Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Nineteen Eighty-Four Came a bit Late, but its Brave New World Arrived Just the Same

If, in the 1950’s, you had referred to George Orwell as being naïve, how do you imagine you would have been received? As a complete and utter nut? A communist? Or maybe as just plain paranoid?

Or what if you warned of an incoming Brave New World? Would your claim be greeted with consternation or contentment? With a “this is f’d up” or by a coffee shop subscriber to the Democratic Party claiming: “Oh, a brave new world would be so peaceful and harmonious. Mmm, yes—I’m so liberal,” while sipping on cappuccino and glancing at the New York Times, just for effect.

Well, in this century of change you can rest easy, for you might not scare off your friends so easily by fearing that 1984 seems to have shown up in the last two years of the first decade of the 21st century. In fact, they might indeed share many of your concerns. Whether or not they have the capacity to care is a different discussion.

Some of the most astute western authors of satire over the 20th century have, for many, turned out in today’s climate as just that: naive. This, to be sure, is hardly a result of their own imaginative shortcomings, but more-so the awesome totality by which three dimensional renderings of their dystopic and fantastic settings, arguably on a much grander scale, have been translated into reality.

I’m not writing on the way in which the blue screen life, where, from nine months old, images on television and in the movies transpose loaded symbols and ideas on us, has out done past forms entertainment and media handed us by the consciousness industries. Instead, I am calling George Orwell, Aldus Huxley, and Kurt Vonnegut out for their naiveté! I mean, when do we start up the debate about what “post-Orwellian” looks like?

Yes—Hollywood has captured the imagination and directed the cognitive orientation of a great many people. And in fact, the general attitude of recent Hollywood films has been quite catastrophic and pessimistic. Maybe the violent flux in the markets has taken the studios for a fatal roller coaster ride, on which those who end up holding on the longest might inherit a radical oligopoly or, what’s more, a monopoly in the consciousness industry. At the same time as studio collective output seems certain to fall by one-third, its biggest films feature extraordinarily austere dreamscapes. (1)

The film District 9 centers on an alien race stranded above Johannesburg, South Africa. Eventually, the humans get to talking and they decide (I don’t recall a vote) to board the ship. The aliens inside are a pitiable lot, suffering from sickness and malnourishment. The humans label the aliens Prawns (perhaps an extraterrestrial version of Orwell’s Proles) and forcibly relocate them to the overcrowded and militarized District 9. The area is policed by Multi-Nation United (MNU), a private military industrial corporation.

The man in charge of the re-location operation, der Merwen, is exposed to an alien engineered substance which begins changing him into an alien. He is taken to a hospital where it is revealed that one of his arms has transformed into an alien arm. They take him to a MNU laboratory, where unethical scientific experiments are conducted on Prawns, and force him through torture in order to test fire alien weapons. Through the years of testing, MNU discovers that the alien weaponry is bio-engineered so that only beings with correct DNA are capable of using the weapons. Because der Merwen matches such DNA criteria, the multi-national decides to harvest his body for organs while he is alive as a means of reproducing his DNA structure and developing a method of bio-engineering other humans so as to be able to use the alien weapons.

Before he is dissected, der Merwen escapes. His body, however, has become an important asset to MNU. As a part of the manhunt, the corporate controlled media uses incessantly a portrait of his face, claiming that he has acquired a sexually transmitted disease that they say resulted from intercourse he had with an alien.

Whether or not the alien was consenting is not revealed. It is safe to say, that it would be hard to catch an alien and then have intercourse with it.
Additionally, 3-D films took the box office by storm early in 2010. These films, which seem innocent enough, bring audiences literally into the film’s setting. Instead of peering in on a two-dimensional world, from which there exists a specific disconnect and therefore a comparatively scant blending of reality and fiction, audiences exist within the 3-D film. In the future, expect audiences to go see three dimensional renderings of war and other forms of extreme violence, which will be happening all around them, not just in front of them, thereby normalizing the carnage. Similarly invasive, one marketing device used for the aforementioned District 9 was advertisements on city benches, stating “Bus bench for humans only.” In this day-and-age, media transcends the screen and takes its seat in our daily lives.

Even if Hollywood has outdone the books of the 20th century to portray the world crumbling, nobody has done a better job than that of the policy planners themselves—known as technocrats—above the screws of politics.

