Third Party & Independents Archives

Musings From The Middle

Heard on CNN Sunday that a new intl ranking of middle school students placed the US 23rd in science and 31st in math. That’s about how it’s stood for the last decade or so.

The CNN guest noted that Finland, S. Kor, and Switzerland usually garner top rankings. She related that while S. Kor takes the hard core approach, strong discipline and long hours of study, Switzerland was doing well with an approach more similar to US teaching standards, but with a different twist.

A decade back Switzerland stopped their teacher training program and established a new program emphasizing high quality teacher candidates and instructional programs offered only at the more prestigious learning institutions in the country. Only the best students were accepted into the teaching programs. On graduation, their pay was commensurate with grads in the STEM fields.

Some 45 states have adopted more merit based training policies. Of course we are hopeful our mediocre education system will show great improvements as well. IMO, the US system can't be markedly changed. We've got strong unions. Mediocre colleges and teachers would strenuously object, pension funds, bookbinder assn's and so on - - -

Education will likely not be a part of the President's legacy. But, he is having ample opportunity in the realm of HC and foreign relations.

This HC legacy is a myth IMO. One can postulate the future well enough to know that HC will be a political futbol for years to come. Amendments will go on well into the 2020 time frame In reality, the goal was to just get a bill pushed thru that would serve as a reform platform for HC. A product of globalisation, just the name, "affordable HC", is highly deceptive. Going to be bad news if you've got a few bucks, good news if you don't.

Our local hospital is preparing for a $2.87M reduction in medicare payments. This reduction and the new ACA are forcing the hospital to cut back. Already, the hospital has cut some positions, reduced hours and employees to save $1.3M.

http://www.newseum.org/todaysfrontpages/hr.asp?fpVname=VA_CSE&ref_pge=lst

I can't see where this low key approach to Syria, Iran and China will win him any retirement bonus points. N Kor. and Iran seem to be leading us around by the short hairs. If Iran is allowed to conduct business as usual Israel will be forced to take out Iran's nuke potential within the coming year.

We really need a 3rd party w/a/dif/pol/att to address such problems.

Posted by Roy Ellis at December 2, 2013 10:59 AM
Comments
Comment #374754

Roy Ellis, I’ve heard that the health care reform bill has a “work-in-progress” clause in it that allows the Secretary to amend the bill as needed. That means to say if something isn’t working she can modify the rules to “fix” it. This is done without congress because it is already law to amend the ACA when needed. The drama in Congress and in the media is just that, drama to entertain the masses.

As far as Iran is concerned, do you really think they will drop a nuclear bomb on Israel? Seriously, would they go that far considering what the rest of the world could do to them if they did? Look at North Korea. They didn’t bomb South Korea when they got the bomb. Are we wetting our pants over N. Korea’s nuclear potential? Is S. Korea trying to bomb N. Korea’s nuclear reactors and enrichment facilities? The answer is no.

Perhaps our focus on the nuclear potential of these “rogue” countries is blown out of proportion. We have no immediate goals in SE Asia that merits saber rattling in Korea. Not so in the middle east. We seem to want to go to war at the drop of a hat in the middle east and any reason will do.

I’m sick and tired of trying to conquer the world. It’s stupid to think it can be done with dinky wars every 5 or 10 years. All we’re doing is pissing people off for no reason. We should be killing them with kindness! I think blue jeans had more to do with the fall of the Soviet Union than MADD did. We could spread democracy to our “enemies” with trade and exposure to each other.

It’s time the American people start looking at these things from a different perspective. A perspective like “WE’RE BEING LIED TO!”. I don’t believe anything the government says anymore. We’re not in Afghanistan to protect the US. We’re there to conquer Afghanistan. We’re not going after Syria to save the Syrian people, we want to conquer Syria. We’re not trying to keep Iran from getting a nuke, we’re trying to conquer Iran. The media can dramatize all they want but a lie is a lie is a lie.

I can’t believe Iran or Syria, or Afghanistan are a threat to the U.S. that merits invasion, occupation and distruction of those countries. It just doesn’t make sense how they are presenting it to us.

It makes more sense if we are just warmongering to conquer the world.

Posted by: Weary Willie at December 3, 2013 9:43 PM
Comment #374756
Roy Ellis, I’ve heard that the health care reform bill has a “work-in-progress” clause in it that allows the Secretary to amend the bill as needed. That means to say if something isn’t working she can modify the rules to “fix” it. This is done without congress because it is already law to amend the ACA when needed. The drama in Congress and in the media is just that, drama to entertain the masses.

