Friday, January 11, 2013

Fantasyland Media:

Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine. News that the people in charge, the corporations and your government want to keep from the public eye.


The Nation:
"In the latest incident of charter school fraud, the state of Oregon is going after a pair of charter school con men who reportedly scammed the state out of $17 million.

The Oregonian is reporting that Tim King and Norm Donohoe, who ran a chain of taxpayer-funded charter schools under the guise of a nonprofit named EdChoices, 'submitted false, incomplete and misleading records about how many students were enrolled in the schools and how they were spending the state's money...'

The state provided startup grants of up to $450,000 per charter school. The state Department of Education also paid about $6,000 a year for each student enrolled, relying on the charter school operators to document the number. The state now says those records were 'erroneous, false and misleading.' According to a state court filing, brought Thursday by the Oregon Department of Justice in Marion County Circuit Court, the pair is accused of racketeering and money laundering from 2007 to 2010 and is being ordered to repay the $17 million plus an additional $2.7 million for breach of contract and attorney fees...

Evidence suggests this is not the first or last time parents, students and state education boards will be swindled by privatized education. This summer, a renowned Philadelphia charter school mogul was indicted on multiple counts of wire fraud, obstruction of justice, and witness tampering. And between 2005 and 2011, the US Department of Education opened 53 investigations into charter school fraud, resulting in 21 indictments and 17 convictions in states including California, Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania.”

-- >No mention of this story in The NY Times. The corporate powers have decided to privatize public schools, so our newspaper of record doesn't do much reporting on the widespread corruption in the charter school movement.


Guardian UK:
"Michael Boyle, a former security adviser for Barack Obama, now says the Pentagon's targeted drone program is counter-productive, is 'encouraging a new arms race,' and has killed far more civilians than has been acknowledged. In an article for the January 2013 issue of the journal International Affairs, Michael Boyle, a La Salle University expert on counterterrorism who served as an adviser on the Obama campaign's counterterrorism expert group from July 2007-November 2008, writes that the Obama administration's increasing reliance on drone attacks is having 'adverse strategic effects that have not been properly weighed against the tactical gains associated with killing terrorists,' the Guardian reports.

Although Obama pledged to end the so-called 'War on Terror,' Boyle continues:
'Instead, he has been just as ruthless and indifferent to the rule of law as his predecessor ... while President Bush issued a call to arms to defend civilisation against the threat of terrorism, President Obama has waged his war on terror in the shadows, using drone strikes, special operations and sophisticated surveillance to fight a brutal covert war against al-Qaida and other Islamist networks.'

Boyle argues that the administration has been 'successful in spinning the number of civilian casualties' because it has reportedly begun counting all military-age men in the strike zone as militants unless the administration has clear evidence to the contrary, the Guardian reports. As a result, the standards the US uses to select targets has been 'gradual(ly) loosening.' "

-- >The NY Times and the rest of the US media didn't touch this story. Some freedom of press we have in the USA. Readers have to go to Irish, Australian or UK newspapers to read about this, although Democracy Now did cover it.


Huffington Post:
"WASHINGTON -- The White House did not inform a key Senate backer of whistleblower protections ahead of time that President Barack Obama would issue a signing statement circumventing those provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013, according to the senator's office.

The protections for federal government contractors had been pushed by Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) during the drafting of the NDAA over the last several months. After Obama signed the bill into law on Wednesday, he issued a signing statement objecting to those sections without having alerted McCaskill, her office told The Huffington Post.

The signing statement is yet another chapter in the president's ongoing clash with whistleblower advocates. Obama, who has come under fire for his administration's aggressive prosecution of leak cases, issued the statement despite the fact that the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence had already removed from the bill protections for contractors working in the intelligence community."

-- >The NY Times often lets our charlatan of a president off the hook for his continual attacks on civil liberties. This story wasn't covered.

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