'Democracy Now', Interviews Michael Moore who is finally discusted with Democrats: Haiti & Supreme Court Decision & Obama

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'Democracy Now', Interviews Michael Moore who is finally discusted with Democrats: Haiti & Supreme Court Decision & Obama

Michael Moore on Haiti, the Supreme Court Decision on Corporate Campaign Financing, and Why He Calls the Democrats “Disgusting”

Michael-moore-democracynow

Filmmaker Michael Moore joins us for a wide-ranging interview about Haiti, the Supreme Court decision on corporate campaign financing, President Obama’s first year in office, the Democrats, and much more. “The Democrats] don’t have the guts. They don’t have the courage of their own convictions. They’re disgusting. I’m embarrassed,” Moore says. “I want really nothing to do with them. And if they don’t find their spine, well, they’re in for a huge surprise in November.” [includes rush transcript]

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Re: 'Democracy Now', Interviews Michael Moore who is ...

Great interview....thanks a lot John.

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Horizontal or Vertical Collectivism?

I don't necessarily agree with Moore when says he is criticising capitalism.

What he is criticising is fascism (vertical collectivism) which is the type of government the US now operates under.

And what he is proposing as a solution is socialism (horizontal collectivism).

There are elements of both capitalism and socialism that have merits providing they are not taken to extremes and corrupted.

Capitalism should (fairly) reward individual innovation via the free market providing it has a wider benefit for society as a whole.

Socialism should prevent those less able to fend for themselves from falling through the cracks without creating a welfare state mentality that becomes totally dependent on the government and discourages progress and innovation.

But it appears we now have the worse elements of both instead of the best which, in a nutshell, is fascism.

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Re: 'Democracy Now', Interviews Michael Moore who is ...

There is a reason we live in a Republic ( at least we used to ) and not a Democracy.  Maybe he should learn about it.

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Re: 'Democracy Now', Interviews Michael Moore who is ...

Rowmat 

i agree. Moore is confusing a political system with a financial system. 

He totally misses the point that we are not a Democracy and have not been since 1913. Actually more correctly we are supposed to be a republic but have not been since 1913. He also is stuck in some anachronistic paradigms. One being that the government should have anything to do with healthcare in the first place. Or what farmers grow or any of the other things that are controlled by the alphabet soup of the agencies of  this government.

The other useless paradigm is the Liberal/Conservative, Democrat/Republican, Red/Blue duality that keeps us divided against ourselves. He almost gets it but he wallows around in his own "despair" and is largely just perpetuating the system. He is in the Matrix and does not know it..

It would be nice if his 300+ lbs  could be nudged over the line towards G. Edward Griffin or the late Aaron Russo or Bill Stiles. Then he could really make a difference with the "base" Until he does that he will continue to have the sheeple wandering around behind him wondering what to think and trying to get the license number of the truck that just ran them over.

Basically he is still a very superficial film maker.

V

PS i  believe the women singing were " Sweet Honey In The Rock" They are awesome but I just wonder at the placement in the interview. Do you think they voted for anyone but Obama? We are still in a Century of Self.

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'The American Dream'

However, I do totally agree with Moore's comments about the education system and the engineered 'dumbing down' of the population over the past 40 odd years.

As always, at times like these, I introduce the late, great Mr George Carlin once again.

NOTE: Language warning!

And what exactly is Carlin describing?

FASCISM!

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The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America

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Even Beyoncé is in on the act...

How much more blatant can they get?

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Re: 'Democracy Now', Interviews Michael Moore who is ...

I would argue that Michael Moore is himself a victim of the very propaganda system he decries. In my cynical view, the meek compliance on the part of the American public to inept, corrupt, and completely unresponsive government starts with a monopoly public education system that conditions us to be compliant worker bees, unquestioning of authority, and incapable of critical thinking. But it is the monopoly media that completes the deal, easily keeping us distracted and amused with an endless stream of trivia and banality, and perhaps more importantly, keeping us fiercely divided against each other with the absurd fiction that two separate parties with important and meaningful differences exist, when by now it should be painfully obvious, we have an unaccountable duopoly representing someone else's interests, running roughshod over us. We're lucky at the ballot box, if we get more than a choice between Coke and Pepsi.

It's hard to believe someone so obviously bright and thoughtful would buy into this, but Moore seems to swallow the whole story, hook, line, and sinker, blaming everything that's wrong with the world on "the other side," - the right - the Republicans - the capitalists, who are simply diabolically evil. But I wonder how he reconciles this with his narrative about an uneducated American public, with 40 million functional illiterates - ranking so far behind other countries? How does he blame the capitalists - the "other side" -  when it is his beloved government that controls schooling? And who has more to do with it than the teacher's unions, one of the most reliably Democratic voting blocs? Moore calls our education system "enforced ignorance" because "we've made it our lowest priority." Really? Then how come we spend twice as much per capita as the private schools do -  and more than any other country in the world? I don't buy it. Why would we want more of this? This sounds like the old Marx brothers joke - "Gosh, the food here is terrible." ... "Yes, and such small portions, too!"

