Gates-Funded Fordham Institute’s Petrilli: ‘Pro-Common Core Side Is Still Way Out Ahead’

Ardent Common Core supporter Mike Petrilli, who, as of August 1, is the new president of the Fordham Institute, wrote in a piece on the organization’s website that though “there’s little doubt that in the ‘air war’ over the Common Core – especially in the conservative media – we’re getting our butts kicked,” the fact that 42 states are still on board with the controversial standards means that “the pro-Common Core side is still way out ahead.”

Petrilli wrote in response to significant criticism resulting from a Politico article that highlighted the strength of the anti-Common Core grassroots campaign, run mostly by “moms,” that has made the controversial standards a hot electoral issue. Armed with $10.3 million in fresh grant money from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Common Core proponents now have plans for a PR blitz that supporters hope will promote similar “emotional” fervor for the standards initiative.

“Expect to start hearing from frustrated college students who ended up in remedial classes even though they passed all their state tests and earned good grades in high school,” wrote Stephanie Simon at Politico last week about the new plan.

“These kids should be mad as hell” that their elementary and high schools failed them, said Petrilli, whose organization has been funded by the Gates Foundation to help promote the Common Core.

Common Core supporters are retooling after having spent millions of dollars on the talking points that tout the “rigor” of the never-tested standards that 46 states signed onto – sight unseen.

“We’ve been fighting emotion with talking points, and it doesn’t work,” said Petrilli. “There’s got to be a way to get more emotional without arguments if we want to win this thing. That means we have a lot more work to do.”

Parents, however, who have been organizing grassroots groups for the past several years against the Common Core standards in their schools, believe the fact that the initiative needs a new PR campaign is the main issue.

“The fact that the standards need a PR campaign should be very telling how ineffective their facts and figures have been,” Yvonne Gasperino and Glen Dalgleish, cofounders of Stop Common Core in New York State, told Breitbart News in an email statement. “If Common Core is so effective and gives a first-rate education why spend all the money for this PR stunt? An effective education program should teach all children and should be able to hold up on its own merit. Common Core does not do that.”

Gasperino and Dalgleish take offense at the idea that Petrilli wants Americans to get more “emotional” about the controversial standards.

“Petrilli’s idea of getting ’emotional’ is yet again to blame schools and teachers for all that is wrong in public education and to get ‘voters’ excited about change,” they add. “Sounds business as usual to us. Maybe Petrilli needs to focus on the real victims of Common Core, the children.”

Petrilli acknowledged the criticism Common Core supporters had received for their decision to focus on emotion in their new PR campaign.

“The current narrative – pushed by Politico and other media outlets – is that the anti-Common Core forces have momentum on their side,” Petrilli said. “Glenn Beck is making money from movie-ticket and book sales. Republican governors are running scared. Red states are starting to topple.”

Petrilli asserts, however, that despite all the pushback from the grassroots organizers, only one state – Oklahoma – has actually repealed the standards without rebranding them.

“So for all of the screaming and fighting and bombastic headlines, the opponents of the Common Core have, to date, managed to knock off only Oklahoma, which, by many accounts is the most conservative state in the land,” he boasts. “That’s worth keeping in mind.”

Source: Breitbart Feed

Communist Vietnam May Join the U.S. Team

Sixty prominent members of Vietnam’s Communist Party, including a former ambassador to Beijing, signed a letter on July 29 urging political and economic reforms that would divorce Vietnam from reliance on China, according to a July 30th report by the German Press Agency

The highly symbolic action is a call to abrogate Vietnam’s long-standing economic and military relationships with China. Such action would open the way to consider discussions with the United States about teaming with American business and potentially joining the U.S.-backed Southeast Asia Treaty Organization military alliance.

