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Archive for August 2nd, 2010

Valedictorian’s Speech Hammers The Dystopic Educational System

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August 2, 2010: Erica Goldson / Signs Of The Times (SOTT.net) – June 25, 2010

The following speech was delivered by top of the class student Erica Goldson during the graduation ceremony at Coxsackie-Athens High School on June 25, 2010…

Here I Stand

There is a story of a young, but earnest Zen student who approached his teacher, and asked the Master, “If I work very hard and diligently, how long will it take for me to find Zen?” The Master thought about this, then replied, “Ten years.” The student then said, “But what if I work very, very hard and really apply myself to learn fast — How long then?” Replied the Master, “Well, twenty years.” “But, if I really, really work at it, how long then?” asked the student. “Thirty years.” replied the Master. “But, I do not understand,” said the disappointed student. “At each time that I say I will work harder, you say it will take me longer. Why do you say that?” Replied the Master, “When you have one eye on the goal, you only have one eye on the path.”

This is the dilemma I’ve faced within the American education system. We are so focused on a goal, whether it be passing a test, or graduating as first in the class. However, in this way, we do not really learn. We do whatever it takes to achieve our original objective.

Some of you may be thinking, Well, if you pass a test, or become valedictorian, didn’t you learn something? Well, yes, you learned something, but not all that you could have. Perhaps, you only learned how to memorize names, places, and dates to later on forget in order to clear your mind for the next test. School is not all that it can be. Right now, it is a place for most people to determine that their goal is to get out as soon as possible.

I am now accomplishing that goal. I am graduating. I should look at this as a positive experience, especially being at the top of my class. However, in retrospect, I cannot say that I am any more intelligent than my peers. I can attest that I am only the best at doing what I am told and working the system. Yet, here I stand, and I am supposed to be proud that I have completed this period of indoctrination. I will leave in the fall to go on to the next phase expected of me, in order to receive a paper document that certifies that I am capable of work. But I contest that I am a human being, a thinker, an adventurer – not a worker. A worker is someone who is trapped within repetition – a slave of the system set up before him. But now, I have successfully shown that I was the best slave. I did what I was told to the extreme. While others sat in class and doodled to later become great artists, I sat in class to take notes and become a great test-taker. While others would come to class without their homework done because they were reading about an interest of theirs, I never missed an assignment. While others were creating music and writing lyrics, I decided to do extra credit, even though I never needed it. So, I wonder, why did I even want this position? Sure, I earned it, but what will come of it? When I leave educational institutionalism, will I be successful or forever lost? I have no clue about what I want to do with my life; I have no interests because I saw every subject of study as work, and I excelled at every subject just for the purpose of excelling, not learning. And quite frankly, now I’m scared.

John Taylor Gatto, a retired school teacher and activist critical of compulsory schooling, asserts, “We could encourage the best qualities of youthfulness – curiosity, adventure, resilience, the capacity for surprising insight simply by being more flexible about time, texts, and tests, by introducing kids into truly competent adults, and by giving each student what autonomy he or she needs in order to take a risk every now and then. But we don’t do that.”

Between these cinderblock walls, we are all expected to be the same. We are trained to ace every standardized test, and those who deviate and see light through a different lens are worthless to the scheme of public education, and therefore viewed with contempt. H. L. Mencken wrote in The American Mercury for April 1924 that the aim of public education is not “to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence. … Nothing could be further from the truth. The aim … is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States.”

Comment: The full passage reads: “The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States, whatever pretensions of politicians, pedagogues other such mountebanks, and that is its aim everywhere else.”

To illustrate this idea, doesn’t it perturb you to learn about the idea of “critical thinking.” Is there really such a thing as “uncritically thinking?” To think is to process information in order to form an opinion. But if we are not critical when processing this information, are we really thinking? Or are we mindlessly accepting other opinions as truth?

