Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Karl's New Manifesto

Sure does stike a bell with all us working stiffs.....doesn't it! The past couple of decades has seen the middle class get much smaller in size. America was always the envy of the world because of its healthy middle class. These days, the middle is where you find the squeeze. The kids, and next generation are getting a bad deal. What we need is another "New Deal". Or, as one of those "Founding Fathers" once said, "each generation needs its own revolution".
Frank John

May 29, 2005
Karl's New Manifesto
By DAVID BROOKS
I was in the library reading room when suddenly a strange specter of a man appeared above me. He was a ragged fellow with a bushy beard, dressed in the clothes of another century. He clutched news clippings on class in America, and atop the pile was a manifesto in his own hand. He was gone in an instant, but Karl's manifesto on modern America remained. This is what it said:

The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggle. Freeman and slave, lord and serf, capitalist and proletariat, in a word oppressor and oppressed, stand in opposition to each other and carry on a constant fight. In the information age, in which knowledge is power and money, the class struggle is fought between the educated elite and the undereducated masses.
The information age elite exercises artful dominion of the means of production, the education system. The median family income of a Harvard student is $150,000. According to the Educational Testing Service, only 3 percent of freshmen at the top 146 colleges come from the poorest quarter of the population. The educated class ostentatiously offers financial aid to poor students who attend these colleges and then rigs the admission criteria to ensure that only a small, co-optable portion of them can get in.
The educated class reaps the benefits of the modern economy - seizing for itself most of the income gains of the past decades - and then ruthlessly exploits its position to ensure the continued dominance of its class.
The educated class has torn away from the family its sentimental veil and reduced it to a mere factory for the production of little meritocrats. Members of the educated elites are more and more likely to marry each other, which the experts call assortative mating, but which is really a ceaseless effort to refortify class solidarity and magnify social isolation. Children are turned into workaholic knowledge workers - trained, tutored, tested and prepped to strengthen class dominance.
The educated elites are the first elites in all of history to work longer hours per year than the exploited masses, so voracious is their greed for second homes. They congregate in exclusive communities walled in by the invisible fence of real estate prices, then congratulate themselves for sending their children to public schools. They parade their enlightened racial attitudes by supporting immigration policies that guarantee inexpensive lawn care. They send their children off to Penn, Wisconsin and Berkeley, bastions of privilege for the children of the professional class, where they are given the social and other skills to extend class hegemony.
The information society is the only society in which false consciousness is at the top. For it is an iron rule of any university that the higher the tuition and more exclusive the admissions, the more loudly the denizens profess their solidarity with the oppressed. The more they objectively serve the right, the more they articulate the views of the left.
Periodically members of this oppressor class hold mock elections. The Yale-educated scion of the Bush family may face the Yale-educated scion of the Winthrop family. They divide into Republicans and Democrats and argue over everything except the source of their power: the intellectual stratification of society achieved through the means of education.
More than the Roman emperors, more than the industrial robber barons, the malefactors of the educated class seek not only to dominate the working class, but to decimate it. For 30 years they have presided over failing schools without fundamentally transforming them. They have imposed a public morality that affords maximum sexual opportunity for themselves and guarantees maximum domestic chaos for those lower down.
In 1960 there were not big structural differences between rich and poor families. In 1960, three-quarters of poor families were headed by married couples. Now only a third are. While the rates of single parenting have barely changed for the educated elite, family structures have disintegrated for the oppressed masses.
Poor children are less likely to live with both biological parents, hence, less likely to graduate from high school, get a job and be in a position to challenge the hegemony of the privileged class. Family inequality produces income inequality from generation to generation.
Undereducated workers of the world, unite! Let the ruling educated class tremble! You have nothing to lose but your chains. You have a world to win!
I don't agree with everything in Karl's manifesto, because I don't believe in incessant class struggle, but you have to admit, he makes some good points.
E-mail: dabrooks@nytimes.com

Thursday, May 12, 2005

BLACK AND WHITE AND FULL OF CRAP

I really like the title of this article by Ted Rall. So True. Why do they get away with all this crap. Why don't they have to own up to the bullshit ! Where the hell is the media in this carload of lies. I simply don't get it! We might as well be living in some totalitarian country where the truth and reality is not an issue. Welcome to 1984 in 2005.
Frank John

