The Stolen Honduran Election: Only The People Can Save Themselves

Current President Juan Orlando Hernández has destroyed whatever minimal legitimacy the state institutions once had.

‘The people are calling it a fraudulent and stolen election’, said Dr. Luther Castillo Harry, when I asked him about the late November election in Honduras. Castillo Harry, who was the National Commissioner of Ministry of Health in the Honduras, looks despairingly at his native country. The institutions in his country have succumbed to bribery and coercion. He nods his head in pain, thinking about how a combination of the oligarchy and the United States has suffocated Honduras.

The current president – Juan Orlando Hernández – has destroyed whatever minimal legitimacy the state institutions once had. In 2012, as the head of the Honduran Congress, Hernández sacked four of the five Supreme Court justices and put in their place those loyal to him. This Court, friendly to Hernández then suggested that the term limits on presidential power were ‘inapplicable’ to him. He could run for re-election in November 2017. When it became clear that he was not winning the popular vote, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) shut down its system. Thirty-six hours later, when the vote count appeared, Hernández was in the lead. He has now been declared the winner.

Castillo Harry’s despondency is not without basis. Things are so bad that even the Organization of American States (OAS), normally quite happy to toe the US line, has been outspoken in its condemnation of the stolen election. The OAS asked Dr. Irfan Nooruddin of Georgetown University to look at the TSE data and at the dramatic vote swing that occurred over the thirty-six hour period of silence. His report – published on 17 December – shows that there are glaring irregularities in the process. ‘The pattern of votes,’ Dr. Nooruddin writes, ‘is suspicious.’ He shows that the irregularities cannot be explained ‘as pure chance.’ This is out-and-out rigging.

Based on Dr. Nooruddin’s report, the OAS Secretary General – Luis Almagro – offered a most detailed denunciation of the election. It is worth reading in full, ‘Deliberate human intrusions in the computer system, intentional elimination of digital traces, the impossibility of knowing the number of opportunities in which the system was violated, pouches of votes open or lacking votes, the extreme statistical improbability with respect to participation levels within the same department, recently printed ballots and additional irregularities, added to the narrow difference of votes between the two most voted candidates, make it impossible to determine with the necessary certainty the winner.’ This is as close to an invalidation of an election as one could get.

The person who ‘lost’ the stolen election – Salvador Nasralla – of La Alianza de Oposición contra la Dictadura, the opposition front, has called for a re-election. This is just what the OAS has also demanded – ‘a new call for general elections.’

Hernández is not keen to call a new election. He has tried to use the full force of the military and police establishment to crush any protest. Hundreds of people have been injured and tens of them killed. The numbers rise with each hour. Castillo Harry says that the same kind of repression used in the 1980s is now visible. In fact, Hernández’s advisor for security comes from the CIA created death squad, Battalion 316. Sections of the security forces loyal to Hernández have been entering people’s homes at night, arresting them, disappearing them. ‘We have a large group of missing comrades,’ says Castillo Harry. They ‘have been captured and disappeared and are not yet reported as missing.’

But matters are not entirely grave. Castillo Harry points to the sections of the security forces that have refused to comply with the President’s orders. Four hundred members of the elite COBRAS special unit of the police returned to their barracks. They would not fire on their fellow Hondurans. Castillo Harry says that the President personally called the barracks to urge them on. He promised higher salaries and better benefits for the military if they too did his bidding. That there have been these some ‘human rights mutinies’ suggests that there is a fracture in the repressive forces. There is hope here.

The United States has fully backed Hernández in his campaign for re-election. Professor Dana Frank of the University of California (Santa Cruz) and a close observer of Honduras told me that Trump’s Chief of Staff John Kelley was close to Hernández when Kelly ran the US Southern Command. He called Hernández a ‘good guy,’ a ‘great friend’ and said that Hernández was doing a ‘magnificent job.’ Stolen election or not, Frank says, ‘Everyone knows that the US wants Hernández in power no matter what.’

