Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Debunking Obama's Bilious Baltimore Babble

It's never enough. American taxpayers have surrendered billions and billions and billions of dollars to the social-justice-spender-in-chief. But it's never, ever enough.

The latest paroxysm of urban violence, looting, and recriminations in Baltimore prompted President Obama on Tuesday to trot out his frayed Blame The Callous, Tight-Fisted Republicans card. After dispensing with an obligatory wrist-slap of toilet paper-and Oreo-filching "protesters" who are burning Charm City to the ground (he hurriedly changed it to "criminals and thugs" mid-word), the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner got down to his usual business: hectoring his political opponents and grousing that America hasn't forked over enough money for him to make the "massive investments" needed to "make a difference right now

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Obama blames social ills for Baltimore crisis: ‘It’s been going on for decades’

Responding to riots in Baltimore, Obama said Tuesday that there’s “no excuse” for looting and arson, but also said the unrest stems from decades-long neglect of urban communities in the U.S.
“We as a country have to do some soul-searching,” Mr. Obama said at a news conference at the White House. “This is not new. It’s been going on for decades. We can’t just leave this to the police.”
He said “if our society really wanted to solve the problem,” the public would pay attention to issues such as early childhood education and criminal justice reform regularly, not just when people riot.

“If our society really wanted to solve the problem, we could,” the president said. “It’s just it would require everybody saying this is important, this is significant, and that we don’t just pay attention to these communities when a CVS burns and we don’t just pay attention when a young man gets shot or has his spine snapped. We’re paying attention all the time because we consider those kids our kids, and we think they’re important, and they shouldn’t be living in poverty and violence.”
The president did criticize the people who looted stores and committed arson in Baltimore Monday night after the funeral of Freddie Gray, a black man who died after being in police custody.
“There’s no excuse for the kind of violence we saw yesterday,” Mr. Obama said. “It is counterproductive. When individuals get crowbars and start prying open doors to loot, they’re not protesting. They’re not making a statement. They’re stealing. And when they burn down a building, they’re committing arson.”

The president, in a joint appearance with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, also said many police departments across the U.S. don’t appear to have changed their behavior since the shooting death last August of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri.
“Since Ferguson … we have seen too many instances of what appears to be police officers interacting with individuals, primarily African-American, often poor, in ways that raise troubling questions,” Mr. Obama said. “It comes up it seems like once a week now, or once every couple of weeks. This has been a slow-rolling crisis, this has been going on for a long time. This is not new, and we shouldn’t pretend that it’s new.”
Asked by a reporter if his administration is doing enough to repair relations between police departments and minority communities, Mr. Obama replied, “I can’t federalize every police force in the country and force them to retrain.”
The president said the rioters “distracted” from peaceful protests led by clergy and community leaders, and blamed the media for focusing on the destruction by “a handful of criminals and thugs who tore up the place.”
“One burning building will be looped on television over and over and over again, and thousands of demonstrators who did it the right way, I think, have been lost in the discussion,” Mr. Obama said. “The overwhelming majority of the community in Baltimore, I think, have handled this appropriately, expressing real concern and outrage over the possibility that our laws were not applied evenly in the case of Mr. Gray and that accountability needs to exist. I think we have to give them credit.”

Read more: 
Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter

Jed Bush And Obama Common Core Brings Uncommon Problems?

The gloves are off in New York, a state where Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo is on his bully pulpit, saying test results will count for 50 percent of a teacher’s evaluation.
Two “needs improvement” or failing evaluations and the teacher can be denied tenure and lose their job. Too harsh?

Cuomo is no friend of teachers unions, among the most powerful in the state, and he is all-in on the Common Core, threatening less money for school districts that opt out. Even the federal government has come out recently, saying they may have to “step in” if states ignore opting out on Common Core exams.

But the natives are restless.
On Long Island alone, arguably the place where most of New York’s best public schools are, nearly 72,000 students opting out of 3rd through 8th grade English Language Arts tests. That’s 42 percent of those eligible. Comsewogue in Port Jefferson Station’s opt out percentage reached nearly 82 percent.

Teachers in anti-Common Core communities are juxtaposed: If they encourage accountability through test taking they risk rocking the political boat of their union.
Best to just shut up and teach, right?

But teach what, and how?
Common Core, for all its haranguing opponents, actually raises the achievement bar. To master the teaching tasks educators need hours of professional development. Once the teachers “get it” they need to educate parents on how to help their youngsters “get it,” especially regarding math, which has more English in it than ever before.
One rationale behind Common Core is that the United States doesn’t measure up to other nations regarding math, science and language arts. Common Core goes deeper into subjects, and should help student’s master concepts and skills before moving on.

