Friday, March 21, 2014

This column was co-authored by Tim Graham.

"The Laramie Project" is an agitprop play compiled from real-life interviews that indicted the entire state of Wyoming as homophobic and therefore responsible for the murder of Matthew Shepard. One character announced it was just like "the Germans who looked the other way are guilty of the deaths of the Jews, the gypsies and the homosexuals."

The play packs a political punch, and the left has seen to it that it has been widely performed at colleges and even high schools across America for years. But last year, the accepted narrative began to unravel. Author Stephen Jimenez produced years of research that argued Shepard's killers Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson were not heterosexual monsters after all. "A manager of a gay bar in Denver recalls seeing photos of McKinney and Henderson in the papers and recognizing them as patrons of his bar. He recounts his shock at realizing 'these guys who killed that kid came from inside our own community.'" It was a gay-on-gay murder. That would make the political message -- the very essence of the play -- fraudulent.

But on the left, an effective yarn is never having to say you're sorry. Forget the reporting; stick with the legend. Without any hesitation, embarrassment, or shame, a new play by the same author with the same method is premiering.

"Laramie Project" head writer Leigh Fondakowski has created "Spill," an agitprop play about BP's 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill that thumps a tub against "the true human and environmental cost of oil." Fondakowski was welcomed in 2011 to teach a class at Wesleyan University about her interviewing and writing techniques. Then she and Wesleyan students traveled to Louisiana and interviewed residents about how they were affected by the oil spill.

The words of "30 real-life people" are incorporated into the play. President Barack Obama is featured with words captured from his public statements during the crisis. It debuted this month at Louisiana State University, but has been promoted in the national media, from The New York Times to The Huffington Post to NPR.

Fondakowski explains her mission thusly: "The BP oil spill was one battle in an environmental war that is raging along the Gulf Coast. Our play and installation will give a human face and voice to this story and shed light on the issues of oil dependency and climate change that affect us all."

On NPR's "All Things Considered" on March 18, reporter Eve Troeh underlined the anti-industrial agenda of this project: "That message is simple. Don't let industry gamble with human life, says Keith Jones. His son, Gordon, a mud engineer, died on the rig ... His biggest hope for the play is that it renews a dialogue about profits versus safety that all but dried up once the Deepwater Horizon dropped from the headlines."

Jones says everything oil executives and politicians say "is motivated by the dollar." It's always that "profits over people" message from the left. But when the federal and state governments fail their people, their wonderful and compassionate intentions must never be assailed ... if they're Democrats.
Troeh added: "And be skeptical, too, of the delusions many of us carry about oil and our ability to extract ourselves from it, says playwright Leigh Fondakowski." After a staged reading in New York, Fondakowski said the audience asked: "When is the character going to come in and say we're going to stop drilling?" Audience members "get in sync" with the local characters, and "you're waiting for them to agree with you, and they don't."

Liberals expect everyone to agree with them, especially people they see as victims of the petro-industrial complex. Fondakowski claims to like the "complexity" of the Gulf Coast locals seeing the oil companies as their benefactors and employers. But as the audience reaction revealed, the narrative is designed to suggest oil drilling should be forever abandoned. The left is perpetually using entertainment to serve its anti-capitalist agenda.

Even if it's a yarn.

They're everywhere. Turn on Fox News, local news, Animal Planet, HGTV, The Family Channel or talk radio. Pro-Common Core commercials have been airing ad nauseam in a desperate attempt to persuade American families to support the beleaguered federal education standards/testing/technology racket. Who's funding these public relations pushes? D.C. lobbyists, entrenched politicians and Big Business interests.

The foundational myth of Common Core is that it's a "state-led" initiative with grassroots support that was crafted by local educators for the good of all of our children. But the cash and power behind the new ad campaign tell you all you need to know. For parents in the know, this will be a refresher course. But repeated lies must be countered with redoubled truths.

The Bipartisan Policy Center is one of the leading Common Core ad sponsors. It's a self-described nonprofit "think tank" founded by a pantheon of Beltway barnacles: former Senate Majority Leaders Howard Baker, Tom Daschle, Bob Dole and George Mitchell.

