Posts Tagged ‘Educational Platitudes’

Dukes Of Knowledge

March 11, 2011

 

PLUTOCRATS TEACH PLUTO, REAL MEN FIGHT PLUTO.

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Abstract: Hanging around plutocrats is not educational in the best way. Instead the president of the USA should have some of his minions suggest to raise revenues to feed the civilization he pretends to defend. 27 countries of the EU have a VAT by law for excellent reasons having to do with the philosophical nature of civilization.

Speaking of which, as Saif al Islam Al Gaddafi himself points out: "We are not a mouse". Indeed, plutocrats are no mice. Thus one should roll out the big guns, and fire them on plutocrats, in the name of education.

***

IS SHE HAS WEALTH, SHE HAS GOT TO BE GOOD:

So here we have President Barack Obama frolicking with Melinda Gates. It beats sounding decisive about Libya. Now, of course, Obama has to do politics with the country he has, and not the country he wished he had. But precisely, that is why the Libya tergiversations look so bad. Americans don’t know what to do. A thing they don’t need is the father of nation who looks confused too.

Who is Melinda Gates? Well, the wife of Bill Gates, the well known computer programmer whose father was a founder of one of the USA’s top law firms. Bill and Melinda Gates founded in turn, with dozens of billions of dollars of Bill’s money, something called the Gates Foundation (where some other Gates family members are).

Foundations are a trick allowing American plutocrats to have the advantages of plutocracy without many of its inconveniences, such as paying taxes, and looking dirty. The Foundation Law was passed simultaneously with the Income Tax Law. Plutocrats hiding in foundations are called “philanthropists”, and revered by US politicians and media.

So Obama appeared at a technology-focused Boston "public academy" the Microsoft chairman and his wife helped to start and offered it as an example for the nation. At a time of scarce resources, Obama said, the U.S. should tighten its belt wherever possible but still put more money into advancing such a "21st century curriculum" across the country.

"21st century curriculum"? Does that mean Obama is going to learn calculus, so he can become "21st century"?

"There is no better economic policy than one that produces more graduates with the skills they need to succeed," Obama said, speaking at the TechBoston Academy. "That’s why reforming education is the responsibility of every single American — every parent, every teacher, every business leader, every public official and, yes, every student."

Apparently Melinda Gates had the need to succeed: she married one of the world’s richest men. Who got so rich, mostly because of Microsoft’s monopoly power, building up on software developed by uncelebrated academics (and which IBM had farmed out to Bill).

But back to the point Obama makes that: "There is no better economic policy than one that produces more graduates with the skills they need to succeed." We just saw that a most important skill was to get married to the world’s richest man: then you get to hang around with the president. That’s what Obama just taught us. OK, let’s be game and teach Obama something in turn.

In the Roman empire, (Greek) slaves and freedmen were doing most of the teaching. They had "the skills they needed to succeed". Succeed to do what? Be better slaves? Better submissives? More irrelevant?

As Barack frolicking with Melinda himself shows, the commons are irrelevant, and so they were in the Roman empire, and that is exactly why the empire went down.

Indeed how did the Greco-Roman empire succeed? Far flung legions maintained an increasingly empty shell inside. And the shell was empty for the same reason as the USA is emptying itself. Both imperial Rome and imperial USA have the same disease: PLUTOCRATIC CHOLERA. Melinda ought to be the name of a bacteria.

But here is Obama again, flaunting in a press conference (on 3/12), that he gave the “Medal Of Freedom” to Warren Buffet, the second richest individual in the USA, and that Buffet expressed audaciously his hope about the economy of the USA. A similar audacious outburst of hope in the hyper rich would be viewed with contempt in Europe.  

After a few centuries of increasing fascism and plutocracy, the Roman empire succeeded to produce theocratic terror and the DARK AGES (officially nominated that way around 380 CE by a disconsolate intellectual with top religious, non Christian, duties: I did not make the date up; one of the instrument of propaganda has been that the middle Ages created they dark Ages. no. The middle Ages were the way out of the Dark Ages.).

A serious problem in the USA is that, increasingly, people in position to teach don’t know history.

