Tag Archives: progressive

Our Education System & What Has Changed

I am going to preface all below with the disclaimer that I don’t consider myself, in the contemporary sense anyway, an expert on this subject. I do have a 1990’s education degree and I have done a lot of study on the subject on my own. I was fortunate on my last trip through a university that I had a couple of professors that introduced me to some rather radical writing on the subject that I doubt that I would have found on my own.

In obtaining this last degree, I had to go through the practice teaching part of the curriculum. That experience was one of the main reasons that I did not intensely pursue a job teaching in the public schools. I had done some short term teaching previously without the certification. I taught in a one room school back in the 60’s, and did 2 years part time in a vo-tech teaching electronics to high school age kids. When I had my own business, I emphasized learning and taught in my own way customers that did business with me. So, with that background out of the way, let’s examine what I think I have observed and learned.

It was emphasized to me during my last trip through the university system that all learning was skill oriented. Within a very general and broad perspective, that is true I think. However, it was never defined just what skills the educational system was responsible for. I was handed the broad and rather obtuse explanation of skills in critical thinking that I did not personally observe taking place, skills in numbers that I did not observe taking place, and skills in language that I also did not notice taking place. Rather, the skills I saw were predominately located in rote memorization of pre programmed curricula with little or absolutely no critical thinking, no critical reading and little thinking skills at all. Within the university system, I saw no integration in the various subjects, but rather stand alone discreet areas of study.

Now what this means within higher education is that you have specialized knowledge of a certain area with no association of how it interacts with other areas. Thus, the physicists doesn’t understand much if anything about biology or classical literature, and this seems to be true across the board in every area of study. There are of course, individuals which do integrate their specialization with other areas, but my observation is that they are far and few between.

So, this leads me to an examination of what is ‘education’ all about, which leads me to examining the history of what we call ‘education’.

When I started to examine the history of education it appeared to me that there was a division between what is commonly called ‘classical education’ and ‘modern education’. My impression was that ‘classical education’ consisted of what we generally call a ‘liberal arts’ curriculum similar to the classical education of the ancient Greeks which is very broad and integrates many areas of specialized study and how they interrelate. This is not very popular today because it doesn’t result in specialized high paying jobs upon graduation. Thusly, higher education has become a job training expenditure of time and money. It may be hard for people to understand this, but it was not always like this.

I know that when I started my college work in 1959 I was more interested in learning a broad range of subjects than in specializing in a particular area, my hunger for a broad range of subjects was nearly insatiable. Most of my friends in college at that time felt the same way. What I hear today is a denial of usefulness of a generalized curiosity of a broad range of subject, rather an attitude of “I don’t need to know that for the job I want and don’t bother me with this stuff”. I found the same attitude in the public schools system, just at a lower level. Why do I need to know algebra, or history, or classical literature or how to write or …. whatever. I would submit that the result of this kind of educational endeavor becomes shallow to the point of spending a ridiculous amount of time developing curricula that only leads to some kind of job training, in other words, an academic vo-tech.

I would also submit that this has lead to some very undesirable social consequences. People that are good at algebra and trigonometry and can’t find their city on a map, or have no idea what the founding father of our constitution had in mind and what information they drew on, or the history and definitions of a variety of governing systems, and the critical evaluations of events throughout modern times, much less ancient times. Continue Reading…

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Debt Fueled Economy

This gives the lie to the Keynesian argument that borrowing trillions of dollars now is perfectly sustainable and right because it “worked” in 1942-45. Borrowing trillions (in today’s dollars) “worked” because GDP skyrocketed along with the debt. But now, we as a nation are borrowing unprecedented sums and GDP growth is at best anemic and at worst mere statistical legerdemaine.

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Fear The Boom and Bust

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Medical Loss Ratio Revisited: Cost and Coverage Controls that Work.