Yes, we’ve set up a law that authorizes an unelected official have control over our most intimate relationships between ourselves and our health care providers about our very bodies… And some people see this as a positive thing, I’m not sure how anyone can see it that way.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 4, 2013 11:02 AM
Comment #374757

“the US system can’t be markedly changed. We’ve got strong unions.”

Not necessarily true. Finland has very strong teacher unions but made major reforms in their educational system a number of years ago. They turned a failing system into one of the worlds top performing educational systems.

Like Switzerland, one of the key reforms was increasing the competence, prestige and compensation for teachers. Increased teacher competence provides an opportunity for greater flexibility at the classroom level and education tailored to the students needs and capability.

As with the health care debate, we could learn a lot from other nations. But, don’t hold your breath.

Posted by: Rich at December 4, 2013 5:07 PM
Comment #374768

Your frustration is well understood here, WW. And, I have railed against nation building on WB long and hard. BUT, there must be a solution. Most every problem has a solution.

Lemme try: Let’s determine our perceived problems. Iran and N. Kor. re the nukes; Syria, Libya, Iraq, Afghan, Pakistan and ¾’s of Africa, re the Middle East problem. Basically, two problems, nuke and religious (caliphate states).

Re the nukes: N. Kor. - What won’t work is starving them out, sanctions, VOA broadcasts, dropping in material goods via drone, parachute and so on, intl coalitions and similar. What might work is to pull US troops from the region and go silent on the country. Encourage S. Kor to do the same. Leave NK and China to sort it out.

Iran: Super nice folks, those Iranians. But, their leaders want to be upfront on the Middle Eastern stage. Here, sanctions would be very effective. These guys need money to support world terrorism and keep the folks content. I suspect we will go back to sanctions if this most recent deal doesn’t work out. Were the Mullahs to get serious about nuking Israel the Iranian folk would set upon them with knives and pic axes, etc.

Again, fear and corpocracy are at work here But, my point is, for the security of the world there should be an international ultimatum that no other countries will be allowed to develop nukes and that a strong effort should always be in place to get countries to do away with their nuke programs and further reduce stockpiles to the extent possible. Near impossible to have kept China from nuking up NK. But, it seems possible that an Israeli strike could doom or set back the Iranian nuke program. I would support that.

The NK nuke thing is more about corpocracy than any real threat from NK. Fear keeps US troops there, benefiting primarily the old military industrial complex. Unimaginable, that NK would throw a nuke at SK. China understands that the global trade thing hangs in the balance should NK ever go ballistic. I can’t discern a circumstance where China would allow NK to be much more than a thorn in our side, etc. In that sense globalisation is working.

Re the Islamist Al Queda types. I like the approach taken by the EU re Ukraine. Hands off, let the people decide. So, we don’t need to be nation building in Iraq, Afghan, Pakistan and so on - - - I’m hopeful we are doing the right thing in Egypt by trying to not be the big kahuna? on the block, allowing the situation to play out. But, that is starting to look real dicey what with the situation in the Eastern part of the country, Al Quedas moving thru with a scorched earth program. I believe the best approach there would be to provide the military with runs and ammo to rout the Al Quedas.

Same approach in Libya. It seems the folks in Libya, Egypt and Syria have sufficiently had it with the hard core Islamists and are willing to sort it out without outside interference. I wouldn’t have a problem providing limited covert support to the secular efforts, perhaps thru Saudi Arabia or similar.


Too, I’ve blogged that we need a coalition force to prevent Africa from being turned into a bunch of caliphate states. Ironically, some of this is already going on. The French and perhaps some others are on the ground in a couple of countries. And, the US has moved some support troops to work with local military to thwart the Al Queda types. I believe ten drones are on hand to surveil and interdict. I believe we need a coalition force of some 5k, start in Central Africa and work northward to near the borders of Libya, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, etc. Dark Africa is simply not up to taking on any group armed with more than a couple of 22 cal. rifles, etc.

Otherwise, the US taxpayer is subsidizing the world under the auspices of protecting oil shipments. Supporting the mil-industrial-complex with wars where often we can’t shoot back. It sounds like the admin wants to keep 50k in Afghan where there are not patrols, going off base, etc. No drone attacks or even drone surveillance. Just sit there and train militia/police that has already been trained to a level beyond most brain surgeons, etc. and wait for the queda to shoot them in the back or blow up the barracks with their motorcycles, etc. Not sure the troops could even carry bullets.