This was happening to me, and if it wasn’t for the rare occurrence of an avant-garde tenth grade English teacher, Donna Bryan, who allowed me to open my mind and ask questions before accepting textbook doctrine, I would have been doomed. I am now enlightened, but my mind still feels disabled. I must retrain myself and constantly remember how insane this ostensibly sane place really is.

And now here I am in a world guided by fear, a world suppressing the uniqueness that lies inside each of us, a world where we can either acquiesce to the inhuman nonsense of corporatism and materialism or insist on change. We are not enlivened by an educational system that clandestinely sets us up for jobs that could be automated, for work that need not be done, for enslavement without fervency for meaningful achievement. We have no choices in life when money is our motivational force. Our motivational force ought to be passion, but this is lost from the moment we step into a system that trains us, rather than inspires us.

We are more than robotic bookshelves, conditioned to blurt out facts we were taught in school. We are all very special, every human on this planet is so special, so aren’t we all deserving of something better, of using our minds for innovation, rather than memorization, for creativity, rather than futile activity, for rumination rather than stagnation? We are not here to get a degree, to then get a job, so we can consume industry-approved placation after placation. There is more, and more still.

The saddest part is that the majority of students don’t have the opportunity to reflect as I did. The majority of students are put through the same brainwashing techniques in order to create a complacent labor force working in the interests of large corporations and secretive government, and worst of all, they are completely unaware of it. I will never be able to turn back these 18 years. I can’t run away to another country with an education system meant to enlighten rather than condition. This part of my life is over, and I want to make sure that no other child will have his or her potential suppressed by powers meant to exploit and control. We are human beings. We are thinkers, dreamers, explorers, artists, writers, engineers. We are anything we want to be – but only if we have an educational system that supports us rather than holds us down. A tree can grow, but only if its roots are given a healthy foundation.

For those of you out there that must continue to sit in desks and yield to the authoritarian ideologies of instructors, do not be disheartened. You still have the opportunity to stand up, ask questions, be critical, and create your own perspective. Demand a setting that will provide you with intellectual capabilities that allow you to expand your mind instead of directing it. Demand that you be interested in class. Demand that the excuse, “You have to learn this for the test” is not good enough for you. Education is an excellent tool, if used properly, but focus more on learning rather than getting good grades.

For those of you that work within the system that I am condemning, I do not mean to insult; I intend to motivate. You have the power to change the incompetencies of this system. I know that you did not become a teacher or administrator to see your students bored. You cannot accept the authority of the governing bodies that tell you what to teach, how to teach it, and that you will be punished if you do not comply. Our potential is at stake.

For those of you that are now leaving this establishment, I say, do not forget what went on in these classrooms. Do not abandon those that come after you. We are the new future and we are not going to let tradition stand. We will break down the walls of corruption to let a garden of knowledge grow throughout America. Once educated properly, we will have the power to do anything, and best of all, we will only use that power for good, for we will be cultivated and wise. We will not accept anything at face value. We will ask questions, and we will demand truth.

So, here I stand. I am not standing here as valedictorian by myself. I was molded by my environment, by all of my peers who are sitting here watching me. I couldn’t have accomplished this without all of you. It was all of you who truly made me the person I am today. It was all of you who were my competition, yet my backbone. In that way, we are all valedictorians.

I am now supposed to say farewell to this institution, those who maintain it, and those who stand with me and behind me, but I hope this farewell is more of a “see you later” when we are all working together to rear a pedagogic movement. But first, let’s go get those pieces of paper that tell us that we’re smart enough to do so!

The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: Wow! These were my exact same sentiments after graduating at the age of 17 from my third high school in three different states back in 1978. Incredible insight for a teenager. Kudos to the parents, and to you, Erica. This crumbling society needs more like you… – SJH

Link to link to original article below…

http://www.informationliberation.com/?id=31620

Written by Steven John Hibbs

August 2, 2010 at 8:58 pm

Project Vigilant – A Spy Group Building Dossiers On Internet Users

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August 2, 2010: Paul Joseph Watson / Infowars.com – August 2, 2010

An organization that tracks 250 million IP addresses a day has been developing portfolios on Internet users and handing the information to U.S. federal agencies as the latest incarnation of the supposedly defunct Total Information Awareness spy program is revealed.

