Education — All Bubble and No Champagne

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Posted on 31st July 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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champagne

Education in the United States is a disgrace. Education is all bubble and no champagne. It should be viewed as one of the biggest tragedies ever imposed by government, perhaps even including the violence of war.

For aspiring entrepreneurs, there is an opportunity in this post. Make yourself a lot of money while making most of the country very happy.

Government runs education like it runs everything else — terribly. Whatever government “fixes” it makes worse!  It mucks things up at all levels. Education is an easily demonstrated government example of ineptness that need not be.

The tragedy of the education system is that it destroys lives. Generations of poor are condemned to stay poor without proper education. Schools in poor neighborhoods are sub-standard, guaranteeing no escape. This outcome is considered political collateral damage. Politicians, especially Democrats, find it politically expedient to write off lives to placate constituents. Some say creating more ignorant people is good for the political class.

education_notA Long Time Ago

I recall having a discussion with a school-board member over forty years ago in Upstate New York. Yes, the education problem was apparent then and has only gotten much worse. She was excited about the reforms that the local school board was adopting.

After listening to her enthusiastic litany of changes, I explained that similar changes had been heralded for the prior twenty years with the intent of “fixing” things. Similar reforms had produced no results except a continuing downtrend in educational metrics. I opined that the simple mission of education was to educate and that this mission was compromised by all the tertiary functions that schools and teachers were burdened with. She agreed that education/learning was the primary and overriding objective.

Then we discussed some of the non-educational functions included in the laundry list of what schools were supposed to provide — indoctrination, homogenization, driver-ed., self-image enhancement, etc. etc. Agreement between us on these issues was more common than disagreement, although I was stubborn in my belief that elements in the new program addressed none of these.

Somewhat frustrated, she asked what it would take to convince me that schools were improving. I answered simply: “Sixteen year-olds in the fifth grade.”

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QUOTES OF THE DAY

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Posted on 19th July 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”

George Orwell

“How can you have a war on terrorism when war itself is terrorism?”

Howard Zinn

“There is nothing in the record of the past two years when both Houses of Congress have been controlled by the Republican Party which can lead any person to believe that those promises will be fulfilled in the future. They follow the Hitler line – no matter how big the lie; repeat it often enough and the masses will regard it as truth.”

John F. Kennedy

“The press is a gang of cruel faggots. Journalism is not a profession or a trade. It is a cheap catch-all for fuckoffs and misfits—a false doorway to the backside of life, a filthy piss-ridden little hole nailed off by the building inspector, but just deep enough for a wino to curl up from the sidewalk and masturbate like a chimp in a zoo-cage.”

Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

“Propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state.”

Noam Chomsky

“We become slaves the moment we hand the keys to the definition of reality entirely over to someone else, whether it is a business, an economic theory, a political party, the White House, Newsworld or CNN.”

B.W. Powe

“Those who are capable of tyranny are capable of perjury to sustain it.”

Lysander Spooner

“And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed—if all records told the same tale—then the lie passed into history and became truth. ‘Who controls the past’ ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.”

George Orwell, 1984


 

LIES, DAMNED LIES & STATISTICS

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Posted on 18th July 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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The government released their monthly CPI report this week. Even though it came in at an annualized rate of 3.6%, they and their mouthpieces in the corporate mainstream media dutifully downplayed the uptrend. They can’t let the plebs know the truth. That might upend their economic recovery storyline and put a crimp into their artificial free money, zero interest rate, stock market rally. If they were to admit inflation is rising, the Fed would be forced to raise rates. That is unacceptable in our rigged .01% economy. There are banker bonuses, CEO stock options, corporate stock buyback earnings per share goals and captured politician elections at stake.

The corporate MSM immediately shifted the focus to the annual CPI figure of 0.1%. That’s right. Your government keepers expect you to believe the prices you pay to live your everyday life have been essentially flat in the last year. Anyone who lives in the real world, not the BLS Bizarro world of models, seasonal adjustments, hedonic adjustments, and substitution adjustments, knows this is a lie. The original concept of CPI was to measure the true cost of maintaining a constant standard of living. It should reflect your true inflation of out of pocket costs to live a daily existence in this country.

Instead, it has become a manipulated statistic using academic theories as a cover to systematically under-report the true level of inflation. The purpose has been to cut annual cost of living adjustments to Social Security and other government benefits, while over-estimating the true level of GDP. Artificially low inflation figures allow the mega-corporations who control the country to keep wage increases to workers low. Under-reporting the true level of inflation also allows the Federal Reserve to keep their discount rate far lower than it would be in an honest free market. The Wall Street banks, who own and control the Federal Reserve, are free to charge 18% on credit card balances while paying .25% to savers. The manipulation of the CPI benefits the vested interests, impoverishes the masses, and slowly but surely contributes to the destruction of our economic system.

