Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Why "We Don't Need No Education" in Kochtopus City! (Bagging Billionaires?) & HARD TRUTH - Roubini & Bremmer

(If throwing a contribution Pottersville2's way won't break your budget in these difficult financial times, I really need it, and would wholeheartedly appreciate it. Anything you can afford will make a huge difference in this blog's lifetime.)

(And why I'm no longer a fit teacher in the eyes of hiring departments.)
Despite being lied to repeatedly, almost daily, Americans are strangely gullible to incoherent, even ridiculous narratives dished up by their government. Brainwashed by the bromide that their nation is always a force for good, anywhere, worldwide, Americans can’t imagine that Washington could be complicit in the murder of its own citizens.
How many times have you hummed this tune to yourself (or to a class you were teaching) and thought how prescient the Floyd were? I'd say it was in the hundreds of times for me, but I don't want to stand out as that much of a cynic. (Right!) I wonder if this was Blair's price of admission to the rape-the-3rd-world-fest? (And his new prize as a Human Rights defender? (see comment on essay above for reference)) Here is someone who has not only done it, but has documented its current applications. For my educator and library friends and colleagues (emphasis marks added - Ed.):

Hands Down: Banishing Questioning from Schools “All and all you’re just another brick in the Wall.”

What is deemed a ‘Classroom Experiment’ in England, using methods that were tested on 25 pupils at Hertswood school in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire for one term has come to the lofty conclusion that students achieve better results when they keep their hands down in class. This ‘experiment’ which has no control group, no peer review and no rationality will be aired on BBC2 in Britain as if it were true. This of course should make those in power very happy for the questioning mind is what they hate most.

Amidst all their double talk about how students need to think critically it seems that developing a questioning mind is not part of the process. In what the Mailonline, a decrepit rag out of Britain reports is that:

“In a remarkable experiment, a class of 13-year-olds learned twice as quickly when they were not allowed to put their hands up in response to a teacher’s question” (Hands down everybody! Pupils ‘learn twice as fast’ when banned from raising arms to answer questions, David Derbyshire).

The ‘remarkable experiment’ of course runs into problems with the age-old philosophy of helping students develop self-questioning instead of self-righteousness; to learn to develop the habits of a questioning mind instead of an officiated one; to engage in Socratic questioning instead of mere questioning for information to be memorized.

Never mind, the sorcerers of the degradation of learning and teaching are now trying to smuggle into the classroom ‘crowd control’ by offering up this slop as if it were truth. From the point of view of both the Daily Mail and the ‘remarkable experiment’, banning children from raising their hands in class improves their academic performance.

What the ‘experiment’ found was that forgetting about questioning is how students learn. So what do the students do instead?

“Instead, the entire class was forced to write answers on small whiteboards and raise their answers in the air together” . . . Professor Dylan William, Deputy Director of the London University Institute for Education, who led the project, said:

"The kids and teachers hated it at the beginning. The kids who were used to having a quiet time were rattled at having to do something; the ones who were used to showing off to the teacher were upset”.

Professor William said he wanted to stop the minority of bright pupils dominating the class and to encourage the whole class to take responsibility for their behavior – by questioning as a herd. What a great way to encourage obedience training. Just tell kids they cannot ask or answer questions unless they herd like cattle.

Oh, but there is more to the ‘remarkable experiment’ than just destroying a student’s ability to develop critical thinking skills and Socratic questioning skills:

“The teacher also monitored a single pupil’s behavior each day – without telling the class which student was being placed under scrutiny – and then offered a reward of a day at Alton Towers if the student behaved”.

The move was intended, according to the remarkable ‘experimenters’ to encourage the whole group to take responsibility for earning the reward. Remember ‘whole language’? Now it is whole group thinking that is encouraged. Why? Simple, critical thinking is subversive.

William even went so far as to state: “I hope this programme shows how difficult high-quality teaching is”.

