Monthly Archives: April 2016

How to privatize a public education system

Lizanne Foster | April 25, 2016 | rabble.ca

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When there’s news every day of yet another school district budget shortfall and yet another school being closed, it’s difficult to see what has really been happening to public education in British Columbia for almost two decades now. But within the seeming chaos there is a clear pattern that emerges. It’s a pattern that can be clearly seen in many countries around the world as corporations turn their profit-hungry eyes toward the $5.5 trillion that is being spent on education worldwide.

Over a century ago public education was a radical idea in Britain. It was considered an utter waste of taxpayer’s money and was strongly resisted by many politicians. Nevertheless, arguments about public education being a public good won the day.

The big idea was that public education would provide an equal playing field for all society’s children. Children from poor homes could work their way up the social ladder through a free education and this in turn would ensure that the state would benefit from having a well-educated workforce and citizenry. Sounds all very democratic, doesn’t it?

Fast forward to the 1970s and a new idea began to spread from a group of economists at the Chicago School of Economics. One of them, Milton Friedman, wrote a seminal paper suggesting that public education be privatized. For most people in North America this was an outrageous idea akin to suggesting that we should sell motherhood. Because of the resistance to privatization of public education, it had to be sold to the public in a way that is subtle, is slick, is soft.

How to privatize a public education system

You will need the help of politicians. This is easy to obtain since they are always looking for donations for their election campaigns. Spending a few million will reap rewards ten times over. Once you have politicians on board, direct them thus:

Competition

Erode the collaborative and co-operative foundations of public education by introducing competition between schools. As an example, in B.C. the Fraser Institute began to rank schools in 1998 in a way that completely ignored multiple variables that made each school unique but that made sense to a public used to hockey team rankings.

Choice

Continue reading How to privatize a public education system

Hillary’s Dance: The Two-Faced Hypocritical 12-Step

Paul Buchheit | April 18, 2016 | Common Dreams

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Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaking with supporters at a campaign rally at Carl Hayden High School in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/cc)

If, sad to ponder, the presidential election comes down to Hillary Clinton vs. a Republican, we’ll be left either way with a business-friendly neocon White House. Given Hillary’s past deceits and reversals, it’s easy to see why she doesn’t inspire trust among the American people.

1. Environment

“I won’t let anyone take us backward, deny our economy the benefits of harnessing a clean energy future, or force our children to endure the catastrophe that would result from unchecked climate change.” —Hillary Clinton, 11/29/15

Greenpeace estimates that the Clinton campaign has taken $4.5 million from fossil fuel lobbyists and donors, and Naomi Klein and Grist have reported on all the money received from ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips and other oil sources. In response, Hillary explained, rather incoherently, “I have money from people who work for fossil fuel companies. I am so sick of the Sanders campaign lying about me.”

2. War

“Is there really any argument that America must remain a preeminent leader for peace and freedom..?” —Hillary Clinton, 10/31/06

Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, an advisor to the United Nations, called Hillary “the candidate of the War Machine.” In her book, “Hillary’s Choice,” author Gail Sheehy claimed it was Hillary who encouraged the president to bomb Kosovo. Then, as Secretary of State in 2011, she strongly supported war in Libya, a country which today is overwhelmed with crime and joblessness and a lack of basic necessities. She backed the escalation of the Afghanistan war, and in 2012, according to Sachs, she was largely responsible for the obstruction of peace efforts in Syria.

3. Banks

“I’m going to go after big banks that pose a systemic risk.” —Hillary Clinton, 02/26/16

Go after their money, that is. In the two years before starting her presidential campaign, Hillary was paid over $4 million in speaking fees from the big financial institutions. As summarized by Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, “Her closeness with big banks on Wall Street is sincere, it’s heart-felt, long-established and well known.”

Continue reading Hillary’s Dance: The Two-Faced Hypocritical 12-Step

The Unaccountable Insanity Called “US Foreign Aid”!