Graduation rates in New York’s higher population centers is around 50 percent, and the state university system claims up to 46 percent of high school graduates who attend college aren’t ready for college level work. Needless to say the college professors are overwhelmingly in favor of Common Core.
It has been said that many union workers from all other trades have joined with the teachers in opposing the standardized tests in a show of solidarity.
A friend, who teaches on Long Island, had students ask her if they were allowed to opt out of the test, why did they have to do the work.
And there you have it. The long term results of anti-Common Core zeal. You get anti-learning zeal from students.
The long term results of anti-Common Core zeal. You get anti-learning zeal from students.
And why not? If you’re not going to be tested on the material why learn it in the first place? “Is it on the test?” is a frequent question from even college students.
The trick is turning them on to learning.
How does avoiding the tests designed to gauge achievement in Common Core turn students on to learning? One would think parents would want their children to have more experience taking high-stakes tests, not less. Think of all the future tutoring session fees preparing opt-out students for college entrance exams.
Some of the rationale given by education experts against Common Core includes alleging the test amounts to “child abuse.” In reality the test is a fair reflection of what students are expected to know, developed by teachers and other education professionals in order to make sure all states have high standards. One problem is how it was implemented.

But benchmarking is done in nearly every industry. We do it in finance, energy, medicine, and education. Benchmarking is a part of life and should be explained to parents, not hidden from them to further a suspected union agenda.

Some have gone so far as to say high stakes testing causes students to cry, hyperventilate, pee their pants and even think about committing suicide. Those reactions are not normal, and are most likely the by-product of adult reactions to the tests, not the child’s natural responses to them.

Common Core curriculum is more challenging. My third grader, as many of his classmates, is struggling with the math. He is challenged by the English Language Arts. The science is elevated.

Is it too much? Perhaps. Does it take more time for him to finish his homework? Yes. Do his mother and father have to spend more time checking his work and then helping him with it? Yes.

So, how do we help our children considering Common Core is “here to stay,” as former New York State Education Chancellor John King has said?

Put down the smart phone. Turn off the video games, TV and computer.
Do the math flash cards, handwriting, and science fair project with your child. Open a book and have them read to you, and then read to them. Showing an interest in your child’s learning is a positive step toward showing them that it’s important.
Common Core has brought us out of our uber-technological comfort zones and is causing some people to freak out.

Is it a good thing? Time will tell, but only if students take the tests designed to provide data on how well they are doing. Without the tests, there can be no reliable way to gauge progress or lack thereof. The scores for these exams were never meant for children anyway. They are a way for educators and parents to assess the progress or lack thereof of school children. How else can educators be expected to decide what and how a student should be taught?

Post script: My children took all of their New York state assessments. When asked how they were, they said, “fine,” and “I thought the math test was easy.” One never knows until the scores come out. But when they do, as usual, we won’t show our children the scores, good or otherwise. We will use the scores as information for conversations with their teachers and administrators in order to help find the best way for them to continue to learn and grow.

I am a three times mobilized U.S. Army major (Ret.); former teacher, coach and public school administrator; husband and father of five. I am the author of “Saving Grace at Guantanamo Bay: A Memoir of a Citizen Warrior.” Blog, Facebook, Twitter @mjgranger1

Obama, Eiic Holder Race Baiter

Monday, April 20, 2015

Putin Vs Obama, Putin Win Other Round,l: Russia's sale of advanced anti-aircraft missiles to Iran is a game-changer

It’s been widely reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin has decided to sell the Russian-made S-300 missile system to Iran. This sale has been planned for years, but it was put on hold in 2010 when the U.N. Security Council adopted Resolution 1929.
Although this resolution did not specifically prohibit the sale of missile systems like the S-300, it did call for all states to “exercise vigilance and restraint” in supplying weapons to Iran. Since then, Russia has refrained from selling these weapons.
Now Russia has changed its mind.
The S-300 is a mobile surface-to-air missile defense system that couples powerful radars with high-speed, long-range missiles. It is capable of shooting down aircraft over a large area (depending on the variant, the lethal engagement zone could be larger than the state of New Jersey, with the detection/tracking zone much larger than that).
In NATO, we refer to this missile system as the SA-10. We have studied it and trained to counter it for years. While we are not scared of it, we respect the S-300 for what it is: a very mobile, accurate, and lethal missile system.
Russia’s decision to sell the S-300 to Iran is a big deal for three reasons:

1. It represents a fundamental shift in military power for the region.

For over a decade, the United States and its allies have been able to take freedom of action in the Middle Eastern skies for granted. Friendly forces could count on air support and freedom of maneuver. Adversaries could assume they were vulnerable to observation and attack from the air, limiting their options and convincing some of them that they could not achieve their objectives through military force (often called deterrence by denial). This was especially true of Iran, whose air defenses have suffered greatly due to sanctions. The arrival of the S-300 changes this.
Russia S-300 systemReuters Graphics
The S-300 is not a wall in the sky. If we have to, we can attack and defeat it. Doing so, however, requires an effort that is much larger, much riskier, and much more costly.
Recently, we have seen a debate on the scale of a potential attack on Iranian nuclear facilities, with some arguing that it would be relatively limited and others taking an opposing view. With the S-300 in place, there is no debate.
Overcoming this type of system will require a large deployment of air, sea, and land assets, including our most capable — and expensive — airplanes and missiles. Our people and equipment will be at greater risk, and accomplishing the mission will be more difficult and time consuming.

