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iliana
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50 posted 03-02-2006 12:46 AM       View Profile for iliana   Email iliana   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for iliana

"I always find it amazing that Republicans are always painted as being for the rich by the Democrats, who actually ARE always for the rich. The common man has no complaint with Bush as far as the economy is concerned."

Now, Deer...I kind of take offense at that (kidding) because I happen to be a registered Republican (though I did not vote for Bush...too many secrets here in Texas).  

Furthermore, I will find you some valid/updated information to back the points I was trying to get you to investigate because there are hundreds of things...I just pulled up the first ones my search found.  

As far as the national debt.... I don't know enough to argue that.  But you don't think there is anything wrong with our economy???  I guess I will work on trying to show you how my social security may well not be there for me because those funds have been borrowed to fund Bush's hayday of spending.  I'm sorry....I do not like what has happened since he has been in office....no, I take it back, I will not apologize for what I've seen and studied.  I am not a scholar and did not intend to formally argue Lee's points for her, but she has made some valid ones!  

I can't agree with the fact that the country has gotten lazy grouping of questions though.  I've busted my butt for 35 years now and will be until the day I die (unless I really do get the 30 years of social security I worked for!!!!).  So please don't put me into your category of liberal left wingers....I will be an independent in the future.....that's what the Bush administration has done for me.  

As far as the economy goes.....tell me why Ford and GM have laid off so many workers this past year if times are not difficult.  Tell me why there is not enough going on in the car industry for those people to have kept their jobs (car sales down, perhaps, because people can't afford new ones).  Tell me why energy costs have gone up over 25% for electricity here in Houston where energy is so abundant.  Tell me why my husband who works for an oil company has only had 1 raise in 5 years and there have been massive layoffs over those last five years and he has a good job rating (thank God he wasn't laid off!).  Tell me why, when oil companies are demonstrating all-time high profits for their shareholders.  Tell me why my daughter who has a masters degree and 6 years of administrative assistant background (worked her way through college) has sent out an average of 50 or so resumes a day in NYC for the past four months and still hasn't got a job except for one offer for 12 hrs. a week in a Bath & Body shop and yes, I do know that for a fact as I have access to her email....lol).  

If I sound angry, it is not at you Balladeer.  I am really angry that as hard as some folks work, they can never get ahead in today's world.  It's a world of networking and knowing the right people and if you're plugged in then you really don't know how the rest of the country is.

Our schools suffer.  Talk to any teacher honestly about how they feel about No Child Left Behind.  They'll tell you they hate it. And many children ARE being left behind.  We just got the news tonight about the Texas schools.  Money down the drain, dropouts extensive, and failures rampant, test scores down -- not up!

BUT....HEY, I'll do some good research and get back to you here with it since my dander is up.  But not tonight.  My feeling is that I shouldn't even try to convince you...a deer can be lead to water, but darned if you can make it drink....lol.  I imagine the research will do me good though and make me a little more articulate.  Bet Noah could spit it out very rapidly.         

Help, Noah!
iliana
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51 posted 03-02-2006 12:49 AM       View Profile for iliana   Email iliana   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for iliana

Another thing, yes, I am a small business owner, Deer, but Tort Reform has nearly killed my business....it's struggling.  Another example of how the drug/insurance industries have hurt the common man (and I know who their biggest cheerleader is, our own George W.)....and I do count myself in the struggling mid-to-lower middle income class (although 10 years ago, we would have been upper middle class income).  
iliana
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52 posted 03-02-2006 01:34 AM       View Profile for iliana   Email iliana   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for iliana

The point about the Powells was this:  Colin Powell was one of Bush's trump cards to rewin his election -- the man carried a great deal of credibility.  Once re-elected, he "resigned."  

His son, Michael, accomplished through deregulation what would be required if mass media were going to be the means of a certain type of propoganda.  Then he resigned.  