That makes the weirdest theories possible. That allows the plutocratically financed Tea Party to come out with frightening slogans such as "the government does not create anything". What about law, education, police, army, rescue services, most healthcare (even in the USA already!), and all the rules and regulations holding society together? This is not just about observing, it’s about not knowing what happened when there was no government. And even not even been capable to imagine what would happen without government. That is what a lack of knowledge about history leads to.

All knowledge, even science, is historical. Even science is about what happens, and that means, what happened.

Obama, as a good American, worry about "business leaders". Ah, business "leaders", what would the USA be without them? Does not the USA have by far the richest, most rewarded business leaders in the world? Did not that bring “success”? When the business leaders went bankrupt, the taxpayers were successfully ordered to replenish their coffers. Success, indeed! The skill to be learned to succeed was apparently to have the taxpayers act against their best interest. 

Foundations don’t pay tax, and their officers can frolic first class around the world, in the very best hotels, and as we just saw, with heads of state.

On top of that foundation executives get to be called "philanthropists" because they are free to corrupt whoever they want with a fraction of the money they would otherwise pay in taxes. Beatification in one’s own lifetime. (I don’t mean to imply that all foundations are bad; simply the ones which are obvious tax shelters and oligarchic influence amplifiers).

"Even as we find ways to cut spending, we cannot cut back on job-creating investments like education," Obama said. "We cannot cut back on the very investments that will help our economy grow."

Sounds good. Obama has explained that he wants the USA to "out-educate, out-compete", everybody, etc. Thus all the out-sourcing to the out-house, I guess. Out with them ideas. I have advocated the idea of having ideas a long time myself.

In the 1960s, the French government ran an advertising campaign:"En France, on a pas de petrole, mais on a des idees." ("In France we don’t have oil, but we have ideas".) Nothing new. But as long as, to get to the ideas, Obama has to go through plutocrats, such as the Gates, he will show that the elected government of the People does not even have a brain.

Another Case of the Gates of hell (yes, Steve Case is another major plutocrat advising Obama) is what happened with Qaddafi. The Libyan dictator sent a lot of money to many major Anglo-Saxon think “tanks”. Yes, it is a double entendre: I think we will use tanks to express the people, says Gaddafi, and he chuckles, as he gives money to Western pseudo-intellectuals.

“The best academics Qaddafi’s money could buy”, for example Richard Perle, or Francis Fuckuyama (PhD harvard. Of course Harvard and its professors are there (say professor Nye). The usual tricks are used: Harvard professors get blood money through “consulting firms” such as the “Monitor group” (that one has 30 offices around the world). Then they write learned articles for US mass media, reproduced world wide, on the goodness of Gaddafi, and other “guides”, and “leaders” of the uneducated masses.

Sometimes, it’s even funny; there is even plenty of evidence that Harvard wrote Saif Al Islam al Qaddafi’s thesis.

Such is the plutocratic circus. Kneel oh good people, the plutocrats are here to guide and lead you. Such are the Gates of hell.

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HOW TO IMPLEMENT MENTAL EXPANSION:

OK, so how should the mental expansion Obama claims to advocate be done?

Germany is headed by a physicist (Merkel). She knows calculus very well. Her conservative credentials are impeccable; she was right hand man and dauphin to Chancellor Helmut Kohl (who had to make himself sparse after his secret financing by his friend, the French socialist president, came to light).

Germany had a severe problem of over-production during the 2008 peak of the financial crisis (there will be other peaks, we need to label them according to the millésime). Germany’s Merkel did not frolic with the richest of the hyper rich, begging for something, and trying to look powerful. Instead the German state INTERVENED. Workers and companies were paid so that the time production workers did not spend producing was spent at school learning higher skills pertaining to their job. A conventional welder, for example, would be paid full time, but some of his time would be spent learning to weld with lasers.

OK, to set up such an emergency plan, country wide, was not as much fun as entertaining plutocrats who pay no taxes. Countries such as China need the world’s most advanced machinery, to make other products in their factories. After Germany had gone back to school, orders came flooding back, for the advanced, high value technologies Germany sells. The German economy came roaring back. Wunderbar. But not surprising.

