Sunday, September 25, 2016

2016 - Making Oligarchy Painless

[A note from MeanMesa: This post title needs a little fixing -- a quick do over to get things started on the right foot. Of course MeanMesa doesn't expect the approaching oligarchy to be painless. To move toward a tiny bit more realism, the following title is, most likely, more appropriate:

"2016 - Making the Start of Our New Oligarchy Relatively Painless - 
At Least For the Time Being."

Now, having restored some semblance of literary relevance, we can proceed with another great post which meets Short Current Essays standards . Enjoy.]

 Remember, the Billionaires Are In Charge
Are they simply well 
paid pleasure puppets or 
network "news anchors,"
calling the tune?[image]
The "passionately embraced and insightful political discourse" currently choking the American media atmosphere amounts to what's left of the cheap cosmetics on a not particularly classy lady standing drunk on a pretty dark corner in a rainstorm.

Things are looking pretty dismal in the US political contest underway. Everything portrayed as "important" seems mysteriously banal. Surely, something must definitely be going on here, but the unavoidable conclusion is a suspicion that what we are seeing is quite removed from what is actually happening.

The gaseous culpability behind a mystery such as this -- at least in these modern times -- almost always rushes headlong to the feet of the billionaires. Armed with their "public opinion managing think tanks," these emboldened, in bred, trust fund trolls are now creeping from their gated country clubs out into the light as they pursue their ultimate obsession: a permanent, dynastic oligarchy.

A very faint "bright spot" in this careening descent into the "new state of things" is not buried any deeper than a very peculiar feature of these billionaires with their monetary wet dream of calling the shots after these last few details of replacing democracy have been "settled."

They're tremendous cowards.

They already own so much stuff that they instantly become embarrassingly nervous at the very first prospect of actually losing even the tiniest part of their dynastic fortunes. Their typical life experience has never included what the rest of us would consider "ups and downs." This constant fear might drive them to take chance and make mistakes, but their ten digit asset accounts actually give the little darlings plenty of leeway.

Standing this close to total victory, we can anticipate some pretty crazy behavior on their part. They are, typically, quite clumsy in the assertion of their power. They may have learned about patience and risk taking in their childhood "guillotine classes," but the "carousel's ring" is desperately shiny and almost within their reach at this moment.

With this little detail now handled so nicely, we can lurch right into the "meat of the issue." The final steps to accomplish this transformation is certain to be practically "hiccup-free" thanks to the fact that around 88% of "interested, informed, democracy loving" Americans have any no idea what an oligarchy is.

No idea at all.

No idea how life will change after we "complete the shift."

No idea how depressingly permanent this gut wrenching change 
will prove to be in a half a dozen decades. 
Think of it as a never ending tooth ache.

However, this is not a problem. The billionaires currently own around 88% of everything, so perhaps the numbers, in a sense, go together.

The Extremely Unusual 2016 Election

What's missing, and what's been added.

MeanMesa is constantly amazed as the "puppet show" rambles forward. In every corner the "political discourse" has become a predictable lament focused on the failing and foibles of one side or the other. The narrative has become tiresome and pointless. Regardless of the channel setting, the passionate accounts shared with the citizens continue to paint the comfortably reassuring meme of simply another, more or less normal, clash of mysteriously legitimate political campaigns.

MeanMesa is unable to discern anything recognizable as an actual "political campaign" mired in the media soup at this point. All the faces and words "networky" enough to reach New Mexico's high desert amount to endless flow of painfully tiresome, over scripted, castrated groans of dancing puppets -- dancing puppets with painfully obvious puppet strings which are far too visible to be ignored.

There's no reason to be overly "discrete" when revealing the personal specifics of this experience. MeanMesa will vote for Hillary Clinton. Bill's plan to scare the daylights out of this old voter has been highly effective. As is the case with most Americans who will also vote for Hillary Clinton, the most compelling reason, of course, is Donald Trump. That was Bill's plan to accomplish the election of his un-electable wife.

It seems to be working. The sold out networks -- also quite predictably -- are now reporting that the election margins are "closing." MeanMesa doubts this, but there isn't much reason to lose sleep over the prospect. Most likely it is simply another cheap tactic to "juice up" the contest so the campaigns, frightened by these inauthentic numbers, will spend even more on advertising.

Among the ranks of these contemporary, bumbling politicians, no one seems to know anything. Both campaigns are fiercely amateurish.