The US has an airbase – Palmerola (Soto Cano) Air Base – in Comayagua, fifty miles northwest of the capital Tegucigalpa. This is one of the few major US military bases in Latin America. It was set-up in 1983 for the US to support its contra allies in Nicaragua and its allies in the Honduran military. It is said in Honduras that the US actively participated in the coup against President Zelaya in 2009 because his agenda included the closure of this base. It should be pointed out that the US has directly intervened in the Honduras several times to protect its interests – in 1903, 1907, 1911, 1912, 1919, 1920, 1924 and 1925. Since the 1980s, however, it has relied on friendly people in the Honduran military and in the Honduran oligarchy to do its bidding. No wonder then that the US is keen to keep the oligarchy in power rather than allow left-leaning Nasralla and his popular alliance to take office.

Castillo Harry is on tour of the United States to speak out about the stolen election. He is being joined by mayors of several cities in Honduras, including Mayor Jose Arnold Avelar Hernandez, who is a leading member of La Alianza de Oposición contra la Dictadura. They would like the people of the United States to ensure that the Trump administration not be allowed to validate the stolen election. Heide Fulton, the top US diplomat in Honduras, said that the US ‘is ready to work with whomever is the winner.’ The problem is that in a stolen election, the winner did not necessarily win.

Dario Euraque, who was in the cabinet of the deposed government of Zelaya, told me that there is ‘extreme anger, sadness and hope’ in the country. Hope comes from the ‘mobilizations and creativity of the people despite the repression and isolation.’ These protests are indeed continuing. Frank agrees, ‘The current protests build on deep, brave commitments on the part of ordinary Hondurans.’ Castillo Harry says that these protests are ‘in the hands of the community based organizations.’ This element, he says, did not exist so robustly in 2009 to defend the government against the coup. Today, he says, there are more than 134 places around the country held by the resistance – with young people in the lead. Almost all those who have been killed are young activists.

‘Only the people save the people,’ Castillo Harry says, repeating a slogan that has appeared in the protests. The walls of cities and towns in Honduras have been painted with the orchid, the national flower. Until 1969, the national flower of Honduras was the rose, although the rose is not native to the country. The orchid however is native to Honduras. There is a poetic sense that this protest is of people who want to take their country back. The stolen election is perhaps the last straw.

 

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Huawei confirms its phones will be sold by US carriers in 2018, starting with Mate 10

  • Huawei exec Richard Yu stated its phones will be “competitively priced” in the US market.
  • He added that Huawei does not expect to deal with security concerns in the US.
  • More information on the Huawei US carrier launch will be revealed at CES 2018.

After months of rumors and unconfirmed reports, the massive China-based phone company Huawei has finally and officially revealed that some of its handsets will be sold by US wireless carriers, starting sometime in 2018. The first such phone will be in its Mate 10 family of devices.

Editor’s Pick

The report comes from ABC News, quoting Richard Yu, the president of Huawei Technologies’ consumer business. He stated, “We will sell our flagship phone, our product, in the U.S. market through carriers next year.” The Mate 10, and its higher-end brother, the Mate 10 Pro, went on sale in China and other markets earlier this fall. Previous rumors claimed that the Mate 10 Pro would be sold by AT&T and Verizon in 2018. Yu did not state specifics on which carriers would sell its phones, but he did reveal that more information on those sales plans will be announced in early January during CES 2018.

While Huawei has sold phones under its own name and with its Honor brand in the US as unlocked devices online, breaking into the US carrier market could be huge for the company. Huawei is currently the number three seller of smartphones worldwide, trailing behind only Apple and Samsung. Yu stated today that the company’s phones, as sold by carriers, would be “competitively priced” in the US market.

He also added that Huawei does not expect its plans to be hit by security concerns by the US government. Some lawmakers and agencies have expressed concerns in the past that Chinese-based smartphone companies like Huawei could use those devices to spy on consumers. Today, Yu denied that would be the case, and suggested that those kinds of complaints were either politically motivated, or perhaps generated by its competitors.

How The GOP’s Money Grab Will Squeeze Public Schools

The GOP is about to make it harder for communities to raise money for schools.

Republican leaders in Congress make no secret of prioritizing tax cuts for their wealthy donors and corporate allies over the needs of people who work for a living. Donald Trump presented himself as a different kind of Republican—a populist who would look out for ordinary Americans. But, with the president’s full-throated support, Republicans are poised to pass a reverse Robin Hood tax plan that lavishes benefits on corporations and the very wealthy at the expense of Americans just trying to get by.

