LEAD POISONED WATER IS THE TOPIC – “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” are song lyrics.

Lead poisoned water in schools is a major problem in 2016. Lead poisoning during childhood causes permanent brain injury; this has been known for years and has been proven repeatedly.

The Democratic National Convention tugged at our heartstrings by playing and emphasizing the beautiful song, written in 1969 by Paul Simon, “Like a Bridge Over Troubled Waters.”

LEAD POISONED WATER.001

That is the disconnect between reality and theater, the Theater of the Absurd, that calls itself a Democratic National Convention where issues are supposed to be openly discussed and a political platform is written. The actual platform fails to address fracking or funding for the permanent clean-up of lead poisoned water. Delegates mention this aloud to each other, but the official program has been imagery. The show must go on.

This is why people are disgusted with both presidential candidates and our present elected Democratic and Republican officials across America. They cannot be trusted as long as we and our children are being poisoned.

Infrastructures, that have been intentionally ignored for decades, and fracking are known causes of water poisoning. Clean water is ignored or merely given lip service by our own elected officials in local, state and federal government. Both Republican and Democratic elected officials are guilty of this. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) claims there is no money for schools and teachers while shoveling hundreds of millions of dollars to cronies for “special” projects and tax incentives. Michigan Gov.Rick Snyder (R) knowingly poisoned the City of Flint, all 100,000 inhabitants of all ages, while claiming that it saved tax money and helped to lower taxes. Other towns and cities in states across the nation are having serious water safety tragedies daily.

Neither Democrats nor Republicans admit poisoned water as a topic or issue in their platforms. Neither party offers possible solutions.

Beautiful song lyrics are no substitute for solutions to poisoned water that causes permanent brain damage of varying degrees. Our children and adults suffer as mind-game playing politicians amuse us to death.

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“Suspension of disbelief” Stops Here: Do we need the Republican and Democratic National Conventions?

The American Theater of the Absurd is called the Republican National Convention and the Democratic National Convention. Yes, theater – as in “suspension of disbelief.” Leave reality behind and believe what is advertised.

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We have been told: “There is not enough money to fund public schools or Social Security or relief from student loans or keeping water free from deadly pollution or feeding homeless children or providing mental health care clinics or… But, we need conventions.”

Really?

Hundreds of millions of dollars, out of a total that exceeds over a billion dollars for each of the two major parties, is being fed into the Political Campaign Industrial Complex while we Americans are deprived of the social services that are the basis of a healthy and growing nation.

“America is the greatest country in the world and will be again.” (?????)

“Look how much we have accomplished in the last eight years in spite of opposition, so let’s continue austerity measures for Americans while granting special financial sanctions to multinational corporations.” (?????)

 

So why have the conventions at all?
(from Robert Reich in TruthDig)

First, because they’re perks awarded to people who worked hard for candidates during the primaries — just as top sales reps in companies are awarded trips to national sales conventions. Delegates will have fun and spend money, which hotels and restaurants in downtown Cleveland and Philadelphia will sop up like dry sponges.

They’ll enjoy circulating on the convention floors for five or six hours each night exchanging gossip and business cards, hugging old friends and meeting new ones, and taking selfies.

And they’ll feel important when they hear party leaders, heads of state delegations, members of Congress and occasional celebrities tell them how critical it is to defeat the opposing party in November…

If they’re lucky… have a chance to clench the hand of the nominee himself or herself.

But isn’t this how nominees are chosen? No.

Our two major political parties no longer nominate people to be president. Candidates choose themselves, they run in primaries, and the winners of the primaries become the parties’ nominees.

The parties have instead become giant machines for producing infomercials, raising big money and rewarding top sales reps with big bashes every four years.

What can we do about this?

  • The very first step is to refuse to be willing victims. Act upon what we know is reality. Save Our Schools, United Opt Out, Network for Public Education, Badass Teachers Association, Move-On.org, and so many more national and local groups need our support. Be part of them. We are all in this together.
  •  Be among the activists and protestors in the streets of the conventions and in cities across America. Record actual events and the issues addressed on social media sources.
  •  If you cannot attend in person, use social media to re-post the realities recorded. Call people and talk to friends and acquaintances.
  • Make a great and glorious noise as we engage in telling truth to each other, truth in the face of power.
    If we don’t, who will? Stop the “suspension of disbelief.”  Take part in reality.

 

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“THE PRODUCERS” – Donald Trump and Mike Pence

Months ago my wife and I were talking about the fact that Trump had no substantial stance on public education. He hated teachers and badmouthed “failing” public schools, but he had nothing to say about what he would actually do. Then we noticed that he had no platform building issues on anything except building a fence that Mexico would pay for. He seemed to hate everything and everybody while encouraging hatred from others. He spent very little of his money on his campaign except to pay for services his own companies provided. He didn’t even like Republicans who were campaigning during the primary. He threatened to dump the Republican Party.

