Obey! — Film using Death of the Liberal Class to Define Death of a USA Empire

Part-time Work in a Part-time Democracy (sic)

“The greatest evil perpetrated,” Hannah Arendt wrote, “is the evil committed by nobodies, that is, by human beings who refuse to be persons.”

The film, Obey, is hosted at You Tube, and we’ve positioned it at the bottom. Read this before scrolling to the end!

The one hour deal links to why the liberal class, the liberals, the REI and NPR progressives, are killing us all with death by a thousand cuts with digital daggers.

In the end, they don’t really care that we have massive class divides, major ageism issues, that we have daily cuts to the public goods and public commons and public welfare.

They continue to consume as Consumopithecus Anthropocene.

It’s a typical show — just take a look at this article, on a site in Portland, Oregon, that lists jobs:

 Are you looking for a full-time job in your field, but finding that many positions today are temporary or part time?

You’re not alone. More and more employers are hiring people for short-term jobs or projects.

Free Agent Nation

You can feel threatened by the growing trend to employ contingent workers, or you can make a 180-degree turn and see it as opportunity to become a free agent.

free agent is someone who works for themselves, rather than as an employee of an organization. Daniel H. Pink, author of a 1997 Fast Company story, “Free Agent Nation,” coined the term and in 2001 wrote a book with the same title.

The premise being that we should just chuck  labor history, advances in the workplace; chuck the workplace rights and valuable work we need in 30,000 incorporated municipalities; chuck the public service jobs, the jobs that should be funded by us, taxpayers, to fix a nation at risk. Just give up on demanding anything from politicians, leaders, the One Percent, corporations, businesses, and just, well, go rogue, lone-wolf, independent.

Watch those Fuller Brush and Mary Kay dollars come your way. Right on, and, shoot, didn’t some 8-year-old just make $200,000 for an app that tells kids where the best Popsicles and ice cream sundaes  are, via satellite-guided, real-time, drone-captured GPS, holograms, too?

Nations at Risk — May Day … May  Day! 

Nation at Risk is not just some book title on education, and a bad one, too —  READ!

One of my small successes in recent years was to get the New York Times to refer to “A Nation At Risk” as propaganda. Some have asked why I say that and, since it is a slow news summer, I’ll take a little time to explain why.

First, I note that in his memoir, The Thirteenth Man, Ted Bell who, as Secretary of Education, brought together the commission that produced “Risk,” is fairly candid about that commission. It was not to objectively examine the condition of Amer ican education, but to document the terrible things that Bell had heard about schools. In the introduction, the commissioners wrote that “The Commission was impressed during the course of its activities by the diversity of opinion it received concerning the condition of American education.”

No such diversity characterized the final report. After its opening, cold warrior rhetorical flourishes, “Risk” listed thirteen indicators of why we were at risk. It is a golden treasury of selective and spun statistics.

Consider:

1. There was a steady decline in science achievement scores of U. S. 17-yer-olds as measured by national assessments of science in 1969, 1973, and 1977.
Maybe. NAEP was not initially set up to provide trend data. The scores from 1973 and 1969 are statistical extrapolations from 1977.

More importantly, why use science scores for 17-year-olds? Because this is the only one of 9 NAEP trendlines that will support crisis rhetoric. The science scores of 9- and 13-year-olds, don’t show it, nor do the trends at any of the three tested age s for math or reading. If anything, they are inching up.

2. Average achievement of high school students on most standardized tests is now   lower than 26 years ago when Sputnik was launched.

They don’t have data on “most standardized tests.” At the time of the report, only the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills and Iowa Tests of Educational Development provided such trends. All other tests had floating standards: each time the tests were re-norm ed the median score, whatever it was, became the 50th percentile. Each new form of the ITBS and ITED tests, though, were equated to earlier forms.

It is true that the high school scores were lower than when Sputnik was launched–barely. What was also true was that scores had been rising for 7 consecutive years. Scores rose from 1955 to about 1965 (depending on grade), then fell for a decade. T hat decade began with the Watts riots which spread to all urban areas. Television permeated the culture for the first time. It included the recreational use of drugs, Beatles, Stones, summer of love, Woodstock, Altamont, Vietnam, Watergate, Black Panthe rs, SDS, SNCC, the Chicago Police Riot, Kent State and the assassinations of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X. The College Board called it a “decade of distraction.” They understated it.

