'the Laogai system consists of three distinct types of reform: convict labor (Laogai), re-education through labor (Laojiao), and forced job placement (Jiuye)'.
We will leave public policy dealing with imprisonment and return to education public policy and to segue to this we can easily see our Race to the Top and the corporatization of K-12 tied to testing and tracking students from pre-K throughout to vocations determined by that testing ----to FORCED LABOR PLACEMENT.
BUSH/OBAMA set into motion this Chinese Mao system of institutions telling the parents and children where and what classes they will pursue according to the same global education testing being installed in the US with Race to the Top/Common Core. These corporate neo-liberal education policies have been in place in International Economic Zones overseas and are now being installed in the US just for that purpose. Global corporations and the 1% will decide how a child is processed through K-12 with the ending of public schools and the tying of K-12 schools to corporate campuses under the guise of 'community charters'. We have spoken much about this but for today I want to link the movement of the US to Mao's POLITBURO Marxism by looking at political structures in transition.
Academics know Pearson and this testing policy comes directly from Asian nations having neo-liberal education policies for decades. We know Chinese education uses these testing and evaluation data to track children into vocations regardless of parental or student desire. That is what authoritarian societies do. We are already seeing this done in cities like Philly and Baltimore these several years because politics is so crony the candidates allowed to win are only SHOW ME THE MONEY AND I WILL DO ANYTHING WALL STREET SAYS people. Baltimore's public schools are gone and almost all corporate charters being sold as community charters using SCHOOL CHOICE to track students by testing. Many parents are sold that this is simply getting those pesky low-achievers out and providing high-achieving public schools but as usual-----when you allow injustice for one IT BECOMES INJUSTICE FOR ALL. The goal will be to capture all ability to track a child into whatever vocation global corporations want. This means if a child is tracked into a pathway leading to APPRENTICESHIP at 6th grade----there's that free labor under re-education---------there will be nothing a parent can do to change this. Remember as well, in International Economic Zones parents feverishly fight to just get their children into a white collar tracking not for the money---because white collar sweat shops may pay $20-30 a day ----but to keep that child from being at risk of enslavement at the working class level.
PEARSON AND K-12 TESTING WILL LEAD TO FORCED JOB PLACEMENT AND IT IS ALL BROUGHT TO THE US BY FAR-RIGHT CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA WALL STREET GLOBAL CORPORATE NEO-LIBERALS/NEO-CONS NOW MOVING TO BECOME 1% LIBERTARIAN MARXISTS.
These are all Republican policies folks with Clinton/Obama neo-liberals being far-right so don't blame the Democratic Party -----Democratic voters simply have yet to be able to be rid of Wall Street global pols! BUT WE WILL----STORM CLOUDS GATHERING!
March 17, 2015
Concerns rising over Pearson, the company behind PARCC and other tests
Some parents, critics ask if 'Goliath' has too much power in assessing N.J. students
Education Testing New Jersey PAPA PARCC Pennsylvania Teachers
By Sharon Lurye
This year, five million kids in the United States, including New Jersey, will take a new standardized test - the PARCC. Potential new teachers in Pennsylvania will take a new certification test – the PAPA. And thousands of men and women who never finished high school will be betting their futures on the results of a proficiency exam – the GED.
What do all these tests have in common? The company that administers them: Pearson.
Pearson, a London-based international publishing and education company which originally started in construction in 1844, has become a colossus in the U.S. education system. On every level of education, the company has a presence and a product to sell.
"The [Department of Education] informed us that Pearson is monitoring all social media during PARCC testing. I have to say that I find that a bit disturbing...." – Watchung Hills superintendent Elizabeth Jewett, in an email sent to other superintendents
Teachers use Pearson’s PowerSchool and SchoolNet software to record student grades and a host of other data. Pearson sells textbooks aligned to the Common Core curriculum which means by extension aligned with the PARCC test – a controversial curriculum and test being promoted by the federal government to better prepare students for the global economy.
THIS MEANS THAT ALL INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC ZONES AROUND THE WORLD WILL BE TAUGHT THROUGH THESE SAME INFORMATION CHANNELS----CONTROLLING ALL INFORMATION.
And Pearson has a huge presence in higher education, where it helps universities to run online classes.
Pearson has power. With almost 900,000 New Jersey students taking the PARCC test this month, some parents and critics are asking: how much power, exactly?
“We have this Goliath standardized, computerized test created and administered by a private corporation,” said Marian Raab, a parent in Maplewood, New Jersey, and a vocal critic.
Over the weekend, in fact, concerns about Pearson intensified when it was revealed the company was monitoring the social media accounts of New Jersey students in the midst of taking the PARCC test.
Last week, Elizabeth Jewett, schools superintendent for the Watchung Hills Regional School district in Warren, New Jersey, sent an email to other superintendents after the district received a late night call from the state's Department of Education.
"Last night at 10PM, my testing coordinator received a call from the NJDOE that Pearson had initiated a Priority 1 Alert for an item breach within our school," Jewett wrote to her peers. "The information the NJDOE initially called with was that there was a security breach DURING the test session, and they suggested the student took a picture of a test item and tweeted it. After further investigation on our part, it turned out that the student had posted a tweet (NO PICTURE) at 3:18PM (after school) that referenced a PARCC test question. The student deleted the tweet and we spoke with the parent – who was obviously highly concerned as to her child’s tweets being monitored by the DOE.
"The DOE informed us that Pearson is monitoring all social media during PARCC testing. I have to say that I find that a bit disturbing – and if our parents were concerned before about a conspiracy with all of the student data, I am sure I will be receiving more letters of refusal once this gets out (not to mention the fact that the DOE wanted us to also issue discipline to the student). I thought this was worth sharing with the group."
