Archive for August, 2015

US standardized testing is all about redistributing tax dollars to the shareholders and CEOs of publishing giants, such as Pearson and McGraw-Hill. I’ve been saying the obvious for two decades. Now comedy central has caught on to this scam with John Oliver. Quite naturally, the corporate propaganda machine doesn’t want you to know this, so they never use their investigative skills to figure this out.

Oliver, however, takes it a step further. He points out that billions of dollars a year are being thrown to the testing giants, and they have failed in their objectives, and should be given the boot. Since No Child Left Behind turned schools from educational institutions to test prep school, average test scores for students have slightly dipped lower vis-a-vis their international brethren, and the achievement gap between students of European descent and African descent has not been reduced.

In other words, it’s all about the money, because if it was about educating children, then the standardized tests would be given the boot. US students can be made to take up to 113 tests from kindergarten to twelfth grade, not counting make up examinations. Students are forced to take tests until they pass them, so one test might be taken five times during the k-12 education of any child. In other words, Oliver is correct to say students can be made to take up to 113 tests, but that number goes up significantly if children fail tests.

That’s why educational standards are constantly raised time after time. The more tests students fail, the more profitable it is for the testing corporations. The latest attack on children in public education, Common Core testing, is the perfect example of this.

Finland has the highest test scores in the world, and its school children are the least tested.

The testing mania is about government corruption, and money gone wild in politics, and it, like virtually all US government corruption, began with the Reagan tax cuts. That’s when the testing mania began.


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The first duty of any editor of the corporate propaganda corps, sometimes mislabeled a free press, is to manipulate the sentiments of their readers so that those feelings are in harmony with the political and economic goals of the 1 percent, which, coincidentally, are their advertisers, such as Microsoft, Apple Inc, Motorola, Shell Oil, Exxon, and all the other big money players in politics.

One of those sentiments is apathy and perhaps hatred of your fellow 99 percenters. So there’s always news stories about those who are gaming the system, but only of the small folk. The press also wants you to feel sympathy with the people and corporations that are robbing you blind, the rich folks.

That’s why they’re always going to have negative stories about people on SNAP, or unemployment benefits, and virtually nothing but positive things said about the tax money you pay toward the rich, such as corporate subsidies, and defense spending. There are massive profits in these corporate subsidies and defense spending, which push corporate profits higher, share prices higher, and dividends up, up and away.

In other words, the first duty of the press is to divide the 99 percent against each other, while doing their best to make the 99 percent lap dogs of the 1 percent.

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Washington State Teacher's Strike of August 2015

Labornotes.org reports that “Lawmakers in Washington state are scrambling to get ready for a special session after the state’s highest court announced it will start charging a penalty of $100,000 per day while legislators continue illegally underfunding the public schools.

The court’s move comes on the heels of one-day strikes that rolled across the state this spring. Half the members of the Washington Education Association (WEA), in some 65 school districts covering 40,000 teachers, walked out—including on the state’s conservative side, east of the mountains.”

Thousands of teachers across Washington state held the first in a planned series of one-day strikes last Wednesday to demand higher pay, better benefits and a reduction in class sizes, the state’s largest teachers’ union said.

Nearly 3,000 teachers in nine school districts were taking part in the strikes, which forced the cancellation of classes in two districts and a half day at a third, said Washington Education Association spokesman Rich Wood.

Wednesday’s walkout was the first in a staggered series of actions by Washington state teachers, with smaller strikes last Friday and this week. Other districts, including in Tacoma and the 5,000 members of the Seattle chapter of the union, are voting this week on whether to stage their own walkout in the coming days.

At issue are cost-of-living raises and funding for benefits being considered by the state Legislature. Teachers are unhappy about a proposal to raise pay by 3 percent over two years, while the state has not increased teacher healthcare funding in five years, the union said.

– See more at: Underlining Strikers’ Point, Court Fines Washington for Underfunding Schools – LaborNotes.org

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A new study by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), called Manufacturing Job Loss: Trade, Not Productivity, Is the Culprit, shows how the corporate propaganda machine has continued to lie to us. The not so free press continues to tell us that automation has cost the US jobs, and that’s the big reason why US job growth is so historically slow nowadays, and wages/benefits have gone down for the last thirty years.

