Archive for November, 2015

It’s not really Private when it’s for Profit: Whore Education and Hillary Clinton

24/11/2015

This is just like taking it at Princeton!

Today they announced the Rhodes scholarships. I always peruse these since one of my close friends in undergrad, Peter Bednekoff, was a Rhodes scholar and got his DPhil. I’ll never forget when our Rhodes recruiter faculty member did a very short interview with me….”Oh, you’re married? Not eligible.” I wouldn’t have been selected anyway. The vast majority of those who are come from a handful of elite private universities. And, Tulsa was one of the rare local/regional liberal arts colleges to field someone who made it. Fewer still are Rhodes scholars who came from State universities, and almost none have come from regional state universities like my own humble school (though there is one from Youngstown State this year).

Excellence is what the super rich want to keep the middle classes and even lower upper classes from attaining. They want to make sure that elite education is only available for their own children, and want to make sure that their spawn don’t have to compete with dirty immigrants, the children of schoolteachers, and other people of low station. People forget that there was no semblence of meritocracy until the late 1970s. Before then, you got into Harvard or Princeton or Yale based on your family ties. Sure, you had to graduate from a “prestigious” high school. But you could have damn near failed out like W Bush and they’d still take you. Now, schools have to justify their admissions, and pools of applicants are teaming with honest to fuck smart kids.

No worries. As long as you make sure little rich Buffy and Miff are at least adequate—1200 SAT or whatever that amounts to these days with the new bullshit scoring—the “elite” universities will simply price out the middle and lower-upper class competition! They’ve simply raised tuition to levels where even highly compensated parents will encourage little Hillary to go to Bullshit State instead of Stanford.

A local acquaintance of mine exemplifies this perfectly. Both parents have stable professional jobs giving them over $200k income per year. Their smart kid got into Northwestern or Wash U or Duke. Because of their income, they didn’t get squat for financial aid, and since they’ve been “keeping up with the Joneses” they don’t have much savings—not that you can fault someone for not having a quarter million dollars stashed away for each of your three kids or something……End result, of course, the kid goes to Bullshit State. As long as BSU remains ok, she may do just fine. Maybe even just as fine as if she had gone to Duke….but probably not. And, of course, she’ll never marry some person from a wealthy family who she met in college.

One of the most disturbing things about contemporary politics is the lack of focus on what higher education should be. It isn’t job training. It isn’t just a credential. It should be education. That goes without saying for the elite. They do not have adjuncts (well, there is the “College of Fellows” but those people are top PhD’s from top universities who want to hang in Boston). They are encouraged to learn and to study broadly across a range of academic fields, and none of those fields are going to be eliminated or truncated or only staffed by an adjunct with minimal qualifications. But, downstream, nothing is bad enough. No, the Plebians can have MOOC courses and take all of their exams online with no quality control on content, no professors in charge, no interactions in the classroom, and no discernment as to whether students have even done the work they supposedly turned in. That this model has been an abject failure in the for-profit education sector does not seem to have curbed the enthusiasm of politicians and university administrators.

Hillary Clinton recently opined that she didn’t think that taxpayers should pay for Donald Trump’s daughter to go to college (we aren’t, she doesn’t….). But, yes, we should. Hillary’s self-righteous indignation reveals her elitist orientation–she thinks that real education should just be for the rich, and that they should pay for it privately. If you can’t afford Yale, you shouldn’t go. If you can afford Yale, your kid shouldn’t be at Iowa. But that is bullshit. If Trump’s kid can get into college it should be free, and she should have to compete with everyone else for which university she is allowed to attend. No quotas limiting poor kids or what amount to academic poll taxes–which make middle class and even lower upper class people discourage their children from attending elite universities because they can’t afford the exorbitant tuition.