The industrial US media has infrequently insinuated that Hillary has actually proposed actual policy proposals about a few things here and there -- perhaps 5% of the minimum policy a normal, healthy campaign might have proposed. Of course there is little opportunity to particularly explore any of these "campaign ideas." Decades ago the Democrats completely lost their presence in the network media flow. The entire party -- and, certainly, including Hillary Clinton -- has become disturbingly invisible.

[Continuing with the theme of not being "overly discrete," MeanMesa is more than willing to share the media consumed here in the Galactic Head Quarters.

Stephanie Miller
Thom Hartmann
Rachel Maddow
Randi Rhodes

None of these sources are difficult or expensive to access. MeanMesa's enduring infatuation with Randi Rhodes has prompted the expenditure of $10 per month for her pod cast -- even though parts of it are available by subscribing on YouTube. Blog visitors are encouraged to seek out these sources. You will continually feel more and more "inner peace" the further you get from the toxic corporate media, but don't confuse "inner peace" with anything similar to hopeful reassurance.]

This is a crushingly gloomy vision.

Unsurprisingly, this election will be completed with essentially no expression of citizen opinion with respect to the future course of the country. It is a chilling case of "The Platitudes Win!" Thanks to the useless domestic US media, anything that isn't "a platitude" isn't reported. It is buried beneath thirty impenetrable layers of wet wool. The American political "audience" has become so codependent and so hopelessly stricken with ADHD that everything of interest must be reduced to a 140 word Tweet before it becomes considered to be digestible.

The New Paradigm Explains Everything!
The explanation is just as painfully distasteful as the question it explains.

The old paradigm rests on the equally old idea that elections in a modern democracy have something to do with the concerns and aspirations of the electorate. This time around such a presumption leads only to an incomprehensible, obsolete model of events with only the most tedious, flimsy "connections" to the reality of what is unfolding.

The billionaires' think tanks have been working diligently to deliver an electorate which is savagely alienated and disgusted. Citizens are alienated by the infuriating ineffectiveness of the current government. Few of what had previously been the "middle class" continue to expect that anything Washington might do will alter conditions of life in the country in any positive way. The carefully orchestrated effort to disgust voters has succeeded. There are dangerously few voters still retaining some tattered hope that the government might yet be saved.

This "dangerously few" number diminishes even more when the current candidates are added to the question. MeanMesa estimates that no more than 30% of the electorate expects any noticeable improvement in "American life" as an outcome from electing either one of them.

So. Is all this the result of a "groundswell" of irritation so intense that it has just finally "boiled to the surface?"

No, this is a "Swiss watch" of masterful, carefully planned, political manipulation -- a quite expensive one. Groundswells seldom have sponsors, designers or benefactors. This groundswell has all three.

The billionaires are making their move. The very last element of the old democracy which continued to block their efforts was the ballot box. However, after injecting a few hundred million dollars into state elections anywhere they could, the previously potent ballot box is, now, dangerously handicapped.

It is a two pronged effort. The voters had to be alienated and disgusted to a point where voter turn out was even lower than it has been traditionally. Voters who had "skin in the game" compelling enough to drive them to the polls were met with six hour wait times, the corpse of the old voting rights act after it had been thoroughly eviscerated by an obedient Supreme Court, crudely fashioned "identity" requirements, mass voter registration purges and every other possible, criminal disincentive.

There is no way to predict what voting statistics for the 2016 election will be. If the billionaires' think tanks have done their job, it will be dismal. Once the election has been completed, it will, most likely, be terrifying.

The Interesting Conclusion of Ibil ka Dum
Everything old is new again, except
there's nothing new under the sun.

Ibil ka Dum, 14th Century
Islamic Historian [image - YouTube]
Ibin ka Dum was a 14th Century Islamic historian. He documented an exquisitely interesting pattern of the origin, development and demise of an entire series of ancient cultures in the Middle East. [Note: It wasn't the "Middle East" until much, much later.] MeanMesa thinks this pattern that he observed paints a very modern picture. Although the stakes have evolved through the centuries [grown even larger], we are still in the cycle.

[Watch the YouTube video - 11 minutes. It explains everything. Then, come back to MeanMesa for the remainder of the post. Pre-Islamic history of the Middle East]

Now, we must seek the similarities between our current dilemma and the historic, repeating sequence of events our historian noticed.

The stages in Ibil ka Dum's "sequence" were both laconic and chillingly prescient.