To give these classic authors due credit, many of these social engineers admire, or admired, their work. Early last year, for example, the Queen of England gifted Felipe Calderon, President of Mexico, a first edition of George Orwell’s classic, 1984. (2)

The next year, Barack Obama tipped his hat to George Orwell while giving his acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize. President Obama, it turns out, is multilingual, with quite the proficiency in Doublespeak: (3)

The instruments of war do have a role to play in preserving the peace,” that “all responsible nations must embrace the role that militaries with a clear mandate can play to keep the peace,” and that imperialist troops should be honored “not as makers of war, but as wagers of peace.

Remember: down is the new up.

Orwell despised totalitarian governments. In Animal Farm, he attacked collectivism and Stalinism. In 1984, he helped us to imagine the definitive totalitarian bureaucracy stooped in force and force only. Any orthodoxy, he believed, could be taken to an extreme version of itself, and give rise to a despotic world system. He warned us of the future: “If you ever want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face…forever.”

But, it seems, the Queen might have interpreted the work a bit differently than most, and President Obama incorporated the morals into his own life a bit too literally. Maybe Kurt Vonnegut was onto something when he stated: "There is a tragic flaw in our precious Constitution, and I don’t know what can be done to fix it. This is it: Only nut cases want to be president."

The Queen and a coterie of likeminded global elites—President Obama included—have seemed to see the book more as a template from which to borrow than a warning about a historical movement hell-bent on centralization and domination. For them, Orwell’s novel is a blueprint by which to mold the future. Her country has been dubbed the closed-circuit TV camera capital of the world, with more than 5 million cameras recording the everyday lives of the average Brit. (4) Recently, the government announced plans to install 20,000 of these cameras inside private homes so as to make sure kids are doing their homework, getting to bed early and eating their vegetables. The British “nanny state” seems to be growing bitter and crockety in her old age. (5)

From 1984:

“Whether he went on with the diary, or whether he did not go on with it, made no difference. The Thought Police would get him just the same. He had committed—would still have committed, even if he had never set pen to paper—the essential crimes that contained all others in itself. Thoughtcrime, they called it. Thoughtcrime wasnot a thing that could be concealed forever.”

In this age of social networking, private daily diaries have been replaced by online profiles. On Facebook, where people’s daily actions, thoughts and relationships are catalogued—sometimes on a daily basis—the CIA and FBI use ads, tailored to individual users, to recruit. To think they also aren’t using social networking sites for intelligence gathering purposes would—you know, considering the twentieth century—be really stupid.

One big difference between Orwell’s dystopia and the present reality is the abundance of worthy news mediums on the internet. While the corporate-controlled media sees its ratings tank, alternative news programs and websites celebrate a ballooning in their audiences. Steps towards dubbing bloggers as terrorists, however, have many worried that internet freedom is under a sustained attack. (6)

The US already data mines blogs as a means of finding terrorists in order to prevent a terrorists attack. They have developed massive computer systems, capable of collective stupefying amounts of data, to help them in this endeavor. American internet providers have indeed helped foreign countries to jail bloggers for posting undesired content on their blogs. Just a couple of examples: Microsoft shut down the website of a dissident Chinese blogger, and Yahoo provided Beijing the name of a dissident Chinese journalist, who received ten years in jail for his web postings. (7)

In the United Kingdom and European Union, efforts to regulate the internet focus on persons who use the internet to spread propaganda. A rather dubious concept, the word propaganda itself could mean, well, just about anything. You are, after all, being propagandized this very second, aren’t you?

Although brain scanners have yet to be rolled out on a large scale, they do seem to be a natural progression from body scanners, which represent virtual strip searches for everybody who wishes to board a plane. Not to mention a nice shot of radiation, certainly a danger to frequent travelers. By the way, the brain scanners, known as the Malintent system, have been designed and are in their test phase. (8)

In Aldus Huxley’s Brave New World, mass use of the drug soma is used to ensure a “stable” citizenry, who conform readily to societal norms. From Brave New World:

“Stability,” said the Controller, “stability. No civilization without social stability. No social stability without individual stability.”
In 2007, according to Medco’s Health Solutions Inc., 51% of American children and adults were using one or more prescription drugs for a chronic condition, most of which are taken daily. Medication use for chronic problems was seen in all demographics: Almost two-thirds of women 20 and older; One in four children and teenagers; 52% of adult men; three out of four people 65 or older.

Further, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry has apparently uncovered a new sort of disease: Children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder—known by parents and children everywhere as temper tantrum and/or growing up. Symptoms include: (9)

• Frequent temper tantrums
• Excessive arguing with adults
• Often questioning rules
• Active defiance and refusal to comply with adult requests and rules
• Deliberate attempts to annoy or upset people
• Blaming others for his or her mistakes or misbehavior
• Often being touchy or easily annoyed by others
• Frequent anger and resentment
• Mean and hateful talking when upset
• Spiteful attitude and revenge seeking

The academy cites medication as a possible solution for this new and vexing problem.
“Because I told you so,” might actually start working on your children! Now, that’s stability.

