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Ron Paul: Soros Pushes U.S. Bailouts and Weapons for Ukraine

The Gilmer Free Press

If you look at the track record of the interventionists you might think they would pause before taking on more projects. Each of their past projects has ended in disaster yet still they press on. Last week the website Zero Hedge posted a report about hacked emails between billionaire George Soros and Ukrainian President Poroshenko.
Soros is very close to the Ukrainian president, who was put in power after a U.S.-backed coup deposed the elected leader of Ukraine last year. In the email correspondence, Soros tells the Ukrainian leadership that the U.S. should provide Ukraine “with same level of sophistication in defense weapons to match the level of opposing force.“ In other words, despite the February ceasefire, Soros is pushing behind the scenes to make sure Ukraine receives top-of-the-line lethal weapons from the United States. Of course it will be up to us to pay the bill because Ukraine is broke.
But Soros seems to have the money part covered as well. In an email to Ukrainian leaders, he wrote that Ukraine’s “first priority must be to regain control of financial markets.“ Soros told Poroshenko that the IMF would need to come through with a $15 billion package, which was confident would lead the Fed to also come through with more money. He wrote: “the Federal Reserve could be asked to extend a $15 billion three months swap arrangement with the National Bank of Ukraine. That would reassure the markets and avoid a panic.”
How would the Fed be convinced to do that? Soros assured Poroshenko: “I am ready to call Jack Lew of the U.S. Treasury to sound him out about the swap agreement.”
So George Soros will use his influence in the U.S. government to put the American people on the hook for a bankrupt Ukraine—forcing us to pay for weapons, more military training, and Ukraine’s crippling debt.
Who is thrilled with Soros’ dr awing the U.S. government into more intervention in the region? The military-industrial complex for one is happy at the prospect of big weapons “sales” to Ukraine. The bankers are thrilled. Washington power-brokers are thrilled. There is something in this for everyone who is politically well-connected. The only losers are the people who will be forced to pay for it, the American taxpayers.
No one seems to ask why we are involved in Ukraine at all. Is it really any of our business if the east wants to break away from the west? Is it a vital U.S. interest which flag the people wish to hang in Donetsk?
One thing we should be sure of is that Ukraine’s debt will not be paid. As in other bailouts, much of it will be transferred to the U.S. taxpayer through the IMF and the Federal Reserve. All of this is only possible because of the perception that the dollar is still the world’s reserve currency. But this too is coming to an end. U.S. military and financial interventionism worldwide are only speeding up the process.

WV Legislative Update: Delegate Brent Boggs - Minority House Finance Chairman - 06.08.15

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Long hours on the railroad last week led in to a beautiful weekend.  Between the weather, work and visiting the kids on previous weekends, the garden had suffered.  Jean and I worked daylight until late Saturday at the farm.  While we had hoped to finish in time to attend the PPR dinner at Burnsville, the beans, corn and the new tomato plants – coupled with a non-functioning electric fence had to take precedence. We missed the food and fellowship, but deer and groundhogs were no doubt hoping we’d skip fixing the fence.  We stayed until the job was done.

A few sessions ago, I introduced House Concurrent Resolution 118, which was intended to study the feasibility of a multi-county ATV trail system in central West Virginal.  The focus area of the study included Braxton, Gilmer, Lewis, Calhoun, Webster, Nicholas and Clay Counties.  The study is being conducted by the professionals at the Rahall Transportation Institute.  While the focus of the study and funding delays during the transition between former Speakers Thompson and Miley resulted in a delayed start, the Joint Committee on Government and Finance approved the funding for the study last fall during my tenure as Finance Chairman.  I am pleased to report that the study it is well under way and generating much excitement around the state.

As a member of the Parks and Recreation Committee, this was one of the agenda items on our Sunday afternoon meeting.  In fact, the Executive Director of the Hatfield and McCoy Trail System, Mr. Jeff Lusk, spoke highly in favor of moving this study forward.  Also speaking in favor of creating an additional trail system was the owner of one of the whitewater rafting companies operating on the New and Gauley Rivers.  Both gentlemen concurred that having additional riding and trail opportunities will make West Virginia more of a destination.  Ms. Amanda Payne of RTI provided the update to the committee.