Conquest
Consolidation
Expansion
Degeneration
Conquest

The list of civilizations observed by Ibil ka Dum to have progressed in this manner is impressive.

Mesopotamians
Sumerians
Akkadians [Sargon the Great]
Gutians
Ammorites [founded Babylon]
Babylonians [Hammurabi]
Assyrians
resurgent Sumerians and resurgent Babylonians
Kassites
Assyrians 
Chaldeans [hanging gardens of Babylon and Nebuchad'Nezzar] 
Persians and Medes [Zoroaster]
Macedonia [Alexander]
Seleucids [Alexander's generals]
Parthians


The period of all these changes is so long that only the highlights are mentioned here. While this ancient historian recounted this repetitive sequence of the events of ancient, pre-Islamic cultures in the Middle East, it offers a compelling resonance with the events of our most immediate, modern times. However, few souls beyond the inebriated bumblers in the odorous mob of mindless hill billies and bigots in the Trump minority consider the prospect of the United States being "conquered" by a rambunctious assault by nomadic tribesmen to be particularly likely.

Assyrian Soldier Beheading
 an Edamite ca: 650 BC

[image]
In each of the cases in Ibil ka Dum's list of repeating examples the power controlling an established civilization was over thrown by "wild" nomadic tribesmen from a near by region. Once the fighting ended, the cycle began. The initial "conquest" phase was pretty violent and destructive. With the nomads in charge a "consolidation" of all the remaining pieces was the next step.

The "new blood" of the conquerors, for a time, energized the "consolidated" citizenry of the "new" culture to undertake a territorial expansion. But over time the new, energetic blood of those who had now recently conquered, consolidated and expanded began to degenerate -- to become "soft from city living." By this point in the cycle the next near by nomads already had their eyes set on the next cycle of, you guessed it, conquest.

Still, MeanMesa offered "similarity" and "resonance" between this ancient tale and our modern events. So, without sinking too far into the details let's make an important distinction right away.

Let's replace the ancient idea of conquering an established culture, ripping apart everything there and taking over as the "new boss" with a modern version of the same process. In this case the degenerate "city dwellers" are replaced by the degenerate citizens in both various modern democracies and in various, more or less free, modern national economies. However, these modern day conquerors have no interest at all in the unilateral destruction of everything of value. Instead, their efforts are entirely focused on essentially maintaining the degenerative process while continuously extracting wealth from their new possession.

Rather than immediately becoming notably raucous, ancient city conquering, "party animals" celebrating their sudden, newly acquired wealth, these modern conquerors are much more inclined to adopt the character of the quiet and patient parasite. They intend to take possession, over time, of everything previously owned by those they conquered while allowing the "conquered democracies" and the "conquered economies" to continue to exist, appearing -- at least for a time until such an arrangement begins to divert too much of the conquered gold to the effort of maintaining such an artificial ruse -- unchanged in their "surface" appearance.

The Modern "Degenerates"
It's going to be much neater without the pillaging, plundering
 and all the messy wreckage of those old city walls.

By this time everyone already knows the nature of the next modern conqueror. The traditional Republicans, although somewhat confused by their nomination of such a shady candidate, are  still confident enough that the looting festival begun in the Reagan era will continue. The Democrats are still somewhat shell shocked that their candidate was so unpopular when she was nominated, but Democratic voters are quite aware of Ms. Clinton's close connections with oligarchic interests such as Goldman-Sachs, WalMart and others.

But, what should we have expected? We are in the final phase of our conversion to the oligarchic style of national government. It was inevitable that, at least by this point, the billionaires and corporatists would, very predictably, begin choosing Presidents comfortably sympathetic with their interests. To accomplish this it is completely understandable that the nominated candidates from both parties would both offer administrations committed to this "comfortable sympathy."

Nonetheless, we need not feel that the US voter is the sole victim in this global take over scheme. Yes, the US is a literal "treasure trove" of national wealth which offers the billionaires many remaining years of successful "hollowing out" before they've finished. But a quick review of oligarchic advances all across the world reveals that these happy go lucky, opportunistic billionaires are devouring every "democracy" and every otherwise relatively functional "national economy" which can boast of as much as two dimes to rub together.

Other countries may not offer the same stupendous wealth to serve as sustenance for these suddenly revealed oligarchic dynasties, but the other economies around the world, while perhaps offering less to loot, are significantly easier and cheaper to "conquer."