Sure, for quality teaching is now little more than crowd control and helping students learn how not to think, not encouraging them to think. This would simply be too much for education — after all the purpose of education now is for students to learn how to follow directions and command and control does not like questioning. Hierarchy is what students need to learn in order to adjust their lives for the ruination that spells itself on the blackboard as ‘CAPITALISM’.

William when on to bluster noting that:

“Teachers were given clear strategies for improvements which didn’t involve spending lots of money on new technology”.

Nor did it involve any thinking.

If Socrates was alive today he would be drugged with Ritalin, placed in a special education class, written-up for zero-tolerance policies and eventually expelled – the hemlock of education – into exile in some juvenile corrections camp or prison.

How sad it is to see the vicious turn in educational ‘experiments’ and the idiocy of the conclusions that are then handed to an uncritical media and shoved into the minds of viewers. Mental ‘wedgies’ are what parade as teaching and learning now.

The students who are told not to raise their hands will one day go on to ‘teach’ others to do the same. Monkey see, monkey do is the educational agenda all over the Western world as the rulers now assume the mantel of ‘best practices’ and call the shots for society and our children. The result will be further rot, further illiteracy and further inequality and hierarchy. All good for the ruling class.

Don’t think, don’t raise your hand, never question unless in a group and for God’s sake do not disagree or engage in a learning conversation whereby one balances ‘advocacy with inquiry’. Inquiry is no good now, unless you torture for a living and of course this is what is being done to our children as the lights go off on wonderment and inquiry and childhood changes back into the grueling task of learning to obey one’s masters. And these elites really think that they can get away with it? Teachers leave the kids alone!

As I have noted before, it is time to sharpen the guillotines. We have already lost generations of children to the ‘remarkable’ prevaricators and monsters who think it is ok to ‘bully’ students and teachers; to cage them like veal, but never encourage either of them to think. Any society that advocates this sordid conclusion is either dead or about to lose ‘the ghost’.

“All and all we’re just another brick in the all."

And then there's the not-so-inside info on the most mysterious MSM-touted events (emphasis marks added - Ed):
How Billionaires Bagged the Tea Party Guest columnist Jeet Heer explores the secret history of plutocrat populism, from William Randolph Hearst to the Koch brothers The Tea Party movement, which staged an impressive gathering in Washington last week, has often been celebrated as an outpouring of spontaneous populist rage, with hundreds of thousands of ordinary Americans taking to the streets to protest against government meddling in the economy. In a widely-noted recent article in The New Yorker, reporter Jane Mayer calls this populist storyline into question by bringing to light the largely hidden role of Dave and Charles Koch, two brothers whose personal fortune, rooted in the oil industry and manufacturing, puts them in the same league as Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. As hard-core libertarians who oppose most government social policy, the brothers Koch have given tens of millions of dollars over the years to right-wing think tanks and political-action groups. Their largesse has been instrumental in turning the Tea Party movement into a force in U.S. political life. An adviser to Barack Obama has described it as “a grassroots citizens' movement brought to you by a bunch of oil billionaires.”

The idea of populist billionaires seems, on its face, absurd. The original U.S. populist movement arose in the late 19th century in opposition to big business, especially banks and railways, to argue for greater communal control of key economic decisions. This is exactly the tradition the Kochs have spent a lifetime fighting, spending a king's ransom.

There are two ways to think about their plutocratic populism. One is to see it simply as a well-executed con game: Using shell organizations and slippery rhetoric, the Kochs have duped many ordinary Americans into thinking that they are fighting powerful vested interests when the result will allow big business to be further entrenched. This is the implicit thinking governing Ms. Mayer's article and there is truth to it.

But it doesn't do justice to the emotional power of the Kochs' pitch. Despite its seeming absurdity, right-wing populism is a brand that has been marketed successfully for nearly 80 years. So we might want to ask why plutocrats have been allowed to style themselves as avatars for the common man and woman.