The district has acknowledged that Jewett sent the email, which was first published online by former Newark Star-Ledger columnist Bob Braun.
In a statement to the Washington Post, Stacy Skelly, vice president for corporate affairs at Pearson’s School division, defended the company's monitoring of student social media accounts for any mention of the PARCC test.
"The security of a test is critical to ensure fairness for all students and teachers and to ensure that the results of any assessment are trustworthy and valid," Skelly told the Post. "We welcome debate and a variety of opinions. But when test questions or elements are posted publicly to the Internet, we are obligated to alert PARCC states. Any contact with students or decisions about student discipline are handled at the local level."
Michael Yaple, a New Jersey Department of Education spokesman, said monitoring the Internet to see if test questions were leaked was "not new, nor is it unique to this test."
"Test security measures to identify test breaches have been used in the past, even when New Jersey had paper tests. It is done in other states, and it is done with other tests," he said.
But Yaple said he did not know if test security was previously provided by the test vendor or by DOE staff.
"It is our intent to ensure that no one intrudes upon any student’s personal space. If we hear of instances where someone believes a vendor has overstepped its bounds, we will look into the matter," he said.
It's those privacy concerns, among others, that have prompted Raab to refuse to let her sixth-grade son take the PARCC and volunteer with Save Our Schools New Jersey, which opposes the culture of high-stakes standardized testing. She’s concerned about the amount of data that passes through Pearson’s servers.
“How does one company get a monopoly on judging our children like this?” Raab asked.
An Ohio student takes the PARCC test online. (Ty Wright / AP)
PEARSON AND NEW JERSEY
Last week, New Jersey officials revealed details of the state's four-year contract with Pearson, which has started to administer and score the online PARCC tests this month. Total cost: as much as $108 million.
Winning such a large contract is nothing new for Pearson.
A financial report on Pearson’s website noted that 13 million students in more than 70 countries last year used PowerSchool, a gradebook software. There were also 600,000 downloads of its PowerSchool app for iPhone.
More than 10 million students are in schools that use Schoolnet, software that creates student assessments and then analyzes the results so that teachers can make “data-driven decisions.” In New Jersey, 27 school districts launched Schoolnet last year, and 14 more implementations are in progress.
"We were the largest textbook publisher...we are also the largest trustee of student data," said Jonathan Harber, the CEO of Pearson K-12 Technology, at an Education Datapalooza conference at the White House in 2012.
Pearson says that its innovative use of data can move the educational field forward in many ways, from allowing parents to keep track of their kid’s homework to helping students decide what college to attend.
“Public and private partnerships can actually make a positive difference for our learners,” Skelly told PhillyVoice. “We take investments that perhaps would be difficult for states or school districts individually to make, and we’re investing in innovation.”
PHILLY HAPPENS TO BE TIED TO TRACKING STUDENTS VOCATIONALLY BY THESE TESTS AS IS BALTIMORE.
“Nobody wants a monopoly. You want to be able to choose the best deal from whomever, whatever services you want. But this one company is controlling everything.” – Kim Gibson, Burlington City mother
All student data belongs to the state; Pearson does not own any of it. Nevertheless, Raab is concerned about the sheer amount of personal data that a hacker could steal if Pearson’s security was breached.
“PowerSchool is how you as a public school parent check your child’s grades….How do we know that Pearson is protecting our children’s data?” she asked.
Kim Gibson, a mother of three in Burlington City, shares Raab’s reservations about the PARCC test. When she speaks about Pearson, she accidentally calls the company “he” – almost like Pearson is an actual person, a Big Brother of sorts.
“My issue is who developed the test. It’s Pearson. He developed the test; they developed the textbooks for the class, all the materials to help you pass the test. It’s my understanding they even developed all the GED materials in case you don’t pass high school because you failed the test,” she said.
Pearson, in fact, partnered with the non-profit Council on American Education to run the General Educational Development test, or GED, in 2011.
“It really seems like it’s a monopoly to me that this one person is controlling – or this one company is controlling – all this educational stuff,” Gibson said.
But Pearson doesn’t have the kind of control that people think it has, according to Skelly.
“I think one of those big, big misconceptions is that Pearson somehow sets policy,” she said. “We simply don’t operate that way. The only people that set state policy are the people who are elected to do so.”
AND FOR WHOM DO THOSE ELECTED WORK? GLOBAL CORPORATIONS LIKE PEARSON.
Both mothers used the word "monopoly" to describe Pearson, but it’s not the only private company selling products to the public school system. Public schools have had relationships with private companies since the beginning of their history, and in the assessment business, Pearson faces competition from companies like McGraw Hill, Measured Progress, Educational Testing Service (ETS), of Princeton, as well as the Data Recognition Corp., which has the contract for scoring Pennsylvania’s state assessment tests.
“We compete in a competitive environment for contracts or opportunities to work with customers… we are held accountable by the people that we work for and with,” Skelly said.
One Brookings Institute study from 2012 found that, out of 45 states surveyed, 12 used Pearson for their primary state standardized tests. By federal law, states must give these tests each year from third grade to eighth, plus once in high school.
According to the Software and Information Industry Association, testing and assessment sales through high school have increased 57 percent over the last three years of its annual survey. For the 2012-2013 school year, sales represented almost $2.5 billion.
Standardized tests and curriculum are nothing new in education. But few have generated the kind of concerns and opposition facing the PARCC tests.
PARCC, or the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for Colleges and Careers, is a consortium of 11 states and the District of Columbia that banded together to develop new assessments based on the Common Core standards. The idea behind these standardized test consortiums is to make education more uniform across the country – so that it’s possible to accurately compare New Jersey students to students anywhere else in the country, or even the world.
This international comparison may become easier in the future, since Pearson is designing the framework of the 2015 and 2018 PISA tests, tests used internationally to score student achievement.
Joining a consortium is also a way to save on costs, as states can pool resources and exert greater bargaining power. Smaller states in particular can benefit.
"The general idea of collaborating is (that it’s) a way that states can get more bang for their buck," said Matthew Chingos, a researcher at the Brookings Institute in Washington D.C.
When it came time to choose who would administer and score a test based on Common Core standards, every PARCC state chose to contract with one company – Pearson.
A student protests the PARCC test in New Mexico. (Russell Contreras/ AP)
“PARCC states felt that for the sake of having a common experience and having comparable results, it was important to have a single vendor,” said David Connerty-Marin, director of communications for PARCC Inc., the non-profit organization that serves as a project manager on behalf of the consortium.
The choice was also made easier by the fact that Pearson was the only company to bid on the contract.
The American Institutes for Research, a non-profit organization that wanted to bid for the assessment contract, is now suing New Mexico. The state, which has been the scene of a number of student and parent protests over the PARCC test, took the lead in searching for a vendor and writing a contract that other states incorporated into their own pricing agreements.
The organization alleges that the proposed contract was structured in such a way that only Pearson could possibly have fit the requirements.
"The Request for Proposals, issued on behalf of the PARCC consortium, was designed to allow all other PARCC states the ability to avoid competitive procurements, effectively committing a billion public dollars in a sole-source contract,” argued the American Institutes for Research.
Skelly said the process was still fair. Pearson’s 793-page bid, made available through an open records request, shows that it would work with rivals, such as ETS, as subcontractors for the PARCC test.
“Nobody else chose to bid. That’s the point, it’s a competitive environment,” Skelly said. “Nobody else offered their capabilities to meet the need. It’s an open and transparent process.”
“Nobody wants a monopoly,” said Gibson, the mother from Burlington City. “You want to be able to choose the best deal from whomever, whatever services you want. But this one company is controlling everything.”
But Pearson says that states are free to choose another company if the results of the PARCC are not satisfactory.
“If we haven’t met the needs of our customer, we won’t get selected again. If we don’t hold up our end of the bargain…then it’s a competitive environment and somebody else could be selected in our place,” Skelly said. “Not only do we hold ourselves accountable, we are also rightly so held accountable by districts and parents and students.”
To increase accountability, Pearson has pledged that by 2018 it will make efficacy reports public on every product it creates in which it has invested at least $1 million.
“It’s an initiative that Pearson has undertaken to essentially make sure that all of our products and services result in some kind of measurable outcome for our learners,” Skelly said. She did not specify those measurable outcomes.
PEARSON AND PENNSYLVANIA TEACHERS
Worry over standardized testing for children has been loud and well-publicized ever since the passage of No Child Left Behind in 2001.
In Pennsylvania, however, educators are voicing concern over other kinds of assessments – not tests given to students, but tests given to teachers.
Pennsylvania isn’t administering the PARCC tests, although it is a “participating” state in the consortium, meaning that it has been involved in some consortium activities without committing itself to the test.
“We didn't believe that a national test was the best route for Pennsylvania students,” said Jessica Hickernell, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Education. “We have state exams that we believe corresponded to our Pa.-specific academic standards.”
To get certified, however, prospective teachers in undergraduate programs in the state must pass a Pearson-administered basic skills test – PAPA, or the Pre-service Academic Performance Assessment. Many teacher education programs will not even accept students who fail a basic skills test.
“If they don’t pass PAPA, they don’t get to be in the program,” said Dr. Kira Baker-Doyle, a professor of education at Arcadia University in Glenside, Montgomery County. Students do have the option of submitting their high school SAT or ACT scores, but they can’t retake those tests in college to get a higher score.
Baker-Doyle said that the United States is unusual from an international perspective for contracting teacher licensing tests out to private companies.
“The United States, in using these third-party companies, has a very unique approach in comparison to a lot of the European nations and other nations that have much stronger kind of teacher professionalism,” she said.
She also claimed that since Pennsylvania switched from using the Praxis tests (administered by ETS) to PAPA, passing rates have gone down, making it harder for people to become teachers in the first place.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education was not able to provide passing rate data on the PAPA, but Pearson confirmed that rates went down in a 2013 FAQ posted on the Pennsylvania Educator Certification Test website:
Q: How do you explain to students and their parents the sudden shift in pass rates (compared to the previous test) on the PAPA?
A: The PAPA is a new and different test. The passing score was set by the PDE based on the recommendations of a standard setting panel of Pennsylvania educators.Standardized tests also affect teachers once they’ve been certified, since evaluations of their job performance may be tied to student test scores.
“It forces you to see your student as a number, which is really sad,” Baker-Doyle said.
A more nuanced way to measure a teacher’s effectiveness is to actually see what they do in the classroom, rather than just looking at their students’ test scores. One idea is for student teachers to film themselves in the classroom and assemble these videos into a portfolio review, so that evaluators can assess the potential teacher directly on how they interact with students.
Baker-Doyle applauds this approach – but she and other educators are worried about a new development on the horizon.
Pearson PLC headquarters in the distinctive Shell Mex House on The Strand in London, off the Thames River. (Google StreetView)
'MOTIVATED BY FINANCIAL GAIN'The Pennsylvania Department of Education is working on a proposal to add another requirement for certification, involving the creation of a standardized video portfolio system. While teacher education programs would like to control the portfolio system themselves, the Department of Education is signaling that they’ll contract with a private company to film, store, and evaluate the portfolios. This company will almost certainly be either Pearson or ETS.
