Tag Archives: propaganda

Teachers, Taxes and Tea-Publicans, Oh My!

Our Koch-Bot Governor Doug Ducey, the self-annointed “education governor”(sic), claims that he wants to put more money into public education and to give teachers raises.

But the Arizona Republic recently took a look at the actual numbers. How much are Arizona teachers paid?

The Arizona Republic took a closer look at the numbers. Here’s what we found:

Median teacher pay

According to an analysis by the Arizona School Boards Association published in January, the median teacher pay in 2018 is $46,949.

This number takes into account how the allocation of Proposition 123 has so far factored into teacher pay. It shows the median salary has risen 4.6 percent since 2015, giving teachers about $2,000 more a year.

The number does not reflect a 1 percent pay increase for teachers that the Legislature and Ducey approved last year. Because of the way that money was allocated [i.e., a bonus], it is not part of teachers’ base pay.

How does Arizona compare?

The most recent — and arguably most equitable — comparison of teacher salaries nationwide is a May 2017 analysis by Arizona State University’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy. That analysis adjusted the numbers to take into account the cost of living in each state.

According to that data, the median salary for Arizona elementary school teachers in 2016, adjusted for regional purchasing power, was $42,474. The median salary for high school teachers was $47,890.

When all state salaries are adjusted in this way, Arizona ranks 50th in the nation for elementary teacher salaries, and 49th for high school teacher salaries. Oklahoma ranked 50th for high school teachers.

“Education governor” my ass! What a fraud.

Continue reading

Disgraceful House Intelligence Committee whitewash of Russia investigation ends (Updated)

Putin’s fifth column of fellow travelers on the House Intelligence Committee, led by “Midnight Run” Devin Nunes, has completed its whitewash investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 campaign. It’s cover-up and obstruction of justice is now complete. I truly hope that Rep. Nunes, at a minimum, will be charged as an accessory to obstruction of justice.

Special counsel Robert Mueller is nearly done with his investigation into whether President Donald Trump obstructed justice but may wait to publicize his findings until he has completed other parts of the Russia probe, Bloomberg News reported on Monday.

Greg Sargent of the Washington Post reports, The Republican coverup for Trump just got much worse:

House Republicans may have the power to prevent important facts about President Trump and Russia from coming to public light. But here’s what they don’t have the power to do: prevent important facts about their own conduct on Trump’s behalf from coming to public light.

Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee have announced that they are shutting down their investigation into Russian efforts to sabotage our democracy and into Trump campaign collusion with those efforts. Shockingly, they have reached conclusions that are entirely vindicating for Trump: There was no “collusion,” and while Russia did try to interfere, it didn’t do so in order to help Trump.

In an interview with me this morning, Rep. Adam B. Schiff — the ranking Democrat on the Intel Committee — confirmed that Democrats will issue a minority report that will seek to rebut the GOP conclusions.

But here’s the real point to understand about this minority report: It will detail all the investigative avenues that House Republicans declined to take — the interviews that they didn’t conduct, and the leads that they didn’t try to chase down and verify. And Schiff confirmed that the report will include new facts — ones that have not been made public yet — that Republicans didn’t permit to influence their conclusions.

Continue reading

Jane Mayer’s in-depth report on Christopher Steele

Jane Mayer at the New Yorker has an in-depth lengthy narrative report on Christopher Steele, the former M.I.6 spy and Russia specialist. This is the most concise narrative report I have seen on this subject. Christopher Steele, the Man Behind the Trump Dossier (ecerpts):

Christopher Steele had spent more than twenty years in M.I.6, most of it focussing on Russia. For three years, in the nineties, he spied in Moscow under diplomatic cover. Between 2006 and 2009, he ran the service’s Russia desk, at its headquarters, in London. He was fluent in Russian, and widely considered to be an expert on the country. He’d also advised on nation-building in Iraq.

* * *

Steele worked out of the British Embassy for M.I.6, under diplomatic cover. His years in Moscow, 1990 to 1993, were among the most dramatic in Russian history, a period that included the collapse of the Communist Party; nationalist uprisings in Ukraine, the Caucasus, and the Baltic states; and the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Boris Yeltsin gained ultimate power in Russia, and a moment of democratic promise faded as the K.G.B.—now called the F.S.B.—reasserted its influence, oligarchs snapped up state assets, and nationalist political forces began to emerge. Vladimir Putin, a K.G.B. operative returning from East Germany, reinvented himself in the shadowy world of St. Petersburg politics. By the time Steele left the country, optimism was souring, and a politics of resentment—against the oligarchs, against an increasing gap between rich and poor, and against the West—was taking hold.

After leaving Moscow, Steele was assigned an undercover posting with the British Embassy in Paris, but he and a hundred and sixteen other British spies had their cover blown by an anonymously published list. Steele came in from the cold and returned to London, and in 2006 he began running its Russia desk, growing increasingly pessimistic about the direction of the Russian Federation.