Please read the whole article (click the title link) and see the light. Some great comments appear after it (which you shouldn't overlook):
Shouldn't the question be how they CREATED the Tea Party, and why? The exposure of the Kochs is a "limited hangout", designed to satisfy opponents and attempt to stop them from digging any further.“The Tea Party movement (…) staged an impressive gathering in Washington” No it didn’t. The people behind the campaign to prevent the public’s anger from threatening the interests of the people responsible for the betrayals that created it, and channelling it towards their enemies, held the gathering. But it wasn’t very impressive. I think “embarrassing” would be a more fitting adjective. “. . . has often been celebrated as an outpouring of spontaneous populist rage.” But only by the people behind the campaign, including those within the tightly-controlled mainstream media paid to disseminate such tripe. More credible observers acknowledge this as the same tactics these same people have perfected in foreign states, in order to keep the exploited populace subdued, now being employed against their own citizens, for the same purpose.“Dave and Charles Koch, two brothers whose personal fortune, rooted in the oil industry and manufacturing, puts them in the same league as Bill Gates and Warren Buffett” Or more accurately, Rupert Murdoch, the Bush family, the Harrimans, the Neo-Conservatives, or the rest of the wealthy elite who actually run the country.“ As hard-core libertarians who oppose most government social policy, the brothers Koch ”They’re not actually 'libertarians'. Their political ideology is fairly irrelevant, as they are motivated by greed and a desire for power, plain and simple, like those they are conspiring with against the American public."
Wanna know who always wants more pipelines through fragile tundra, etc.? Here is Jane Mayer's now-famous report:
Covert Operations The Kochtopus (Awkward!)

The Billionaire Brothers Who Are Waging a War Against Obama

May 17th, a black-tie audience at the Metropolitan Opera House applauded as a tall, jovial-looking billionaire took the stage. It was the seventieth annual spring gala of American Ballet Theatre, and David H. Koch was being celebrated for his generosity as a member of the Board of Trustees; he had recently donated $2.5 million toward the company’s upcoming season, and had given many millions before that. Koch received an award while flanked by two of the gala’s co-chairs, Blaine Trump, in a peach-colored gown, and Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, in emerald green. Kennedy’s mother, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, had been a patron of the ballet and, coincidentally, the previous owner of a Fifth Avenue apartment that Koch had bought, in 1995, and then sold, eleven years later, for thirty-two million dollars, having found it too small. The gala marked the social ascent of Koch, who, at the age of seventy, has become one of the city’s most prominent philanthropists. In 2008, he donated a hundred million dollars to modernize Lincoln Center’s New York State Theatre building, which now bears his name. He has given twenty million to the American Museum of Natural History, whose dinosaur wing is named for him. This spring, after noticing the decrepit state of the fountains outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Koch pledged at least ten million dollars for their renovation. He is a trustee of the museum, perhaps the most coveted social prize in the city, and serves on the board of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where, after he donated more than forty million dollars, an endowed chair and a research center were named for him.

One dignitary was conspicuously absent from the gala: the event’s third honorary co-chair, Michelle Obama. Her office said that a scheduling conflict had prevented her from attending. Yet had the First Lady shared the stage with Koch it might have created an awkward tableau. In Washington, Koch is best known as part of a family that has repeatedly funded stealth attacks on the federal government, and on the Obama Administration in particular. With his brother Charles, who is seventy-four, David Koch owns virtually all of Koch Industries, a conglomerate, headquartered in Wichita, Kansas, whose annual revenues are estimated to be a hundred billion dollars. The company has grown spectacularly since their father, Fred, died, in 1967, and the brothers took charge. The Kochs operate oil refineries in Alaska, Texas, and Minnesota, and control some four thousand miles of pipeline. Koch Industries owns Brawny paper towels, Dixie cups, Georgia-Pacific lumber, Stainmaster carpet, and Lycra, among other products. Forbes ranks it as the second-largest private company in the country, after Cargill, and its consistent profitability has made David and Charles Koch — who, years ago, bought out two other brothers — among the richest men in America. Their combined fortune of thirty-five billion dollars is exceeded only by those of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.

