I have been reading a lot of material published by the teachers’ unions and they are beginning to convince me of their ineffectiveness, ineffective because they do not do much to tear down those who manage work. They do not critique the system by which work and tiers of work are defined or the relationships that are enforced within that system. They are about employment and issues of employment but have little to say about what work is, what it means, what it should accomplish, what it should mean.  They focus on pay and benefits and, to some extent, the conditions of work–work place safety, for example–but never much on such things as meaningfulness of work or joy from work, these truly critical to quality of life.  They do not concern themselves with how work defines position in society and, because they do not, workers too often accept themselves to be politically impotent, people who take orders from bosses who, because of this perceived impotence, have authority that extends beyond the workplace, sometimes into the political choice a worker is allowed to make.

In education, the teacher, who serves as a role model of an educated person, their servitude communicates that educated people obey and do not advocate even when what they are forced to agree to do they know to be wrong.  There is very little that comes from the unions that works to properly define teachers’ proper role within schools systems that exist in democratic societies as model citizens of democracy, people who understand the issues and actively participate in the democratic decision making process.

The consequences are highly meaningful and understood when one looks at how citizens in America go about dealing with issues of power, issues of authority, and how they go about making their choices, these critical, ironically, to how schools operate, whether it be school funding, the hiring of faculty and administrators, the curriculum and methods of instruction, the manner in which learning is evaluated, the kind of learning that is allowed.

If schools operated well, for the purpose of developing effective citizenship, unions would not be necessary because the people who work would be a force in defining the rules of work.  Those who teach and belong to unions would do the cause of their unions well by teaching thoughtfulness rather than the content that inevitably, in American schools, carries the propaganda of the capitalist because it is capitalists who, for all practical purposes, run the society, hold power in the society.

The agenda of a decent educational association would be to force truth into the system and help students, and, by doing so, the society, understand the nature of humane society, the worth of human beings, and how to go about removing from society all aspects that are inhumane.  Decent pay, decent benefits, decent life, would be understood as natural to the decent society, no unions needed to fight for that decency.

Minds on something better

Enough with politics centered on bad Donald and onto constructing alternatives that are based in fairness, consideration of the whole of the people and their humane treatment under the law, by government.  There is really no reason to keep pointing to his ridiculous pronouncements and dirty deeds.  We have proven time an time again that he is a terrible person and should never have been elected to any office, let alone the presidency.  Bad Donald is there, in that position, to do bad things because something is terribly wrong with the United States of America, something so terrible that the people, a good many of them, were willing to give him their vote and trust in him to do better by them than other presidents had in the past.  How could anyone think he would be better?  Perhaps they thought that the alternative allowed was not the kind of alternative they needed.  Perhaps they thought that the same old, no matter which part of it, no matter which party to it, was bad enough to be avoided.  Republican presidents and congresses and democratic presidents and congresses had done them little good.  Both republican presidents and congresses and democratic presidents and congresses hadn’t done much to help them to increase the quality of their lives, give them economic security, give them the kind of security that comes with being able to pay the bills and buy what they need to live reasonably good lives.  During the presidencies and the congresses they had experience, ever more of the nation’s wealth went to a privileged few who were privileged to write legislation and get their way with the laws so that they would remain the privileged and be able to use the rest to make possible their luxurious ways of life.

As the parties go, as the parties preferences are coming into the light, it is rather evident that neither party wishes to allow any kind of meaningful tampering with the system.  Neither wants to go anywhere near the idea of wealth redistribution or the elimination of money from politics.  The preferred candidates are far to the right or centrist, that center very much a keep capitalists happy center.  Most know why that is but too few are willing to consider doing away with an idiotic two party system that keeps real democracy from happening, democracy that provided real choices, real options, not just capitalism or capitalism.  And it is capitalism as it has evolved into its present vicious form that needs adjusting if not abandonment.  There is not party, no meaningful political force around to push back against the abuses of capitalism in its present manifestation and that is how the two parties want it because those who are most powerful within benefit greatly from the inequities it our capitalism allows.