2. It represents a major acceleration in the proliferation of A2/AD systems.

In 2003, Andrew Krepinevich, Barry Watts, and Robert Work warned against the proliferation of threats like the S-300 in a study published by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Analysis that coined the phrase “Anti-Access/Area-Denial,” or A2/AD.
They argued that states such as Iran and North Korea would acquire capable systems like the S-300, forcing the United States to alter its approach to projecting military power. That day appears to be here.
This is why many officials, including Work — who is now the Deputy Secretary of Defense — have called for the development of new technological approaches to “offset” advanced weapons systems like the S-300. Some have argued that this effort is aimed directly at China, but the proliferation of the S-300 demonstrates how A2/AD environments are spreading.

3. It represents the return to an age of geopolitical competition.

We may not want to go back to the days when every world development had to be viewed in light of a political competition with another great power. It is increasingly clear, however, that Russia sees the world through this lens.
rouhani putin iran russiaREUTERS/Alexei Nikolsky/RIA Novosti/KremlinRussia's President Vladimir Putin (R) shakes hands with his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani at the welcoming ceremony during a summit of Caspian Sea regional leaders in the southern city of Astrakhan, September 29, 2014.
Western sanctions — implemented in response to Russian intervention in Ukraine — have imposed significant costs on the Russian economy and ratcheted up the tension between Russia and the West. It now appears that tension has spilled over into the Iranian situation.
With the upcoming sale of the S-300 to Iran, Russia has found a way to increase our costs dramatically should we deem it necessary to intervene there.
One final observation: The training required to prepare against an S-300 threat is exactly the type that has been so damaged by the sequester cuts of 2013 and the budget caps of 2014/2015.
Recently, Secretary of the Air Force Deborah James stated that half of Air Force combat units are not trained to the level necessary for the “high-end fight.” In light of proliferation developments such as this Russian deal with Iran, that is not a reassuring statistic.
Colonel Clint Hinote, US Air Force, is a military fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He holds a PhD in military strategy, and he recently returned from Korea, where he commanded the 8th Fighter Wing at Kunsan Air Base.  The conclusions and opinions expressed are his own and do not reflect the official position of the U.S. government.

Read more:

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Congressional Republicans Move To Override FCC Net Neutrality Rules

Republicans in the House of Representatives this week made a legislative move to override the Federal Communications Commission’s new net neutrality rules.
Fourteen Republicans, led by Georgia Rep. Doug Collins, filed a resolution disapproving of new FCC regulations banning Internet service providers (ISPs) from segregating Web traffic based on speed and price, which they argue threatens industry innovation and expansion. (RELATED: FCC Votes In Favor Of Net Neutrality)
“Congress disapproves the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission relating to the matter of protecting and promoting the open Internet,” the eight-line resolution reads. “[A]nd such rule shall have no force or effect.”
Under the Congressional Review Act, the resolution can be brought directly to the floor for votes on both sides of Congress and bypass the threat of a filibuster by Democrats in the Senate.

Senators strike deal to force review of Obama-Iran nukes agreement

Senators reached a bipartisan deal Tuesday to force any final Iran nuclear deal to be submitted to Congress as lawmakers took the first real steps to curb President Obama’s foreign policy negotiations.
Under the terms of the deal, which cleared the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on a unanimous vote, the administration couldn’t lift any of the sanctions Congress has placed on Iran’s nuclear program until he presents all the details to Capitol Hill, and gives Congress a chance to have a say. IfCongress doesn’t act, Mr. Obama can lift the sanctions on his own.
Lawmakers said that means they aren’t prejudging the deal, which Mr. Obama’s team is still negotiating with Iran, racing a self-imposed end-of-June deadline to flesh out the details of the framework that all sides reached earlier this month.
A chastened White House, which had earlier threatened vetoes of bills that might constrain the president, said Mr. Obama could accept the new restraints, saying they don’t believe the bill would disrupt the negotiations midstream since it only gives Congress a crack once the president’s team finishes its work.
“They’ve relented,” said Sen. Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate committee, who said the White House had seen it was going to suffer an embarrassing loss if it continued to oppose the bill.
Both supporters and skeptics of the framework Mr. Obama announced in early April said they can back the legislation, saving potential battles over support for Israel for an eventual floor fight. But it was not without worries from Republicans who said they feared Congress was ceding still more legislative authority to Mr. Obama.

Read more: 
Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter