Friday, April 2, 2010

Part Two: Education Reform and the Economic Crisis

Of course, thanks to a derelict approach to all forms of infra-structure management from bridges to banking regulations, our national "bad habits" now present a long and varied collection of mortal threats to our democracy. Even though this panoply of associated topics seems to roam far and wide, there seems to be a central educational aspect behind every one of them. Sooner or later, we will need to mature enough to see education as the main engine which drives every aspect of our way of life instead of simply as another opportunity to indulge ourselves with selfish, ideological "poker bets."

Obama, very correctly, interprets the primary priorities threatening the country by examining the leaks in the arterial flow of our economy --  both now and in the future. Health care costs, had they continued on the rapacious trend they set for themselves, although already absorbing a full one third of every dollar, would have grown to nine tenths of the GDP if it were allowed to simply continue.

Every one else in the industrialized world has figured out how to do this with both better health outcomes and far better cost efficiency.  The "bought and paid for" Senators, along with their corporate insurance masters, are obsessed with keeping us as uninformed as possible about this.  They wouldn't be trying to do that if they weren't emboldened by how stupid we are.

And, health care is not the only problem our economy faces.

As we move on, there are a frightening number of other "elephants in the living room" starting with the environment and our national energy costs. Those two are presently configured to cast a similar portion of the nation's future wealth into the same old pockets of the modern Robber Barons and their cronies  which we have always filled so willingly -- and painfully -- so far.

Both areas are economic realities where the current system, should it continue unchanged, will gradually redirect such a huge portion of our national economy to the intolerable "cancer stage" capitalists we have been so carefully trained to tolerate already that nothing will be left in surplus for our growth and development. When viewed in the most cynical -- or, possibly more rational -- sense, this was the destructive scheme of the neo-cons under the autocracy.

And, of course, other accounts can be also be added. There is the constant drain of our bloated military budget, a disaster compounded by incredibly poorly managed, outrageously expensive foreign wars.  This relentless extraction of our tax money is also squarely reliant on the educational failure of citizens who remain convinced that modern diplomatic challenges are no more than an extension of WW2, that modern day politicians -- including Obama -- may be castigated as Hitler-like or Stalin-like villains and that overly simplified modern "talking points" are somehow validated by history lessons they never studied.

So, when does the economy finally give up it's last gasp?

Well, for those MeanMesa visitors who are not professional economists, simply start deducting the fractions from the whole. Remove one third of our current $12-14 trillion gross domestic product for health care. Deduct another third for our unrelenting oil import bills. Deduct another fifth or so for our perpetual balance of trade deficit from all the cheap labor imports we consume like hungry junkies dancing on a street corner. Deduct another fifth for the tax resources we pour into a military complex which seems intent on an endless shopping spree to prepare itself for the last war.

Before long, the equation no longer makes sense. The autocracy, along with the previous two Republican governments, has borrowed money from every sucker who would lend to us. This "payday loan" scheme financed Iraq, the Medicare pharmaceutical fraud and two huge, multi-trillion dollar tax cuts for the criminals closest to the autocrat. And those are only the "big ticket items" -- the roads, schools, hospitals and bridges were deteriorating further toward a third world state daily.

Although, even as the "talking heads" were lamenting the largess of the Democrats, even when taxes were increased more than ever before, the nation could still not pay the immense debts these "fiscal conservatives" were racking up.

How in the world would an informed electorate sit, inactive and dumbfounded on their television couches, as this perfidy unfolded in plain sight?  There is an answer.  There is an answer.  Not only are all these "couch potatoes" staggering under a bloated and biased parody of facts, they also suffer from a deafening lack of education -- in this case, high school civics classes.

President Obama could, if he were no more than a field hand, roll up his sleeves and start trying to minimize the individual damage of each of these economic land mines, but that is not his style. He will act in that manner when necessary, but after each of these little "hold the line" emergency fixes he will inexorably return to the fundamental problem which is sabotaging, undermining and complicating a system which should be working much better than this one is.

The Common Fundamental Problem: An Uneducated Electorate

This posting presents this background in the clearest terms MeanMesa can conjure up to explain what President Obama faces here, the obstacles he must over come and his determination to responsibly address the fundamental root problems mentioned above.

MeanMesa, patiently watching the mindless neo-cons destroy the remaining remnant of the Republican Party, cannot avoid certain common themes now revealed in one depressing visage after another. The neo-con view of our economy, staggering after the criminal looting conducted during the autocracy, hosts the unexamined dream of a restoration of the entire "talking duck" just as it was moments before its 2007 violent collapse.

The neo-con dream of national "exceptionalism" pretends that we, as a nation, were neither the horrendously "bad actors" which our history undeniably suggests nor the accounting idiots we would have to be to explain how we are managing our economy in such a reckless fashion. That dream is the neo-con foundation for all manner of complaints, both domestic and world wide.

