FIFA Not Backing Down from Awarding 2018 World Cup to Bellicose Russia

The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) is refusing to back down on its decision to award the 2018 World Cup to Russia despite Russia’s untoward lobbying effort and its illicit invasion of Ukraine.

With the decision by the soccer commission to award the 2018 World Cup to Russia, many are starting to see the way the strings were pulled by Russian strongman Vladimir Putin to make sure the games went his way.

Just last year eyebrows were raised when news broke that Russia’s state controlled energy company Gazprom became FIFA’s biggest sponsor. Photos were revealed in 2013 showing Russian bossman Putin, Gazprom chief executive Alexei Miller, and Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko in a meeting with FIFA’s president.

After the organization awarded Russia the 2018 World Cup, Brighton University School of Sport & Service Management professor Alan Tomlinson said, “The Russian story is one of a planned, sustained, and resourced campaign to gain influence and affect people over a period.”

As Bloomberg recently reported,

It is unprecedented, Tomlinson says, for a government minister such as Mutko also to sit on FIFA’s executive board. It is also, in theory, a violation FIFA’s own rules. Mutko ran Russia’s bid for the 2018 World Cup–and he also had a vote in the body that decided it.

And this all-too-cozy relationship between Russia and the FIFA board is exacerbated by Russia’s nakedly expansionist, aggressive attacks on Ukraine. Not to mention the downing of the Malaysian jet liner that appears attributable to Russian rockets in the hands of Russian-backed Ukrainian separatists.

Despite the unseemly nature of the FIFA award of the 2018 World Cup to Russia, the soccer commission is not backing down. On Friday, FIFA released a statement quixotically insisting that having the games in Russia will highlight Russia’s aggressive actions and help alleviate them.

As a world governing body of football FIFA takes its responsibility in governing football seriously and we support any peaceful and democratic debate. FIFA deplores any form of violence and will continue to use its tournaments to promote dialogue, understanding and peace among peoples.

History has shown so far that boycotting sport events or a policy of isolation or confrontation are not the most effective ways to solve problems. The hosting of the FIFA World Cup with the global attention it attracts can be a powerful catalyst for constructive dialogue between people and governments, helping to bring positive social developments. The FIFA World Cup unites teams and nations from all over the world, from the qualifiers to the final competition in a spirit of fair play and respect.

FIFA is convinced that, through football, particularly the FIFA World Cup and its international spotlight, we can achieve positive change in the world, but football cannot be seen as a solution for all issues, particularly those related to world politics. We have seen that the FIFA World Cup can be a force for good and FIFA believes this will be the case for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

The award to Russia isn’t the only eyebrow raising decision recently made by FIFA.

In 2010 the soccer agency awarded the 2022 games to Qatar despite the fact the oil-rich nation has no soccer team, no connection to international soccer, and a forbidding summer environment for players. As soon as the award was announced, FIFA was charged with accepting bribes of oil money offered by Qatari officials.

Like Russia’s unjustified invasion of Ukraine, Qatar has it’s own human rights issues. For years the tiny nation has been hit with charges of human rights abuses of its imported workforce.

According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), migrants and foreign workers in Qatar continue to “experience serious rights violations, including forced labor and arbitrary restrictions on the right to leave Qatar, which exposed them to exploitation and abuse by employers.”

In 2012, Human Rights Watch criticized the awarding of the World Cup to Qatar. HRW said that Qatar and FIFA need to make “public commitments to uphold international labor standards” and improve civil rights for non-citizens.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at igcolonel@hotmail.com




Source: Breitbart Feed

LA Parents Rally to Save Charter Schools

A California charter school chain threatened by the Los Angeles United School District (LAUSD) with closing may have two of its schools saved in court, as concurrently parents protested in front of a downtown Los Angeles courthouse.