Doesn't that make anyone wonder why?  Or is it just me.  The timing was after both Powells had used up the credibility card and accomplished what was needed...no longer useful and Colin Powell had problems with Rumsfeld's policies which were Bush's policies.  The "team" was not working any longer so he "resigned."  I cannot support this with anything other than observation.  

And no, the three major media companies are definitely not left wing --  maybe one of them, but definitely not Fox and its parent company (which I might add was originally not an American company, majority shares owned by Australian Murdock)-- Fox liberal???????   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rupert_Murdock -- My point is that other news sources are made to look liberal intentionally -- I do not consider most of the information from CNN liberal, I said most.  I do not believe CNN's coverage on the borders or the port issue to be liberal bias -- they have presented both sides, and you have to admit, even Fox has been covering those issues (although they seem to be leaning toward Bush's side about the UAE deal).  The objections raised have been bi-partisan!  

Now if you had said that the major media companies were greedy for the massive profits, I would agree.  I think the ones you call liberal, really only give the audience what they're asking for and if that appears to be liberal, then your argument that they are all liberal would mean the majority of Americans are liberal, right?  Under that argument, how did Bush get elected?  

If the reason why Bush says he'll veto any rejection of the ports deal is to save face, then I think it stinks.  If it's because we have many ex-pats living in the UAE and turning the UAE down might result in violence against our citizens there and closing down of the oil operations there, then this is downright blackmail.  A leader with real backbone would not be held ransom.  He'd put us on gas rationing and enforce some of the environmental energy regulations against the big businesses who waste so much and pollute the air.  I mean, afterall, we are at war!  In WWII, according to my mom, anything steel or metal was conserved.  Well, we're at war now...and where is the conservation???

[This message has been edited by iliana (03-03-2006 02:43 AM).]

iliana
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53 posted 03-02-2006 02:28 AM       View Profile for iliana   Email iliana   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for iliana

"Our banking system?"

I can actually remember a time when you could put $10 in a savings account and draw 6% interest.  Tell me where you can do that now?  I don't know how banks would operate without making some money -- I just think the playing field should be a little more level...if they loan out at 7%, then pay interest on savings accounts at 6%; make a point of profit. But, dah, they have Boards of Directors to answer to, too.

****
Alicat - I had to laugh at your comment!  I won't argue with you about that.  Clinton and Bush both seem to be in agreement as to a New World Order and have been pretty successful in creating it...it's not too far away if things keep going the way they are. (It's just that the New World Order is not what the ordinary guy might think it would be.)  We've had the same president for about 30 years, I think...lol...in that regard.  

And for anyone who doesn't believe that "the new world order" is a mindset growing out of the Trilateralist post-WWII and embraced in one form or another by every president, both Republican and Democratic alike, since Nixon (heck, I don't know, maybe even Nixon had that in mind), then they'd better take a second look.  It's an ideology that is believed to ultimately level out the whole world economically for anyone who has not heard that term before.  (Job outsourcing to foreign countries, I truly believe, was probably foreseen years ago and probably hoped for as part of this plan.  As long as people in power were making more profit, who would care about the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs middle class Americans could fill.  It fits the agenda.)  

[This message has been edited by iliana (03-02-2006 03:18 AM).]

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54 posted 03-02-2006 07:26 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Iliana, I'll be back to answer. Geez, you are making me work! Just letting you know that I did not classify you as a loony left-winger or intend any of the comparisons as a personal jab in your direction I admire the way you stand up for your beliefs and you express yourself with class, sincerity...and vigor! I'll  be back...
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55 posted 03-02-2006 09:27 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

"As far as the national debt.... I don't know enough to argue that."

You listed it to try to prove some kind of point. Why would you do that if you don't know that much about it? Was it just because it had a big number that looked impressive?

"I guess I will work on trying to show you how my social security may well not be there for me because those funds have been borrowed to fund Bush's hayday of spending.

Iliana, don't you have any idea how many years money has been taken out of the social security fund? It's set up that way as a slush fund and has been for many years. It hardly began with Bush and its deficit can hardly be laid on Bush's doorstep.


