America’s Education Spring: A Growing Revolt Against “Reform” Mandates

Parents and teachers protest planned school closures during a public Philadelphia school board meeting at Martin Luther King High School in Philadelphia, Dec. 19, 2012. (Photo: Mark Makela / The New York Times).Parents and teachers protest planned school closures during a public Philadelphia school board meeting at Martin Luther King High School in Philadelphia, Dec. 19, 2012. (Photo: Mark Makela / The New York Times).

 

“It’s always hard to tell for sure exactly when a revolution starts,” wrote John Tierny in The Atlantic recently. “I’m not an expert on revolutions,” he continued, “but even I can see that a new one is taking shape in American K-12 public education.”

Tierney pointed to a number of signs of the coming “revolution:”

  • Teachers refusing to give standardized tests, parents opting their kids out of tests, and students boycotting tests.
  • Legislators reconsidering testing and expressing concerns about corruption in the testing industry.
  • Voucher and other “choice” proposals being strongly contested and voted down in states that had been friendly to them.

Tierney linked to a blog post by yours truly, “The Inconvenient Truth of Education Reform,” explaining how the movement known as “education reform” has committed severe harm to the populations it professes to serve while spreading corruption and enriching businesses and political figures.

Echoing Tierney, on the pages of SlateThe Nation, and elsewhere, David Kirp, education professor and author of a popular new book casting doubt on competitive driven, market-based school reform, declared that cheating scandals and parent rebellions over high stakes standardized testing were proof that much ballyhooed reform policies championed by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Education Secretary Arne Duncan are not “a proven – or even a promising – way to make schools better.”

Kirp declared that mounting evidence from school reform efforts in major U.S. metropolitan areas reveals “it’s a terrible time for advocates of market-driven reform in public education. For more than a decade, their strategy – which makes teachers’ careers turn on student gains in reading and math tests, and promotes competition through charter schools and vouchers – has been the dominant policy mantra. But now the cracks are showing.”

In a legislative view, the Progressive State Network, which supports left-leaning state legislators and monitors legislative policy in state houses, noticed “a backlash is brewing in many states as more and more parents and legislators alike start asking questions about corporate education reform.” The post on PSN’s website referenced Tierney’s article and highlighted a Minnesota bill that eliminates testing requirements for graduation and several states that are embroiled in battles to defeat measures known as the “parent trigger,” which enables private takeovers of public schools.

These observations are not alarmist chatter but well-reasoned, valid conclusions that anti-government collectivist actions related to public school policy are scaling up from isolated protests to a nationwide movement of unified resistance.

The movement is widespread among teachers, students, and parents. It is grassroots driven and way out in front of most journalists and political leaders. And it’s scaling up in intensity.

A Teacher-Student-Parent Movement…

CONTINUE READING HERE!

Guest Post: The Empire’s Next Effort To Extract Your Wealth

Since before the tech bust, we’ve been suggesting that while Americans “think” they’re getting richer… they’re actually heading in the other direction. They’re getting poorer.

Since before the tech bust, we’ve been suggesting that while Americans “think” they’re getting richer… they’re actually heading in the other direction. They’re getting poorer.

This proposition has been easier for folks to entertain since housing busted and the financial crisis reversed the “wealth effect” in 2008. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the logic of the American Empire and what you can expect in the year(s) ahead.

“Great empires, such as the Roman and British, were extractive,” economist Paul Craig Roberts observed recently. “The empires succeeded because the value of the resources and wealth extracted from conquered lands exceeded the value of conquest and governance.”

We explored a similar theme in our 2006 book, Empire of Debt. But unlike empires of the past, the American Empire has a logic all its own.

“America’s wars are very expensive,” says Roberts, stating the obvious. “Bush and Obama have doubled the national debt, and the American people have no benefits from it. No riches, no bread and circuses flow to Americans from Washington’s wars.”

In the big Iraqi oil auction of 2009, for example, even as U.S. helicopters droned overhead, the oil minister gave out zero contracts to American firms. Not one. And we spent at least $3 trillion on war — $2.9 trillion more than Team Bush’s original budget. So much for paying for war with “oil profits.”

Russia was actually the big winner here. So what gives? The American Empire has perverted the Roman mantra “Veni, vidi, vici” (I came, I saw, I conquered) into the odd imperial slogan, “We came, we saw… we borrowed!”

The results from this turn of phrase are less than desirable. Again Roberts:

Washington’s empire extracts resources from the American people for the benefit of the few powerful interest groups that rule America. The military-security complex, Wall Street, agribusiness and the Israel lobby use the government to extract resources from Americans to serve their profits and power. The U.S. Constitution has been extracted in the interests of the Security State, and Americans’ incomes have been redirected to the pockets of the 1%.