“This comes down to management of data…they’re trusting that Pearson and ETS can do a better job of doing that than schools of education,” said Baker-Doyle.
The Pennsylvania Association of Colleges and Teacher Educators has written that it "objects vigorously to relinquishing the critical process of student teacher assessment to third-party vendors who do not know our teacher candidates, do not observe them personally in their classrooms, and are motivated by financial gain."
Representatives from Pearson and its rival, ETS, attended PAC-TE’s Teacher Education Assembly in October to show off their products, and Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) officials asked for feedback, but PAC-TE complained that it was being offered a “forced choice” between two private companies.
“Although PDE officials have invited PAC-TE institutions to devise alternative systems, they have made it quite clear that such systems will not be considered unless they incorporate standardized, third-party components such as those offered by Pearson and ETS,” PAC-TE wrote.
The organization also pointed out that since many schools forbid the filming of students, there would be fewer schools allowing student teacher placements in the first place.
There is also the question of whether the private company would own these videos, and how the scores on video assessments might be connected to other standardized tests.
Scores from the video assessments of teachers could be linked to their students’ test scores, forming the basis of teacher evaluations. Then those evaluations – in a full turn of the circle – could be used to evaluate and rank the teacher education programs.
The PDE did not comment on any proposals for new pre-service teacher assessments.
Ultimately, the entire point of having an assessment system is to hold educational institutions accountable. The question that arises, then, is how do schools in turn hold those assessment systems – and the companies selling them – accountable.
How do states find out if a test really does measure a student’s readiness for college or career? One way to do that would be to see if the kids who get higher scores on the PARCC also have higher rates of college graduation or employment, but that data won’t be available for years.
As Skelly said, it’s the districts, parents and students that need to be paying attention now.
The 1% Wall Street global corporate pols love China's ONE PARTY structure calling it best for FREE-MARKET CAPITALISM. Following China's political system these few decades it became clear that the national POLITBURO was getting rich and those families being elevated were the same 1% of China. Since Nixon opened China in the 1970s----Clinton moving US corporations over to International Economic Zones in the 1990s----Chinese politburo was simply national leadership being China's 1% garnering extreme wealth and power while the 99% of Chinese were laboring under MARXISM. You can read how desperate Chinese national politburo leaders are to keep their wealth secret as the enslaved by Marxism population would revolt. So, China under MAO was never about left-leaning communism---it was always MAO using Marxism for 1% Libertarian wealth and power accumulation under the guise of nationalizing all property.
What you see below is how a small committee has the power of policy with all levels below simply rubber - stamping those policies in exchange for simply allowed to be politburo members. Now think how the US Congress has worked these few decades with the same Congressional pols re-elected for 20-30 years ----I know this was captured elections as standards of free and fair elections have disappeared since CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA stopped enforcing Federal election laws including ELECTION LAWS. The American people have allowed these few decades a POLIBURO of insular leadership with what is called an inner-circle-----THE GANG OF FIVE------THE GANG OF FOUR-----garnering more and more power. We have not had functioning committee actions-----chamber votes throughout this supposed AUSTERITY emergency after the 2008 crash. We listen to our Congressional pols tell us they have no idea what Trans Pacific Trade Pact includes when we know many Congressional pols were involved in writing these policies for global corporations in their districts.
We watched these few decades as Congress passes policy that then is simply rubber-stamped at state and local level-----no public voice in policy----the same capture of election at national level now has our state and local elections with candidates recruited to simply do what they are told----AND THEY DO.
THIS IS THE CHINESE POLITBURO STRUCTURE.
How China is ruled: Politburo
- 8 October 2012
- From the section Asia-Pacific
Every significant decision affecting China's 1.3bn people is first discussed and approved by a handful of people - almost all men - on the party's political bureau (politburo), the nexus of all power in China.
The 24-member Politburo is elected by the party's central committee. But real power lies with its smaller standing committee, which works as a kind of inner cabinet and groups together the country's most influential leaders.
How the standing committee operates is secret. But its meetings are thought to be regular and frequent, often characterised by blunt speaking and disagreement.
Senior leaders speak first and then sum up, giving their views extra weight. The emphasis is always on reaching a consensus, but if no consensus is reached, the majority holds sway.
Once a decision has been made, all members are bound by it. Although policy disagreements and factional fighting are widely believed to take place in private, it is extremely rare for these to break into the public domain.
When they do - as happened in 1989 when the leadership battled over how to deal with the Tiananmen protests - it is a sign of an all-out power struggle.
Members of the standing committee also share out the posts of party general-secretary, premier, chairman of the National People's Congress, and head of the Central Discipline Inspection Commission.
The full politburo also tends to include party secretaries from big municipalities like Beijing and Shanghai, and from important provinces like Guangdong.
If you know Chinese political policy you would immediately know this phrase ----GANG OF SIX-----GANG OF FIVE----used in Congressional policy-making these several years comes from Chinese POLITBURO structure and entails handing policy-making power to the most senior of elected officials----
American democracy of course does not allow this as each elected member of Congress has equal rights to effecting legislation. The use of this GANG OF FIVE process during this phony sequestration national economic emergency all manufactured by massive systemic Wall Street and corporate fraud was a transition to what 1% Wall Street global pols see as this ONE PARTY POLITBURO structure. We know that Congress is now made mostly of millionaires and the people becoming the small central committee of gang members are those garnering the most wealth.
'The Gang of Four (simplified Chinese: 四人帮; traditional Chinese: 四人幫; pinyin: Sìrén bāng) was a political faction composed of four Chinese Communist Party officials. They came to prominence during the Cultural Revolution (1966–76) and were later charged with a series of treasonous crimes. The gang's leading figure was Mao Zedong's last wife Jiang Qing. The other members were Zhang Chunqiao, Yao Wenyuan, and Wang Hongwen.'