The Russian Federation is an autocratic oligarchy. The Peoples Republic of China, while not even pretending to be a democracy, is unquestionably an oligarchy. The prosperous nations in the EU -- meaning those which are not currently bankrupt -- qualify as "ripe picking" for the respective oligarchs. The oil soaked monarchs, theocrats and autocrats lurking about in the Middle East [Because this is significantly later than the world observed by Ibil ka Dum, we can call it that.] are either oligarchs or are having violent, religion flavored dreams of becoming oligarchs. The African and South American states, already enjoying a tradition of frequent government take overs, aren't faring much better.

It's probably important to understand that as the oligarchs succeed in taking control of an ever growing number of countries, the prospects for ever removing them decrease rapidly.

In terms of "degeneracy" -- as noted by Ibil ka Dum -- the citizens of the democracies have very successfully "filled the bill." With the now nearly unilateral failure of the public education experiment American voters have no idea about most of what was taught in high school civics classes half a century ago. Normally, when US voters would hear a Presidential candidate proclaiming that he intended to do what -- in those days -- everyone knew would have to be done by Congress, that entire campaign would have ground to a halt.

However, with more modern, "civics free" voters such a claim seems eerily acceptable. Adding to the "new understanding" is the fact that Congress never actually does anything anyway, making the gravity of such a campaign gaffe curiously gaseous. 

Don't forget to vote in November.





Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Heart Break High - Albuquerque's Highland High School

An Important Note to Visitors from MeanMesa

This post has been certified absolutely clean -- that is, to contain no reference to Donald Trump or to the Donald Trump for President campaign. The Superior Excellence Award Certification is posted to the left. This coveted seal of quality certifies that the post content following will be purely a MeanMesa opinion article, and that the post's content will be free of any mention of Donald Trump.

You can proceed with the full assurance that all the material presented here can be read and enjoyed without any concern whatsoever that the narrative will suddenly descend to include contemporary political material.



A Few Observations About US "Public Education"
Nothing about this is particularly mysterious.

Yes, the provisions for a public education system are, in fact, an implied element of the United States Constitution, insinuated there in hopes of providing a perpetually "well educated electorate." The Founders, understandably, embraced the idea that an educated, informed, interested electorate might serve as a real advantage for keeping this fragile democracy "on the tracks" in its future years.

A look around the US on the date of this posting reveals the obvious advantages these Founders had hoped that  this idea of theirs might provide, but it also exposes the stark dangers which visit when the educational effort fails. So, just forget all of that idea about the necessity of a "well educated electorate." We are now revealing the full weight of the consequences which almost inevitably arise when the "electorate" is not well educated or, for that matter, even particularly interested

What began as a "good idea" has evolved into an ugly, modern hybrid of local [state] and national financing, unionized teachers, dynastic "academic" bureaucrats. This great idea has become a political football soaking up mountains of money while producing only the sketchiest, most irritatingly obscure results. Worse, the task of providing a "public education" is now viewed from the right as a cash burning monstrosity and from the left as an unfinished effort at social engineering. When the lunatics of the prevailing religion add their voices, what emerges, MeanMesa must woefully concede, is, in fact, utterly incomprehensible.

Just a Few Specifics About Highland High School
in Albuquerque, New Mexico
In the "Land of Enchantment," this school is not particularly "enchanting."

No doubt some of MeanMesa's foreign visitors are already quite perplexed about the US public education system. With even so much as a "passing perusal" of the system's performance statistics the "big picture" such an observation painfully composes is an incomprehensible, incredibly expensive and shockingly ineffective modern, social nightmare. If it happens to look this way to you as you view it from a foreign country, relax -- it also looks like this to us, too.


http://www.75hhsabq.com/
Importantly, there is no exceptional feature of Highland High School which might present some sort of striking contrast to the typical US public education high school. The school, at least by Albuquerque standards, is huge. 

Unlike many modern high schools, Highland High School is comprised of numerous buildings -- including plenty of resources and infrastructure for all manner of athletics, of course. The school offers a "high school" version of ROTC, and the campus sports a beautiful "Olympic-plus" sized swimming pool.

A quick inquiry into MeanMesa's trusty GOOGLE provides the statistics which can "round out" the high school's "big picture."