But around 1975, the scores reversed and headed up, reaching all-time highs in the late 1980′s (where they remain).

3. The College Board’s Scholastic Aptitude Tests (SAT) demonstrate a virtually unbroken decline from 1963 to 1980.”

The College Board’s own panel, though, concluded that while easier-to-read textbooks had something to do with it, most of the decline came from changes in who was taking the test: more women, more minorities, more kids from low-income families, more ki ds with low high school GPAs. Doc Howe, the co-chairman of the panel wrote an article “Let’s Have Another SAT Decline.” Doc thought that the declined reflected an as yet incomplete opening of civil rights.

The Preliminary SAT norming studies which administered the PSAT to representative samples of students showed no decline during the period that average SAT scores fell.

4. International comparisons of student achievement completed a decade ago, reveal that on 19 academic tests, American students were never first or second and, incomparison with other industrialized nations, were last 7 times.

These studies all had fundamental methodological flaws. Only studies after 1989 (Second Internation Math Study) can be considered as possibly accurate. And the TIMSS Final Year of Secondary School study is worthless (see my articles in the May and Se ptember 1998 Phi Delta Kappan and Iris Rotberg’s Nay 15, 1998 Science article).

In studies that might be sound (I have reservations about all of them), American kids are above average in science, average in math, and second in the world in reading (second only to Finland, a small homogeneous country with huge taxes and tiny worrie s about teaching Finnish as a second language; in the county I live in there are 105 languages besides English).

5. Average tested achievement of students graduating from college is also lower.

Lower than what? This a classic dodge in advertising: something is lower, cheaper, newer, etc. How would they know? We don’t test college seniors. We don’t test high school seniors because they blow the test off, make pretty designs on the answer s heets, etc. One can only imagine what college seniors would do to a test. This is not a reference to GRE scores and there is no way of looking at the scores of college graduates from when they might have taken tests in high school.

6.  Over half the population of gifted students to not match their tested ability with comparable achievement in school.

!?!?!?!? What on earth do they mean by “comparable achievement?” Do they mean scores on achievment tests? Can’t be because at that time in history, achievement tests were the principal way of identifying kids for G&T programs. The word “their” in the statement is grammatically incorrect. New York Times, Russell Baker sharply criticized the language of the report and declare that “Im giving them an A+ in mediocrity.”

I’ve never seen any data remotely related to this. I’ve spoken with both commission members and staff. No one can remember where this stuff came from.

And so forth.

FREE to Be Exploited

The Nation at Risk is Our Hubris and Our Unending conveyor belt of Bad Karma. Bad policy kills people USA. Illegal Wars Cost Trillions, USA. Us. You know, everything for the almighty dollar, for the almighty tax dodging corporation, USA.

Take the  pulse of this land. The amount of hate, the amount of blaming the victim, the amount of myopia, both induced by brain carving mass media, mass pop-snapple-crack culture, mass delusion, magic thinking, and a 4,000-square-foot house, two-point-one kids, three-point-two pets, and a four car-snowmobile-boat garage, and that white picket fence enclosing six big screen plasmas, and a lawn gnome soccer team out front and a cuddly angel for every person. Hell, why not three guardian angels for every American Born Child.

So, the Oregon NPR just says, oh, unemployment is down, at 8.2 percent. That’s it. Not the facts on those people off the roll or dole are now not eligible for unemployment, you know, expired benefits. No more money. Thanks Obama and gang. Oh, the BLS is way off, and, the NPR fails to even look at the U6 figures, let alone the real fact on unemployment, and, what, underemployment and underpay.

So a fake number goes down, but the pain factor goes up. Great reporting.

Here, again, the Portland Mac List –

Why Become a Free Agent?