Immigration’s Gang of 8: Who are they?
The inside track on Washington politics.
By Rachel Weiner
January 28, 2013
There's a new bipartisan gang in town known as the Gang of 8:
Eight senators who will unveil an immigration overhaul Monday.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio/APComprised of four Republicans and four Democrats, the group came together remarkably quickly on an emotional and divisive issue that lawmakers have struggled to deal with for decades. What changed, obviously, was the 2012 election.
But why these eight senators? Here's a breakdown of everyone in the "Gang of Eight" and their reasons for getting involved.
* Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.): The Cuban-American Rubio is positioning himself to run for president in 2016 as a candidate with broad demographic appeal, and he has been pushing for his own immigration reform plan in recent months. Rubio initially resisted the group's approach in favor of his own policy, but he joined in December after receiving assurances that the proposal would line up with his own ideas. For the rest of the group, having a popular conservative and rising Republican star gives the bill a much better chance at passage. For Rubio, it means not getting left out of what could well become law.
* Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.): Flake's libertarian-oriented brand of conservatism has always included a pro-immigration stance. It was the main issue rival Wil Cardon used against him in a Senate primary last year. In 2007, he worked with Rep. Luis Guitierrez (D-Ill.) on a guest worker program and path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. At the same time, as a Republican in Arizona he's also concerned about border security. Like Texas, Arizona has a large and increasing Hispanic population; Flake's electoral future is likely a consideration here too.
* Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.): McCain is a long-time advocate of immigration reform who tried and failed to push a comprehensive overhaul back in 2006. He backed off in the 2008 election and into 2010, seeing that his position was toxic with the Republican base. (Who could forget McCain's "complete the dang fence" ad?) Now that the party has come around, it makes perfect sense that McCain will help lead the effort.
* Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.): Like Flake and McCain, Graham has pushed for immigration reform before and has consistently argued that the GOP can't survive without it. Unlike either of them, he is very vulnerable to a conservative primary challenge next year. "No one will argue that Sen. Graham is taking the lead on this because of some political re-election calculation," said Walter Whetsell, a longtime South Carolina Republican strategist. "There are still many Republican voters in South Carolina that believe in a fairly rigid approach." But, Whetsell added, as the dynamic in the party shifts, Graham's consistency on the issue could ultimately serve him well.
* Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.): Durbin authored the original DREAM Act giving undocumented young students residency and a path to citizenship; he will want to be involved to make sure a bipartisan agreement isn't too watered down. He's also the Senate Majority Whip, so he will play a key role in rounding up Democratic votes for whatever the actual legislation winds up looking like.
* Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.): Menendez is a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and has long been passionate on this issue. He introduced his own comprehensive immigration reform bill in 2010, when he was the only Hispanic member of the Senate. He was an early proponent of the DREAM Act, and along with Durbin has ties to pro-reform groups that will want to see a real pathway to citizenship.
* Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.): Schumer is the chairman of the Refugees and Border Security subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee. He took over for the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), who tried and failed to pass a bipartisan, comprehensive immigration framework in 2007. Schumer and Graham attempted bipartisan talks in 2010. And, Schumer is widely regarded as the next Democratic Senate leader so delivering on such a major issue would be (another) feather in his cap.
* Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.): Bennet has only been in the Senate since 2010, but he's already been staking out ground as a bipartisan reformer on the issue. It has relevance in Colorado, which is 20 percent Hispanic and ranks 12th in the nation for undocumented immigrants. Bennet recently developed a state compact on immigration with former Republican senator Hank Brown that calls for federal action and a "sensible path forward" for some undocumented immigrants. Bennet is also the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and could have his eye on the politics of a deal.
Each time these GANGS OF -----are a few powerful pols all tied to advancing this TRANS PACIFIC TRADE PACT governmental and societal change and they have the power of policy as Obama and Congress PRETEND under sequestration that everything must move FAST. So, we bypassed our US Senate and House discussions on much of public policy because these GANGS OF had all the policy ready to submit and just moving that forward was the fastest consensus. IT WAS ALL PLANNED----- and all centered on this US TREASURY default with sequestration creating this need to fast-track vital legislation and deferring full Congressional participation for ready-made GANGS OF policy.
This is the same format of Chinese POLITBURO. These same small committees write all legislation and the rest of politburo rubber-stamp it-----as these policies passed Congress our state assemblies simply rubber-stamped them at state level and then our city halls did the same. All across the nation citizens were shouting---both Republican and Democrat that no voices were being allowed in all these policy changes and it was all tied to a POLITBURO STRUCTURE OF POWERFUL SMALL COMMITTEES dictating policy down the line.
IF A POL DOES NOT TOW THE LINE HE/SHE WILL NOT BE IN THE POLITBURO.
Again, this complete takeover of American government came these few decades by CLINTON/BUSH and the DNC/RNC controlling candidates running at state and local level ----they obviously identified the WALL STREET PLAYERS most committed to doing this-----TELL THE TRUTH GREEK FRATS/SORORITIES------creating this ONE PARTY POLITBURO structure that will become the next stage of ONE PARTY 1% WALL STREET LIBERTARIAN MARXISM.
Here was Bernie Sanders back then
'Mr. Sanders said he respected Mr. Durbin for his good intentions. “But I think the direction in which he is going in working with some of the most very conservative members of the Senate is not correct,” Mr. Sanders said'.
It is no coincidence that all these GANGS OF are origin Clinton-era neo-liberals who voted Glass Steagall down, installed global markets, and started dismantling Federal government and privatizing all that is public as GOOD FAR-RIGHT 1% WALL STREET GLOBAL CORPORATE NEO-LIBERALS.
