Still, we do not appear to have hit rock-bottom. A new report shows that student-loan delinquency rates have gone through the roof in recent years and that, even more troubling, we may be entering a “danger zone” in which the entire U.S. economy is at risk.
The report from FICO Labs shows that student-loan delinquencies saw a 22-percent increase in the past several years; the overall delinquency rate is now more than 15 percent.                                                                                             The worsening deliquency rate comes as loan balances surge. The average student-loan debt jumped to $27,253 last year, up 58% from $17,233 in 2005. By contrast, average credit-card and auto-loan balances declined during that period.
“As more people default on their student loans, their credit ratings will drop, making it harder for them to access new credit and help grow the economy,” [FICO Labs head Andrew] Jennings said. “Even people who stay current on their student loans are dealing with very large debts, which reduces the money they have available to spend elsewhere.”

Post Bailout Auto Bosses Still Suck up Big Bonuses – A government auditor harshly criticized the Treasury Department for approving “excessive” pay packages for top executives at three companies that received large government bailouts.
Christy Romero, the special inspector general overseeing the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, criticized the Treasury for approving pay raises at General Motors Co., Ally Financial Inc. and American International Group Inc.
The report released Monday was critical of the Treasury’s special master overseeing executive pay at companies that got very large bailouts: Cash salaries of $450,000 or more were approved for 94 percent of the top 25 employees each at AIG, GM and Ally.
“While taxpayers struggle to overcome the recent financial crisis and look to the U.S. government to put a lid on compensation for executives of firms whose missteps nearly crippled the U.S. financial system, the U.S. Department of the Treasury continues to allow excessive executive pay,” the report said.
The executives at GM, Ally and AIG “continue to rake in Treasury-approved multimillion-dollar pay packages that often exceed guidelines” previously announced, the report said. From The Detroit News:

The Rise of the Permanent Temp Economy According to the Census Bureau, one-third of adults who live in poverty are working but do not earn enough to support themselves and their families.
A quarter of jobs in America pay below the federal poverty line for a family of four ($23,050). Not only are many jobs low-wage, they are also temporary and insecure. Over the last three years, the temp industry added more jobs in the United States than any other, according to the American Staffing Association, the trade group representing temp recruitment agencies, outsourcing specialists and the like.
Low-wage, temporary jobs have become so widespread that they threaten to become the norm. But for some reason this isn’t causing a scandal. At least in the business press, we are more likely to hear plaudits for “lean and mean” companies than angst about the changing nature of work for ordinary Americans.
How did we arrive at this state of affairs?

Nearly 44% of USers One Emergency from Financial Ruin Nearly 44% of American households are one emergency away from financial ruin.
That means they don’t have enough savings to cover basic living expenses for three months if something unforeseen happens such as losing a job or falling sick, according to a recent study by the Corporation for Enterprise Development. Almost a third of Americans have no savings account at all.,0,4750796.story?fb_ref=fb_widget

The Emergence of Fascism as a Popular Mass Movement

Obamagogue Saves Gitmo The Obama administration has decided to close the office and eliminate the special envoy devoted to closing the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The State Department on Monday reassigned Daniel Fried, the special envoy and will not replace him, according to an internal personnel announcement.
“The announcement that no senior official in President Obama’s second term will succeed Mr. Fried in working primarily on diplomatic issues aimed at repatriating or resettling detainees,” reported the New York Times, “appeared to signal that the administration does not currently see the closing of the Guantánamo Bay prison as a realistic priority, despite repeated statements that it still intends to do so.”

Berlusconi Praises Mussolini Former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi triggered outrage from Italy’s political left on Sunday with comments defending fascist wartime leader Benito Mussolini at a ceremony commemorating victims of the Nazi Holocaust. …Monuments to Mussolini, who came to power in 1922, still dot many Italian cities, including Rome, where a column to Il Duce stands close to the city’s main football stadium, within a stone’s throw of the foreign ministry.
Although never as fervently anti-semitic as his Nazi allies, Mussolini’s government persecuted Italy’s Jewish population, which was then estimated to number about 40,000, according to the Jewish Contemporary Documentation Centre in Milan.
The 1938 laws imposed oppressive restrictions on Jews and some 10,000 are estimated to have been deported from Italy between September 1943 and March 1945. Most of them died in the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland.

