What’s in the Word “Education”? Not a Single Consonant From J-O-B or G-O-P

12 10 2011

“You know, we don’t need a lot more anthropologists in the state. It’s a great degree if people want to get it, but we don’t need them here. I want to spend our dollars giving people science, technology, engineering, math degrees.

That’s what our kids need to focus all their time and attention on.”

Think of it as electoral politics, not education policy or even jobs policy. Have you learned to translate rhetoric for reality yet? Mother Jones is getting the hang of it. This is no different than voter suppression laws masterminded by R-think tanks and pushed through R-dominated states all over what’s left of this once-great union. (“union”=ironic term in itself, these days.)

Rick Scott to Liberal Arts Majors: Drop Dead | Mother Jones

Florida’s unpopular tea party governor, Rick Scott, wants more of the state’s youths to pick up college degrees… but only if the degrees are useful to corporations and don’t teach students to question social norms.

. . .As opposed to conservative-friendly disciplines like economics and business management, liberal arts produce more culturally aware and progressive citizens, inclined to challenge ossified social conventions and injustices.

Eliminate cultural and social sciences from public colleges, and you’ll ultimately produce fewer community organizers, poets, and critics; you’ll probably churn out more Rotarians, Junior Leaguers, and Republican donors.

Then those “conservative-friendly disciplines” can be sold off piecemeal to the Koch brothers and other corporate titans, which has already started to happen here at FSU:

The debate is only starting over FSU (is it Florida State University or For Sale University?) and its decision to embrace a $1.5 million pledge from . . . one of the conservative billionaire brothers at Koch Industries, to be used for hiring in the economics department. In exchange, Koch’s representatives get to “screen and sign off on” the hires, essentially winning the right to interfere in faculty hiring at a publicly funded university.

Not just here and not just the Koch brothers, of course. No, that would be something the rest of you could blow off. But this isn’t:

[F]ormer BB&T banking chairman John Allison is working through the company’s foundation to give schools grants up to $2 million. The condition? They must agree to create a course on capitalism that has Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged — a book Allison adores — on the reading list. The article reports that 60 schools, including at least four campuses of the University of North Carolina (the home state of BB&T), have begun teaching the book as a result of accepting the foundation money.

Reports Bloomberg: “We have sought out professors who wanted to teach these ideas,” says Allison, now a professor at Wake Forest University’s business school in Winston-Salem, N.C.

“It’s really a battle of ideas. If the ideas that made America great aren’t heard, then their influence will be destroyed.”

The rich and ruthless can reform education into a “company store” where big-business bosses control every aspect of their workers’ lives. Make them grateful to the “job creators” and dependent on them for everything in life (just forget liberty and pursuit of happiness, which people will soon enough, once all education has been cleverly replaced by indoctrination and vocational training.)

Thus work round the clock and calendar is all there is to think about, necessary to any life at all, which is good for business! The workers get access only to what the bosses deign to sell them, at any price the bosses wish to charge, keeping them indebted and unable to choose any other life or work anywhere, ever. Unable even to question whether another life is possible or desirable?

And then there’s nothing for goverment apart from the bosses to do — the bosses ARE the government.

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56 responses

12 10 2011
bpbproadrunner

As usual these losers are assuming [note ass] that they can choose what degrees a person goes for. You are paying for your college degree. So *You ultimately get to choose what degree to pursue. Many students are undecided for the first 2 years. Because not only are they unsure what they want to pursue as an educational major, but they are also unsure as to how their personal aptitudes will affect their ability to pursue those majors.

Me as a math major–Well not so much. I mean I could score high on tests that I cram for. I could work all night on homework and pass. And you could say, wow, she really got good scores, we should put her in charge of something math intensive–money perhaps or some other logistical function. And guess what–You would want to kill me within a year for screwing it all up.

But Anthropology, Sociology, Humanities, History, English, Biology, Ecology, maybe even some less intensive forms of meteorology–I could Blow Your Mind. But according to Governor Looser up there, these are not acceptable because he is too stupid to see the value in these sorts of educations, esp the first 5 on the list.

I can only imagine what he has to say about Paleontology–because I am sure he buys into the whole “Dinosaurs and Proto-Homonids” as a conspiracy theory.

Remember Governor Bobby Jindal? He wanted to get rid of the USGS funding for the study of North American Volcanoes because he foolishly believed that there were none. Apparently he has never heard of the Pacific Ring of Fire, Mt Rainier, Mammoth Lakes Super Caldera, Yellowstone Super Caldera, Three Sisters, Mt St Helens, or all these volcanoes that are still popping all the way up into Alaska. He didn’t worry about Hawaii because that was just a state issue that they should deal with themselves.

I am very wary of people who cannot *see/perceive the value in History and the study of Culture. Because those are the people who have a vested interest in telling only one side of history, and presenting one side of Culture.

Your Governor as a Culture Warrior has a vested interest in shutting down and shutting out the competition to tell our history and to draw upon it. Imagine if we only had the Bartons of the world explaining “Merican History, or if Pat Robertson determined our Humanities coursework, or if Jay Seculow determined the syllabi for American Legal History and precedent. Imagine if we got rid of Howard Zinn and replaced him with Jesse Helms and/or Strom Thurmond?