"Lobbying tank" would be more accurate. The BPC's "senior fellows" include K Street influence peddlers such as liberal Republican Robert Bennett, the big-spending Utah senator-turned-lobbyist booted from office by tea party conservatives; former Democratic Agriculture Secretary and House member-turned-lobbyist Dan Glickman; and liberal Democrat Byron Dorgan, the former North Dakota senator who crusaded as an anti-D.C. lobbying populist before retiring from office to work as, you guessed it, a D.C. lobbyist.

Jeb Bush's "Foundation for Excellence in Education" is also saturating the airwaves with ads trying to salvage Common Core in the face of truly bipartisan, truly grassroots opposition in his own home state of Florida. As I've reported previously, the former GOP governor's foundation is tied at the hip to the federally funded testing consortium called PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers), which pulled in $186 million through the Obama administration's Race to the Top program to develop Common Core tests.

One of the Bush foundation's top corporate sponsors is Pearson, the multibillion-dollar educational publishing and testing conglomerate. Pearson snagged $23 million in contracts to design the first wave of PARCC test items and $1 billion for overpriced, insecure Common Core iPads purchased by the Los Angeles Unified School District, and is leading the $13.4 billion edutech cash-in catalyzed by Common Core's technology mandates.

In December, you should know, the state of New York determined that Pearson's nonprofit foundation had abused the law by siphoning charitable assets to benefit its for-profit arm in order to curry favor with the Common Core-peddling Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Pearson paid a $7.7 million settlement after the attorney general concluded that the company's charitable arm was marketing Common Core course material it believed could be sold by the for-profit side for "tens of millions of dollars." After being smoked out, the Pearson Foundation sold the courses to its corporate sibling for $15.1 million.

Then there's the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has joined the Clintonite-stocked Center for American Progress to promote Common Core and has earmarked more than $52 million on D.C. lobbying efforts.

Two D.C. trade associations, the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, continue to rubber-stamp Common Core propaganda. They are both recipients of tens of millions of dollars in Gates Foundation money. NGA employed Democratic education wonk Dane Linn to help shepherd through the standards; Linn now flacks for Common Core at the D.C.-based Business Roundtable lobbying shop, another leading sponsor of the ads now bombarding your TVs and radios.

Despite its misleading name, the NGA does not represent all of the nation's governors, holds only nonbinding resolution votes, and serves primarily as an "unelected, unrepresentative networking forum," as Heartland Institute scholar Joy Pullmann put it, with funding from both taxpayers and private corporations. NGA's Common Core standards writing meetings were convened in secret and are protected by confidentiality agreements.

Direct public input was nil. Of the 25 people in the NGA and CCSSO's two Common Core standards-writing "working groups," EdWeek blogger Anthony Cody reported in 2009, six were associated with the test-makers from the College Board, five were with fellow test-publishers ACT, and four were with Achieve Inc. Several had zero experience in standards writing.

Achieve Inc., you may recall from my previous work, is a Washington, D.C., nonprofit stocked with education lobbyists who've been working on federal standards schemes since the Clinton years. In fact, Achieve's president, Michael Cohen, is a veteran Clinton-era educrat who also used to direct education policy for the NGA. In addition to staffing the standards writing committee and acting as lead Common Core coordinating mouthpiece, Achieve Inc. is the "project management partner" of the Common Core-aligned, tax-subsidized PARCC testing conglomerate.

Who's behind Achieve? Reminder: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has dumped $37 million into the group since 1999 to promote Common Core. According to a new analysis by former Georgia State University professor Jack Hassard, the Gates Foundation has now doled out an estimated total of $2.3 billion on Common Core-related grants to thousands of recipients in addition to NGA, CCSSO, the Foundation for Excellence in Education and Achieve.

As they prop up astroturfed front groups and agitprop, D.C.'s Common Core p.r. blitzers scoff at their critics as "black helicopter" theorists. Don't read their lips. Just follow the money. This bipartisan power grab is Washington-led and Washington-fed. It's not a conspiracy. It's elementary: All Common Core roads lead to K Street.

Obama: “More Opportunities with Iran” Student “Exchange Programs” with Iranian Universities

Pamela Geller / Atlas Shrugs

Just yesterday, President Rouhani tweeted to the world, “Iran’s uranium enrichment will go on.”