Standing near a crowd of protesters chanting, “Save our school,” near a downtown Los Angeles courthouse, Alfredo Rubalcavna, a principal of the Magnolia Science academies, told KCAL Los Angeles, “People believe that LAUSD did not follow the legal process required of closing down a charter school; we certainly don’t agree with their decision at all, and from a legal standpoint, they did not follow the law.” He said he walked out of court “positive” science academy 7 in Van Nuys and academy 6 in Los Angeles would not be closed and would open on schedule, Aug. 12.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Luis Lavin, who said he would issue a final decision on Friday, commented that it did not seem “right to me or very fair” that the school district employees could close the schools without making public the data that supported their claims of fiscal problems with them. Lavin said, “I certainly think the school board would like to have some oversight. I think it would be an abdication of their duties to simply whole-sale delegate their authority to an investigator or staff.”

The Los Angeles Times reported that LAUSD told the Magnolia Educational and Research Foundation in June that two schools it supported, one in Northridge and one in the Palms area of Los Angeles, would have to be closed because of some financial problems that were found in an audit.

Magnolia denied the charges, and sued the district to keep the schools open. Although the district allows that the schools are doing well academically, Jose Cole-Gutierrez, the district’s charter school division director, wrote a June 27 letter to the foundation stating the audit found the money issues “rise to a level of severity that seriously questions [Magnolia’s] ability to operate the school let alone support itself.”

The audit was executed by an outside firm for the district’s Office of Inspector General, and Cole-Gutierrez said it showed that the foundation was $1.66 million over its budget, and owed $2.8 million to the schools, thus considered insolvent by the federal government. The audit also stated that the Palms academy was insolvent.

The audit also stated that there was evidence of fiscal mismanagement, abuse of debit cards by the principals, questionable payments made for immigration fees and services, and unnecessary academic and business services farmed out to a related nonprofit organization.

Yet Inspector General Ken Bramlett wrote a June 23 confidential letter to the Board of Education and L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy, in which he argued, according to the LA Times, that “no clear evidence of fraud has been disclosed.” Bramlett said the June 30 deadline for the audit had left “significant open areas of inquiry that still must be pursued … to determine their propriety.” Deasy only asserted that the investigation had applied to all eight Magnolia campuses.

The Magnolia Foundation’s chief executive officer, Mehmet Argin, responded on July 3 that the foundation had $4.8 million in net assets in 2013, and the foundation believed that those assets would ascend to more than $7 million by June 2014. He said the other charges of the audit were false.

The district’s contract attorney, Sue Ann Evans, had told Lavin that school board members gave district employees the authority to close the school if the audit showed any improprieties. But Lavin responded that he wanted to know what Superintendent John Deasy meant when he threatened board members at the March 4 meeting that if there were any improprieties at all, “it should come back for revocation, period.”

The LAUSD will not show the audit to Magnolia, and when asked by the Los Angeles Daily News as a public records act request it also rebuffed the request. Magnolia’s lawyer, Lisa Corr, wanted to know whether the privacy of the audit was a way for the LAUSD to flout public records laws.

The audit had been requested by LAUSD’s charter school division of the school’s Office of the Inspector General. The Inspector General’s office then farmed out the audit to a private firm. Corr stated according to the Daily News, “By using the Office of Inspector General I think you can circumvent the public records requirement.”

Evans responded that the audits are only made available with permission of the Office of Inspector General, adding that there is a “potential” criminal investigation. But the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office said there is no record of a complaint regarding Magnolia.




Source: Breitbart Feed

Dallas ISD Renews Flawed Superintendent’s Contract, Perks But No Raise

On July 22, the Dallas Independent School District (ISD) Board of Trustees voted 7-2 to renew the contract of school superintendent Mike Miles, who they flirted with firing a year ago and followed up with a failed vote last September. Miles was not axed, though, and despite a tempestuous year, the board re-upped him for two more years, threw in a few perks, but denied him a raise.

Miles was coming up on the last leg of a three year term. This contract will take him through July 2017. The Dallas Morning News reported that the negotiations took place in a marathon 10-plus hour meeting that ended just after four in the morning. His base salary will remain steady at $300,000. He wanted more.

NBC-5 reported that Miles wanted a $25,000 pay bump because “the Fort Worth superintendent before he left made $330,000.”

However, the new deal will allow him to earn up to $200,000 in bonuses annually on top of his salary for hitting certain academic and performance marks. The other perk is eight days a year of outside consulting time but it must be board approved and is contingent on using his vacation time, although the consulting income must be donated to the district supported non-profit, Dallas Education Foundation, according to the Dallas Morning News article.