A group calling itself Project Vigilant went public at yesterday’s Defcon security conference in an effort to add more recruits to its 600 member strong cyber spy force.

The outfit announced that it had been tracking “Internet villains” for no less than 14 years and handing the information to federal authorities as part of a massive intelligence gathering program. However, the target of one such investigation did not fall into the category of cyber criminals – “terrorists, drug cartels, mobsters” – that the group claims to be fighting. The organization “encouraged one of its ‘volunteers,’ researcher Adrian Lamo, to inform the federal government about the alleged source of a controversial video of civilian deaths in Iraq leaked to the whistle-blower site Wikileaks in April,” reports Forbes.

Project Vigilant director Chet Uber used Lamo’s friendship with Bradley Manning, the former U.S. Army intelligence analyst who allegedly released the classified video, to out Manning, who now faces criminal charges. Uber told Lamo that it was his “patriotic duty” to inform on the man who was instrumental in bringing to light the war atrocities witnessed in the infamous “Collateral Murder” video, which shows U.S. troops slaughtering over a dozen innocent people and injuring others, including two children, Sajad Salah and his little sister Duaa Salah.

“According to Uber, one of Project Vigilant’s manifold methods for gathering intelligence includes collecting information from a dozen regional U.S. Internet service providers,” states the report. “Uber declined to name those ISPs, but said that because the companies included a provision allowing them to share users’ Internet activities with third parties in their end user license agreements (EULAs), Vigilant was able to legally gather data from the Internet carriers and use it to craft reports for federal agencies. A Vigilant press release says that the organization tracks more than 250 million IP addresses a day and can “develop portfolios on any name, screen name or IP address.”

Uber also founded InfraGard, the ominous FBI-affiliated public-private partnership that is a key component of the unfolding implementation of martial law in the United States. InfraGard made its intentions to act as a political police force clear in March 2009 when the group announced that questions surrounding Barack Obama’s presidential eligibility were “potentially harmful to civil order and national security”.

Uber’s organization poses as a volunteer orientated crime-fighting private outfit, and yet it is nothing more than a tentacle of the military-industrial complex’s sprawling unconstitutional internal spy apparatus. Project Vigilant is an offshoot of the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Project Agency’s (DARPA) Total Information Awareness, a program designed to catalogue, “Every purchase you make with a credit card, every magazine subscription you buy and medical prescription you fill, every Web site you visit and e-mail you send or receive, every academic grade you receive, every bank deposit you make, every trip you book and every event you attend,” as the New York Times’ William Safire wrote in November 2002.

TIA, symbolized by its logo of an all-seeing eye atop a pyramid shining upon the globe, was supposedly nixed by Congress shortly after it became public, but the program merely went underground and continued as a part of the Pentagon’s “black budget” and in conjunction with a plethora of private contractors in the same mould as Project Vigilant.

As Capitol Hill Blue reported back in 2004, “Despite Congressional action cutting funding, and the resignation of the program’s controversial director, retired admiral John Poindexter, DARPA’s TIA program is alive and well and prying into the personal business of Americans 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

DARPA has hired private contractors to perform the exact same duties set out in Total Information Awareness, and Project Vigilant is undoubtedly one of them. By hiring private companies to do the dirty work of spying on the American people, Congressional audits can be avoided and legal barriers can be sidestepped.

Project Vigilant is clearly nothing less than a government controlled attack dog fulfilling its role to implement the cybersecurity agenda, which as we have exhaustively documented has nothing to do with security and everything to do with political oppression, Chinese style Internet censorship, and the total evisceration of free speech on the world wide web.