Sibel Edmonds | April 06, 2016

040616_PCPost2This is a brief introductory presentation to my coming series on the farce called “USA Foreign Aid.” I discuss our majority being clueless on- where Kazakhstan is, and who gets our tax dollars, aka ‘US Foreign Aid’ there? How was our $60 billion aid spent in Egypt? How come Israel gets all these billions every year, when we are pondering the rising poverty rate in the US and many without healthcare? Why are we bombing Pakistan every day, sending drone after drone to hit them, and then, turning around and giving them billions of dollars every year?

In our next few episodes I will delve deeper into facts, context and history when it comes to this unaccountable insanity called “US Foreign Aid.”

Show Notes

Continue reading The Unaccountable Insanity Called “US Foreign Aid”!

19 Facts That Prove Things In America Are Worse Than They Were Six Months Ago

Michael Snyder | April 07, 2016 | Washington’s Blog

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Has the U.S. economy gotten better over the past six months or has it gotten worse?  In this article, you will find solid proof that the U.S. economy has continued to get worse over the past six months.  Unfortunately, most people seem to think that since the stock market has rebounded significantly in recent weeks that everything must be okay, but of course that is not true at all.  If you look at a chart of the Dow, a very ominous head and shoulders pattern is forming, and all of the economic fundamentals are screaming that big trouble is ahead.  When Donald Trump told the Washington Post that we are heading for a “very massive recession“, he wasn’t just making stuff up.  We are already seeing lots of things happen that never take place outside of a recession, and the U.S. economy has already been sliding downhill fairly rapidly over the past several months.  With all that being said, the following are 19 facts that prove things in America are worse than they were six months ago…

#1 U.S. factory orders have now declined on a year over year basis for 16 months in a row.  As Zero Hedge has noted, in the post-World War II era this has never happened outside of a recession…

In 60 years, the US economy has not suffered a 16-month continuous YoY drop in Factory orders without being in recession. Moments ago the Department of Commerce confirmed that this is precisely what the US economy did, when factory orders not only dropped for the 16th consecutive month Y/Y, after declining 1.7% from last month

#2 Factory orders have now reached the lowest level that we have seen since the summer of 2011.

#3 It is being projected that corporate earnings will be down 8.5 percent for the first quarter of 2016 compared to one year ago.  This will be the fourth quarter in a row that we have seen year over year declines, and the last time that happened was during the last recession.

Continue reading 19 Facts That Prove Things In America Are Worse Than They Were Six Months Ago

Ten Indications That ISIS Is A US-Israeli Creation

Makia Freeman | April 09, 2016 | Paul Craig Roberts

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ISIS is a US-Israeli creation, a fact as clear as the sky is blue. It’s a truth as black and white as the colors on their flag. For many alternative news readers, this may be patently obvious, but this article is written for the large majority of people in the world who still have no idea who is really behind the rise of ISIS. No matter which name they go by – ISIS, ISIL, IS or Daesh – the group has been deliberately engineered by the US and Israel to achieve certain geopolitical goals. They are a religious, fundamentalist, Sunni terrorist organization created to terrorize and overthrow certain secular or Shiite Arab nations such as Syria and Iraq, but they are not just “Islamic”. They may be Muslims, and they may be advocating an Islamic State, but they are very much working towards the goals of Zionism.

It’s amazing how many people still struggle to get that point. We have been inundated with propaganda surrounding the fraudulent war on terror, notably terms such as Islamic terrorism and radical Islam, but more accurate phrases would be Zio-Islamic terrorism and radical Zio-Islam. Secret military agencies such as the CIA and the Mossad pull the strings. Here is a list of the top 10 ‘indications’ thatISIS is a US-Israeli creation.

ISIS is a US-Israeli Creation: Indication #1: ISIS Foreknowledge via Leaked DIA Doc

The DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency) is 1 of 16 US military intelligence agencies. According to a leaked document obtained by Judicial Watch, the DIA wrote on August 12, 2012 that:

“there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist Principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime …”

This was written before ISIS came on to the world stage. Clearly ISIS was no random uprising, but rather a carefully groomed and orchestrated controlled opposition group.