Highland High School

  • Highland High School serves 1,558 students in grades 9 - 12.
  • The student:teacher ratio of 15:1 is lower than the NM average of 16:1.
  • Minority enrollment is 88% of the student body (majority Hispanic), which is more than the state average of 75%.
  • Highland High School operates within the Albuquerque School District.
  • Albuquerque School District's 64% graduation rate is lower than the NM state average of 72%.
  • The student population of 1558 students has declined by 6% over five years.
  • The teacher population of 102 teachers has stayed relatively flat over five years.
  • 1,558 students.
Albuquerque [Public] School District - APS

  • Albuquerque School District's student population of 93,202 students has stayed relatively flat over five years.
  • The district's graduation rate of 64% has decreased from 95% over five years.
  • The revenue/student of $10,580 in this district is less than the state average of $16,798. The district revenue/student has stayed relatively flat over four years.
  • The district's spending/student of $11,518 is less than the state average of $17,733. The district spending/student has grown by 10% over four years.
[All data and following descriptive graphs courtesy of 


Don't become confused or impatient. This point of this post to to share a painfully personal, very specific and quite immediate account of the "story of Robert."


Highland High School, New Mexico Politics
and State Funding
The prevailing economy in New Mexico complicates 
-- but can not excuse -- 
this "whirling dervish" of American public education.



New Mexico holds -- intermittently with a collection of other poverty ridden states -- various places in the "poorest states in the country" lists. These lists are calculated using various parameters, but the picture is still pretty clear. [Most of the "lists" suggest New Mexico is roughly #43rd poorest. 43. New Mexico - Median household income: $44,803 Population: 2,085,572 Unemployment rate: 6.5% Poverty rate: 21.3% - source Daily Mail/census]

Complicating this funding environment even more is the fact that the State of New Mexico relies heavily on extraction taxes from in-state oil production to finance State expenditures -- focused primarily on public education. Naturally, with a Republican Governess and a GOP controlled State House along with a truly pernicious infestation of ALEC looters, each dollar of the "education money" has to run the typical, ALEC induced "tax cut gauntlet" before it emerges from Santa Fe and makes it way to a public school.

Albuquerque and New Mexico High School Graduation Rate
When considered collectively, New Mexico high schools can "boast" -- currently -- of around  a 74% graduation rate. When Albuquerque high schools are considered by themselves, they can "boast" of around 64%.


Nestled comfortably in these figures, Highland High School's graduation rate for this year was unable to reach even as high as the 50% mark. KOB4, local television news for Albuquerque, delivered the latest graduation statistics for Highland High School [June 2016 - KOB4 News]:


APS graduation rates down again


"The worst rate in the district belonged to Highland High School, at 49 percent. Del Norte and Rio Grande were just ahead of Highland.

APS officials say students with attendance or behavioral issues who are switching schools and falling off-track hurt the rates. There were also chronic absences and students who abruptly moved away."

Albuquerque and New Mexico High School per Student Resource

On the "business end" of New Mexico public education we see that Albuquerque Public School District is "pulling in" well over $10,000 per student per year. Generalizing this figure to the "process" underway at Highland High School, provides the following, rough estimate of what it costs to run the thing for a school year.

1,558 Highland High School students population X $10,580 revenue per student
 = $16,483,640.

After presenting two additional relevant interesting statistics we'll be through this posting's "science" section.

1. New Mexico ranked 49th in national education report
By Robert Nott
January 8, 2015
The New Mexican
[Excerpted. Read the original article here/SantaFeNewMexican]

New Mexico ranks near the bottom in yet another national report on educational achievement.

Education Week’s Quality Counts released its annual state report card Thursday, and New Mexico earned a D. The state ranked 49th in the nation, ahead of Nevada and Mississippi. The report includes the District of Columbia.

This is Education Week’s 19th Quality Counts report card on states’ educational standings. In the past few years, New Mexico has moved up and down between an F in 2010 — the year before Gov. Susana Martinez took office — to a C in 2011, 2012 and 2013, and a D-plus last year.


2. Near the bottom in education results,
but NM is 25th in per student spending
June 28, 2013 
New Mexico Watchdog

New Mexico’s public school consistently rank at or near the bottom in national surveys, often leading to calls for more spending.
But in the most recent national study by the National Education Association, New Mexico ranks 25th in the nation — smack dab in the middle — in state expenditures per student.
“It doesn’t really surprise me,” said state Sen. Gay Kernan, R-Hobbs, a retired teacher. “It’s really difficult to compare states, such as New Mexico and, say, Massachusetts … But the idea that we can fix education by simply increasing money is not the way to do it.”
So, New Mexico is spending at a rate which places the state in 29th position in the country, but New Mexico's public education "effort" keeps rolling in at the dismal depths when compared to national averages. By this time it should surprise no one that local resistance to standardized testing nearly resulted in students and parents igniting themselves in self-immolation to not only protest the tests, but to demand that they be abandoned.