Cheers

Greg

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Re: 'Democracy Now', Interviews Michael Moore who is ...

Excellent comments. I agree with an awful lot of what is said here, but I guess I just have a soft spot for Mr. Moore, I do enjoy his movies and I applaud his taking a stand-however flawed and simplistic it may be. His points need to be made and it’s a welcome counterbalance to the Fox News onslaught.

I think he does make the argument, perhaps more to himself than the camera, that the belief system that he once held forth for the Democratic party has pretty much been shattered. He still places copious blame on “the other side” but I do see an advancement here as he does seem to be coming around and has dropped any semblance of optimism or favoritism for the Democratic party. Perhaps he can continue the journey and evolve his thinking to reflect these newfound realities.

Regarding the public school system and assigning some good old fashioned Libertarian blame, is this really fair? At the risk of being politically incorrect, isn’t this a bit like going to a leper colony, fashioning a state funded medical institution to care for them and then pointing fingers at all the rampant disease? Your tax dollars at work- another example of government gone bad. I’m not buying that. I also would not advocate dumping more money into it either, but I cannot see how any other privatization effort could do better. This is more of a reflection of our culture than our government, hard as it is to swallow.

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Re: 'Democracy Now', Interviews Michael Moore who is ...

And where do most obtain their 'culture' from and who provides it?

Add to that "No child left behind" and you can see how we arrived here.

darbikrash wrote:

Excellent comments. I agree with an awful lot of what is said here, but I guess I just have a soft spot for Mr. Moore, I do enjoy his movies and I applaud his taking a stand-however flawed and simplistic it may be. His points need to be made and it’s a welcome counterbalance to the Fox News onslaught.

I think he does make the argument, perhaps more to himself than the camera, that the belief system that he once held forth for the Democratic party has pretty much been shattered. He still places copious blame on “the other side” but I do see an advancement here as he does seem to be coming around and has dropped any semblance of optimism or favoritism for the Democratic party. Perhaps he can continue the journey and evolve his thinking to reflect these newfound realities.

Regarding the public school system and assigning some good old fashioned Libertarian blame, is this really fair? At the risk of being politically incorrect, isn’t this a bit like going to a leper colony, fashioning a state funded medical institution to care for them and then pointing fingers at all the rampant disease? Your tax dollars at work- another example of government gone bad. I’m not buying that. I also would not advocate dumping more money into it either, but I cannot see how any other privatization effort could do better. This is more of a reflection of our culture than our government, hard as it is to swallow.

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Re: 'Democracy Now', Interviews Michael Moore who is ...

Excellent dialogue.

The reason I posted this vid. is because I used to be a big fan of Michael Moore until a few years ago, when started to read that he was really a political shill for the Democrats. Articles said that he indeed brought up contentious issues but never quite to the point, but enough to get 'the Glen Beck crowd' on side. I was then learned that his Hollywood promoter is the brother of Rahm Emanuel, Ari Emanuel (see below), and as have also started to disbelieve in such coincidences, I rather wrote him off.

For Capitalism a Love Story, he had requested (from his email list) explanations for the financial crisis and I know for a fact he received tons of info on the Fed and our debt-based money system, yet understand that did not make it into the movie (although have not seen it).

Yet, in this interview with 'Democracy Now' he expresses great disappointment with the Democrats and maybe I have been too harsh in my judgments?

Ariel "Ari" Zev Emanuel (born March 29, 1961 in Chicago, Illinois) is an American talent agent, founder of the Endeavor Talent Agency in Beverly Hills, California, and now CEO of William Morris Endeavor Entertainment, Endeavor's successor by merger.[1] As of December 4, 2009, he was purportedly representing Martin Scorsese, Larry David, Michael Moore, Matt Damon, Sacha Baron Cohen, Conan O'Brien, and Mark Wahlberg, among others.[2] His special relationship with his clients coupled with his stature in the industry has led to various homages and parodies over the years, including Bob Odenkirk's character, Stevie Grant, on The Larry Sanders Show,[3] and Ari Gold, played by Jeremy Piven on the HBO television show Entourage.[4] He also currently serves on the board of Live Nation.[5]

Raised in suburban Wilmette, Illinois, Emanuel is the brother of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, NIH bioethicist Ezekiel J. Emanuel, and adopted sister Shoshana Emanuel. His father, the Jerusalem-born Dr. Benjamin M. Emanuel is a pediatrician who was active in the Irgun (Hebrew: ארגון), an organization of Israeli militants.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ari_Emanuel

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Re: 'Democracy Now', Interviews Michael Moore who is ...

The Rahm Emanuel connection is a doozy!

On one hand one could say it may be innocuous, but Rahm Emanuel is anything 'but'.

I too have been often disappointed by Moore in that he appears that he his really going to nail an issue, but as you say, somehow doesn't totally.

An analogy would be a boxing match in which Moore has his opponent on the ropes 10 sec before the end of the final round and is about to nail the final blow when he drop his gloves, turns away and heads off for some burgers and fries.