As I’ve pointed out in the past, those claims are out and out lies, and the reporters and editors making these claims are liars. Check out the following links from this blog: Five Graphs that Will Make Your Blood Boiland JOBS: The Largest US Export Product.

According to the EPI study, “The United States lost 5 million manufacturing jobs between January 2000 and December 2014. There is a widespread misperception that rapid productivity growth is the primary cause of continuing manufacturing job losses over the past 15 years. Instead, as this report shows, job losses can be traced to growing trade deficits in manufacturing products prior to the Great Recession and then the massive output collapse during the Great Recession.

Specifically, between 2000 and 2007, growing trade deficits in manufactured goods led to the loss of 3.6 million manufacturing jobs in that period. Between 2007 and 2009, the massive collapse in overall U.S. output hit manufacturing particularly hard (real manufacturing output fell 10.3 percent between 2007 and 2009). This collapse was followed by the slowest recovery in domestic manufacturing output in more than 60 years. Reasonably strong GDP growth over the past five years has not been sufficient to counter these trends; only about 900,000 of the 2.3 million manufacturing jobs lost during the Great Recession have been recovered. In addition, resurgence of the U.S. trade deficit in manufactured goods since 2009 has hurt the recovery of manufacturing output and employment.

In short, the collapse in demand during the Great Recession and ensuing glacial recovery was responsible for most or all of the 1.4 million net manufacturing jobs lost between 2007 and 2014. Between 2007 and 2014, productivity growth slowed noticeably, and manufacturing output experienced no net, real growth.”

There are a few things the EPI study doesn’t mention.

  1. The report didn’t mention that US corporations are the biggest, and perhaps only, cause of the US trade deficit. When a US company ships jobs overseas, to say China, and then exports the products created overseas to the US, that adds to the trade deficit. Think of Apple Inc., Microsoft, Dell Computers, Nike, and thousands of other US corporations that produce their products in China, Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Mexico, etc…, and then export them into the US. When was the last time you purchased a Chinese smart phone. Along with US businesses, their chinese contractors and subcontractors manufacture them for US corporations.
  2. The EPI report also didn’t mention that international income redistribution scams, politely called international trade agreements, are also the primary, though not the only, conduit through which income is redistributed from the 99 to the 1 percent in the USA. When a job is created by a US company abroad, or exported from the US, the difference between the old wages and the new lower wages goes straight into the pockets of the super wealthy via higher corporate profits, roaring dividends and surging share prices.
  3. Largely because of trade agreements, the 1 percent steal 37 percent of all income created in the USA, compared to 8 percent in 1980.
  4. Notice in the graph above that this redistribution of income since 1980 has coincided with the loss of US manufacturing jobs. Duh!
  5. Those jobs supported millions of other jobs as well, such as local restaurant workers, accountants, auto salesmen, not to mention they provided the tax dollars for schools, infrastructure, police, fire, and social security nets. Those jobs don’t pay the taxes they used to because they’re not in the US anymore.
  6. The demand for goods and services by the 99 percent has been curtailed due to the exportation of jobs, so manufacturing employment, as well as employment throughout the US, is the worst since the Great Depression.
  7. The trade deficit hurts social security because when the rich are literally the only beneficiaries of trade scams and they don’t pay into the social security trust fund after the first $118,000 of yearly income. Meanwhile, the people who lost their jobs and whose incomes have been redistributed to the 1 percent are no longer paying into the system.
  8. Wages have dropped, in large part, because so many jobs have been exported overseas. According to the Federal Reserve, nearly 28 million jobs were exported from the US from 1990 to 2010.
  9. International income redistribution scams pave the legal way for jobs to be exported from the US to lesser paying nations, but they also pave the legal route for US corporations to create jobs overseas that they would otherwise have been created in the USA, meaning the job losses created by trade are understated by a hefty margin. When a job is exported to China by a US business, and the product of that job is sold in China, or exported to nations other than the USA, then it’s not statistically visible that this exported job has added to the trade deficit, even though US exports are lower than if the job still remained in the US. Under such circumstances, US exports are lower, which raises the trade deficit, increases income and wealth inequality, decimates our tax bases, and weakens social security, but it pushes the stock markets higher.
  10. The Chinese government requires US companies to partner with Chinese companies, and share technology to boot, in order to sell products in China. Boeing has exported thousands of jobs to China because of this partnership clause that otherwise would have been in the USA.