The other day we watched a NOVA special on the War of 1812 and for the first time I saw Native American Historians interviewed to give cultural context to the Natives role in this war as allies with the British. We saw that The British freed African Slaves and many joined up to fight on the side of the British.

All that would disappear in the world this man proposes, simply because such differing views would not be construed as views that add depth to the discussion, but as an inconvenience to to propaganda.

12 10 2011
Nance Confer

Hey, Liberal Arts has “liberal” right in there! Obviously, that’s the first place to cut. 🙂

12 10 2011
JJ

Nance, you’re getting the hang of this interpretation thing! 😀

12 10 2011
bpbproadrunner

Suggestions like that make me want to vomit. Sorry. That post really struck a nerve.
And you are right Nance, just having the world Liberal in the title is enough to draw a jaundiced eye from the political zombies who are clearly out to eat all of our brains.

12 10 2011
JJ

Time to revisit this, perhaps?

I just did and it was nice to see Betty Malone’s thoughts . . .

15 10 2011
JJ

This is fun — Rick Scott’s daughter was an anthropology major and never found a job in her field (now she’s getting an MBA, sigh.)

The story also says the American Anthropological Association was not amused. 😉

My favorite paragraph in their letter to Scott begins:
“Perhaps you are unaware . . .”
LMAO! No kidding . . .

16 10 2011
JJ

From a Univ. of South Florida student in response

“Justin Shiver came away from a year in Iraq with one overriding thought: We need more anthropologists.”

17 10 2011
bpbproadrunner

Yes we do. We need more Anthropologists and fewer ambulance chasers and politicians.

18 10 2011
Team Suzanne

Wow–that’s really shocking stuff. Meddling in University classrooms and fiddling with faculty hires is really aggressive. I guess for several years I’ve felt like it’s coming–as capitalism spreads and swallows new markets, so too will the corporate/business ethic spread and swallow new domains.

It also feels like there aren’t enough people to protect Universities–enough people left that recognize how omnipresent and dangerous the business/corporate/”everything must directly benefit the financial bottom line” model is. I trust it takes more than a relatively short lived political and economic trend to keep people from thinking critically–which they’ve been doing for thousands of years–often in far more oppressive conditions than we have today. But still…I worry. Who will do the critical thinking when we’re swimming in financial analysts and IT professionals? Necessary professions, for sure–but not the sum total of what a society needs.

19 10 2011
Crimson Wife

Let’s see: Newt Gingrich, John Roberts, and Antonin Scalia were history majors and Lynne Cheney and Clarence Thomas were English lit majors. Last time I checked, those folks were pretty dang conservative.

Even scientists and engineers may want to also study history. My DH double-majored in electrical engineering and history. His grad school advisor was a double-major in physics and medieval history, and is now #2 at the Pentagon.

19 10 2011
JJ

Hi CW, good point.
That physics-medieval history combo intrigues me. Sounds like someone I’d love to have scintillating dinner conversation with. 🙂

And that helps lead to this: Scott’s set-up separates the disciplines and sets us to fighting over them in win-lose competition for his crumbs. That’s his usual MO, how he got so large and in charge.

Discussing this story, my generally well-educated and diverse friends and acquaintances have been reduced to the self-defense of taking sides, like the dog hiding under the piano just trying to keep a big enough spot for himself and snapping even at loved ones when they try to drag him out and displace him.

That’s pretty directly the opposite of how education should be preparing Thinking Citizens for this third-millennium world, which is real integration across disciplines — not just tossing them together like salad greens or combining oil and vinegar to dress them for better taste (pun intended) but lots of ingredients interacting and changing each other to create a new whole that can’t be re-separated out into constituencies, baking very different ingredients together where each is essential to the resulting finished product.

It can happen formally, like an undergrad friend of Favorite Daughter’s chose at UF, where several science and social science programs have been baked into a new “environmental systems” major. Or it can happen informally the way Favorite Daughter cooked up her own “power of story” education starting from unschooling scratch and carrying it through her European sojourn and higher ed programs from English and religious history to library science and musical theatre . . .it all connects so seamlessly for her that I can’t keep straight which discipline it relates to, when she’s talking about a course or a paper or reading she’s doing.

And higher education is meant to integrate( instead of separate and set up for battle) not only disciplines but human purpose and major life goals .Well-rounded humans need to make a living AND make a life! The ideal at least to my mind, is doing what you love and loving what you do and not having it all be about money because the money works out well enough to support that life. But money .Both FAVD and her UF friend are already working in good jobs making community contributions and earning some money as they continue their studies. Again, it’s so integrated that I get happily confused listening to FavD enthuse about her life, unable to tell and not caring to distinguish between what’s she’s learning as a paying customer and what she’s learning as a paid employee, because I don’t think of the life she’s cooking up as one or the other, nor that money in either case is the be-all and end-all.