I believe this is a major step for tourism opportunities in central West Virginia.  Our communities could see additional business opportunities, tourism dollars and additional revenues for our counties if we can successfully model a recreational trail system central to the entire state.  Additionally, we strategically are located within a six hour drive of 42 million Americans; and, sizeable portions are looking for destinations relatively close to home where they can drive in a day or less.

In the coming weeks and months, work will continue and a series of public meetings will be held in the aforementioned areas.  It is important to note that these trails do not use eminent domain to obtain property.  In fact, most land is from large land holding companies or individuals that are completely indemnified from liability.  They also have the ability to shut down sections on their property at times where the property owner has special needs.  Moreover, alcohol is prohibited, helmets are mandatory and the area is policed by rangers continually.  Hopefully, as the study unfolds, our counties will become partners in moving this unique opportunity forward.

If you would like to view Ms. Payne’s digital presentation, please contact me and I will email it to you.

Finally, last session I had planned to introduced a couple bridge naming resolutions in our area.  However, DOH originally determined that they would begin charging up to $500 to name various roads, bridges, etc.  I think that is an unnecessary and burdensome expense and as a result, I did not introduce naming resolutions as planned until that issue was addressed.  After many legislators took issue with the proposed fee, I am pleased to report that by the end of the session, DOH rescinded the fee policy. 

In the interim, send your inquiries to my home office at:  151 Park Street, Gassaway, WV 26624; call 304.364.8411; or fax 304.364.8711.  If you have an interest in any particular bill or issue, please let me know.  For those with Internet access, my legislative e-mail address is:

You may also obtain additional legislative information, including the copies of bills, conference reports, daily summaries, interim highlights, and leave me a message on the Legislature’s web site at www.legis.state.wv.us/.  When leaving a message, please remember to include your phone number with your inquiry and any details you can provide. Additional information, including agency links and the state government phone directory, may be found at www.wv.gov. Also, you may follow me on Facebook at “Brent Boggs”, Twitter at “@DelBrentBoggs” , as well as the WV Legislature’s Facebook page at “West Virginia Legislature” or on Twitter at twitter.com/wvlegislature.

Continue to remember our troops - at home and abroad - and keep them and their families in your thoughts and prayers.  Until next week – take care.

REINVESTING IN WEST VIRGINIA, FIGHTING BACK AGAINST SUBSTANCE ABUSE

A column by Governor Earl Ray Tomblin
The Gilmer Free Press

During the five years I have served as your governor, I have made it a priority to develop a skilled workforce, reduce our state’s prison and regional jail inmate population, rehabilitate those offenders when possible, and fight the battle against substance abuse. I know there is more work to be done, and I’m pleased that additional attention is being paid to these critical issues. But I also am proud of what we have already accomplished.

In 2011, I established the Governor’s Advisory Council on Substance Abuse (GACSA) and charged members with developing a comprehensive plan that addressed both local community and statewide concerns. Since then, more than 3,000 people have attended 96 public meetings to share specific recommendations to combat drug abuse in communities across West Virginia.

Ideas discussed during these regional meetings have led to a number of critical legislative and administrative reforms, including the adoption of a prescription drug monitoring database, establishing stricter regulations for opioid treatment centers and pain clinics, and expanding access to Naloxone - a life-saving drug - to first responders and family members of those struggling with addiction.

By expanding access to and reinvesting in community-based treatment services, we’re giving those struggling with addiction the help they need to get on the road to recovery.

In 2013, with bipartisan support from the executive, legislative and judicial branches and with the help of the Council of State Governments (CSG), I signed into law the West Virginia Justice Reinvestment Act, establishing a new and comprehensive path forward to improve West Virginia’s justice system.

This legislation outlined three specific objectives: strengthen community-based supervision; focus resources on inmates at risk of re-offending; and invest in drug courts and other community-based treatment options to tackle substance abuse in West Virginia.

Since then, we have implemented a number of new programs through Justice Reinvestment to strengthen parole and probation capacity and effectiveness, develop the use of graduated sanctions for probation and parole violations, ensure inmates with violent histories are not released without mandatory supervision, and improve information sharing and coordination among state agencies and external organizations.

We continue to work with our state’s businesses, labor groups and educational institutions to put into place innovative strategies to reduce re-offense rates through workforce training programs and put people on the path to recovery, rejoining their families, communities and workplaces.