CIA Whistleblower on the way to Jail–US is a police state RT: It’s no secret that Obama’s administration has been especially harsh on whistleblowers. But can the US afford leniency, in these security-sensitive times?
JK: I think this is exactly what the problem is. In this post 9/11 atmosphere that we find ourselves in we have been losing our civil liberties incrementally over the last decade to the point where we don’t even realize how much of a police state the United States has become.
Ten years ago the thought of the National Security Agency spying on American citizens and intercepting their emails would have been anathema to Americans and now it’s just a part of normal business.
The idea that our government would be using drone aircraft to assassinate American citizens who have never seen the inside of a courtroom, who have never been charged with a crime and have not had due process which is their constitutional right would have been unthinkable. And it is something now that happens every year, every so often, every few weeks, every few months and there is no public outrage. I think this is a very dangerous development.

Nazi Goebbels’ Step-Grandchildren Are Hidden Billionaires “Harald, dear son, I want to give you what I learned in life: Be loyal! Loyal to yourself, loyal to the people and loyal to your country!”
Quandt was released from captivity in 1947. Seven years later, he and his half-brother Herbert — Harald was the only remaining child from Magda Goebbels’ first marriage — would inherit the industrial empire built by their father, Guenther Quandt, which had produced Mauser firearms and anti-aircraft missiles for the Third Reich’s war machine. Among their most valuable assets at the time was a stake in car manufacturer Daimler AG. (DAI) They bought a part of Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW) a few years later. (long)

Solidarity for Never

Kelber: AFL-CIO Loses 400,000 Members in 2012;Leaders Have No Plan to Attract Recruits;
Trumka Still Gets His $293,000 Annual Pay
With the loss of 400,000 union members in only one year — 2012 — we are witnessing the final stages in the collapse of the AFL-CIO.
The evidence of its growing irrelevance is clear enough. It did not mobilize its members in a national campaign to fight against the corporate-right-wing offensive to cripple unions in Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan and several other Republican-controlled states.

How’s The Pay at San Diego EA? in 2003 my income was equal to my wife’s, who is a trauma nurse at UCSD and a CNA member. My yearly income for 2011 was $100 less than what I made in 2003, while my wife’s income has nearly doubled in that time. My base salary, nearly stagnant for ten years, will determine my retirement income for the rest of my life. SDEA members’ salaries haven’t kept pace with the cost of living. Therefore any new fees only add to the demise of retirees’ standard of living, especially of those for whom STRS is their only source of income.

SEIU Goldenboy Charged with Stealing 100’s of Thousands from Workers Freeman was indicted on federal charges of stealing from those workers to enrich himself — even billing the union for costs from his Hawaiian wedding. The 15-count indictment, which also contains allegations that he violated tax laws and gave false information to a mortgage lender, carries combined maximum prison sentences of more than 200 years.
The charges resulted from a nearly four-year investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor, FBI and Internal Revenue Service that grew out of a series of Times reports on Freeman’s financial dealings as president of SEIU Local 6434. The ensuing scandal cost Freeman his job and spread through the SEIU, leading to the ouster of several other California officials as well as the president of the union’s biggest Michigan local.
Citing records and interviews, The Times reported that Freeman funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars of his union members’ hard-earned dues, and money from a related charity, to his relatives. He also spent lavish sums on a Four Seasons Resort golf tournament, expensive restaurants and a Beverly Hills cigar club.
Last month, his wife, Pilar Planells, pleaded guilty to an income tax charge in connection with more than $540,000 she received in consulting payments from the union. She is expected to be sentenced to three years’ probation and must pay about $130,000 in back taxes, interest and penalties, according to court records.

SEIU Goon who Stole a Million $ plus, Convicted SEIU Vice President Convicted of Stealing over $1 Million in Members’ Dues
Yesterday in Los Angeles, SEIU Vice President Tyrone Freeman was convicted on 14 counts in federal court, including embezzlement of union funds, violating tax laws and mail fraud.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Freeman faces up to 180 years in prison for crimes committed when he was in charge of SEIU’s United Long Term Care Workers local (SEIU Local 6434).
All told, Freeman stole over $1 million of members’ dues money, funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars to his relatives, racking up thousands of dollars in tabs at a Beverly Hills cigar bar, and expensing the costs of a lavish Hawaiian wedding to the union.
Various SEIU officials were aware of Freeman’s corruption, and simply let him steal from union members because Freeman was one of their loyal allies. In fact, according to the Wall Street Journal, federal prosecutors have not ruled out indictments against other top SEIU officials for aiding and abetting Freeman’s crimes.