Otherwise - - -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at December 4, 2013 8:07 PM
Comment #374769

Rhinehold, It may, or may not be constitutionally legal to pass a bill into law containing a statement whereby the law can be modified at will going forward but, it sure doesn’t make for sound legislation, IMO. Like I posted in the red column, I’m more afraid of congress than I am AVC.

Word is we will need 100k more doctors by 2020 to take care of the 10M newcomers to the insured pool. Come 2014/15 some 80M on employer insurance plans will be bounced. How anyone would expect HC costs to stay the same or drop is far beyond me.
On capitalism, in the WaPo today that the taxpayer is subsidizing bank clerics/tellers to the tune of $900M/yr. Not unfettered capitalism for sure, but it does smack of corpocracy.

And tonight, on the local news; Molly, Spice and similar synthetic drugs are being imported legally. Most from labs in China, 2lbs of spice, synthetic MJ, for $2500. Some 10k ER admissions yearly due to legally imported synthetic drugs. Again, not totally unfettered but corpocracy, fer shure.

Wouldn’t you agree we need some regulation there?

Rich, Shanghai is ranked 1st in math and is changing their curricula to provide their students more leisure time, time to develop friendships, time for sports, etc in striving for more well rounded graduates. Report says the US has the highest poverty rate of any industrialized country. Yet, few seem to be concerned about ‘inequality’ or minimum wage jobs. Half the workers in the US make less than $24k/yr. It seems unbelievable and to see these corporations bitching about raising the minimum wage. About 1/3 of bank tellers rely on some form of public assistance. Leaves one eating nails. Leaves one yearning for a 3rd party w/a/dif/pol/att and so on - - -

Otherwise - - -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at December 4, 2013 8:57 PM
Comment #374772

Great another generation that won’t work for a living. we have so many people trusting things like charter schooling maybe this is the binary end product—some republican who’s never held a job, with absolutely no qualifications, teaching your kids mathematics. This is why we don’t want the so-called rich doing things. They are going to teach our kids math and computers huh? So much for the Republican Revolution, they don’t know which side of the equator they are on or how many units are in a mile. This must be “Tofflerism!” Look out for “Terror????” no—“Toffler! Toffler!”

In a Toffler world math is actually outsourced!

Posted by: simpleheaded at December 5, 2013 1:57 PM
Comment #374842


This first url gives incite into the big pharma corpocracy. Would take thousands of words to gist the article so, hopefully you will take the time to thoroughly read it.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/an-effective-eye-drug-is-available-for-50-but-many-doctors-choose-a-2000-alternative/2013/12/07/1a96628e-55e7-11e3-8304-caf30787c0a9_story.html?hpid=z1

This second url gives incite and great definition to the long standing problem of subsidizing sugar production in this country.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/sugar-protections-prove-easy-to-swallow-for-lawmakers-on-both-sides-of-aisle/2013/12/07/f5959c06-5ac4-11e3-bf7e-f567ee61ae21_story.html

Here is a great statement from a ‘B’ section article titled ‘Global Citizen’. “A global community or citizenry cannot exist, because to love everyone and everything is to love nobody and nothing”.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/theres-no-such-thing-as-a-global-citizen/2013/12/06/2924cae6-5d0a-11e3-bc56-c6ca94801fac_story.html?hpid=z6

Lastly, there is a ‘G’ section article re ‘the darkest corner of the Internet’ where the writer relates the secret operations of extreme-porn sites. Apparently the SC judges are torn over the 1st amendment in ruling that anonymous speech is central to the 1st amendment on the grounds that voicing controversial ideas can be dangerous. Therefore, we are supposed to believe that to find and rout out porn sites can’t be done as it will hurt free speech. Therefore, it’s necessary to let the young kids view such stuff, grow up way too quick and so on - - - Corpocracy at it’s finest, IMO.

Yet another article on how Wal-Mart worms it’s way into local communities, driving out any number of small businesses along the way. Imagine, moms and pops trying to compete with main stream corpocracy.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/capitalbusiness/wal-mart-brings-more-than-its-stores-to-dc-it-brings-lessons-learned-from-other-cities/2013/12/06/d0cda2dc-5b5b-11e3-a49b-90a0e156254b_story.html


A 3rd party w/a/dif/pol/att might address the corpocracy as it relates to all these issues.

Otherwise - -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at December 8, 2013 4:44 PM
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