Americans get it, even though the GOP has tried to keep them in the dark. Republicans in Congress have rushed to ram(link is external)through the most sweeping tax overhaul in three decades without a single hearing, before the final bill has been scored or even seen except by a select few, and without one Democratic vote in favor. Why the hurry? Why not wait(link is external)—as President Obama did after Republican Scott Brown was elected to take Edward Kennedy’s Senate seat—until Sen.-elect Doug Jones can be seated?

That would respect the will of voters, and it would allow for transparency so the details of this far-reaching tax cut legislation for the wealthy can be examined. But GOP leaders are digging in: They know that time, sunlight and their dwindling Senate majority all work against them, so they’re operating as swiftly and secretly as they can. Even so, only 26 percent(link is external) of voters approve of their plan.

A key reason is that for all the talk of this being a “middle-class tax plan,” this is a tax increase plan for millions of middle-income Americans. Even with the deductions that Republicans have been shamed into restoring, such as those for high medical expenses, taxes could go up(link is external) for 87 million middle-class families, including 67 million making less than $100,000 annually. It will strip 13 million Americans(link is external) of their health insurance and raise premiums on the individual market(link is external) by an average of $2,000 per year. That doesn’t even count the automatic Medicare cuts(link is external) of $25 billion next year this corporate tax cut bill triggers, as well as hundreds of billions of dollars in automatic cuts(link is external) to other social services over the next decade.

It’s estimated that more than 60 percent of the tax cuts will go to the wealthiest 1 percent(link is external) of Americans. The plan lowers the top tax rate for upper-income households and slashes the corporate tax rate. While union members will no longer be able to deduct their dues, people who own private jets(link is external) will get a break. This is an obscene transfer of wealth upward at a time of record corporate profits and income inequality, while sticking it to wage earners, whose incomes have been stagnant for decades.

Perhaps worst of all, the GOP plan pays for corporate tax cuts by eviscerating the deduction for state and local taxes(link is external), which pay for public education, public colleges, public safety and infrastructure. Millions of people will pay more taxes and, as a result, that will make it harder for states and communities to raise money for these public investments. Squeezing funding for public schools and services is especially cruel at a time when at least 29 states are spending less(link is external) on public education than before the Great Recession.

Raising taxes on ordinary Americans still won’t cover all the breaks for corporations and the wealthy, so the GOP is mortgaging America’s future—by jacking up the federal deficit(link is external) by at least $1 trillion. This will limit our ability to invest in the infrastructure, health, education and retirement programs the country needs, and will saddle ordinary Americans with the tab for generations to come.

Republican lawmakers’ erstwhile aversion to deficits may be gone for now, but not for long. House Speaker Paul Ryan already has said, “We’re going to have to get back next year at entitlement reform, which is how you tackle the debt and the deficit.” Translation: Blow up the deficit though tax cuts, then use the debt as an excuse to slash education, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, housing and hunger programs—shredding the social safety net(link is external).

The AFT and our members have worked around the clock to mitigate some of the most harmful elements in earlier versions of this legislation. But given the rushed, dark-of-night process the GOP has used, we are still discovering new ways the bill will harm working families, such as parents of college students likely seeing a larger tax increase under the bill than taxpayers in general. Sadly, most but not all Republican lawmakers have sided with donors(link is external) and turned their backs on their constituents. They have made the calculation that between tweetstorms, the holidays and the 24-hour news cycle, Americans won’t notice or won’t object to this reprehensible rewarding of the rich at the expense of everyone else. But GOP lawmakers’ hypocrisy and contempt(link is external) for people who work hard for a living will not go unnoticed—now or in November.

7th Continent – Upping my pledge

I am not a millionaire. However I am not poor or “just about managing” either. If I had to classify my financial situation I’d call it “comfortably well off”. Now if you look at my hobby, games in general, the cost of games is usually in the tens or hundreds of dollars/euros. Which means that the purchase of even an expensive game or a somewhat exaggerated, unnecessary game purchase isn’t going to cause me any financial hardship. There are occasions where spending more is a reasonable option for me, even if I wouldn’t recommend it for everybody. All this to say that I just upped my pledge for the 7th Continent second Kickstarter project from $49 to $200. Why?