Tell me why Ford and GM have laid off so many workers this past year if times are not difficult.  Tell me why there is not enough going on in the car industry for those people to have kept their jobs (car sales down, perhaps, because people can't afford new ones). "

Yesterday the results came out in 10 different categories of the best cars in the United States. Guess what? In all 10 categories Japanese cars won. You want to know why ford and GM has layoffs? Ask the unions.

Hyundai Motor February sales rise 23% on year Long Link

BMW Group's Year-to-Date Sales Are on the Rise Long Link

Yes, people can afford new cars and they are buying them....just not American ones. Whose fault is that?

I certainly can't speak with reference to your husband although I agree with you 100% that's it's a crime that the oil companies make record profits at the expense of the American public. Do you feel that started with Bush? I can show you figures where it didn't.  Nor can I speak of your daughter but do you think her inability to be hired in her field is Bush's fault? Or the fault of the economy based on Bush's actions? Stories of college grads flipping burgers at McDonald's  are not uncommon. The aura of a college diploma does not shine as it once did, nor does it guarantee anything. I can remember back when, if I need a job, I answered a classified ad, went for an interview and got hired. Now there are hundreds lined up for that job and you leave a resume and don't even get an interview unles you are very, very lucky. That's the way it is - Bush didn't do it.

"I am really angry that as hard as some folks work, they can never get ahead in today's world.  It's a world of networking and knowing the right people and if you're plugged in then you really don't know how the rest of the country is."

I think your comment is way too general to be accurate. To say "It's a world...." is not realistic. Some people do indeed get ahead in this world and they do it by hard work. Come on down to Miami. I'll show you a few thousand Cubans who came here with nothing and worked their butts off to make a success of themselves. They didn't consider it their 'birthright" or something that the government owed them....they worked. So have many Americans, ones without their hands out, saying gimmee.

"I can actually remember a time when you could put $10 in a savings account and draw 6% interest.  Tell me where you can do that now?"

LOL...I can do better than that. I can remember buying T-bills that returned 12%!  No, you can't do that anywhere. That makes it our banking system's fault? I can also remember buying a Pepesi for a nickel.

Here are some figures for the past 10 years. Look at 1996 and 2006 and you may be surprised at how little difference there is:

One year treasury rate from 1996 - 2006
----------------------------------------------------------
   1996   1997   1998   1999   2000   2001   2002   2003   2004   2005   2006
Jan   5.09%   5.61%   5.24%   4.51%   6.12%   4.81%   2.16%   1.36%   1.24%   2.86%   4.45%

Prime rate 1996-2006
-------------------------------

   1996   1997   1998   1999   2000   2001   2002   2003   2004   2005   2006
Jan 1 8.50% 8.25% 8.50% 7.75% 8.50% 9.50% 4.75% 4.25% 4.00% 5.25% 7.25%

Iliana, I can understand your concerns, believe me. I personally would like to turn the clock back about 30 years, back to the good old days (that is, if they really were). I also agree that there are many areas in which we have fallen and need to get back on track. Our difference is that you seem willing to lay it at Bush's door and I say that it goes back to long before Bush placed his cowboy boots under the White House bed.

[Edit to fix long links - Ron]

[This message has been edited by Ron (03-03-2006 12:26 AM).]

iliana
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56 posted 03-02-2006 10:26 PM       View Profile for iliana   Email iliana   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for iliana

Deer -- I appreciate and thank you for your reply.  

Not a lot of time to reply tonight yet, but I will say, I put it at Bush's feet because he is our Commander in Chief, he is our President, and the ball has passed to him to do something about it, but it does truly appear to me that his interests ly primarily in serving big business interests.  And this port issue, really is a big concern.  He outright said he didn't know anything about it until the deal had been approved.  Today, the news is reporting that he did, indeed, know.  That bothers me.  I am just downright disappointed in the way his policies continue to progress.  If you read my post above, I said that we'd had the same president for 30 years, lol.  I'm not going to fight about whether it was a dem. or rep. -- doesn't matter.  The ball is in his court now and the buck stops with him -- that's part of holding that office.  
iliana
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57 posted 03-02-2006 10:47 PM       View Profile for iliana   Email iliana   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for iliana

Deer -- You asked:  "Nor can I speak of your daughter but do you think her inability to be hired in her field is Bush's fault?"