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Nabisco Corporation is the maker of Oreo cookies. Nabisco’s CEO has decided the best way to increase corporate profits is to lower wages. So she has authorized the shipping of 600 jobs in Chicago to lower wage Mexico. The difference between the old higher US wages, and the new lower Mexican wages, will go straight into the pockets of mostly rich shareholders and, of course, Rosenfeld’s wallet, as well. This will be achieved via rising Nabisco profits, surging share prices, and soaring dividends. The losers of those jobs will be lucky to get unemployment insurance for a while, until they get a new, lower paying job, if they’re lucky.

This scenario has been replayed over and over again, ever since NAFTA was enacted. NAFTA has redistributed trillions of dollars from the 99 to the 1 percent over and over again. The 1 percent used to steal only 8 percent of all income created in the United States. Now they’re robbing the rest of us blind, and this Oreo cookie (loaded with GMOs by the way) debacle is just one minor example of how income redistribution scams like NAFTA have played out.

President Obama and his henchmen, such as Wall Street Senator’s Mitch McConnell, Ron Wyden and Orrin Hatch, is pressing to resume negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the largest income redistribution scam of all time. It’s falsely being labeled as a free trade agreement.

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Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders took questions from the press after speaking to 2,000 people in Dubuque, Iowa. The object of the corporate press is to keep the eyes of the 99 percent off the issues. One blogger asked Senator Sanders if he thought his rumpled hair got as much press time as Hillary Clinton’s hair. Sander’s eloquently explained to the reporter that he was running for president on serious issues, and that the question of hair wasn’t something worth answering. He went on to explain what his campaign was about, and in the video, Bernie explains the issues of the day, which few of the candidates for US president this year want to discuss. While Bernie wants to discuss growing income inequality, Hillary and others want to discuss hair and the dangers of ISIS slipping something into your chips and beer during college football season. It’s a great video and worth a look.

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Trickle down economics was the lie that said if you made the richer more wealthier, everybody would get richer, and all boats would rise with the rising tide. The American public bought it under a massive media propaganda blitz, and Reaganomics was born.

Trickle down economics, in reality, was an income redistribution scam designed to redistribute income from the 99 to the 1 percent, and, as you can tell from the graph above, it has worked really well.

It all began with President Ronald Reagan and his tax cuts for the rich. Thus ended the most prosperous period for the middle and lower classes in US history as trickle down economics sucked more and more of their income, like a vacuum cleaner, right up into the pockets of the affluent.

The affluent used their new found purchasing power via the tax cuts to corrupt government to the maximum. They bought legislation to redistribute income into their already fat wallets. In short, that’s how we got to where we are today.

  1. The worst economic expansion in terms of job growth in US history.
  2. The worst economic expansion in terms of wage growth in US history.
  3. The best economic expansion for the rich in US history, where 95 percent of all wage growth has gone to the 1 percent since 2009.
  4. Rising poverty.
  5. Rising permanent unemployment
  6. The top 1 percent steal 37 percent of all income produced in the United States, compared to 8 percent in 1980, when Jimmy Carter was president.

There are some interesting things we can now see that have remained clouded to our eyes due to the media propaganda.

It makes one understand that Jimmy Carter was the last great US president. Everybody else has been a puppet of Wall Street. Under Carter, wages rose, and more jobs were created per year on average than under any other president since. He also staged a diplomatic coup when he engineered the Camp David Accords. Makes you wish for the good old days doesn’t it?

Sure, Carter had a few failings. There was relatively high inflation. You know, something like 6-8 percent per year. Carter appointed Paul Volcker to head the Federal Reserve. Volcker jacked up interest rates until the Fed crushed inflation. So Carter should be given credit for eliminating the 1970s inflation during the early 1980s, when he was already out of office. But guess what?

The federal government has changed the way it measures inflation 20 times since Reagan took office, so that unofficial inflation today is running at 6-8 percent. The government no longer counts energy and food prices, like it did back then. That’s why a can of tuna has increased in price from 3 for a dollar to 1 for a dollar over the last five years, and it isn’t among the items the government uses to determine the official inflation rate.