The Vietnamese leadership had tended to prioritize a cordial relationship with China, which was North Vietnam’s ally in the long struggle take control of South Vietnam. Vietnam began moving to counterbalance its relationship with China last November. Vietnamese Communist Party General-Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong visited India and signed a number of “memoranda of understanding” that gave India exclusive exploration rights in five of its off-shore hydrocarbon blocks and promised to expand security, defense, and law enforcement ties.

China claims that since 1947 it owns virtually all of the South China Sea that stretches 1,000 miles over many of the world’s busiest sea lanes, from Taiwan to Malaysia. China calls this area the “nine-dash line,” but Vietnam dismissively calls it the “cow’s tongue line.”

In what appears to be a retaliatory response, China from May 9th through early July aggressively violated Vietnam’s territorial waters by sending a fleet of 60 ships to support drilling for oil just 80 miles off of Vietnam’s coast. The Hanoi government dispatched coastal patrol boats to harass the Chinese but did not directly confront the larger Chinese war ships.

The Chinese official state press publically lashed out over what it called Vietnam’s “interference.” A hawkish newspaper editorial called on Beijing to teach Vietnam the “lesson it deserves.” That language closely resembles Chinese Premier Deng Xiaoping’s 1978 speech demanding that China teach Hanoi a “lesson.” Less than a year later, China invaded the North and killed 30,000 in a two-year military stalemate called the Sino-Vietnamese War.

The Chinese media’s incendiary language triggered other Vietnamese communist factions that have been demanding changes to Vietnam’s one-party-rule to fund anti-China rioters clad in T-shirts bearing the face of Vietnam’s revered founder Ho Chi Minh and waving the communist hammer and sickle flag.

The demonstrators burned down dozens of large Chinese and Taiwanese factories in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City as the protesters screamed “Down with China!” By early June, about 1,000 Chinese were injured, four dead, and tens of thousands of workers and managers sent home to China.

China retaliated on July 27th by posting a statement on its Ministry of Defense website announcing five days of live-fire naval drills in the Gulf of Tonkin off of Vietnam’s Haiphong harbor.

The Vietnamese people I met on my recent trip to Ho Chi Minh City are seething with animosity toward their historic foe. They know that oil-poor China passed the United States last year to become the world’s largest importer of crude oil. With China importing about six million barrels a day and demand growing by at least 10% per year, they believe China is desperate to gain control Vietnam’s promising energy resources.

The Vietnamese Communist Party elites’ letter states, “Vietnam has made a lot of concessions with China, and is paying a high price. The more Vietnam makes these concessions, the more China dominates.” According to Stratfor Global Intelligence, the letter represents a consensus by the Vietnamese Communist Party to now forcefully confront China.

The violent riots have undermined the investment climate for the Chinese and Taiwanese investors in Vietnam, and many are leaving. Yet the nation is becoming more attractive for international investment after cutting its personal and corporate tax rate this year from 25% to 22% and scheduling the rate to fall to 20% next year.

The key to Vietnam’s strategy to counter-balance the Chinese is to attract American private investment and begin discussions to potentially join the American-backed Southeast Asia Treaty Organization.

The classes I taught on business strategy over the last two weeks focused on strategies to privatize large swaths of the Vietnam’s state-owned economy to gain competitiveness against the Chinese. To tangibly demonstrate the Vietnamese government’s desire to befriend Americans, three Starbucks were opened in Hanoi last week.

The author welcomes feedback and will respond to reader comments. 

Chriss Street just returned from teaching “Entrepreneurship and Capitalist Business Strategy” at Ho Chi Minh University in Vietnam.

Source: Breitbart Feed

‘They Destroy, We Build’: After Murders of Three Israeli Teens, Volunteers Build Area Jewish Cultural Center

GUSH ETZION, Israel — Hundreds of volunteers from all over Israel teamed up over the past few weeks to build a new Jewish cultural center in Gush Etzion, about 100 yards away from where three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and murdered by terrorists one month ago.