Well, it started with me packing a suitcase for a week of holidays with my wife. We like our holidays to be a mix of visiting things and relaxing, so we always take some entertainment with us. And I was hesitating to take the box of the 7th Continent game I got from the previous Kickstarter. I really want to play this, but what if it gets damaged or the airline loses my baggage and the game is gone? You can’t buy the 7th Continent anywhere, it is only available during Kickstarter projects, and they don’t happen all that often (about every 2 years).

And then I realized that because there is currently the second Kickstarter project ongoing (I had already pledged to get the next expansion), I could up my pledge and get a second base game too for $129. Throw in a bit more money for optional purchases like expansions (which also aren’t available anywhere else) and I upped my pledge to $200. Worst case scenario is that I end up with one extra box I’ll never open. Best case scenario is that I’ll have a shiny second edition box with lots of expansions at home, and the peace of mind that allows me to take the original box with me on holidays without being stressed about damaging or losing it. Not something I would do for a game that can easily be replaced, but for the 7th Continent I considered it worth the money.

The current Kickstarter project ends in 5 days, so if you still want to join you need to hurry. The projects already has over 33,000 backers and is over 10,000% funded. That is not a typo, they asked for $40,000 and got $4.5 million. As a “second edition” the risk of not getting the product you paid for is much reduced, although it probably will be late again. Great success of a Kickstarter project brings its own logistics problems, and this second run got 3 times the backers and 4 times the money of the first run. The game has raving reviews on BoardGameGeek (Rank #56 out of 96,000 games) and elsewhere. And unlike Gloomhaven you can’t just buy the 7th Continent on Amazon. You can get just the base game, in English or French, for $80, but another $49 also gets you the big expansion “What Goes Up, Must Come Down” and the many stretch goals. Or if you are like me you can go all out and get pretty much everything for $200.

Elemental Evil: Session 12

In the previous session the heroes had finished the second keep of elemental evil and killed its boss, a wereboar. This session began with the realization that the group paladin was now infected with lycanthropy. And being just below level 5 they didn’t have the necessary remove curse spell to get rid of that. So instead of directly heading for the next keep, they returned to Red Larch again, where the local priests were able to heal the paladin from his curse.

On leaving the temple the group witnessed an attack on the town by two ankheg. They were able to defend the town, but the burrowing monsters caused a sinkhole to appear in the middle of the town square. Exploring that the group found a small dungeon (the “Tomb of Moving Stones”) with a temple inhabited by a priest of the earth cultists. They killed the priest and discovered evidence that he tried to convert a group of town elders, the “believers”, from a harmless excuse to spend evenings among men to a far more sinister cult of elemental evil.
The Tomb of Moving Stones is normally a far lower level adventure, designed to get a level 1 group started in Red Larch. In this case I thought it would be a nice opportunity to introduce the earth cult a bit more, before the group heads into their keep. The added advantage was that the xp from that dungeon got the group to level 5, which is what the next dungeon is designed for. As level 5 is a major jump in power, I thought it was wiser to do it that way.

How abundance makes us poorer

Maybe it was to be expected with an offer that involves charity, but it turns out that for me the Humble Bundle Monthly is mostly an investment in a source for philosophical thoughts. When I initially bought the bundle in order to get Civ VI for cheap, I went for the three-month plan. So even if I since unsubscribed I just got my second months worth of games. And compared to the first month, there are even less games in there which I can see me playing. That is not to say that the offer is a bad one, or the games on offer are bad. Rather it reflects upon how my interests got narrower over time.

I am old enough to remember a time before video games. The first video game I played was Pong on a console that couldn’t play anything else, in black and white on a TV screen. When people got the first consoles with cartridges and computers, kids typically had just a handful of games, not necessarily chosen by themselves. If you only have 3 game cartridges, you will play the hell out of each of those games, whether those are your favorite games or not. Fast forward to 2017, where 7,672 games were released on Steam alone, again nearly doubling the number of Steam games available for a fourth year in a row.

Everybody has favorite games and favorite genres. If you are limited by the number of games available to you, you play what you got regardless of genre. If you have an abundance of choice, you get more and more picky and only play your favorite genres. The bottleneck becomes the amount of time available to play, so why should you play let’s say a platformer if you prefer role-playing games? Of course the consequence of that is that you end up with a much narrower experience. You only play a handful of favorite genres and don’t have the time for a bunch of other genres, which might offer a very different experience of gaming.

