Posts Tagged ‘Ralph Nader’

Unaccountable

November 16, 2014

Un
With the possible exception of “compliance,” I’d reckon that there are no words that American teachers have heard more times in the past 10 years than the word “accountable.”
Everyone, we are told, and told, and told again for good measure, must be held accountable. I know no teacher who would mind such an admonition if, in fact, the system of accountability was fair and reasonable and if it were even remotely true that all people were held accountable.

Alas.

Take former New York City Chancellor Joel Klein, for example. Here’s a fella who not only championed a $95 million dollar technological boondoggle that is now to be dismantled because of its uselessness, but used his status and knowledge as former chancellor to profit from the project after instantly teaming up with Rupert Murdoch after he left the school system.

Conflict of interest ?

Not a chance.

Where is the accountability there?

At any rate, because of the distance I have noticed between what it held for one group or class of people and utterly excused from another, it was with more than a little curiosity that I noted during a visit to my local public library the following title: Unaccountable/ How Elite Power Brokers Corrupt our Finances, Freedom and Security by one Janine R. Wedel.

I understood from the subtitle that the work would focus largely on the monsters manipulating our financial system but, sandwiched there in between the words “Finance “ and “security” was “freedom, ” so I was hopeful some dots might be connected that had to do with my world.
As one who has been forced to watch and react as insanely wealthy private citizens such as Eli Broad and the Walton family and especially Bill Gates, do what ever it is they want to do to the public trust known as the public school system and all who work within it, with exactly zero right to do so and exactly zero accountability, I was curious to see if Wedel’s altogether noble work would include these spectacular examples of complete and utter unaccountability. I was hopeful, that is, that her work would at least mention the insidious efforts of the mega rich to undermine the legislative process in order to privitze the nation’s school system and bust the last union of size while they’re at it. After all, here was a handful of people somehow allowed to force one radical unproven experiment after another — breaking up schools, value added measures for teachers, standardized test after standardized tests, and the greatest scam of all, the deceitfully named Common Core State Standards — upon America’s kids and teachers on nothing more than their own limitless hubris and bank accounts.

Sadly, and incredibly given the immense upheavals of the past decade, education is not even mentioned in the book. Moreover, the only Gates who merits an appearance is former Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
As for Bill Gates and his legions…not a word. If I were to search high and low for a quote signifying complete unaccountability, I doubt I could do better than the following by an embarrassingly ineloquent
Bill Gates: “It would be great if our education stuff worked, but that we won’t know for probably a decade.”
There you have it.

And what if “our education stuff “ fails ?
Well…so what? Bill and Eli and the Walton’s and their kind will doubtless find some other vital institution to remake in their own one dimensional image.
Besides, when it fails — and it is failing — you can simply blame teachers and employ an eager corporate media to echo your lies.
It’s been working so far.
Why is the reality of the hijacking of a public institution of immeasurable importance and influence missing from this book or books like it ? This is a serious work by a credible author who does not seem to me to be ideologically bound. How is it the immense liberties taken by Bill Gates and company that deal with billions of dollars of public money not seem to be worthy of even a mention in a book dealing with the scandalous and horrific absence of accountability in American life ? Why is it that the complete undermining of the legislative process not only not considered a criminal act but not even deemed worthy of reporting? Not merely by Janine Wedel but by anybody? Where’s Bernie Sanders ? Where’s Michael Moore? Where’s Ralph Nader? Where is anybody? How is this happening before our very eyes ? What has happened to us ?

The Rich Are Different: Why Won’t Back Down Won’t Back Down

October 10, 2012

Almost a century ago, long before America had produced almost 400 billionaires and political opposition to plutacracy  had degenerated into a slick, sick joke, F. Scott Fiztgerald in a short story entiled “The Rich Boy, ” wrote the following:  “Let me tell you about the very rich.  They are different than you and me.”

I’ll say.  And our generation’s very rich are far richer than Fitzgerald could have possibly imagined.

One example of the difference can be seen in the fact that Won’t Back Down, a movie that suffered the worst opening in box office history for films released in over 2, 500 theaters, will not – as would just about any other film that no one paid to see — be going gentle into that good night.    No way.   Not by a long shot.

