Posts

Bernie trounced Hillary in NH Primary despite his Israel Hating Advisers

Bernie Sanders may have trounced Hillary Clinton in yesterday’s New Hampshire primary by a significant double digit margin with his Wall Street bashing and Swedish-style entitlement giveaways trolling for millennials and the economically disaffected.  However little known are his foreign policy advisers who are notoriously anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian. Among them are Jim Zogby of the Arab American Institute, former Defense official Larry Korb and, of course, the Soros-funded operatives of J Street.

Adam Credo’s article in yesterday’s Washington Free Beacon article noted the views of these ‘foreign policy’ advisers, “Meet Bernie Sanders’ Israel Hating Advisers.”   You thought his stint in a left Socialist Hashomer Hatzair Israeli kibbutz in his 20’s would make him a lifelong Zionist defender of the Jewish State. As my mythic cousin Vinny from Brooklyn would say, FERGEDABOTIT. Just look at his brother who lives in the UK, a supporter of the anti-Israel pro-Palestinian Labor Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn.  Bernie congratulations Corbyn on his victory winning the Labor Party leadership. The UK Daily Mail article  noted his email to Corbyn saying:

The Democrat presidential hopeful said he is ‘delighted’ to support a leader who ‘tells the billionaire class that they cannot have it all’.

‘At a time of mass income and wealth inequality throughout the world, I am delighted to see that the British Labor Party has elected Jeremy Corbyn as its new leader,’ he said in an email to Daily Mail Online.

‘We need economies that work for working families, not just the people on top.’

His words come after then Argentina’s President  Cristina Kirchner, since ousted by conservative successor Mauricio Macri, gushed that ‘hope has triumphed’ and that Corbyn ‘stands with Argentina’ in their anti-American stance.

Bernie also has a close friendship with notorious left wing anti-Israel advocate Noam Chomsky who endorsed him for President. They both share an Israeli kibbutz experience that in Chomsky’s case bolstered his Israel hating obsessions.

Watch this You Tube video of Chomsky’s endorsement of Bernie for President:

Note these comments from Noah Pollak, executive director of the Emergency Committee for Israel, Michael Rubin, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and Yehudit Barsky, fellow at Institute for the Study of Global Anti-Semitism and Policy in Kredo’s Washington Free Beacon article:

Sanders, who is Jewish and had family members slaughtered during the Holocaust, recently disclosed that his top foreign policy advisers include J Street, a dovish Middle East advocacy group that backs some of Congress’ most vocal critics of Israel, former assistant Secretary of Defense Larry Korb, and James Zogby, an Israel detractor who heads the Arab American Institute.

The inclusion of these advisers in the Sanders’ campaign, which has already come under fire for ignoring prominent Jewish-American political organizations, has prompted speculation from some that the presidential hopeful will pursue anti-Israel foreign policy priorities.

“Bernie seems to care very little about foreign policy, and so his views are shaped inordinately by advisers,” said Noah Pollak, executive director of the Emergency Committee for Israel, an advocacy organization. “And now we know who those advisers are. Two of them—Zogby and J Street—are leading anti-Israel apologists for terrorism. By his association with these extremist groups, Bernie fails the commander-in-chief test.”

“If advisers are a crystal ball to the future of foreign policy, then Sanders seeks a policy which doubles down on many of the failed assumptions that have undercut Obama’s policies,” said Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon adviser and terrorism analyst. “America’s adversaries are real and are motivated by ideology rather than grievance. To rest American national security on the good will of anti-American despots and Islamists is never a good gamble.”

Zogby has accused the Jewish state of committing a “Holocaust” against the Palestinians and has referred to Israelis as “Nazis.” He has also described sitting members of Congress as “Israel firsters,” an anti-Semitic trope that implies dual loyalty to the Jewish state.
Zogby also has come under fire for exploiting the memory of the Holocaust for political purposes.

