Why Sneering at Public Servants Comes clip_image002So Naturally to Many of America’s Richest Citizens    In any society where wealth and income concentrate overwhelmingly at the top, the affluent will almost always come to sneer at public services and the individuals who provide them.


September 18, 2012

Last year state lawmakers in Illinois did their best to make a Chicago teacher strike impossible. They passed a new law that required at least 75 percent of the city’s teachers to okay any walkout in advance.


How did Chicago teachers respond? In advance balloting early this June, 92 percent of the city’s teachers voted, and 98 percent of those teachers voted to strike if contract negotiations broke down.


This near-total teacher support for the walkout that began last week shows just how intensely frustrated the city’s teachers have become. They’ve been teaching for years in schools woefully ill-equipped to serve the city’s students.


The vast majority of these students,87 percent, rate as “low income.” Many have no books in their homes and no quiet place to study. Some — over 15,000 — have no homes at all.


Chicago political officials haven’t done nearly enough to help teachers help these students learn. Over 160 Chicago schoolshave no library. To help homeless and other children in unstable family situations, the 350,000-student Chicago schools have only370 social workers.

Teachers have consistently called for more resources. But school officials from Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel on down have totally bought into a “reform” agenda that dismisses concerns about overcrowded classrooms and inadequate student support. Schools don’t need better resources. They need, Chicago’s self-styled reformers argue, better teachers.


This “reform” stance pushes endless standardized testing to identify “low-performing” schools and teachers who can’t seem to raise student test scores. For over a decade now, Chicago officials have been closing down schools they deem as “failing” and replacing them with privately run charter schools.


The Chicago school chief who initially led this charter surge now serves as the U.S. secretary of education, and his test-heavy, charter-leaning approach has become the conventional education reform wisdom within both Republican and Democratic Party elite policy circles — despite a clear absence of evidencethat this conventional wisdom actually works for kids.


“If we really wanted to improve schools,” as analyst Melinda Henneberger quipped last week in the Washington Post, “we’d do what education powerhouse Finland does — fund schools equally, value teachers more, and administer standardized testing almost never.”


So why does the conventional education reform wisdom — “get tough” on teachers and the unions that protect them — have such broad support among America’s political elites?

One reason: The conventional wisdom can be unconventionally profitable for the corporate execs who run the rapidly expanding chains of charter schools. At campaign time, these execs love to show their appreciation.


But support for the teacher-bashing conventional wisdom goes well beyond the ranks of those who stand to profit directly from public education’s privatization. In affluent cocktail party circles, as the New Yorker magazine noted last week, “a certain casual demonization of teachers has become sufficiently culturally prevalent that it passes for uncontroversial.”

The well-heeled today, adds the New Yorker analysis, talk about breaking teacher unions “with the same kind of social enthusiasm” usually reserved for recommending “a new Zumba class.”


This teacher bashing has been spreading for several decades now, ever since the United States first began growing much more unequal in the 1980s. This linkage should surprise no one. These two basic phenomena — a rich growing richer and a rich growing more hostile to public services and the people who provide them — have always gone hand in hand.


Wealthy people, after all, don’t typically use much in the way of public services. They don’t partake of public parks or public education. They belong to private country clubs and send their kids to private schools, and they royally resent having to pay taxes to support public services they don’t use.


These well-to-do need rationalizations for this resentment, and teacher bashing makes for an ideal one. We don’t need to “throw money” at troubled schools, the argument goes. We just have to find and fire all those lousy teachers.


Interestingly, back in the much more equal United States of the 1950s, we did “throw money” at schools — and plenty of it.


In 1958, after the shock of the Soviet Sputnik launch, lawmakers didn’t bash teachers. They appropriated billions, through the National Defense Education Act, to strengthen schools. A half-dozen years later, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act vastly expanded funding for low-income students.


In today’s deeply unequal United States, by contrast, our political elites don’t fund, they bash. That bashing, educationally, makes no sense. “Blaming teachers for the failure of schools,” as the New Yorker’s Rebecca Mead puts it, has to be about as absurd as “blaming doctors for the diseases they are seeking to treat.”


But bashing makes sense to the rich. And in a plutocracy, the rich drive the debate — until the rest of us rise up and change the conversation. In Chicago, teachers have now done just that

wasn’t water boarding

clip_image002… HEY … it wasn’t water boarding so it’s legal just ask “W” & Cheney …

New Evidence Supports Claims Of ‘Pharmacologic Torture’ At Guantánamo

09-18-2012  •, Michael Kelley

Witness testimony that was to be used in court by former Guantánamo detainee David Hicks suggests that prisoners were repeatedly drugged as part of the Bush administration’s "enhanced interrogation," Natalie O’Brien of the Sydney Mo



Here Are The 47% Of The Population Who Don’t Pay Federal Income Tax

Joe Weisenthal | Sep. 17, 2012, 8:33 PM Read more:

clip_image002Mitt Romney’s latest campaign setback is a leaked video that shows him slagging the 47 percent of the population who, he says, will always vote for Barack Obama, because they want everything for free from the government.

The 47 percent number presumably refers to the percent of the population who don’t pay Federal Income Taxes, which of course is just one kind of tax.

