|Billion Dollar Junk Program Replaces NASA|
When President John Fitzgerald Kennedy called on America to “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” I don’ think he envisioned an America fully privatized for Wall Street profits.
Kennedy had warned what would happen if these billionaire secret societies ever gained complete control over America’s government and it’s worse than he could have imagined. Everything JFK envisioned and America has realized is gone. JFK’s America no longer exists and the privatization of America’s space exploration was the knife through the heart of the nation.
Pouring billions of taxpayers’ dollars into private contractors instead of funding NASA had its predictable outcome with the explosion of the Antares rocket on Tuesday. According to the Washington Post:
Trying to go to space on the cheap has had disastrous consequences in the past
When reporters asked the first U.S. man in space, Alan Shepard, what he thought about as he sat atop a Mercury launch vehicle, he's said to have responded, "The fact that every part of this ship was built by the low bidder."…
The cause of the failure remain unknown. But Orbital has marketed the Antares as a "cost effective" way to launch payloads, due at least in part on its reliance on recycled Soviet-era rocket engines — a move that has drawn criticism from some, including competitor SpaceX's founder, Elon Musk. Here's what he told Wired in a 2012 interview:
One of our competitors, Orbital Sciences, has a contract to resupply the International Space Station, and their rocket honestly sounds like the punch line to a joke. It uses Russian rocket engines that were made in the ’60s. I don’t mean their design is from the ’60s — I mean they start with engines that were literally made in the ’60s and, like, packed away in Siberia somewhere.
So, we turned our nation’s multi-billion dollar a year space program over to a private contractor who’s using fifty year old used parts from Russia to save money.
The American government has been drilling into the American psyche through the corporately controlled press that Russia is the “Great Satan” for some time with a degree of success. After all, Americans are so dumbed down that their fear of Russia as an aggressor and threat to democracy borders on nuts. Just look at this Gallop Poll,
Americans' Views of Russia, Putin Are Worst in Years
Clear majority view the Russian president and his nation unfavorably
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As host nation Russia dominates the world stage at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Americans clearly do not think highly of the country or its president, Vladimir Putin. Putin and Russia score the highest unfavorable ratings -- 63% and 60%, respectively -- that Gallup has recorded for them in the past two decades.
Yes, good old America, a nation of disinterested idiots.
These results align with Gallup's findings last fall when Americans, for the first time in 14 years of Gallup polling on the topic, said they consider Russia an enemy, not an ally. In the past year, Russia has faced scrutiny for granting former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden asylum, involving itself in the Syrian civil war, and restricting gay and lesbian civil rights….
Isn’t it crazy how Americans' opinions as shown in the polls are so different from the opinions of rest of the world’s people when it comes to Edward Snowden. Snowden had support across the world.
More than six in 10 Americans currently have an unfavorable opinion of Putin, the highest negative rating in the four times Gallup has asked about him since he became president for the first time in 1999.
Putin's op-ed criticizing the U.S. in the New York Times last September may have contributed to this low opinion. In the op-ed, he claimed that President Barack Obama's statement about American exceptionalism was "extremely dangerous." Obama had said that the ability of the U.S. to intervene in geopolitical conflict when needed is "what makes us exceptional" Just after the publishing of the op-ed, Gallup found that 54% of Americans viewed Putin unfavorably.
Yeah, OK so Americans have this fear and loathing of Russia, so how do Russian people feel about America and Americans? Not so good according to Reason Magazine, they fear the US more than ISIS:
A poll published last week from the Russian Public Opinion Research Center indicates that because of this worsening relationship, more Russians believe the U.S. poses a terror threat to them than radical Islamists like ISIS do.
The center reports that 22 percent of Russians consider the U.S. to be "the main source of terrorist threats" to their nation. This is a dramatic spike from one year ago, when only 4 percent believed the U.S. was such a threat. Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a harshly anti-American speech on Friday, accusing the West of sponsoring terrorism in Russia. The polling data was gathered well-before the speech, but the nation's media is largely government-controlled, and the government has been raising a specter of U.S. meddling for months.
Well, that’s pretty revealing. I suppose the truth lies somewhere in the middle, so I had to laugh when I read this poll from Science2.0:
What Americans Fear Most Isn't Ebola Or Terrorism, It's...
What makes Americans afraid is the topic of the first comprehensive nationwide study by Chapman University. According to the Chapman poll, the number one fear in America today is not Muslim terrorists or Russian imperialism or Ebola, it's...walking alone at night.
