Loyalty without truth
is a trail to tyranny.
|Thursday, 2 February 2017 at 21h 22m 13s|
I hear all these folks criticizing me and the profession of teaching, saying we got it easy, we get
all these vacations and lotsa time off, and cushy pensions to boot. Inevitably, I hear it at least
once a year, usually from some random contact with a moron who mouths off loud enough so that I
could hear them.
That happened this evening. Waiting behind two 30-ish aged dudes at the supermarket, I overheard
them discussing how educators (in particular, college professors) got this lush lifestyle. They
show up to class 5 times a week for one hour. Sit in their room another 5 hours, and then chill at
home or the beach or the coffee shop the rest of their life. Then they get a pension that is more
than most middle class Americans.
Well, yea but, so fucking what. The educational investment that went into this perceived lifestyle
in and of itself is what the discussion should be. Humans teaching and training the next generation
is what we mean about education. You want computers to take over. Realize that behind the computer
is a firm that gets paid to run and implement the computer. Rather than a single individual who
connects with individual students, you get homogenized product interfacing with humans without the
ability to sense those students humanity. Is that a good thing? Will that actually produce better
And here’s a big fat bitch slap. I work a minimum of 60 hours a week during the school year -- and
more usually something north of 65 hours a week (mind you I am not alone, this is true for a large
majority of K-12 teachers). Now I do work only 36 weeks per year — ignoring the prep time during
summer, as well the inevitable and guaranteed grading of papers during and on “vacation” days.
Let’s do a comparison. Take a teacher who works 36 weeks and averages 60 hours per week (ignoring
the statements above). That is 36 times 60, or 2160 hours per year. Keep in mind this is the
absolute minimum. If we did 36 times 65 (more realistic) … we get 2340 hours per year.
Now compare this to a worker who does 40 hours per 5 day week with weekends free. Assume a 2 week
compilation of vacation days. So that means 50 weeks of hard work at an average of 40 hours per
week. Guess what? That is 2000 hours per year. 160 less than the minimum teacher, or 4 more weeks
of work per year. If we use the more realistic 2340 hours, that is 340 more hours per year - almost
9 more weeks per year !!!
Now tell me again that teachers are lucky and get all that time off. We actually work more hours
per year than someone who works 40 hours per week for 50 weeks out of the year (this is literally
what I told this punk in the grocery line by the way).
And my pension? My pension is in the hands of politically appointed directors who invest the
accumulated funds that teachers and school districts pay into the CalStrs program (CALifornia State
Teacher Retirement System). California has the best teacher pension system in the entire USA,
however, it is still run and directed by politically appointed directors.
Someone named Michelle Rhee who heads the corporate slush funded non-profit ideological institute of
Students-First has publicly stated that teachers should have their pensions eliminated. Apparently
this causes us to become complacent and lazy - which means a lot coming from a woman who literally
taped her students mouths with tape to keep them from talking, never realizing the insanity of this
method of classroom management because she is a self-loathing, amoral person who should have never
been allowed near children in the first place. But now that Michelle is married to ex-Sacramento
Mayor Kevin Johnson, who himself runs a charter school, she and her ilk are all about driving a
stake into the Public of “public” schools. They don’t want the lower and middle classes educated.
But that’s a discussion I will save for another day.
|Wednesday, 1 February 2017 at 22h 5m 44s|
Why it will be wet tomorrow
Look at that fierce southern tail on this counter-clockwise spinning system.
|Wednesday, 1 February 2017 at 17h 48m 26s|
Scott Pruitt Will Bring Arsenic Lead Mercury to your water and air
This is from Bill Moyers.
[SOURCE: Bill Moyers | 31 January 2017]
|Sunday, 29 January 2017 at 9h 41m 9s|
The clueless dishonor
Kurt Eichenwald -- Senior writer at Newsweek and reporter for The New York Times since 1986 --
recently spleened a twitter
explosion on the insane disrespect Trump had when his first public address as President was before
the CIA Memorial Room.
"I am going to try to explain why there is so much outrage in the intelligence agencies about what
Trump did on Saturday in his CIA speech.