Yes, I do believe her lack of placement relates directly to him.  You see her Masters Degree is in Music/Opera studies.  She is a graduate of the Juilliard School -- the finest performing arts school in the U.S. and she cannot get work.  (Of course, she has the administrative background, too, as a safeguard...but that is not working either).  Funding for the arts has been drastically cut under Bush's reign.  When arts do not flourish, the demise of the culture begins....that is the way of civilization.  Because of funding cuts, many, many students are being denied their very identity.  Fortunately, Abby was talented enough to get privately funded scholarships that covered the majority of her tuition and she's worked and borrowed for the rest.  She's one of the lucky ones in at least she completed her education.  But because of funding cuts, lack of grants, etc., many opera (she's a singer) companies are having to tighten up their belts or folded -- and the politics is worse than ever, even in music, much more now than ever before, because of cuts that were a part of Bush's policy.  As a musician, which I have heard you are, surely, you can appreciate that.  Oh, and by the way, it isn't just opera or music, it is all the arts (the very thing that makes a culture a culture).  

I know, I know....this is the typical story of "the starving artist."  Competition is tough.  It's just that because of the economic environment created by the lack of adequate funding....I really do think it has impacted her chances.  

He did propose a couple hundred million for arts funding in 2006 but part of that is set aside as matching funds, and that covers everything from the national arhives, libraries, museums, music, folk arts, etc. (pretty sure the presidential libraries are covered in that, too...lol).  $200M a year is less than 1% of the national budget.  I would have thought that our national treasures were worth a little more than that.  

[This message has been edited by iliana (03-03-2006 12:22 AM).]

iliana
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58 posted 03-03-2006 02:28 AM       View Profile for iliana   Email iliana   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for iliana

Michael, I am not going to spend more time trying to debate things here.  It would take forever and I really don't have the time right now.... but I think the link below will speak for me adequately enough.  

I want to make it clear that the reason I hold Bush into account is because he is the labeled leader of our country.  But, I think there is much more going on than most have any idea.  

I have not read the ebook (which is linked below) in its entirety yet (only about half) and it is already outdated in some areas (I think it was published in 2003/2004) in that it must have been written before Schroeder was replaced as the German Chancellor....but it is full of interesting facts and references.  Michael, the answer to the National Debt and how it relates to economic problems in this country is answered there.  It is the conspiracy theorists textbook of all time....but it is well substantiated and documented.  I would challenge anyone to read it and test the truth of the facts outlined therein.  It is definitely food for thought.   http://www.threeworldwars.com/dload/ebooks/psrm.pdf   If that link won't open for you, please email me.  Thanks for the debate....jo


LeeJ
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59 posted 03-03-2006 07:21 AM       View Profile for LeeJ   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for LeeJ

Ilana, thanks so much, for offering all the information you have.  It has been my experience, in both contributing to these forums, or simply sitting back and reading them...
1st they want proof, which is understandable and credible, but when you give them sites to go to and read...they #&*!@ put the kabashes to even that...simply my point, about Party's...b/c your a democrate or a republican, we feel as if we have to back even the most corrupt of leaders...just had this same conversation with my brother in law...OUR POLITICIANS ARE CORRUPT...BOTH SIDES...IT ISN'T ONE OR THE OTHER TO BLAME, IT IS BOTH SIDES....and the sooner we realize that the sooner perhaps we can bring this country back on it's feet????  This is what really baffels me????

And...to boot, the minute you do come up with links to back up what you say...then they find it necessary to humiliate you...and say it's nothing personal????

