Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake blamed "thugs who only want to incite violence and destroy our city" for the riots that are happening; and it may seem like she is right to many. However there is much more to that and the people in the best position to implement policies that would make this much better routinely ignore the most credible research into the causes of violence and implement policies that abandon inner cities.
This is another Machiavellian scapegoating tactic, although it might take a little time for some people to recognize the details, especially if they've been relying on the traditional propaganda tactics that the mainstream media routinely produces.
Bruce Gagnon made a similar argument phrasing it simply, ‘Treat Us Like Dogs and We Will Become Wolves’ and he makes a good point. But there are still a lot more things that have to be addressed. One of the simplest problems that would be easy to recognize, if people actually looked into the segregation of many abandoned inner cities, is that they've abandoned them and no longer provide reasonable educational or economic opportunities for them.
The people who control the economy, the media and the political system have cut an enormous amount of funds to education while simultaneously shipping jobs overseas and herding minorities into segregated areas without reporting adequately on the details to the majority of the public in the news. They have repeatedly reported on Brown v. Education implying that the schools have been desegregated although occasionally they report on what they present as relatively minor problems compared to what we had before; but they rarely ever mention San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez which, as Jonathan Kozol demonstrates in his book "Savage Inequalities" virtually reverses Brown v. Education in practice.
They provide an enormous amount of propaganda for the energy companies that indicate how much good they're doing for our economy and how their new technology is so much safer; but they rarely if ever report on the full amount of damage that is being done by theses companies. To find that people would have to go to alternative media outlets, and then they would find that while the richest are making an enormous amount of profits the neighborhoods in many of the poorest neighborhoods are being destroyed and they're paying the prices for this wealth.
Occasionally they provide small hints about the escalating destruction in abandoned cities to those who pay attention but then they go on to distract the majority with an enormous amount of hype. For example when Cleveland kidnappings took place they briefly reported on the local neighborhood which is an abandoned inner city that has been economically devastated. There have been similar stories about Detroit and other cities around the country. In each cases they only discuss the economic devastation briefly and move on. Chris Hedges does a much better job describing this in "Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt" and there are many more abandoned inner cities where that came from.
The violence that has taken place in many of these abandoned inner cities is largely a result of early childhood education and because the people with the most power often maintain power by holding those accountable at the bottom through force and often using authoritarian methods to control the public that defends violence when it is done by the state but not when it is done by the people in the lower classes. Yet when they use violence to enforce the law they're teaching violence; and the people that the bottom can see that they're not protecting them equally when they give overwhelming preferential treatment to corporations at the expense of the majority of the public as well as minorities who get the worst of it.
It also helps to find people relatively close to the local level in power to take the blame if something goes wrong that are minorities. The mayor is an African American scapegoating other African Americans. But the people that cause the most problems are at the top of the economic well above Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
Other examples also demonstrate how violence starts at the top and works it's way down include when a Mom smacks, drags son from Baltimore violence on national TV. Many people might think that she helped reduce violence by getting her son to stop participating in the riots, and to some degree it is true; but this comes at a cost and it indicates what might have been the methods that she used to raise him which may have taught to respond with violence.
Strict authoritarian child rearing methods often start with corporal punishment as a child and lead to escalating violence later in life. In the most extreme cases, this teaches children to blindly obey orders without question and it often prevents critical thinking from developing as well as if could otherwise. I have gone into this in some of my other posts listed below. Fox Butterfield has also traced examples of this in "All God's Children" where he follows the Bosket Family back to the nineteenth century and shows how abuse was passed from one generation to another and actually started with whites abusing blacks on plantations. This continues today in schools where blacks are much more likely to be the target of corporal punishment to control them in many schools.
This mother and many other parents raise their children the same way they were taught as children; and the media reinforces this with an enormous amount of propaganda and so-called experts that tell people this is appropriate while giving little or no time to researchers that have come up with much better work and advise on child rearing that is much more likely to reduce violence later in life. It wasn't always that way a few decades ago they gave Benjamin Spock and numerous other researchers much more opportunities to get their point across. This is almost certainly a major reason for reductions in violence over the last couple of decades. There are still some good researchers doing this unfortunately they don't get attention from the media anymore and the worst education often targets minorities, and makes appeals to emotion.
Most people will agree that peaceful protest is preferable but when they enforce this with police violence they're sending conflicting messages. The same tactics that she used to drag him away were probably also used earlier in life to control him and this almost certainly made him more prone to use violence to address the situation. If he sees the police using violence to control him and his mother using violence to control him then they're teaching him that violence is appropriate even while telling him it isn't. The fact that he obeyed his mother indicates that she has almost certainly not always suppressed him the way the police did and other things that she has done during child rearing are almost certainly more effective.
Unfortunately the media is making her out to be a hero without making any attempt to inform the public about how this tactic could be counter productive.
There is an enormous amount of academic work and research that indicates what the contributing causes for these riots and how to prevent them; and they stand up to peer review much better than what the press provides; but they're rarely mention it on the traditional media. Instead they repeat many of the same appeals to emotion and people that don't live in these abandoned ghettos of read about them from more reliable sources have no idea what is going on.
France 24 did a little better than the majority of the traditional press in the United States yesterday by providing some coverage of Carl Nighingale who discussed how segregated the United States has become; but the press in the U.S. doesn't discuss this nearly as well. (I couldn't find a text article of this but it might be in one of these videos, which I don't have audio to right now, Baltimore Burns: State of Emergency Declared After Night of Riots (part 1) and Baltimore Burns: State of Emergency Declared After Night of Riots (part 2)) In the United States in order to get better reporting people need to check non-traditional news outlets, perhaps starting with media like Democracy Now, but on any given subject there are other researchers that do much more extensive work.
The vast majority of the news is based largely on the ideologies of the people controlling the press, not the best research. Only six corporations control the vast majority of the press now.
Also this might be one of the few but growing cases where police are held accountable before it is done, at least to some degree, assuming they don't give them a slap on the wrist after the press moves on to other subjects. However there is still little or no discussion about reforming the economic system or changing the training of police so they don't continue training more to behave in the same manner. This would be another example where people are held accountable at relatively low levels without holding those accountable that create polices that inevitably lead to disasters.