I see a parallel to the world of news and politics. Back in the day where your only source of news was one paper you and everybody in your street was subscribed to, you all got the same variety of news and opinions. Today there are so many sources of news and opinions that you can choose one which aligns well with your own opinions. If you are a fan of Trump, you watch Fox News and read Breitbart, if you are on the other side you watch CNN and read Huffington Post. But the result is that you end up in an echo chamber which doesn’t allow for a variety of opinions. This has gone so far that the echo chambers of today don’t even agree on the same set of facts. A news source that reports something uncomfortable to you is “fake news”, truth has become subservient to opinion.

The future is one in which we lead comfortable lives in which we play only our favorite games, see only our favorite genre of movies and TV shows, hear only news that please us. Until we have become so isolated from another group of people (which might well be our neighbors) that the two groups don’t consider each other of being of the same kind any more, and start killing each other off. The internet, which had a promise of offering us a much wider offer of everything from information to entertainment, ends up making us all poorer and more narrow-minded.

Build a Game Without Coding : Android- LeaVe my baThRoom at-least !

Do you have innovative ideas about android games but don’t know how to code ?
Then do not worry about it. If you are interested in making your own games and don’t know coding then you may be  surprised to know that there are many development programs/tools available which do not require any programming or coding skills.

There are software called Game Builders which provide drag and drop facility to create games.But before you start developing your games you must know following things:

  • You should decide Narrative of your game and also how your game would look like.
  • Decide Rules and Control for the game
  • Last but very important Graphics and Music for the game
Lets check out some game builders

1. GameMaker

Looking for a tool that will allow you to make games not just for mobile devices also for video game system then GameMaker is the perfect tool for you. It is popular and most robust tool. It provides customization for development environment by choosing predefined skins or create your own.
GameMaker Studio 2 is the latest and greatest incarnation of GameMaker!
It has everything you need to take your idea from concept to finished game. With no barriers to entry and powerful functionality, GameMaker Studio 2 is the ultimate 2D development environment!


Following  games developed using GameMaker

  • Galactic Missile Defense
  • wanderlust:adventures

    2. BuildBox

    Buildbox is the world’s first software that truly allows anyone to create amazing games regardless of technical skill. Due to its unique user interface, making games becomes a fluid process that doesn’t require any scripting, programming or software design experience. It provide various option such as drag and drop,it also support to create any imaginable 2D games.


    Following  games developed using BuildBox
    • Color Switch
    • The Line Zen
    • Trump On The Run

    Conclusion

    In Today’s Android gaming industry  it is very easy to develop games.There are thousands of new games are being published both by big companies and individual developers but not all of the game makers know how to code. Even you can make games without writing any single line of code.

    So if you have any innovating idea about games but don’t know programming then  simply use game builder tools to develop your own game.

    Interested to learn Android Programming ?

    Android Wear Oreo update tracker (Update: More watches receive Oreo)

    Update (12/18): Google has been rolling out Android Oreo to Android Wear devices for a week now and it has already gotten through a fair number of them. As pointed out by Android Police over the weekend, a few more have just made the list.

    The Fossil Q Founder 2.0, Fossil Q Marshal, Fossil Q Wander, Michael Kors Access Bradshaw, and the Michael Kors Access Dylan, are now said to have received the update, though it might take a few days to show up on all watches. What’s more, the Gc Connect, which was removed from the Oreo waitlist without explanation in the last update, has made a triumphant return: it’s now listed as having received Oreo.

    Google has announced the rollout of Android Oreo for Android Wear. While not as significant an update as Android Wear 2.0 was, the new Oreo software will nonetheless bring some useful tweaks, including a Touch Lock — supposed to help in wet conditions — notification channels, battery improvements, and adjustable vibration strength (you can read about what else is included in the update here).

    Now, Google has revealed a list of Android Wear devices set to receive the update on its Android Wear help page, though we don’t know when individual watches will receive it. We’ll be tracking the progress of the Android Wear Oreo update deployment in the coming weeks and months in this article and you can find out what we know so far below.

    Which smartwatches will get the Android Oreo update?