Not everyone on the board was onboard with the timing of the vote, however. Trustees Joyce Foreman and Bernadette Nutall voted against Miles’ deal, voicing their concerns “as did some other board members, that Miles was getting the new contract before he had gotten his annual evaluation next month,” the Dallas Morning News also noted.

Miles has wound up in several controversies during his tenure. In June, the district was embroiled in an athletic department recruiting scandal that ended with the firing of 15 employees. An investigation found that coaches and their assistants falsified the student residency documentation that allowed athletes to play on teams in the district, the Dallas Morning News reported.

Last year, the school board called for an independent investigation, that cleared Miles of wrongdoing in the handling of a service contract, but the review found Miles, who denied wrongdoing, had violated district policy by talking to witnesses during an initial probe, according to the Fort-Worth Star Telegram.

As recently as April, the district brought in “a consultant specializing in nonprofit governance, specifically on building an effective working relationship between CEOs and their boards, for a team-building exercise” to help ease tensions between Miles and the nine member school board, the Dallas Observer reported.

On top of all the administrative strife, the Dallas ISD community locked horns on the potential and ongoing  shift from being a traditional school district to home-rule charter governance, something that was introduced earlier this year in an attempt to affect positive change in the district.

The Dallas Observer took it one step further suggesting that the contentious home-rule battle may have boomeranged and strengthened Miles’ position. The brewing opposition to a shadowy Houston billionaire coming into bankroll the charter along with the ongoing, lengthy process to trigger home-rule may have overshadowed those internal issues. Miles and his Destination 2020 program were back in favor as the way to turn the district around.

According to Miles, Destination 2020 will prepare kids for the year 2020 or 2025 and beyond, and he said so in a well-produced district video promoting the program. In it, Dallas ISD principal Timothy Hise chirped out a bit of bureaucratic education-speak buzzwords when he described Destination 2020 as “ensuring our students, our community, is college and workforce ready so they can be positive contributors to our society.”

Coupled with the companion plan Imagine 2020, Destination 2020 is full of undefined education reformer phrases like student performance/achievement/outcome, college and career readiness, workforce readiness, teacher development, principal performance based on viable metrics of evaluation, teacher evaluations tied to tests, best practices, data, parent involvement, innovation and accountability.

Miles said he was pleased with his new deal. Dallas is the largest school district in North Texas and the 16th largest in the nation.

Follow Merrill Hope, an original member of the Breitbart Texas team, on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.




Source: Breitbart Feed

Goats Employed to Clear Unwanted Homeless Campers from San Rafael

A 25-acre parcel of thick brush and berry vines in San Rafael has become a haven for homeless campers and a target for brush fires ignited by the dispossessed dwellers. In order to clear out the land, a creative solution of using 1,000 goats is being employed at a cost of $1,000 per day.

The owner of the property and real estate tycoon Fred Grange says that the grass and brush grow very high and provide a clandestine temporary living area for many homeless people. “You and I can’t even see the bottom of it. It’s pretty easy to hide. So, unless someone’s out patrolling, you’re not gonna see who’s out there,” added San Rafael Fire Department Battalion Chief Jeff Rowan.

Unfortunately, carelessness has precipitated some fires on the undeveloped land and is a potential safety hazard for the inhabitants, as well as those who live nearby. According to CBS, environmental issues have prevented the fire department from using heavy equipment to trim back the brush and high grass.

The Fire Department decided to use goats to mow the grass and eliminate the hiding places to discourage homeless people from camping out on the property. All day long, the goats chomp away at what seemed to be an impenetrable wall. CBS reported that the goats will eat just about anything, including thick grass, thorny vines, and the trash. Happily, the project is working great and within two days, the goats have put a substantial dent in the overgrowth.

“We’ve come up with the goat eradication plan,” property owner Fred Grange said.

On top of that, the goats have become a tourist attraction for adults and children. “They are very curious creatures. I’ve worked with sheep, I’ve worked with cattle, and what I realized is that with goats they are much more personable,” claims Sandra G. Solaiman, Affiliate Professor of Animal Nutrition at Auburn University. “They can be pets, they are curious. That’s why they get into everything.”