In Brave New World, “everyone belongs to everyone else.” Citizens of the brave new world are conditioned to be sexually promiscuous: everyone is expendable. Although, in the real world, many young people celebrate the joys of sexual liberation, Huxley outlined the way in which sexual promiscuity cheapens love. Sex appeal in advertising, a ubiquitous marketing tool, promotes a non-romantic and promiscuous sort of love: screw like rabbits, don’t settle down with a partner for life. Also, don’t have children, because babies are carbon monsters and the world is over-populated.


Well, maybe not—just get an abortion. That will take care of the so-called “carbon problem.” Take that, carbon based life!

In 2008, More magazine polled 2,000 young women about their sex lives. The magazine found that one in four young, British women has slept with more than 10 people, whereas only one in five men have matched that “impressive” tally. Half of those questioned revealed that they had been unfaithful. (10)

The editor of More, Lisa Smosarski, said: “Our results show that after decades of lying back and thinking of England, today’s twenty-something women are taking control of their sex lives and getting what they want in bed.”

The majority of young women are losing their virginity at 16. Seven out of 10 said they had had a one-night stand, and 60 percent said they would “kiss-and-tell” or sell their account of a one-night stand with a famous person for 20,000 pounds. You see, people are expendable.

According to the study, young women are taking large risks with their health. 38 percent do not use a condom with a new partner and 16 percent have contracted a sexually transmitted disease.

But, are these young women really “getting what they want in bed,” as Ms. Smosarski claimed. The respondents said they are not having as much sex as they would like, with 13 percent claiming their love life is “disappointing.”

Cheap jokes about male ineptitudes in the sack aside, it seems that “sexually liberated” attitudes might not be fulfilling people as some persons would like to think they might. If sex with multiple partners—on average three times a week, says the survey—is not fulfilling these young women, then why do they prefer to do it five times a week? Is sex being used as a means to escape? Is screwing serving as much as a distraction as Must See Television? Plus, once you get bored, you can always just change the channel for some new and instant gratification.

From Kurt Vonnegut’s Player Piano,

Here it was again, the most ancient of roadforks, one that Paul had glimpsed before, in Kroner's study, months ago. The choice of one course or the other had nothing to do with machines, hierarchies, economics, love, age. It was a purely internal matter. Every child older than six knew the fork, and knew what the good guys did here, and what the bad guys did here. The fork was a familiar one in folk tales the world over, and the good guys and the bad guys, whether in chaps, breechclouts, serapes, leopardskins, or banker's gray pinstripes, all separated here.
Bad guys turned informer. Good guys didn't — no matter when, no matter what.

While there are valuable truths to arguments both for and against the “them vs. us” view of the world, those days do come in history when we have to choose between a well-defined right and wrong.

Today in the United States, more than 23,000 persons from private industry work also with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. This rapidly growing group, InfraGard, receive secret warnings regarding terrorists threats before the public, and sometimes even before elected officials. All they have to do is provide information to the government. InfraGard members also have permission to “shoot to kill” in case of martial law. (11)

Maybe it is a good idea to hold off on those cubicle decorations you were saving up for, and get it bullet-proofed first.

1. Pilkington, Ed. “Hollywood film output likely to fall by a third.” Guardian UK, 18 October 2009.

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2. “Mexico’s president given George Orwell’s 1984 by the Queen.” Telegraph UK, 20 March 2009.

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3. Obama Nobel Prize Speech

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4. O’Neill Brendan. “Watching you watching me.” NewStatesman, 02 October 2006.

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5. “Britain: CCTV Surveillance into Thousands of British Homes.” Global Research, 31 July 2009.

Accessed at:

6. Pareene Alex. “Government Declares Bloggers Potential Terrorists!” Gawker.

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7. “Bush Tags Bloggers as Terrorists.” Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse via Daily Kos, 12 February 2006.

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8. Elsworth, Catherine. “New arport screening ‘could read minds.’” Telegraph UK, 23 September 2008.

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9. American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder, June 2009.

10. Beckford, Martin. “Young women ‘have more sexual partners’ than men.” Telegraph UK, 08 December 2008

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11. Rothschild, Mathew. Will NorthCom Takeover in Swine Flu Outbreak? The Progressive, 29 April 2009

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Monday, March 8, 2010

LittleSis: Profiling the Powers That Be

At, social networking has taken on a whole new meaning. Instead of developing a network about its users, such as Facebook, Myspace or online dating sites have done, LittleSis, according to their own slogan, profiles the powers-that-be.