The Kochs are longtime libertarians who believe in drastically lower personal and corporate taxes, minimal social services for the needy, and much less oversight of industry especially environmental regulation. These views dovetail with the brothers’ corporate interests. In a study released this spring, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute named Koch Industries one of the top ten air polluters in the United States. And Greenpeace issued a report identifying the company as a “kingpin of climate science denial.” The report showed that, from 2005 to 2008, the Kochs vastly outdid ExxonMobil in giving money to organizations fighting legislation related to climate change, underwriting a huge network of foundations, think tanks, and political front groups. Indeed, the brothers have funded opposition campaigns against so many Obama Administration policies — from health-care reform to the economic-stimulus program — that, in political circles, their ideological network is known as the Kochtopus.

. . . Charles Lewis, the founder of the Center for Public Integrity, a nonpartisan watchdog group, said, “The Kochs are on a whole different level. There’s no one else who has spent this much money. The sheer dimension of it is what sets them apart. They have a pattern of lawbreaking, political manipulation, and obfuscation. I’ve been in Washington since Watergate, and I’ve never seen anything like it. They are the Standard Oil of our times.”

. . . Recently, President Obama took aim at the Kochs’ political network. Speaking at a Democratic National Committee fund-raiser, in Austin, he warned supporters that the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in the Citizens United case — which struck down laws prohibiting direct corporate spending on campaignshad made it even easier for big companies to hide behind “groups with harmless-sounding names like Americans for Prosperity.” Obama said, “They don’t have to say who, exactly, Americans for Prosperity are. You don’t know if it’s a foreign-controlled corporation” — or even, he added, “a big oil company.”

Need another important source of info on Collapsing America?
Totalitarianism always breeds idiocy. Lies that go unchallenged lead to more preposterous lies. Idiocy is also the manure from which totalitarianism rises. On September 11, 2001, the entire world saw America symbolically imploded, but our actual collapse is ongoing. It is relatively gradual, unlike the three, yes, three, World Trade Center buildings that tumbled onto their own foot prints. For the last nine years, we have endured an unending stream of lies and idiocy, none more grotesque than the official explanation to what happened that tragic day.

Despite being lied to repeatedly, almost daily, Americans are strangely gullible to incoherent, even ridiculous narratives dished up by their government. Brainwashed by the bromide that their nation is always a force for good, anywhere, worldwide, Americans can’t imagine that Washington could be complicit in the murder of its own citizens. Ignored is the fact that it has done so many times before, and since, 9/11. Using false pretexts to invade Iraq, our government has caused the death of over four thousand Americans, more than the number who perished on 9/11.

I don’t know what happened that day, but it makes no sense to me that World Trade Center #7 fell down without being hit by anything. It makes no sense to me that it collapsed exactly the same way as the twin towers, as if imploding. It makes no sense that the passport of Satam al Suqami, one of the alleged hijackers, could be found on the ground, when entire skyscrapers were being pulverized. I also don’t understand how no military jets could intercept any of the three planes that hit their targets that day.

The first tower was struck at 8:46AM, the Pentagon at 9:40AM, nearly an hour later, with no effective response from our vaunted military. I used to take buses to and from the Pentagon Transit Center. I knew the building wasn’t very tall, so it struck me as weird how an airliner could hit it from the side. Why fly parallel to the ground, nearly shaving it, to strike such a low target? Why not just dive into it? There are red flags all over this incident, yet many sane, reasonable people will become completely unhinged at the slightest suggestion that the official version doesn’t add up.

Our government lies all the time, but when it comes to this one incident, we shouldn’t question anything? Even National Review, of all places, pointed out visa irregularities among the alleged hijackers, how they could enter the U.S. without the proper paperwork.

After Martin Luther King was killed in 1968, his family refused to believe the official explanation. They fought and fought until an assassination conspiracy trial was scheduled in 1999. Presented with extensive evidences, a jury concluded that, yes, the federal, state and local governments all had a hand in Dr. King’s murder, and that James Earl Ray was not the shooter. The King family did what any sane, loving family would do. Coretta Scott King explained, “We had to get involved because the system did not work. Those who are responsible for the assassination were not held to account for their involvement […] It has been a difficult and painful experience to revisit this tragedy, but we felt we had an obligation to do everything in our power to seek the truth.”