“That is how the American Empire functions,”

We agree. To grow, the American Empire is always looking to inflate the next bubble. These serial bubbles each have the effect of “extracting” wealth from the citizens — in the form of bigger mortgages, heftier credit card statements and stuffed stock portfolios. The “extracted” money is, over time, passed from the wallets of citizens to the pockets of the well connected…

CONTINUE READING HERE!

★Anonymous- Song (Awsome)★

Video

Published on May 24, 2012
Subscribe/Abonnieren: http://www.youtube.com/subscription_c…

We are Anonymous.
We are Legion.
We do not Forgive.
We do not Forget.
Expect us.

An Itty Bitty Pity Party for the Associated Press

Perhaps the AP’s sudden inclusion in the ranks of spied-upon journalists will inspire it to more truthfully and factually inform the American people about what has been happening to our country right under its nose.

BUT I SERIOUSLY DOUBT IT!!!!!!!!

wiretapping main(Photo: jeffschuler / flickr)Gary Pruitt, President and CEO of the Associated Press, rose up raging on Monday afternoon and threw a bag of live rats over the White House fence. To wit:

The Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press in what the news cooperative’s top executive called a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into how news organizations gather the news.

The records obtained by the Justice Department listed incoming and outgoing calls, and the duration of each call, for the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters , general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn., and the main number for AP reporters in the House of Representatives press gallery, according to attorneys for the AP.

In all, the government seized those records for more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to AP and its journalists in April and May of 2012. The exact number of journalists who used the phone lines during that period is unknown but more than 100 journalists work in the offices whose phone records were targeted on a wide array of stories about government and other matters.

. . .

The government would not say why it sought the records.

. . .

The letter notifying AP that its phone records had been obtained though subpoenaswas sent Friday by Ronald Machen, the U.S. attorney in Washington.

(Emphasis added)

The AP wire release of this report was followed by the letter Pruitt posted to Eric Holder and the Department of Justice, in which he stridently protested the surveillance of dozens of journalists in at least three cities who were working on any number of stories:

 I am writing to object in the strongest possible terms to a massive and unprecedented intrusion by the Department of Justice into the newsgathering activities of The Associated Press….

CONTINUE READING HERE!

Lions And Tigers And Terrorists, Oh My!

Alt Market – by Brandon Smith

The debate over what actions actually constitute “terrorism,” I believe, will become one of the defining ideological battles of our era. Terrorism is not a word often used by common people to describe aberrant behaviors or dastardly deeds; however, it is used by governments around the world to label and marginalize political enemies. That is to say, it is the government that normally decides who is a “terrorist” and who is a mere “criminal,” the assertion being that one is clearly far worse than the other.  

The terrorist label elicits emotional firestorms and fearful brain-quakes in the minds of the masses. It causes the ignorant and unaware to abandon principles they would normally apply to any other malicious enterprise. They begin to reason that a criminal should be afforded justice, while a terrorist should be afforded only vengeance, even though the act of branding a person a “terrorist” is often completely arbitrary. This vengeance is usually pursued by any means. Thus, the terrorist moniker becomes a rationalization for every vicious and inhuman policy of the establishment, as well as for the citizenry.

Dishonorable and foolish people claim the existence of terrorism essentially gives license for the rest of us to become criminal, willfully trampling on individuals’ rights to privacy, property, free speech, due process, civic participation, etc. Mass criminality against the individual in the name of social safety is the glue that holds together all tyrannical systems, triggering a catastrophic cycle of moral relativism that eventually bleeds a culture dry.

Historically, the expanded use of the terrorist label by governments tends to coincide with the rising tides of despotism. A government that quietly seeks to dominate the people will inevitably begin to treat the people as if they are the enemy. Those citizens who present the greatest philosophical or physical threat to the centralization of power are usually the first to suffer. I do not think it is unfair to say that any system of authority that suddenly claims to see terrorists under every rock and behind every tree is probably about to rain full-on fascism down upon the population.

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is the legal extension of this process, with a vaporous gray language that allows the government to interpret it in any manner it deems useful, which conveniently allows it to interpret a wide range of “offenses” as acts of war against the state.

The Department of Homeland Security’s “If You See Something Say Something” campaign is the social extension of the process, by which it creates the framework for a paranoid self-censored surveillance culture.

The fusion center network is the enforcement extension designed to surround local and State police with an atmosphere of indoctrination and federalized dogma, teaching common cops to profile according to a template that is so ambiguous that literally any activity could be considered suspicious or terroristic…

CONTINUE READING HERE!

Shit and Shinola on the Banks of the River of Darkness: Heretic Productions

Video

Published on May 2, 2013
Heretic productions present: Les Visible’s; “Shit and Shinola on the Banks of the River of Darkness”. http://smokingmirrors.blogspot.com/20…
Subscribe to Snordster: https://www.youtube.com/user/Snordster

New climate report has grim predictions

Video

Published on May 12, 2013
A new report says that much of the world’s plant and animal life could be decimated by the effects of climate change over the next century. Worldwide levels of carbon dioxide are the highest they’ve been in almost two million years. Sub-Saharan Africa, Central America, Amazonia and Australia would lose the most species of plants and animals. And a major loss of plant species is projected in North Africa, Central Asia and South-eastern Europe. Al Jazeera’s Peter Sharp reports from London.