That’s what I despise most about Scott. He may have a law degree but he’s not an educated man and he’s dumbing ALL the disciplines down with his money-profit inhumanity.

Finally, let me quote from an editorial here about Scott’s governing money madness. It’s not an education editorial, but it sure is educational:

“In retrospect, too many legislators, local officials and private-sector foundations were left wondering who in state government was doing what and when. And, in our view, it’s not clear — moving forward — how those connections could have been made.

“As a result,” the editorial ends, “the lesson learned from our local perspective is that there is no lesson learned.”

Ouch.

19 10 2011
JJ

Other lessons we haven’t learned in FL higher education for Scott, who just got here ten minutes ago so here’s a pooh-pooh platter for him:

But in today’s world a young person’s entire financial future may be forfeit to shady deals and immoral misrepresentations — even a good college kid who graduates and goes on into adulthood without making a single stupid investment or missing a single student loan payment.

Worse, the government could be in on it.

There’s the credit card sell-out of state universities to the business gods, never mind devastating student loan scams by vocation-promising for-profits enabled by government, sucking public education resources into private corporate coffers in return for shoddy or outright fake coursework, pretty much useless either for making a living or a life.

It’s bad enough she keeps getting those military recruiting brochures from every imaginable branch of service . . . understand, I was an Air Force brat myself and proud of it. My dad went to Clemson when it was still an Air Force academy, a Depression baby who never had a dime for chewing gum much less whatever kids charge on campus credit cards today, had to hitchhike to and from home in Cool Springs NC just to see his family on holidays. So the college debt he graduated with was to the Air Force, which he honored in Korea. But it was honorable debt, all aboveboard and honest, all agreed to, all very clear. Think how sneaky it would’ve been to secretly set him up for that on an opt-out basis, and then to hit him with the military debt at graduation. Oh by the way son, you owe us six years in uniform . . .

So this isn’t a blanket objection to the military or business (he became a UF business professor when he got out!) It’s a homeschooling mother’s very specific outrage at how Big Education, Big Government and Big School Sports have become indistinguishable, and ganged up on our kids.

.

And who can forget THIS?? CW et al will remember but Beep and Suzanne weren’t here for this epic power of story:

And don’t overlook the School-as-State angle to all this. We are talking young adults with full civil rights, living cheek-to-jowl as quasi-dependents in exactly the sort of “nanny state” that homeschoolers so often warn each other against. The loons screaming about liberal higher education don’t get it though, that’s the opposite of what’s happening. Government is typically entrenched and consolidates power and control, more conservative than liberal imo, or we could just say fascist? Higher education behaves quite like the federal government these days, ever heavier-handed with law and order and “peacekeeper” security visibly deployed to quell undesirable uprising, all the while selling out (privatizing for profit) the student citizens of their communities and their interests, all in the name of serving them.

The more I see about such stories, the more I realize that we haven’t been paying attention while universities both public and private became privateered fiefdoms allied with Big Business and Big Religion, apparently against its people and pretty careless of the CONSTITUTION.

And of course the State (School) acting with its full force against a heretic? In America?

. . . It just occurred to me that this is could be viewed as more of a “whistle-blower” case, where a group member goes off the reservation at his own peril, and then suffers retribution. . .

See also:

When getting in is hard to do

Individualism and — not versus — institutionalism

Disciplined devouts and creative iconoclasts as college-worthy

When fear drives our decisions, forget logic:

I’ve started to read the new behavioral economics book, “Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions” by Dan Ariely. Never mind how to change the world or anyone else’s mind, just working to keep control of my OWN world and my OWN mind is hard enough!

So. I’m thinking today that if we don’t educate our kids to do at least that, instead of blindly chasing Scott’s example of corporate destruction and intellectual flim-flammery because he makes them fear the poorhouse or salivate for the Big Score, then there’s really no competition anymore. We lose. Game over.

Super-rich get richer, everyone else gets poorer

Beep started this discussion by saying: You are paying for your college degree. So *You* ultimately get to choose what degree to pursue. Many students are undecided for the first 2 years.

I want to know if after reading all this, she would like to revise and extend her remarks? 😉

19 10 2011
JJ

COLLEGE COSTS: Who Cares, and Why Thinking Parents Care About Who Doesn’t:

Conservative financial adviser Dave Ramsey sensibly preaches public in-state college as a practical value for the middle class — I hear him do it all the time — yet with all his economic expertise, doesn’t seem to notice or care about what’s happening to THOSE costs and why. Public colleges and universities are losing bigtime, and it’s starting to look like a key strategy of the grand elitist “free market” white male ideology McCain’s economic masterminds have been working so hard on for a couple of decades now, to dismantle government and all general public opportunity for those of us they dismiss as just a “nation of whiners.”

20 10 2011
bpbproadrunner

I suspect that I am on a parallel track. Honestly I have written a bit about my experiences and issues with colleges. Ultimately, I perceive that most of college has been dumbed down so that more students can be attracted, thereby making these institutions more money.

This in turn ruins the experience for those who should actually be there.
It degrades the value of the trade school, and repels many students from pursuing their ambitions at those institutions.