As someone who has worked in education for nearly 30 years, I’m deeply troubled that the supposedly liberal “front-runner” Hillary Clinton is completely on board with the corporatist model of “education reform” which basically turns our public institutions into for-profit pig farms for asshole sleazebags who suck off the tit of the state. Hillary’s husband has even taken  $16.5 million in the last few years from one of the for-profit parasitic “education” firms he’s hooked up with.  According the Bloomberg:

“In 2014, Bill Clinton made $9 million off of paid speeches and $6.4 million in consulting fees. Of that, $4.3 million came from Laureate (a parasitic education for-profit) and another $2.1 million from GEMS Education, a Dubai-based company that runs preschool and K-12 programs (an even worse parasitic for-profit). He made less from those two gigs in previous years – $5.6 million in 2013 and $4.7 million in 2012. In 2011, the former president was paid $2.5 million by Laureate, $500,000 by GEMS and $100,000 by Teneo Holdings, a firm co-founded by former Clinton aide Doug Band.”

The real reason why Hillary hates public education (which she has never used) is that she truly believes that real education is for the rich, and that the poor folk should have job training and telecourses from a junior college. If you can’t afford Wellesley, then you are not a Wellesley woman. Here, have some MOOC cake….

 

Cho vs ISIS….sounds like a video game….

16/11/2015

Cho would win, of course. I know it seems/is insensitive and politically incorrect, but when we talk about the use of violence in social movements you have to talk about impact. If ISIS really is at WAR with other sovereign nation states, then you really need to grade its performance in battle. Daesh/isis chose to “battle” a soft target. There appear to have been at least a dozen or so “soldiers” involved. This kind of makes it comparable to the attack on Mumbai in 2008, which killed 257—way more than Daesh got, with at least as large of a force hitting a similar soft target.

That ain’t shit. As I’ve noted in the link above, even the Mumbai terrorists suck, and they’re batting nearly double of Daesh in France. ONE graduate student in English at Virginia Tech took out 32 people! While we cannot equate the two situations in any moral or social sense, we sure as fuck can in a tactical sense! If you are a terrorist group trying to make maximal destruction on a soft target, it’s all about body count, baby. So why is Cho so awesome?

Because the various Islamic terrorist groups suck. They are poorly trained and don’t know what they are doing. Not only that, they don’t really want to do what they are trying to do. Even suicide bombers. Did you see that shit? The suicide bomber at the France-Germany game only killed one other person?!!!! Jesus Fuck! Are you kidding me!!!! France v. Germany….gotta be sold out. Any real suicide bomber could have taken out at least 50…just go to the fucking beer line…or the bathroom…Have you ever been to a match? …..Or did you not want to kill a bunch of people…..

Same thing in the concert hall….1500 people in a sold out show, plus no doubt another 500 support, artistic, and service staff. And several gunmen who also had bombs maybe got 100. They had time. I didn’t watch, but the fucking band was playing. A really loud band. And, they had bombs, though obviously their bombs sucked. Cho would have lit the place up, Tim McVeigh would have taken out the entire ensemble—minimum 800 kills for McVeigh.

Acting like the Islamic State is somehow strong because they can kill a hundred people in a huge city is bullshit. They couldn’t take out a small battalion from any real nation state. They didn’t do as well as the Pakistani terrorists in Mumbai in 2008, and their kill-ratio is far below that of a garden variety psycho killer in the United States.

Why? Because most of the “terrorists” didn’t want to do it. They backed off the trigger. They killed themselves in isolated areas when a hundred thousand were gathered nearby. Terrorism is a tough job.

Cho, he was just nuts….

One Big Reason Why I won’t be Voting Clinton in the Primary

16/11/2015
Cornel West in a pickup truck for Bernie

Cornel West in a pickup truck for Bernie

Nothing but terror and turmoil all around the world. Daesh is back to doing terrorism instead of trying to maintain state borders, and US college campuses are reeling from continued ethnic unrest—much of which is being fostered by deanlets and deanlings seeking to further expand the administration. Hillary Clinton figures into both problems, and those are the top two (of many) reasons why I won’t vote for her in the primary. Bernie Sanders will win the presidency handily if he can beat Hillary, so that pragmatic pig doesn’t fly. I’ll start with the foreign policy problem, and whine about Clinton’s corporate education model later.