The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: First of all, I am reminded of the Martin Niemöller Sermon (January 1946), as quoted in Martin Niemöller, 1892-1984 (1984) by James Bentley, p. 177…

“Als die Nazis die Kommunisten holten, habe ich geschwiegen; ich war ja kein Kommunist. Als sie die Sozialdemokraten einsperrten, habe ich geschwiegen; ich war ja kein Sozialdemokrat. Als sie die Gewerkschafter holten, habe ich nicht protestiert; ich war ja kein Gewerkschafter. Als sie die Juden holten, habe ich geschwiegen; ich war ja kein Jude. Als sie mich holten, gab es keinen mehr, der protestierte.”

Translation:

“When the Nazis came for the communists, I remained silent; I was not a communist. When they locked up the social democrats, I remained silent; I was not a social democrat. When they came for the trade unionists, I did not speak out; I was not a trade unionist. When they came for the Jews, I remained silent; I wasn’t a Jew. When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out.” 

Source: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Martin_Niem%C3%B6ller

My thought on this is to overwhelm these bastards with everyone starting blogs and websites. Everyone has to get involved! At this point it seems to me that this is meant to be more of a propaganda scare tactic, much like the Facebook incident last week (albeit foolish to post any personal info on the NSA run Facebook), in order to frighten people to the point of just doing or saying nothing allegedly controversial to the government mantra on the internet out of fear of retribution. The government has already been tracking all of our transactions and communications long before 9/11. They can’t get all of us if we all stand up for our right to free speech and privacy, our first and fourth amendments to the US Constitution… I am Blogger! Hear me ROAR! – SJH 

Related: Project Vigilant And The Government/Corporate Destruction Of Privacy

http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/08/02/privacy/index.html

Link to original article below…

http://www.infowars.com/shadowy-spy-group-building-dossiers-on-internet-users-for-feds/

Part I: Global Warfare – Preparing For World War III, Targeting Iran

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August 2, 2010: Michel Chossudovsky / Global Research – August 1, 2010

Humanity is at a dangerous crossroads. War preparations to attack Iran are in “an advanced state of readiness”. Hi-tech weapons systems including nuclear warheads are fully deployed.

This military adventure has been on the Pentagon’s drawing board since the mid-1990s. First Iraq, then Iran according to a declassified 1995 US Central Command document. Escalation is part of the military agenda. While Iran is the next target together with Syria and Lebanon, this strategic military deployment also threatens North Korea, China and Russia. Since 2005, the US and its allies, including America’s NATO partners and Israel, have been involved in the extensive deployment and stockpiling of advanced weapons systems. The air defense systems of the US, NATO member countries and Israel are fully integrated.

This is a coordinated endeavor of the Pentagon, NATO, Israel’s Defense Force (IDF), with the active military involvement of several non-NATO partner countries including the frontline Arab states (members of NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative), Saudi Arabia, Japan, South Korea, India, Indonesia, Singapore, Australia, among others. (NATO consists of 28 NATO member states  Another 21 countries are members of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC), The Mediterranean Dialogue and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative include ten Arab countries plus Israel.)

The roles of Egypt, the Gulf states and Saudi Arabia (within the extended military alliance) is of particular relevance. Egypt controls the transit of war ships and oil tankers through the Suez Canal. Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States occupy the South Western coastlines of the Persian Gulf, the Straits of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman. In early June, “Egypt reportedly allowed one Israeli and eleven U.S. ships to pass through the Suez Canal in an apparent signal to Iran… On June 12, regional press outlets reported that the Saudis had granted Israel the right to fly over its airspace…” (Muriel Mirak Weissbach,  Israel’s Insane War on Iran Must Be Prevented., Global Research, July 31, 2010)

In post 9/11 military doctrine, this massive deployment of military hardware has been defined as part of the so-called  “Global War on Terrorism”, targeting “non-State” terrorist organizations including al Qaeda and so-called “State sponsors of terrorism”, including Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Sudan. The setting up of new US military bases, the stockpiling of advanced weapons systems including tactical nuclear weapons, etc. were implemented as part of the pre-emptive defensive military doctrine under the umbrella of the “Global War on Terrorism”.