Zogby claimed in a 2010 blog post for the Huffington Post that “the plight of Palestinians is to the Arabs, what the Holocaust is to Jews world-wide.”
His comparison immediately drew outrage, with researchers from the UK Media Watch organization describing it as “grievously insulting.”
“Nothing that I could say to highlight his words would make them any more insulting or horrid than they are on their own,” a representative of that group wrote at the time.

“Zogby has two goals: to make Arab Americans more powerful than Jewish Americans and to be their preeminent leader,” Yehudit Barsky, a fellow at the Institute for the Study of Global Anti-Semitism and Policy, wrote in a profile about Zogby’s anti-Israel attitudes.

J Street has faced similar criticism for its efforts to pressure Israel into making security concessions to the Palestinians that could endanger its survival.

J Street accused the Jewish state of “fanning growing flames of anti-Semitism” due to its efforts to stop daily attacks on civilians during Israel’s 2014 battle against Hamas terrorists.

The group’s leaders also have accused leading Israeli politicians of being racists.

We’ll see how Bernie Sanders fares in the upcoming Democratic primaries.  Given his radical background there was a reason why the media took to calling the city he was elected to serve the People’s Republic of Burlington.  With the FBI released a letter yesterday that Hillary is under investigation because of alleged confidential intelligence abuses using her private email server, you never know what can happen next in the 2016 Democrat Presidential nomination race.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

A Revelation Regarding the Common Core Sale: Evidence is needed.

On October 22, 2014, the corporate-reform-friendly think tank, American Enterprise Institute (AEI), hosted a panel discussion entitled, What Now for the Common Core? Below is the description of the panel participants and the *implementation-focused* conclusion is actually what should have happened before the Common Core (CCSS) was adopted by any state and certainly before CCSS was ever proclaimed as “ensuring college and career readiness for all students:

Evidence that it works.

A profound revelation, no?

Here is AEI’s entire event summary spiel:

What is the current state of the Common Core, and what is its future? Moderator Michael McShane of AEI posed these questions to a group of experts at an AEI event on Wednesday. Frederick Hess of AEI, Chris Minnich of the Council of Chief State School Officers, and Catherine Gewertz of Education Week largely agreed that districts and schools are at very different stages of the implementation process, that the public is still underinformed, and that the Common Core comprises more states and has been more federally driven than anticipated.

Hess and Minnich dove into the issue of federal involvement, with Hess emphasizing that the effort should focus on ensuring comparability and rigor across states, not on recruiting as many states as possible. Minnich agreed that governors and school chiefs must take the Common Core out of federal hands.

Gewertz said that most teachers focus on making the Common Core work in their classrooms, not on debating its political implications. One of the biggest impediments has been finding high-quality, Common Core–aligned materials.

To conclude, McShane asked panelists what must happen for the Common Core to be successful. All of the panelists focused on outcomes: there needs to be evidence that students are performing better and that this progress translates into greater college and career readiness. [Emphasis added.]
–Jenn Hatfield

A couple tidbits: First, “moderator” McShane co-authored a CCSS-promo book with Hess in November 2013, entitled, Common Core Meets Education Reform.

That title is redundant.

Second, it is interesting that the above AEI panel summary includes zero discussion of the public rejecting CCSS because CCSS is a top-down, imposed product that teaching practitioners and parents, among other stakeholders, genuinely do not want. Period.

No, no. According to the three non-teacher-practitioner individuals on this panel, what CCSS needs in 2014– four years after it was rushed to its hardly-transparent finish in 2010– is “evidence that students are performing better.”

The horse continues to push the corporate reform cart.

Indeed, the CCSS Promise of College and Career Readiness as being “research and evidence-based” goes back to before CCSS was written. That term– “evidence based”– is a term that can easily serve as a bait-and-switch for what should have happened given the very-high-stakes nature of CCSS: a subjecting of the CCSS product to empirical testing.