John99 wrote:

Excellent dialogue.

The reason I posted this vid. is because I used to be a big fan of Michael Moore until a few years ago, when started to read that he was really a political shill for the Democrats. Articles said that he indeed brought up contentious issues but never quite to the point, but enough to get 'the Glen Beck crowd' on side. I was then learned that his Hollywood promoter is the brother of Rahm Emanuel, Ari Emanuel (see below), and as have also started to disbelieve in such coincidences, I rather wrote him off.

For Capitalism a Love Story, he had requested (from his email list) explanations for the financial crisis and I know for a fact he received tons of info on the Fed and our debt-based money system, yet understand that did not make it into the movie (although have not seen it).

Yet, in this interview with 'Democracy Now' he expresses great disappointment with the Democrats and maybe I have been too harsh in my judgments?

Ariel "Ari" Zev Emanuel (born March 29, 1961 in Chicago, Illinois) is an American talent agent, founder of the Endeavor Talent Agency in Beverly Hills, California, and now CEO of William Morris Endeavor Entertainment, Endeavor's successor by merger.[1] As of December 4, 2009, he was purportedly representing Martin Scorsese, Larry David, Michael Moore, Matt Damon, Sacha Baron Cohen, Conan O'Brien, and Mark Wahlberg, among others.[2] His special relationship with his clients coupled with his stature in the industry has led to various homages and parodies over the years, including Bob Odenkirk's character, Stevie Grant, on The Larry Sanders Show,[3] and Ari Gold, played by Jeremy Piven on the HBO television show Entourage.[4] He also currently serves on the board of Live Nation.[5]

Raised in suburban Wilmette, Illinois, Emanuel is the brother of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, NIH bioethicist Ezekiel J. Emanuel, and adopted sister Shoshana Emanuel. His father, the Jerusalem-born Dr. Benjamin M. Emanuel is a pediatrician who was active in the Irgun (Hebrew: ארגון), an organization of Israeli militants.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ari_Emanuel

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Re: 'Democracy Now', Interviews Michael Moore who is ...

I can understand some admiration for Mr. Moore's political positions against the warfare state and corporate fascism, but we are still talking about a guy that is against private gun ownership, for extremely high taxation, for forced collectivism at almost every level of government.  Why all the love?

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What's wrong with American public education
darbikrash wrote:

Regarding the public school system and assigning some good old fashioned Libertarian blame, is this really fair? At the risk of being politically incorrect, isn’t this a bit like going to a leper colony, fashioning a state funded medical institution to care for them and then pointing fingers at all the rampant disease? Your tax dollars at work- another example of government gone bad. I’m not buying that. I also would not advocate dumping more money into it either, but I cannot see how any other privatization effort could do better. This is more of a reflection of our culture than our government, hard as it is to swallow.

darbikrash

It was really only my intent to point out the folly and hypocrisy of the partisan Michael Moore blaming the "other side," and lambasting us for making education our lowest priority, when it has long been the government, led by his Democrats, that has been firmly in control of it, and when we are in fact spending more per capita than any other country in the world (the usual liberal metric for how much we care). I'm not necessarily interested in "assigning good old fashioned Libertarian blame" - certainly I'm not prepared to suggest we shouldn't be socializing the cost of education, in a significant way - but I do think more of the top down central planning, people like Michael Moore generally favor, is the last thing we need.

As for your 'leper colony' analogy, I am unable to make any sense of it at all, and unless I'm misreading it, it seems entirely contrary to my view. It would certainly seem to imply that children are born at some natural disadvantage, which makes it thankless and undesirable to try to help them - but that fortunately, the paternal state, in all of it's benevolence, is there to bravely step in, doing it's best to mold our children into good citizens, against impossible odds - and yet, for all their heroic efforts, we have the temerity to criticize them for failing to cure the incurable. ... In my view, nothing could be further from the truth.

As I see it, most children are nothing like lepers. They are not incurable, or beyond help. Most of them are entirely capable of learning, but public education, with it's central planning, it's standardization, and it's virtual monopoly, does a really poor job of it - or maybe it's actually a really good job - teaching them to be obedient citizens, compliant workers, and efficient consumers. But if anything, I wouldn't make an analogy to a valiant medical institution struggling against difficult odds, but rather to an incompetent institution making previously healthy people sick. You choose to see it as "more of a reflection of our culture than our government," but I see no reason to make that distinction. Because in my view, monopoly public education plays a huge role in creating that very culture. Here's what John Taylor Gatto has to say about it: (from his New York City Teacher of the Year Award acceptance speech, January 31, 1990.)

John Taylor Gatto wrote:

The daily misery around us is, I think, in large measure caused by the fact that - as Paul Goodman put it thirty years ago - we force children to grow up absurd. Any reform in schooling has to deal with its absurdities.

It is absurd and anti-life to be part of a system that compels you to sit in confinement with people of exactly the same age and social class. That system effectively cuts you off from the immense diversity of life and the synergy of variety, indeed it cuts you off from your own past and future, scaling you to a continuous present much the same way television does.