War and the Economic Crisis

The broader implications of a US-NATO Israel attack on Iran are far-reaching. The war and the economic crisis are intimately related. The war economy is financed by Wall Street, which stands as the creditor of the US administration. The US weapons producers are the recipients of the US Department of Defense multi-billion dollar procurement contracts for advanced weapons systems. In turn, “the battle for oil” in the Middle East and Central Asia directly serves the interests of the Anglo-American oil giants.

The US and its allies are “beating the drums of war” at the height of a Worldwide economic depression, not to mention the most serious environmental catastrophe in World history. In a bitter twist, one of the major players (BP) on the Middle East Central Asia geopolitical chessboard, formerly known as the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, is the instigator of the ecological disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Media Disinformation

Public opinion, swayed by media hype is tacitly supportive, indifferent or ignorant as to the likely impacts of what is upheld as an ad hoc “punitive” operation directed against Iran’s nuclear facilities rather than an all out war. War preparations include the deployment of US and Israeli produced nuclear weapons. In this context, the devastating consequences of a nuclear war are either trivialised or simply not mentioned. The “real crisis” threatening humanity, according to the media and the governments, is not war, but global warming. 

The war on Iran is presented to public opinion as an issue among others. It is not viewed as a threat to “Mother Earth” as in the case of global warming. It is not front-page news. The fact that an attack on Iran could lead to escalation and potentially unleash a “global war” is not a matter of concern. 

The Cult of Killing and Destruction

The global killing machine is also sustained by an imbedded cult of killing and destruction which pervades Hollywood movies, not to mention the prime time war and crime TV series on network television. This cult of killing is endorsed by the CIA and the Pentagon which also support (finance) Hollywood productions as an instrument of war propaganda:

“Ex-CIA agent Bob Baer told us, “There’s a symbiosis between the CIA and Hollywood” and revealed that former CIA director George Tenet is currently, “out in Hollywood, talking to studios.” (Matthew Alford and Robbie Graham, Lights, Camera… Covert Action: The Deep Politics of Hollywood, Global Research, January 31, 2009).

The killing machine is deployed at a global level, within the framework of the unified combat command structure. It is routinely upheld by the institutions of government, the corporate media and the mandarins and intellectuals of the New World Order in Washington’s think tanks and strategic studies research institutes, as an unquestioned instrument of peace and global prosperity.

A culture of killing and violence has become imbedded in human consciousness. War is broadly accepted as part of a societal process: The Homeland needs to be “defended” and protected. “Legitimized violence” and extrajudicial killings directed against “terrorists” are upheld in western democracies, as necessary instruments of national security.

A “humanitarian war” is upheld by the so-called international community. It is not condemned as a criminal act. Its main architects are rewarded for their contributions to world peace. With regard to Iran, what is unfolding is the outright legitimization of war in the name of an illusive notion of global security.

A “Pre-emptive” Aerial attack directed against Iran would lead to Escalation

At present there are three separate Middle East Central Asia war theaters: Iraq, Af-Pak, and Palestine. Were Iran to be the object of a “pre-emptive” aerial attack by allied forces, the entire region, from the Eastern Mediterranean to China’s Western frontier with Afghanistan and Pakistan, would flare up, leading us potentially into a World War III scenario. The war would also extend into Lebanon and Syria.