Those same people who voted for Trump see Trump as radical change and they will vote again for radical change.  That means to me that there needs to be candidates available who advocate the right kind of radical change, change of the kind that redistributes both money and power, change that gives all of the people a good chance to live decently, with dignity and self-respect.  It was, if you look at the rally goers and the MAGA hat wearers, a lot of people without much of either who voted for Trump.  Really, they did not cause the conditions of life that led them to such a state of being.  It was our system of winners and losers that made them losers and damn made about being made so and even more angry that they were without ways to fight the forces that put them where they found themselves to be.  Yes, dirty rotten scoundrels a lot of them but without much alternative if they wanted to keep their heads up somehow or another.  They came to take pride in being dirty rotten scoundrels and Trump knew how to become their beloved leader.

 

The center is right and it is wrong

I am watching as, before we, the American public, has has much time to understand what is wrong with our political system, are again being treated to vast amounts of insincerity, deception, and manipulation, to another election cycle that will likely produce nothing in the way of change, even though radical change is what is needed.  We have two political parties so dominant that we call our system a two party one and, while there are differences between them, in terms of the one offering a radical alternative to the others, there is little difference.  Both are for the perpetuation of an economic system that has allowed whatever was democratic in the society to be sold off to those who can afford to buy that political power that, in democratic theory, was supposed to be in the hands of the people, the whole of the people and not but a very few.  But it has come to be that a very few, always wealthy, have come to own America outright and it is they who make the decisions that force the rest to live lives shaped to insure that power remains in the hands of the wealthy, that power used to keep both wealth and power in their hands.

While we are thinking about the political cycle that begins again before it ever ends we focus on candidates who we sort into better and worse without a whole lot of hope that any will really bring about anything truly good.  Instead of working to force good, we concentrate on figuring out and fighting over who is the best among them, the political candidates that our two capitalist parties allow us to decide between.  When we should be focused on changing those aspects of the reality we face that we know to hurt us and our fellows, we are thinking about Beto and the mayor, Bernie and Elizabeth, Biden, Amy, Kamala, and Julian, some of who might be advocating for change for the good but none of whom should be the issue itself, the useful issue being the actual issues and not the candidates.  Those candidates use issues to get elected, first and foremost, because that is how the system works and they are for or against what they are for the sake of their candidacies, first and foremost.  What they will do if they make it into office, everyone knows, is not to be known until they are there.  Getting there is everything during the run and staying there is what is most important once they are there, if they make it.

That the American public will make choices between candidates that are in its own best interests, that the interests of the American public are what is best for the planet and all of its creatures, people included, is a good proposition to be bet against.  Very sad and terribly frightening.   That that public will vote on the basis of good information and sound reasoning?  History says no to that possibility, too.  Americans cannot fight a system that is not the best for them because they have been educated against good sense, taught to remain relatively uninformed and to accept the notion that there are others than themselves who should be making their decisions for them.  That is how schools operate against their students and that is how their students come to operate against themselves, thinking themselves free while living in servitude.  “Not me,” the many will say, believing that true but only because they have been taught to believe it true.  I have asked many to look at the evidence.  They often find it compelling.  But they still do not believe in the conclusions it should cause any truly rational and free person to draw.

We are, as a society, neither rational nor free.  Rationality might free us but we are taught against it.  Those who run us know how to turn our heads toward what they want us to think.  We are free to choose between Coke and Pepsi.  So, this election cycle, it would be a wonderful thing to have the American people put aside the election cycle and think about the issues and then, when there was still enough time for the candidates to answer to the thoughtfully formulated, well-informed questions of the public, demand that the candidates, not their promotional people, thoughtfully answer those questions, any attempt at deception or subterfuge immediately disqualifying.  Fuck this accepted notion that it is alright for candidates to be sold to the public.  That is fucking ridiculous and incredibly dangerous.  Fuck schools that set up their students to be sold good amounts of things that are no good for them.  Democracy by sales pitch is stupid.  A public that accepts democracy by sales pitch is not capable of being a decent democratic society.

