Saturday, January 14, 2006

It's 2006... Happier New Year! :-) Like the idea of "No Child Left Behind"? Sounds good... until it's your kid's behind.

For my entire life education has been underfunded.

It was in my schools, on TV shows, in the news, in teacher's salaries (and the understanding that "they don't make a lot of money"), and simply seemed to be a perpetual hand-wringer.


In countries like Ireland where they have free post-secondary education, their economies go berserk and they've got a richer and happier population. Various others have tried this on a state or federal level, and in each case the overall tax-benefits easily outweigh the costs.

Who's screwing education?

As the swamp of disinformation is drained, the evil ideas that poison our communal chicken soup for the soul are being revealed. It's hard to say for sure that all of this is deliberate, but there's so damned much of it with such obvious resulting damage... that it's harder with any objectivity to say it's not.


Here, the latest expose of the paradoxically evil double-speak being used to numb us into submission courtesy of Greg Palast, a badass mofo. Poor kids, between miseducation, vaccines, video games, viagra... (sigh)... the next generation is completely screwed...

No Child's Behind Left: The Test

By Greg Palast
The Observer UK

Tuesday 10 January 2006

New York - Today and tomorrow every 8-year-old in the state of New York will take a test. It's part of George Bush's No Child Left Behind program. The losers will be left behind to repeat the third grade.

Try it yourself. This is from the state's actual practice test. Ready, class?

"The year 1999 was a big one for the Williams sisters. In February, Serena won her first pro singles championship. In March, the sisters met for the first time in a tournament final. Venus won. And at doubles tennis, the Williams girls could not seem to lose that year."

And here's one of the four questions:

"The story says that in 1999, the sisters could not seem to lose at doubles tennis. This probably means when they played

* "A two matches in one day

* "B against each other

* "C with two balls at once

* "D as partners"

OK, class, do you know the answer? (By the way, I didn't cheat: there's nothing else about "doubles" in the text.)

My kids go to a New York City school in which more than half the students live below the poverty line. There is no tennis court.

There are no tennis courts in the elementary schools of Bed-Stuy or East Harlem. But out in the Hamptons, every school has a tennis court. In Forest Hills, Westchester and Long Island's North Shore, the schools have nearly as many tennis courts as the school kids have live-in maids.

Now, you tell me, class, which kids are best prepared to answer the question about "doubles tennis"? The 8-year-olds in Harlem who've never played a set of doubles or the kids whose mommies disappear for two hours every Wednesday with Enrique the tennis pro?

Is this test a measure of "reading comprehension" - or a measure of wealth accumulation?

If you have any doubts about what the test is measuring, look at the next question, based on another part of the text, which reads (and I could not make this up):

"Most young tennis stars learn the game from coaches at private clubs. In this sentence, a club is probably a

* "F baseball bat

* "G tennis racquet

* "H tennis court

* "J country club"

Helpfully, for the kids in our 'hood, it explains that a "country club" is a, "place where people meet." Yes, but which people?

President Bush told us, "By passing the No Child Left Behind Act, we are regularly testing every child and making sure they have better options when schools are not performing."

But there are no "better options." In the delicious double-speak of class war, when the tests have winnowed out the chaff and kids stamped failed, No Child Left results in that child being left behind in the same grade to repeat the failure another year.

I can't say that Mr. Bush doesn't offer better options to the kids stamped failed. Under No Child Left, if enough kids flunk the tests, their school is marked a failure and its students win the right, under the law, to transfer to any successful school in their district. You can't provide more opportunity than that. But they don't provide it, the law promises it, without a single penny to make it happen. In New York in 2004, a third of a million students earned the right to transfer to better schools - in which there were only 8,000 places open.

New York is typical. Nationwide, only one out of two-hundred students eligible to transfer manage to do it. Well, there's always the Army. (That option did not go unnoticed: No Child has a special provision requiring schools to open their doors to military recruiters.)

Hint: When de-coding politicians' babble, to get to the real agenda, don't read their lips, read their budgets. And in his last budget, our President couldn't spare one thin dime for education, not ten cents. Mr. Big Spender provided for a derisory 8.4 cents on the dollar of the cost of primary and secondary schools. Congress appropriated a half penny of the nation's income - just one-half of one-percent of America's twelve trillion dollar GDP - for primary and secondary education.