He seemed to my wife and me to be on self-destruct.

Eureka! We experienced an awakening.

My wife said, “This is like The Producers by Mel Brooks.” We decided that he was planning to throw the game and take what he could get out of it. But what if the hate-mongering worked, and he won?

The Producers Trump Pence.001

The Producers – the premise of this hilarious farce follows.

“Following the flop of the musical Funny Boy (based on William Shakespeare’s Hamlet) (“Opening Night“), the show’s washed-up producer, Max Bialystock, hires the neurotic Leo Bloom as his accountant. While studying Max’s books, Leo notes that a flop is expected to lose money, the IRS won’t investigate the finances of failed productions. Leo jests by selling an excess of shares and embezzling the funds, a flop could generate up to $2 million. Max asks for Leo’s help with the scheme.”

BUT, the play succeeded!!!!!

Recently in comments on Facebook, Anthony Cody mentioned The Producers. Several news articles from various publications are now openly questioning if Trump really wants to win. The Theater of the Absurd, called the Republican National Convention, has all the spectacle of a bizarre burlesque comedy with funny hats, a loud quasi-fundamentalist revival, an inane old sit-com rerun, and a seedy three-ring circus minus the live elephants.

Also, Barbara Bush, the wife of President George H.W. Bush and the mother of President George W. Bush, was on TV openly stating that she doesn’t understand why any woman would vote for Trump. George Will, the powerful far-right-of-the-far-right writer and commentator, declared he was leaving the Republican Party rather than have anything to do with Trump’s campaign. Many other Republicans have also turned against the only viable Republican candidate.

Producers Max Bialystack and Leo Bloom went to jail for their successful/failed scheme. Of course in America, no one with Trump’s money and connections ever gets jailed for anything. “And justice for all” is a totally meaningless phrase for people such as Trump. Trump even produces his own line of clothes in Mexico and China to avoid paying American employees and American taxes.

Well, this calls for a few clever hashtags for Twitter. Go to it!

By the way, what politicians will support public education for all and stop pretending there are any such things as clean coal and public charters? They seem to be writing a successful/failed play of their own.

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The First Lady of Plagiarism: Melania receives an F

As a retired teacher of English/Language Arts, there have unfortunately been many instances of plagiarism by students that had to be addressed in which consequences had to be given. Now the prospective First Lady, Melania Trump, has been caught bare handed in the same nasty situation during the first night of the Republican National Convention.

“… you work hard for what you want in life. That your word is your bond and you do what you say and keep your promise. That you treat people with respect.”
– Melania Trump 2016
“that you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond and you do what you say you’re going to do; that you treat people with dignity and respect. ”
– Michelle Obama 2008

Since no coherent Republican platform has been established which addresses educational issues, it seems bizarre to have plagiarism, which is an ongoing education problem, become the first example of what to expect from the Trump campaign. The First Lady of Plagiarism.

Oddly, even during a night of oddities, Melania’s recital was the least offensive discourse of a hate filled night. A recitation of platitudes from an eye-candy professional model. Blah, blah, blah, yak, yak, blather – with brief intervals of applause.

The Theater of the Absurd, called the Republican National Convention, began on this note. There was an element of Mel Brooks’ “The Producers” in the theater on Monday night.

Well, why would Melania Trump do this?

Trump and immigrant workers.001

As many politicians have repeatedly explained to us, immigrant workers are necessary because Americans are unwilling to perform certain jobs.

Plagiarism? Is that the best she and her professional writers can do?

I would have given her an F if she had been in any of my classes.

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Republican Platform: Dept. of Education, nuclear capability, infrastructure, Social Security, minimum wa… No. It’s all a sham.

The 2016 Republican National Convention will begin with Melania Trump introducing the Republican Platform regarding major issues such as the Department of Education’s future, the nuclear capability issue, the infrastructure, Social Security, minimum wage, women’s rights…

No, it won’t. She will not mention these real issues in any meaningful manner.

The entire event is a multimillion dollar sham taking place in one of America’s poorest cities with its history of corporate abandonment, poverty, unemployment, closed schools, privatization, minority suppression and worse. This is Theater of the Absurd complete with celebrity bling and sexy-lady attention grabbing – “all full of sound and fury Signifying nothing.”

We are, yet again, being forced into selecting the lesser of two evils thereby assuring the actual choice of evil. Trump and Company are less than evil; they are incompetence, arrogance, xenophobia, misogyny, racism, corporatism, and the destructive influence of money – lots of money. The system is rotten from within, and this Republican spectacle proves it. Bread and circuses without the bread.

Schools, children, senior citizens, the water we drink, decent job production, the social services which a democratic government exists to empower its people? We and our children, the little people, are mere collateral damage to immense greed.