It is absurd and anti-life to be part of a system that compels you to listen to a stranger reading poetry when you want to learn to construct buildings, or to sit with a stranger discussing the construction of buildings when you want to read poetry.

It is absurd and anti-life to move from cell to cell at the sound of a gong for every day of your natural youth in an institution that allows you no privacy and even follows you into the sanctuary of your home demanding that you do its "homework".

(note: Gatto gave this speech before the internet and other new technologies had risen to prominence, adding yet another element to the mix) From the same speech:

Quote:

Two institutions at present control our children's lives - television and schooling, in that order. Both of these reduce the real world of wisdom, fortitude, temperance, and justice to a never-ending, non-stopping abstraction. In centuries past the time of a child and adolescent would be occupied in real work, real charity, real adventures, and the realistic search for mentors who might teach what you really wanted to learn. A great deal of time was spent in community pursuits, practicing affection, meeting and studying every level of the community, learning how to make a home, and dozens of other tasks necessary to become a whole man or woman.

But here is the calculus of time the children I teach must deal with:

Out of the 168 hours in each week, my children sleep 56. That leaves them 112 hours a week out of which to fashion a self.

My children watch 55 hours of television a week according to recent reports. That leaves them 57 hours a week in which to grow up.

My children attend school 30 hours a week, use about 6 hours getting ready, going and coming home, and spend an average of 7 hours a week in homework - a total of 45 hours. During that time, they are under constant surveillance, have no private time or private space, and are disciplined if they try to assert individuality in the use of time or space. That leaves 12 hours a week out of which to create a unique consciousness. Of course, my kids eat, and that takes some time - not much, because they've lost the tradition of family dining, but if we allot 3 hours a week to evening meals, we arrive at a net amount of private time for each child of 9 hours.

It's not enough. It's not enough, is it? The richer the kid, or course, the less television he watches but the rich kid's time is just as narrowly proscribed by a somewhat broader catalog of commercial entertainments and his inevitable assignment to a series of private lessons in areas seldom of his actual choice.

And these things are oddly enough just a more cosmetic way to create dependent human beings, unable to fill their own hours, unable to initiate lines of meaning to give substance and pleasure to their existence. It's a national disease, this dependency and aimlessness, and I think schooling and television and lessons - the entire Chautauqua idea - has a lot to do with it.

Think of the things that are killing us as a nation - narcotic drugs, brainless competition, recreational sex, the pornography of violence, gambling, alcohol, and the worst pornography of all - lives devoted to buying things, accumulation as a philosophy - all of them are addictions of dependent personalities, and that is what our brand of schooling must inevitably produce.

I want to tell you what the effect is on children of taking all their time from them - time they need to grow up - and forcing them to spend it on abstractions. You need to hear this, because no reform that doesn't attack these specific pathologies will be anything more than a facade.  

http://www.naturalchild.org/guest/john_gatto.html

So what is the solution? I certainly don't have all the answers, but as always, a good starting point is to at least recognize the nature of the problem. And in my view,  the Soviet style, centralized, uniform, standardized system we now have, is the worst possible system. Finland, which by all accounts has one of the best public education systems in the world, has no centralized curriculum. Teachers are free to choose their own textbooks, and typically assign only minimal homework. Students aren't even graded until the 5th grade. They don't begin school until they're 7 years old, and only continue through age 16, yet they easily outperform the US, at a lower cost. Why aren't we looking at that model, instead of clamoring for longer school days and school years - the last thing children need?

Certainly, I think we should encourage the development  of charter schools, or any other system that allows for competition, not only to provide better educational opportunities, but to help contain increasingly unsustainable costs. On Long Island where I live, almost 70% of property taxes are now devoted to public education, with the highest teacher salaries now approaching $150,000, annually. One local school district has three administrators earning over $300,000! This is what happens when compliant and distracted taxpayers, themselves the product of monopoly public schooling, are disengaged, and easily manipulated. But even so, it can only happen where there is a monopoly - where there is no other choice. Even the most affluent private schools are less profligate.

And finally, we should be lauding and encouraging homeschooling, not demonizing it and thwarting it. Currently only 24 states even allow homeschooled students to participate in extra-curricular activities at public schools. (Heisman trophy winner Tim Tebow was actually fortunate to be able to play on a Florida High school football team while being homeschooled) In a ruling since overturned, in 2008, an appeals court in California, with the full backing of the California Teachers Association, essentially outlawed home schooling, altogether, ruling that only certified teachers could homeschool their children. Said Justice H. Walter Croskey, of the court's 3-0 decision, "a primary purpose of the educational system is to train school children in good citizenship, patriotism and loyalty to the state and the nation as a means of protecting the public welfare," adding, "parents do not have a constitutional right to homeschool their children." ... To me, this kind of thinking, unconditionally supported by the teachers unions, and other proponents of central planning, is exactly what's wrong with American public education.