Here is the full CCSS announcement from July 4, 2009:

The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a joint effort by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) in partnership with Achieve, ACT and the College Board. Governors and state commissioners of education from across the country committed to joining a state-led process to develop a common core of state standards in English-language arts and mathematics for grades K-12. These standards will be research and evidence-based,internationally benchmarked, aligned with college and work expectations and include rigorous content and skills. The NGA Center and CCSSO are coordinating the process to develop these standards and have created an expert validation committee to provide an independent review of the common core state standards, as well as the grade-by-grade standards. The college and career ready standards are expected to be completed in July 2009. The grade-by-grade standards work is expected to be completed in December 2009. [Emphasis added.]

Yeah, the top-downers “jointing this effort” thought they would be done six months before they actually were– and even with the delay in completion until June 2010, this CCSS product has “rush job” stamped all over it.

In June 2010, America got a press release.

In place of empirical evidence, America received a short list of endorsements.

Endorsements are not evidence.

No readily available site or search engine to offer the public a comprehensive view of that supposed “research base,” and no empirical “evidence” because, well, there just isn’t any.

Now, this Hunt Institute set of CCSS talking points for governors to use in promoting CCSS– a doc that happens to be posted on the USDOE website (hmm…)– states that there is “evidence.” However, nothing listed includes any practical, real-world testing of CCSS to demonstrate the proclaimed “ensuring” of “college and career readiness.

What is offered is a lit review justifying the idea of CCSS, not its actual utility.

No evidence prior to the June 2010 proclamation that CCSS was a product ready to be used and guaranteed to deliver.

But in 2014, the AEI panel states that evidence is needed. 

Meanwhile, the CCSS website continues to advertise the CCSS Guarantee. Here it is, on a page entitled, “What Parents Should Know”:

Today’s students are preparing to enter a world in which colleges and businesses are demanding more than ever before. To ensure all students are ready for success after high school, the Common Core State Standards establish clear, consistent guidelines for what every student should know and be able to do in math and English language arts from kindergarten through 12thgrade. [Emphasis added.]

What complicates the “evidence is needed in 2014″ issue is that one month after CCSS was released, in July 2010, the standards-grading Thomas B. Fordham Institute proclaimed CCSS as “the winner” despite its own grading of CCSS as lower than or equal to existing state standards– a grading that is further complicated by an utter lack of any logical connection between state results on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)– and a proclamation that CCSS were “clearly superior to those currently in use in thirty-nine states” based upon the *evidence* of “our observations.”

And when a state such as California had highly-esteemed standards in Fordham Institute’s view yet low NAEP scores– former Fordham Institute President Chester Finn blamed (go ahead and guess)– faulty implementation.

For any CCSS supporter, the “faulty implementation” card is the gift that keeps on giving.

But if California has great standards and poor NAEP scores, and other states have “poor” standards and above average NAEP scores, then is it possible that the entire standards-driven idea is too rudimentary to capture the education enterprise?

Here is another hard-hitting question: Is it possible that CCSS cannot be “properly implemented,” period?

Anyone who answers definitively that CCSS is fine and that “implementation is the problem” is only offering an opinion. It might be a fiscally-fueled, ego-stroking, well-publicized opinion, but no number of high-profile endorsements or USDOE talking points will transform it into empirical evidence.

Know who wins in the absence of empirical evidence to support a standards-to-promised-CCSS-results connection given that the nation is now in the middle of the CCSS mud?

For one, the peddlers of CCSS materials– tests, curricula, professional development, and (let us not forget) data collection.

Pearson wins.

AEI panelist and Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) CEO Chris Minnich has Pearson connections… and his CCSSO is one of the CCSS owners.

A thought with which to leave readers.

There is much more that I can write about this AEI meeting of the pro-CCSS minds (yes, Hess, that includes you), but I will save it for another post.