‘Gang of Six’ in the Senate Seeking a Plan on Debt
By JACKIE CALMESAPRIL 16, 2011 NEW YORK TIMES
WASHINGTON — Days after President Obama called for forming a bipartisan group in Congress to begin negotiating a $4 trillion debt-reduction package, the parties have not even agreed to its membership. Yet six senators — three Democrats, three Republicans — say they are nearing consensus on just such a plan.
Whether the so-called Gang of Six can actually deliver something when Congress returns from a recess in May could determine whether Democrats and Republicans can come together to resolve the nation’s fiscal problems before the 2012 elections.
As Mr. Obama and Republican leaders have warred publicly over the budget, this small group of senators has spent four months in dozens of secretive meetings in offices at the Capitol and over dinner at the suburban Virginia home of Senator Mark Warner, a Democrat.
The senators have weathered criticism from bloggers and even colleagues, including the leaders of their own parties, who oppose tampering with Social Security or taxes. The gang nearly collapsed several times, including two weeks ago.
The group’s oldest members — Senator Richard J. Durbin, 66, a progressive from Illinois who counts the Senate’s only socialist as a friend and ally, and Senator Saxby Chambliss, 67, a genial Georgia conservative whose nasty first campaign left lingering bad feelings among Democrats, and who is a confidant of Speaker John A. Boehner — illustrate that even with the mounting federal debt intensifying the partisan divide over spending and taxes, the severity of the fiscal threat is forging unlikely alliances.
If Mr. Durbin and Mr. Chambliss can cut a deal on Social Security and new tax revenues, their associates say, then just maybe all of Washington can come together.
For Republicans, that means accepting higher taxes and lower military spending. For Democrats, it would mean agreeing to curbs on the unsustainable growth of Medicare and Medicaid spending, as well as tweaks to Social Security, to avert a big shortfall in 2037 and as a trade-off for Republicans’ support on taxes.
Continue reading the main storyMr. Durbin and Mr. Chambliss reached those conclusions last year, each confronting the widening annual gaps between projected revenues and spending as the population ages and health care prices rise.
Mr. Durbin, the No. 2 leader in the Senate, was on Mr. Obama’s bipartisan fiscal commission, which recommended some solutions. Mr. Chambliss had joined informally with Mr. Warner to host private tutorials for Senate colleagues of each party with experts like Ben S. Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman.
Several months ago, with Mr. Durbin as its most surprising yes vote, 11 of the 18 members of the president’s fiscal commission backed a blueprint to pare $4 trillion from projected deficits in the first decade. It would cut domestic and military spending; curb Medicare and Medicaid; and overhaul the tax code, limiting or repealing tax breaks and using the new revenues to lower tax rates and reduce deficits. Separate from its debt-reduction plan, the panel proposed benefit and payroll tax changes to stabilize Social Security for 75 years.
Immediately, Mr. Chambliss and Mr. Warner enlisted four senators from the commission majority to negotiate writing the recommendations into legislation. Besides Mr. Durbin, the others were Senator Kent Conrad, a North Dakota Democrat who leads the Budget Committee, and Senators Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Michael D. Crapo of Idaho, both Republicans.
“As I said to a Republican recently,” Mr. Durbin said in an interview, “it’s like we’re on a long flight here and we’ve come so far there’s no turning back — we’ve got to land the plane.”
The effort holds peril regardless of the outcome. If successful, a plan could be taken up as Congress debates this spring over raising the nation’s $14.2 trillion debt limit. But the group is hardly assured of support from Senate colleagues, let alone lawmakers in the House, where Republicans, including dozens of new Tea Party supporters, refuse to consider raising revenues. If the group fails, that would probably signal doom for the broader bipartisan effort Mr. Obama wants.
Durbin, the liberal Democrat, and Mr. Chambliss, the conservative Republican, may have the most at stake. Mr. Durbin could be isolated in the Senate leadership, and Mr. Chambliss potentially vulnerable given Republicans’ penchant for ousting incumbents who deviate from the antitax line. Neither senator faces re-election until 2014.
An administration official recalled that in early 2010, when Mr. Durbin was named to Mr. Obama’s fiscal commission, another White House official told its co-chairmen, “You’ll never get Durbin’s vote.”
Nine months later, Mr. Durbin announced his support in The Chicago Tribune for the recommendations the chairmen had negotiated with members. “The question my closest political friends are asking is this: Why is a progressive like Dick Durbin voting for this deficit commission report?” he wrote. The answer: “Borrowing 40 cents out of every dollar we spend for missiles or food stamps is unsustainable.”
So, Mr. Durbin added, “when we engage in the critical decisions about our nation’s future budgets, I want progressive voices at the table to argue that we must protect the most vulnerable in our society and demand fairness in budget cuts.”
That has been his mantra with disappointed allies in labor, women’s groups and the Senate. Mr. Durbin, in the interview, cited a private meeting requested by Senator Bernie Sanders, independent of Vermont, a socialist and “a good friend.” Their exchange, Mr. Durbin said, captured the increasing difficulty in being a good progressive “at a time of limited resources.”
Mr. Sanders said he respected Mr. Durbin for his good intentions. “But I think the direction in which he is going in working with some of the most very conservative members of the Senate is not correct,” Mr. Sanders said.
Critics suggest that Mr. Durbin is seeking a new role to counter the prominence of Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, his roommate and his rival in the Senate leadership.
But Andy Stern, a former labor leader who was on the fiscal commission and opposed its report, defended Mr. Durbin, saying, “It’s classic Washington that we can’t imagine that someone does something because they think it’s the right thing to do.”