We need to take the money, recently declared as free speech for corporations, out of our elections, or we will perish slowly and painfully. Many other countries and empires have also collapsed from within. We are not immune.

We need to assure third (and fourth, and fifth, etc.) party candidates of a fair inclusion in our elections at all levels.

We need to fight for our rights, and peaceful civil disobedience seems to be what we must engage in. OPT-OUT of bad governmental rules and regulations.

If the meme below seems offensive, so what! Compare it to the Republican National Convention Burlesque and its Platform for America. Now, that spectacle is OFFENSIVE.

 

Melania Trump's platform.001

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Why are there 50 Miss America candidates but only 2 presidential candidates?

Actually, this would make a wonderful essay question in Government 101. Even Pearson could not adequately bubble test it for a state mandated high stakes test.

“Why are there 50 Miss America candidates but only 2 presidential candidates?”

two presidential candidates.001

  • Hmm…
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Opt-Out: Believe the DNC and Hillary – OR – John King, the Secretary of Education?

Hillary and John King OPT OUT.001

These are facts, not opinions.

Secretary of Education John King will financially penalize schools and districts when parents opt-out of high stakes standardized testing for their children. John King is appointed by President Obama.

The DNC and Hillary will guarantee the rights of parents opt-out of high stakes standardized tests with no penalty for children, parents, schools or teachers.

“Thanks to collaboration between Clinton and Sanders drafters and platform committee members, the public education plank in the Democratic platform represents a refreshing sea change in its approach to public education, to the students we serve, and to the parents and educators who work so hard to give all our children the opportunity they deserve.”

“We also support enabling parents to opt their children out of standardized tests without penalty for either the student or their school.” See the source and links HERE and HERE.

HOWEVER –

“U.S. Education Secretary John B. King is pushing for new regulations that would penalize schools where large numbers of students refuse to take the tests.” See one source HERE.

We are expected to believe two opposites. This causes serious cognitive dissonance.

Do we believe what was and is being done or what is promised during an election campaign?

(Please do not make comments that Donald Trump is a demon who has no education plank in his platform. That is a given. The subject is what to believe regarding the Democratic National Committee and their candidate, Hillary Clinton.)



 

 

 

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(D) (R) “Make Illinois Great Again”: Lies, Theft, and Posturing

Illinois is a microcosm of every state. The austerity programs in the wealthiest and most powerful country in the world are insane behaviors. The wealthiest is the poorest? This is lunacy.

Yet we are all exposed to this schizophrenic magical thinking every day. Democrats (D) and Republicans (R) cook-up this concoction while adding their own artificial ingredients and chemically dangerous preservatives.

Illinois State Senator Daniel Biss (D) is a cook/concoctor whose goal is re-election at the expense of all we hold fair and just.

Close schools, force children to take expensive and educationally worthless state mandated high stakes tests, force even dying children to undergo these preparations and tests, give American tax money to a foreign testing/text company which avoids fair American taxes, declare children with special needs as not having special needs, do not feed the poor, declare that people who have no state certification in teaching are more competent to teach than experienced and certified teachers with credentials, arrest and imprison people with mental illnesses and/or low intelligence, scapegoat underpaid teachers for causing the financial crisis of states and banks, keep the homeless homeless, legalize paying employees an unlivable wage for years as highly profitable corporations make billions of dollars each year, hand over hard earned taxes from people to corporations as incentives to continue underpaying employees, pass laws (unread by lawmakers) that are thousands of pages long and written by corporate funded foundations and institutions, run prisons for private profit which increases unemployment for non-imprisoned people, pretend that each vote counts during primary elections that select candidates via super-delegates and political party decrees, in the land of the free give media coverage and have local laws that make third party candidates impossible to elect, grant multinational investment corporations non-voidable contracts to control public land and public services for personal profit, attempt to declare contracts to people void even though the earned benefits (pensions) have been plundered by the same politicians writing the old and new laws, pay tax money for the construction of sports arenas or private museums that will profit only the billionaire owners, praise crippled veterans while cutting food stamps and medical treatment payments, etc. – the list goes on and on.

It is a bipartisan list of national self-destructive behavior. Yes, bipartisan.

Prior to the last gubernatorial election, the death of Illinois was subject to death-by-a-thousand-cuts; today Illinois is subject to beheading.

Dismantling government by governmental decree is the suicide of a nation. The highly profitable non-profit foundations are both tax free and subject to governmental tax gifting via incentives and more. The people who make personal fortunes by doing this are honored for their personal wealth by the citizens who are being denied essential and supposedly unaffordable public services. Magical thinking makes people believe the opposite may happen rather than multiply the reality of today. Even PBS stations run special programs about aging backwards and curing incurable diseases at any age with positive thinking.

Democrats (D) and Republicans (R) repeat the insane messages as norms.