Imagine having a campaign rally at the National Cemetery. Or a cocktail fundraiser amid the grave
markers of US soldiers in Normandy. This "event'' Trump held, purportedly to greet CIA employees,
was in the Memorial Wall room, where 117 CIA employees who died in service to our country are
honored. Many more have died, and it takes special approval to receive a star on the wall or be
listed in the book, called the Book of Honor. Many of the names of the fallen will never be known,
because their identities have to be kept secret even in death. Rarely is that room used for
anything, but when it is, solemn nature of it is recognized. GW Bush was, I believe the first
president to hold an event there in 2001, but it was exceedingly respectful and in keeping with the
meaning of the room.
The second major event was an appearance by Obama after the killing of Bin Laden, when he went to
the CIA to thank the ppl there for their often anonymous sacrifices that led to that success in the
fight against terrorism. Again, solemn and fitting with the meaning of the room. Both Bush and Obama
paid deep homage to those honored in the book and by the stars. CIA employees listened respectfully,
but did not turn the events into rallies.
He has the audacity to bring people from his team to cheer for him and sit in the front rows. I
can't imagine CIA employees cheering and whooping it up at Memorial Wall. It would be like screaming
"BOO-yah!" at a funeral . Trump made a single, over-the-shoulder mention of the stars. But he spent
most of his time griping about the media, bragging about the number of times he had been on the
cover of Time Magazine, and complaining that everyone was lying about numbers at his inauguration
and all the while, his professional cheerleaders who couldn't find their way to the CIA bathroom are
sitting there, cheering for the many who apparently needs applause everywhere he goes.
It was an abomination, perhaps the most disrespectful thing I have ever seen done by any president
in that kind of place.
I felt sure we would hear from former director Brennan pretty fast. Why? Because one of those stars
on the wall belongs to a close friend of his who died in service of this country. And he knows who
all the others are as well. For him, I'm sure, it was like watching someone having a picnic on the
graves in the National Cemetery. And then the same Trump staff that was too lazy or stupid to do the
advance work on the CIA trip, so that they knew the meaning of the wall, go on TV to attack Brennan
as a partisan hack for wanting a room of such enormous meaning to be treated with the solemnity it
And that is an important element here. I actually don't blame Trump for this horror show on
Saturday. Few people outside of government know the meaning of the wall. That was his staff's job,
and they clearly had no idea what they were sending Trump to do. No sane person would agree to send
a cheering squad. They are incompetent. Worse, they are arrogant, and respond to others pointing out
their undeniable errors by attacking and whining.
No, anger at the dishonoring of patriots who died is not partisan. You don't want criticism? Do your
jobs better and when you screw up, like you did by turninga most solemn place in intel world as a
rah-rah location, just admit it, apologize, and move on."
[SOURCE: Progressive Eruptions | 23 January 2017]
|Friday, 27 January 2017 at 20h 27m 3s|
Republicans are getting shaky
This is from the
The italicized parts are from an article in the New York Times titled "As Trump Thunders G.O.P. lawmakers duck
and cover" and is about the recent meeting by Republican leaders in Philadelphia.
I want to present you with this from a former Republican governor of South Carolina who now serves
in the House of Representatives. You probably remember Mark Sanford from his remarkable feat of
hiking the Appalachian Trail in Argentina with his mistress while officials in the Palmetto State
desperately tried to discover their chief executive’s whereabouts. He has seen the new president and
he’s not impressed.
But at least a few lawmakers have shown greater alarm at elements of Mr. Trump’s first days. Mr.
Sanford recalled a recent conversation with a colleague in his party about the president’s false
statements on voter fraud.
“A fellow member turned to me and pointed to it and said, ‘That’s what third-world dictators
do,’” Mr. Sanford said. “They just repeat the same misinformation over and over and over again until
it sinks in.”
It’s not normal to have a Republican congressman comparing a president of his own party to a
third-world dictator because he lies so brazenly and repeatedly in his efforts to establish a false
reality. Of course, Sanford was only repeating what his colleague felt. How did he feel?
Mr. Sanford was asked if he shared his peer’s concerns that Mr. Trump had displayed
authoritarian tendencies. He paused for a beat.
“I’m going to give anybody the benefit of the doubt,” he said, “over the first three days.”
I’m not sure what’s with all the Republicans counting Trump’s presidency from Monday instead of from
Friday noon when it actually began, but the three days are up no matter how you count them. There is
a limit to how long you can give someone the benefit of the doubt. We’re stuck with doubt now, and
it’s never going to improve.
|Thursday, 26 January 2017 at 21h 56m 33s|
He's obsessed with proving how popular he is because he's an insecure man.