That is Mr. Chambliss’s claim as well. “I hear my critics; I pay attention to my constituents,” he said in an interview. “But you’ve got to do the right thing and what’s best for the country.”
And Mr. Chambliss has been increasingly outspoken in arguing that additional revenues must be part of a debt-reduction plan, given the scale of the problem.
“I’m taking arrows from some on the far right,” he told the Rotary Club of Atlanta in an appearance with Mr. Warner on Monday. “Are some people going to pay more in taxes? You bet.”
A bolt came in February from Grover Norquist, a Republican antitax activist, who wrote to Mr. Chambliss, Mr. Coburn and Mr. Crapo to say they would violate his group’s “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” if they supported raising revenues for deficit reduction.
The trio countered the same day, releasing a letter telling Mr. Norquist that their effort broke no pledge “but rather affirms the oath we have taken to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, of which our national debt may now be the greatest.”
Perhaps more troublesome for Mr. Chambliss have been critics at home like Erick Erickson, a conservative blogger, Atlanta radio talk-show host and CNN contributor. “Is Saxby Chambliss Becoming a Democrat?” Mr. Erickson asked in a recent blog post.
For many actual Democrats, Mr. Chambliss remains negatively defined by his 2002 defeat of Senator Max Cleland, a triple-amputee veteran of Vietnam, after a campaign that included an ad picturing Mr. Cleland with Osama bin Laden. Mr. Chambliss’s work on the Gang of Six has done as much as anything to soften attitudes.
Below you see how US Congress has adopted that Chinese Politburo structure of small committees having all the power of writing policy-----in each case these small committees control much of the policy-writing for specific legislation and most members are the senior members of Congress. The American people had to sit during this SEQUESTRATION emergency and listen to GANGS OF THIS AND GANGS OF THAT controlling all the EMERGENCY legislation containing vital policy decisions often austerities that would make both Republican and Democratic voters mad----and they were always CLINTON/BUSH NEO-LIBERALS AND NEO-CONS.
“Gang of Four” Congressional Intelligence Notifications
Description:"Gang of Four" intelligence notifications are oral briefings on sensitive non-covert action intelligence activities (including intelligence collection programs) that the Intelligence Community typically limits to the chairmen and ranking members of the two congressional intelligence committees, and at times to their respective staff directors. This report reviews the history of Gang of Four notification process and compares this procedure with that of the "Gang of Eight" notification procedure.
Creation Date:March 18, 2011
“Gang of Four” Congressional Intelligence
Marshall Curtis Erwin
Analyst in Intelligence and National Security
April 16, 2013
“Gang of Four” intelligence notifications generally are oral briefings of certain particularly
sensitive non-covert action intelligence activities, including principally, but not exclusively,
intelligence collection programs, that the intelligence community typically limits to the chairmen
and ranking Members of the two congressional intelligence committees.
Gang of Four notifications are not based in statute but have constituted a practice generally
accepted by the leadership of the intelligence committees and that is employed when the
intelligence community believes a particular intelligence activity to be of such sensitivity that a
restricted notification is warranted in order to reduce the risk of disclosure, inadvertent or
otherwise. Intelligence activities viewed as being less sensitive typically are briefed to the full
membership of each committee.
In either case—whether a given briefing about non-covert action intelligence activities is limited
to the Gang of Four, or provided to the full membership of the intelligence committees—the
current statute conditions the provision of any such information on the need to protect from
unauthorized disclosure classified information relating to sensitive intelligence sources and
methods or other exceptionally sensitive matters.
Congress has said that its intent in this regard is that in extremely rare circumstances a need to
preserve essential secrecy may result in a decision not to impart certain sensitive aspects of
operations or collection programs to the intelligence oversight committees in order to protect
extremely sensitive intelligence sources and methods. With regard to the phrase “other
exceptionally sensitive matters,” Congress has said its intent in using this phrase is to refer to
other extremely sensitive categories of classified information such as information concerning the
operational details of military deployment and extraordinarily sensitive diplomatic contacts,
which the intelligence committees do not routinely require to satisfy their responsibilities.
This report reviews the history of the Gang of Four notification process and compares this
procedure with that of the “Gang of Eight” notification procedure. The “Gang of Eight”
procedure is statutorily based and provides that that the chairmen and ranking Members of the
intelligence committee, along with the Speaker and minority leader of the House, and Senate
majority and minority leaders—rather than the full membership of the intelligence committees--
are to receive prior notice of particularly sensitive covert action programs, if the President
determines that limited access to such programs is essential to meet extraordinary circumstances
affecting vital U.S. interests.
Here we have Obama as President telling our elected members of Congress to assume this GANG OF THIS AND THAT structure for all the critical legislation during sequestration and austerity.
'Again, this very modest change is now under a veto threat from the Obama administration.
Obama is asking that Congress doesn’t exercise its constitutional authority to conduct oversight out of a “long tradition of comity” (no kidding — here’s the veto threat letter). Look at how that “tradition” has worked out over the last decade.'
Gang of Eight Members Want a Bigger Gang
By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU
Washington Legislative Office
April 1, 2010 | 4:37 PM
The “gang of eight” is a group of members of Congress with a pretty sweet name that includes the leaders, both Democrat and Republican, of the Senate and House, as well as the chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. The “gang” is briefed on covert intelligence matters by the administration when the president “determines it is essential to limit access” to classified or national security information in “extraordinary circumstances.” The "gang" is also sworn to secrecy to not disclose this information to anyone, even other members of Congress.
Right now, there’s a transparency issue boiling between Congress and the administration. The House and Senate recently passed their intelligence authorization bills, and both chambers included a very important provision: a check on the president’s authority to single-handedly decide to only inform the “gang of eight” about important intelligence activities. In short, the bill's language would make the gang of eight a bigger gang to include the rest of the committee.