Time will tell, I suppose, but even then, people will still be in denial b/c they are afraid to face the facts and say they are wrong and were wrong for voting for Bush.

I voted for Bush the first term...he didn't do a great job...so the second term I voted for Kerry, not that I felt he would do a better job, but He is all we had to vote for????  

I can't wait until the debates this coming election...both sides had the audacity to stand up on live TV and say, "WE HAVE A PLAN" for almost every issue... and the irony is...this country actually bought that without any questions what so ever????

What has happened to our common sense, and our ability to say....WHAT PLAN...we want to know how you intend to go about this plan...what is it?  I couldn't help but shake my head in complete and utter disappointment...thinking..."How illodical is this?".

and just wait...if and when Hillary runs...I can bet most of those voting for her will be women...simply b/c she is a woman...??? I mean, there will be lots of woman who don't care about the issues at hand, and the decline of this country, our assets...and how we're going to go about fixing these problems...they will simply cast a vote b/c she's a woman????????

God I really, really wish, this country would use our brains to think...

Ilana, I'd be pleased to have a cup of decaf with you anytime, and thanks for posting all the information you did...I knew if I would, the information would be rejected.  I've been following and watching this administrations works, right from the beginning and everything I stated was true, not ramblings...and I believe every word of it, especially after the response to Katrina.  We've got to many people in office, in postions representing the people who know nothing about their job description, or how to do it....including Government agencies.  I've had experience with one...Child Welfare...I'm talking about a foster child I had experience with, and that couple from NJ...who practically starved their foster children to death.  My God...a 17 year old boy who weighed all of 60 lbs...and this family was being visited by Child Welfare representatives, and they claim, they didn't know????????  I won't get into my experience...

And then there's FEMA...don't get me started on that...

How can this country be sound economically when we manufacture very little in this country anymore, our major corporations are closing down, and moving to other countries, or outsourcing a major part of their jobs?  

Our Technology...God, is that a joke!  Years ago, there was a vigulance on, everyone was trying so hard to purchase American Made Products, to reject the imports from other country and back what was being manufactured here...no more...no more...we make hardly anything in this country anymore and if we do, they are shoddy.  Look at who your leading manufacturers are...Why is this happening...b/c corporate American has to make anywhere from 200 to 500 thousand a year, not including bonuses.  It's all greed instead of dedication to this country and it's people.  

How in the world, can a huge company like American Airlines, United Airlines go broke after sucking top dollar from corporate travelors for years????  I'll tell you how...look at what kind of salaries the CEO's and Corporate leaders of these companies are making...and they have to spend millions of dollars hiring consultants to tell them how to do their jobs?????  If it were me, I'd be ashamed to take that money and call it my salary....not to mention, the pork barrel spending...Christmas Parties, meetings...does any one realize the money that is poured into simple meetings and video conf. meetings?  

We've become a nation that wants to be rich, and expect outrageous salaries....bonuses...and Corporate America rewards bad behavior...jobs are not evaluated anymore and if they are, they are extremely political...and when was the last time you heard of anyone being fired from their job? Not to mention, the incompitance in positions.  A country, is only as good as it's leaders.

Law suits have gone above and beyond the normal....and judges are trying them instead of throwing them out of court, not to mention rewarding idot law suits.

I could go on and on, but I'd be once again, accused of rambling....well, so be it...but I promise you this, America is broke, and that is why this Port Sales was going thru.  Foreign countries have been buying us out, for years...trucking companies, banks, etc.  They've been sitting back, saving their money, and purchasing everything we have for sale...believe it...we had better open our eyes and wake up to reality here...it's not about what party, it's about what both parties have been doing to us for years.  And when people debate like this, they've got us right where they want us...and we've done it to ourselves...

Again...I make the claim, that when Bush leaves his office, all of us are going to be shocked at the goings on.  Why do you think, Colin Powell left...Good men leave, and if good men get into politics they are either bullied out, scandalized, or assassinated.  This country is corrupt...not all it's people, but certainly the majority...and again...I'm thanking Lou Dabbs for bring this port sale to the forefront...b/c if he hadn't this entire sale would have gone through without this country knowing it.