And now that college has become the panacea of society that is supposed to end poverty, cure the sick, and bring back the dead–we the poor are told we must have this magic piece of paper if we ever want to succeed in life, but then are priced out of admission.

So the poor, often military vets, and other blue collar denizens instead seek out the for-profit institution that are often even dumber than what regular universities offer us currently. Because these institutions are not considered on par with traditional schools, that ensures graduates [however brilliant and driven are guaranteed to make about 23 percent less than their traditionally educated counterparts in their chosen profession, assuming that is, that they can find a job.

I stand by my words. Artists should be able to attend art school without fear. Scholars should pursue scholarly degrees, scientists should pursue science. We should not all be forced to conform with the “academic” nightmare of being compelled to attend business school just to get a job managing a goddamn fast food chain.

This idea that History, Humanities, the Arts, and Sciences have no value is a NeoConservative construct and an extension of the Dominionist Culture War.

Unfortunately our institutions of higher learning have played into this awful game by living down to the expectations of their detractors.

Institutions need to pick a side. Shit or get off the pot.

20 10 2011
bpbproadrunner

15 percent–not 23. Anyhow,

” You cannot make a living wage without some kind of college degree. I realize this is counter-intuitive to progressivism, but college has undermined the poor by making college a pre-requisite for success and then simultaneously putting it out of reach through substandard primary schooling, tracking, and very high prices for college tuition and books.”
http://thespectrumofbeing.blogspot.com/2011/06/i-am-so-glad-i-am-not-only-one-who-sees.html

Another on Vets and For Profits–
http://thespectrumofbeing.blogspot.com/2011/06/frontlinepbspropublica-did-piee-on-for.html

Honestly, the attitudes expressed towards those who did not get a degree or who cannot, is to me just one more sign of how disconnected these different Americas are from each other.

20 10 2011
JJ

T-shirts! 😀

We should not all be forced to conform with the “academic” nightmare of being compelled to attend business school just to get a job managing a goddamn fast food chain.

20 10 2011
bpbproadrunner

Jeepers JJ I put myself through the military so I wouldn’t have to work a fast food chain. I hate foot handling! HATE IT.

And I don’t care for an MBA. Its not my thing and I will plant my boot in the behind of anyone who suggests I suck it up and go for that just for money’s sake.

Such a suggestion is an offense to my honor and to my desire to cultivate my natural talents.

20 10 2011
JJ

Btw here’s the latest from our university crisis in Florida:

Here’s an economic engine, Gov. Scott: Poetry
“If anthropology fails the cost-benefit test our governor intends to apply to higher education, one can only imagine his chagrin as Florida State University students file into Barbara Hamby’s class. . .”

Professor Barbara Hamby once inspired Favorite Daughter (Meredith Ross) who blogged Hamby saying, ““One of the great things about poetry is that there’s no money in it…..even in fiction, there’s the possibility of money. Poetry, there’s not, so you’re just free.”

See Favorite Daughter’s posts about Hamby’s poetry: Poetry Day and Poetry Day Part Deux

20 10 2011
JJ

My dad the 30-year-plus business professor, came to it as a young GI Bill officer from the 1950s Strategic Air Command, an Air Force intelligence service based on long-range bombing to beat Russia, with nukes if need be. Apparently I was born the same year as the B-52. 😉

I always considered his approach to business management, policy and ethics (and parenting if it matters to anyone but me) quite “officer and gentleman.” Very Eisenhower. But our “intelligent” gentlemanly and honorable America both at home and abroad, in business and the university, has been losing out to Eisenhower’s fearsome military-industrial complex for decades. I guess it’s surprising we lasted as well as we did for as long as we did. I have to admit I’ve been part of the problem for longer than I’ve been able to see the light, sigh.

21 10 2011
bpbproadrunner

I agree completely. Many of us Eisenhower Republicans feel totally displaced. By today’s standards Eisenhower is a liberal hippie. And speaking of which, I think you might enjoy my latest post comparing an aspect of curtailed civil rights of military members to that of a civilian citizen.

21 10 2011
JJ

Good stuff, Beep! 🙂 Feel free to link when you mention something like that. I’ll do this one for you: Framing the Debate:

So Lakoff was reminding us, that we need to choose our words with precision. Perhaps he is afraid that the Occupy Wall Street movement is going to get lost in the crowd.

Well here are some of my ideas:

In addition to his piece, I saw four stories this week that show how corporations tried to blatantly censor American Citizens who were protesting lawfully with regards to the OWs movement:

We’ve talked about George Lakoff here too, of course. You might enjoy this and this, and and then this.

21 10 2011
bpbproadrunner

Glad you liked the post and will do next time. I found the other posts equally intriguing and haven’t quite worked out in my head how to fit them all together beyond this:

Notice that all this interdisciplinary talk [with regards to academic thought] would disappear with the suggestions made in Florida? That discussions like this would become linguistic dodos? Because if the colleges were changed to the degree some propose, that the foundational principles of this entire exchange would peter out due to a lack of funding and formal students.