Best

Greg 

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Re: 'Democracy Now', Interviews Michael Moore who is ...

As I see it, most children are nothing like lepers. They are not incurable, or beyond help. Most of them are entirely capable of learning, but public education, with it's central planning, it's standardization, and it's virtual monopoly, does a really poor job of it - or maybe it's actually a really good job - teaching them to be obedient citizens, compliant workers, and efficient consumers.

Greg nice post.

Maybe I am getting old these days LOL....but the one room school house IMHO did a better job of teaching our children than the multibillion dollar disaster we have today. Teachers were allowed to be teachers. At least most of the kids knew how to survive & had honest common sense. None of the children were chemically managed & controlled by Ritalin to Prozac & beyond. Today many children are sadly nothing more than a side effect of sex. Parents many of whom are little better than children themselves.

Keep it simple is better IMHO.

 

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Re: What's wrong with American public education

That is a very intelligent and considered response, and as has become typical, I learn something from most of your posts.

I think we agree that the “blaming the other side” is a specious accusation, though I would add that the system of public education, teachers unions aside, has the watermark of both parties not just Democrats. (…no child left behind, et. al.)

GregSchleich wrote:

It's hard to believe someone so obviously bright and thoughtful would buy into this, but Moore seems to swallow the whole story, hook, line, and sinker, blaming everything that's wrong with the world on "the other side," - the right - the Republicans - the capitalists, who are simply diabolically evil. But I wonder how he reconciles this with his narrative about an uneducated American public, with 40 million functional illiterates - ranking so far behind other countries? How does he blame the capitalists - the "other side" -  when it is his beloved government that controls schooling? And who has more to do with it than the teacher's unions, one of the most reliably Democratic voting blocs? 

I would add that “the capitalists” are not necessarily the other side in your context, as they come minted as both Democrats and Republicans, but differ as (ostensibly) they do not purport to provide governance, but rather have the profit motive as an agenda. His movie on capitalism takes to task the behavior of capitalists, judges them immoral and, to his words “fundamentally evil”. He provides this overview as a judgment independent of governance or party, although as you suggest the Republican party is often associated with pro-business initiatives so I guess there is some guilt by association here. He also goes on (in Capitalism- A Love Story) to prompt the Ohio senator if she thinks a “financial coup d’etat” has been perpetrated on the American public by the financial wrangling of Goldman Sachs et. al. and she replies in the affirmative 

So much for him not “going the distance” in concluding his points, I think suggesting that our government has been overthrown to a Senator and getting her to agree is about as illustrative as it gets.

The analogy I provided illustrates a key point, does the government “control schooling” as you suggest? Well to a large extent they control the curriculum, the teaching methods and standards, but they do not control the efficacy, in other words they do not control the results. Nor does Mr. Gatto.

The “finished product” is the result of many inputs, sociological, environmental, motivational, intellectual, and way down the list, the curriculum and training methods. Humbling as it may be, we just do not have that degree of control.

Of the 40 million functional illiterate mentioned by Mr. Moore, how many speak English as a primary language? Would you not consider this a profound disadvantage in a classroom of peers that do? How about economic disparities in the same example. There is very strong correlation between English language proficiency, economic stratification and literacy. Profoundly so. The point I make is that the public school system does not get to pick and choose who comes across the transom. They cannot correct or equalize these factors. There are no cost based discriminators such as tuition that the private sector can impose to stratify the economically disadvantage out of the population.

So the public school system is “stuck” with disadvantaged kids, lots of them, and they have to teach them as well as the others. This commingling of primary  language skills and economic standards is the source of the disparity when comparing literacy with other countries, and with other school districts within our country.

My analogy links these disadvantages to the impossibility of the institution attempting the “cure” . I believe this is not intended to support your point, but rather to introduce another way of thinking about the problem as one not necessarily the result of an incompetent institution. The issue isn’t that children are ‘incurable” rather, they do not have the same baseline skills and the same time component to learn as those who do not have language or economic problems, and this time component is insufficient to let them learn a foreign language and succeed within the curriculum of the respective grade. In contrast, the other students do have sufficient baseline skills and do succeed.

Is this incompetence in the institution? Is this bad government? Or is it in fact a pragmatic reflection of our culture.

Television is a caustic and negative influence to be sure, but it is not responsible for the illiteracy of 40 million people.

The reference you make to our public school, system as “Soviet style” is a little much, no? Are our teachers “comrades” inflicting the “party” ideology to raise little brown shirts trained to spy on their neighbors and report unsanctioned behavior to the State? At the State level, might the objective be to not educate at all, but to train? To train for the factories, to support and maintain the allegiance to capitalism, and most importantly of all, to be consumers.

That requires training, not education, and some or even many of those things do not require reading beyond a 4th or 5th grade level. It is here that Mr. Moore does not go far enough.