By tracking the key relationships of politicians, business leaders, lobbyists, financiers, and their affiliated institutions, LittleSis brings transparency to government and private power centers, while attempting to answer such questions as:

• Who do the wealthiest Americans donate their money to?
• Where did White House officials work before they were appointed?
• Which lobbyists are married to politicians, and who do they lobby for?

LittleSis brings already public information together in one place. The website gathers data from government filings, news articles, and other legitimate sources. Some data sets are updated automatically, but most is filled in by the site’s user community.

Who are the personalities behind the bailouts, government contracts and new policies?

In partnership with Alternet, the site is home to a number of investigations, among the newest being composed of “bubble barons.” Over 250 citizen journalists have teamed up to research information on approximately 67 bubble barons. In under a week, the researchers made more than 500 edits to the LittleSis database from family ties to investments and donations of the Barons.

How does one become a bubble baron? Co-founder Kevin Connor used three main criteria when making this particular list. According to LittleSis:

1. Billions (plural). The bubble barons are all worth $2 billion or more (they are multi-billionaires), according to Forbes’ estimates. These estimates can’t be counted on as 100% accurate, but they are the best source for US wealth rankings. It’s pretty simple: like the robber barons before them, the bubble barons are wealthier than everyone else.
2. Big bubble gains. The bubble barons all saw substantial increases in wealth from the height of the last bubble (the dot com bubble) in 2000 to 2009, according to Forbes data. If an individual made billions during the housing bubble and lost it all by the end, they didn’t make the list. Similarly, tech billionaires whose gains were flat since the dot-com peak did not make the list.
3. FIRE. The bubble barons are all active in the Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate industry – an approximation for the bundle of industries that benefited most from the Wall Street-fueled housing boom.

Over time, will LittleSis evolve to catalogue of the world’s most powerful, all-encompassing of their entire social network—that is, the email, home address, and sensitive details of their friends, and therefore, their friend’s friends in an immense interlinked web? What if, like Facebook, it went on to archive all of their personal preferences regarding everything from books to movies to music, including political views, club associations, previous jobs, educational background, and who they’re dating?

How would these profiles read? Here are a couple possible examples:

Peter Thiel

Status: I think the only way that the world can become unified in some sense is through technology: Technology is driving us towards a single, seamless humanity.” Updated: 2-24-2004

Occupation: founder of Paypal, former columnist for the Wall Street Journal

School: Graduate Stanford University

Author of “The Diversity Myth”

Donated $21,200 to Arnold Schwarzenegger campaign for governor

Political Views: Neocon/Globalist

John Holdren

Status: "Such laws constitutionally could be very broad. Indeed, it has been concluded that compulsory population-control laws, even including laws requiring compulsory abortion, could be sustained under the existing Constitution if the population crisisbecame sufficiently severe to endanger the society." Updated: 1977

Occupation: Science and Technology Advisor to Obama, Ecoscience author, Teresa and John Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy at Harvard University

School: MIT/Stanford

Author of “Ecoscience”

Acquaintances: Bush Science and Technology Advisor John P. Holdren

Political Views: eco-fascism /Globalist

For those of us who are not used to thinking of social networking sites as political tools, the concepts behind LittleSis might be foreign. But, the value of sites like Facebook, Myspace and online dating sites, where users feature themselves on detail rich, personal pages, is clear in scope. Science has taught us about the predictability of individuals.

Although American Online writes that Physicist Albert-Laszlo Barabasi work “shouldn’t be cause for alarm so much as existential distress,” his ability to predict a persons location at any time, based on enough data, 93 percent of the time implies a strange social paradigm in which the movements of homebodies and movers and shakers alike follow patterns. (1)

The data used was from 50,000 anonymous cell phone users to study human mobility; that is, where we are and when.

“The surprise was that we couldn’t find unpredictable people,” Barabasi says. “We are all boring.”

The study, most certainly, could result in beneficial and hazardous results, depending on the policies pursued. For example, the study of mass human mobility could lead to improved urban planning and traffic engineering while also enabling scientists to predict the spread of viruses and disease all the way at the micro level. That Barabasi interprets the study as proving we are all boring, is merely a symptom of his objectivity heavy education in science.

This objectivity, all too often, leads to a cold-science in which the feelings and thoughts of human beings are not taken into consideration; rather, a dedication to social engineering towards managerial efficiency greases the wheels of applied science and technology. Landscapes high on public nature parks are sacrificed for an affluent sort of Stalinism, with individuals concentrated in major regions or agglomerations.