The Mayor, Governor and President were quick to condemn the violence by protesters but very slow to act on the violence by police. They claim that people should be allowed to protest peacefully; however that is exactly what many people have been doing for years and the politicians and media do little or nothing to help them get their views across or address their legitimate concerns.
Is it really that surprising that a lot of people are fed up? Just because the media doesn't acknowledge it doesn't mean the people in these abandoned inner cities don't realize that their protests aren't working to get more than a token amount of reform.
Michelle Alexander claims that some people in these abandoned inner cities refer to them as the "occupied territories;" prior to these riots most people would find it hard to believe but the people living in them almost certainly know why they might use this term. We've had martial law or virtual martial law declared in Baltimore Md., Ferguson Mo., and Watertown/Cambridge Mass. This is becoming semi-routine and it is virtually guaranteed to happen more often if economic inequality continues to increase and we continue to escalate the destruction of social programs that prevent problems from escalating and replacing them with police tactics to intimidate and building more prisons.
The evidence of this isn't hard to find in the alternative media; although some of it is mixed in with extreme exaggerations; but it is almost completely absent from the traditional media until it is too obvious to ignore, which is why many people might be taken by surprise. Even people relying on alternative media outlets might be taken by surprise if they don't do a good job sorting out the exaggerations and hype or appeals to emotion that are often there as well.
See Child abuse leading to escalating violence for additional information in past blogs with plenty of good sources that have done research to back this up.
I have also looked into additional Contributing causes to crime and how to prevent them with some of my own research as well as peer reviewed sources to back that up; unfortunately this isn't available in the traditional press although some of it can be found in good libraries.
The following are several books, from qualified researchers and reporters, about the segregation of abandoned cities and the decline of the education system that is leading to collapse which contributed to this article:
Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt By Chris Hedges, Joe Sacco
All God's Children: The Bosket Family and the American Tradition of Violence By Fox Butterfield
Savage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools By Jonathan Kozol
The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America By Jonathan Kozol
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness By Michelle Alexander
Monday, April 27, 2015
Richard Trumka tweeted @HillaryClinton has a long & distinguished career in public service & has been an inspiration for tens of millions of women #Clinton 04/12/2015
When I saw this I was stunned and apparently I wasn't the only one; all the responses seem to be negative about this, except one that seems to be a campaign worker for Hillary.
The political and media establishment is trying to pre-select an atrocious candidate without much input from the public by providing an enormous amount of propaganda to convince the public that she is inevitable along with a few promises that are routinely made and broken; and Richard Trumka is doing his part, betraying the union workers he allegedly represents!
Hillery Clinton is a former board member of Wal-Mart, and close friends with Alice Walton who supported her chances for president for years.
She presented herself as co-president with her husband who pushed NAFTA, school privatization, welfare reform that does little or nothing to address corporate welfare, putting thousands of cops on the street that eventually became part of the escalating use of SWAT raids for no-knock drug searches in the middle of night and much more.
As first lady she said that she would oppose an "awful bill" about predatory lending; but then as Senator after she took campaign contributions from the banks she helped pass the same bill.
There is an enormous effort by the commercial press to nominate her without much of a debate before the public even votes in the primaries.
If the establishment has their way it doesn't seem like there will be much of a primary at all; and this statement only indicates that he is one more establishment figure helping to make sure this is what happens.
In all fairness it appears this is only part of a larger statement he made which isn't quite as extreme, but it is still much softer than a vigorous labor leader could come up with:
It seems to me that he could have done much more to call for alternatives to this candidate and spoke out about how both political parties are heavily controlled by corporations. At times, he has in the past, but like many politicians his rhetoric is often much stronger than his actions. In a previous article Organized labor warns Hillary over Wall Street 08/28/2015 he provided warnings to her not to get to close to Wall Street but clearly that has already happened and like many other politicians she has a history of catering to her campaign contributors.
According to a recent Report: Hillary changed stance on trade deal after donations to Clinton Foundation; (04/09/2015) and this is just one of many examples where she has done so.
This is typical of establishment candidates presented by the two traditional parties and covered by the commercial media. None of them do much if anything to address the legitimate concerns of the public and the press simply refuses to cover candidates for higher office that do. This effectively ensures that only candidates with support from multinational corporations have a chance to be president; or it has so far.
There does appear to one example where politicians don't cater to their campaign contributors though.
When they collect them from labor.
Instead they use the money they collect from labor to support candidates like Clinton and Clinton with Barack Obama in between and provide an enormous amount of propaganda to convince the public that the Democratic party is standing up for working people without actually doing so.
For a long time the Republicans have been trying to convince the public that their union fees shouldn't be used for political reasons unless they agree with them. This was seen as an attempt to deprive labor of their political clout; but that seems to have happened anyway with the help of money they donate to Democratic candidates who do more to support their corporate donors than their labor donors as long as they think they can keep them on board with rhetoric.
The Republicans may have been right for the wrong reasons. They expect labor to stop donating to democrats then do little or nothing to represent themselves. Instead labor should do more to support candidates at the grass roots level where influence from the grass roots also influences the policies they support. This could mean that when donating apportion of their dues to political causes they might decide how it is used or perhaps if they can't afford it they can spend time campaigning instead and this campaigning could be partly under their own control for the causes they support.
Of course if changes are made like either the ones I recommend or the Republicans recommend it should be with the approval of labor; and it shouldn't involve abandoning their effort to influence the political system as the Republicans want.
We need much more support for alternatives including election reform that enables the public to control the election instead of allowing candidates to negotiate with each other and the media to decide who gets heard and what questions are asked or which issues are ignored. Other political parties that do far more to address major issues like the Green Party, progressive or Socialist parties as well as libertarian parties do a much better job covering many issues but they don't get any coverage from the media.
If a sincere labor leaders spoke out more about them or about instant run-off elections or proportionate elections or demanded that they be invited to the debates then it would be tougher for the traditional media to ignore them and if they do the labor leader could take his support to alternative candidates and encourage them to seek alternative news outlets that address the real issues.