Rave reviews for the Wealth Building Home Loan

The Wealth Building Home Loan (WBHL), a new approach to home finance, opened to rave reviews at the American Mortgage Conference held September 8-10.  Six leaders of national stature made favorable comments from the podium.

Lewis Ranieri, considered the “godfather” of mortgage finance, in his keynote address praised the WBHL:  “Fundamentally, what I find exciting is the wealth building nature of the product.  Anyone who knows me knows how concerned I am that too often the mortgage has been utilized as an ATM for a boat or big screen TV, as opposed to building equity; if we’re to meet the needs of Americans who desire a home, this type of SAFE experimentation will be critical.”

Carol Galante, FHA commissioner,David Stevens, Mortgage Bankers Association CEO and former FHA commissioner, Joseph Smith, monitor of the National Mortgage Settlement of the State Attorneys General and Lenders, and James Lockhart, former director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency also made note of the innovative approach taken by the WBHL.

Bruce Marks, CEO of the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA), announced that the WBHL, which provides low-income borrowers a straight, broad highway to building wealth based on a 15-year, fully amortizing, fixed-rate loan, will be available in an initial rollout undertaken by NACA and the Bank of America within 60 days.

Long-time industry observer Tom LaMalfa, in an email, stated:

“In an industry in which few agree on much, there was remarkable agreement on the value of the WBHL among an array of industry leaders speaking at the AMC this week.”

Stephen Oliner (codirector of AEI’s International Center on Housing Risk) and I announced that additional WBHL pilots are in the works with lenders around the country.

Smith spoke extensively about the challenge in providing access to credit and home ownership, particularly among low- and moderate-income borrowers.  He asked:

“[I]s the thirty year fixed-rate mortgage what we need?  Contrary to the opinion of many people whom I admire and respect, the thirty year fixed rate mortgage is neither a Constitutional nor human right…. While it is a proven ‘affordability product’ of long standing, the thirty-year fixed-rate mortgage does not build equity very quickly. Further, a lot of things can happen to a borrower over those thirty years – job loss, health problems, divorce. [a]s Monitor of the National Mortgage Settlement, I have done a lot of listening in the last two and a half years; including to distressed borrowers, the people who represent them, and public officials who deal with the fallout from increased foreclosures and bankruptcies. What I have heard confirms what I know from prior experience: that one or two of those life issues – or, in many, many cases, the trifecta – have resulted in real financial crisis on a large scale. Absent substantial home equity at the outset, the thirty-year fixed rate mortgage increases the fragility of a borrower’s overall financial position and puts the borrower at risk for a very long time.”

Smith went on:

“The traditional answer to the concerns I have just expressed is to require a substantial down payment. That’s certainly effective – for the people who can afford it. But it reduces access to credit and home ownership, particularly among low- and moderate-income borrowers.  If we want to keep homeownership an option for an expanding portion of the population, we should build some additional features into the mortgage product to reduce fragility. At the very least, we should consider the inclusion of product features that allow and even encourage early equity build-up. In that regard, I am pleased to note AEI’s Wealth Building Home Loan.”

Steve and I created the WBHL to serve the twin goals of providing a broad range of homebuyers – including low-income, minority, and first-time buyers – a more reliable and effective means of building wealth than currently available under existing policies, while maintaining buying power similar to a 30-year loan.

A WBHL has a much lower foreclosure risk because of faster amortization and common-sense underwriting. Its monthly payment is almost as low as 30-year, fixed-rate loan while providing the buyer with more than 90 percent of the buying power. It requires little or no down payment and has a broad credit box, meaning sustainable lending for a wide range of prospective homebuyers. While the WBHL is designed to reduce default risk for all borrowers, this is a critical importance for borrowers with FICO scores in the range of 600-660.

The WBHL will help these borrowers reliably and sustainably build wealth.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is courtesy of SNMC.