President Bush actually requested less. While Congress succeeded in prying out an itty-bitty increase in voted funding, that doesn't mean the extra cash actually gets to the students. Fifteen states have sued the federal government on the grounds that the cost of new testing imposed on schools, $3.9 billion, eats up the entire new funding budgeted for No Child Left.

There are no "better options" for failing children, but there are better uses for them. The President ordered testing and more testing to hunt down, identify and target millions of children too expensive, too heavy a burden, to educate.

No Child Left offers no options for those with the test-score Mark of Cain - no opportunities, no hope, no plan, no funding. Rather, it is the new social Darwinism, educational eugenics: identify the nation's loser-class early on. Trap them then train them cheap.

Someone has to care for the privileged. No society can have winners without lots and lots of losers. And so we have No Child Left Behind - to provide the new worker drones that will clean the toilets at the Yale Alumni Club, punch the cash registers color-coded for illiterates, and pamper the winner-class on the higher floors of the new economic order.

Class war dismissed.


Greg Palast is the author of the New York Times bestseller, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. Read his investigative reports at


Tuesday, January 10, 2006

It's 2006... Happier New Year! :-) (DON'T PANIC: The next staged terror attack is coming shortly so they can attack Iran...)

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."
- George Orwell


Well this is just too bad, but unfortunately it's now been finally widely acknowledged across the non-neo-con spectrum of published opinion that the current U.S. federal administration needs terrorist attacks to occur to successfully curry enough public favor to carry out their aggressive domestic and foreign policy initiatives.


It kind of sucks, but hey, them's the breaks.

A friend who's a pro-journalist asked me a few months back what was up, and how I could possibly believe in "conspiracy theories" that suggest tragedies echoing failed leadership throughout history are currently manifesting.


I told him hey - it's no biggie, this is just one of those times.

I mean, they're under the microscope of 5.5+ billion people who hate them (i.e. the rest of the world), and yet, they've got a fairly scared and/or sleepy population base, a "supine or prone" Congress (Sy Hersh), and a mainstream media that would rather allude than expose even at this late date, and who refuse to add up the obvious evidence for us. (We're no good at math.)

Oh yeah - and they've got by far the biggest guns in the sandbox.

So, Iran is next.

And btw, this ain't Prophecy, it's Project for the New American Century.

What I mean to say is, they wrote it all down.

It's just part of the plan.

It's that simple.

So, much like The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy suggests:

This is the initial info from their splash page, and while on its own it may not seem menacing, in case you forgot - there's a WAR going on right now, and a few more being threatened in the GWOT (Global War on Terror) that could conceivably last for several years - especially since they don't seem to care about "Where's Osama?" as much as the kiddies care about "Where's Waldo?"


Anyway, here, you'll get the idea...

"The Project for the New American Century is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to a few fundamental propositions: that American leadership is good both for America and for the world; and that such leadership requires military strength, diplomatic energy and commitment to moral principle.

The Project for the New American Century intends, through issue briefs, research papers, advocacy journalism, conferences, and seminars, to explain what American world leadership entails. It will also strive to rally support for a vigorous and principled policy of American international involvement and to stimulate useful public debate on foreign and defense policy and America's role in the world."

William Kristol, Chairman


And... here's the key position paper playing out now:

There's the full-text linked and a summary available here:

"Rebuilding America's Defenses" – A Summary

Blueprint of the PNAC Plan for U.S. Global Hegemony

Some people have compared it to Hitler's publication of Mein Kampf, which was ignored until after the war was over.



If you don't like reading, there's a 3 minute animated movie on it called "What Barry Says" by Simon Robson here. It's no "Incredibles" by Pixar, but it is really cool in its own right:


Anyway, enough of this for now, just letting you know that when something blows up real-good, please:

Just relax, and have a conversation about it. Talk about how irritating it is to be interrupted by a bunch of bloody vague terrorist threats, and how inconvenient it is to be dragged into endless wars by a handful of neo-con maniacs.