What emerges is a cynical, neo-con hope that we, as the majority in this country, will continue to be deceived by the propaganda. Should we mature enough to see the history of the US more objectively, the domination of this persuasive, deceptive media elite would collapse almost immediately.

The neo-cons relegate the disasters of the autocracy's poorly designed and poorly disguised military adventures to a convenient, although rancid, mix of bad luck, perfidy and unfairness. When those wavering excuses falter, even for a moment, intractable conspiracies -- heavily seasoned with an unsettling lack of information -- are trotted in to fill the predictable, gaseous "contradictions," the logical conflicts not based on reality but rather, formulated from even worse machinations of their twisted wet dreams.

The point of all this ranting?

This giant, national fraud was possible only in an environment where the public had neither interest in, the background for nor the access to credible information about the facts of what we, as a nation, were doing -- that is, doing both to ourselves and to the other unfortunate, international victims of the creepy neo-con plans to take over. If the voters of the country were to remain sufficiently ill informed and uneducated, these "wanna-be" plutocrats could continue to be free to chase any self-serving dream they wished, lubricated by a literal glacier of broadcast misinformation.

It's the opinion of MeanMesa that all those rambling Southerners in the Senate, all the thinly repainted racists at the Tea Bagger riots and the hordes of semi-literate butchers, plumbers and truck drivers who consistently buy this torrent of drivel actually do reveal a commonality. Each and every one of them either exploits or suffers from an almost sterile absence of factual information as a consequence of an equally troubling absence of education.

Oh sure, they can allegedly read and write, but they have been so thoroughly filled with inflammatory "talking points" that they have long ago lost any personal ambition to demand good information or actually discern the facts before they form their "opinions." How can so many citizens of such a modern, sophisticated country ever sink to such a state?

These information challenged voters have been carefully saturated with the artificial, narcotic insistence that the entire dilemma facing us MUST BE AS SIMPLE AS A BAPTIST SERMON. The near collapse of the country can always be attributed to common villains, suspicious leadership, conveniently rewritten history (thanks largely to the "textbooks" prepared by creationists and other birthers for the Texas Board of Education and disseminated throughout the country's schools), questioned facts and statistics and rigged up public opinion polls "proving" that they are right and that we should be terrified.

This is the unsettling product of the propaganda work crafted by radio hosts such as Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity conducting a professional misinformation program -- a program constantly reinforced beyond reason by referral to Congressmen and Senators of the right who have no qualms about spitting out every style of deception and misrepresentation as they speak to the nation, always unchallenged, in what passes for interviews on news broadcasts.

This gross deception has already advanced far too far. The percentage of folks in the country who live and breathe by these lies has become the foundation of a horribly threatening divisiveness which is an immediate, material threat to our democracy. The "icing on the cake" is that all these pig headed ideas are filled with flamboyance so outrageous that, to their benefit, most sensible voters are growing more and more skeptical -- just not skeptical enough to correct the problem.

However, other, equally sinister aspects of this misinformation campaign, perhaps those presented more subtly, have penetrated to a shocking depth in the minds of Americans to become full-fledged and firmly implanted "mistaken certainties." The careful repetition of such terms as "ramming through Congress," "giant entitlement program," "back room deals" and the like now form the axiomatic fundamentals for ideas which should be so easily discarded as to never see the light of day.  Every one of them is easily discharged by a review of the actual facts not to mention even a passing knowledge of Congressional history.

The President has now tossed the education calamity to the front, for some, a comforting distraction amid the chaos of corruption which has marked his ambitions to reform health care.  For MeanMesa his choice of this priority signifies another, common sense, cool headed decision to correct a central, underlying cause of the problems we face.

What to Expect

No matter what specific approach the President may attempt, the other side will predictably lie in wait.  For instance, twenty-four hours after he makes his plan public, the "bite and grab" Republicans will begin complaining about the money which must be invested, the idea of teaching something other than more abstinence and a 6,000 year old Earth, the idea of more "wrong colored" people graduating with college degrees and the inevitable dirty shirt Southern Senatorial chorus bemoaning the infringement on states' rights -- all nothing more than a tragic demand for the  selfish extension of the status quo which has served them so well.

The prospect of splitting away any ill-gotten neo-con "profits" for a long term investment in education to shore up the future of the country will cause their heads to explode.  We already have far too many fellow citizens who believe that "stupid is all right."  In our gravely weakened state we cannot afford to carry their dead weight into the competition for success in the 21st Century global economy.

The rest of the educated world has always poked fun at the "dumbies" from America.  That was then.  This is now.  As usual, all these foreigners have figured out the game.  From Russia to Brazil, from China to Belgium, they are cranking out legions of sharp, savvy, fully educated and energetic technical, business and policy leaders ready to dominate the vast cadre of American high school drop outs.

It's another case where our far sighted President is attempting to "bend the curve."

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