Couple that with the spike in human rights crimes. “When he took office, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani promised to improve on human rights, yet UN reports found the exact opposite: the regime is hanging more people, arresting more human rights defenders, and persecuting more religious minorities than ever before,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch.

So it would make sense that Obama would further reward the savages with more opportunities and “exchange programs with Iranian universities.”

We can expect more Iranian students to blow themselves (or us) up while building bombs in their dorms or student apartments.

Saamer Akhshabi
Photo;Saamer Akhshabi: Iranian graduate student at Georgia Tech, died from burns over 90 percent of his body when a bomb he was working on detonated.
“Obama: Nuclear Deal Can Open Opportunities For Iran,” AP, Thanks to Nicola
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says a nuclear agreement with Iran can open up “new possibilities and prosperity” for the Iranian people.Even as negotiations on the accord continued, the Obama administration issued an order Thursday allowing U.S. academic institutions to operate exchange programs with Iranian universities.
The announcement followed Obama’s comments in an annual videotaped message to Iranians marking the Persian new year, Nowruz. This year’s message coincides with nuclear negotiations between the U.S., Iran and five other world powers.
Obama says reaching a final nuclear agreement “will be difficult.” But he says he’s committed to diplomacy because he believes there is a basis for a “practical solution” to the nuclear dispute.
The president says Iran would retain access to “peaceful nuclear energy” under a final agreement. He says a deal would also mean more economic growth and jobs for Iranians.
Secretary of State John Kerry, in his own Nowruz message, said he hopes the people of Iran will be able to “fulfill their aspirations” in the coming year. He welcomed in particular the prospect of more educational exchanges between the U.S. and Iran, saying it would “reaffirm our belief that strengthening cultural and academic ties between our two countries benefits our two peoples.”
Photo: Bruce        Ackerman, Ocala Star Banner/LANDOV
Common Core opponents under attack by big business

Written by Allen West 

Recently we reported about Common Core and shared this enlightening video regarding the government’s attempt to mandate education standards.

Click here for video:

Common Core has run into very strong grassroots opposition and has become a focal issue for the conservative grassroots Tea Party. However, Common Core supporters, backed by big business special interests, aren’t going down without a fight. And they’ll fight in the manner they know best — with big money.

    According to Politico, a coalition including the Business Roundtable and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce will launch a national advertising blitz Sunday targeted at Republicans skeptical about the standards. Spots promoting the Common Core will air on Fox News and other conservative outlets.

    The campaign — a major ad buy that could last months — aims to undercut dire tea party warnings that the standards amount to a federal power grab, akin to Obamacare. The TV spots and online ads will project a positive tone, featuring teachers praising the Common Core.

I spent a year teaching American and world history as well as honors government in high school after my retirement from the Army. I can attest that what is happening in our schools is not teaching but rather instructing on test-taking strategies. We are not preparing young people to be productive participants in our communities, developing their critical thinking skills or making education relevant.

It’s all because bureaucrats and those who profit from them are developing standards — national standards — that seem to forget one integral aspect of education: it is local. We have school boards for a reason and that’s to set standards and guidelines that educate children in coordination with the local community.

For example, you might think that since South Florida is home to maritime heavy industry, education would focus on preparing our children here for that industry. And why wouldn’t the Business Roundtable and Chamber of Commerce support more private sector involvement in practical application of education to support the theory taught? Evaluations should be based on skill set development, not nebulous and arbitrary standards developed by folks just peddling their wares, textbooks and such.

The bottom line is that big business has been recruited by Common Core proponents to destroy the grassroots, everyday Americans. And they intend to use their financial might to meet that end.

Dane Linn, vice president of the Business Roundtable and one of the architects of the Common Core says “State leaders, and the general public, need to understand why employers care about the Common Core.” The Business Roundtable, he said, is urging members to work their connections with “governors, committee chairs, House speakers, presidents of Senates” to stop any bills that could undercut the standards.

Mr. Linn needs to understand why parents care about Common Core.

And so it begins folks, the fight between big business and the grassroots. As I’ve said before, progressivism has nothing to do with party affiliation. It’s all about a philosophy of governance and the relation between government and the individual.