Led by the efforts of the Women in Green, a patriotic grassroots organization dedicated to the “ideal of Greater Israel,” Israeli men, women, and children from cities as far away as Petach Tikva and Tel Aviv helped transform a barren, rock-filled embankment on the corner of Gush Etzion Junction into a place called Giv’at Oz V’Gaon, where families from all over Israel can picnic, camp out, celebrate birthdays, and eventually, visit a planned coffee shop.

The “V’Gaon” part of the site’s name is an acronym for Gilad, Ayal, and Naftali, the three Israeli teenagers who were on their way home from school when they were abducted and murdered by terrorists. The Women in Green began clearing out the site for the cultural center the night they learned the boys had been killed.

“We came here to cherish life, and building, and optimism,” Women in Green co-chair Nadia Matar told Breitbart News. “This is our land. We are not going to be scared. We are going to live, we are going to expand, we’re going to turn this beautiful forest into a beautiful tourist area, and we’re going to have Jewish life… We will not be broken.”

During a tour of the site on Friday, young children could be seen helping their parents clear rocks with hoes and shovels, delineating walkways and parking spaces. A carpenter donated about 20 hand-built wooden picnic tables for the site. A makeshift gazebo was newly-finished, and a dining tent erected. The plots for three terraced gardens, one each in memory of the teens, were dug out and planted. 

“The response has been overwhelming,” Matar said. “People come from all over the country to be part of this. Youth and adults work and clean and live here, all together in unity. Religious, not-religious; new immigrants, and people who were born here.”

“Unfortunately, we still have a government that is not strong enough and doesn’t allow us yet to build new communities,” she continued, lamenting the fact that volunteers have so far had to sleep in tents on site while building the tourist area.

Still, Matar sounded relatively upbeat as preparations continued for the Shloshim, or 30-day memorial service, for the three Israeli teens.

“We’re going to basically hug the families, and show unity and love to the land of Israel, the people of Israel, and our heritage.”

Source: Breitbart Feed

Shale Gas ‘Expert’ Exposed as Fracking Liar

A scientist who campaigns against Fracking has been told he must stop claiming to be a chartered geologist.

Dr David Smythe, who is a former professor at the University of Glasgow, has given evidence on various drilling applications, even helping persuade West Sussex council last week to drop an application for exploratory shale drilling.

However, the Geological Society have now told him that he cannot refer to himself as a “chartered geologist” as he stopped paying them a subscription in 1996.

Professor Paul Younger, also from the University of Glasgow, said that Smythe, who was a bass guitar player for punk band the Rezillos in the 1970s, is not qualified to give an opinion of fracking.

Professor Younger told the Times: “He has published nothing on [shale gas] in any proper scientific forum — no doubt because he knows he would never get past peer review with his pseudo- scientific scaremongering.

“He falsely claims to be a chartered geologist. That’s fraudulent. It’s wilful untruth.

“I am concerned about the damage to the reputation of the university by someone who never fails to use his university affiliation.”

The governing body of the University of Glasgow have also written to him, saying: “Notwithstanding our support for freedom of expression, we respectfully request that you make it clear in all of your future publications and broadcast media appearances that the views which you hold and express are your own and are not necessarily representative of the views held by the university’s researchers.”

Although Mr Smythe admitted that he should not have claimed to be a chartered geologist, he said that it was a “trivial matter” as it simply involved paying a subscription. A spokeswoman for the Geological Society said, however, that the title also required proof of “continuous professional development” and not just payment of a subscription.

Mr Smythe also accused Professor Younger of having a vested interest in unconventional fossil fuel sources as he is a director of coal gas company Five-Quarter Energy. He said: “A lot of British academics have in effect been bought off by the oil industry. They depend on grants from that industry so they dare not speak out critically.”

Professor Younger denied having any links to fracking companies.

Mr Smythe helped defeat a bid by Celtique Energie to drill for shale gas in West Sussex after he told the council that their application was “incomplete, incompetent, and disingenuous”, warning that it could contaminate ground water.