Continue reading Ten Indications That ISIS Is A US-Israeli Creation

Trans-Atlantic & Trans-Pacific “Partnerships” Complete Corporate World Takeover

Paul Craig Roberts | April 09, 2016

As I have emphasized since these “partnerships” were first announced, their purpose is to give corporations immunity from the laws in the countries in which they do business. The principle mechanism of this immunity is the granting of the right to corporations to sue governments and agencies of governments that have laws or regulations that impinge on corporate profits. For example, France’s prohibitions of GMO foods are, under the “partnerships,” “restraints on trade that impinge on corporate profits.

The “partnerships” set up “tribunals” staffed by corporations that are outside the court systems of the sovereign governments. It is in these corporate tribunals that the lawsuits take place. In other words the corporations are judge, jury, and prosecutor. They can’t lose. The “partnerships” set up secret unaccountable governments that are higher and have power over the elected governments.

You can ask yourself how much money the representatives of the countries who “fasttracked” this system were paid by the corporations and how much the bribes will be to get the agreements approved by the legislators. As you witness American, British, German and other government officials agitate in behalf of corporate rule, you will know that they have been well paid.

Continue reading Trans-Atlantic & Trans-Pacific “Partnerships” Complete Corporate World Takeover

The “Gig Economy”; Another Vicious Attack on Ordinary Working Slobs

Mike Whitney | April 06, 2016 | Counterpunch

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“Contrary to the rising-tide hypothesis, the rising tide has only lifted the large yachts, while many of the smaller boats have been dashed on the rocks.” Joseph Stiglitz, economist

American plutocrats and their political lackeys in congress have implemented a plan that’s putting pressure on wages and further decimating the already-battered middle class. By sustaining high levels of unemployment over a long period of time, US elites have “restructured the labor force”, which is a pretentious-sounding expression that means they’ve created a permanent underclass that’s willing to slave-away at demeaning, part-time jobs for mere peanuts without uttering a peep of protest. This metamorphosis of the workforce has taken place mostly in the shadows, concealed behind a thick fog of state propaganda touting the fictitious “recovery”, a recovery in which long-term jobless workers have abandoned all hope of finding gainful full-time employment and resigned themselves to a lifetime of scrambling from one odious task to the next just keep a roof over their heads and the wolves away from the door.

After eight years of applying this coercive ‘starvation strategy’, the plutocrat’s ‘grand plan’ is finally coming into focus. According to economists Lawrence F. Katz and Alan B. Krueger’s new paper titled “The Rise and Nature of Alternative Work Arrangements in the United States, 1995-2015″:

“All of the net employment growth in the U.S. economy from 2005 to 2015 appears to have occurred in alternative work arrangements.”

“Alternative work arrangements”? You mean there’s been zero growth in ordinary 9 to 5, 40-hour-per-week jobs in the last 10 freaking years???

Continue reading The “Gig Economy”; Another Vicious Attack on Ordinary Working Slobs

Why Hillary Clinton’s Paid Speeches Are Relevant

Eric Zuesse | April 6, 2016 | Washington’s Blog

On the fake-‘progressive’ (actually conservative-Democratic-Party) website that’s run by a longtime CIA asset Markos Moulitsas, “Daily Kos,” there was posted on February 24th an article by “motocat”, headlined, “I have personally been to a closed door corporate Clinton speech. This is what I experienced.” This person, he or she, didn’t indicate what the speech said, other than “how disappointing the whole thing was,” and, that it was a speech by Bill Clinton, not Hillary Clinton, and “It made me feel sort of sad to see how old and feeble he looked. The last time I had seen Bill speak was when he was running for his first term as President. He looked like a different man.”

Then the author went into speculation about what might be in Hillary Clinton’s speeches:

“Everyone wondering what Hillary possibly could have said in 30 minutes that was worth 250K is missing the point. These people are celebrities. They are booked to deliver paid speeches, because it benefits those who book them in some way. You might as well ask what Kanye West could possibly say in 45 minutes at Madison Square Garden that would be worth 250K to the promoter.