Via: AngryBear
Back on July 28th I posted on what I considered to be the most important provision of the original House Tri-Committee Health Care Bill in Sec 116: Golden Bullet or Smoking Gun Smoking Gun referred to the belief by Republicans that this bill was designed to ultimately transition to Single Payer, and Golden Bullet to my belief that they were right, that if you forced private insurance to give up its predatory business model that ultimately they would abandon less profitable markets just as they did in the heyday of managed care.

What Sec 116 did was to establish minimum Medical Loss Ratios for all plans participating in the proposed Exchanges. Medical Loss Ratio is the industry term for percentage of premium dollar actually spent on provider payments with the remainder retained by the company to pay for marketing, administration, executive compensation, and profit. Under the House Bill the actual mandated MLR for each area would be set by an auction process and in that model you pretty much needed a Public Option to establish a baseline.

Over the course of the summer and fall the language of Sec 116 was displaced and minimized in a way that restricted it only to policies issued before the establishment of the Exchanges and so make it almost useless in the bigger picture. But then a near miracle happened at the last minute, the Team of Ten inserted Section 2718 “BRINGING DOWN THE COST OF HEALTH CARE
COVERAGE”. MLR Regulation was back, and better the ever. Text from the Manager’s Amendment and commentary below.

‘‘(b) ENSURING THAT CONSUMERS RECEIVE VALUE FOR THEIR PREMIUM PAYMENTS.—
‘‘(1) REQUIREMENT TO PROVIDE VALUE FOR PREMIUM PAYMENTS.—
‘‘(A) REQUIREMENT.—Beginning not later than January 1, 2011, a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage (including a grandfathered health plan) shall, with respect to each plan year, provide an annual rebate to each enrollee under such coverage, on a pro rata basis, if the ratio of the amount of premium revenue expended by the issuer on costs described in paragraphs (1) and (2) of subsection (a) to the total amount of premium revenue (excluding Federal and State taxes and licensing or regulatory fees and after accounting for payments or receipts for risk adjustment, risk corridors, and reinsurance under sections 1341, 1342, and 1343 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) for the plan year (except as provided in subparagraph (B)(ii)), is less than—
‘‘(i) with respect to a health insurance issuer offering coverage in the large group market, 85 percent, or such higher percentage as a State may by regulation determine; or
‘‘(ii) with respect to a health insurance issuer offering coverage in the small group market or in the individual market, 80 percent, or such higher percentage as a State may by regulation determine, except that the Secretary may adjust such percentage with respect to a State if the Secretary determines that the application of such 80 percent may destabilize the individual market in such State.

The language is convulted but the result is simple, insurance companies can no longer make money by ensuring people who don’t make claims.

Under the current business model of private insurers the goal is to recruit insurees who in all likelhood won’t make claims, while denying those who are certain to either because of pre-existing conditions or simply by falling sick. The bill directly outlaws those practices but under 2718 they wouldn’t have the desired effect anyway. Take the hypothetical case where your entire risk pool is made up of healthy young adults whose claims are mostly limited to broken bones from skiing or biking accidents. Under 2718 unless those claims across the risk pool don’t add up to 80% or 85% depending the insurer has to rebate the extra premium. At the extreme the company would have to rebate the entire premium and so go out of business having no revenue to even pay employees. Under the new model the only ways to increase profits are one, to compete on the basis of volume, or two to reduce administrative costs, which is a 180 from the current model of hastling claimants into dropping coverage or simply finding excuses to rescind coverage.

Similarly 2718 limits or eliminates the utility of simply raising premiums because it would require a parallel increase of provider payments on an 85 to 15 ratio, otherwise the rebate provision would trigger. And while collusion between provider and insurer can’t be excluded the benefits would flow more than 5 to 1 to the provider while the price differential with other plans falls entirely on the insurer. The same effect occurs by eliminating a category of coverage, even if you didn’t fall afoul of the Acceptable Benefits Package requirements once again you risk triggering the rebate provision.

The words are not used in the bill but the result is nearly automatic cost controls. And enforcement is relatively easy, most of the information needed to calculate MLR is readily available in SEC filings and IRS returns, you don’t need HHS auditors rummaging around in the records, the SEC, the FBI and the IRS are already on the job.