I know very little about home schooling, but I do see some practical problems that are not well received by the deconstruct government set. Is there not an implicit requirement that an “education” provide some sort of positive effect on the community when completed? Not an appealing discussion, but if everyone wants to be home schooled, this does not mean that every parent is qualified to be a teacher. What happens if a significant percentage of these kids come out with no skills to succeed in society? Who pays the bill? What if this bloats the welfare class to 10x where it is now? I’m not taking the position that we should be turning out robots, but some moderation is needed to insure that we provide education and/or training that is a net benefit to society, not the opposite. I cannot see how this is possible without some degree of top down planning- in moderation.

The full extension of this home schooling concept is quite alarming to me, as it’s repercussions and implications are conveniently ignored in the pursuit of individualism and freedom from government and authority of any sort and at any cost.

It is here that I take issue with Mr. Gatto, I have learned much from his writings, but he tends to drift into this Utopian, anti-authoritarian lament which I cannot see having any practical relevance when we are talking about 4th graders. Without structure and discipline (again in moderation) you have chaos. These kids are 10- not wandering the hallways reading Nietzsche and smoking pipes!!!

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Re: What's wrong with American public education

Thank you Greg for quoting JT Gatto. 

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Re: What's wrong with American public education

You make some very good points darbikrash.

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Re: What's wrong with American public education

 

http://www.sovereignty.net/library/chapman-web.htm

Michael Chapman connects the "Sustainable Development" dots to education.  This video explains how public school curriculum has been hijacked to ensure that a whole generation is ready to accept the collectivist system of government control without a word of protest.  Presented at the 2008 Freedom21 National Conference in Dallas, Texas.  Run time: 44:13

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Re: What's wrong with American public education

In looking at public education in this country it might be useful to do a survey to see where the politicians send their children. Lets start at the top where does Obama live? Does he send his daughters to the public schools in DC?

Do the senators, reps, and supreme court justices send their kids to public schools?

In this Banana Republic called the United States there is a class system and it is a societal devolution well on its way to feudalism. The elites have the finest education , healthcare, police protection etc. that our money can provide for them.  There is no need of an educated populace as a matter of fact a truly educated populace is a hindrance to the governance being practices today. Critical thinking in this country is an act of terror to those who rule. Schools are not designed to promote thinking they are designed to if anything produce cogs in the wheel that will provide increased profits for those at the top and not ask any questions.

Michael Moore is either an unwitting pawn or a willing participant in the great deception being perpetrated.

With his connection to the Emmanuels it is hard to believe the former

V

GregSchleich's picture
GregSchleich
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 16 2009
Posts: 187
Re: What's wrong with American public education

darbikrash

Thanks for your generous and open minded response. I appreciate your posts too - even if  I often find them challenging! As for assigning blame for the problems of American public education, as well as the excesses of modern capitalism, I have no interest in making it a partisan issue (I'm no fan of either wing of the duopoly). It was only my intent to point out the folly of Michael Moore's having done so - at least in this interview. And as for the greater criticisms of Mr Moore, I've never actually seen any of his movies, but while I share the concerns raised about him by Goes211, in this interview, at least, he certainly comes off as an interesting and sympathetic character. 

darbikrash wrote:

The analogy I provided illustrates a key point, does the government “control schooling” as you suggest? Well to a large extent they control the curriculum, the teaching methods and standards, but they do not control the efficacy, in other words they do not control the results. Nor does Mr. Gatto.

The “finished product” is the result of many inputs, sociological, environmental, motivational, intellectual, and way down the list, the curriculum and training methods. Humbling as it may be, we just do not have that degree of control.

"Humbling as it may be?" I'm already humble! It is the central planners in Washington, and various state boards of education, who I only wish would find this humbling. Especially if the goal is to actually educate children and help them to fulfill their potential as complete human beings, I certainly have no illusions about the positive efficacy of uniform, standardized curriculums. But if, as a lot of people on this thread seem to think, the goal is really about uniformity, conformity, and a docile, compliant  citizenry, then maybe they're exerting more control than we think. And while the positive effects of central planning may indeed be "way down the list," I think there's quite a bit of evidence to suggest that the deleterious effects are not.   

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Of the 40 million functional illiterate mentioned by Mr. Moore, how many speak English as a primary language? Would you not consider this a profound disadvantage in a classroom of peers that do? How about economic disparities in the same example. There is very strong correlation between English language proficiency, economic stratification and literacy. Profoundly so. The point I make is that the public school system does not get to pick and choose who comes across the transom. They cannot correct or equalize these factors. There are no cost based discriminators such as tuition that the private sector can impose to stratify the economically disadvantage out of the population.

So the public school system is “stuck” with disadvantaged kids, lots of them, and they have to teach them as well as the others. This commingling of primary  language skills and economic standards is the source of the disparity when comparing literacy with other countries, and with other school districts within our country.