It is not the purview of the federal government to nationalize education standards. Nor is it proper for the federal government to blackmail states into accepting their terms of education. And it’s certainly not proper for big business to seek to financially crush the voices of concerned parents and teachers.

Neither I, nor my wife, Dr. Angela Graham-West, PhD, support common core. And I offer a word of advice to Republican candidates: listen to the people, and resist the temptation to betray them over the 30 pieces of silver these special interest groups promise. You will lose. I for one am more than willing and ready to stand up to Big Business as a champion for the American people.

Boston judge supports free speech restrictions, denies AFDI pro-Israel ad

/ Jihad Watch 
civilizedmansavageJudge Nathaniel Gorton in Boston has disallowed our revised AFDI pro-Israel. The difference between the two ads was that the new one didn’t say “savage,” but “those who are engaged in savage acts.” And thus the arbitrariness and political motivations of these denials are laid bare. At first we were denied for supposedly calling all Muslims savages, which we were not doing. Now we are denied apparently for criticizing those who are engaged in savage acts. A class that needs protection if I ever saw one, to be sure.

“Boston Judge Sanctions Speech Restrictions:

Denies Motion to Display AFDI ‘Tweaked’ ‘Pro-Israel’ Ad,” by Pamela Geller, March 20:
In our ongoing fight for free speech with the city of Boston, we had filed a second lawsuit against the MBTA for their capricious and arbitrary flouting of the First Amendment.
Let’s be honest. If any town in America needs our pro-Israel ads, it’s Boston.
We resubmitted our pro-Israel ad, and instead of using the word savage we substituted “those engaged in savage acts.” Ridiculous, yes, but we meant to make a point. More ridiculous was the MBTA’s acceptance of that ad. So let’s get this straight: we can’t run an ad that says, “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Defeat jihad. Support Israel.” But you can say, “In any war between the civilized man and those that engage in savage acts, support the civilized man. Defeat jihad. Support Israel.” What’s the difference? Which was our very point.
Judge Gorton denied the motion on the basis that “such blatant gamesmanship and deliberate confrontations” didn’t warrant granting relief. Indeed. But whose gamesmanship is it? Who is toying with our most basic and fundamental freedom? It is not us, Judge Groton. We are not playing games. We are dead serious about the First Amendment. We are fighting for that most basic element of the world’s first moral government based on individual rights. These tin-pot bureaucrats dictating what can and cannot be said according to their prejudices mirror the most closed societies.
And yet, perhaps it’s all for the best. These rulings are based on bad precedent. We knew going in that overcoming the Ridley decision, which upheld the MBTA’s right to reject ads it considered “demeaning” to some group, would be an enormous hurdle. The Ridley case is the Dred Scott of free-speech decisions. And during our hearing, Judge Gorton specifically stated that, being a district judge, he did not have the authority to rule on or alter the decision in that case.  Ridley needs to be overturned. That battle needs to be fought, and we are the ones who will do it. My legal team, AFLC’s David Yerushalmi and Robert Muise, and I mean to do just that.
“Judge Denies Motion to Display ‘Tweaked’ ‘Pro-Israel’ Ad on MBTA Space,” March 17th 2014, BostonInNo
A judge has denied the American Freedom Defense Initiative’s latest motion that would have required the MBTA to display a modified version of a controversial ‘pro-Israel’ advertisement.
In a seven-page court document provided to BostInno, U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel Gorton found the AFDI  ”acted in bad faith” and failed to demonstrate that the T acted unreasonably when it denied the group’s third version of an advertisement, which read: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Defeat violent Jihad. Support Israel.”

Ukraine vs. Russia...Putin vs. and the same
By: Diane Sori

“We’re imposing sanctions on more senior officials of the Russian government.”

- Barack HUSSEIN Obama 3/20/14

Useless...totally useless for in order for economic sanctions to work one needs to sanction an entire country NOT just target specific individuals, but when one does NOT understand basic economic premises, let alone how they work or don't work, what can you expect.

And while some suspect that Crimea is all about Vladmir Putin wanting to restore the former Soviet Union as the world's number one superpower, the fact is he wants even in Vladimir Putin wants to restore the glory days of the Russian Empire complete with Czar Putin the First.