Now why do you think they kept it quiet????
And why did the Arab Nation tell Lou Dabbs to quote "shut up"?????

And now all of a sudden Bush is head of the committee that is going to oversee this 45 day assesment...(shock)...

Deer, I'm not trying to insult any party, but certainly, my steadfast belief is, that Bush has done nothing for this country during both his terms...I'm not against the party, but the incompitence of both parties...so please don't think I'm trying to insult you...K?  

I'd simply like to see this world a better place for our grandchildren.

[This message has been edited by LeeJ (03-03-2006 08:16 AM).]

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60 posted 03-03-2006 08:42 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Deer, I'm not trying to insult any party, but certainly, my steadfast belief is, that Bush has done nothing for this country during both his terms...I'm not against the party, but the incompitence of both parties...so please don't think I'm trying to insult you...K?

Yes, you are trying to insult me.

1st they want proof, which is understandable and credible, but when you give them sites to go to and read...they #&*!@ put the kabashes to even that..

And...to boot, the minute you do come up with links to back up what you say...then they find it necessary to humiliate you...and say it's nothing personal????


Iliana and I have had a reasonable conversation and exchange of ideas which neither of us has taken offense to. My comments about her links were not personal, not was there any attempt to humiliate her. Actually i praised her and yet you find it necessary to come in after the fact and be insulting.  Have a nice day....
LeeJ
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61 posted 03-03-2006 09:20 AM       View Profile for LeeJ   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for LeeJ

I have not directed this at you Deer...and I'm sorry that you have taken offense...this has been my experience in the past with these forums...I'm sorry if your feelings were hurt, but it wasn't directed at you, and if you would be so kind to re-read...I said, they...not you or Deer...this is not the first forum that I've contributed to...the last thing I want to do Deer is hurt anyone's feelings....this is a conversation...and I would like to apologize

Sincerely
Lee J.

[This message has been edited by LeeJ (03-03-2006 10:03 AM).]

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62 posted 03-03-2006 06:13 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

No problem, Lee. Looking back at the thread you will see that i am the only person who responded to Iliana's threads which mean the comments could have been aimed at no one else. Don't worry about my feelings. I get fired on, I fire back and the matter is forgotten, no bad feelings held. I still think you're a dynamite lady...
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63 posted 03-04-2006 12:01 AM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel



Hi, Jo! I am soooooooo happy you have contributed some wonderful, independent points to this discussion, and wanted to take the moment to respond to some of them, especially on education.

First of all, I'm a registered independent, who voted other than the presidency for the Oregon Green Party from Teresa Keane for US Senate down to Congress and beyond. I am disenchanted with both parties, and though I believe the Democrats do somewhat better in terms of domestic policy, both parties are divorced of our traditional values of small government, state rights and fiscal responsibility, and in terms of foreign policy, both parties are fixed in this "new world order" interventionist scheme that's undermining our nation's greatest desires; universal health care, a strong public education system, environmental conservation, etc. I'm very much middle-of-the-road in most of my beliefs, fairly socially conservative and fairly economically liberal.

I am an independent who yearns for the day when we have a democratic environment that allows more and more independent voices who don't come out of corporate and political family prestige represented and heard. I yearn for fusion balloting, reform to our rigid two-party system, and the kind of party I'd certainly desire to see is a socially conservative party that also has strong progressive vision, kind of a mix between our traditional conservative values imbued with something along he line of the Green Party's 10 Values of sustainability, ecological wisdom, non-interventionist foreign policy and greatest concern on domestic needs.

I absolutely wanted to vote for David Cobb of the Green Party in 2004. But what I desired most of all in 2004 was change, as I perceived how dangerous the Bush administration was during the first term, and frankly, Cobb didn't have a snowball's chance in hell because he wasn't represented in the debates, his campaign wasn't represented in the media, most Americans didn't even know who he was, and finally he just wasn't on the ballot in some states. I strongly disliked voting for Kerry in 2004, but at the very least I did believe he would be a more responsible president, and would focus more on domestic needs.