On some other blogs I called this “The Most Important Health Care Provision You Never Heard Of”, something that is no longer true. It was reported the other day that the Health Care insurers were ecstatic at the passage of the bill, all those new customers delivered by the individual mandate! And Wall Street responded. But then some lobbyist realized what the real import of 2718 was and sent a follow up memo saying “not so fast”.

This language is not in the House Bill, at least not with the same effect, and we can expect that insurance companies will start working on the usual suspects to kill the bill on final. Which in my mind is reason to just get this bill signed to nail 2718 into law. Because on its own it has many of the same benefits on the overall system that the Public Option was supposed to deliver.

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Mish Shedlocks Outrage (sums mine up)

http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2009/10/where-hell-is-outrage.html

This is an excerpt from one of my favorite pieces by Mish.

Where’s The Outrage?

I don’t know about you, but I am outraged.

I am outraged and not just about Goldman Sachs, but about a process that allows, even encourages political pandering, by time and time again rewarding leveraged riverboat gamblers and failed institutions and at taxpayer expense.

I am outraged that real people are suffering massively while the influence peddlers have stolen the country for their own personal benefit.

I am outraged at a political system that is totally unresponsive to the American people.

I am outraged by campaign contribution and lobbying processes that allows corporations to buy votes with donations.

I am outraged how legislators ignored the wishes of the people who clearly did not want these bailouts in the first place.

I am outraged that very little of this is in mainstream media. Why is this stuff not on the frontpage of every newspaper in the country or at least in the editorial pages?

I am outraged that the average US citizen is not aware of any of this, instead depending on CNBC, or “The View” for their interpretation of the world.

I am outraged how special interest groups have exercised their power to monopolize the economy for the benefit of themselves, US citizens be damned.

I am outraged that all these bailout programs are doing nothing to alleviate the massive consumer debt problems. Every program, virtually every program was designed to bailout lending institutions, not consumers.

I am outraged at fees charged by banks receiving bailouts.

I am outraged over government pension plans and government pay scales massively out of line with the private sector.

I am outraged that Congress and this administration thinks the solution to massive budget deficits are still higher budget deficits in excess of a trillion dollars.

I am outraged about indictments. Paulson Admitted Coercion to force a shotgun wedding between Bank of America and Merrill Lynch yet no indictments were handed out. Let the Criminal Indictments Begin: Paulson, Bernanke, Lewis.

I am outraged that US citizens are not concerned enough and not educated enough to demand change.

I am outraged that the two party system has failed. Neither party has delivered meaningful change on budgets, on taxes, on social security, on deficit spending, on the size of government, on military spending, or fighting needless wars.

I am outraged at a Fed that purports to be “inflation fighters” when the only source of inflation in the word are central bankers, and their fractional reserve lending policies.

I am outraged that Greenspan and Bernanke could not see a housing bubble that 1000 bloggers could see.

I am outraged at the selective memory of Bernanke when speaking to Congress about these problems.

I am outraged that Bernanke’s one sided response to asset bubbles, letting them grow without end, then bailing out the financial institutions that cause them.

I am outraged the Fed exists at all. It is a useless organization that cannot see bubbles, that panders to banks, that supports inflationary policies that are tantamount to theft by fraud.

I am outraged that the Obama Administration promised changed and did not deliver. “Yes We Can” was a lie. The reality is “It’s Business As Usual, Only Worse, With Higher Deficits”.

I am outraged there is not enough outrage over this.

Where the hell is the outrage?

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com

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Corporations are Psychopaths

A Call for the Separation of Corporation and State
by Carol Ann Ciocco

“There are psychopathic personalities in the highest echelons…You can’t just assume that a person…got there honestly and won’t manipulate the hell out of you.”

–Personal communication from Psychologist Schreibman to H. Cleckley, 2/10/86 Sourced from: http://compenetration.wordpress.com/2008/06/26/corporation-legal-personality-with-psychopaths-traits/

Democrat vs Republican: just a smokescreen for the real problem

First of all, I must confess: I am torn between two parties. I am a hybrid. I am part Democrat, part Libertarian. And let me tell you, in this extremely polarized political climate, this is a painful place to be.