Anna Kasperian at The
I truly love Anna from afar. Her mind, her personality, her feisty spirit, her sense of justice,
her empathy, her playfulness, ... she is cool. I'm probably 15 years older, but I so feel her
compassion and genuine soul every time. I admit I'm attracted to her smile.
And as usual Anna is spot on. Our dear President is a seriously flawed man. You think Hilary or
Obama or Bush or Bill Clinton or Ronald Reagan or ... or even Richard Nixon ... was flawed.
Whoa-boy you got truck load after truck load of education coming big dawg (and dawgettes ). This is
where the last 40 years of bullshit corporate conservatism and their fucking lackeys crash in front
of Joe and Jill Q Public showing their ass for all to see.
Case in point: you gotta be broken if you found some way to criticism the 21 January Women's marches
on Saturday. But alas there are fools who need to earn a living.
claiming the movement discredited itself. Because?
But these marches can never be an effective opposition to Donald Trump.
In the first place, this movement focuses on the wrong issues.
Oh fuck. The wrong issues. My fucking god y'all. Shoulda stayed home and watched Fox News so we
could learn about the "right" issues. Just like our President elect himself.
Second, there was too big a gap between Saturday’s marches and the Democratic and Republican Parties.
Really? Too big a gap you say. Please. Elaborate.
Sometimes social change happens through grass-roots movements — the civil rights movement. But most
of the time change happens through political parties: The New Deal, the Great Society, the Reagan
Revolution. Change happens when people run for office, amass coalitions of interest groups, engage
in the messy practice of politics.
Without the discipline of party politics, social movements devolve into mere feeling, especially in
our age of expressive individualism. People march and feel good and think they have accomplished
something. They have a social experience with a lot of people and fool themselves into thinking they
are members of a coherent and demanding community. Such movements descend to the language of mass
It’s significant that as marching and movements have risen, the actual power of the parties has
collapsed. Marching is a seductive substitute for action in an antipolitical era, and leaves the
field open for a rogue like Trump.
Finally, identity politics is too small for this moment. On Friday, Trump offered a version of
unabashed populist nationalism. On Saturday, the anti-Trump forces could have offered a red, white
and blue alternative patriotism, a modern, forward-looking patriotism based on pluralism, dynamism,
growth, racial and gender equality and global engagement.
Instead, the marches offered the pink hats, an anti-Trump movement built, oddly, around Planned
Parenthood, and lots of signs with the word “pussy” in them. The definition of America is up for
grabs. Our fundamental institutions have been exposed as shockingly hollow. But the marches
couldn’t escape the language and tropes of identity politics.
The only one who is hollow, it's you David Brooks. You are the one who is hollow. You stand on
the curvature of history and pretend to distill events through the lens of history that you are paid
to create, spinning moralistic eulogies about how the resistance to the aristocracy is silly
and illegitimate because you have access to a large massive newspaper that pays you to spew bullshit.
For instance, when you say this:
-- you ignore the influence that large aggregations of billionaire and hedge funds used to
infiltrate the political process, buying politicians and making the costs of grass-roots
representative sky-rocket.(Like you care) Political parties are not collapsing because of this
"significance" that marching and movements have "risen" dumb ass. But that's what these hired
jackals do. They conflate the zeitgeist of the moment with the overall agenda, making everything
fit into the paradigm, thinking those who read their bullshit will become convinced and hi-jacked
for further mind rape.
It’s significant that as marching and movements have risen, the actual power of the parties has
But alas, very few persons are actually fooled. That's the thing these morons don't get. People
know a con artist when they hear one after a few iterations. They can own the media but they can't
own the common sense of the average American.
Oh and by the way, "the definition of America" is NOT "up for grabs" merely because of "lots of
signs with the word
'pussy' in them" or because "the marches offered the pink hats" or because "people march and feel good
and think they have accomplished something". The "definition of America" has been up for grabs for a
while now, and has little to do with your gymnastic attempts to pigeon-hole this massive historical
moment in the beginning of the resistance. We fight for "the definition of America" every single day
that we live. Or we get paid to promote a certain "definition of America" and have a massive
newspaper in the queen city of a major world nation from which to preach.
Fuck you David Brooks. When in our history has a mass protest the day after a newly elected
president ever far out-numbered
the inauguration? When in the history of our republic? You want to belittle this fucking history
with some microscopic shallow splicing of hairs about the word "pussy". Or your absolutely pathetic
opinion that "such
movements descend into the language of mass therapy."