Which brings me to another suggestion–one that I have made before:

Homeschool Adults! Why not! Why not unschool interested adults? Recreate our own version of the salon of the 1800s, cultivate an underground intelligencia in Blue Collar America?

I would start with Military Vets and those looking for literacy instruction.

Just a thought.

21 10 2011
bpbproadrunner

I think I shall have to make a blog post on that.

21 10 2011
JJ

Beep: Recreate our own version of the salon of the 1800s, cultivate an underground intelligencia in Blue Collar America?

Maybe like Ben Franklin’s Leather Apron Club?? 😉

I was re-reading Daniel Pink’s “Free Agent Nation” ideas about homeschooling and self-learning, and I came across Benjamin Franklin’s mutual learning society . . .

22 10 2011
bpbproadrunner

Higher Education used to mean something other than simply a job. It used to be the goals of people who truly wanted to expand their minds.

22 10 2011
COD

Interestingly, one thing I have learned recently is that that small, private liberal arts colleges with $40K list prices actually work out to be cheaper than State U, because the private schools have a lot of scholarship money to throw around.

22 10 2011
JJ

Remember though, this is not about higher education or reforming education to sustain and improve and support it as a social good. It’s the opposite, cynically anti-education, a calculated political strategy to bend and twist it, own and profit from it where possible and suppress it where it can’t be conquered and controlled.

Taking over education (at all levels, don’t forget Jeb Bush and Rupert Murdoch et al taking over K-12 e.g.) for evermore power and money, is basically no different than 50-state model legislation to suppress the vote, dominate the news media, break the labor movement, neuter all government regulation and cancel civil rights, including the primary right (obligation!) American citizens once cherished, to petition government without the military-industrial complex pepper-spraying us and banishing us from the public square in the name of “business” as usual . . .

P.S. Saw the brilliant journalist/author Naomi Wolf on cable last night describing her own arrest in NYC this week as she carefully, knowingly followed the law by standing on the sidewalk so she wouldn’t be arrested for protesting in the street. A white-shirt officer ordered her OFF the sidewalk into the street and she refused, explaining that would be against the law. So he arrested her for “not following a lawful order” even though the order was expressly NOT lawful and they both knew it. She was later let go “with a warning” (was she warned to follow unlawful orders from now on??) at a precinct house across town, not the one assigned to the protests, because THAT one had been cordoned off along with a full city block shut down, she was told, by “Homeland Security.” In a great American city, against lawful and peaceful Americans protesting domestic government and economics — patriots, not terrorists.

Time to be using whatever education and wisdom WE got in better days, y’all. Times are tough and I don’t just mean the money!

Ten Steps That Close an Open Society:

1. invoke an internal and external threat
People who are afraid are willing to do things that they wouldn’t otherwise do.

2. establish secret (unaccountable) prisons where torture takes place
In a secret system, the government does not have to provide any proof of wrongdoing by those it holds, so it can incarcerate anyone it wants.

3. develop a paramilitary force
A private military force — under the exclusive direction of the “commander in chief” with no accountability to Congress, the courts, or the public — blurs the line between a civilian police force and a militarized police state.

4. surveil ordinary citizens
People who believe they are being watched are less likely to voice opposition. To scare a population into silence, the government need only monitor the activities of a few to make everyone fear that they are being surveilled. Every closed society keeps a “list” of so-called opponents it tracks.

5. infiltrate citizen’s groups
Spies in activist groups put psychological pressure on genuine activists by undermining their trust in one another. They may also disrupt legal activities, undermining the effectiveness of group efforts.

6. detain and release ordinary citizens
Detention intimidates or psychologically damages those arrested and also lets everyone know that anyone could be labeled an “enemy combatant” and “disappeared.”

7. target key individuals
People are less likely to speak out when those who are highly visible, like journalists, scholars, artists, or celebrities, are intimidated or have the livelihoods threatened. Targeting those who are especially visible makes it less likely that people will speak out and robs society of leaders and others who might inspire opposition.

8. restrict the press
The public is less likely to fi nd out about government wrongdoing if the government can threaten to prosecute anyone who publishes or broadcasts reports that are critical of the government.

9. recast criticism as espionage and dissent as treason
People who protest can be charged with terrorism or treason when laws criminalize or limit free speech rather than protect it.

10. subvert the rule of law
The disappearance of checks and balances makes it easier to declare martial law, especially if the judiciary branch continues to exercise authority over individuals but has no authority over the Executive branch.

This site is prepared by the End of America staff. We are following topics raised in the movie THE END OF AMERICA in order to maintain the information in the film up to date and in order to support discussion on these questions. In presenting this information, please note that the opinions in this site do not — and are not intended to — reflect the opinions of Ms. Wolf, the filmmakers and producers associated with this film, and the distributor of the film. The opinions of the writers of each of these posts are their own. . .

Buy The End of America on DVD at IndiePix Films.

22 10 2011
JJ

I still might blog this separately because there’s plenty to think and talk about but for now, it fits here too:

‎”It is no surprise that the urge to rear winners trumps the urge to raise artists . . . self-conscious creativity becomes sublimated into the competitive project and becomes twisted.