Also wanting to be the political foot hovering over the backs of the economies of Europe without actually crushing them, Putin knows what 'red lines' he can and cannot cross. Starting WWIII is NOT in Putin's plans for at heart he wants wealth...personal wealth and power.

Territorial acquisition by force is indeed Putin's goal as he strives to rebuild the 'motherland' and his personal fortune with Crimea being rung one on his ladder to implied success on all fronts. And knowing that what Putin wants Putin usually gets, our 'fearless' leader does NOTHING but slap useless sanctions on a few rich Russians who could care less.

Thinking he's putting pressure on Russia with sanctions that include denying visas, freezing assets, and barring those sanctioned from doing business in the U.S. along with being unable to conduct transactions in American dollars anywhere in the world...he's putting them on a very small group of wealthy individuals. Sanctioning wealthy individuals including Putin’s chief of staff Sergei Ivanov, lifelong friends Arkady Rotenberg and Russian oil billionaire Gennady Timchenko, whose companies have amassed billions of dollars in government contracts, along with 17 others individuals as well as freezing the assets of Bank Rossiya, Putin's private bank owned by personal friend Yuri Kovalchuk, is Obama's idea of standing up to Putin.

And what does Putin do in response as the European Union joins Obama in expanding the number of people they're targeting (including pro-Russian Crimean secessionist leaders, 10 leading Russian lawmakers who have endorsed the annexation of Crimea, and three top Russian military commanders) along with threatening to cancel an EU-Russia summit...Putin counter-sanctions Obama's and the EU's sanctions by imposing entry bans on American lawmakers like Harry Reid and John Boehner, and on senior White House officials like Obama's senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer and his deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes. And playing tit-for-tat Obama signed an executive order that would enable him to penalize key sectors of the Russian economy, including their energy businesses. An executive order that Obama could act on if Russian forces move into other areas of any of Obama's executive orders would ever stand in Putin's way.

But until this happens...and there is NO guarantee it will ever happen as we all know how Obama loves to hear himself bloviate but NEVER acts on his bloviations...the 'Russian Bear' has again checkmated Obama as he marches forward with even more force and determination. So while Obama continues to declare Russia's incursion into Crimea a violation of international law, and while Ukrainian officials vow NEVER to accept Crimea's annexation by Russia, Putin signed a decree that recognizes the independence and sovereignty of the Republic of Crimea at the same time the Russian parliament starts the legislative process of annexing Crimea back into the 'motherland.'

And know that NO matter how loud Obama squawks Putin will NOT give up Crimea, and will manipulate his way into other areas of Ukraine with pro-Russia populations as well. But this time he may do it with political upheavals and financial sabotage instead of with troops and in do it by encouraging ethnic Russians into committing acts of public it by waging a well-crafted it with visa it by financially crippling Ukraine by raising natural gas prices...and do it by demanding immediate repayment of billions of dollars in debts and loans.

"We offer peace, and Russia offers war" said Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk who still hopes for a diplomatic solution to the turmoil that is engulfing his country all while acknowledging that there was "a strong possibility" of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

So while Crimean lawmakers have approved legislation to make the Russian ruble the official currency in Crimea along with the Ukrainian hryvnia, and while on March 30th, Crimea will move to Moscow Standard Time, a partial mobilization of Ukraine's armed forces has started...armed forces that really are NO match for Putin's forces. But no one...NOT Obama or Ukrainian officials...can overlook the fact that that most of Crimea's population, with the exception of the Tatar minority and some ethnic Ukrainians, are more than happy to return to what they have always regarded as their ancestral home...'mother' Russia.

And this serves Vladimir Putin well for the man who wants to return Russia to her long ago imperial glory works his will and his all bullies do...through intimidation and strength...while Barack HUSSEIN Obama shows weaknesses and ineptitude on the world stage. And Obama's weakness will indeed be the cause of Ukraine's ultimate downfall as a community organizer is NO match for a 'Russian Bear' with a heart of steel whose NOT afraid to get blood on his hands.

And know that when this is all said and done there will be blood on Putin's hands...blood on Obama's hands...and it will be innocent Ukrainian blood and that is the saddest thing of all.