above, AFL boss Rich Trumka

UFCW Grovels For WalMart The nation’s largest union of retail and grocery workers has formally pledged not to try to unionize Walmart workers, even though it helped coordinate picketing, protests and scattered strikes about wages and working conditions at the retailer last fall.  The union, the United Food and Commercial Workers, made the pledge this week to avert likely charges from regulators that it engaged in weeks of illegal picketing at Walmart stores last fall.
The National Labor Relations Board said Thursday that it would hold in abeyance any charges against the union and its affiliate, OUR Walmart, for six months to make sure they fulfilled their commitments.
Wal-Mart Stores had asked the labor board to determine if the union and OUR Walmart had violated a provision of federal law that prohibits worker groups from engaging in more than 30 days of picketing that is aimed at gaining union recognition.

Wayne State Faculty Union wants 10 year contract to guarantee dues collection Wayne State University’s faculty union is seeking a 10-year contract before the state’s right-to-work law goes into effect at the end of March, union leaders said Wednesday.
“We want our entire contract done before the right-to-work law kicks in,” said Charles Parrish, president of the American Association of University Professors — American Federation of Teachers, WSU chapter.
From The Detroit News:

Spy versus Spy

Memories of Operation Wurlitzer–the Winner of the Academy Awards is….the CIA The military has long had a direct influence on Hollywood. For example, a book published by the University of Texas points out:
The Central Intelligence Agency has been actively engaged in shaping the content of film and television, especially since it established an entertainment industry liaison program in the mid-1990s.
The book laments: The significant influence that the CIA now wields in Hollywood

Italian Court Convicts CIA Kidnappers A Milan appeals court on Friday vacated acquittals for a former C.I.A. station chief and two other Americans, and convicted them in absentia in the 2003 abduction of an Egyptian cleric from a Milan street as part of the C.I.A.’s extraordinary rendition program for terrorism suspects. The decision means that all 26 Americans tried in absentia for the abduction now have been found guilty. An appeals court sentenced the former C.I.A. Rome station chief, Jeffrey Castelli, to seven years, and handed sentences of six years each to Betnie Medero and Ralph Russomando. A lower court, while convicting 23 other Americans in November 2009, had acquitted those 3, citing diplomatic immunity. Italy’s highest court last year upheld the convictions of the 23 other Americans in absentia in the abduction of the Egyptian, Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, on Feb. 17, 2003. Mr. Nasr was transferred to American military bases in Italy and then Germany, before being flown to Egypt, where, he says, he was tortured. He has since been released.

The Bizarre Spy Novelist who Knows too Much Last June, a pulp-fiction thriller was published in Paris under the title “Le Chemin de Damas.” Its lurid green-and-black cover featured a busty woman clutching a pistol, and its plot included the requisite car chases, explosions and sexual conquests. Unlike most paperbacks, though, this one attracted the attention of intelligence officers and diplomats on three continents. Set in the midst of Syria’s civil war, the book offered vivid character sketches of that country’s embattled ruler, Bashar al-Assad, and his brother Maher, along with several little-known lieutenants and allies. It detailed a botched coup attempt secretly supported by the American and Israeli intelligence agencies. And most striking of all, it described an attack on one of the Syrian regime’s command centers, near the presidential palace in Damascus, a month before an attack in the same place killed several of the regime’s top figures. “It was prophetic,” I was told by one veteran Middle East analyst who knows Syria well and preferred to remain nameless. “It really gave you a sense of the atmosphere inside the regime, of the way these people operate, in a way I hadn’t seen before.”