Maybe if we yap loud enough they'll get the message that we're fed up, and right-pissed that we can't just relax and enjoy Eva Longoria when we (sort of have to) watch Desperate Housewives.


Now I'm really mad...


BONUS: "If I had a hammer, I'd hammer in the moo-oorning..."

IF I HAD A HAMMER (The Hammer Song)

Words and music by Lee Hays and Pete Seeger

"If I had a hammer
I'd hammer in the morning
I'd hammer in the evening
All over this land
I'd hammer out danger
I'd hammer out a warning
I'd hammer out love between my brothers and my sisters
All over this land

If I had a bell
I'd ring it in the morning
I'd ring it in the evening
All over this land
I'd ring out danger
I'd ring out a warning
I'd ring out love between my brothers and my sisters
All over this land

If I had a song
I'd sing it in the morning
I'd sing it in the evening
All over this land
I'd sing out danger
I'd sing out a warning
I'd sing out love between my brothers and my sisters
All over this land

Well I've got a hammer
And I've got a bell
And I've got a song to sing
All over this land
It's the hammer of justice
It's the bell of freedom
It's the song about love between my brothers and my sisters
All over this land..."

©1958, 1962 (renewed), 1986 (renewed)
TRO-Ludlow Music, Inc. (BMI)

Why have both the US and the UK have given Iran the materials it needs to go nuclear?

Steve Watson | January 9 2006

We are being constantly bombarded with propaganda over Iran and its intention to build a nuclear arsenal. We are told (contrary to intelligence reports) that they are just months away from doing so. And we have been told that they must be stopped.

What we are not being told is that both the US and the UK have supplied Iran with the materials and the know how in order that they may build the bomb.

With the news at the weekend of Iranian intentions to resume nuclear fuel research, despite international appeals not to do so, why is the EU surprised that Iran is forging ahead?

The history of how Iran's path to nuclear proliferation began is a familiar story.

The 1953 CIA ouster of President Mossadegh, a leader who was conforming to westernized policy but made the mistake of asking to keep a small portion of his country's oil revenue, was achieved by means of staged bombings and shootings which were blamed on the Iranian government in order to antagonize the population and enable the coup.

After installing the Shah, Globalists like Henry Kissinger opened the door for Iran to develop sophisticated nuclear energy programs which laid the foundation for today's crisis. Twenty three reactors were built with the help of American corporations like General Electric and Westinghouse.

In 1976, President Gerald Ford even authorized the Shah to buy and operate a plutonium-extracting and processing facility - a big step toward converting energy processing to weapons making.

After the revolution of 1979 the fundamentalist Ayatollah Khomeni reversed westernized policy but maintained Iran's nuclear interest albeit staggeringly before the end of the war with Iraq. After the war ended Iran was again free to pursue its ends leading us to the impending crisis we face today.

Add to the history the more recent revelations penned by New York Times reporter James risen in a new book that six years ago the CIA simply gave Iran the blueprints to build an effective nuclear bomb.

Risen explains that in what appeared to be a "rogue operation" code named "Merlin", a Russian nuclear engineer in the pay of the CIA, who had defected to the US years earlier, had been given nuclear blueprints and had then been sent to Vienna to sell them - or simply give them - to the Iranian representatives to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

With the Russian doing its bidding, the CIA appeared to be about to help Iran leapfrog one of the last remaining engineering hurdles blocking its path to a nuclear weapon. The dangerous irony was not lost on the Russian - the IAEA was an international organization created to restrict the spread of nuclear technology.

The Russian's assignment from the CIA was to pose as an unemployed and greedy scientist who was willing to sell his soul - and the secrets of the atomic bomb - to the highest bidder. By hook or by crook, the CIA told him, he was to get the nuclear blueprints to the Iranians. They would quickly recognize their value and rush them back to their superiors in Tehran.

Obviously the Russian agent was bemused and more than a little apprehensive about the entire operation so, according to Risen's sources, a senior CIA official downplayed the operation telling the agent that it was just an intelligence-gathering effort, not an illegal attempt to give Iran the bomb. He suggested that the Iranians already had the technology he was going to hand over to them.