The Chapman Survey on American Fears included 1,500 nationally representative participants. The top five things Americans fear the most are:
· Walking alone at night
· Becoming the victim of identity theft
· Safety on the internet
· Being the victim of a mass/random shooting
· Public speaking
Yep, that’s the Americans I know. What else do Americans fear?
The top five things Americans worry or are concerned about are:
· Having identity stolen on the internet
· Corporate surveillance of internet activity
· Running out of money in the future
· Government surveillance of internet activity
· Becoming ill/sick
So that’s what America has gotten in return for our crown jewel NASA, a privatized space program brought to you by the Democratic Obama/Biden Administration who completed privatization of NASA in 2011.
Seeing how well our new privatized space program is going, let’s see how America’s privatized healthcare system is dealing with the Ebola crisis. According to the Christian Science Monitor, the Republican Governor of Maine is trying to quarantine a nurse, who has no signs of Ebola.
Negotiations have broken down between Maine officials and a nurse who refuses to submit to a three-week quarantine following her return from treating Ebola patients in West Africa.
Gov. Paul LePage announced the breakdown on Thursday and pledged to use the “full extent” of his legal authority to safeguard public health.
The announcement sets the stage for what could become a showdown in the courts over the power of individual states to enforce tougher quarantine requirements than are called for by the national Centers for Disease Control.
In an apparent act of defiance, the nurse, Kaci Hickox, left her home on Thursday morning to take a bike ride with her boyfriend. To do so, they passed Maine State Police officers who were assigned to monitor their house and their movements.
From the Black Agenda Report:
For Moment, the World Embraces the Cuba Model – and Slaps the Empire
“For Cuba, service to oppressed and exploited peoples is a revolutionary act of the highest moral caliber.”
Revolutionary Cuba has always been a miracle and gift to all humankind. This week, the nations of the world – with two savage exceptions – instructed their emissaries at the UN General Assembly to tell the world’s self-designated “indispensable” country to end its 54-year-long trade embargo against Cuba. The virtually unanimous global rebuke to the American superpower, in combination with the extraordinary breadth and depth of acclamation accorded Havana, tells us that it is Cuba, not the U.S., that is the truly “exceptional” nation on the planet.
It was the 23rd time that the United Nations has rejected the embargo. The outcome was identical to last year’s tally, with only the United States and Israel voting against the non-binding resolution.
God, how did we end up with such knuckle draggers running this country?
Despite having suffered cumulative economic damages of more than $1 trillion at U.S. hands over the last half-century, the island nation of 11 million people has made itself a medical superpower that shares its life-saving resources with the world. No country or combination of nations and NGOs comes close to the speed, size and quality of Cuba’s response to the Ebola crisis in West Africa.
With 461 doctors, nurses and other health professionals either already on site or soon to be sent to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, Cuba sets the standard for international first-response. The Cuban contingent of medical professionals providing direct treatment to sick people outnumbers that of the African Union and all individual countries and private organizations, including the Red Cross.
God Almighty does anyone believe the private sector can do anything better than a government of, by and for the people? Good thing Cuba is picking up the slack in training doctors, because the oligarch’s in America are wringing every tax paying dollar out of our public schools for shareholder profits.
Charter schools are hedge fund heavens. From Washington Post:
Charter schools are hedge fund heavens. From Washington Post:
Why hedge funds love charter schools
One of the features of corporate school reform is the interest that Wall Street has shown in supporting charter schools. Why? No doubt hedge fund managers would say they want to support education and help young people have educational choices. But here’s another part of the answer,…
The 2001 Consolidated Appropriations Act, passed by Congress and signed into law by President Clinton, included provisions from the Community Renewal Tax Relief Act of 2000. The law provided tax incentives for seven years to businesses that locate and hire residents in economically depressed urban and rural areas. The tax credits were reauthorized for 2008-2009, 2010-2011, and 2012-2013.
Sounds reasonable enough, in 2000 before the 2000 election Clinton signed into law tax incentives to businesses that locate and hire in depressed urban and rural areas. So what’s that got to do with charter schools?
As a result of this change to the tax code, banks and equity funds that invest in charter schools in underserved areas can take advantage of a very generous tax credit. They are permitted to combine this tax credit with other tax breaks while they also collect interest on any money they lend out. According to one analyst, the credit allows them to double the money they invested in seven years.
Well what a sweetheart deal, I wonder how many of our congressmen and their staff have doubled their money in seven years investing in charter schools.
Another interesting side note is that foreign investors who put a minimum of $500,000 in charter school companies are eligible to purchase immigration visas for themselves and family members under a federal program called EB-5.