We need a cycle of reflection that helps to bring us to our senses so that we, through our decisions as citizens of a democracy make democracy a sensible means of governance.

 

The Report

The report on our president’s behavior has not been made public.  The Attorney General has offered a summary that if far too brief for sensible people to be drawing conclusions about what the implications of the findings are–should be–for the president and his administration.  But, the fact that the prosecutor will prosecute the president or his children or his in-laws does tell us much that is horrible about the way in which people think about politics in this country and the way in which the political is discussed in the media.  The Mueller decision, even with so little so known about it, if the American public were know even history most recent, would see that the powerful urge for immediate explanations for things that happen and fast and simple answers to complex questions leads to disaster.  This happened with the war in Iraq–the New York Times issued a seriously important retraction and apology for its dangerously flawed reporting–and it just happened again, the cable news pundits driving the real reporters to, as those pundits do to make their obnoxiously high salaries–speculated at least as much as they tried to get to facts, as much as they tried to get at the truth, this so they would be invited to appear on the pundits’ big money making shows.

The investigation into Russian participation in the Trump election campaign, it is likely, found things about the campaign’s operation and Trump’s business dealings that, if and when they come to light, will show wrong doing, ethical wrong doing for certain, criminal wrong doing, quite possibly.  But Trump will be able to say, and he will say it over and over again and loudly, that he was right about the fake media and that his witch-hunt claims were valid, the claims made about his lying invalid because of the sources from which they come.  The possibly irreparable damage done is that truth had been destroyed, the possibility of a politics based in truth made impossible.

The bigger story yet is that this will be accepted by politicians and public as the tolerable,  just the way things are, compromise, business as usual, best that can be done considering, reality with which we can learn to live.  And, in to a large extent, good numbers will be very happy about this state of things because it will insure continuation of a status quo that has been in place for a very long time that benefits the wealthy well–those pundits and the reporters invited to pundit with them, the movie stars and recording artists, the hedge fund managers, corporate investors, corporate heads–at the expense of the “not so lucky,” many of these the ethical who are not willing to be so rotten as to be, capitalistically “pragmatic.”

For a very long time, we, the people of this nation, have accepted rotten as good for what rotten has gotten, what rotten gets.  This is because of our economic system that proves to us on a daily basis that such is true.  Not being wholly truthful is our operating ethos, not being truthful good, strategic, smart, a critical element in the art of the deal.  Trump is not the only lying business man and Trump is not the only politician who is a liar.  The status quo is favorable to liars who make money and win power and use power to make money by lying.

Several years ago Matt Tiabbi wrote an expose on Goldman Sachs about its culture of lies that was the culture that allowed it to succeed and succeed enormously because of the size of the lies it with which it was able to get away.  Neither democrats or republicans in power liked that story, hoped it would go away, which it did.  After the crash of 2008, precipitated by companies like Golden Sachs, several of which came out just fine when many a run of the mill citizen did not.  Hillary Clinton made some money off of them by speaking to their bandit gang.

The culture of lying just passed a test that predicts a long future for it.  Liars were lied about and so the liars are exonerated because they are not the only liars.  Those telling of their lies are liars too.  Media bias against liars is real so how can one believe that the stories about the liars’ lies are true?  Truth has been demoted even further for now it can be proven that the truth itself is often a lie and no one can be trusted as a truth teller.

The potential for a sane and humane democracy may have been killed once and for all and those who benefit most from the insanity of the present society and from the inhumanity of it will now have to work even less hard to prove that though they are inhumane and lie, they are still good people.

No more time left to call bullshit.  We are too deeply buried in it to hope to breath truth again.