In truth, the CIA knew absolutely nothing about Iran's nuclear know how due to an earlier espionage disaster whereby information concerning virtually all CIA operatives inside Iran was leaked to Iran. As a result many were arrested, the rest pulled out and many are still missing. Porter Goss admitted to the Bush administration in a White House briefing last spring that the CIA had no knowledge of how close Iran was to becoming a nuclear power.

The idea behind Merlin was to give the Iranians flawed nuclear blueprints to set back their weapons program and help the CIA monitor more closely the paths they took. However, the Russian agent did not know this and was kept in the dark.

Upon reviewing the blueprints he immediately noticed the flaw and decided to provide the Iranians with a note of his own pointing out the flaw. Of course he thought he was doing the right thing in order to carry out his mission successfully. He thought the flaw was so obvious that they would have spotted it anyway and possibly smelled a rat.

Risen also contends that operation "Merlin' has been considered and possibly approved for use with other states such as North Korea.

Of course it is possible that operation Merlin was a double edged sword and has provided the rogue elements of the CIA, under NeoCon control, with the pretext they need to extend the war in the middle east into Iran.

With the blueprints in hand, the Iranian weapons program was apparently further bolstered by exports of radioactive material from the UK that experts believe could be used by the Islamic Republic as part of a nuclear weapons program.

The London Observer has reported that a truck carrying 1000kg of zirconium silicate from a British firm was stopped by customs officials in Bulgaria at the border with Turkey.

The Observer quoted an expert as saying that zirconium metal can be extracted from the substance, whose trade is usually tightly regulated, and used to prevent fuel rods corroding in nuclear reactors and as part of a nuclear warhead.

But the truck, which had traveled unchecked from Britain through Germany and Romania without being stopped, was allowed to continue its journey to Tehran after a two-month investigation found an export licence was not needed.

We have continually warned that the next target on the NeoCon checklist is Iran.

It seems almost inevitable now that the NeoCons will launch targeted military strikes against Iran's nuclear facilities. Whether Israel goes alone or has US support seems beside the point.

However, former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has hinted that he could consider a pre-emptive air strike against Iran's nuclear installations if he were to be re-elected.

And with Ariel Sharon out of the picture, Benjamin Netanyahu has a better chance to become prime minister of Israel. Netanyahu is renowned for being slick, tough talking and putting his money where his mouth is. With fundamentalist Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad firing back threats to wipe "Israel off the map", it's not hard to see where that confrontation could lead.

Furthermore, we have previously exposed how members of The Project for a New American Century (PNAC) including Dick Cheney, Jeb Bush, Dan Quayle, Donald Rumsfeld, and Paul Wolfowitz among many others called not only for a War against Iraq in 2000, they called for a follow up on Iran. These people are now in control of American foreign policy.

The PNAC outlines a roadmap of conquest. It calls for "the direct imposition of U.S. "forward bases" throughout Central Asia and the Middle East with Iran topping the list.

Regime change is foremost on PNAC minds with regards to Iran and usually what PNAC wants to happen, the government makes happen.

In addition to PNAC's assertions we have been treated to The Pentagon's "New Map", a hellish vision of endless war that will incorporate the "gap", the third world states, into the "core" of already globalized powers.

The war map begins with domination and assimilation of the middle east "rogue states".

Former UN Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter has gone on record several times to suggest war with Iran is next on the agenda, indeed that it has already begun.

"President Bush has taken advantage of the sweeping powers granted to him in the aftermath of 11 September 2001, to wage a global war against terror and to initiate several covert offensive operations inside Iran." Ritter has commented.

The London Guardian recently ran a piece suggesting the plans for a coming war were basically in the bag.

American Conservative magazine reported that Dick Cheney had given the authorization for a military strike on Iran immediately after the next terror attack in the United States.

Former CIA officer Philip Giraldi echoed the same sentiments.

There is a long list of NeoCons in the media pressing the Iran issue. Newt Gingrich was the last to raise his ugly head, calling for regime change in Iran.