Oh, by the way, the French government has decided to emulate the German model. In exchange, the conservative, not exuberantly European Merkel has agreed to integrate France and Germany to a level the German governments had not accepted before. British PM Cameron wishes he could jump on that technological bandwagon (he is trying, hence his love for Airbus). Germany is not the only European export power house: the Netherlands is an even more striking example.

So Obama wants to live off intellectual property, in the world’s smartest society. Back to the future, in other words: this is pretty much how the USA lived in the 1960s, before sinking into bottomless plutocracy. However what Obama proposes to do is not enough. As I just said, the sort of educational effort Obama proposes is all glamour, and no welding. Welding allows planes to fly, glamour does not. The effort Germany did in 2008 was educational, but it required business leaders who were really business leaders, thinking about leading their workers, and not plutocrats ruling by wealth, as the later do by definition. .

Before I get started with my usual objections, let me be even smarter than usual, and enlist Paul Krugman saying explicitly something which has long been half understood in Europe. One of his blog post (quoting various others) is reproduced after the break.

The problem of trying to out-smart ("out-educate") everybody is tied to globalization.

The initial problem with globalization was that people cannot be employed, being paid several times more (a fortiori twenty times more) than workers overseas doing the same job.

To go back to an example Socrates loved, the shoemaker in New Jersey cannot compete with the shoemaker in Pakistan. because the later can live well, with a salary a twentieth of that his unfortunate colleague in New Jersey. Fine.

A solution which presents itself is to give up the low added value jobs, and concentrate on the high added value jobs. This is the French approach (now embraced, and better implemented by Germany, as we saw above). It is no coincidence that the French invented the Added value Tax (in 1954). Added value has long been high on their mind.

So Obama wants to do the same now. First the USA is late to the party. Finland (but for some crazed Asian countries and entities) has the best educational system because the Finns, among other Europeans, are all persuaded of the importance of superlative education. Sarkozy wanted to implant the Finnish system in France, until he found out how much it would cost. France, as a great power, has expenses Finland does not have. (And the same for the USA, since the USA is still a great power.)

So Obama says; "Let’s have engineers in New Jersey. So we want kids to learn calculus. Surely the engineer in New Jersey be paid more than the engineer in India?"

Sure, Obambi. And therein the problem. The Indians are plenty smart, and after 35 centuries of erroneous apartheid philosophy, they have adopted, thanks to European (philosophical) rule, the European philosophical system of equal superiority, fraternal ambition, and free debate of ideas. So the Indians have discovered what Obambi did, a few decades ago. If you want your children to make it in India, you try to make it so that they learn calculus. Entering the engineering schools is crazily competitive. And it does not depend upon having relatives therein (as is done in the USA, and the Obamas are in good position to know).

The engineer in India will have several house helpers, a limousine with chauffeur, and a magnificent house with a pool. So young people in India are much more determined to become engineers in India rather than in New Jersey. They look forward engineering, it’s the promised land. Young people in the USA can look up at completely different role models. They don’t know Melinda Gates has a BA in computer science. All what America’s youth see is that the president of the USA goes where the money is.

If you want to make it in New Jersey, you have to become a drug dealer, a politician, or, best of all, a financier. Financiers are the richest, most powerful, and never gets prosecuted: Obama and holder will make sure of that. Only philanthropists heading foundations are higher up in the prestige standings of the USA. (OK, Madoff asked to be jailed, and there is now a major financier on trial, but he is not really a US citizen; obviously a token trial, but it has the potential to get really dangerous for serious plutocratic fish.)

In the USA, employment pays for health, and where you live pays for schools. speak about a weird place. The USA has no global, that is, federal, educational system. Truly Obama controls only a tiny piece of the educational budget. That’s his official excuse with begging for crumbs at the Gates’ table.