It seems that lots of New Mexican parents simply didn't have the intestinal fortitude to face the facts about the educational performance of their students.

New Mexico educational outcomes are undeniably wretched. The respective school districts and unionized teachers have frantically spelled out -- over and over -- exactly whom must be blamed. Of course this litany of moans and excuses generally proposes that all of this is the fault of students and parents. At this point MeanMesa could easily commence with plenty of geriatric ranting and raving about the situation statewide, but this post is about Highland High School, specifically.

Even more specifically, this post is about Robert, one of Highland High School's most recent collateral damage -- that is, Robert has joined the ranks of Highland High School's "walking wounded." He is eighteen years old, he is now a permanent resident of Short Current Essays Galactic Headquarters and he has officially dropped out of high school.

Moving From the Graduating Class of 2016 Into
the Graduating Class of Never
All this might actually be shocking if somewhat fewer than
 50% of Robert's graduating class mates hadn't also dropped out by this time.

Maybe we are all just expecting too much. After burning through an annual budget of more than $16 million dollars, perhaps a 50% graduation rate doesn't really stand out as such a "really bad purchase" after all. 

Robert's Story

Robert was a student at Highland High School when he "turned eighteen," left the bad home situation
MeanMesa, Ryan
and Robert
where he had been living and moved into Galactic Head Quarters as a permanent resident. At this point his high school grades were already in bad shape. While he was here, MeanMesa, upon occasion, personally assisted Robert with his "high school homework." There was little question that Robert was, indeed, a frighteningly sharp kid who was systematically being stripped of all interest in practically everything by the "academic professionals" involved in his "education."

The homework was a shocking experience. It was so agonizingly peurile that it would have normally been discarded before being presented to students in the fourth grade. 

Most of Robert's homework was intended to be completed during class. MeanMesa is certain that this took away much of the teacher's burden of lecturing on something or other in any possibly interesting manner.

Robert was, at least theoretically, a senior at Highland High School. However, nothing about these "homework" assignments seemed to be consistent with that level of education. Robert's assignments had no apparent "connection" to anything one might normally consider to be something -- anything -- routinely meriting study in high school. This "relevance problem" was so great that MeanMesa found it rather difficult to assist him with this work.

Right away there also seemed to be a sort of "unusual" attendance problem. In order to be certain that Robert was, in fact, attending school at Highland High School, the following routine was adopted. Both MeanMesa AND Robert would arise each school day morning at 6:15 AM, the old man would make breakfast. By shortly after 7:00 AM Robert was walking the few blocks to school. 

Very shortly after this began it was clearly time to consult with the high school counselor about Robert's horrible grades. This meeting was fascinating. During this consultation the school counselor presented Robert's school records, pointing out that he was severely behind for class credits.

However, upon a closer examination, it became clear that these "class records" had omitted all class credits from an entire year of Robert's schooling. 

Not a problem. The counselor strongly suggested that even when adding these missing credits to Robert's record, there would still be very little chance of his graduating on time. Additionally, during this "counseling meeting," MeanMesa was officially "elevated" into the position of holding "educational responsibility" for Robert's education.

As a result of holding this position, MeanMesa began to receive daily robo-calls from Highland High School's attendance office informing the officially "educationally responsible" individual that Robert had been absent from the school's daily classes. But...Robert had not been absent. Another "contact" with the school counselor informed MeanMesa that these messages didn't, in fact, actually mean that Robert was missing from class, but instead, that he had not "participated" to a satisfactory degree as interpreted by the class's teacher.

Being determined not to "take these erroneous robo-calls too seriously" paid dividends later. They continued for months after Robert had officially dropped out of school. We have finally managed to stop these automatic nuisances -- each one filled with another mindless repetition of every manner of inaccurate information -- this week!

A major part of Robert's poor scholastic performance originated from the fact that he no Internet access at his home prior to his move to Galactic Head Quarters. There were, apparently, some clunky old computers at Highland High School, but -- according to Robert -- the waiting lines made completing this on-line World History homework essentially impossible.