Hmmm. Funny that it is David Brooks who speaks of "the language of mass therapy".
Uhgh. I so detest this mother fucker.
[SOURCE: David Brooks | New York
Times | 24 January 2017]
|Thursday, 26 January 2017 at 19h 30m 12s|
The cold hard truth
Make a little Post-It note and put it up where you can see it every day to remind you to begin your
thinking about resistance each day with two, cold facts: First, from the Bastard President all the
way down to your Crazy Uncle Liberty, the Republican Party is a rabid dog, and second, the Fourth
Estate sold us out and abandoned their post years ago.
Do not look for help from the media. Do not delude yourself into believing that there is any spark
of humanity or sanity left inside the Party of Lincoln. Both institutions are rubble and their ruins
are ruled over by swine and goblins who do not give the tiniest shit about this country or about you.
Do not waste your time trying to reason with Conservative zombies or the ghosts who haunt the
boneyard of American journalism. They cannot hear you and they do not care
I have reached the point in my perspective of history and my country that I completely agree with
this statement. It has come time for every single democracy-loving honest citizen to take part in
their civic duties rather than sit back and watch the event unfold, hoping some hero leaders out
there will do the right thing, make the right speech, and then presto magic we get our democracy
back. Nope. Our politics is corrupt, bought and paid for. What the fuck is Democrat honcho Charles
Schumer doing even smiling at the words of Mr. Trump and voting for his cabinet picks? Whose side
are you on boy? Real patriots say "Fuck You" and vote no with a spine. Real patriots sit their
stoically and do not laugh at contrived bullshit attempts at humor by the authoritarian racist in
I am so over this bullshit. Every single Democrat should vote "no" on every single cabinet pick and
filibuster all four years if necessary. Who cares if you lose? Consistency is what matters at this
point. You are getting nothing for your vote, nothing at all, because these people just pretend to
negotiate. Once you put your balls on the table, they bring out the hammer and smash you every ...
single ... time. You can't compromise with authoritarians, because they are always angling in need
of dominance. Just like bullies. If you don't resist and stand firm from day one they will continue
barrage of anti-democratic injustices as far as society will permit.
The time is now people. The only one here to save you is you.
|Wednesday, 25 January 2017 at 20h 36m 46s|
This is how they play
Click here for the story on how reporters are being arrested for covering
anti-Trump inauguration events, AND
at least six media workers are facing up to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine if convicted.
News flash. The Donald is insecure and petty. This is how authoritarian's roll. This is why Trump
is bringing staffers and acolytes to every single time he makes a speech or press conference. They
clap and applaud and make The Donald happy.
OMFG is this really happening.
|Monday, 23 January 2017 at 18h 38m 18s|
A Real Good Economics article
From the Bill
Miller blog, an article about Modern Monetary Theory in defense of the mainstream corporate
media's need to defend the status quo of Rational Economic Humans.
The mainstream promote the idea that an economic proposition that is not backed up by some
mathematical expressions is clearly inferior and likely to be wrong.
Suffice to say that the great works of Marx and Keynes, among others would be disregarded if the
inclusion of mathematical squiggles was the demarcation criteria between deficient and sound analysis.
But it is also not correct that MMT economists have avoided formal expressions when they consider
them to be useful in advancing comprehension.
For example, in my 2008 book with Joan Muysken – Full Employment abandoned – there is a lot of
mathematical exposition, where appropriate and effective.
Further, the expression Garbage-In, Garbage-Out applies in this case.
A formal mathematical model is just a logical construct following the rules of mathematics. Whether
it has traction with the real world is another matter all together and that depends, in part, on the
assumptions we start with to ‘set up’ the formal model.
So if we start by assume there is a ‘representative agent’ (representing us all to overcome
intractable aggregation problems) that is always rational and maximising and who follows the formal
dictates of rational expectations (which assume on average the guesses about the future are always
correct) and can ‘solve’ complex intertemporal (across time) maximising problems that require
understanding of the techniques, such as random process, measure theory, Lebesque integrals, Ito
Calculus and the rest, then it is pretty certain, the output from such an exercise will be nonsense.
Hence, the failure to predict the Global Financial Crisis or even see that there was any problem at
The evidence is clearly that people within social systems do not behave remotely like the ‘single
person’ (agent) in the mainstream macroeconomics models.