Our system has relentlessly denied the role of any human practice that cannot be monetized. The capitalist apparatus has worked tirelessly to commercialize everything, to reduce every aspect of human life to currency exchange. In such a context, there is no hope for the survival of the fully realized self.”

22 10 2011
JJ

And economist Paul Krugman’s explanation of real market failure costs purposely hidden from us and outright lied about, seems to apply not just to the literal natural environment but to our environment for education, media, public discourse, civil action and democratic self-determination, IOW to mind pollution as well as air pollution:

At one level, this is all textbook economics. Externalities like pollution are one of the classic forms of market failure, and Econ 101 says that this failure should be remedied through . . . putting numbers to this basic proposition — and the numbers turn out to be big. So if you really believed in the logic of free markets, you’d be all in favor of pollution taxes, right?

Hahahahaha. Today’s American right doesn’t believe in externalities, or correcting market failures; it believes that there are no market failures, that capitalism unregulated is always right. Faced with evidence that market prices are in fact wrong, they simply attack the science.

What this tells us is that we are not actually having a debate about economics. Our free-market advocates aren’t actually operating from a model of how the economy works; they’re operating from some combination of knee-jerk defense of the haves against the rest and mystical faith that self-interest always leads to the common good.

And they’re wrong, with every breath we take.

22 10 2011
bpbproadrunner

Paul Krugman also pointed out that the people doing the damage are a revolutionary force whose intent is to remake this country in their own image by any means necessary.

I would also add, that when someone talks about raising Winners, I would always request that they define for me that term.

To me an artist is a winner, an innovator is a winner, a scholar and historian are winners.

But raising a predator and call them a winner is another thing entirely.

22 10 2011
bpbproadrunner

Better yet, raising a parasite and calling them a winner, is the worst.

Predators can actually serve a viable purpose if properly managed.

22 10 2011
bpbproadrunner

I wasn’t aware that any Civilian out there had signed a contract stating that they had to follow all lawful orders.

Once again, that is military jargon meant for military members.

Lawful Orders are governed under the Uniform Code of Military Justice and are not applicable to civilians by a civilian police force. To claim otherwise is to ignore Posse Comitatus.

Unless the officer is claiming to there representing the Guard as per a governors orders or some such–and even then…

22 10 2011
JJ

Here’s one story I found: Naomi Wolf: How I Was Arrested at Occupy Wall Street

Last night I was arrested in my home town, outside an event to which I had been invited, for standing lawfully on the sidewalk in an evening gown. . . I understood later that the protesters were lied to about our whereabouts, which seemed to me to be a trickle-down of the Bush-era detention practice of unaccountable detentions. . .my partner and I became exhibit A in a process that I have been warning Americans about since 2007: first they come for the “other” – the “terrorist”, the brown person, the Muslim, the outsider; then they come for you – while you are standing on a sidewalk in evening dress, obeying the law.

22 10 2011
bpbproadrunner

Everything *they do at this point to silence the people will have a profoundly negative effect on their *brand.

And when the cops are laid off and their benefits slashed again I will be sure and remind them of this.

You supported the people who are slashing your budgets. You arrested the people who would have stood up for their police officers, but you chose instead to be corporate enforcers.

22 10 2011
JJ

There’s a story in the Orlando Sentinel this week — What Rick Scott Doesn’t Want You to See — about our new governor here flouting existing disclosure laws specifically about how our public funds are being spent (in one case, federal money to to create jobs!) — yet at the same time, I just saw this story about how individual citizens (already disadvantaged and innocent-of-illegality, not-obliged-by-oath women and children)are being bullied by callous corporations into disclosing information they’re NOT legally required to disclose, on pain of illegal discrimination against them:

Hope Nicolas was told she was required to provide the Valencia Forest Apartments rental office in Orlando with her children’s Social Security numbers, an act that could reveal their location to their abuser. Although she offered documentation to prove she had legal custody of the children and that she had been abused, she was denied an apartment. . .

Nicolas changed her name and Social Security number after fleeing her abuser but did not change her children’s names because doing so would require her to notify their abusive father. The rental office told Nicolas they needed the children’s Social Security information for auditing purposes, and to confirm she had legal custody of the children to prevent anything “dramatic” from happening.

22 10 2011
JJ

In short, this all has gone WAY TOO FAR.

22 10 2011
bpbproadrunner

What do you propose we do?

22 10 2011
JJ

I’m rooting for Occupy and contributing to the president’s re-election. And doing a lot of thinking and writing and blogging and talking . . .

22 10 2011
JJ

An old homeschool dad friend (who’s a European socialist personally and an international economist by training) has become a naturalized American citizen and decided his best contribution would be working with voter registration, since that’s such a current target of the repressive forces.

Nance and her DD are literacy volunteers at their south FL local library, trying to help poor women accomplish something real and powerful that neither public education as children nor for-profit education as adults, somehow ever managed to actually help them with . . .