It sounds kind of scary! True, but even scarier is being a long-term unemployed person over age 45. Here are four reasons you should consider becoming a free agent:

1. Changed economic conditions present shortened job cycles, more project work, and budget-cutbacks.

2. Attitude shifts have created acceptance of the virtual work environment.

3. The Internet gives us technology like Skype and Google Hangout.

4. Free agents can more easily avoid ageism issues.

Free Agents Today

A 2011 survey sponsored by Kelly Services revealed that free agency is on the rise across all generations due to the entrepreneurial benefits of an independent work style. These statistics from the report are mind-bending:

  • Nearly 38% of Generation X workers today are free agents compared to 18% in 2008.
  • Today, free agents comprise 49% of all baby boomers (age 47 – 65), and 66% of all silent generation workers (age 66 – 76).
  • 25% of Generation Y (age 18 – 31) workers classify themselves as free agents, an increase from 21% in 2008.

Citing Kelly Services? Geez, what about getting PayDay Loans in on the “free agent” fun.

Alas, though, what is an unemployed overqualified, underutilized person to do? Write back!

Unfortunately, this article is damaging and superficial and full of holes. Our society, our communities, need bricks and mortar and corporate responsibility and a labor force that is not fractured, fragmented and at-will, precarious, disjointed, and wage slavers.

The writing IS NOT on the wall — i.e. we have to go to school, go into debt, and then expect some magical thinking that life is so good in freelancer (free agent) land. This blog post pushes this marginalization of workers, pushes this freelancer goal, as opposed to forcing corporations and policy makers and elected officials to work for community change, back to a place where work is real, dedicated, honored, and is paid for.

Elance? I’ve been on it and studied it. Pennies on the dollar. Literally slave wages for hard work.

Read the book, Intern Nation for more on that scam, too — internships, unpaid, with no payoff, intellectually or economically. We have to have more analyses of the job market, labor and what the bottom line of corporations of greed are. It’s too easy to have Mac List and then these blogs that are not really part of a solutions based narrative on bringing sanity back to the US and global labor market.

We have to come together and BUILD good jobs, real ones, where people work in a community of place, not just a community of purpose with little regard for local conditions, factors and needs. We are in a fight to organize workers even at home working as say medical transcription experts. We have to have people covered by health insurance, benefits, and fairness. Any articles here on the ACA, Obama Care, and how even grant visionary universities and colleges are cutting part-time teachers’ wages so they do not have to pay into ACA?

Brave New World of Work is a start, a book to read. Deep thinking about what is now called the Brazilianization of labor.

My field is higher education, journalism, activism, and community planning. As of now, we have in higher education, your freeway flier, or roads scholar, making rotten money as higher education teachers. We have been called the New Faculty Majority, and there is an organization with the same name. Articles are coming out weekly on faculty on food stamps — we who have master’s and doctorates and more importantly decades of experience each working with young and old alike. EDUCATION. Some of us still teach labor issues, why the 40 hour work week is important to democracy, why we need a progressive taxation system, and why we need to regulate corporations in a world that is almost seamless with transnational money and transnational corporations.

Here’s a little quick look at apartheid of higher education thanks largely to this belief that we all are going to work at home, on-line, over the web, believing in economies of scale for all our working and living lives.

http://www.alternet.org/educat…

You’d be wise to read the work of Evergreen College’s Alan Nasser — Long Term Jobs and Wage Picture.

http://www.alannasser.org/arti…

I’d be happy to add to the discussion here with a once-in-a-while column. But, again, what does Mac List pay? As a writer, my time is valuable. Look at Elance and see it’s mostly 1 cent a word, sometimes, .1 a penny a word. Absolutely scandalous.

So, again, many of us teach and work in communities out of a love of educating and writing. But, this world of the so-called freelancer is the wrong way to go. Really. Things have to get done outside the virtual realm, not through Google this or that, and Skype? This is how we build young people to work with the huge challenges of transnational corporate power, resource shortages, climate change and sequester after sequester?

Wrong!