    According to Google, these are the smartwatches due to receive Android Oreo:

    • Casio PRO TREK Smart (WSD-F20)
    • Casio Smart Outdoor Watch (WSD-F10)
    • Diesel Full Guard
    • Emporio Armani Connected
    • Fossil Q Control
    • Fossil Q Explorist
    • Huawei Watch 2
    • LG Watch Style
    • Michael Kors Access Grayson
    • Misfit Vapor
    • Mobvoi Ticwatch S & E
    • Nixon Mission
    • Polar M600
    • Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45
    • ZTE Quartz

    Which smartwatches already have Android Oreo?

    The Android Oreo update has already rolled out to a handful of smartwatches, and these are:

    • Fossil Q Founder 2.0
    • Fossil Q Marshal
    • Fossil Q Venture
    • Fossil Q Wander
    • Guess Connect
    • Gc Connect
    • Hugo BOSS BOSS Touch
    • LG Watch Sport
    • Louis Vuitton Tambour
    • Michael Kors Access Bradshaw
    • Michael Kors Access Dylan
    • Michael Kors Sofie
    • Montblanc Summit
    • Movado Connect
    • Tommy Hilfiger 24/7 You

    Note that the update for the devices listed above may have only recently started rolling out and not all devices may have received it.

    Which smartwatches won’t get the Android Oreo update?

    There are a number of popular watches that weren’t on the Google list which we’ve outlined below. These watches may still receive certain updates through the Google Play Store, but the software will remain on a previous version (such as Android Nougat).

    • Asus ZenWatch 2
    • Asus ZenWatch 3
    • Fossil Q Founder
    • Huawei Watch
    • Huawei Watch Ladies
    • LG G Watch R
    • LG Watch Urbane
    • LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE (including AT&T and Verizon versions)
    • Motorola Moto 360 (2nd Gen.)
    • Motorola Moto 360 Sport

    That’s all we have right now but we’ll bring you more information on the latest Android Wear updates as we get it.

    Next: Best Android Wear watches

    There Is No Constitutional Right to Education. That Needs To Change.

    Legal scholar Derek Black argues that the 14th Amendment should have included a right to education.

    Public school funding has shrunk over the past decade. School discipline rates reached historic highs. Large achievement gaps persist. And the overall performance of our nation’s students falls well below our international peers.

    These bleak numbers beg the question: Don’t students have a constitutional right to something better? Many Americans assume that federal law protects the right to education. Why wouldn’t it? All 50 state constitutions provide for education. The same is true in 170 other countries. Yet, the word “education” does not appear in the United States Constitution, and federal courts have rejected the idea that education is important enough that it should be protected anyway.

    After two decades of failed lawsuits in the 1970s and ‘80s, advocates all but gave up on the federal courts. It seemed the only solution was to amend the Constitution itself. But that, of course, is no small undertaking. So in recent decades, the debate over the right to education has mostly been academic.

    The summer of 2016 marked a surprising turning point. Two independent groups – Public Counsel and Students Matter – filed lawsuits in Michigan and Connecticut. They argue that federal law requires those states to provide better educational opportunities for students. In May 2017, the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a similar suit in Mississippi.

    At first glance, the cases looked like long shots. However, my researchshows that these lawsuits, particularly in Mississippi, may be onto something remarkable. I found that the events leading up to the 14th Amendment – which explicitly created rights of citizenship, equal protection and due process – reveal an intent to make education a guarantee of citizenship. Without extending education to former slaves and poor whites, the nation could not become a true democracy.

    Why a federal right to education matters

    Even today, a federal constitutional right to education remains necessary to ensure all children get a fair shot in life. While students have a state constitutional right to education, state courts have been ineffective in protecting those rights.

    Without a federal check, education policy tends to reflect politics more than an effort to deliver quality education. In many instances, states have done more to cut taxes than to support needy students.

    And a federal right is necessary to prevent random variances between states. For instance, New York spends US$18,100 per pupil, while Idaho spends $5,800. New York is wealthier than Idaho, and its costs are of course higher, but New York still spends a larger percentage on education than Idaho. In other words, geography and wealth are important factors in school funding, but so is the effort a state is willing to make to support education.

    And many states are exerting less and less effort. Recent data show that 31 states spend less on education now than before the recession – as much as 23 percent less.

    States often makes things worse by dividing their funds unequally among school districts. In Pennsylvania, the poorest districts have 33 percent lessper pupil than wealthy districts. Half of the states follow a similar, although less extreme, pattern.