Unfortunately Richard Trumka is more interested in supporting the usual rhetoric without action; while the real support from labor comes from the grass roots, not their leadership. He could easily turn the corporations argument around about not using labor money for campaigns without approval from union workers and argue that corporations can't use the money they get from consumers and lobby with it without getting permission from the consumers.
This actually makes more sense than it might seem to for many people. The retail industry is decided up into oligarchies and they're all supporting some of the same lobbying efforts with money that they collect from consumers. For example, Walmart, Koch Industries, Lowes Department Stores, Microsoft, Home Depot and many other corporations are spending large amounts of money to support a corporate control of the education system that often involves increased advertising and charter schools and reduced local control over education. No matter what corporation people buy from they might be supporting school privatization without realizing it.
A portion of the money that large oligarchies collect from consumers is used to lobby against the interests of consumers and workers; and an even larger portion, at least two to ten percent, is used for advertising, which finances the traditional media. Then, even though the majority of the public finances the media, indirectly they have no influence over the coverage the provide, which involves suppressing coverage for grass roots candidates and providing an enormous amount of coverage for candidates supported by corporations.
Can you imagine what would happen if thousands of union supporters across the country asked the stores they shop at to either ask the media, they finance indirectly through advertising, to start covering grass roots candidates; or to allow them to spend a little time campaigning at the store for grass roots candidates, since they're indirectly financing a media and candidates they might not agree with, through a hidden propaganda tax.
It might not make changes right away but it would go along way to i8nforming people of the corruption of the current system.
At the very least if Trumka spoke out more against Hillery's problems he might encourage other candidates to run so we would have a real primary; or he might force them to at least make more promises, which they will inevitably break, in order to avoid a mass exodus from labor to one of the real grass roots parties that actually do try to represent people, not corporations.
A close look indicates that he might not be doing a much better job pretending to represent labor than the Democratic Party.
Thursday, April 23, 2015
Rep. Chaffetz Says Gyrocopter Pilot Doug Hughes Should Have Been Shot Down; however to the best of my knowledge neither he or many members of congress have indicated a serious interest in actually discussing corruption in congress that has been institutionalized and protected by law.
The following options were listed in the letters he attempted to deliver to congress, whether you agree with the way he attempted this or not:
Rep. Jason Chaffetz and the vast majority of the congress and President Obama have clearly indicated that they prefer to take either option one or two while ignoring three; Hillery Clinton seems to have weighed in on option two with her statement about trying to address reform. If she wasn't relying on so many of the typical political advisers and collecting enormous amounts of money for her campaign while the political establishment was trying to lock up her nomination before the campaign even begins I might be more willing to consider the possibility that she meant her promises.
However she is following the same operating procedure that most if not all high profile candidates with overwhelming support from the political establishment use, including Obama. At this time in the campaign she makes promises that inevitably contradict real or implied promises that might have been made to her financial contributors; and "read my lips" once they get elected they virtually always keep the ones for their contributors if they can get away with it.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz said, "He is lucky to be alive because he should have been blown out of the air and very well could have been. He wasn't." there is an enormous amount of discussion about the lack of security that should have stopped him from delivering his message and drawing an enormous amount of attention; or at least that seems to be what the political establishment seems to prefer.
Doug Hughes clearly wasn't a terrorist although a real one using the same tactics could presumably have done an enormous amount of damage. This might indicate that in addition to drawing attention to a major subject that has been ignored by the political establishment for way too long he also did a good job exposing their lack of security.
Politicians typically claim loudly and clearly over and over again that we don't negotiate with terrorists. This seems to sound good but for some reason not everyone is convinced.
However even if some people are convinced that this is a good position, then, for many people at least, this is presumably based on the assumption that as a democracy we do negotiate with people that go about petitioning their government in the appropriate manners allowed by law. If that was the case then I would have to agree that when people use terrorism to accomplish their goals it is outrageous, especially when more rational methods are available to get legitimate complaints heard and addressed, although they would have to be balanced with other peoples concerns.Even though that doesn't appear to be the case peaceful protest is still the way to go.
Over the years there have been an enormous amount of protest from a large number of groups about many issues and when they contradict the interests of corporations that finance campaign they're routinely ignored even when there is an enormous amount of evidence they have legitimate grievances. On top of that in many cases in addition to ignoring the protests they arrest them on trivial charges usually involving things like trespassing which they often do when it is clear that their government isn't responding to them.
When people protest about energy, chemical, and other corporations that are doing an enormous amount of environmental damage that is even causing thousands of deaths They don't arrest the people responsible for the deaths who often donate to campaigns.
They arrest the protesters.
When people protest human rights abuses in sweatshops along with legitimate complaints about shoddy products that come as a result of these abuses and giving the money from sales to advertisers, shippers and lobbyists, instead of investing in quality merchandise, they don't address the corporations profiting off of this corruption, who also donate a portion of their sales to congress as a virtual bribe.
They arrest the protesters.
When we fight wars based on lies and expose mass murder and torture of innocent people often refere3d to as "collateral damage" and their are protests, they don't address the war criminals who often have political connections, donate to campaigns and even profit off these atrocities.
They arrest the protesters.
The traditional media only covers candidates that they approve of and that go along with the political agenda that the multinational corporations want, in return for bribes thinly disguised as campaign contributions.
When the Occupy Wall Street protest broke out and protests were so large around the world they had no choice but to provide them some coverage they finally did cover some of the protests for a little while but they treated them as if they were unruly and often violent when they could find ways to do so. Then when they kept on protesting they eventually stopped covering them before the protests starting tapering off.
These tactics were used to suppress protests and make it seems if they're no longer even newsworthy. To this day there are still constant protests about one issue or another but there is little or no coverage about them in the traditional press. In order to find news about tehm people either ahve to look at local media outlets around the country that only cover the closets ones, assuming they're large enough, without pointing out how many more there are around the country or look at alternative media outlets that are created by other sources, often the protesters themselves, sicne the traditional media is a blatant propaganda machine.
Is it that surprising that someone like Leo P. Thornton might be so frustrated that he would commit suicide in a dramatic fashion, with a sign that says, "tax the rich," and the vast majority would never even hear about it because the media only covered it in a few brief stories that didn't circulate widely like the following:
Amazingly they imply that politics is not relevant to this suicide and dismiss it solely as a matter of mental illness. It may well be partly mental illness; however there is even politics behind that. Why aren't we treating contributing causes of mental illness?