Steele’s already dim view of the Kremlin darkened in November, 2006, when Alexander Litvinenko, a former Russian K.G.B. officer and a Putin critic who had been recruited by M.I.6, suffered an agonizing death in a London hospital, after drinking a cup of tea poisoned with radioactive polonium-210. Moscow had evidently sanctioned a brazen murder in his own country. Steele was put in charge of M.I.6’s investigation. Authorities initially planned to indict one suspect in the murder, but Steele’s investigative work persuaded them to indict a second suspect as well. Nine years later, the U.K.’s official inquiry report was finally released, and it confirmed Steele’s view: the murder was an operation by the F.S.B., and it was “probably approved” by Vladimir Putin.

Steele has never commented on the case, or on any other aspect of his intelligence work, but Richard Dearlove, who led M.I.6 from 1999 to 2004, has described his reputation as “superb.” A former senior officer recalls him as “a Russia-area expert whose knowledge I and others respected—he was very careful, and very savvy.” Another former M.I.6 officer described him as having a “Marmite” personality—a reference to the salty British spread, which people either love or hate. He suggested that Steele didn’t appear to be “going places in the service,” noting that, after the Cold War, Russia had become a backwater at M.I.6. But he acknowledged that Steele “knew Russia well,” and that running the Russia desk was “a proper job that you don’t give to an idiot.”

Continue reading

A closer look at Russian cultivation of the NRA

NPR reports on the Depth Of Russian Politician’s Cultivation Of NRA Ties:

A prominent Kremlin-linked Russian politician has methodically cultivated ties with leaders of the National Rifle Association and documented efforts in real time over six years to leverage those connections and gain deeper access into American politics, NPR has learned.

Russian politician Alexander Torshin said his ties to the NRA provided him access to Donald Trump — and the opportunity to serve as a foreign election observer in the United States during the 2012 election.

Torshin is a prolific Twitter user, logging nearly 150,000 tweets, mostly in Russian, since his account was created in 2011. Previously obscured by language and sheer volume of tweets, Torshin has written numerous times about his connections with the NRA, of which he is a known paid lifetime member. NPR has translated a selection of those posts that document Torshin’s relationship to the group.

These revelations come amid news that the FBI is investigating whether Torshin, the deputy governor of the Bank of Russia, illegally funneled money to the NRA to assist the Trump campaign in 2016, McClatchy reported in January.

In a letter to Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., a member of the Senate intelligence committee, the NRA denied any wrongdoing and suggested the FBI is investigating Torshin, not the NRA. Neither the NRA nor Torshin responded to inquiries from NPR.

Investigations by Congress and the Department of Justice have revealed that the Russian government has sought to sharpen political divisions among American citizens by amplifying controversial social issues. Investigators have expressed concern about Russian links to the NRA, one of the most politically polarizing organizations in the U.S.

Continue reading

The Special Counsel focuses on the heart of the Russia investigation (updated)

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is beginning to ask direct questions about whether Donald Trump knew about the stolen Democratic emails from the 2016 presidential election before their theft became public knowledge — as well as whether he was in any way involved in how they were released during the campaign. Mueller asking if Trump knew about hacked Democratic emails before release:

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team is asking witnesses pointed questions about whether Donald Trump was aware that Democratic emails had been stolen before that was publicly known, and whether he was involved in their strategic release, according to multiple people familiar with the probe.

Mueller’s investigators have asked witnesses whether Trump was aware of plans for WikiLeaks to publish the emails. They have also asked about the relationship between GOP operative Roger Stone and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and why Trump took policy positions favorable to Russia.

The line of questioning suggests the special counsel, who is tasked with examining whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election, is looking into possible coordination between WikiLeaks and Trump associates in disseminating the emails, which U.S. intelligence officials say were stolen by Russia.

Continue reading

GOPropaganda, ‘fake news’ and the post-truth era comes to Gov. Ducey’s campaign

For all the controversy generated by Donald Trump’s efforts to delegitimize the American news media by claiming they are “fake news” in an attempt to create a post-truth era where facts do not matter, a propaganda technique long employed by the Soviets/Russians and many other authoritarian regimes, this was not something new to the Trump campaign in 2016.

There was, of course, FAUX News and its mantra of “we report, you decide,” reducing everything to mere opinions rather than objective facts. “Don’t bother me with the facts, I know what I believe!” FAUX News is  a rejection of Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s admonition that “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.”

There was the quote attributed to a Bush aide by Ron Suskind (reportedly Karl Rove) in 2004: The aide said that guys like me were “in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” “That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

In 2014, the National Republican Congressional Committee has launched more than 20 “fake news” sites to attack Democrats running for Congress, creating a media uproar and drawing protest from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the NRCC’s counterpart. GOP campaign arm launches fake news sites against Democrats. “If anyone was wondering why voters don’t trust Congress, look no further than the NRCC’s brand new voter outreach strategy—fake news sites,” said Josh Schwerin, national press secretary for the DCCC, in a statement.

Continue reading