I am a Democrat because I believe in universal health care (yes! The dreaded public option! OMG the Republicans might hang me! Help!) Why am I for the public option? Because for me Health Care Reform is NOT so much about big government as it is about stopping the insane greedy Health Insurance Companies who because of selfish rapacity kill people left and right by denying them coverage due to pre-existing conditions, post-existing conditions and various absurd technicalities. Anything to save money.

I am a Democrat because I think government DOES have a duty and responsibility to care for the basic needs of its citizens, especially those who are disadvantaged. I believe it is a MORAL imperative to do so. I see a serious lack of compassion in the Republican viewpoint in this regard.

Listen, don’t look at me to figure out how we will pay for it. That’s what government officials are supposed to do! They are supposed to come up with plans for this sort of thing. And not just taxing the already burdened American people! If our government officials were running the country in a sound, sane manner – i.e. not racking up mind-blowing debt, not puppets to corporations, and not starting pre-emptive useless wars that cost millions and millions of dollars – they could come up with something to pay for what is essential and within the rights of its citizens.

And yet I am a Libertarian because I value – and demand – Personal Liberty, practicing within the limits of the Constitution, and sound fiscal conservatism. The Democrats ARE guilty of taxing too much. Absolutely. It’s a no brainer that we need a stream-lined budget with NO federal deficit. Our current federal deficit is trillions of dollars. You have GOT to be kidding me! That would be like me, who earns a modest living, being $1 million in debt. Who does that? The US government, that’s who.

I am a Libertarian because I want to End the Fed. The Fed is the biggest Ponzi Scheme/scam that has ever been perpetrated on the American people. It’s brilliant really, if you look at it from a distant vantage point – i.e. if you are not being snuffed out by it. You think Bernie Madoff is bad? Ha! The Fed is more like a diabolical mastermind seeking World Domination, compared to Bernie Madoff, who is incredibly pathological but more like a snake-oil salesman, cackling because he can get away with his crippling shenanigans.

I therefore love, adore and cherish Ron Paul. End the Fed. Do it. Now. If we don’t, then this country is going down the tubes economically. Once we are down the tubes economically, then all bets are off. Superpower? Not anymore. We are already owned by China (yes that is who we are borrowing from to maintain that squizillion dollar debt. How did you think we were pulling it off?)

Oh and another factor – The Fed just prints up another batch of Monopoly Money (and I do mean MONOPOLY literally) and hands it out to banks, who then magically transform it into 6 figure bonuses and luxe private planes.

End the Fed. You’ll thank me (and Ron Paul) later. When the dollar – now valued at .08 cents, last I heard – crashes, what are you going to do? Carry $10 to he grocery store in a wheel barrow like they did in post-war Germany. We all need to educate ourselves about this, because this is where we’re headed if someone doesn’t wise up and start implementing sound (Austrian) economics – instead of the Keynesian system in place now.

Oh and one more thing about the Fed: it is a CORPORATION. That’s right, a corporation. The American people take it at face value based on its name – FEDERAL Reserve. Trust me, it is not Federal nor is it a reserve. It is a counterfeit operation and Goldman Sachs et. al run it in the shadows.

Did you know that the Arabs and Chinese and other major world powers are considering stopping the trading of oil in US dollars. No? Didn’t see it on CNN or your local news, did you? People! This is a red light/siren going off. We need to wake up. The news says: economic recovery is at hand. Can it be when the dollar is worth almost nothing and unemployment is at 10%? Ten percent, think about that.

Ron Paul (a former Libertarian who ran as a Republican in the 2008 presidential election) is against pre-emptive war, did you know that? His voting record in Congress is impeccably integrous: he will not vote for anything that is not backed by the Constitution. You don’t see this much nowadays.