I don't want to see our nation dominated by far-right lobbyist interests who attempt to force the population into a one-size-fits-all fundamental faith and tell you what you can and cannot read, who can or who cannot have civil unions, tell you which faith is good and which faith is immoral, etc., just as I don't want it dominated by far-left influences that tell you where you can or cannot smoke your cigarette, which cereals your children can or cannot eat, that vegans respect the world and meat-eaters are murderers, etc. I would like to see our nation return to the good old days like Balladeer yearns, where we govern from the center-left and center-right and embrace a bi-lateral understanding of core values.

Sincerely,
Noah Eaton

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"

Mother Teresa

Mistletoe Angel
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64 posted 03-04-2006 12:31 AM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

Now, I wanted to make some points responding to your domestic concerns, particularly on education.

Indeed our public education system is in a state of crisis. It has been vulnerable for decades, and really I can understand why many saw potential with the No Child Left Behind Act to begin with because it indeed encourages great reform, and I do give Spellings and others credit for testing a different social approach, despite my opinion that NCLB has made the problwm worse ultimately.

For years our schools just don't get all the money they need. Like Jo said (which I agree strongly with), art and music classes are being cut dramatically, and in doing so the underprivileged kids have very few outlets in finding their calling, their true inner-voice and destiny, and even for the many who do, there are a huge deficit of resources.

No Child Left Behind I feel has only made the cynicism toward the public education system stronger. It's very much an initiative rooted on mistrust and pressure points, which draws many unrealistic expectations for all public school systems, expecting them to reach all these thresholds in test performance, punishing schools who fail to reach the thresholds with sanctioning and budget cutting and making the public school system more competitive than ever before. So I actually see it as an excuse to find an alternative to public schools.

I think the scariest thing about NCLB is that its architects claim its based on "scientific evidence". If they mean science as the Hawthorne Effect, the theory that if you put more pressure on someone, he or she will work harder and better, you're just pressing your luck and gambling with the children. How is assuming the grass is greener on the other side of the fence every time, or the theory sending a kid from one school to another will excel, scientific?

According to NCLB, each school is hoped to have 100% proficiency in math, reading and science by 2014. When ANY class group or grade fails to meet the "adequate yearly progress" requirements at any time, the school is penalized, and repeated failures forces the school to take as much as 20% of their money and use it in transferring students to schools which are achieving. In Michigan alone, over 400 schools have been penalized, over 200 of them in the Detroit area, and within these affected districts, at least 82,000 students are eligible to be transferred with only 2,300 able to afford tutoring based on their family's economic status.

Moreover, NCLB is just homogenizing education. There are Great Lakes Native American groups that feel this is encouraging forced assimilation, Latinos in California and the Southwest in particular need more time to master the English language and are forced to these same standards, and it is affecting state rights in that this rises above individual state's education system desires. Utah has even spoken out against NCLB.

*

In my experience volunteering and helping educate children at local elementary schools with kids with special needs, I have come to realize the importance of the proverb, "It takes a whole village to raise a child". It makes me wonder, "Where is the community? What must be done, or, what is example, to bringing the village together again for the sake of our children?"

Here in Portland, in 1998, the City of Portland and Multnomah County agreed to partner up to support school success and education by forming a "school-based delivery model". In result, a committee of representatives from the county, city, state, school districts and local community organizations was formed, which met for seven months to design this ideal delivery model. The labor of love formed in the process was an expanded community school proposal that "added educational activities and social services, and increased the involvement of families, community members and local businesses."