Ayn Rand USA: In 20 Years Corporate Profits Are Up 4X and Their Taxes Have Fallen by 50% — Meanwhile the Workers’ Payroll Tax Has Doubled

IS THIS REALLY ANY SURPRISE? AYN RAND’S HERO’S HAVE ALWAYS STOLEN FROM THE COMMONS!

Corporations have decided to let middle-class workers pay for national investments that have largely benefited businesses over the years.

Ayn Rand’s novel “Atlas Shrugged” fantasizes a world in which anti-government citizens reject taxes and regulations, and “stop the motor” by withdrawing themselves from the system of production. In a perverse twist on the writer’s theme the prediction is coming true. But instead of productive people rejecting taxes, rejected taxes are shutting down productive people.

Perhaps Ayn Rand never anticipated the impact of unregulated greed on a productive middle class. Perhaps she never understood the fairness of tax money for public research and infrastructure and security, all of which have contributed to the success of big business. She must have known about the inequality of the pre-Depression years. But she couldn’t have foreseen the concurrent rise in technology and globalization that allowed inequality to surge again, more quickly, in a manner that threatens to put the greediest offenders out of our reach.

Corporations Stopped Paying

In the past  twenty years, corporate profits have  quadrupled while the corporate tax percent has dropped by  half. The payroll tax, paid by workers, has doubled.

In effect, corporations have decided to let middle-class workers pay for national investments that have largely benefited businesses over the years. The greater part of  basic research, especially for technology and health care, has been  conducted with government money. Even today  60% of university research is government-supported. Corporations  use highways and shipping lanes and airports to ship their products, the FAA and TSA and Coast Guard and Department of Transportation to safeguard them, a nationwide energy grid to power their factories, and communications towers and satellites to conduct online business.

Yet as corporate profits surge and taxes plummet, our infrastructure is deteriorating. The  American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that $3.63 trillion is needed over the next seven years to make the necessary repairs.

Turning Taxes Into Thin Air…

CONTINUE READING HERE!

The Dirty Fucking Hippies Were Right (original version)

Video

Uploaded on Mar 17, 2009
We’re all in this together, folks.

This is a rant about the greed that permeates the American political landscape. In fact the very core of who we are as a nation and a people.

Until we re-regulate our glorious corporate overlords, our condition -the Human Condition- in this country and on this planet remains in the hands of a select group of sociopathic plutocrats that care nothing of their nation and only about their personal fortunes.

Self appointed Masters of the Universe who don’t seem to realize that their gene pool has been diminished and dulled by decades of greed, avarice and a sense of entitlement.

All born on 3rd base, swearing they hit a triple.

We Were RIght. They will devour themselves.

My only hope is that the rest of us survive the feast.

Jail Terms For Unlocking Cellphones Shows The True Black Heart Of The Copyright Monopoly

Source: Torrent Freak

 

 

copyright-brandedThe discussion around people’s banished right to unlock their own cellphones has been framed as an unexpected and unanticipated effect of the copyright monopoly. To the contrary, it shows the heart of the monopoly’s philosophy: killing ownership as a concept.

There is a weak copyright monopoly reform bill happening in the United States Congress at the moment.

This bill is not about the copyright monopoly at all, and at the same time, about everything that the monopoly actually is. It is the Unlocking Technology Act of 2013.

The bill, which was presented to the U.S. Congress three days ago, makes it legal to unlock devices such as phones that you own, and do what you like with them. Let’s take that again, because it is jaw-dropping: the bill reforms the copyright monopoly to make it legal to tinker with objects that you own. It has nothing to do with BitTorrent, MKVs, streaming, or what we normally associate with the activity of sharing culture outside of the copyright monopoly distributions.

The bill is about your ability to take your phone to a different wireless operator. Your ownphone, that you bought and paid for. Your legal ability to bring your own property wherever you like, without breaching criminal law and risking jail. How on Odin’s green Earth did this come to have to do with the copyright monopoly?

Few contemporary discussions put the spotlight like this one on how the copyright monopoly is not about rewarding artists, but is a political war on property – on our ability to own the things we paid for. (I won’t say “bought”, as that implies we actually own them.) The copyright monopoly is dividing the population into a corporate class who gets to control what objects may be used for what purpose, and a subservient consumer class that don’t get to buy or own anything – they just get to think they own things that can only be used in a predefined way, for a steep, monopolized, fixed price, or risk having the police sent after them.

This is not a free market. This is the opposite of a free market. The copyright monopoly stands in opposition to a free market, and in opposite to property as a concept…

FULL STORY HERE!