Source: Breitbart Feed

What the Loose Bear said at those fundraisers is horrifying, too

In response to Loose Bear Also Blocked the Media From Fundraisers – Left Them on ‘the Gravel Path’:

We’ve waited six years for Media to find her self-respect and pull out of this “Fifty Shades of Grey” relationship with President Boyfriend.  I suspect she’ll swallow her pride and get over being abandoned on the side of a gravel road while he runs off to a million-dollar party, where it costs fifty grand a plate to get in on the conversation.  After all, Media didn’t object when he made her wear a blindfold and straitjacket to visit his border “refugee” camps.  When he told her to call him a “bear” and squeal with glee when he ducks out on his duties, she eagerly complied.  He told her only his photographers would be allowed to cover his photo ops, and left her hanging in a cage.  She laughed right along with him when he subsequently declared he doesn’t even do photo ops.  Even when she found out he was spying on her, she only protested for a few days.

As it happens, some details of what Obama has been saying at those No Middle-Class American Voters Allowed fundraisers have been slipping out anyway.  You can see why President Boyfriend wants to keep Media on the side of the road, so she doesn’t blab about anything else he’s saying.  Here’s a choice clip from a recent Seattle appearance, courtesy of Stephen Hayes at the Weekly Standard:

I am very proud that we have ended one war, and by the end of this year we will have ended both wars that I inherited before I came into office. But whether people see what’s happening in Ukraine, and Russia’s aggression towards its neighbors in the manner in which it’s financing and arming separatists; to what’s happened in Syria?—?the devastation that Assad has wrought on his own people; to the failure in Iraq for Sunni and Shia and Kurd to compromise?—?although we’re trying to see if we can put together a government that actually can function; to ongoing terrorist threats; to what’s happening in Israel and Gaza. Part of people’s concern is just the sense that around the world the old order isn’t holding and we’re not quite yet to where we need to be in terms of a new order that’s based on a different set of principles, that’s based on a sense of common humanity, that’s based on economies that work for all people.

Hayes does a terrific job of deconstructing this out-of-touch twaddle:

These are remarkable words from an American president. They suggest that Obama either doesn’t appreciate the causal relationship between his policies and the current crises?—?or doesn’t care. He is proud that he has brought about the “end” of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but he seems not to understand that the unrest he goes on to describe is their direct result: How those wars ended shapes how others perceive the United States and its role in the world.

He does a great job of building from this observation, so I don’t want to steal any of his thunder – read the whole thing, as they say – but I’d contribute another observation: I’m not even sure what the hell Obama is talking about in some of the brain farts his donors paid thousands of dollars to hear.  He thinks the problem in Iraq is that Sunni, Shia, and Kurd aren’t compromising, and he’s going to fix that by getting them into a drum circle?  They’ve been invaded, Mr. President.  Fair enough to say that one of Iraq’s previous problems was a less-than-inclusive central government, but we’re a bit past that now, don’t you think?

And that “old order” didn’t just crumble on its own once Barack Obama ran American foreign policy into the ground.  It’s being actively torn down by people who have different ideas about what the world order should look like.  They’ve got a “new order that’s based on a different set of principles” ready to go, but it has absolutely nothing to do with “a sense of common humanity” based on “economics that work for all people.”  That’s what the old order held dear – the American-led order Barack Obama couldn’t wait to do away with.  

The idea that the man who beat America’s economy into the dirt has anything to say about “economics that work for all people” should be a laugh line in a sitcom.  He thinks he’s slipping in a cute point about his “income inequality” ideology, but his idea of “economics that work for all people” translates in practice to “economics that work for the aristocracy and its special friends.”  Don’t take my word for it – look at the last six years of actual results.

Media’s a bit steamed about the contemptuous treatment she gets from Obama, but she’s nowhere near ready to bail on this submissive relationship yet.  At most, she’s thinking it might be a good idea to keep her audience from hearing what President Boyfriend says, especially when the bear is loose, and unplugged.




Source: Breitbart Feed