    Studies indicate these inequities deprive students of the basic resources they need, particularly quality teachers. Reviewing decades of data, a 2014 study found that a 20 percent increase in school funding, when maintained, results in low-income students completing nearly a year of additional education. This additional education wipes out the graduation gap between low- and middle-income students. A Kansas legislative study showed that “a 1 percent increase in student performance was associated with a .83 percent increase in spending.”

    These findings are just detailed examples of the scholarly consensus: Money matters for educational outcomes.

    The new lawsuits

    While normally the refuge for civil rights claims, federal courts have refused to address these educational inequalities.  In 1973, the Supreme Court explicitly rejected education as a fundamental right. Later cases asked the court to recognize some narrower right in education, but the court again refused.

    After a long hiatus, new lawsuits are now offering new theories in federal court. In Michigan, plaintiffs argue that if schools do not ensure students’ literacy, students will be consigned to a permanent underclass. In Connecticut, plaintiffs emphasize that a right to a “minimally adequate education” is strongly suggested in the Supreme Court’s past decisions. In Mississippi, plaintiffs argue that Congress required Mississippi to guarantee education as a condition of its readmission to the Union after the Civil War.

    While none of the lawsuits explicitly state it, all three hinge on the notion that education is a basic right of citizenship in a democratic society. Convincing a court, however, requires more than general appeals to the value of education in a democratic society. It requires hard evidence. Key parts of that evidence can be found in the history of the 14th Amendment itself.

    The original intent to ensure education

    Immediately after the Civil War, Congress needed to transform the slave-holding South into a working democracy and ensure that both freedmen and poor whites could fully participate in it. High illiteracy rates posed a serious barrier. This led Congress to demand that all states guarantee a right to education.

    In 1868, two of our nation’s most significant events were occurring: the readmission of southern states to the Union and the ratification of the 14th Amendment. While numerous scholars have examined this history, few, if any, have closely examined the role of public education. The most startling thing is how much persuasive evidence is in plain view. Scholars just haven’t asked the right questions: Did Congress demand that southern states provide public education, and, if so, did that have any effect on the rights guaranteed by the 14th Amendment? The answers are yes.

    As I describe in the Constitutional Compromise to Guarantee Education, Congress placed two major conditions on southern states’ readmission to the Union: Southern states had to adopt the 14th Amendment and rewrite their state constitutions to conform to a republican form of government. In rewriting their constitutions, Congress expected states to guarantee education. Anything short was unacceptable.

    Southern states got the message. By 1868, nine of 10 southern states seeking admission had guaranteed education in their constitutions. Those that were slow or reluctant were the last to be readmitted.

    The last three states – Virginia, Mississippi and Texas – saw Congress explicitly condition their readmission on providing education.

    The intersection of southern readmissions, rewriting state constitutions and the ratification of the 14th Amendment helps to define the meaning of the 14th Amendment itself. By the time the 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868, state constitutional law and congressional demands had cemented education as a central pillar of citizenship. In other words, for those who passed the 14th Amendment, the explicit right of citizenship in the 14th Amendment included an implicit right to education.

    The reasoning of both Congress and the state conventions was clear: “Education is the surest guarantee of the … preservation of the great principles of republican liberty.”

    The rest is history. Our country went from one in which fewer than half of states guaranteed education prior to the war to one in which all 50 state constitutions guarantee education today.

    The new cases before the federal courts offer an opportunity to finish the work first started during Reconstruction – to ensure that all citizens receive an education that equips them to participate in democracy. The nation has made important progress toward that goal, but I would argue so much more work remains. The time is now for federal courts to finally confirm that the United States Constitution does, in fact, guarantee students the right to quality education.

    MSNBC Shows Scary Clip of Trump and Putin Using Exact Same Talking Points

    The two appear to be synching their propaganda.

    Using footage from President Donald Trump’s recent rally in Florida and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annual media conference, MSNBC demonstrated how the two world leaders are sharing talking points.

    Both leaders insulted Trump’s opposition, made grandiose claims about the stock market and claimed Trump is the victim of fake news.

    Putin has spoken on the phone at least twice with the president in the last week as he blatantly vies for power over Trump by boosting his fragile ego.

    Watch the clip below.

     

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