Once Barabási and his group applied data-mining algorithms and advanced mathematicians to a large set of people, provided by an undisclosed European mobile phone carrier, “the people the study tracked [were] effectively like particles in a gas that move and interact.”

The scientists found that most people stay close to home, and that the workweek was as random as the weekends.

With individuals so predictable, then so too must be the macro pageant of history. One must then conclude that, as Mark Twain might put it, the future use of innovation, technology, and invisible services will rhyme with the past. A complex of cameras will chart our transportation, auto and otherwise, not merely to identify where we are, but to confirm oft accurate predictions. Through Facebook, our on-display philosophies allow a personalized and narrow world of advertising content to be built up around us, separating us from those around us—our friends, family and acquaintances.

LittleSis flips that paradigm on its heads; the surest way to incite the prior paradigm’s fall. At LittleSis, the online community rallies around an activist cause: identifying and investigating those who cause them harm.

Although the powers-that-be might not happily divulge their information, as the general public does through Facebook—some of whom update their profile everyday with their most recent personal details—the public criminality of robber baron work does expose them to widespread and, quite possibly, fruitful inquiries. (fruitful: see below)

Although LittleSis is a relatively new site—coming online in January 2009—it is a quickly growing interactive community, with a number of features.

Among a list of associations featured at LittleSis are the United States, all members of congress since 1981, Obama Administration officials, and both Bush Administration officials. Even Goldman Sachs, the multinational banking investment and securities firm, has a couple of lists dedicated solely to it. What can one find out about this financial institution through LittleSis?

Maybe one day, the LittleSis community will introduce a way in which to hang the profiled-powers-that-be for their terrorist crimes; those especially of the last year-and-a-half. Somewhat similar to Facebook’s Farmville, where users woolgather about non-existent storages of wealth they’ve saved online, we can—as so many have suggested doing—march up the steps of the capital, pitchforks in-hand, for the age-old tradition of beheading. Maybe virtual-reality, just as it has helped to quell (or foster) our primal instincts through violent video games, will help to satiate the public’s innate yearning for justice and a good-ole’ hanging.

In the “Orgs with Common People” feature on the website, the Goldman Sachs list illuminates: Former Goldman Sachs associates Robert E Rubin, Marti Thomas, Mark Patterson, Robert K Steel, Henry Deranged Fish-Eyes Paulson Jr., Robert Zoellick, Gary Gensler, Neel Kashkari, and Karthik Ramanathan, at one time, worked for the Treasury Department; Robert E Rubin, James A Johnson, Stephen Friedman, Robert J Hurst, Diana Farrell, Bob Hormats compose Goldman Sachs associates at the Council on Foreign Relations, one of the most powerful policy-dictating think tanks in the world; and Robert Zoellick, Bob Hormats, Reuben Jeffery III, John Whitehead, Pete Coneway worked for the Department of State.

Delving further, some of the most influential Goldman Sachs associates attended some of the most prestigious schools in the country, such as Lord Lloyd “Doing God’s Work” Blankfein—a Harvard Graduate—whose wife balks at waiting in shopping lines and with “people who spend less money than me.” Stanford, Yale, and University of Chicago all educated alumni working for Goldman Sachs. By the way, that’s the start of two more profiles on the country’s elite. (2)

Not to be found at LittleSis, but certainly implicit of the company’s allegiances, is Goldman Sachs’s public contribution to the 2008 Obama campaign of $994,795, making Goldman Obama’s second largest campaign contributor behind the University of California.

The website, moreover, helped to break the story that Goldman Sachs helped the Greek Government understate hugely that country’s deficit, resulting in the austerity measures and the subsequent social dislocations, protests and riots.

Connor posed the question of just what Goldman Sachs was up to in Greece. More specifically, was Goldman Sachs not only helping to understate the country’s deficit, but also speculating against Greek debt? What tipped Connor off were articles in the Greek press of John Paulson operating in Greece, along with a team of 20-30 traders working on the Greek situation. The Financial Times reported that during a visit to Greece, Goldman Sachs worked as the Paulson’s tour guide. Paulson was the hedge fund manager who made massive bets against the sub-prime market, making millions. Basically, Paulson and Goldman conspired in order to devise securities designed to fail.

The New York Times reported that banks, including Goldman Sachs, backed a company which set up an index in September, that helped financial institutions bet on the likelihood of Greek debt default. The company, Market, set up a similar index on sub-prime trades in 2005 and 2006.