Are they even willing to consider the possibility that when the government and economic system is so corrupt that this might be one of the contributing causes for mental illness?
Are they willing to consider his concerns even if mental illness is involved?
Are they willing to consider the possibility that refusing to address the legitimate concerns of the majority of the public could occasionally incite more incidents, perhaps including others that involve desperate people willing to take out innocent lives with them when they commit suicide?
It doesn't seem so. By refusing to address concerns they already are inciting more terrorism like the Boston Bombings. they acknowledged vengeance as a motive without admitting any culpability or even bother to deny that there is an enormous amount of "collateral damage" that they're retaliating against. Denying this would have been an obvious lie; ignoring it avoid the need to address it.
Compared to this Doug Hughes is the more rational one and did a far better job getting his point across; but that doesn't mean we should continue abandoning people with mental illnesses along with all the other concerns by those that can't afford to donate enormous amounts of money to campaigns.
I'm not sure I would want to use the same tactics that Doug Hughes or Leo Thornton did and if the government really did address legitimate concerns through reasonable methods then I wouldn't agree that their tactics are appropriate; however that isn't the cases, therefore if there is a problem with what Hughes did it is that he didn't go far enough to raise more issues.
Not that I'm advocating violence or terrorism, I'm not. However campaign finance reform isn't enough, we need election reform and media reform that puts control of the election process in the hands of the people and allows them to ask candidates questions control the debates and hear from all candidates not just the ones that the corporations say they should hear from.
We also need instant run-off elections or proportionate representation or something similar to that. However clearly Doug Hughes and many other people around the country want this as well but those that profit off the system can guarantee that this doesn't happen as long as people still don't have access to fair and balanced news, or at least news from a much more diverse group of people, not just the six corporations that control over ninety percent of the press.
I went into this much more in Election Reform and Saving Project Vote Smart and improving it or replacing it where I explained that the people should be able to control the interview process as if it was a regular job interview, like other jobs, where applicants are required to fill out an application like the questionnaire provided by Vote Smart, and answer questions like the ones asked in alternate debates in the pas where truly grass roots candidates participated. And the organizations that control the interview process, like Project vote Smart or organizations like Democracy Now that held expand the debates segments, should also be accountable to the people or we should create better organizations that do the will of the people.
This country won't be a democracy until the government engages it's own citizens and addressees their concerns instead of catering to campaign contributors while providing the public with an enormous amount of propaganda, which is paid for indirectly by the money we spend contributing to the economy.
When we buy stuff from multinational corporations they use a portion of the money we give them to lobby against our interests and corrupt the democratic system without asking us for any input.
For additional formation see the following:
"It Was Worth Risking My Life, My Freedom": Campaign Reform Activist on Flying Gyrocopter to Capitol 04/22/2015
The Democracy Club.org
Rhythms of Washington return after Illinois man’s suicide outside Capitol 04/12/2015
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
The Judge in Atlanta teacher cheating case says he showed mercy when sentencing; he's right if you consider the sentencing of the people at the top of the cheating scandal.
They weren't even tried, nor does it seem as if the court system attempted to make any attempt to hold them accountable or acknowledge the flaws that inevitably led to this cheating scandal.
This is one of many cheating scandals that have been coming up around the country, although it appears as if it might be one of the most extreme ones. There is an old Russian saying "the fish rots from the head down;" which is supposed to mean that when there are people running the system at the top that are rotten the entire system inevitably becomes rotten even if those below are trying their best, at least in the beginning.
Niccolò Machiavelli described tactics that were used to maintain power and keep the "The Prince" above reproach so that his power wouldn't be challenged and people would blindly obey him. One of his most famous was to find scapegoats at low levels when problems came up and someone needed to take the blame, so that the Prince wouldn't be blamed. This usually meant that depending on how big the scandal was the lowest possible people responsible would be blamed so that the public could be convinced that the problem is being addressed even if most if not all the people closest to the Prince weren't held accountable.
Even though this is supposed to be a democratic system that seems to be exactly what is happening here.
The brief explanation about what the problem is in schools is quite simple. Schools in poor areas have never been funded properly and the so-called reforms that have escalated over the past several decades have been designed to hold teachers accountable for all the problems even though they have little or no influence on policies and they're not given adequate resources to educate children in many abandoned inner cities or other poor areas whether they're rural or suburban or urban.
Massive efforts have been made to create a testing system that ignores many of the contributing causes for these schools and doesn't try to fund schools properly. Instead of listening to teachers and the best academic resources in any given subject they have been relying on economists, propagandists and political ideologues. Instead of increasing funds for schools they've been redirecting them towards testing plans that often make profits for politically connected corporations; and the teaching methods encouraged are highly authoritarian, and many of them wouldn't be considered acceptable in wealthier schools; nor would wealthier schools consider many of the other problems in abandoned inner cities acceptable for their children. However for poor people "there are no excuses." (For those who aren't familiar with all the background several sources are listed below describing the background.)
Using another Machiavellian tactic the judge claimed that he would be lenient to those that accepted responsibility and admitted to their activities as indicated in the following article:
He doesn't seem to be acknowledging that even though his town might be among one of the worst that have been caught in cheating scandals, they're not the only ones; and there is a significant amount of evidence to indicate that the testing process was virtually guaranteed to encourage cheating. They essentially tell these teachers in an authoritarian manner that they have to accomplish their job with the resources available or they won't get the funds they need to do their job. One of the defendants told some of the others the following; and the judge didn't seem to consider the possibility that the same authoritarian tactics might have come from even higher up:
They have been offering leniency to those that testified against others and not surprisingly accusations have been made against those that have testified as well. This is also a Machiavellian designed to get the kind of testimony they need without acknowledging some of the inconvenient facts of the case. Even one of the teachers testifying in court allegedly indicated that these students had major learning problems that couldn't be easily solved.
To the best of my knowledge neither the judges or lawyers for prosecution have much if any background in education and they seem to be very selective about who they're willing to listen to.