Frustratingly, President Obama is threatening to veto the legislation if requires the briefing of the other committee members.
It’s important to remember the purpose of the intelligence committees. In the 1970’s, the Church Committee investigated grave abuses of power in the name of national security. One of its core findings was that the complete lack of congressional oversight created fertile ground for executive overreach. It recommended that special committees in Congress be created to keep the intelligence and national security community within the confines of the law.
Thirty years later, the full intelligence committees can barely do their jobs. The executive branch takes advantage of this by withholding critical information from the full committees, often informing just the gang of eight as a way for the executive branch to hide its wrongdoing by isolating a small handful of members. This workaround allows the president to dump secrets on the gang of eight, and prevent them from conferring with their colleagues.
The House and Senate intelligence authorization bills make an important change in the underlying reporting statute. If a member of the gang of eight is briefed, and he or she objects to excluding the rest of the committee from the briefing, the executive branch must come in and brief the rest of the members of the committee on “general information regarding” the programs (House bill) or the “main features” of the intelligence activities (Senate bill). (See H.R. 2701 and S. 1494)
When it comes down to it, House Intelligence Committee Chairmen Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas) and Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) aren’t asking for the moon. They are only asking that their committees be looped in so that they can properly do their jobs. The intelligence committees must be able to make fully informed decisions about some of the most important constitutional and human rights issues of our day. (Actually, all members of congress should be fully informed since they all vote on authorizing these programs — but that’s a fight for another day!)
Again, this very modest change is now under a veto threat from the Obama administration.
Obama is asking that Congress doesn’t exercise its constitutional authority to conduct oversight out of a “long tradition of comity” (no kidding — here’s the veto threat letter). Look at how that “tradition” has worked out over the last decade.
Let’s take a quick walk through history and think about when these wider briefings could have made a difference. The CIA’s use of torture? What if Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) was able to share her concerns with her colleagues? And what about warrantless wiretapping? Imagine if Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) wrote a letter and didn’t have to lock it in a drawer. Even the smallest amount of extra sunshine and oversight from Congress on these dark spots in history would have made a huge difference. Can you imagine Congress delaying oversight or putting limits on these authorities if the entire intelligence committees were informed?
Doesn’t it seem like the executive branch has claimed that it can pretty much do whatever it wants when it comes to terrorism? And hasn’t Congress, at times, rushed in to validate that position by passing laws authorizing the very intrusive program that had been operating secretly and illegally? To make matters worse, these executive powers, whether legal or not, continue to operate in ever more secrecy due to:
- The executive’s assertion of the state secrets doctrine, under which some federal courts are prevented from reviewing this activity independently, and,
- The administration’s increasing refusals to release information in response to FOIA requests.
On the campaign trail, President Obama, pledged openness and government transparency, declaring "no more secrecy." To see his administration threatening a veto on something that would help that goal is disheartening to say the least. If we’ve learned anything over the last decade, it’s that the executive branch — no matter who is president — cannot be trusted to check itself.
'The 24-member Politburo is elected by the party's central committee. But real power lies with its smaller standing committee, which works as a kind of inner cabinet and groups together the country's most influential leaders'.
The Bush neo-cons and the Clinton/Obama neo-liberals have always been the same ONE PARTY -----they called themselves THE CENTER but they were always this NEW WORLD ORDER ONE PARTY WORKING FOR THE GLOBAL CORPORATE TRIBUNAL.
This is why both Republicans and Democrats must take back these parties---it really does not matter if third parties are created because the election fraud is so obvious that a third party gaining any power will be impossible until our elections are free and fair. WE THE PEOPLE WILL BECOME WE THE ONE WORLD GLOBAL LABOR POOL IF WE DO NOT ENGAGE IN POLITICS AND USE OUR STRENGTH OF NUMBERS!
How China Picks Its Leaders: A Chart
Party spokesperson Cai Mingzhao arrives for a press briefing ahead of the 18th party congress. (China Daily/Reuters)
Today marks the kickoff of China's 18th party congress, the once-per-decade political confab that has the country's biggest wigs formally appointing their next leaders in Beijing. The two men who will assume the most powerful posts in all the land will be Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang. Together, they'll represent 1.3 billion people, nearly a fifth of the world's population.
China may not be a democracy in the Western sense, but like any selection process, the circle of people who actually get a say in naming Xi and Li to the presidency and premiership is remarkably small. How small, you ask?
Here below is a stripped-down graphical representation of China's complex leadership structure.
Here's how it works: the National People's Congress brings together some 2,000 delegates. Those representatives are responsible for choosing between 200 and 300 members of what's called the Central Committee of the Communist Party. Out of those, 24 ascend to the ultra-powerful Politburo, which in the past has been responsible for many of China's major decisions. But it doesn't end there. Above the politburo sits the country's highest decision-making body, the Politburo Standing Committee (PSC). It's effectively a seven-member inner cabinet staffed by China's most powerful individuals, who themselves are drawn from the 24-member politburo.
Just as with a Western cabinet, each of the PSC's members oversees a different policy domain. Xi Jinping, who's already a sitting member on the PSC, serves as vice chairman of the Communist Party's central military commission. Every member also represents a home district. In Xi's case, it's Shanghai.
Even though they're running the country, the president and premier are formally members of the PSC, and many of the decisions it makes have to be approved consensually. That means there's likely a lot of backchannel politicking ordinary Chinese don't get to see, much less Western observers. Hu Jintao, the current president, has floated the idea of making reforms to this hierarchical process. Until they actually happen, though, illustrations like these can help us understand what's going on.