Tiabbi on Russia Investigation

 

 

Morale and pay, brilliance and respect

 

About our local school district what may be relevant to many other school districts: Two posts to Facebook maybe worthy of wider distribution.

Anyone else think that it is time for a thorough review of the district’s operations? Morale is a signifier of the health of an organization and I would bet that there are a good number of students whose feelings towards their schools are nowhere near as good as they should be, in some part, due to the way their teachers feel about their jobs and the causes for these feelings. The problem has been for a very long time a focus on graduation rates rather than student involvement in activities that stimulate thoughtfulness and enthusiasm for learning what is being taught. Teachers are pushed to prepare students for passing tests and to move them along at whatever cost, this forcing teachers to push out students they know are not ready for what comes next. The job is about numbers and hardly about helping individual human beings grow well intellectually and emotionally. If one likes young people, cares about their futures, only a foolish teacher would be happy about the district and its goals.

In my post (the one above) I did not speak to the issue of pay but how one is able to live one’s life is dependent on what one is payed and teachers should be able to live much better lives than their current salaries allow. The thing about pay is that it has much to do with how the importance of people in our society is judged. This may not be a good thing but it is a real thing and it affects how people are seen and how they understand their worth in the society. Teachers, good teachers, the ones who understand how to make it possible for others to understand the world well are incredibly smart people, the best brilliant and there are limited numbers of these in the universe. That all teachers are not of this class is terribly unfair to students and to a society that needs highly thoughtful people to make it work as an effective democracy. Not all teachers are as smart as students and society deserve them to be and pay–along with which comes degrees of dignity, self-respect, and acceptance of their authority–is is not only important for what can be bought but for the kind of respect–self respect and respect from others–that is confirmed by how much of it one receives. Stupid movie stars receive more respect in our society than the most brilliant teachers! Money, like it or not, does attract and to attract the best and brightest to teach our children, teachers need to be awarded with decent pay, those truly highly qualified to teach. A minimum $100,000 salary is not unrealistic if the reality we wish to create is one that supports sensible and humane democracy. Good teachers, using a sensible scale of importance and effect, are worth at least this.

Why Socialism is Necessary

Socialism can work with a market economy, one that is regulated enough to insure that the economy serves the country and its people first and foremost. In proper socialist market economy, by law, vital commodities and services, health care and medicine, would be state controlled because they are vital to the people’s well being. So too defense industries, transportation, infrastructure, and so on. The state would, in regard to private businesses, enforce regulations necessary to insure that these entities provided adequately for workers and that products and services were safe and what they were advertised to be. In many ways, for periods of time in the United States when there existed a more kind and generous governing class, government did exert more control in the name of the health and welfare of the people. The reason that a new injection of socialism is needed is because the government of the people is no longer that but, rather, a government by a few for a few people, the regulatory function of government undermined by the ability of the monied to write law and have it enforced in their favor. That is why we are talking about socialism again, not because it hasn’t been a force in American society, but because the elements of government that serve the common good have been eroded to the point that the harm is being made more noticeable. The push back that should have occurred to right what was going wrong did not happen, this in good part because of a two party system with neither party truly on the side of the common good so that all the majority of people got was a bad deal.

Deny the dopes. Extinguish dopiness.

What some of these new female congressional representative represents is everything those who have ruled over everyone else by virtue of their being white and most of them male is the end of the game. They are concerned that they will loose power illegitimately gained, often by holding others more capable than themselves down by denying them resources and access. There is possibility for democracy to actually break through and it scares the shit out of the good old boys and girls who have lived comfortably off those they prevented from having what they deserved. Trump is their hope and he is a dope like many of them theirselves. Sadly, they still hold considerable undeserved power because the dopes have somehow–maybe by controlling the school system–made it possible that there are enough dopes out there to support them despite the poor treatment they receive at their master’s hands.

We need to take the dopes out of power and we need to help the dopes who put them there to stop believing that the shit they receive is all that they deserve.

That would be revolutionary. That would make possible democracy that serves the good of all.