Jonathan Kozol has reported extensively on how many of the poorest children in abandoned inner cities lack many of the basic necessities in several of his books including Savage Inequalities and The Shame of the Nation as well as other books about the poverty they live with at home, especially homeless children. He's not the only one to research this but he is among the best, if not the best; anyone familiar with his work is almost certainly better informed about the root causes of educational problems than the majority of the public that relies on the traditional media for information. If people understood how many problems poor people face due to lack of resources and their parents often don't get a better education than they do then they would realize how difficult the opportunity for everyone to get ahead is for them.
People who do have access to better resources might be much less likely to understand why some of these children have such a hard time. The people that need educational opportunities from an early age the most, to break the cycle of poverty, get the least. There have been enough people that have broken this cycle to prove that it can be done if there are enough resources; and it is less expensive than dealing with the alternative, which often involves less educated people and more crime among other social problems.
Diane Ravitch is also much better informed than most if not all of the lawyers and judges handling the case; yet they don't seem interested in hearing from her either. Dina e Ravitch was actually a supporter of the testing practices before she realized how bad it was working; so at one time if we were to blame the higher ups she might have been one of them. However she recognized the problems and has done a lot to inform people about them and help efforts to reverse them; although the political establishment is now trying to minimize her influence. She wrote the following about the punishing of these teachers:
Both Diane Ravitch and the sources she cites have far more educational background than the judges, lawyers, economists, and propagandists that are involved in the decision making process, yet they don't want to here from them when they make policies, and inevitably disasters have been happening and they need someone to blame. Washington D.C. is also one of the schools that have been involved in cheating scandals, yet they managed to avoid putting any blame on Michelle Rhee who ran those schools before the scandals; they seem to want people to believe that since she left before the worst of it was exposed she bears no responsibility.
Even without as extensive background as some of these more reliable experts I can recognize how foolish this is. I remember the first day of school one day when the teacher informed us that we were having a test that day, which he was passing out. Before anyone could express shock or object he quickly said not to worry, since we wouldn't be graded on the test. He told us that he had created this test, at the local level so he could do a better job deciding how to educate us and what to focus on during the year.
This kind of test actually made sense; and the teachers in that school would almost certainly have been outraged, and possibly are now, by the current system. The current testing system doesn't allow local control to adjust for many potential problems that might arise and the children with the most trouble are likely to be the poorest. On top of that the wealthiest are much less likely to accept this corporate take over of schools; and they have the political clout to avoid having to do so.
In Authoritarianism I attempted to explain how abuse at an early age can be used to tech children to blindly obey without question at an early age and do so throughout life. That is essentially what is dominating this school reform debate. In several other posts including, Does child abuse and bullying lead to more violence? and Child abuse and bullying link in study long over due, I also attempted to explain how the same child rearing tactics also lead to escalating violence and teaches children to get their way by using coercion, instead of critical thinking. Some of the reforms that the political establishment is trying to advance are likely to roll back many of the improvements that this type of education has brought about over the last few decades, since the so-called Spock generation. Benjamin Spock wasn't the only one involved in the earlier child rearing reforms but he was the best known and this is almost certainly a major reason for the reduction in violence in this country since then; but it is in danger of being reversed.
These reform methods are designed to restore many of the authoritarian methods that we have been warned about and they have led to many past conflicts including increased potential for war.
However these methods aren't being pushed on the children of the rich, only the poor and as in several other cases in the relatively recent past when poor people, especially minorities, try to get a good education for their children they often face retaliation including the following stories about minorities that have been prosecuted for getting an education for their children in better schools by sending them to different towns; many white people did the same thing without fear of prosecution, sometimes successfully, although some of them were transferred back to lower income schools
Class warfare in school: arresting moms for educating kids
Education is being criminalized, especially minorities!!
Throwing School Mom in Jail~
I don't see how there can be any doubt; this is blatant class warfare and it is being initiated by those with the most political power, not the middle or lower classes, as media propaganda often implies, and as Warren Buffet says, "My class is winning."
We need a major wake up call and it may ahve already begun although you won't hear about it in the traditional media.
The following are some additional related articles starting with one of my older blogs about bashing teachers and others from outside sources:
Prison time for some Atlanta school educators in cheating scandal 04/15/2015
Atlanta Judge Imposes Jail Time and Fines on Convicted Educators 04/14/2015
I Signed a Petition to Judge Baxter on Behalf of Atlanta Educators 04/12/2015
APS defendants seek judge’s removal 05/03/2014
"Poverty Is the Problem" With our Public Schools, Not Teachers' Unions 08/26/2011
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
The New England media outlets are in the process of glorifying at least two or three high profile police officers that were shot in the line of duty and two of them were killed. To the best of my knowledge there is no reason to believe that there are any major problems with any of them and I don't dispute that they're probably all reasonably good cops.
However all this attention on the glorification of these police does nothing to educate the public on the most effective ways to reduce crime and make these confrontations much less likely.
Instead of reporting on the most important research that could reduce crime the media routinely creates an enormous amount of hype that clearly seems to dramatize events and encourage hero worship, and even provide profitable opportunities for bushiness's selling memorial items like hats shirts and mugs etc. that often accommodate the hype.
No doubt some people might think it disrespectful to question all the hype and glorification of these police; however I wonder whether it is more disrespectful to go along with the hype and do little or nothing to prevent future confrontations or to try to draw attention to real solutions that have a much better chance of contributing to solutions.
If these memorials were done in moderation and the traditional media did more to inform the public about many of the contributing causes to violence and how to prevent them then I wouldn't have any objections. But that isn't the case and I mean no disrespect to the good police officers, quite the opposite; I believe that by addressing the social problems that precede these problems then murder rates, police shootings both by police and against police can be reduced even further than they already have been.
One of the biggest problems with the hyped up media coverage of shootouts is that they often give people the impression that the most effective way to solve problems is through increased militarization of police and escalating violence instead of addressing the root causes of violence and preventing them before they escalate.
As I indicated previously in The threat to police is greatly exaggerated even though there are a fair number of shootings of police that have been widely reported and hyped in the media it is much less common than it was in the seventies and especially in the twenties when shooting of police was at it's peak during the prohibition era. Murders and violent crime is also down since then.