So let’s suppose Obama is sincere, and really wants to improve the socio-economy of the USA, with education. What can Obama do? He has no money. Well, at least he could make more prestigious the jobs needed to "out-educate" and "out-compete". The job of plutocrat is not one of them. The USA had to wait a full century for seeing its first billionaire, and then suddenly there were many. Teddy Roosevelt saw that there was a risk that they would confiscate the republic, so he cut them down with anti-monopoly laws.

Right now the so called financial industry confiscates more than 40% of the profits of corporation in the USA. It is a monopoly, the monopole of finance. It produces nothing, except the negative pressure of taxpayers bail-outs.

So one of Obama’s real challenges that he could do something about would be to make the professions envisioned as the most worthy those which are perceived by the youth as the most worthy. He could go at it in two ways:

1) not associate with plutocrats for all to see, as if there was great glory in it. That will decrease the prestige of Pluto.

2) Make sure that plutocracy would be despised by prosecuting some of the plutocratic thieves. A plutocrat or two in jail would certainly curb the prestige of plutocracy. And the prestige of the law.

Matt Damon, the actor, an enthusiastic early supporter of the president during his campaign, candidly expressed his disappointment with Obama:

"A friend of mine said to me the other day, I thought it was a great line, ‘I no longer hope for audacity,’" Damon said, explaining that he believes the president has "misinterpreted his mandate" and has "doubled down on a lot of things."

Well, sure. Sometimes it seems that Obama interprets his mandate as making peace with republicans. some of his supporters claim his mandate should just be to play "black" president with ‘black’ family, etc., and that is good enough. Well, not so.

Matt Damon slammed the education policy that ties teacher salaries to students’ test scores. "That kind of mechanized thinking has nothing to do with higher-order thinking. We’re training them, not teaching them," he said. Damon is right. Finland, which has the best results of the West in high school in reading comprehension, science, mathematics, works the other way around: no tests, only helping those who have difficulties.

And Damon to pound the nail: "I think he’s rolled over to Wall Street completely. The economy has huge problems. We still have all these banks that are too big to fail. They’re bigger and making more money than ever," Damon said in an interview with the U.K.’s Independent.

In Rome, under the Antonine emperors, intellectuals were amazingly successful, in the sense that they became very rich and influential. However, they did not change anything to the mental course of the Greco-Roman empire, which was certainly the largest failure there ever was so far, in the history of the Mid Terra civilization.

in the century preceding, many Roman intellectuals had tried to oppose pacifically the tyrants of Rome. However, they got savagely killed, often with their entire families. Pacific, intellectual, non violent resistance works only with those who have roughly being already won over.

When civilization is confronted to crazed fascism, only a greater force works. That why Obama’s Mickey mouse approach to education in the USa will not work. It is also why the non violent approach will not work with the Qaddafi clan.

As PhD Saif Al Islam, the most verbal of the Kadhafis said: "We are not a piece of cake, we are not a little mouse." No, indeed, you are not, none of the big problems ever were. they need a lot of energy, hence force, to be moved.

And the same holds with most problems facing civilization today. Civilization presents the individuals composing it with many motivations. Only one of them is the financial profit motivation. For the rest, for the other motivations, there are taxes, a conduit from financial profit to those other motivations.

So, of course the USA needs a VAT, a Value Added Tax. The USA does not need Melinda Gates. Gates is part of the problem, not much of the solution.

No modern country can escape a VAT. A VAT taxes consumption, what the USA has too much of. There is no virtue in consumption, there is virtue in savings.

A VAT encourages a country to employ its own citizens, rather than distant aliens. A VAT forces to save, and the Mafia has to pay it too (otherwise it would pay even higher taxes). A minimum 15% VAT is the law in the European Union. It is a better French invention than cheese.

A VAT allows a country to have more motivation than financial profit. A VAT gives a chance to other motives, such as empathy, solidarity, civilization, progress, financing education, free health care, etc. As long as Obama is not talking VAT, he is shooting the breeze. And he is not serious about education.

It is necessary to learn to be tough, in the name of civilization, and Libya is the place to start, in the name of civilization, and the back bone it can do without.

***

Patrice Ayme.

(After the break, graphic analysis that highly educated jobs are becoming less rewarding financially.)

***

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