Give Us Your Poor, Unemployed … Debit Cards Accepted

Now, if we peruse the woman’s web site, bang — we get the improvement web site. The stuff for sale. The coaching in a bottle. Bam — put down $97 smackers, or,

Your Core Values Profile + 2 coaching sessions to unpack your results and go deeper into your assessment

  • Learn your unique strategies during conflict situations
  • Find out how you learn best
  • Discover new insights for interacting effectively in a team environment
  • Set yourself up for success in your current role or new career
Your investment: $197 

Your Core Values Profile + 3 coaching sessions that take a deep dive into your results

  • All of the above, plus…
  • Using your core values to define the ideal careers and job types for you
  • Discover your true, innate transferrable skills for changing job roles or career direction
Your investment: $297 

Core Values Index, trademarked by this person who is selling stuff to the unemployed. Absolutely American, PT Barnum. chutzpah, predatory, and, well, so imbued with the pop culture of our times, that she can come off as all-American entrepreneurial, but, alas, like churches should not be the first responders in hurricanes or to deal with decaying public schools, for-profit schemer should not be the answer to a solid civilian conservation corps, arts corps, jobs corps mentality.

Liberals, Subaru’s, Fair Trade Latte Grandes, NPR Rocks

Again, the DEATH of any LIBERAL CLASS. We have a continual cut to the heart, to the spleen, of collective safety nets. We are now at the point of dog-eat-dog, sell yourself for a penny an hour scheme.

It’s been Jan. 8th 2013. I make money writing a few things a month, but, I spend a lot of time applying to jobs. Lots of jobs. More than  four dozen solid applications. It’s April 16, 2013. Now, well, we bright and bushy tailed ones are now applying to jobs that pay, drum roll, please! Oh, $13.50 an hour. Take that, Uncle Sam. Give me your brightest, give me your educated, give me your education heroes and heroines, and I have a deal for you.

Read the book, Death of the Liberal CLass. Check out this inventive one hour reading of some of the book’s passages.

Here, again, Hedges on education –

“We’ve bought into the idea that education is about training and “success”, defined monetarily, rather than learning to think critically and to challenge. We should not forget that the true purpose of education is to make minds, not careers. A culture that does not grasp the vital interplay between morality and power, which mistakes management techniques for wisdom, which fails to understand that the measure of a civilization is its compassion, not its speed or ability to consume, condemns itself to death.”

― Chris HedgesEmpire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle

A nation that destroys its systems of education, degrades its public information, guts its public libraries and turns its airwaves into vehicles for cheap, mindless amusement becomes deaf, dumb and blind. It prizes test scores above critical thinking and literacy. It celebrates rote vocational training and the singular, amoral skill of making money. It churns out stunted human products, lacking the capacity and vocabulary to challenge the assumptions and structures of the corporate state. It funnels them into a caste system of drones and systems managers. It transforms a democratic state into a feudal system of corporate masters and serfs.

Teachers, their unions under attack, are becoming as replaceable as minimum-wage employees at Burger King. We spurn real teachers—those with the capacity to inspire children to think, those who help the young discover their gifts and potential—and replace them with instructors who teach to narrow, standardized tests. These instructors obey. They teach children to obey. And that is the point. The No Child Left Behind program, modeled on the “Texas Miracle,” is a fraud. It worked no better than our deregulated financial system. But when you shut out debate these dead ideas are self-perpetuating.

Or, how about the state of HIGHER education?

The nation’s elite universities disdain honest intellectual inquiry, which is by its nature distrustful of authority, fiercely independent and often subversive. They organize learning around minutely specialized disciplines, narrow answers and rigid structures that are designed to produce certain answers. The established corporate hierarchies these institutions service — economic, political and social — come with clear parameters, such as the primacy of an unfettered free market, and with a highly specialized vocabulary. 

I was sent to boarding school on a scholarship at the age of 10. By the time I had finished eight years in New England prep schools and another eight at Colgate and Harvard, I had a pretty good understanding of the game. 

You can see this attitude on display in every word uttered by George W. Bush. Here is a man with severely limited intellectual capacity and no moral core. He, along with Lewis “Scooter” Libby, who attended my boarding school and went on to Yale, is an example of the legions of self-centered mediocrities churned out by places like Andover, Yale and Harvard.

Hedges even Talks about Adjunct Faculty – Do YOU? 