However thanks to increasing amounts of hype the public often gets the impression that crime is getting worse; and they have little understanding of what causes it or why it is actually going down and how to reduce it even further. In a series of posts starting with Ignored evidence linking corporal punishment, poverty and crime grows and most recently Politicians increase crime; Grass roots efforts reduce crime; Politicians steal the credit I reviewed some of the biggest contributing causes to crime and violence and attempted to back it up with research, including some rough reviews of my own as well as peer reviewed studies from more traditional sources that are more credible but get little coverage in the mainstream media.
One of the biggest contributing causes to violence is almost certainly corporal punishment and child abuse which escalates to more violence later in life; this often includes bullying and hazing and even more willingness to go along with wars based on lies. It also includes research about how poverty, education and gambling among other things might contribute to more violence and how addressing these can reduce crime even more than it has already been reduced.
One of the biggest reasons for less violence and fewer murders of both citizens and police is almost certainly changes in child rearing that leads to less abuse and escalating violence over the past fifty years; however some of the contributing causes may actually be getting worse like income inequality and increased reliance on gambling or attempts to allow corporations to take over education, which is abandoning large segments of society.
Unfortunately the traditional media isn't covering this much at all; instead they come up with an enormous amount of hype like the following article, which may seem good at first glance but has problems when reviewed closer:
One major problem with the practice of glorifying police based on their past military experience, especially when it involves serving in Iraq, is that most of our military activities, if not all of them, are based on lies. Iraq is one of the most obvious cases; by now it is clear that there were no "weapons of mass destruction" there which was the reason for the war. Actually the evidence for that was public even before the war; but the propaganda at that time was being repeated over and over again while the truth was only reported in a much lower profile manner.
Real heroes would have refused to serve in an illegal war at all; however the traditional media continues to portray veterans who blindly obeyed orders as heroes and those who raised legitimate questions as cowards.
Another major problem is that it reinforces beliefs that the way to handle crime is to wait for the last minute and prepare for a shootout in some cases. This is being portrayed as justified since Angelo West presumably started shooting without provocation, and follow up research indicates that he had a violent past and was even involved in another shootout with police.
I have no reason to doubt it however if more time was put into thinking about why there are still some violent people around that pose a real threat then changes can be made to make them less likely. As indicated in previous blogs efforts to reduce child abuse can make it much less likely that someone like West, or the people involved in other police shootings, would become violent and Jonathan Kozol makes it clear in his books Savage Inequalities and The Shame of the Nation among others that many abandoned inner cities are much more likely to create environments where people are more likely to become violent when they have no opportunities and the only "hope" or "change" is part of a campaign slogan or promises that will be broken once a candidate gets into office.
It's easy for people to get outraged and say "That's no excuse!" And they might even be right about it not being an excuse but if people took the time to learn about the situation or if they actually had to live in the situations that Kozol describes then they would know that even if it isn't an excuse for shooting police it is a major contributing causes and if we didn't abandon inner cities it would be much less likely to happen.
If the traditional media did more to explain this then the public might understand that although, in the sort term, preventing violence may involve traditional methods that could result in more shootings, in the long term much more could be done to prevent confrontations from happening in the first place by addressing the root causes of shooting incidents. If better education and less abuse was available when Angelo West was raised as a child then this never would have happened.
By educating the public about this many more children can receive education instead of abuse that turns them violent.
It is much less expensive to educate children and prevent violence than it is to maintain large prison populations and cover the medical and other expenses after the fact. And most reasonable people would agree that the saving of lives is even more important than the saving of money.
Instead of educating the public about more effective ways of reducing crime the media is of course hyping the event to make it look like the police are our glorious protectors and this could be used to counter growing criticism about the police shootings where many unarmed people are being killed. It may make it seem as if we have to choose between letting them kill the police or killing them, which in some cases, thanks to lack of efforts to prevent it from getting to that point it might actually be true.
However as I have tried to indicate in previous blogs, when the government trains people to handle things in a violent way it leads to escalating violence not reduced violence or protection from crime. In Teach a soldier to kill and he just might I reviewed why some soldiers might be more prone to violence and indoctrinated to blindly obey orders; and in Is the militarization of the police leading to escalation of violence including Vegas shooting? I reviewed how police training and increased reliance on SWAT teams might be inciting more violence than they prevent and in A Brief History of Cops Convicted of Murder I indicated that some police were more violent than other citizens and it might be at least partially because of their training.
This doesn't mean that all cops should be considered violent and some of them have indicated that they agree and want to reform the system as much as the victims of police violence. Those officers do more to demonstrate that not all police are violent than the ones who attempt to claim that there is no problem at all and all police shootings are justified.
However the recent shooting in South Carolina by another police officer who was also a military veteran clearly raises additional doubts about how heroic police are and indicates that some of them have been involved in cover ups and that some of the hype about heroic police is based on lies. Not that I think people should conclude that officers like John Moynihan, Stephen Arkell or Michael Maloney are being glorified based on lies. I see no indication to come to that conclusion; but their glorification, when taken to too much of an extreme, still distracts from solutions that are much more effective.
The following raises major doubts about the reliability of some stories from police when things do go wrong:
This story turned out to be false and on top of that another police officer claimed that he attempted to provide medical care which also turned out to be false. This clearly indicates that at least some of the police in this town are willing to mislead the public in order to cover for each other; and there are plenty more stories like that in other police departments around the country.
According to, Officer Michael Thomas Slager of South Carolina: What we know about him 04/09/2015 "He served in the U.S. Coast Guard from 2003 to 2009, according to a job application filed with the North Charleston Police Department." As I indicated in both the previous posts about large numbers of veterans who were later charged with murder and the history of police that have also been implicated in violent activity a major part of the reason why they might be more prone to violence is that early authoritarian up bringing might escalate in their police or military training which often includes hazing and bullying. Other police officers and veterans have also confirmed this; these police do more to preserve their reputation than those that attempt to sweep it under the rug.
The article also says, "Slager was named in a police complaint in 2013 after he allegedly 'tased a man for no reason' before slamming him to the ground and dragging him, according to the North Charleston Police Department." He was cleared in this incident but there is still potential for a law suit. This is quite common among many of the police that do get in trouble; they often do so over and over again but instead of being removed they often go right back to work.