BLACK AND WHITE AND FULL OF CRAP
By Ted RallTue May 10, 9:37 PM ET
Lies Run Big, Facts Small in U.S. Media
NEW YORK--One year ago the American media was pushing the Pat Tillman story with the heavy rotation normally reserved for living celebs like Michael Jackson. Tillman, the former NFL player who turned down a multi-million dollar football contract to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, became a centerpiece of the right's Hamas-style death cult when he lost his life in the mountains of southeastern Afghanistan. To supporters of the wars and to many football fans, Tillman embodied ideals of self-sacrifice and post-9/11 butt-kicking in a hard-bodied shell of chisel-chinned masculinity on steroids.
Tillman's quintessential nobility, we were told, was borne out by the story of his death--a tale that earned him a posthumous Silver Star. Whether you were for or against Bush's wars, Americans were told, Tillman's valor showed why you should support the troops. Young men were encouraged to emulate his praiseworthy example.
Several thousand mourners gathered at Tillman's May 3, 2004 memorial service to hear marquee names including Arizona Senator John McCain called upon all Americans to "be worthy of the sacrifices made on our behalf." "Tillman died trying to save fellow members of the 75th Ranger Regiment caught in a crush of enemy fire," the Arizona Republic quoted a fellow soldier addressing the crowd. Tillman, said his friend and comrade-at-arms, had told his fellow soldiers "to seize the tactical high ground from the enemy" to draw enemy fire away from another U.S. platoon trapped in an ambush. "He directly saved their lives with those moves. Pat sacrificed his life so that others could live." It was, as the Washington Post wrote, a "storybook personal narrative"--one recounted on hundreds of front pages and network newscasts.
It was also a lie.
As sharp-eyed readers learned a few months ago from single-paragraph articles buried deep inside their newspapers, Pat Tillman died pointlessly, a hapless victim of "friendly fire" who never got the chance to choose between bravery and cowardice. As if that wasn't bad enough, the Washington Post now reports that Pentagon and White House officials knew the truth "within days" after his April 22, 2004 shooting by fellow Army Rangers but "decided not to inform Tillman's family or the public until weeks after" the nationally televised martyr-a-thon.
It gets worse. So desperate were the military brass to carry off their propaganda coup that they lied to Tillman's brother, a fellow soldier who arrived on the scene shortly after the incident, about how he died. Writing in an army report, Brigadier General Gary Jones admits that the official cover-up even included "the destruction of evidence": the army burned Tillman's Ranger uniform and body armor to hide the fact that he had died in a hail of American bullets, fired by troops who had "lost situational awareness to the point they had no idea where they were."
"We didn't want the world finding out what actually happened," one soldier told Jones. A perfect summary of the war on terrorism.
The weapons of mass destruction turned out to be a figment of Donald Rumsfeld's imagination. The Thanksgiving turkey Bush presented to the troops turned out to be plastic, as much of a staged photo op as the gloriously iconic and phony toppling of Saddam's statue in Baghdad by jubilant Iraqi civilians--well, actually a few dozen marines and CIA-financed operatives. So many of the Administration's "triumphs" have been exposed as frauds that one has to wonder whether that was really Saddam in the spider hole.
We shouldn't blame the White House for producing lies; that's what politicians do. But we expect better from the media who disseminate them.
Case study: the Washington Post's dutiful transcription of the Jessica Lynch hoax. Played up on page one and running on for thousands of words, the fanciful Pentagon version had the pilot from West Virginia emptying her clip before finally succumbing to a gunshot wound (and possible rape) by evil Iraqi ambushers, then freed from her tormentors at a heavily-guarded POW hospital.
Like the Pat Tillman story, it was pure fiction. Private Lynch, neither shot nor sexually violated, said she was injured when her vehicle crashed. She never got off a shot because her gun jammed. As she told reporters who were willing to listen, her Iraqi doctors and nurses had given her excellent care. She credited them for saving her life. In a weird sort of prequel to the shooting of an Italian journalist, they had even attempted to turn her over at a U.S. checkpoint but were forced to flee when American troops fired at them.
In all of these examples, editors and producers played corrective follow-up stories with far less fanfare than the original, incorrect ones. To paraphrase "X-Files" character Fox Mulder, the truth is in there--in the paper, on TV. It's just really, really hard to find.
Readers of the American press and viewers of American radio and television are likelier to see and believe loudly repeated lies over occasionally whispered truths told once or twice. As a result of the reverse imbalance between fact and fiction, the propaganda versions of the Tillman and Lynch stories, the staged Saddam statue footage, and the claim that Iraq had WMDs are all believed by a misled citizenry that votes accordingly.
For journalists supposedly dedicated to uncovering the truth and informing the public, this is exactly the opposite of how things ought to be. Corrections and exposés should always run bigger, longer and more often than initial, discredited stories.
FOLLOW-UP: Readers who contacted their elected representatives in response to my column two weeks ago about the two 16-year-old Muslim girls detained by Homeland Security because one wrote an essay about suicide bombings (she was against them) have gotten results. Such pressure has prompted the feds to release the girl from Guinea, who has returned to her high school in New York City. But Bush Administration officials have decided to orphan her by deporting her father. The other girl, from Bangladesh, is also being released from prison but HomeSec plans to deport her along with her entire family. While the two girls' release obviously belies the government's claims that they are "an imminent threat to the security of the United States," your letters and phone calls to your Congressperson and/or Senator could help reverse these continuing acts of injustice.

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Native of the Philadelphia "Kensington and Alleganey" northeast area. I spent 4 years in the Air Force (Titan-II missles in Tuscon Arizona). I Am currently retired, and among other adventures I spent 28 years working for AT&T in Telecommunications. I've lived in Florida for 33 years....20 years in Hollywood Fla., and 13 years North Florida. I've been married 42 years, and am a proud father of three adult offspring. All of them contributing to society in a very useful and creative manner.