I have no doubt that Hillary does not want to release the transcripts of those speeches because those pouring through them for a gotcha news story or to prove a point, will surely find praise for the institutions she was speaking on behalf of. In this political climate, that would be a bad news cycle for her. I also have no doubt that she also showered glowing praise on the countless colleges whose commission speeches she spoke at, as well as praised the accomplishments of whatever non-profit she spoke on behalf of. Does anyone really think her speech to the US Green building council in 2013 was fair and balanced about negative aspects of what the Green building council has done? No. These are performances for a purpose.

Personally, I am surprised she just doesn’t come out and say the following.

‘For many years I worked as a paid speaker. I gave speeches to many different organizations in many different industries, who all paid me very well. It was my job, and part of my job was to be inspiring, encouraging, and flattering to those people in the audience and those who paid me.’

I’m not sure what people expect to find in these corporate event speeches she gave dozens of throughout the year. Backroom promises? Revelations about how she plans to screw the middle class? Confessions of cardinal sins? No company or speaker would be so stupid as to include that sort of thing in a corporate event speech anyway.

There are many important issues to be focusing on right now in this race and debate, but this isn’t one of them.”

Continue reading Why Hillary Clinton’s Paid Speeches Are Relevant

PEW Explains Who is Voting for Trump and Why

Mike Whitney | April 8, 2016 | Counterpunch

In a new survey by the Pew Research Council, half of the registered voters surveyed (51%) said they think the future for the next generation will be worse, while just 24% said life will be better for the next generation. The survey indicated this pessimistic sentiment is spread across racial and economic lines.”

– Optimism Is a Casualty in Campaign 2016, Wall Street Journal

30 years of wage stagnation followed by one wealth-eviscerating asset bubble after another has drained the optimism from the collective American psyche.  Most people now think things are going to get worse for themselves and their children.  This pervasive pessimism shows up in other surveys as well,  like this recent Gallup poll in which the sample-group was asked, “In general, are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way things are going in the United States at this time?”

You’d think that would be a slam-dunk for President Obama who never misses a chance to boast about his great economic recovery. But the fact is, 71 percent of the people said they were dissatisfied with the way things are going. Only 27 percent said they’re satisfied. That’s not just a knock on Obama, it’s also a powerful statement about the abysmal condition economy. The vast majority of people are clearly frustrated that they can’t get ahead because the economy isn’t improving. At the same time, they can’t help but notice that more and more of the nation’s wealth is being shifted to the people who least need it, the 1 percent elites at the top.

Continue reading PEW Explains Who is Voting for Trump and Why

Tax Time: How Corporations Are Cheating Schoolchildren

Paul Buchheit | April 04, 2016 | Common Dreams

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‘It’s a devious double whammy: Taxpayers are giving money to the corporations and then paying a second time to meet the needs of the underfunded public schools.’ (Photo: OdysseyOnline)

Many of the largest U.S. corporations aren’t paying the state taxes that should be funding our schools. Kids are the victims. So are the average Americans who are forced to pay higher property taxes, sales taxes, and excise taxes to meet educational budgets. Government and media sources would have us believe there’s no alternative, for in a market-driven world it’s heresy to make demands of big business, even when the companies are flagrantly avoiding their taxes.

Illinois: Schools Held Hostage by Just Six Corporate Tax Avoiders

The mayor and governor of Illinois are blaming each other for the Chicago Public School budget crisis, and Illinois colleges are in danger of being shut down. But Illinois lost over $1.3 billion (more than the $1.1 billion school budget shortfall) in 2015 state tax revenue to just six companies (Abbott, ADM, Boeing, Deere, Exelon, United), which together paid much less than 1% of their profits in state taxes, just pennies on the dollar for the required rate of 7.75%.

“Government and media sources would have us believe there’s no alternative, for in a market-driven world it’s heresy to make demands of big business, even when the companies are flagrantly avoiding their taxes.”

Continue reading Tax Time: How Corporations Are Cheating Schoolchildren