But then again, Won’t Back Down is not just any other film that no one paid to see.  It is a film that billionaires paid millions to make in order to help trick people into privatizing our public school system and making it the private property of the billionaires.   This is to be done by parents backing a scam called the Parent Trigger Legislation, itself the creation of the very, very rich as a mechanism to make themselves  even richer still.

The very rich can sometimes be an amusing lot and they like to call this despicable hustle “ community organizing ”  in the same manner that they like to imply or outright declare that they are leading a struggle for civil rights.

This week the billionaire funded phony “education reform” group which shamelessly calls itself Parent Revolution kicked off nothing less than a 32 city tour of Won’t Back Down in order to get down with a little “community organizing.”  The Revolutionaries are flown in from California and put up in five star hotels on the billionaire backer’s dime.  And why not?  The great thing about being a billionaire is that money is essentially meaningless. Spending millions and  millions attempting to deceive people is something akin to us buying a pricy coffee. Not a problem.    And get this: the Parent Revolutionaries and their billionaire backers so love the little people of this country that the tickets on Won’t Back Down’s 32-city tour are free. That’s right.  Free.  Zippo. Zilch.

All that is asked of the lucky viewers is that they hang around afterwards for a post screening “discussion” with “activists” who will try to convince them to join their movement, get free tee shirts and become parent revolutionaries themselves.  Who knows, one might even land a job with the revolutionaries, provided one is “progressive, mission-driven, and results-oriented”, that is.

Here are a few words from the revolutionary  website complete with job offerings and propaganda film shilling:

Organizational Overview
: Parent Revolution is a dynamic and growing non-profit organization whose mission is to transform public education by empowering parents to transform their children’s failing school through community organizing. In its brief history, the organization has garnered national attention for its groundbreaking work conceiving of, passing, and implementing California’s “Parent Trigger” law, which gives parents – for the first time ever – real power to transform their child’s failing school through community organizing. In addition to being featured in almost every national media outlet, our work is now serving as a national model – three additional states have passed their own Parent Trigger laws, and dozens of others are currently considering doing so. We have helped parents at two Southern California schools successfully organize their communities using the Parent Trigger law, and are working with parents at different stages of the organizing process at over a dozen additional schools. In September 2012, a major motion picture about our organization’s work, entitled “Won’t Back Down,” will be released, further raising the profile of our work across the country. Our organization has more than quadrupled in size over the last two years and is continuing a trajectory of rapid growth, due in large part to our successful track record. We have an entrepreneurial, mission-driven culture, setting ambitious goals for all employees and giving them the freedom to creatively meet them with appropriate support and guidance. A successful candidate for a position within our organization will come with an excellent track record and existing skill set as well as a strong desire to work within a progressive, mission-driven, and results-oriented team.

Job Openings

Technology Director

Development Director

Regional Advocacy Director

Organizer (Southern California & Northern California Placements)  “

Wow!  How do you like those apples ?

Being very rich allows you to be able to defy all the boundaries of human decency and hire people to write such drivel. Being very rich allows you the wherewithal to fly people like the Parent Revolutionaries all over the United States so they can convince the poor to back the plans of the very rich in comfort and ease.  Being very rich allows you to make full-length movies that serve purely as a propaganda vehicle for your despicable policies.  Being very rich also allows you to defy the alleged principles of the market place; to twist the arm, so to speak, of “the hidden hand ” that allegedly guides it so that films that bomb can still live and more:  they can go on 32 city tours with an well fed entourage of bullshit specialists trained especially  to prey on the uninformed and the desperate — kind of like a recruiter for a cult.   Above all being very rich allows you to undermine democracy at every turn,  insure its utter impotence in a million ways and still, somehow,  be considered a patriot and a role model.

“We can have democracy in this country,” said Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis,” or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.”

Brandeis, of course, was right. As  Thomas Jefferson was right.  As Mother Jones was right. As Eugene Debs was right.  As Dorothy Day and Ralph Nader and many, many other wise and decent people were right.

One day, hopefully, before we grow so demented  pretzeling  our minds defending indefensible accumulations  of wealth, when we  at last cease genuflecting  before  mediocre minds fueled by gargantuan  egos and obscene fortunes, when we awaken to the rank idiocy and moral cowardice of  applying the principles  of  business  to every human endevor no matter how debasing or degrading or blasphemous,  we might begin to learn a little about what we are meant to be doing here, how we  are meant to treat each other, how it is we become more fully human.