From the Tax Policy Center, these three pie charts show who those people are.

But back to the 47 percent. There are two primary ways to pay no (or negative) federal income taxes. The first is to be poor, and the second is to be elderly. In 2011, of the 18.1 percent of American households who paid no federal tax (meaning, no federal income or payroll tax), more than half were elderly, and most of the other half were non-elderly people making below $20,000 a year. The other sliver, roughly one in 20 non-payers, were people who made more than $20,000 in household income.

The reason being poor helps is because, with a combination of tax credits (like the earned income credit and the child credit) and deductions, many people earning under $20,000 a year can zero out their overall rate. The primary reason being elderly helps is that Social Security benefits aren’t taxed as income, so if all (or most) of your income comes from your monthly Social Security check, your taxable income is marginal or non-existent.

So there you have it. The poor and elderly.

clip_image004Meanwhile, Jim Antle at the conservative site The Daily Caller makes another salient point: The elimination of taxes on the very poor has been GOP policy starting with Reagan, and continuing through Bush:

When Ronald Reagan signed into law the Tax Reform Act of 1986, he boasted, “Millions of the working poor will be dropped from the tax rolls altogether, and families will get a long-overdue break with lower rates and an almost doubled personal exemption.”

Both the initial Reagan tax cuts of 1981 and indexing income taxes to inflation in 1985 had a similar effect.

In the 1990s, the Republican-controlled Gingrich Congress passed a $500 per child tax credit that also wiped out the income tax liability of many low- to moderate-income households.

“Fully 93 percent of the tax relief in our bill goes to taxpayers with annual incomes under $100,000, 76 percent goes to taxpayers with incomes under $75,000,” then-House Ways and Means Committe Chairman Bill Archer, a Texas Republican, said at the time. “If ever there was a tax plan for America’s forgotten middle class, this is it.”

Now read How 35,000 Of America’s Wealthiest Households Got Off Tax-Free

Any form of taxation is a redistribution

… Any form of taxation is a ‘redistribution’ of wealth …


Romney changes message to attack Obama’s talk on ‘redistribution’

position backed by many of America’s so-called elite

… Draconian … sinister … YES… but a position backed by many of America’s so-called elite …

clip_image002UC Professor Eyes Permanent Sterilant To Cull US Population

09-19-2012  •, Jurriaan Maessen

During a speech earlier this year given by University of California-Riverside professor Richard Cardullo, the cottonseed derivative Gossypol is being proposed as an adequate sterilant to bring down the birthrate in the United States.

counting on Mitt to serve & to protect you … Gue$$ again

… So you are really counting on Mitt to serve & to protect you … Gue$$ again …

Mitt Romney, Monsanto Man


READ COMPLETE ARTILCE AT … Friday, 14 September 2012 09:06By Wayne Barrett, The Nation | News Analysis….

ROMNEY RYAN 12 Though Mitt Romney has been campaigning for president since 2006, it’s alarming how little is known about critical chapters of his business biography. Nothing spells that out more clearly than his ties to Monsanto—the current target of a mid-September Occupy nationwide action—whose dark history features scandals involving PCBs, Agent Orange, bovine growth hormone, NutraSweet, IUD, genetically modified (GM) seed and herbicides, reaching back to the 1970s and ’80s. That’s when Monsanto was thelargest consulting client of Romney’s employer, Bain & Company, and when Romney helped move Monsanto from chemical colossus to genetic giant, trading one set of environmental controversies for another.

This history matters not just because of the light it sheds on Romney’s self-ballyhooed business experience but because of the litany of Monsanto corporate objectives that clash with planetary concerns. If Romney is elected, this bête noire of environmentalists will have a very old friend in a very high place.

The romance between Romney and Monsanto began back in 1977, when the recently minted Harvard Law and Business School graduate joined Bain, the Boston-based consulting firm launched in 1973, the same year Monsanto became one of its first clients. One of Bain’s founding partners, Ralph Willard, described to the Boston Globe in 2007 how “Romney learned the technical aspects of the chemical business so thoroughly that he sounded as if he had gone to engineering school instead of business school,” and that Monsanto executives soon began “bypassing” him to go directly to Romney.

John W. Hanley, the Monsanto CEO at the time, has said how “impressed” he was with the 30-year-old Mitt. Hanley became so close to Romney that he and Romney’s boss Bill Bain devised the idea of creating Bain Capital as a way of keeping Romney in the fold. Unless Mitt was allowed to run this spin-off venture firm, Hanley and Bain feared, he would leave. Hanley even contributed $1 million to Romney’s first investment pool at Bain Capital. Monsanto’s Hanley is in fact the only business executive outside of the Bain founding family to so shape Romney’s career—jumpstarting the two companies, Bain & Company and Bain Capital, that account for all but two years of Romney’s much-ballyhooed business experience. Bain and Romney whispered in Monsanto’s ear until 1985, when Hanley’s successor Richard Mahoney says he “fired” them and when Romney moved on to Bain Capital.

so it looks good on Harry’s resume

clip_image002… OK … so it looks good on Harry’s resume … but what’s the value to mankind…?    This is PR .,. pure and simple and innocent people die for what …?