These problems aren't limited to South Carolina, there are plenty of other incidents including another one in Massachusetts where a Worcester police officer is accused of assaulting prisoner 04/09/2015 and another in New York where a NYPD detective suspended after video shows him taking cash during Brooklyn deli raid 04/09/2015
This is a constant public relations effort by the police, that often ahs the help of the media, when the shootings aren't too extreme and caught on camera. If the incident with Slager wasn't on film it might have been portrayed as another example where a police officer acted heroically in a dangerous situation. This would be ironic since they often glorify the military as well and the victim of the shooting was a member of the military.
This is far more common than most people realize. There have been an enormous number of incidents where police have killed veterans, justified or not; and a smaller number of incidents where veterans have killed police. This should raise major doubts about the glory about veterans and police since when ever one of them shoots another it indicates that at least one of them wasn't quite as glorious.
On top of that some of these events seem as concerned about selling tee shirts, sports bags and other things that are almost certainly bringing in profits for many of the people that sponsor these events. This includes Sig Sauer that profits from the sale of guns and has a financial incentive to escalate the arms race instead of finding the most effective way to prevent disasters like this.
Sponsors also include at least two hospitals which also profit off of increased business more than they might be supporting educational events that would make disasters less likely, although most of us would hardly think of a hospital of behaving this way. They almost certainly wouldn't intentionally but when their primary motive is to make a profit subtle motives can impact things in subtle ways; and the bottom line is that there is still very little discussion about the most effective prevention methods by either the media or the sponsors.
As I said previously I mean no disrespect to the police who do a good job, and some of them have indicated that tehy also support reasonable reform that addresses the contributing causes of these problems; however hype about dramtic events ahs a tendency to escalate and appeals to emotion are often used to discourage anyone that questions the hype, even when there are legitimate conflicts of interests.
Glorification of heroes is often used to convince members of the public to follow their leaders without question; and when the heroes are dead then the political establishment and the media can control they hype and thy have an opportunity to manipulate the public for their purposes, often distracting people from their own agenda.
Reasonable respect for those who contribute to the most effective solutions is justified but that should also include teachers, social workers and many other people that do work to minimize or prevent social problems and violence, not just those that are involved in dramatic events that only happen when small things aren't done to prevent problems from escalating.
There is also a long history where civilizations have collapsed partly due to excessive hype that has accompanied worshiping their leaders, warriors, dramatic monuments like the pyramids, etc.; while not taking care of some of the basic needs of society.
Officer Stephen Arkell Memorial Scholarship Fund
Chief Maloney Unity Run
Monday, April 13, 2015
The local ABC affiliate made a few cute and stolen penguins the obsession du jour yesterday repeating this story, Sherborn family hoping for return of stolen yard penguins, over and over again.
They want them back, and they are kind of cute, I guess, so I hope they get them back.
But I'm not convinced this is the most important story that the media could be reporting on.
Our economic system pays advertisers, propagandists and lobbyist, not to mention media pundits big money to deceive the public, or misrepresent priorities, which they call reporting the news. But the people that provide services that do more to improve the lives of the majority like manufacturing jobs or other services have their wages suppressed.
Many of the advertisers that finance the media are involved in epidemic amounts of human rights abuses, including sweatshop labor and environmental destruction that is impacting those with the least amount of power.
By restoring factory direct and avoiding shipping disposable good half way around the world and declining to provide large incentives for those that deceive the public and enormous amount of these problems can be reduced or eliminated.
That isn't happening, of course.
But the media is getting their cut of the enormous amount of profits that many of these multinational corporations are making through advertising or other means; and, coincidence or not, they don't seem to consider that as newsworthy as cute stolen penguins.
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
The traditional commercial media was quick to demonstrate a pro-industry bias in the coverage immediately after the Germanwings crash and their rush to hype the news, which is now routine, combined with their obvious bias had the inevitable result of inciting a large number of conspiracy theories.
However, like most potential conspiracy theories the most important thing might not be the most bizarre assumptions, but the obvious hype that demonstrates their bias, since the evidence for this is stronger and it can be confirmed by reviewing the news coverage of it.
It would be helpful to have records of the news as it is plying out and review them. This is available to those with adequate resources and would be good material for research into how the media covers the news and how their claims change in the immediate aftermath of dramatic events. Unfortunately most of us don't have access to these but I have noticed some of the coverage that happened before they had time to look into it too much; and it raises some major questions.
There should also be questions about whether or not antidepressants had an impact on the alleged suicide. There is an enormous amount of additional evidence to indicate that this could be counter productive. This includes some evidence cited by many researchers including those mentioned on "The Dark Side of a Pill" which explored a possible connection between violence and antidepressants which sometimes does the opposite of what it is supposed to, although they have been slow to warn people about that.
Whether it is a review of the immediate coverage after the crash or research into a possible connection to antidepressants there is much more evidence to indicate problems and some of it will also indicate why conspiracy theories have been so quick to come up and are virtually inevitable.
By hyping the news and blundering it so badly the media has practically invited conspiracy theories; and no more than two days after the crash France 24 News did an interview with someone they presented as an expert who said that he had major doubts about the conclusions that the judge was announcing and said that the only one that looked into it that didn't was the judge who, he said wasn't an expert.
Even before that the other news outlets where hyping it in favor of the airline industry to prevent people from panicking by warning them how unlikely it is statistically to have an accident in an airplane. Deutsche Welle Journal's newscaster emphasized the claim that people have a better chance of winning the lottery than they do of crashing in a plane and even one upped himself by saying people have a better chance of winning twice in one day, which I find quite astounding.
A hundred and fifty people died in that crash and it is one of many high profile crashes in the past couple of years, including two passenger flights in south East Asia, plus a smaller plane that had a very dramatic crash over a freeway that was played across the world over and over again and another passenger jet that was shot down in Ukraine, and more that I can't keep track of.
I can't think of one person who won the lottery twice in one day let alone a hundred and fifty, or enough to match all the other people that died in other flights.