The only thing is when I see him in photos with Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater, I cringe. My poor soft little liberal heart feels hurt and frightened. If only he could run as a Libertarian and not a Republican! But we don’t have a 3rd party system in this country. That’s a rant for another blog.

However, and I am certain of this: Under our current system, if Ron Paul runs in 2012, he will be bought and sold JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER CANDIDATE IS AND HAS BEEN. You see, it takes quintillions of dollars to run a presidential campaign and in order to raise that kind of money, a person has to sell their soul to large corporations. It should be dirt cheap to run for president. That might fix things.

The Real Problem: Corporations Rule The World

In my opinion: what will REALLY fix things is this one idea: The Separation of Corporation and State (keeping in mind that Democratic Capitalism, a la Michael Moore can work – it is CORPORATISM that is the enemy).

All other evils in the world would virtually disappear if we separated corporations (profit before people) and state (in its most ideal form: fiscally sound democratic government where the People have a voice). Some examples:

Pre-emptive war wouldn’t be necessary because Halliburton wouldn’t need to make money off of our children, killed brutally on the battlefield IN THE NAME OF PROFIT AND OIL (same thing).

Health care wouldn’t be the sin that it is today, because health would be considered a value, a right in our society, instead of using sickness as a means to make profit.

Environmental issues would be lessened because companies wouldn’t have to sell deadly materials or dump chemicals, putting profit above our very existence on the planet.

Today’s sickening mass foreclosures wouldn’t have happened because banks wouldn’t have felt the need to sell toxic mortgages to people who couldn’t afford them. And hopefully the people would have resisted the ubiquitous keep-up-with-the-jones’ advertising all around them whispering in their ear: you can have anything you want regardless of income! Free and easy credit! Here’s a McMansion, no questions asked! Perhaps if these people were be living in a more sane culture based in integrity and solid values, they would have made a more rational choice.

Corporations are Psychopaths

Corporations are in charge of this world. And their conglomerate personality is that of a psychopath. At the highest level we have two things:

Greedy men (yes, mostly men) who could care less about humans and even want to liquidate them into “Dead Peasants” as soon as possible (see Michael Moore’s movie “Capitalism: A Love Story” to understand this reference); and

Boards of Directors who care only for the-bottom-line because that is their duty to the shareholders. Nothing wrong with that! Unless they have no moral compass on how their actions may affect human beings in ways having little to do with profits.

Taken together, these two things create a psychopathic personality on the corporate level. These corporations and their sick leaders are then driven to serial killing due to greed (a terrifying blood lust to consume and destroy material things – including forests, ice caps, oceans, earth, and humans – earthly beings with flesh-and-blood bodies.

Capitalism on its face isn’t wrong! And in my opinion, socialism is not the answer. Like we want to stand in lines for a roll of toilet paper. Come on already. But unfettered corporate-driven capitalism, when in bed with government, is the worst kind of terrorism. The Al Quada can’t hold a candle to it.

Profits before people – that is true terrorism and the primary evil on this planet right now Pure corporatism = the ‘powers and principalities’ mentioned in the Bible. Materialism has its place, but when there is no Spirit or basic morality/compassion involved, good and innocent people suffer and die.

The reason this has gone on for so long is because We The People are oblivious to these realities. We are on prozac, hypnotized by reality tv, and shopping at Walmart for leisure. It’s only now that we seem to be waking from the stupor – but only marginally (is it too little, too late? Time will tell.)

This psychopathic hellish corporate-government marriage permeates all levels and all realms of our world. It is so all-pervasive we don’t even know it’s there. We are the fish swimming in the water of insane corporatism which has free rein over Everything – especially government, which then has powerful impact on our day-to-day lives.

In Michael Moore’s movie “Capitalism: A Love Story” he ends the movie by putting police tape around Wall Street big banks. His point: it’s a crime scene. He is absolutely right.

Corporations Own the Government

The government is in bed with a bunch of criminals. They are sleeping with the Enemy. Corporatism is the Mafia of our times. Dressed up in suits and ties and driving BMWs with state-of-the-art gadgets, they shake us down every week. And we just keep paying.