World peace matters a lot to me, and the US has been a key impediment to peace because of the military industrial complex which controls our economy, media, and foreign policy establishment. Clinton is from the “liberal imperialist” establishment as Stephen Walt calls them–naive liberals who think that we can use American force to shove “democracy” down the throats of people in other nations. Only, we don’t really want democracy. We want them to act like us. So, when we kill their dictators (and their children) and they elect someone we don’t like, we kill that person, too, thinking that if we just keep killing the regimes we don’t like, eventually they will all become upper class New England liberals like Hillary. It doesn’t work, and we’re sitting on over a century of failed foreign policy proving the liberal hawks (and the conservative hawks) wrong.

Jimmy Carter has been the only consistent voice of reason and realism in American foreign policy since the 1970s, and his take on the situation in Syria and with Daesh and Iraq is a must read. Even though nobody read it. They should have had him on every talk show. Salon and the Atlantic and other progressive outlets should have devoted weeks to analyzing what could and should be done. President Obama should have been grilled by the media about why he hasn’t attempted to prosecute the Carter agenda. Instead, nothing. Just more “bomb them back to the stone age” shit.

Buried in Carter’s plan is a cold stiff backhand to Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama—though I think we all know that on this the former was more at fault than the latter. John Kerry has been a much more peaceable Secretary of State, negotiating with Iran instead of threatening them….etc. Before 2011, Syria was doing ok. There was peace. They had some problems, and the drought hurt, a lot, but it was not an unstable place. The US used the “Arab Spring” uprisings to foster regime change throughout the area, and when Bashar al-Assad freaked out and leveled a few Sunni neighborhoods WE unilaterally demanded that he step down. Wow. Really? His family’s been in power without any serious threat to their authority for 45 years. As Carter puts it “Because of many complex reasons, he (al-Assad) was supported by his military forces, most Christians, Jews, Shiite Muslims, Alawites and others who feared a takeover by radical Sunni Muslims. The prospect for his overthrow was remote.”

Carter laments the ignorance and arrogance of the Clinton/Obama non-diplomatic strategy “Despite our (the Carter Center’s) persistent but confidential protests, the early American position was that the first step in resolving the dispute had to be the removal of Mr. Assad from office. Those who knew him saw this as a fruitless demand, but it has been maintained for more than four years.”

It is instructive that even in the face of open US and Saudi military support of Sunni rebel groups (including ISIS/Daesh), al-Assad’s dynasty did not fall. Still, the US, with Hillary in charge, refused to negotiate with Assad. We could have talked him down. We could have tried to understand what was going on in Syria that was freaking him out.

Now, it should be obvious. Al-Assad may be an asshole as Carter put it “His most persistent characteristic was stubbornness; it was almost psychologically impossible for him to change his mind — and certainly not when under pressure.” That’s how Jimmy says, “he’s an asshole.” But, what kicked in his assholery was the realization that a very significant Sunni militia was pouring across his border with heavy equipment from the US and Iraqi Sunni groups. The Islamic State was being birthed in front of his eyes and in his country. That’s gotta freak a guy out. So, we want to rid Syria of a secular Alawite and leave them to ISIS/Daesh because nobody messes with Hillary and Amurika gets to tell you who your dictator will be.  We chose to give material, military, and financial aid to Daesh just so we could tell Syria who could be their dictator.

We did the same thing in Libya. Two years before demanding that the Gaddafi’s exit (so US oil companies could take over…), Hillary was hanging with Gaddafi’s hot son signing cooperation agreements. The real scandal that nobody cares about is that we destablized Libya which led to a bloody civil war and no real resolution.

Like Carter says, we need to work with Russia, Iran, Syria, Turkey, and the Saudi’s to deescalate Sunni militarism and Syrian tyranny. And now, we’ll have to do that in a context of having a radical Salafi regime-in-formation in Eastern Syria and Southwest Iraq. What we don’t need is another absolutist, tone-deaf, militaristic regime in the US promoting endless war.