Another old homeschool friend from the National Home Education Network (NHEN) has experienced all sorts of dire health problems personally and in her family, thus has dedicated herself entirely to the president’s re-election as the only hope of sustaining humane health insurance and universal care in this nation. She has left her family and is currently in another state training volunteers and directing Obama operations, at great personal sacrifice.

I admire these people more than I can say!

22 10 2011
JJ

Beep, have you seen Dylan Ratigan et al’s proposed Constitutional Amendment to get the money out of politics? That’s something that might catch your fancy and be do-able online to some extent for you?

23 10 2011
JJ
23 10 2011
JJ

And as a service family, do you know about this?

Semper Fi: Occupy Marines Bringing Reinforcements to Occupy the Nation

One Veteran, Alex Limkin said:

“There is nothing more central to a free and democratic people than the right to dissent, the right to disagree, the right to stand up in the town square and be heard… I feel quite sure that in standing in solidarity with the peaceful Occupy Wall Street movement, I am doing no less than upholding my oath as an American soldier.”

Marines were already beginning to support the Occupy Wall Street movement. Now they are bring reinforcements from the Marine Corps and other branches of the United States military, to put their organizational skills, patriotism, and resilience to good use in the effort to give more weight to the protests and help them continue the fight to change America indefinitely. For years, they have fought for us in countries far away. Now, they fight beside us in America.

23 10 2011
bpbproadrunner

JJ my dear, all your posts are always enlightening, and interesting. But that last one brought a tear to my eye. I have had such a horrible day, when I had a personal encounter with a bagger who said the most horrible things to me and some other nice people in a public place while we were having some coffee. Words were exchanged, not all of them for polite conversation, and I realized that this person represents a sort of archetype for me. The intentionally cruel, narcissistic, and dismissive asshole we read quotes from in the paper who cheer when chronically ill people are knocked off their insurance, when families loose their homes [even if the bank is committing fraud], and who think that the only protected speech is the speech never uttered.

I still have a headache from this encounter. It really upset me to the point that I had to leave the area or the conversation might take a turn that is even worse than where it started with this slime filled pustule pretending to be a person.

But then no one there liked him at all. And that place is frequented by a variety of individuals who vote from different places in their lives, who occupy every walk of life, some to the left and some to the right and no one, not one person liked that little piece of shit.

That made me feel a little better but for the drama that had occurred. But this story that you posted above makes me feel great and I am going to follow the link back and make sure my friends get to read it too.

Thank you so much for being a much needed ray of brilliant, cleansing sunshine.

23 10 2011
JJ

Gee whiz, there’s nothing beyond that a blogger could hope
for! 😀 😀

23 10 2011
bpbproadrunner

Seriously, I and my spouse just read the page and watched the video, and now it is whizzing around the planet to other users and interested parties. And I posted the video at my homeschool blog which seems to be about anything but 😉

23 10 2011
JJ

Beep — bless your heart. And I do NOT mean that sarcastically or ironically! 😀

24 10 2011
bpbproadrunner

I just heard back from some other vets, about the video the story–this story we are discussing here, that I forwarded and they are very excited. So I know that video has probably whizzed around the world several times since last night. Its very exciting.

Now that Keith Olberman is no longer on the MSM–We don’t always see his stuff like we used to. So if you hadn’t shown this to me, thanks to the unique version of the filter-bubble and my location in a red state, I might have never seen it. So you did a great thing by showing this to me and others here. So that it can be spread around.

This video what we in the military would call, “Leading By Example.” Which is a very inspiring kind of leadership because it is the antithesis of “Do as I say and not as I do” type leadership.

There are so many things right with that video and what that Marine was doing. And how often do we get to say that with a smile–So many things right.

24 10 2011
bpbproadrunner

Doesn’t it make you wonder WHY his video, or this man is not on the mainstream media? Which made me think of a previous post regarding what gets in the news and what doesn’t and why…

“I mean here in this story we have people protesting the obvious gutting of American Coffers by WallStreet and getting gassed, maced beaten and arrested. And yet, how often do you hear about that happening to the West Borough Baptist Church members when they disrupt military funerals?

It seems that there is a message here about what is important and what isn’t. Allowing WBC protests to happen unobstructed while receiving full and regular coverage serves several purposes. First of all it demoralizes the populace, by tarnishing the ideal of Free Speech and Religious Freedom with what I would describe as the worst possible examples of how people use those “freedoms”. And it distracts us in our anger from the stuff going on that really needs our attention like Mortgage Scams, and lobby-Boondoggles. And it is held up to the world as proof that America is still free, even though our government which is now run by corporations–squelches any serious protests regarding serious issues like Wall Street.

So lets re-examine that:
1. Coverage Determines Importance
2. Demoralizes population
3. Tarnishes the First Freedoms [note plural]
4. Distracts us from other problems
5. Used as Proof to counter accusations of censorship and civil rights violations in court of domestic and global public opinion

__________End Quote__________________________

http://thespectrumofbeing.blogspot.com/2011/09/here-we-go-again.html

24 10 2011
JJ

Slate gets into the act:
America Needs Broadly Educated Citizens, Even Anthropologists

As a university president, I can assure Gov. Scott that his approach to both higher education and economic development is misguided and counterproductive. The notion that we must strip away academic programs not seemingly relevant to workforce development reflects a simplistic and retrograde view of the role of higher education in the American economy.