As part of Justice Reinvestment, West Virginia has committed nearly $10 million to support community-based substance abuse services at existing facilities. Over the past five years, the Bureau for Behavioral Health & Health Facilities has provided nearly $29 million - an average of $5.8 million a year - for substance abuse-related services and activities, and has awarded nearly $3 million to develop or expand drug treatment programs in counties across West Virginia where services were formerly limited or non-existent.

I recently announced an additional $250,000 in grant funding to support five new projects across the state that will assist communities participating in the pilot phase of Justice Reinvestment Treatment Supervision program, to expand access to outpatient and intensive outpatient services, community engagement specialists and recovery coaches.

Our efforts have led to significant progress in the fight against substance abuse, and I’m pleased to see recent local and federal efforts to also focus attention on this issue. For the second year in a row, we have seen a decrease in the misuse of prescription drugs, and over the past three years, West Virginia has seen a significant decrease the use of in marijuana and illicit drugs.

I’m proud of the progress we’ve made - together. By continuing to fight back against substance abuse and reinvesting in the lives of West Virginians struggling with addiction, we can create a brighter future for our state and those who call her home.

How to Cheat on State Standardized Tests and Not Get Caught

The Gilmer Free Press

Recently, the Atlanta, Georgia cheating scandal has been in the news as many of the people involved have been convicted, and incredibly sent to prison. This is insane. I thought prison was a place for people who were dangerous or who committed some serious crime.

For students, the standard penalty for cheating is a zero on the exam or perhaps automatic failure of the course. At worst you get booted from school if you attend a military academy our some other school that is more interested in punishing students than having them learn from their mistakes.

While I never got caught cheating, I did my share, and even participated in organized cheating as part of my college fraternity. Back then, I saw it as collaboration and beating the system. Unfortunately for many in and around the education business, collaboration is cheating. Nowhere else is this the case. If you have a job to do, does your boss ever care if you dialed a friend, asked and expert, or polled the audience?

It could be my college experience that leads me to write this article. I’m not encouraging anyone to follow the advice given here, but I’m sure that many have already done so. The fact is that any time you create a game, people will game the system, and that is just what our current test and punish culture has lead to. The people in Atlanta got caught because they were sloppy and went to far with their erasing parties.

Unfortunately for them, modern scanners can read most erasures. This means that for any test, you can tell how many erasures went from incorrect to correct or visa versa. If all or most of the erasures head in the former direction, cheating is fairly certain. If it happens on all the tests from a class or a school, you better have a really good lawyer, and be ready to make a plea deal like some of the folks in Atlanta did.

If you are going to do some erasing, you better be selective and not get carried away. Here are my tips. On the papers of your top students and your bottom students, don’t erase anything. The top students will pass anyway, and the bottom students will require so many erasures that you will easily get caught.

Focus on your bubble kids. Teachers know which kids are near the passing line. For these kids, one more correct question could make the difference between passing or not. Here is where selective erasing could pay off. I wouldn’t correct more than two questions per test. I would use a high-end eraser, and use almost surgical technique.

If you can, find someone with a high-end scanner like the ones use to actually score the tests and see if it can spot your erasures. If it can, be very careful. If it can’t, don’t get carried away. You want a few more kids to pass, but you don’t want so many to pass that you stick out from the pack.

Although test makers deny it, the tests are essentially norm-referenced tests. I say that because they use something that test geeks call “Item Response Theory” to construct the exams. They also pre-test items and look for items that discriminate between learners of various ability rather than items that simply test what a student knows. Then they create the tests by using sets of items that discriminate over the entire range of student abilities. One ideal item would discriminate between all smart and all very smart students.

Others would do so for students at other positions in the range of student ability. Knowing this, you want to make sure that the items you erase are the easiest ones that a given student has missed. If a student in the middle of the pack gets too many difficult questions correct, cheating will be strongly suspected.

These tests are timed, and it isn’t unusual for many students to either rush to finish or not finish at all. Ironically, students with very low cognitive function are given twice as much time to suffer on exams they have no business taking in the first place. If your school is like the one where I was principal, tests are given behind closed doors with “testing in progress, do not interrupt” signs on the door. In other words, the only adult who knows what goes on is the teacher proctoring the test, and this is usually the teacher of the students taking the test.