A New Age – The Cyber Information Age

As you know, our firm The Sylint Group, Inc., is composed of engineers from the Intelligence Community, Department of Defense and other government agencies and have been involved with digital data communications and cyber security since the ‘70’s.  In fact the name Sylint is derived from the intelligence community jargon.  “Syl” is Greek for “with” or “together” and “int” is used with various prefixes as intelligence community descriptors such as “commint”, “humint”, etc.  Sylint is therefore bringing together the disciplines of the intelligence world into Cyber Security and Digital Data Forensics. And of course, it’s sounded like “Silent” and therefore a play on the word.

So, Sylint has a certain developed perspective on what people today are recognizing as cyber security. 

Personally, I’ve done everything from programming low orbiter satellites in assembly language as they sped by on their 450 nautical mile orbit, to intercepting digital data communications systems following terrorists across the continents.  That’s before digital data became an integral part of each person’s daily life; cell phone messaging, nanny cameras, “world news” on demand, Facebook, Twitter, digital pictures to be shared in an instant.  I remember when bleeding edge data storage was performed on a RM05, about the size of a washing machine, with a disk pack about 14” in radius, with 12 platters and 250 Mega Bytes (MB) of storage capability.  Today that equals storage for about 10 high resolution photos.  In today’s age my SD storage card, which slips into my pocket, holds 128 Giga Bytes (GB) of data.  Or, consider my digital photography SD (Secure Data) card with 32GB of storage and wireless communications capability from my camera to my tablet.  Data storage and handling has changed dramatically in the last 30 years.  But, so has the amount and types of data communicated.

We are connected to each other electronically through communications systems that we don’t understand and to people we don’t know personally, and maybe don’t know that they are connected to us.  Our lives bleed out through on-line personal accounts and everyone knows our foibles and sins. Our hard earned money is stolen from our bank accounts by somebody in a mid-eastern country, which we didn’t know existed.  And all of this is accomplished using 1’s and 0’s in a nanosecond of time from thousands of miles away.

I notice that the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) is held a conference titled “Road Ahead to Cybersecurity”.  I don’t think that there is a “road ahead” for cybersecurity.  There isn’t a road at all!  The whole playing field has changed and there are no defined roads in or out.

I firmly believe that we are stuck in a quagmire alongside that “road” to the playing field and it dead ended at the entry to a new age called “the Cyber Information Age”. 

We have entered this new age, the Cyber Age, and no one realizes it.  A “new age” means that life as we know it has changed dramatically and the forces that shape the economy, world order, international boundaries, social structure, centers of military and political power, level of conflict between countries, and societies moral and ethical foundation are being driven by a new impetus and energy; something called Cyber Information.  Cyber information is different than anything that society has dealt with in the past.  Cyber information is instantaneously created, changed, modified, reformatted and retransmitted.  It’s a lie, half-truth, or fact that is immediately thrown into the world, globally, from unknown sources without vetting, modulation or consideration for its consequences.

Cyber information can be news, control software for a power grid, Programmable Logic Controllers for manufacturing, communications between First Responders, infrastructure support for large buildings, corporate intellectual property, charge card information, a city sewer system, the processor for a pacemaker.  Cyber information has created a virtual world and real world that exist side by side, interact with one another, and impact one another.

Cyber information cannot be easily secured, stopped, acknowledged, or controlled. No leadership has arisen that can formulate a means to force the direction of cyber information for the good of society.  Rather, just the opposite, forces both immoral and unethical are using cyber information for nefarious purposes because it’s a crime against society which goes unpunished and yields huge rewards.

To address Cyber Security we must first understand that we are in a new age, an age of Cyber Information and what that means for society, business and the world order.

Just a few thoughts for a Monday morning surrounded by ones and zeroes.

RELATED ARTICLE: What Was Stolen?: Massive Cybersecurity Breach Raises Concerns About What Hackers Stole [+video]

RELATED VIDEO: June 14, 2014 AEI Center for Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy conference – After Snowden: The Road Ahead for Cybersecurity