If Goldman Sachs, clearly a clouted organization, follows such extreme policies, waging economic warfare on the populations of many countries across the board, then their influence on the domestic security state must be comparable. In fact, that CIA agents are moonlighting in the corporate world might lead us somewhere: the firm, Business Intelligence Advisors, has among its clients, indeed, Goldman Sachs. (3)

On Russia Today’s The Keiser Report, LittleSis co-founder Connor explained how the website helped: (4)

“The fact that there is this revolving door between political institutions and financial institutions like Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, and other powerful corporate institutions… also a sort of ethos in the media where rather than the hardwork of digging through data and trusting critical instincts, there is a certain respect given to powerful people and wealthy people who are supposedly very savvy, as our president recently called them, rather than a critical understanding of how these players operate; how they come to their wealth and power and its really something that we need to focus more attention on…[building] critical narratives rather than ones that worship the wealth of people like John Paulson…these people own our media institutions and our media narratives.”

1. Gregory Mone. Study Makes it Official: People are so Predictable. AOL News, February 18, 2010
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2. Goldman Sachs Wifes Hate to Wait. New York Post, August 5, 2009.

Available at:;jsessionid=EC0A3C77F88E0250951A993C72E46B29

3. Eamon Javers. CIA moonlights in corporate world. Politico, February 2, 2010

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4. Keiser Report, Episode 21.

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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Teachers brought down by RICO amidst a public education system in crisis

Recently, one of the worst performing high schools in Rhode Island fired its entire staff of teachers in a last ditch effort to improve its rankings. The teachers will appeal their dismissals to school authorities, according to the head of the teachers union Thursday. (1)

The board of trustees monitoring the school system in Central Falls, among the poorest communities in the state, voted Tuesday to fire 88 high school teachers, as well as other support staff, by year’s end. Other administrators were fired as well.

Rhode Island has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, and, according to Wikipedia, the average annual income is $22,000.

An e-mailer named Jason, posting on Mish’s Global Economic Analysis, commented about the city: (2)

“It looks like the pictures everyone's seen of Detroit or Flint. There are lots of boarded up windows, abandoned buildings, decrepit factories with broken windows, etc. It's an absolutely depressed community…”
Only 7 percent of 11th graders tested proficient in math in the fall, while 33 percent were proficient in writing, and 55 percent proficient in reading. In 2009, only 48 percent of students graduated in the normal four years.

A state survey found that 96 percent of students at Central Falls are eligible for free or reduce lunch and that 65 percent of the student body is of Hispanic origin. 13 percent is white and 14 percent black. 25 percent of the students take part in English as a Second Language programs. (3)

In the U.S., approximately one-sixth of black students and one-ninth of Latino students attend “apartheid schools,” where at least 99 percent of the student-body is considered minorities. In large cities, black and Latino students are almost 50 percent more likely to attend these schools. Two-thirds of black and Latino students in big cities are students at schools with a population of white students under 10 percent. The South, also, has started down a process of resegregation.

"It's getting to the point of almost absolute segregation in the worst of the segregated cities – within one or two percentage points of what the Old South used to be like," says Gary Orfield, codirector of the Civil Rights Project and one of the study's authors. "The biggest metro areas are the epicenters of segregation. It's getting worse for both blacks and Latinos, and nothing is being done about it." (4)

Are the teachers solely to blame?

The teachers are determined to appeal their dismissals, said Jane Sessums, president of the Central Falls Teachers’ Union. She will meet with union lawyers and other labor representatives in the coming days, thereafter deciding whether to take further legal action.

Sessums hopes negotiations will resume. Her union, however, has failed to file requests to school officials to continue talks.

“We need to get together, we need to talk about this, we need to reach a resolution,” Sessums said. The firings came after Centrals Falls High School was ranked among the six worst in the state. The state ordered the school to make improvements by selecting one out of four reform plans dictated by federal law.

Superintendent Frances Gallo intended for teachers to agree to a package of changes, such as lengthening of the school day, requiring teachers to offer more tutoring, additional training, and eating lunch with students once a week.

Teachers earned at the high school an average of $72-78k. Secondary school teachers in Rhode Island, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, earn upwards of $60,000, higher than the country’s average salary of approximately $50,000.

Gallo made the decision to fire the teaching staff when union officials said they were not getting sufficient pay for overtime. The district offered the teachers extra pay for a summer training program, and for professional development time during the school year, Gallo said. She did not have the funds to raise salaries to compensate for the extended school day or for making teachers eat lunch with students once during the week.