If I were teaching, I would simply give my students as much time as they needed and tell them not to rush. Who’s going to know besides me? I doubt the students would have a clue.

Most of the efforts I have seen to fire poor teachers depend on at least two consecutive years of poor performance on the tests combined with other criteria. If this is the case, it’s fine if your students to crappy year one as long as they do better year two.

This might prompt some teachers to sabotage scores year one, which would be pretty easy to do. Just make sure no one has time to finish and you should be all set. You could even spend less time preparing students for the test so they wouldn’t be familiar with the test format. If an entire school followed this approach, the school would qualify for most improved awards the following year.

My school got one of these when a bad year was followed by a good year. Most of this is the result of regression to the mean. This means that if your bad enough, you are not likely to be as bad next year. Top schools can suffer from this also as when you are on top, the only way to go is down.

Most teachers are concerned about students cheating on assessments of all kinds, and usually take action to control cheating opportunities. When I taught chemistry, I created two copies of each test with the choices arranged in different orders. My guiding principal was “lead them not into temptation.“

When it comes to the state tests, however, you just might want to lower the cheating barriers. Don’t spread out the seats, and spend most of the testing sessions reading a book rather then using the old eagle eye to discourage wandering eyes.

You could even arrange seating so that your bubble kids are sitting next to your wizards. Then after the state tests, be sure to go back to your normal cheating prevention routine.

After the last set of exams in New York, cellphone pictures of exam pages circulated on the Internet. I wouldn’t suggest that you do that as there is nothing for you to gain personally, but you might consider taking pictures for your own use.

In New York, teachers aren’t even supposed to look at the tests. Is there no end to the madness? It seems if you could study previous exams you just might be able to better prepare students for next year’s tests. Beware that you just may have to sign your life away promising that you did everything exactly the way the test directions demanded, but who’s going to know?

Although the multiple choice tests are graded by scanners, many tests include items where students have to do some writing or show their work. So far, this requires that humans do the grading. Just who does the grading depends on where you live. In a few cases schools grade their own tests, although I doubt any teachers grade there own students’ tests. In other cases, tests are sent to another school or to central locations.

When I was still working, I did some grading and found it to be a great way to see what students could do and how they think. Part of the problem with human grading is that there is room for judgment, and not all graders have the same judgment. Certainly some are harder graders than others.

The test companies also hire non teachers to grade tests and pay them as little a $12 an hour. So much for excellence. If you are involved in grading, be as generous as possible. This may not help kids in your school, but you will be helping someone.

The companies who make these tests have to pre test the items so they know how difficult each item is and how well it discriminates. Remember, the goal is to sort kids, not find out what they know. In some cases, so-called field tests are given in the spring after the “real” tests. I my school, one grade each year had to take a field test in either ELA or math.

You can imagine how the teachers and students in the lucky grade felt when I showed up with another load of testing sludge. We always told the kids that the tests didn’t count and to just be sure to fill in all the bubbles. We didn’t tell them to do it randomly, but there was no effort to get them to do their best. If you wanted to be really devious, you could fill in the bubbles yourself in a way that would make the results even less valid than they already are.

The other way items are pre tested is to put new items on the real tests that don’t count. I see this as unethical as it is possible that any student might spend extra time struggling on items that don’t count rather than on items that do count.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, this article was written with tongue firmly in cheek. So what do I really recommend? If I were still principal I would do now what I did then. Simply tell the teachers to create interesting, engaging lessons that get the students excited about learning, and don’t even think about the tests until just before they are given.

Lessons should help students internalize important knowledge and use it along with new knowledge to solve problems and be creative. At least three times a day make sure they get out of their seats and move around. Take them for a walk, do some stairs, and throw in some other exercises.

One week prior to the tests, tell the students that it’s time to get ready for the “testing game.“ Teach them how to game multiple choice questions along with any other testing tricks you have learned over the years. Focus on how it doesn’t matter how well they do as long as they do their best, and no matter what happens you still love them.

Remember, the first and most important thing a teacher does is develop a strong relationship with each individual student. As for the above advice, I see no problem giving students a little extra time to finish. My goal here is to do my small part to take down a system that just about any educator I know thinks is bad for kids and by extension, our society as a whole. I encourage my readers to look for opportunities to do the same.

~~  Dr. Doug Green - A former teacher of chemistry, physics, and computer science ~~

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