. . .Given the multiple dimensions and global interconnectedness of many professional sectors, the trend toward choosing two or even three majors is entirely appropriate.

. . .At the end of the day, the objective of our universities, both public and private, should be to create teaching, learning, and discovery environments capable of producing learners of the highest caliber. Differentiated learning platforms must accommodate the immense variability in types of intelligence and creativity that have made the United States the dominant source of innovation worldwide.

24 10 2011
bpbproadrunner

I still believe that the true, nefarious goal here [by this governor and his damnable party] is to create a workforce of mindless drones who are incapable of interdisciplinary thinking and who lack even the most basic understanding of the humanities which in turn severely affects one’s ability to operate as an informed citizen in this country.

24 10 2011
JJ

I guess it’s a two-fer . . .

29 10 2011
JJ

So “tax the rich” needs to include “police the rich” too. Fairly, justly, so we don’t have civil war instead:

What this amounts to is the banks having, as allies, a massive armed police force who are always on call, ready to help them evict homeowners and safeguard the repossession of property. . . [it] prosecutes crime and imprisons citizens with record-setting, factory-level efficiency, eclipsing the incarceration rates of most of history’s more notorious police states and communist countries.

But the bankers on Wall Street don’t live in that heavily-policed country. There are maybe 1000 SEC agents policing that sector of the economy, plus a handful of FBI agents. There are nearly that many police officers stationed around the polite crowd at Zucotti park.

These inequities are what drive the OWS protests. People don’t want handouts. It’s not a class uprising and they don’t want civil war — they want just the opposite. They want everyone to live in the same country, and live by the same rules. It’s amazing that some people think that that’s asking a lot.

29 10 2011
JJ

But here’s where even the best-educated and most creative thinkers among us hit the wall: power of story!

[I]t’s extremely difficult to explain the crimes of the modern financial elite in a simple visual. The essence of this particular sort of oligarchic power is its complexity and day-to-day invisibility: Its worst crimes, from bribery and insider trading and market manipulation, to backroom dominance of government and the usurping of the regulatory structure from within, simply can’t be seen by the public or put on TV. [or taught to the next generation so they can safeguard their own liberty and secuirty in turn?]

There just isn’t going to be an iconic “Running Girl” photo with Goldman Sachs, Citigroup or Bank of America – just 62 million Americans with zero or negative net worth, scratching their heads and wondering where the hell all their money went and why their votes seem to count less and less each and every year.

29 10 2011
JJ

The state pays school districts according to attendance. If fewer students show up, the state spends less.

Hmmm, so what if that’s yet another antisocial twist to Gov. Scott’s STEM-only education policy “philosophy” [it takes money to make money and he’ll take it!]? If it discourages all other sorts of students and makes them give up and go away without claiming their state constitution’s equal right to high-quality public education, that makes government smaller and its smaller budget seem like plenty!

Like Alan Grayson’s take on GOP public health care policy: 1) don’t get sick but if you do, 2) die quickly — Scott’s collorary for education might be: 1) don’t enroll but if you do, 2) fail quickly.

When School Dropouts Start to Look Like a Budget Blessing:

Rick Scott and Rick Perry have a mutual admiration society going. The two men go out of their way very publicly to agree that FL and TX are similar states and in direct competition, while sharing extreme TEA partisan politics. And if fixing education by shrinking it seems politically “smart” in TX, why not FL?

Every time a student drops out of public school, taxpayers save money. That’s one fewer student, at a savings of more than $11,000 per year from state and local sources.

You might argue those youngsters will cost the state a lot of money someday, as prison inmates or welfare recipients, or as part of an expanding number of weak links in the labor chain when employers come looking for educated workers.

But the immediate result is that the dropouts save money. And politicians respond to immediate things. . .

29 10 2011
JJ

If “accountability” in public education ever had real meaning, now’s the time for it:

We have watched as millions of our fellow countrymen have fallen into poverty. And we have done a poor job of educating our children and now threaten to leave them a country that is a shell of its former self. We should be ashamed.

Poor policies and poor choices have led to exceedingly poor outcomes.

20 11 2011
JJ

Speaking of jobs as GOP preaches:

“What strikes me is how mean-spirited it is, and how inappropriate [the poor collection of candidates] is, to a moment in our country in which we have a lot of problems” — Bob Herbert on “Up With Chris Hayes” this morning.

Professor Melissa Harris-Perry cites the “Just World” psychology theory to explain the mean-spirited candidates and crowds.

“People who believe that the world is fair” and also that their omnipotent god wants this world as it is or would change it, are those most likely to be hostile to anyone downtrodden and left behind, as if it must be deserved and fair for them to suffer.

From The Christian Left, via Deanne (thanks!) “I will be damned if we’re going to balance the budget on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor. That’s wrong.” — Sen. Bernie Sanders, (Independent – VT) to the Senate Budget Committee, November 18, 2011

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