A deep dive into Table 2 from the BLS reveals some truth and uncovers more lies. Their weighting of everyday living expenditures is warped and purposefully misleading. Let’s look at the annual increases in some food items we might consume in the course of a month, living in this empire of lies:

  • Ground Beef – 10.1%
  • Roast Beef – 11.8%
  • Steak – 11.1%
  • Eggs – 21.8%
  • Chicken – 3.7%
  • Coffee – 3.4%
  • Sugar – 4.2%
  • Candy – 4.6%
  • Snacks – 3.5%
  • Salt & Seasonings – 5.3%
  • Food Away From Home – 3.0%

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MORON MADNESS

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Posted on 7th July 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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We’re back from our vacation in Wildwood. I hoped for more relaxation, but it wasn’t to be. I rode my bike most mornings. I walked miles on the boardwalk with my wife and kids. We played the Cape May par 3 golf course. I went deep sea fishing with my youngest son. I made it to the beach twice. We made it to the Shamrock a few times, but we had more fun on the outdoor deck at Westy’s Pub. Watching an 85 year old couple who were barely 4 feet tall dancing like they did in the 1950’s to current pop hits was worth the price of admission. The scene brought a smile to the faces of anyone in the vicinity.

I ate more pieces of white pizza from Mack’s than I can remember.

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How I resisted getting more than one cup of peanut butter ice cream with chocolate jimmies at Kohr’s, I’ll never know.

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We saw two outstanding displays of fireworks while we were there. The weekly fireworks are launched on the beach at my street, so we just need to go to the top deck or stand in the street to see the colorful display. The wind was blowing from the ocean, so the debris and ash floated onto our deck.

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The Sunday Times’ Snowden Story is Journalism at its Worst — and Filled with Falsehoods

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Posted on 15th June 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Guest Post by Glenn Greenwald

Featured photo - The Sunday Times’ Snowden Story is Journalism at its Worst — and Filled with Falsehoods

(updated below)

Western journalists claim that the big lesson they learned from their key role in selling the Iraq War to the public is that it’s hideous, corrupt and often dangerous journalism to give anonymity to government officials to let them propagandize the public, then uncritically accept those anonymously voiced claims as Truth. But they’ve learned no such lesson. That tactic continues to be the staple of how major US and British media outlets “report,” especially in the national security area. And journalists who read such reports continue to treat self-serving decrees by unnamed, unseen officials – laundered through their media – as gospel, no matter how dubious are the claims or factually false is the reporting.

We now have one of the purest examples of this dynamic. Last night, the Murdoch-owned Sunday Times published their lead front-page Sunday article, headlined “British Spies Betrayed to Russians and Chinese.” Just as the conventional media narrative was shifting to pro-Snowden sentiment in the wake of a key court ruling and a new surveillance law, the article (behind a paywall: full text here) claims in the first paragraph that these two adversaries “have cracked the top-secret cache of files stolen by the fugitive US whistleblower Edward Snowden, forcing MI6 to pull agents out of live operations in hostile countries, according to senior officials in Downing Street, the Home Office and the security services.” It continues:

Western intelligence agencies say they have been forced into the rescue operations after Moscow gained access to more than 1m classified files held by the former American security contractor, who fled to seek protection from Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, after mounting one of the largest leaks in US history.

Senior government sources confirmed that China had also cracked the encrypted documents, which contain details of secret intelligence techniques and information that could allow British and American spies to be identified.

One senior Home Office official accused Snowden of having “blood on his hands”, although Downing Street said there was “no evidence of anyone being harmed”.

Aside from the serious retraction-worthy fabrications on which this article depends – more on those in a minute – the entire report is a self-negating joke. It reads like a parody I might quickly whip up in order to illustrate the core sickness of western journalism.

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CONSUMERS NOT FOLLOWING ORDERS

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Posted on 14th June 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Last week the government reported personal income and spending for April. After months of blaming non-existent consumer spending on cold weather, shockingly occurring during the Winter, the captured mainstream media pundits, Ivy League educated Wall Street economist lackeys, and Keynesian loving money printers at the Fed have run out of propaganda to explain why Americans are not spending money they don’t have. The corporate mainstream media is now visibly angry with the American people for not doing what the Ivy League propagated Keynesian academic models say they should be doing.