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Scotland’s Minister for the environment, food and Rural Affairs Richard Lochhead “said in a statement on Sunday that Scotland is taking advantage of new European Union rules that allow its member countries to opt out of growing EU-authorized GM crops, including GM-maize (corn) and six other GM crops that are awaiting authorization.”

“Scotland is known around the world for our beautiful natural environment—and banning growing genetically modified crops will protect and further enhance our clean, green status,” Lochhead said. “There is no evidence of significant demand for GM products by Scottish consumers and I am concerned that allowing GM crops to be grown in Scotland would damage our clean and green brand, thereby gambling with the future of our £14 billion food and drink sector.”

Scotland Bans the Planting of GMO Crops–Ecowatch.com

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According to Reuters, “In the weeks leading up to a critical annual U.S. report on human trafficking that publicly shames the world’s worst offenders, human rights experts at the State Department concluded that trafficking conditions hadn’t improved in Malaysia and Cuba. And in China, they found, things had grown worse.

The State Department’s senior political staff saw it differently — and they prevailed.

A Reuters examination, based on interviews with more than a dozen sources in Washington and foreign capitals, shows that the government office set up to independently grade global efforts to fight human trafficking was repeatedly overruled by senior American diplomats and pressured into inflating assessments of 14 strategically important countries in this year’s Trafficking in Persons report.”

In other words, President Obama instructed American officials to overrule the state department. Why would he do this? Two reasons 1. Fast Track Authority, and 2. The Trans Pacific Partnership. Malaysia is one of the nations that is involved in negotiating the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), which is a massive income redistribution scam diverting money and wealth from the 99 to the 1 percent.

The negotiations for the TPP broke down a few weeks, which was a good thing for people in the negotiating nations. However, the impasse could be overcome, so we’re not out of the economic hot water yet. The TPP would’ve shipped millions of US jobs to low wage nations, such as Malaysia and Vietnam. American workers would have been forced to compete against slave labor in Malaysia, and nearly slave labor in Vietnam, if the TPP had been passed by congress.

The only way the TPP could pass through the US congress would be by granting Fast Track Authority to the president. Clever Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden placed some restrictions on the Fast Track bill that passed through both chambers of the US congress. One of the stipulations of Fast Track was that no nation could be a Tier 3 slavery nation. So President Obama figured out a way to get around this stipulation, which Wyden being an astute puppet of the rich most likely anticipated: Push the state department to upgrade Malaysia’s slave trafficking status. So that status became second tier, which meant that fast track authority applied to the TPP.

How important is civil rights to President Obama at home if he is encouraging slavery abroad on behalf of the owners of US corporations, which is effectively the 0.01 percent? That answer is squat.

For more on this scandal, click on the following link.

Reuters Investigation: Special Report: State Department watered down human trafficking report

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10982694_10153063567881765_6243820495717904854_nphoto by Shawn Sorensen

Bernie Sanders brought his campaign for the US presidency to Portland Oregon and began his speech by saying that his campaign has been about bringing people together. “This is by far the largest crowd, 20,000 people.” Bernie was slightly off the mark, but I’ll get to that in a bit.

He went on to say, “There is no president who will fight harder to end institutional racism in this country and to reform our criminal justice system. In this nation we have the distinction of having more people incarcerated than any other nation in the world.”

Then Bernie went into economic policies calling the current state of the economy the worst since the Great Depression. “We say that this nation belongs to all of us, not just a hand full of billionaires.” He vowed to change the economic system that only benefits the billionaire.

Bernie also called the current state of wealth and income inequality in the USA “the moral issue of our time.” The senator failed to mention that such inequality is also bad economics. Sanders called for a $15 an hour minimum wage, which is way past due since the minimum wage would be well over $18 an hour if it had kept up with productivity growth since 1969.

Bernie didn’t draw 20,000 people, as he claimed at the beginning of his speech. He drew 28,000, 8000 of whom couldn’t jam into the already overflowing MODA Center.

This shows that Americans are beginning to listen, and the grassroots organizing is growing by leaps and bounds, and that the billionaires can be beat.

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