In many ways, this is a perfectly valid argument, and in fact, it is almost the exact argument I use to confront those who insist on lauding the supposed superiority of the western European social democracies. Very significantly, the U.S. has an entrenched underclass, the legacy of slavery, racism, and failed social policies, as well as the highest levels of immigration in the world (both legal and illegal, and including high numbers of poor and uneducated). By contrast, the western European countries are far more homogeneous, and much less burdened, but just like the U.S., their economies, and their social programs are dependent on a pyramid structure, with a continuous growth imperative. And so, as they find themselves encouraging higher levels of immigration, not surprisingly, they are finding often poorly assimilated immigrant groups, to be at levels many times higher (in some cases, 8 to 10 times) than that of the general public,  on welfare, and unemployed, potentially jeopardizing the future viability of the very programs they seek to support. 

So yes, a direct comparison of American education to other countries may not always be fair. And to be sure, I probably should have made that qualification in my earlier post.  But that doesn't change the fact that the Finnish model of public education, closer to John Taylor Gatto's vision than any other model, on a level playing field, is still clearly outperforming other countries not at the American disadvantage - it's European neighbors, Israel, and Japan, for example. And it's doing so with a generally shorter school year, less total years, and with a less formal and centralized curriculum. So in my view, we should be thinking about moving closer to a model like this, not farther away from it.

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My analogy links these disadvantages to the impossibility of the institution attempting the “cure” . I believe this is not intended to support your point, but rather to introduce another way of thinking about the problem as one not necessarily the result of an incompetent institution. The issue isn’t that children are ‘incurable” rather, they do not have the same baseline skills and the same time component to learn as those who do not have language or economic problems, and this time component is insufficient to let them learn a foreign language and succeed within the curriculum of the respective grade. In contrast, the other students do have sufficient baseline skills and do succeed.

All these obstacles exist. I don't think that can be disputed, and we need to be aware of them.  But what you seem to be overlooking is that they've always existed. It has never been any different. Immigrants, many of them poor and without language skills, have been pouring into this country for 200 years, and more. Surely, many of them encountered extreme prejudice and difficulties assimilating, yet most of them succeeded. My father, for example, who was born in the Bronx, went to school with mostly Italian immigrants, many of whom could barely speak English. Most of them did just fine. Why should it be any different today? Why do we suddenly feel that we need to coddle these people and treat them differently, or they won't succeed? 

Quote:

Is this incompetence in the institution? Is this bad government? Or is it in fact a pragmatic reflection of our culture.

Television is a caustic and negative influence to be sure, but it is not responsible for the illiteracy of 40 million people.

What John Taylor Gatto does - and I happen to think this is the right approach - is to not look at these factors in isolation, but rather as part of one big picture - much the way Chris Martenson chooses to link the 3 E's. And so I would argue that many of our seemingly intractable problems are part of a self perpetuating cycle, in which public education plays a significant  and unfortunate role. We may have to agree to disagree on this , but in my view, Gatto makes an extremely compelling case that conformity, misplaced trust in authority, boredom, and superficiality, among many other byproducts of mass education are in fact, large contributors to commercialism, consumerism, and a culture of dependency and apathy. To blame the failures of education on the culture it has helped to create, strikes me a little like the joke about the boy who murdered his parents; "Judge, take pity on me. I'm an orphan!"

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The reference you make to our public school, system as “Soviet style” is a little much, no? Are our teachers “comrades” inflicting the “party” ideology to raise little brown shirts trained to spy on their neighbors and report unsanctioned behavior to the State?  

Is it "a little much?" I'm not sure. Yes, this was conscious use of hyperbole on my part, to make my point, but I'm not sure it's as much of an exaggeration as you think. Whether we call each other "comrade" or not, or the government, the "party," is irrelevant. There is a well established link in the roots of American mass education, to the Prussian model, whose aims were worker efficiency, conformity and allegiance to the state. It's certainly not hard to see a connection here to a citizenry that has been accepting decades of nearly continuous involvement in undeclared and unwinnable wars, and continues to accept a steady erosion of civil liberties as the price for safety in the so called "war on terror" - a presumably endless war on an ambiguously defined "enemy."  

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At the State level, might the objective be to not educate at all, but to train? To train for the factories, to support and maintain the allegiance to capitalism, and most importantly of all, to be consumers.

Unfortunately, yes. I'm in complete agreement with this, as is John Taylor Gatto

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I know very little about home schooling, but I do see some practical problems that are not well received by the deconstruct government set. Is there not an implicit requirement that an “education” provide some sort of positive effect on the community when completed? Not an appealing discussion, but if everyone wants to be home schooled, this does not mean that every parent is qualified to be a teacher. What happens if a significant percentage of these kids come out with no skills to succeed in society? Who pays the bill? What if this bloats the welfare class to 10x where it is now? I’m not taking the position that we should be turning out robots, but some moderation is needed to insure that we provide education and/or training that is a net benefit to society, not the opposite. I cannot see how this is possible without some degree of top down planning- in moderation.

The full extension of this home schooling concept is quite alarming to me, as it’s repercussions and implications are conveniently ignored in the pursuit of individualism and freedom from government and authority of any sort and at any cost.