On September 11, 2001, someone stabbed America. She’s being murdered right now. As Americans, we need to get to the heart of this, because this madness and deceit are perpetuating themselves. If we don’t have the courage and clarity to confront this evil, we won’t regain our sanity or move forward. We might as well be dead. We’re dying. As with the King murder and so much else, you cannot expect the system to convict itself. It will lie and lie until the truth hardly matters.

And the hard financial truth of the moment goes unreported - except in the rest of the world where smart people like Nouriel Roubini and Ian Bremmer explain it easily - *HINT* You should pay attention now (emphasis marks added - Ed.). (P.S. This is what happens when you willingly put your financial interests in the hands of venal subhumans (Rethugs and Dims).)

Roubini and Bremmer:

Financial Crisis Ended the Era of Free-Market Capitalism Matthew Scott September 10, 2010 DailyFinance

The global financial crisis just might give those in the U.S. who advanced the idea of a "new world order" their wish – but not exactly in the way they wanted.

Ian Bremmer, president of Political Risk Research, and influential economist Nouriel Roubini lay out a compelling argument in the September Institutional Investor asserting that the free-market system of capitalism has been so damaged by the recent financial crisis that the U.S., Europe and Japan face a future in which they will struggle to keep pace with deep-pocketed developing nations like Brazil, India, China and Saudi Arabia. The result could be a world in which the Western political and economic dominance that existed prior to the crisis is gone, with little hope of coming back.

"Conventional wisdom has it that a U.S.-dominated unipolar global system is giving way to a multipolar order, one in which various emerging powers advance competing ideas for how the world should be run and act to further their agendas," the men write. "The financial crisis and global market meltdown have created conditions for a 'nonpolar' order - one in which America's chief competitors remain much too busy with problems at home and along their borders to bear heavy international burdens."

'An Era of State-Driven Capitalism Has Dawned'

In a new global economy in which countries compete for market share on almost everything, national self-interest and protectionism is likely to flourish. With many of the major free-market economies mired in slow growth as they recover from the financial crisis, emerging nations with faster-growing economies and authoritarian governments will begin using state-sponsored capitalism to attempt to dominate markets.

"An era of state-driven capitalism has dawned, one in which governments inject political calculation into the performance of markets," Bremmer and Roubini write.

The two men predict that with national politics guiding many global economic decisions, former trading partners will become rivals for market share, and nations with the wealthiest and fastest-growing economies will gain influence and political power internationally. Free-market capitalist nations and state-driven capitalist nations may wind up forming two camps. Conflicts between nations over monetary policy, currency devaluations and other critical matters will increase: The G-20 group of nations will likely be unable to agree on sustainable measures to prevent cycles of financial crises from reoccurring with greater frequency.

While these grim projections are not etched in stone, Bremmer and Roubini offer enough evidence to suggest free-market nations have a tremendous job ahead of them to repair their waning economic influence and prevent such a sorry scenario from unfolding.

So, there's that good news.

Yeah. The world says "Thank you very much" to the U.S.


darkblack said...

Of course children progress through the edumacational matrix faster by becoming rote stenographers...why, it's all so obvious. Put that limply waving hand down, Nigel, we've got plans for your ass.
It certainly isn't surprising that England, the sunset empire of ubiquitous surveillance and impotent frustration is leading the way in this crucial issue - from Thatchermania to Poodleiciousness in three decades provides a mighty benchmark for aspiring client states to measure up against.

And those Koch suckers, exceptional Americans that they are, maggots feasting upon their own murder victim...as I have wished elsewhere for others before, may their deserved fate fall upon them like an asteroid from the dark space of a fearsome, pitiless universe.


Suzan said...

I love the way you condense my essays down to the nub, DB.

You rock!


Put that limply waving hand down, Nigel, we've got plans for your ass.

Koch suckers, exceptional Americans that they are


Octopus said...

In fairness to cephalopods (for reasons which modesty prevents), I propose changing 'Kochtopus' to KOCHROACHES.