It is highly unlikely that the bombings, if they were to be implemented, would be circumscribed to Iran’s nuclear facilities as claimed by US-NATO official statements. What is more probable is an all out air attack on both military and civilian infrastructure, transport systems, factories, public buildings…

[read more below]

The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: Excellent analysis by Mr. Chossudovsky. Read the entire article at the link below– SJH

Link to entire article below…

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=20403

Let Them Eat Cake – While Americans Suffer The Global Elite Party

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August 2, 2010: Paul Craig Roberts / Infowars.com – August 1, 2010

It is not unusual for members of the diminishing upper middle class to drop $20,000 or $30,000 on a big wedding. But for celebrities this large sum wouldn’t cover the wedding dress or the flowers.

When country music star Keith Urban married actress Nicole Kidman in 2006, their wedding cost $250,000. This large sum hardly counts as a celebrity wedding. When mega-millionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump married model Melania Knauss, the wedding bill was $1,000,000.

The marriages of Madonna and film director Guy Ritchie, Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren, and Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones pushed up the cost of celebrity marriages to $1.5 million. Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes upped the ante to $2,000,000.

Now comes the politicians’s daughter as celebrity. According to news reports, Chelsea Clinton’s wedding to investment banker Mark Mezvinsky on July 31 is costing papa Bill $3,000,000. According to the London Daily Mail, the total price tag will be about $5,000,000. The additional $2,000,000 apparently is being laid off on US Taxpayers as Secret Service costs for protecting former president Clinton and foreign heads of state, such as the presidents of France and Italy and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who are among the 500 invited guests along with Barbara Streisand, Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, Ted Turner, and Clinton friend and donor Denise Rich, wife of the Clinton-pardoned felon.

Before we attend to the poor political judgment of such an extravagant affair during times of economic distress, let us wonder aloud where a poor boy who became governor of Arkansas and president of the United States got such a fortune that he can blow $3,000,000 on a wedding.

The American people did not take up a collection to reward him for his service to them. Where did the money come from? Who was he really serving during his eight years in office? How did Tony Blair and his wife, Cherrie, end up with an annual income of ten million pounds (approximately $15 million dollars) as soon as he left office? Who was Blair really serving? These are not polite questions, and they are infrequently asked.

While Chelsea’s wedding guests eat a $11,000 wedding cake and admire $250,000 floral displays, Lisa Roberts in Ohio is struggling to raise contributions for her food pantry in order to feed 3,000 local people, whose financial independence was destroyed by investment bankers, job offshoring, and unaffordable wars. The Americans dependent on Lisa Roberts’ food pantry are living out of vans and cars. Those with a house roof still over their heads are packed in as many as 14 per household according to the Chillicothe Gazette in Ohio.

The Chilicothe Gazette reports that Lisa Roberts’ food pantry has “had to cut back to half rations per person in order to have something for everyone who needed it.” Theresa DePugh stepped up to the challenge and had the starving Ohioans write messages on their food pantry paper plates to President Obama, who has just obtained another $33 billion to squander on a pointless war in Afghanistan that serves no purpose whatsoever except the enrichment of the military/security complex and its shareholders.

The Guardian (UK) reports that according to US government reports, one million American children go to bed hungry, while the Obama regime squanders hundreds of billions of dollars killing women and children in Afghanistan and elsewhere. The Guardian’s reporting relies on a US government report from the US Department of Agriculture, which concludes that 50 million people in the US–one in six of the population–were unable to afford to buy sufficient food to stay healthy in 2008. US Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said that he expected the number of hungry Americans to worsen when the survey for 2010 is released.

Today in the American Superpower, one of every six Americans is living on food stamps. The Great American Superpower, which is wasting trillions of dollars in pursuit of world hegemony, has 22% of its population unemployed and almost 17% of its population dependent on welfare in order to stay alive.

The world has not witnessed such total failure of government since the final days of the Roman Empire. A handful of American oligarchs are becoming mega-billionaires while the rest of the country goes down the drain. And the American sheeple remain acquiescent.

The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: And it’s all right in your face, folks! – SJH

Link to original article below…

http://www.infowars.com/let-them-eat-cake/