As far as I know, no one is suggesting that EVERYONE should be homeshooling their children - only those who are willing and able. So there is no reason to be alarmed. Overwhelmingly, the empiracle evidence shows that homeschooled students are far outperforming their mass educated peers. Why the deep seated prejudice? There isn't a shred of evidence to support it. This is exactly the flawed mindset of the central planners - that some parents who choose to homeschool their children (demonstrably very, very few) may not be capable, therefore it's imperative that we exert full control over ALL parents. Why don't they worry more about the disastrous job that they're doing, instead of the much better job (with rare exceptions) that others are doing?  

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It is here that I take issue with Mr. Gatto, I have learned much from his writings, but he tends to drift into this Utopian, anti-authoritarian lament which I cannot see having any practical relevance when we are talking about 4th graders. Without structure and discipline (again in moderation) you have chaos. These kids are 10- not wandering the hallways reading Nietzsche and smoking pipes!!!

I've seen this criticism before, of Mr. Gatto, but I think there is great irony in it. Have you ever stood in front of an inner city classroom? Because Mr Gatto has. He speaks fondly of nearly being brained from behind by a student with a chair, on his first day substitute teaching in Harlem. That's when he decided to quit his cush job as an add copy writer to become a New York City school teacher - kind of like a fireman - everyone else runs out of a burning building - he runs in! The guy spends 30 years of his life in the trenches (and evidently he was doing something right, because he won New York City schoolteacher of the year awards, three times) and yet HE gets called a Utopian pipe dreamer! Please... I'll take his invaluable real world experience over the cold and sterile theoretical vision of the central planners, any day of the week.

Best

Greg

 

V's picture
V
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 14 2009
Posts: 849
Re: What's wrong with American public education

I think one important point to remember is that the content of the textbooks is pretty well determined by the states of Texas and California. Publishers of textbooks have to get them past the state department of education.

Statewide tests are dependent on the content of the books. I agree Greg we are not doing anything more than creating worker bees and consumers.

It would be nice if critical thinking were valued but sad to say it is feared by those at the top.

rowmat's picture
rowmat
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 15 2008
Posts: 358
Re: What's wrong with American public education
George Carlin - The American Dream wrote:

"...they don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that . . . that doesn’t help them. That’s against their interests..."

http://www.livevideo.com/video/935CAACB935A44E3B733D303BF536CC4/george-carlin-critical-think.aspx

 

V wrote:

I think one important point to remember is that the content of the textbooks is pretty well determined by the states of Texas and California. Publishers of textbooks have to get them past the state department of education.

Statewide tests are dependent on the content of the books. I agree Greg we are not doing anything more than creating worker bees and consumers.

It would be nice if critical thinking were valued but sad to say it is feared by those at the top.

GregSchleich's picture
GregSchleich
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 16 2009
Posts: 187
Re: What's wrong with American public education
rowmat wrote:
George Carlin - The American Dream wrote:

"...they don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that . . . that doesn’t help them. That’s against their interests..."

http://www.livevideo.com/video/935CAACB935A44E3B733D303BF536CC4/george-carlin-critical-think.aspx

Vintage Carlin

George Carlin - The American Dream wrote:

"Consumption: people spending money they don't have on stuff they don't need."

rowmat

Thanks for getting us going on this conversation, and for the interesting stuff you've put up. this is quite a rant from Carlin - perhaps the darkest I've ever heard from him - almost not even comedy, anymore - just truth that needed to be said.  I meant to comment when you first put it up, but I tend to get sidetracked, pretty easily!

V wrote:

I think one important point to remember is that the content of the textbooks is pretty well determined by the states of Texas and California. Publishers of textbooks have to get them past the state department of education.

Statewide tests are dependent on the content of the books. I agree Greg we are not doing anything more than creating worker bees and consumers.

Obviously, the problems are myriad, but I really think the biggest problem is central planning - top down control. Not only is one size never going to fit all, but I think the best efforts of a lot of smart well meaning people are defeated by this. 

Quote:

It would be nice if critical thinking were valued but sad to say it is feared by those at the top.

V

I think they prefer what Reinhold Niebuhr calls "the non-thought of received ideas."

 

 

rowmat's picture
rowmat
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 15 2008
Posts: 358
Re: George Carlin - 'The American Dream'

I consider Carlin a social commentator/critic masquerading as a comedian as were Bill Hicks, Lenny Bruce etc.

The 'American Dream' is one of his most powerful diatribes against the ruling elite.

It was recorded in 2005 and he predicted the future with uncanny accuracy...

George Carlin wrote:

"...And, now, they’re coming for your Social Security. They want your f*cking retirement money. They want it back, so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And you know something? They’ll get it. They’ll get it all, sooner or later, because they own this f*cking place. It’s a big club, and you ain’t in it. You and I are not in the big club.”

Well ain't that the truth!

GregSchleich wrote:

rowmat

Thanks for getting us going on this conversation, and for the interesting stuff you've put up. this is quite a rant from Carlin - perhaps the darkest I've ever heard from him - almost not even comedy, anymore - just truth that needed to be said.  I meant to comment when you first put it up, but I tend to get sidetracked, pretty easily!

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