So, before watching this documentary, how about some feedback on this Alternet story — again, as I have repeated before, notice the pulse of America, in the comments section –

Academia’s Indentured Servants

On April 8, 2013, the  New York Times reported that 76 percent of American university faculty are adjunct professors – an all-time high. Unlike tenured faculty, whose annual salaries can top $160,000, adjunct professors make an average of $2,700 per course and receive no health care or other benefits.

Most adjuncts teach at multiple universities while still not making enough to stay above the  poverty line. Some are on  welfare or homeless. Others depend on charity drives held by their peers. Adjuncts are generally  not allowed to have offices or participate in faculty meetings. When they ask for a living wage or benefits, they can be  fired. Their contingent status allows them no recourse.

No one forces a scholar to work as an adjunct. So why do some of America’s brightest PhDs – many of whom are authors of books and articles on labour, power, or injustice – accept such terrible conditions?

“Path dependence and sunk costs must be powerful forces,” speculates political scientist Steve Saidemen in a post titled ” The Adjunct Mystery“. In other words, job candidates have invested so much time and money into their professional training that they cannot fathom abandoning their goal – even if this means living, as Saidemen says, like “second-class citizens”. (He later  downgraded this to “third-class citizens”.)

We are going to have to talk about this piece, sort of another, yet another, catch-all piece on the adjunctivication of fragmented faculty USA.

Here’s one response — you know, while I type up and research another four possible leads for an All-American job in USA, I can multitask with the best of them.

Paul Haeder • 2 days ago

Ahh, here come the haters, the corporate cheerleaders, the I-got-mine-so-good-luck-suckers all-American uncaring community-bashing, society-hating trolls or just righteous digital drummers.

Amazing how many show up here on education topics.  As if all teachers suck. All faculty are worthless. Right. It’s probably one of the last places of hope, education. Broken, yes. Exploitative, yes, to me, adjunct faculty, and to students need tools for the 21st century of greed-driven policy. But at least we are trying to educate under the most extreme conditions, including a Walmart warehouse of lies from the media and from the ADMIN class and the economists and those here who love to hate teachers. It’s a lie factory — but here are truth: PK12 teachers don’t love No Child Left Behind; teacher unions are there for students; education matters; exploitation is taught as bad.

But, when even the so-called heroes buy into that broken corporate model, when teachers flock to Walmart or lift their souls through the banking robbery system, the mortgaged lives they live are also precarious.It’s one dog-eat-dog system we’ve put into place, thanks to that credit report fear drilled into our heads. Teachers in the main are just part of that system. Education’s biggest problem is that it is a public good, and a right that many before today’s political whore saw as something worthy of a society.

But as we lament or laugh at Margaret the Milk Snatcher’s death, this society is made up of little Thatchers, little Eichmanns, little trickle down blustery tough guys.As Thatcher said to the world, there is not SOCIETY. Only individuals. And, while those Ivy League pukes and the profiteers make so much on the pain and the daily costs of being poor, the bulk of Americans consuming the plastic world of TV and blogs, they too like to spit on the feet of the poor.

Now, well, we have people with college degrees on food stamps, long-term unemployed. And what do these fellow Americans say? “Your f-ing fault. You got what was coming to you. See what all that time getting book sense did to you?”We have become a country — and world, at least in the West — of compliant greedy bastards who accept what for a minimum wage? Who accept what rights stripped away once we traipse off to work? Who accept detainment, economic thuggery, added-on sin tax, consumer tax, surcharge, anything to add to regressive taxation? Who accept the paymasters’ words, and who look at the less fortunate as failures … dinosaurs … out of their league … out of their time … too deskilled or unskilled to give a damn about.

OBEY Your PayMasters

Paul Kirk has been a journalist since 1977. He's covered police, environment, planning and zoning, county and city politics, as well as working in true small town/community journalism situations in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Mexico and beyond. He's been a part-time faculty since 1983, and as such has worked in prisons, gang-influenced programs, universities, colleges, alternative high schools, language schools, as a private contractor-writing instructor for US military in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Washington Read other articles by Paul.