They don't do the same thing when it comes to cops shooting unarmed people, or when it comes to many terrorist attacks that are used to scare the public for emotional reasons. Other media outlets have also been quick to claim that this is highly unlikely although most of them weren't quite so obvious; and they don't try to calm people about terrorism either by saying it is highly unlikely which it is.
It is hard to doubt this is blatant bias in favor of the airline industry.
French President François Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy were quick to arrive on the scene and declare what they called "solidarity" in their efforts to find out what happened. At this time they were telling people that they had no reason to believe that it was terrorism and the airline was making statements about how well their screening process was and that both pilots were highly qualified and unlikely to be involved.
This claim was quickly forgotten when they began to suspect the co-pilot.
The quick response to declare "solidarity" looks a lot like their claims of solidarity after the terrorist shooting of a cartoonists a couple of months ago; and it is similar to other public relations campaigns. It is starting to look like this might be a routine if they think the public will fall for it.
They don't seem inclined to research the potential contributing causes of this anymore than they're inclined to research the potential contributing causes of terrorism.
And when France 24 interviewed one of the so-called experts on TV no more than a day after they concluded that it was the co-pilot that crashed the plane intentionally and not much if any more than two days after the crash it should have raised major doubts about whether they're more concerned about finding the cause of the crash and addressing it or "solidarity" to defend the industry and avoid more than a token amount of accountability for them.
Unfortunately I don't know where to find the exact interview but it might be on their web site at France 24: Germanwings flight 4U9525. The titles don't clearly indicate the interview which I saw when it first aired; but he said that they didn't have enough data to come to conclusions since they still hadn't found the second black box. He claimed that they had no way of knowing if the co-pilot was alone in the cockpit, at that time, or if he had passed out or many other things.
Even if the evidence they found later supported their conclusions then it should still raise some legitimate doubts if they came to those conclusions before they had adequate information. It wouldn't be entirely irrational for some conspiracy theorists to speculate about the possibility that they created evidence to support their conclusions; it certainly wouldn't be the first time authorities did something like that.
This possibility was quickly dropped from the tr5aditional media which is typical once they come to their conclusions and the official version is repeated over and over again as if there is no doubt about it, which is a typical propaganda tactic they use.
Even if the official version is true, which I'm certainly not ruling out then more consideration should be given to the possibility that antidepressants might have something to do with as "The Dark Side of a Pill" seems to imply even though they didn't directly research this particular incident.
This documentary and other research articles, including the following, raises major doubts about whether antidepressants accomplish the goal they've been intended for or, in some cases it might do the opposite:
How Zoloft & Prozac are Linked to Child Suicides & Mass Shootings 04/29/2014
Every mass shooting over last 20 years has one thing in common... and it's not guns 04/2/2013
SSRI Antidepressants: The Gateway Drug to Mass Murder 04/24/2014
SSRI Stories: Antidepressant Nightmares
Pharmaceutical companies spend more on advertising than they do on research; that alone should raise major doubts about their integrity; but some of these studies raise many more questions, although they're rarely if ever addressed in the traditional media, or by the political establishment. Both these institution cater to the Pharmaceutical as well as the airline industry, which provides circumstantial evidence to the possibility that tehy might not want to hold either as accountable as those with much less political power.
There is some speculation that our entire economic system might be partially responsible for many disasters being more likely, and there is enormous amount of evidence to support this assumption. When I was taught about various economic systems decades ago in school they told us that there were three main types fiscal ideologies and three types of democratic control systems which were not necessarily synonymous, although there has always been an enormous amount of propaganda equating Communism with tyranny and Capitalism with democracy.
The three types of control systems were totalitarianism, where a country is controlled by one man, Authoritarianism, where a country is controlled by a relatively small and undemocratic group of people, and democracy where the people supposedly control the government, although I have found that is rarely the case even though many governments claim to be democratic. The three economic ideologies were Capitalism, Communism, and Socialism.
We were taught that we could never have an pure extreme version of any of these fiscal ideology since they wouldn't work and efforts to create them always failed so all the existing systems were actually compromises.
This was true; however since then we have been moving steadily in the wrong direction to create a more extreme version of capitalism than we had since the reforms put in place by FDR.
The media and political establishment haven't even tried to raise serious doubts about this, or at least they haven't done a good job at it; instead they've been providing propaganda that will escalate this process. Even though I don't think we should go to the opposite extreme I think that the so-called Marxists might have some major points including some to indicate a partial explanation how fiscal ideology could make these disasters more common as indicated in the following excerpts.
Martin Swayne doesn't go into possible conspiracy theories in order to review the problems with the airlines; instead he reviews problems that are well documented and legitimate concerns that should be addressed whether or not there is a conspiracy involved. The researchers about antidepressants do this as well, or at least the good researchers.
Both these problems should be addressed to the best of our ability; but the traditional media and political establishment are focusing on putting all the blame on the co-pilot, using this for entertainment purposes disguised as news, and sweeping it under the rug with minimal amounts of reforms to make this leas likely.
As usual the conclusive evidence should be a higher priority since we know that the solutions to this will improve things whether there are one or more conspiracies involved or not; but the way they use all this hype is a virtual invitation to believe in conspiracies, even some really bad ones that could distract from the more rational theories or the proven truth.
Edit: Since this was posted there was at least one other high profile story about Russian plane crash: Was there an explosion? where the media coverage of it is following a similar pattern, which speculates about an enormous number of possibilities before any investigation is done and provides obsessive coverage of it. This is another virtual invitation to conspiracy theorists and does very little to recognize and solve the most important contributing causes to plane crashes. One of the possibilities that was briefly discussed was that the co-pilot said there were problems with with condition of the plane.
This was quickly forgotten when they moved on to the bomb theory, and while they were doing this they provided multiple conflicting versions of it. This is overwhelming evidence for the need for major reform in the media allowing sincere reformers from any given subject to discuss the potential problems and fixing the ones they can be sure of.
Unfortunately until we get that, perhaps with enormous grassroots pressure we'll continue to have enormous amounts of hype which inevitably incites both good and bad conspiracy theories then the same media establishments that provide terrible coverage routinely ridicules all the conspiracy theorists that disagree with them including the good ones.