The ultimate mouthpiece for the banking cabal, Jon Hilsenrath, who does the bidding of the Federal Reserve at the Rupert Murdoch owned Wall Street Journal, wrote an arrogant, condescending, putrid diatribe, directed at the middle class victims of Wall Street banker criminality and Federal Reserve acquiescence to the vested corporate interests that run this country. Here are the more disgusting portions of his denunciation of the formerly middle class working people of America.

We know you experienced a terrible shock when Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008 and your employer responded by firing you. 

We also know you shouldn’t have taken out that large second mortgage during the housing boom to fix up your kitchen with granite counter-tops. 

You should feel lucky you’re not a Greek consumer.

Fed officials want to start raising the cost of your borrowing because they worry they’ve been giving you a free ride for too long with zero interest rates.

We listen to Fed officials all of the time here at The Wall Street Journal, and they just can’t figure you out.

Please let us know the problem.

The Wall Street Journal was swamped with thousands of angry responses from irate real people living in the real world, not the elite, QE enriched, oligarchs living in Manhattan penthouses, mansions on the Hamptons, or luxury condos in Washington, D.C. Hilsenrath presumes to know how the average American has been impacted by the criminal actions of sycophantic Ivy League educated central bankers and their avaricious Wall Street owners.

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Free Speech, Facebook and the NSA: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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Posted on 3rd June 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Guest Post by John W. Whitehead

A person under surveillance is no longer free; a society under surveillance is no longer a democracy.”Writers Against Mass Surveillance

THE GOOD NEWS: Americans have a right to freely express themselves on the Internet, including making threatening—even violent—statements on Facebook, provided that they don’t intend to actually inflict harm.

The Supreme Court’s ruling in Elonis v. United States threw out the conviction of a Pennsylvania man who was charged with making unlawful threats (it was never proven that he intended to threaten anyone) and sentenced to 44 months in jail after he posted allusions to popular rap lyrics and comedy routines on his Facebook page. It’s a ruling that has First Amendment implications for where the government can draw the line when it comes to provocative and controversial speech that is protected and permissible versus speech that could be interpreted as connoting a criminal intent.

That same day, Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act, the legal justification allowing the National Security Agency (NSA) to carry out warrantless surveillance on Americans, officially expired. Over the course of nearly a decade, if not more, the NSA had covertly spied on millions of Americans, many of whom were guilty of nothing more than using a telephone, and stored their records in government databases. For those who have been fighting the uphill battle against the NSA’s domestic spying program, it was a small but symbolic victory.

THE BAD NEWS: Congress’ legislative “fix,” intended to mollify critics of the NSA, will ensure that the agency is not in any way hindered in its ability to keep spying on Americans’ communications.

The USA FREEDOM Act could do more damage than good by creating a false impression that Congress has taken steps to prevent the government from spying on the telephone calls of citizens, while in fact ensuring the NSA’s ability to continue invading the privacy and security of Americans.

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SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES

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Posted on 7th May 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Initial jobless claims are near record lows. The last time they were this low was in early 2000, just before the market meltdown/recession. They were almost this low in 2007, just prior to the last market meltdown/recession. They were almost this low in 1989 before a market sell-off/recession. A critical thinking person might ask how we could have so few jobless claims when GDP is negative.

A critical thinking person might ask how reported layoffs by major corporations could be at a four year high, but jobless claims are at record lows. Someone must be lying or the dramatically higher layoffs in the first four months of 2015 versus the first four months of 2014 haven’t filtered through to the made up government reports. Here are the facts from Challenger & Gray:

Falling oil prices contributed to a 68 percent surge in job cuts last month, as US-based employers announced workforce reductions totaling 61,582 in April, up from 36,594 in March, according to the latest report on monthly layoffs released Thursday by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. The April total was 53 percent higher than the same month a year ago, when 40,298 planned job cuts were recorded. It represents the highest monthly total since May 2012 (61,887) and the highest April total since 2009 (132,590). Year to date, employers have announced 201,796 planned job cuts, which marks a 25 percent increase from the 161,639 layoffs tracked in the first four months of 2014. This is the largest four-month total since 2010.

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Did A Tap On The Shoulder “Prevent” The US Economy From Sliding Into Recession?

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Posted on 2nd May 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Tyler Durden's picture

The US Ministry of Truth has been hard at work the last month and nowhere is that more evident than in the blatant “tap on the shoulder” that The National Association of Credit Managers must have got this week… to revise their catastrophic indicators back to ‘stable’…

 

Two weeks ago we highlighted what was a stunningly clear indication of the looming recessionary environment (that The Atlanta Fed is now also seemingly suggesting and is consistent with the worst collapse in macro data since 2008). The largest spike in ‘credit application rejections’ indicated a credit crunch and “serious financial stress manifesting in the data and this does not bode well for the growth of the economy going forward.”