“They absolutely refused to work without pay,” Gallo said. “Eating with students, they considered it a duty, not as I had hoped a relationship-building opportunity.”

Gallo said she does not plan on resuming negotiations over the mass firings; she does, however, hope to rehire some of the dismissed teachers.

The layoffs at Central Falls High School might be the first in a long wave of layoffs nationwide. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan fears imminent layoffs of teachers, as budget deficits begin taking their toll.
“I am very, very concerned about layoffs going into the next school year starting in September. Good superintendents are going to start sending out pink slips in March and April, as they start to plan for their budgets,” said Duncan. (5)

Many analysts anticipate layoffs as plummeting tax revenues lead states and cities to cut costs, despite last year’s economic stimulus package supported by the Obama administration. Duncan said the plan saved at least an Orwellian 320,000 education jobs last year. Orwellian because there is no true economic measurement of how many jobs a program “saved.”

The stimulus created a stabilization fund of $48 billion allocating directly to states, mostly for schools. These funds, however, will likely run dry before year’s end.

Furthermore, Obama warned last week of possible job cuts in state governments when stimulus funds run out.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 8.03 million works in local government education. A drop from the 8.09 million the year before and 8.05 million in January 2008. (6)

In the 2008 “Tough Choices or Tough Times” report, the National Commission on Skills in the Work Place, financed largely by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and championed by a bipartisan assortment of politicians, businesspeople, and urban school superintendents, outlined a series of recommended measures in dealing with the destitute public school system: (7)

(a) replacing public schools with what the report called "contract schools", which would be charter schools writ large;
(b) eliminating nearly all the powers of local school boards - their role would be to write and sign the authorizing agreements for the "contract schools;
(c) eliminating teacher pensions and slashing health benefits; and
(d) forcing all 10th graders to take a high school exit examination based on 12th grade skills, and terminating the education of those who failed (i.e., throwing millions of students out into the streets as they turn 16).

Collectively, these measures pose a threat of deconstructing public control of public education. Through these measures, the power of teacher unions would be weakened, creating a cycle whereby outside interests would increasingly control the public education sector. Education policy would be dictated by a network of entrepreneurial think tanks, corporate entrepreneurs, and lobbyists whose priorities seek to increase their sponsor’s share of markets. Public funding would be cut back for schools and, therefore, students.

This process would spell privatization of education, putting an end to the right of public education, as it is understood. Many powerful forces in the US plan on putting an end to public education. Over the last fifty years, public education has been one of only two public mandates guaranteed by the government, no matter a person’s income. The other is Social Security. Both systems are currently being challenged by a dearth in public funding and privatization schemes.

Unfortunately, the same process is being played out across most of the services governments have provided for free or at little cost, including electricity, national parks, health care and water. The methodology used by those pushing the privatization agenda is uniform across the board: under fund public services, create an uproar and declare a crisis, thereafter revealing a plausible solution, often that privatization can do a better job, deregulate or break public control, divert public money to corporations and then raise the price of the good or service.

Some say it is diseased children who are to blame for poor education results; that there exists a quickly growing percentage of youngsters who threaten the fabric of a sane nation. Science is running out of time to correct these malfunctioning oddballs. The solution is, all too often, in the form of a pill.

“We’ve got a lot of sick children,” according to author Emily Cox, senior director of research with Express Scripts, which administers drug benefit programs for private insurance plans. “What we’ve been seeing in adults, we’re also now seeing in kids.”

Sick by whose standards?

The Official Unemployment Rate stands, so we are told, at a relieving 9.7 percent, while the true number, to be certain—based on prior official definitions of unemployment—is estimated at around 22 percent. Just as this rate is subject to obfuscation, so too is the establishment definition of disease subject to change and manipulation.

The Seattle Times reported, in 2005, of a new process of disease identification, whereby pharmaceutical firms define diseases themselves. Policy makers at the World Health Organization, the U.S. National Institutes of Health and many of America’s most prominent medical societies take money regularly from drug companies, while promoting the industry’s agenda.(7)

Throughout this process, a number of diseases have been completely redefined without strong medical evidence needed to justify the re-branding. Simultaneously, the drug industry expedited the speed with which its viewpoint gets heard by marketing directly to the consumer, and now younger and healthier people consider themselves at risk and in need of medications.

Modifications include the hypertension threshold being lowered by 10 blood-pressure points, and the definition of obesity lowered by 5 pounds, thereby expanding the market for drugs by millions and consumers and billions of dollars.

Sales of prescription drugs skyrocketed, and health-care costs rose dramatically.