He has also given evidence to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Select Committee in which he said that England’s shale basins are heavily faulted, and called for “overall ban [on fracking] in the UK.”

Source: Breitbart Feed

Obama’s 5 Top Flip-Flops on Immigration

On Wednesday, President Obama threatened to veto the House of Representatives’ proposed border bill. Obama particularly disliked provisions of the bill designed to amend the 2008 law that allows illegal immigrant minors from non-border countries to stick around for years awaiting deportation proceedings. 

His statement explained:

By setting arbitrary timelines for the processing of cases, this bill could create backlogs that could ultimately shift resources away from priority public safety goals, like deporting known criminals. This bill will undercut due process for vulnerable children which could result in their removal to life threatening situations in foreign countries.

In other words, Obama wants to keep newly arriving illegal immigrant children – not the ones who have already arrived, and are not covered by the House bill – stuck in legal limbo for two or more years.

Just weeks ago, Obama himself called for changes to the 2008 law. He sent a letter to Congress asking for authority to “exercise discretion in processing the return and removal of unaccompanied minor children from non-contiguous countries like Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest explained, “There are some challenges that are posed by the current law, this 2008 law.”

Now, however, Obama has flip-flopped on the issue – the better to polarize the debate around illegal immigration.

This isn’t the first time that Obama has flip-flopped on immigration. Here are four other instances of such wavering:

Border Security. Just a month ago, Obama proposed additional border security for the Rio Grande valley – and he wanted billions to fund it, supposedly. But in May 2011, Obama spoke in El Paso, stating, “You know, they said we needed to triple the Border Patrol. Or now they’re going to say we need to quadruple the Border Patrol. Or they’ll want a higher fence. Maybe they’ll need a moat. Maybe they want alligators in the moat. They’ll never be satisfied. And I understand that. That’s politics. But the truth is the measures we’ve put in place are getting results.”

Executive Orders. In March 2011, Obama stated, “With respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order, that’s just not the case, because there are laws on the books that Congress has passed — and I know that everybody here at Bell is studying hard so you know that we’ve got three branches of government. Congress passes the law. The executive branch’s job is to enforce and implement those laws. And then the judiciary has to interpret the laws.”

As Politico noted, when Obama was confronted in November 2013 by a protester yelling that Obama had “power to stop deportation,” Obama said, “Actually I don’t.” Obama went on, “If, in fact, I could solve all these problems without passing laws in Congress, then I would do so. But we’re also a nation of laws. That’s part of our tradition. And so the easy way out is to try to yell and pretend like I can do something by violating our laws.”

Today, of course, Obama has declared an endless stream of executive actions designed to loosen consequences for illegal immigration.

E-Verify. As the Washington Post has pointed out, in March 2004, Obama wrote on a questionnaire that he opposed the government “crack[ing] down on businesses that hire illegal immigrants.” In 2008, he said, “we do have to crack down on those employers that are taking advantage of the situation.” Now, of course, Obama just wants to hand out work permits like candy.

Deportation. Just last Friday, President Obama said that illegal immigrant minors would be sent home. “We have to deter a continuing influx of children putting themselves at great risk,” he said. That same day, the Los Angeles Times reported, “Roughly 5 million of the estimated 11 million people who entered the country without legal authorization or overstayed their visas could be protected under a leading option the White House is considering.”

President Obama’s failure to take a strong stand on illegal immigration is mere trolling at this point. He wants to tell his constituents that Republicans are out of their minds for worrying about the border, while simultaneously incentivizing millions to cross that border. He wants to suggest that he’s interested in solving the problem even as he exacerbates it. He’s hoping that the chaos he creates will somehow precipitate a handover of even more power to him. Instead, it’s just angering Americans, as well it should.

Ben Shapiro is Senior Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the new book, The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against The Obama Administration (Threshold Editions, June 10, 2014). He is also Editor-in-Chief of Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro.

Source: Breitbart Feed