The Magical Mystery Tour

Rapists’ Shield Implicates Successor, retires at Leisure,  denies responsibility Responding to a public rebuke by his successor, Cardinal Roger M. Mahony insisted that he tried his best to deal with the priest molestation scandal but fell short because not enough was known about the problem early in his career.
In an extraordinary open letter to Archbishop Jose Gomez, Mahony insisted Friday that he ultimately instituted state-of-the-art protections against child sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles. He seemed to suggest that Gomez had acted unfairly by publicly announcing that he was stripping the cardinal of any public role in the local church.
“Not once over these past years did you ever raise any questions about our policies, practices or procedures in dealing with the problem of clergy sexual misconduct involving minors,” he wrote.,0,5622288.story

Rapist Priest Protected, but disciplined for not getting the chant right The archdiocese of Los Angeles learned in the late 1970s that one of its priests had sexually assaulted a 16-year-old boy so violently that he was left bleeding and “in a state of shock.” The priest said he was too drunk to remember what happened and officials took no further action.
But two decades later, word reached Cardinal Roger M. Mahony that the same priest was molesting again and improperly performing the sacrament of confession on his victim. The archdiocese sprang to action: It dispatched investigators, interviewed a raft of witnesses and discussed the harshest of all church penalties—not for the abuse but for the violation of church law.
“Given the seriousness of this abuse of the sacrament of penance … it is your responsibility to formally declare the existence of the excommunication and then refer the matter to Rome,” one cleric told Mahony in a memo.,0,2178748.story

SNAP on Mahony’s Fake Punishment Headlines falsely claim that Mahony has been “banished” or “punished” or “outed.” That’s baloney. Listen to what knowledgeable Catholic staffers and journalists are saying about this.
From long time Mahony public relations flak Tod Tamberg:
“(Tamberg) said that beyond canceling his confirmation schedule, Mahony’s day-to-day life as a retired priest would be largely unchanged. He resides at a North Hollywood parish, and Tamberg said he would remain a ‘priest in good standing.’ He can continue to celebrate Mass and will be eligible to vote for pope until he turns 80 two years from now, Tamberg said.”

Mussolini’s Deal with the Church Mussolini and the Roman Catholic Church clashed over who should control education. To ensure that children grew up as good Fascists, Mussolini wanted the state to control this – as it did. However, the Roman Catholic Church felt that it should have this power. Both sides worked for a compromise. The attempt to settle this dispute started in 1926 and it took until 1929 for agreements to be signed. These were the Lateran Treaties. They covered areas other than education.
The Papal States (the name given to land previously owned by the Roman Catholic Church in Italy) had lost all its land in the 1870 unification of Italy. The Roman Catholic Church received £30 million in compensation in 1929 and the Church was given 109 acres in Rome to create a new papal state – the Vatican. The pope was allowed a small army, police force, post office and rail station. The pope was also given a country retreat called Castel Gandolfo.
Another part of the treaty was called the Concordat. This made the Roman Catholic faith the state religion – this was a fait accompli anyway. The pope appointed his bishops, though they had to receive the government’s blessing. Religion had to be taught in both primary and secondary schools. The Roman Catholic Church was given full control of marriage.

Obamagogue Caves to Mystics Fears of Sexual Pleasure, again The Obama administration on Friday proposed yet another compromise to address strenuous objections from religious organizations about a policy requiring health insurance plans to provide free contraceptives, but the change did not end the political furor or legal fight over the issue.  … The tortured history of the rule has played out in several chapters. The Obama administration first issued standards requiring insurers to cover contraceptives for women in August 2011, less than a month after receiving recommendations to that effect from the National Academy of Sciences. In January 2012, the administration rejected a broad exemption sought by the Roman Catholic Church for insurance provided by Catholic hospitals, colleges and charities. After a firestorm of criticism from Catholic bishops and Republican lawmakers, the administration offered a possible compromise that February. But it left many questions unanswered and did not say how coverage would be provided for self-insured religious organizations.
Under the new proposal, churches and nonprofit religious organizations that object to providing birth control coverage on religious grounds would not have to pay for it.

The Best and Worst Things in the History of the World

Lovely Yosemite Time Lapse photographs

Hash Bash Kablooey Two people were critically burned Wednesday in an explosion in an Ocean Beach area motel room that was being used to extract hashish oil from marijuana, San Diego officials said.
The 20-year-old woman and 21-year-old man were using butane as a heat source in the process, when the man lighted a cigarette, causing the explosion, officials said.
Windows were blown out of several rooms in the three-story Heritage Inn motel. Walls collapsed. A man staying in an adjacent room was injured by flying debris.
“It looked like a war zone up there,” said Maurice Luque, spokesman for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.
Flames shot up the walls and moved across the ceiling. It took 45 firefighters half an hour to get the fire under control.

Egging Koch,2078315

So Long

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