The introduction of rational expectations into the literature (in the late 1960s but the idea really
gathered pace in the late 1970s) led to mainstream economists talking endlessly about
‘forward-looking maximising behaviour’.
John Muth (1961), who introduced the idea to economists, claimed (p.316) that:
I should like to suggest that expectations, since they are informed predictions of future
events, are essentially the same as the predictions of the relevant economic theory …
[Reference: Muth, J.F. (1961) ‘Rational Expectations and the Theory of Price Movements’,
Econometrica, 29(3), 315-35.]
In other words, when we make guesses about the future, we are assumed to be acting as if we know the
actual data generating process that will deliver that future. We are sometimes wrong but on average
our errors net to zero – which means we have more or less perfect foresight.
William Poole summarised the literature in this way (p.468):
The rational-expectations hypothesis is that the market’s psychological anticipation …
[future price] … equals the true model’s expectation …
[Reference: Poole, W. (1976) ‘Rational Expectations in the Macro Model’, Brookings Papers on
Economic Activity, 2, 463-514.]
The economic modelling task then came down to the following steps:
- Assume – that is, assert without foundation – that all persons are rational and deploy rational
expectations. They interact within efficient, competitive markets (that is, where prices shift to
balance demand and supply to ensure the configuration of outcomes (resource usage) is optimal for all.
- Write some mathematical equations reflecting this.
- Solve the equations for the unknown outcomes.
- Shock the ‘solution’ with some policy change and ‘prove’ it is ineffective because as a result
of (1) all agents predict in advance the shock and act to negate it.
- Write ridiculous articles that claim that fiscal policy is ineffective.
... Arthur Okun (hardly a radical economist) once mused that if the mathematical depiction of
decision making represented by the rational expectations literature was correct then all the
economists on payrolls around the world were redundant because even the person delivering the post
‘knew’ the underlying economic model that generated the empirical observations we call economic data.
While reflecting on the usefulness of rational expectations, James Tobin noted in 1980 that (p.796):
Herbert Simon and others have accumulated considerable evidence to support the hypothesis
that decision makers, from students and consumers to executives and statesmen, use “rules of thumb”
in the face of uncertainties and complexities that defy detailed anaylsis and explicit optimization.
Decision making itself is costly. The rules that simplify decisions are not unalterable, of course,
but they tend to persist unless the environment is perceived to have changed drastically or they
yield disastrous results.
[Reference: Tobin, J. (1980) ‘Are New Classical Models Plausible Enough to Guide Policy?’,
of Money, Credit and Banking, 12(4), 788-799.]
There has been a long-standing tradition of institutional researchers who have understood that
individuals do not behave in the way depicted by these streamlined mathematical frameworks deployed
by economists. The more recent behavioural economics research has ratified the conclusions of those
Tobin had earlier written (1972, p.13):
Lucas’ paper provides a rigorous defense of the natural rate hypothesis, and the study’s
rigor and sophistication have the virtue of making clear exactly what the hypothesis requires. The
structure of the economy, including the rules guiding fiscal and monetary policy, must be stable and
must be understood by all participants. The participants not only must receive the correct
information about the structure but also must use all of the data correctly in estimating prices and
in making quantity decisions. These participants must be better econometricians than any of us at
the Conference. If they are, they will always be – except unavoidable mistakes due to purely random
elements in the time sequence of aggregate money demand – at their utility- and profit-maximizing
The was a touch of humour here but the point he was making was obvious. The sort of requirements
that these mathematical models that mainstream economists deploy place such unrealistic demands on
human reasoning that they are of little use in understanding what actually goes on in the real world.
[Reference: Tobin, J. (1972) ‘The Wage-Price Mechanism: Overview of the Conference’, in
(ed.) The Econometrics of Price Determination, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and
Social Science Research Council, Washington, 5-15.]
But research communities that become crippled by the onset of Groupthink avoid these intersections
Exactly. I call it paralysis by analysis. Falling in love with data at the expense of the
individuals behind the data. Numbers are only as good as their interpretation, and numbers are
easily misinterpreted if you have misconceptions or biases about the underlying phenomenom because
humans innately see what they want to see.
|Sunday, 22 January 2017 at 14h 16m 37s|
Trump spokeman Sean Spicer -- first press conference
This is Sean Spicer, President Trump's press secretary. He did not take questions from the media
journalists at this, the first of President Trump's press conferences. Mind you this comes off the
last press conference, which was from President Trump himself, when he called CNN a fake news outlet.
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