However, Recent events and news developments paint a clear picture of an establishment under intense heat and backed into a corner with no perceivable escape route. It is hard to see how an attack on Iran now could possibly be accepted by the world and the American people.

Therefore at no greater time since 9/11 have we faced such an imminent danger of a staged terror attack being carried out to reign in the seeds of dissent and again rally the sleeping masses behind the elite.

The Globalists are like heroin junkies, every time they carry out an attack the gas mileage obtained from it in terms of getting a free pass from the public on anything they wish to push through gets weaker and weaker.

Will there, as George Galloway has warned could happen, be a staged terrorist attack either in Israel or the United States that is blamed on Iran?

Scott Ritter has also hinted that the notion of a staged terror attack is a very real possibility along with former CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

As things stand it looks increasingly likely that the pull out from Iraq is underway. The puppet democracy has been installed and the globalists have pretty much drained the country's resources, destroyed its infrastructure and demoralized its population beyond expectations.

The broadening of the war in the middle east is very very close at hand as the NeoCon machine knows it possibly only has a few years left to get the job done or at least further the agenda to the level it planned to when it was handed back the reigns of power in 2000.

So when they tell you Iran has WMD and must be stopped, you know why the US and the UK supplied the materials and the know how.



BONUS: "Clickety-clank, clickety-clank, the money goes in, to my Piggy-Bank..."

Yahoo! News

Cost of Iraq war could top $2 trillion: study

By Jason Szep Mon Jan 9, 8:05 PM ET

BOSTON (Reuters) - The cost of the Iraq war could top $2 trillion, far above the White House's pre-war projections, when long-term costs such as lifetime health care for thousands of wounded U.S. soldiers are included, a study said on Monday.

Columbia University economist Joseph E. Stiglitz and Harvard lecturer Linda Bilmes included in their study disability payments for the 16,000 wounded U.S. soldiers, about 20 percent of whom suffer serious brain or spinal injuries.

They said U.S. taxpayers will be burdened with costs that linger long after U.S. troops withdraw.

"Even taking a conservative approach, we have been surprised at how large they are," said the study, referring to total war costs. "We can state, with some degree of confidence, that they exceed a trillion dollars."

Before the invasion, then-White House budget director Mitch Daniels predicted Iraq would be "an affordable endeavor" and rejected an estimate by then-White House economic adviser Lawrence Lindsey of total Iraq war costs at $100 billion to $200 billion as "very, very high."

Unforeseen costs include recruiting to replenish a military drained by multiple tours of duty, slower long-term U.S. economic growth and health-care bills for treating long-term mental illness suffered by war veterans.

They said about 30 percent of U.S. troops had developed mental-health problems within three to four months of returning from Iraq as of July 2005, citing Army statistics.

Stiglitz, who won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2001 and has been an outspoken critic of the Bush administration's Iraq policy, and Bilmes based their projections partly on past wars and included the economic cost of higher oil prices, a bigger U.S. budget deficit and greater global insecurity caused by the Iraq war.

They said a portion of the rise in oil prices -- about 20 percent of the $25 a barrel gain in oil prices since the war began -- could be attributed directly to the conflict and that this had already cost the United States about $25 billion.

"Americans are, in a sense, poorer by that amount," they said, describing that estimate as conservative.

The projection of a total cost of $2 trillion assumes U.S. troops stay in Iraq until 2010 but with steadily declining numbers each year. They projected the number of troops there in 2006 at about 136,000. Currently, the United States has 153,000 troops in Iraq.


Marine Corps Lt. Col. Roseann Lynch, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said on Monday that the Iraq war was costing the United States $4.5 billion monthly in military "operating costs" not including procurement of new weapons and equipment.

Lynch said the war in Iraq had cost $173 billion to date.

Another unforeseen cost, the study said, is the loss to the U.S. economy from injured veterans who cannot contribute as productively as they otherwise would and costs related to American civilian contractors and journalists killed in Iraq.

Death benefits to military families and bonuses paid to soldiers to re-enlist and to sign up new recruits are additional long-term costs, it said.

Stiglitz was an adviser to U.S. President Bill Clinton and also served as chief economist at the World Bank.

(Additional reporting by Charles Aldinger in Washington)

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