According to the CMI, the Rejections of Credit Applications index just crashed the most ever, surpassing even the credit crunch at the peak of the Lehman crisis.

 

This can be seen on the chart below.

 

 

 

And without any new credit entering the economy, a recession is all but assured.

More details on what may be the most critical and completely underreported indicator for the US economy. The report continues, with such a dire narrative that one wonders how it passed through the US Ministry of Truth’s propaganda meter:

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The Limits of Propaganda

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Posted on 28th April 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Guest Post by Dmitry Orlov

John Breed

As Paul Craig Roberts has recently reported, the US government is in the process of launching an all-out war on truth. Those who express views contrary to the party line out of Washington will be labeled a threat. Eventually they may find themselves carted to one of the concentration camps which Halliberton (Dick Cheney’s old company) has constructed for $385 million. But that may take a while. In the meantime, we can expect lots of other, less dramatic developments. Indeed, some of these are already happening. Here they are, listed in order of severity.

1. Self-censorship. Those who have previously tried to get the truth out no matter what become more reticent and prone to equivocation when reporting on “hot” issues.

2. Topic-avoidance. They start avoiding certain “hot” issues that they feel are most likely to get them into trouble.

3. Response to harassment. A few incidents of mild official harassment cause certain blogs to start watering down their content, or pulling down content in response to harassment.

4. Blacklisting. The officials start censoring content on a case-by-case basis, blocking or shutting down certain internet sites that they consider seditious.

5. Blocking communications. The officials start dealing with the “hard cases” of uncooperative individuals who remain, shutting down their communications by disabling their cell phones, shutting down internet access, and by imposing travel restrictions so that the “hard cases” are forced to remain in places where they can be watched.

6. Detention. Those found to be truly uncooperative, who try to circumvent the restrictions, are rounded up and shipped off to the above-mentioned camps.

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Truth Is Washington’s Enemy

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Posted on 22nd April 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Guest Post by Paul Craig Roberts

US Representative Ed Royce (R, CA) is busy at work destroying the possibility of truth being spoken in the US. On April 15 at a hearing before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs of which Royce is chairman, Royce made use of two minor presstitutes to help him redefine all who take exception to Washington’s lies as “threats” who belong to a deranged pro-Russian propaganda cult. http://www.prisonplanet.com/bloggers-compared-to-isis-during-congressional-hearing.html

Washington’s problem is that whereas Washington controls the print and TV media in the US and its vassal states in Europe, Canada, Australia, Ukraine, and Japan, Washington does not control Internet sites, such as this one, or media, such as RT, of non-vassal states. Consequently, Washington’s lies are subject to challenge, and as people lose confidence in Western print and TV media because of the propaganda content, Washington’s agendas, which depend on lies, are experiencing rougher sledding.

Truth is bubbling up through Washington’s propaganda. Confronted with the possibility of a loss of control over every explanation, Hillary Clinton, Ed Royce, and the rest are suddenly complaining that Washington is “losing the information war.” Huge sums of taxpayers’ hard earned money will now be used to combat the truth with lies.

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TRUTH – THE CURE FOR COGNITIVE DISSONANCE

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Posted on 12th April 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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“In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” George Orwell

Every time the BLS puts out their monthly propaganda report on the wonderful state of the U.S. jobs market and states with a straight face the unemployment rate is a measly 5.5%, their corporate mouthpieces in the mainstream cheerleader media regurgitate the fake numbers and urge you to buy stocks. The millionaire talking heads on CNBC and the corrupt bought off politicians in D.C. make broad sweeping declarations about economic recovery, strong job growth, GDP advancement, record highs in the stock market, and soaring consumer confidence.

The people living in the real world know otherwise, but they want to believe the “experts” and “leaders”. This dichotomy between reality and what they are being told is causing a tremendous amount of mental stress. This cognitive dissonance of attempting to reconcile what they are experiencing in their every day existence and the propaganda being peddled at them on a daily basis from big media, big bankers, corporate titans, and captured politicians pulling the strings and running the show, is causing psychological discomfort. Most people want their lives to get better, so to reduce their cognitive dissonance they choose to believe the government and media reports about economic improvement.

It is only a small minority who want to know the unvarnished truth. They are drawn to alternative media websites, which the the captured corporate media refers to as doom sites. These critical thinking individuals understand the facts. The Deep State propaganda has no impact on these people because they have no cognitive dissonance. They know things are far worse than what is reported by the government and their media whores. Knowing the truth and seeing how the majority remain willfully ignorant results in rising anger among truth seekers. Huxley was right.

“You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you mad.” Aldous Huxley

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