In 2007, Medco’s data showed that 51 percent of American children and adults were taking one or more prescription drugs for a chronic condition, up from 50 percent the previous four years and 47 percent in 2001. Doctors said back then that the proportion of Americans on chronic medications can only grow.

According to, “The safety and effectiveness of medication such as methylphenidate (Ritalin) is well-documented, and typically, it is well tolerated by children. It has minimal side effects and is not addictive when taken according to a physician’s instruction.”

Contrarily, the Drug Enforcement Administration files Ritalin as a Schedule II Drug, and a controlled substaince. Other drugs in this category include methadone, methamphetamine and cocaine.

“Schedule II includes only those drugs with the very highest potential for addiction and abuse,” Dr. Breggin at states.

Moreover, according to Kevin Hall, “Per the Journal of the American Medical Association, Ritalin acts like cocaine, only it is a little stronger. Per street snorters of the drug, its withdrawal effects, or speed-crash, is higher.”

Ritalin, then, is of the same class of drug as cocaine, stronger in terms effects on the body, and prescribed for children as young as two and three years old. Also, the U.S. consumes five times more Ritalin than any other place in the world.

With the High School market flooded with Ritalin, demand for the pill has gone up. Ben Granville, of the Keystone Treatment Center, noted that prescription drug abuse is growing among teens, and that prescription drug use is one of the biggest issues affecting teens at their center.

“You might have a kid on Ritalin selling that for 30-40 bucks a pill.” (8)

The dependence on prescription drugs is becoming Huxleyan, as the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry has apparently uncovered a new sort of disease: Children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Known by parents and children everywhere as temper tantrum and growing up and maturing. Symptons include: (9)

• Frequent temper tantrums
• Excessive arguing with adults
• Often questioning rules
• Active defiance and refusal to comply with adult requests and rules
• Deliberate attempts to annoy or upset people
• Blaming others for his or her mistakes or misbehavior
• Often being touchy or easily annoyed by others
• Frequent anger and resentment
• Mean and hateful talking when upset
• Spiteful attitude and revenge seeking

The academy cites medication as a possible solution for this new and vexing problem. “Because I told you so,” might become that much more satisfying an answer to drugged children across the country.

Ok—so maybe it is a nation of diseased children. But, what came first: the chicken or the egg? Is this culture of drugging our young exacerbating developmental torture we all experience in a pressure-ridden, contaminated society or is it itself part of the problem? Many of us have been written off as paranoid “conspiracy theorists”; but who is more paranoid? We who see a problem in three year olds popping pills or those who are so paranoid as to suggest we start drugging children before they even start babbling.

Who is saner: the four-year-old or advocates of the drug-everyone-BigPharma-culture?

When I was about four or five, a nurse, worried about the Oppositional Defiance Disorder I was demonstrating over having a needle poked into my arm, made the hospital custodian come into the room to hold me down; she was confident I was going to bite her as soon as she stuck that needle in my arm. It didn’t matter to me that Mom was going to take me to see Fern Gully afterwards. Although, afterwards it did help; regardless, I was terrified at the thought of the shot. I can tell you, the reader, however, that I wasn’t going to bite her. I can also tell you, I probably would bite her today, were she giving me such a shot without my consent. Especially after the panoply of information released regarding the pseudo-scientific nature of BigPharma regarding vaccines and other forms of medications.

So, while the teachers at the needy high school get brought down by RICO, poor school-aged children are being reintroduced to segregation, the education and infrastructure at their schools are being allowed to deteriorate, and they are being drugged, sometimes into submission, for chronic diseases that may or may not exist.

One way to look at it, I suppose, is that it is—at the very least—relieving that of the possible solutions for the Rhode Island high school’s poor performance, 24-hour surveillance of the students is not among them. We wouldn’t want children sacrificing homework time experimenting with one-eyed Charlie.

1. Ray Henry. Teachers to appeal mass firings at RI high school. Associated Press, 2/26/2010.
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2. e-mail sent to Mish found here:

3. Nannette Richford. RI Teachers Fired at Central Falls High School. Associated Content, 2/25/2010.
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4. Steven Miller and Jack Gerson. Exterminating Public Schools in America. Global Research, 3-10-2008.

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5. Teachers Likely to Receive Pink Slips in March and April. Education Portal, 2-22-2010.

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6. Amanda Paulson. Resegregation of U.S. Schools Depening. Christian Science Monitor, 1/25/2008.

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7. Susan Kelleher and Duff Wilson. Suddenly Sick. Diet Advisor.

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8. The Truth About Ritalin: A Dangerous Drug For ADHD

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9. American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder, June 2009.