Here is one example from an email I received today. Illinois Senator Daniel Biss (D) was in the Democratic controlled state legislature that had a Democratic super-majority and a Democratic governor. They were busily plundering pension systems and declaring them “underfunded” even as the same theft procedure was going on with public schools. Biss and the Democrats ran the hated  (as declared by many elected Democrats) incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn against a totally inexperienced hundreds-of-millionsaire sociopath named Bruce Rauner (R). Quinn had been closing public services and following the same processes as the Republican governors in adjoining states. Quinn, of course, lost.

Today, Senator Biss treated us all as Alzheimer’s patients by claiming that Illinois is suffering from the highest unemployment and debt that can be cured only by electing the Democratic candidates in the 2016 election. [If anyone can tell me the difference between what Gov. Rauner (R) and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) are doing with their policies and behavior, I would greatly appreciate it. Please do not give me rah-rah (D) or (R) magical thinking craziness/sound bites or platforms from the 1940s or 1960s.]

Here is a direct quotation and a screen-shot of today’s email from IL Senator Biss (D) making political promises to Make Illinois Great Again – if Democrats (D) are elected. (The bold face below is mine.)

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Meanwhile, as the situation grows increasingly dire, the stakes of the 2016 election grow commensurately. This will be our best opportunity to shift the balance of power in Springfield and allow government to work again for ordinary people who have been so cruelly abused for the past year.”
– Senator Daniel Biss (D) – 9th District, Illinois

Magical thinking for purposes of re-election is delusional.

Make Illinois Great Again? The Democratic machine has been led for over 30 years by Speaker of the House Mike Madigan (D) whose decisions are furthered by his daughter, Secretary of State Lisa Madigan – until the Illinois Supreme Court overturned them.

The people of Illinois have had two years to organize and create candidates who represent the people of Illinois rather than the tainted politicians. There is still time left to create candidates for the next gubernatorial election cycle. The same, or something similar, is true in every state.

BUT, we must first rid ourselves and our neighbors of delusional and self-destructive magical (R) (D) thinking.


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Snoopy: Is life a multiple choice test? No.

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Sometimes I lie awake at night and I ask, ‘Is life a multiple choice test or is it a true or false test?’ …Then a voice comes to me out of the dark and says, ‘We hate to tell you this but life is a thousand word essay.’ ”
― Charles M. Schulz 

The same is true of all brands of useless, intense pressure, state mandated high stakes bubble tests. Even those sections that have a token written section are of little or no value for students or teachers.

Refuse. Opt out for your child. (See United Opt Out for how to do it.)


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Critical Thinking Skills: water fountains, restrooms, and high stakes tests

It wasn’t about water fountains in the ’60s, and it’s not about restrooms today.

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In order to intelligently respond to this statement, critical thinking skills are necessary. Whether you totally agree, partially agree with stipulations, understand the inferences yet disagree, totally disagree, or understand the surrounding historical comparisons yet want to examine the complexities of the situations, you need critical reading and writing skills.

These skills cannot be bubble tested or machine grades using computer algorithms. That is why the corporate education reform movement and the alphabet soup of high stakes state mandated tests and the expensive test prep materials (paper and online forms) are actually forcing today’s children to think uncritically. The corporate education reform movement is better referred to as the Education Industrial Complex, EIC. It financially supports politicians in both major parties to pass legislation that pays profits to the EIC. It keeps students of all ages well trained and ill prepared to think intelligently. In other words, it prepares obedient workers who believe themselves to be well educated yet are not so.

Critical thinking skills are essential for a well rounded education.

ESSA has words aplenty to read, but attempting to decode the morass of terms and promises will take committees decades to decipher as our children, the guinea pigs of the profit making experiment being run by the billionaire’s in EIC, grow up and complete their formal educations. Our ten year olds will be eighteen or twenty-eight years old as Pearson and the profit making yet tax free foundations fill their coffers with money from public education taxes.

Watch corporate network news today. Watch the distracting fiasco as very important people and TV evangelists battle over yet another created crisis. LGBT rights, which are human rights, have been spun into a semi-logical, merely two sided battle that has distracted us from the horrors of sending more troops into Afghanistan, reducing food for school age children, deciding who will be the leader of our country, and other truly critical issues. Super wealthy TV evangelist sermonizing that claims to think at a higher level is part of the delusional thinking and the side-show distraction that demands our attention on what passes for media news today.

What can we do about it?

To begin, opt out of the testing. Refuse to allow our children to be the obedient guinea pigs for the Education Industrial Complex. By not feeding the EIC the data, the EIC will not be profitable for the non-profit (meaning tax free and tax receiving) foundations spawned by billionaire investors posing as philanthropists.

How can we opt out legally for our children?

One superb organization, United Opt-Out National, has state-by-state lists of sample letters and directions. There are also many, many local organizations that can advise us. Talking about it is useless. Doing it takes time and effort. Our children and their futures depend on us. Let’s do it.


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