Together, they patented what is now known as "SUN Schools", which stands for "Schools Uniting Neighborhoods". They selected eight schools to begin with to go under the name, which they chose the schools based on four characteristics; 1) "a successful history of integrating services and intergovernmental collaboration", 2) "a successful history of community partnerships", 3) "had a three to five year plan which integrates the broad parameters of this concept on a local level", and 4) that the school had challenging neighborhood conditions, such as "underserving by social support services", high numbers of students from different backgrounds, or challenged by unemployment or poverty.

In the process, each SUN school believes in the ethics that learning "involves personal discovery, action, observation and reflection" and that their creative, hands-on active education program "is a process of respecting oneís self, the arts, and our connections to others and the natural world." They also encourage the community to volunteer and help out, for they believe interaction with the community advances the full social potential for each child.

I volunteered at one of these schools last term, Buckman Elementary. I witnessed and monitored multiple classes to see these ethics put into action, and I have to say it was the most wonderful experience of volunteer work. Last November, after suggesting to the teacher of Storytime Players to choose a story that also incorporates the moral of understanding others, she decided on "Giraffes Canít Dance" by Giles Andreae, a book about a giraffe who wants to dance, but with crooked knees, jellylike neck and long wobbly legs, is the laughing stock at the annual Jungle Dance, until a cricket tells him that those who are different "just need a different song" and then finds his voice to the music of the moon, where his soulful dancing wins over the whole animal kingdom and teaches young readers that everyone can be wonderful, and we will in embracing the voice within.

I was reminded earlier in the year when learning of the social learning approach. After you govern yourself and find your integrity or find your voice, it takes observation to be able to relate or interpret other everyday life situations. Albert Bandura, a modern social psychologist, believes that "the fundamental approach of social learning theorists is based on the recognition that behavior is in large measure determined by situational factors outside the individual" and that the individual plays a major role in analyzing the situation through psychological response.

In other words, itís basically the notion of "It takes a whole village to raise a child" all over again, in that we all must "attend to actions of others" and witness the situations, remember what happened and also what happened to who was being observed, choose to imitate or not according to our moral conscience, and treat each evaluation as a learning experience.

Ultimately, through understanding yourself and observing others, then interacting among others, you grow to acknowledge the importance of community, which I once again indeed felt since the first day volunteering there.

That's what I feel a lack of in NCLB. Community. NCLB is more testimonial than scientific to me, and privatizes more than it volunteers.

In a Leadership for Change class I took last semester, I learned something that I still feel now. Peter Vaill, a professor from the University of St. Thomas, likes to think of these times as "swirling rapids of permanent white water" and that simply working harder is not the way to fight the tides, but rather working smarter. Working smarter collectively, knowing that "collaborative practices build more community and commitment than isolated, individual actions do.", reflectively smarter in taking the time to make sense out of what is happening "in order to gain perspective and understanding" and "keep a sense of common purpose" and spiritually smarter in being aware of our values that help shape our character. In this co-op personal leadership approach, Vaill claims we can gain new insight and understand and recognize paradigms and the progress weíve made.

I just don't see that happening under NCLB. This is a gamble, a shot in the dark, a lot of helter-skelter, and I'm concerned of the unpredictable effects it can have on the public education system and the relationships between students, teachers, parents, educational activists and faculties.

I think we need some model that leans more to community like SUN Schools, where local, regional and state communities and governments can decide together how they'd like their education system operated. And most importantly, our children need the funding.

Sincerely,
Noah Eaton

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"

Mother Teresa

iliana
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65 posted 03-04-2006 01:00 AM       View Profile for iliana   Email iliana   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for iliana

Noah, thanks for the rescue on education!  Now, help me out on my theories about the new world order, please!  I gave that link, but I don't know if anyone will read it or not.  

LeeJ, I'd be proud to have that cup of coffee anytime.

Deer....read the book   lol
Mistletoe Angel
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66 posted 03-04-2006 01:28 AM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel



(giggles) I think it'll require two to three days for me to read all 200+ pages of that, LOL, but I do believe you've provided a most important source to this discussion here and am most interested in reading into this.



Love,
Noah Eaton

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"

Mother Teresa

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