Corporate for-profit government CUTS ACROSS ALL PARTIES AND ALL GOVERNMENT INSTITUTIONS. I am positively certain that Obama has made deals with Big Pharma and the Big Insurance Companies. I personally feel that’s why he has been lame (face it Dems he has been LAME) in his approach to demanding health care reform. I ‘feel’ a difference in his demeanor since he was elected. He is not the same person. He is owned – bought and sold. Just like they all are. And, truly, how can it be otherwise. He has to kiss the ring of the hand that fed him – the ones who got him there. Yes we can? A change we can believe in? Sure, as long as the corporations agree, i.e. as long as they won’t lose money in the deal.

For an absolutely powerful one-minute glimpse into Bought and Sold Presidents, go to comedian the late-great Bill Hicks’ Myspace page http://www.myspace.com/billhicks and click on “The Elite” in the playlist. Here you will find a simple and profound description of how this works.

The question each politician should ask themselves before they run for office is: can I be bought? And: what is my price? My amateur guesstimate is 80-90% of government individuals and entities are bought and sold. Period. End of Story. (Right now I believe Ron Paul is in that 1%. He is so rare, I couldn’t believe it when I encountered him.)

The question each presidential candidate should ask themselves is: How badly do I want to be president within this current barbaric, fall-of-the-Roman-Empire system? Am I ok with selling my soul? Many just say no (Colin Powell comes to mind). Others do their best to try and make SOME change within the Corporate-run System (In my opinion Obama is in this category). Others relish it and thrive on it, like a vampire drinking the blood of humans. They didn’t need their soul anyway (Dick Cheney Dick Cheney Dick Cheney – the Darth Vader of this Planet – is absolutely in this category).

Doesn’t matter who is president or vice-president. They all do it. They HAVE to, in order to survive in the echelons.

Therefore, in conclusion: Corporations are psychopaths run by serial killers. Government has set up permanent residence in their pockets. These beings in these echelons (all except a very rare few)) are all about the bling and could give a rat’s behind about human beings.

The Separation of Corporation and State. For me, that is the answer. (P.S. End the Fed.)

For more of my never-have-an-effect-but-gotta-get-it-outa-my-system ranting, follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/carolann3888.

——

Here are some links on the Truth about the Financial Reserve:

The following three videos – from a movie called Zeitgeist http://www.zeitgeistmovie.com/  – are an excellent explanation of The Fed. Please take the time to watch them. These 3 videos are approximately 9 minutes each, for a total of about 30 minutes. They are part of the movie, which is about 1 hour in length. I highly recommend you watch these three in order to get a feel for what the Fed really is:

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Here is one of MANY Ron Paul videos on the subject of the Fed (see http://www.campaignforliberty.com for more) The subject of this video is ‘The Fed is the World’s Counterfeiter’: http://www.ronpaul.com/2009-07-10/ron-paul-the-federal-reserve-is-the-worlds-counterfeiter/

The Crash Course – this is a very easy-to-understand description of how our economy works and the US’s growing economic quagmire. The following link will take you to the home page. Click on the link for Chapter 8, entitled The Fed & Money Creation (7 minutes). There are 20 Chapters total. If you can find the time, it is highly enlightening to (and I highly recommend that you) watch all 20 Chapters. But at the very least, watch this 7 minute video which will blow your mind: http://www.chrismartenson.com/crashcourse

And finally – Ron Paul’s book: End the Fed (go buy it)
http://www.amazon.com/End-Fed-Ron-Paul/dp/0446549193/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1255635390&sr=8-1

Here are some links on the subject of Corporations as Psychopaths:

Corporations as Psychopaths http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0120-03.htm

Corporation – legal personality with a psychopath’s traits
http://compenetration.wordpress.com/2008/06/26/corporation-legal-personality-with-psychopaths-traits/

Real power in America doesn’t reside in citizens, or the government, but in corporations.
http://www.popmatters.com/pm/article/109177-on-a-dream-deferred-to-capitalism/

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