The real estate industry, which already receives huge tax breaks as it gentrifies communities, also stands to benefit by promoting charter schools and helping them buy up property, or rent, in inner city communities. One real estate company, Eminent Properties Trust, boasts on its website:
“Our investment portfolio of nearly $3 billion includes megaplex movie theatres and adjacent retail, public charter schools, and other destination recreational and specialty investments. This portfolio includes over 160 locations spread across 34 states with over 200 tenants.”
The Charter management group Charter Schools USA recommends that rental costs should not exceed 20 percent of a school’s budget. However the Miami Herald reported that in 2011, 19 charter schools in Miami-Dade and Broward exceeded this figure and one in Miami Gardens paid 43 percent.
Boy, the private sector is so much more efficient and cost effective than an accountable governmental education system. One billionaire has gotten worried the gravy train of “charter schools” could end so he has sued the California public school system and won! From the California Federation of Teachers:
Teacher rights overturned by court decision
Earlier today a Superior court Judge in Los Angeles declared five Education code protections unconstitutional...
"It would be very scary to me, if this lawsuit succeeds, to think that I might not have a job next year, not for anything I'd done in the classroom, but because my principal didn't like me, or my clothing, or something I'd said." —Laura Lacar, Gahr High School, ABC Unified School District
Last year a group calling itself “Students Matter,” funded by David Welch, a conservative Silicon Valley millionaire, filed a lawsuit, Vergara v. the State of California. The lawsuit challenges a number of constitutional rights for California’s teachers, including “tenure,” due process rights, and seniority rights during layoffs. The suit, hiding behind a group of students, alleges that these teacher workplace rights infringe the constitutional right of students to an equal education.
While public school teachers are fighting for survival, for-profit charter schools are flush in taxpayer dollars. From Wall Street Journal:
A small New York City charter school opened five years ago with an attention-grabbing premise: Paying teachers $125,000 salaries would lure ace faculty and help poor children learn.
A new study of the middle school, called The Equity Project, suggests that the experiment is working. The report to be released Friday by Mathematica Policy Research said the school’s students made more progress than similar children attending traditional city schools…
I wonder what they mean by “similar children” attending traditional city schools. Are they saying similar race?
The Equity Project made headlines in 2008 when it announced it would pay nearly double the average salary of teachers in the city’s district schools. Joshua Furgeson, one of the report’s authors, said it shows that a “school that focuses its resources and attention on hiring and developing the best teachers can substantially improve student achievement.”
The charter’s 480 students, who are mostly Hispanic, squeeze into a cluster of red trailers near 193rd Street in Washington Heights. They walk to class through alleys outdoors named “Achievement Avenue” and “Creativity Court.” The founder and principal, Zeke Vanderhoek, is a 38-year-old Yale University graduate who taught in a nearby district school and launched a tutoring company….
|New York Equity Project|
I wondered what happened to those toxic FEMA trailers.
The report said the charter has a lean administrative staff and slightly larger classes—31 students compared with an average of about 26 or 27 in district schools—so it can pour resources into teacher pay and training.
Charters get $13,777 per pupil in public funding. One of Mr. Vanderhoek’s missions is proving that the aid allotted to charters suffices to pay teachers well. Teachers can get bonuses, so the highest-paid faculty made almost $140,000 last year.
Privatization in all of its glory. So a little, impoverished country like Cuba who has been the victim of America’s imperialism is leading the world’s response to the Ebola crisis. I guess there’s no money to be made in the private sector.
It goes without saying that the Cubans are committed for the duration of the Ebola crisis; they have been at Africa’s service since the first years of the revolution. President Raul Castro reports that 76,000 Cuban medical specialists have served in 39 African countries over the years. Four thousand were stationed in 32 African countries when the current Ebola epidemic broke out. (Worldwide, Cuba’s “white-robed army” of care-givers numbers more than 50,000, in 66 countries – amid constant U.S. pressures on host countries to expel them.)…
Cuba has been selfless in defense of others, whether against marauding microbes or imperial aggression. “We never took any natural resources,” said Rodolfo Reyes Rodriguez, Cuba’s ambassador to the United Nations and a veteran of the war against white-ruled South Africa’s army in Angola. “We never took any salary, because in no way were we to be perceived to be mercenaries or on any kind of military adventure.”
For the United States, military adventure and the imperative to seize other countries’ natural resources or strangle their economies, are defining national characteristics – in complete contrast to Cuba.
Thank God for Cuba, they are now the real world power. Not nuclear power, not military might, not financial devastation power but the utmost power, their compassion for people of the world power.
As privatized Ebola stricken America explodes, Cuba takes the lead.
By Patricia Baeten