MeanMesa corresponded with the distant instructor allegedly conducting this Internet history class -- by email, of course. In "oil field jargon" this could be fairly characterized as a "dry hole." All that was missing from this experience was the sudden appearance of The Mad Hatter [Alice in Wonderland].

Meanwhile, the credits from the "missing year" didn't seem to be any closer to appearing on Robert's official transcript.

Returning to the "educational responsibility" meeting with the high school counselor, the central idea of rectifying Robert's disastrous record is also of interest. The counselor strongly suggested that Robert should drop out of school, take a GED test and attempt to get into a local community college.

Ech-h-h-h! Highland High School's 50% drop out rate suddenly began to make much more sense. We took her advice. Now, we're on our own. We are enjoying the far more promising and optimistic possibilities of the new plan.

Reflections
Can anything make this work?
Can anything replace the lost time wasted by students attending Highland High School?
Diploma or not, what kind of futures do we expect from this effort?

As MeanMesa looks at the $16,000,000 annual price tag for keeping this thing huffing and puffing as it careens forward along its perpetually self-neutralizing roller coaster tracks, there is no way to avoid thinking of the thousands or millions of families in the world who struggle mightily to pay to send their children to school for even the most simple education.

The Secretary of Education in the Martinez administration made the point. MeanMesa listened to her on the local news. Her comment after being confronted with the recent state wide test results indicating 20% proficiency in mathematics and 28% proficiency in reading and writing?

"Proficiency levels below 50% are not acceptable."

Okay. Take minute. Think of the 1,558 students and the $16 million dollars annually. Think about the third world family trying to raise money to educate their children. Think about what's going on at Highland High School when you are paying your taxes next year.

Yes. Please just think about it.

MeanMesa has posted plenty on the subject of education reform. Spend some reading time if you like. Winter's coming in this part of the world, so a collection of posts about education may be just the ticket for those cold afternoons.



High School studies at Highland High [image]

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Learning to Love The Trump

How I Learned to Stop
Worrying and Love the Bomb

[image]
A Very Cordial, Well Mannered,
Thoughtful Post With <almost
No Politics
Relax. Take a break! The BIG MONEY is quietly 
gearing up the free press to
START THE NOVEMBER SCREAMING.

Although it is now only August, every Fourth Estate "voice" with a microphone or a typewriter in America's vast, albeit useless, industrial, "free press" is already churning out an endless collection of compelling reasons why The Trump is a horrible person and must be soundly defeated [yes, "Trumped"] in November. MeanMesa, aside from admittedly suffering through the tedium and unavoidable ennui accompanying the hours of insipid media repetition, still essentially agrees with all these nasty comments.

Donald Trump is, indeed, a profoundly despicable creation. Further, this creation is the predictable, final result to be expected after decades of laborious, GOP, think tank driven, political manipulation "strategy" -- the Republican Party's version of a "cottage industry" -- established a fetid political "petri dish" which would inevitably produce either this Trump or another Trump just like him. Simply acknowledging the grotesque product of this work may be helpful but even such a careful effort might still fail to correctly establish the shockingly arcane reality of it.

However, while all these claims may "have some substance," there is growing evidence that what we see before our eyes is actually a monumental deception. The only reassuring element is that, if this is the case, even the oligarchs have been deceived right along with hundreds of millions of American voters. To explore this thoroughly, we must first dismiss the obvious details about the candidates and their campaigns and then look carefully for clues about what is really transpiring behind the scene.

So, holding true to this post's title, let's agree that wasting any more key strokes on discrediting the fool or applying even more lip stick to the "other candidate" is hardly necessary, relevant or constructive for our investigation. 

Instead, MeanMesa thinks that this may be an excellent moment to seek out a larger, more encompassing, "big picture" model of what's happening to the nation's democracy. We are unquestionably "sailing into uncharted waters" as we speak.

Let's try to track down what shadowy details of this "monumental deception" may actually be available to us, given what we can deduce from what we see so far. The "clouds" make this crime scene very, very, extremely foggy at this point.

[Blogger offered a new "gadget" which is now appearing at the top of each post on the blog. It is called "Featured Post." We will try it out for a few days to hear what the visitors think of it, then make a more permanent decision about continuing to use it.]

Deceptions which "simply jump out" as they are being revealed are the typical case. In such instances a little evidence -- sometimes only a fleeting glimpse of merely a single iota of evidence -- is sufficient to pique an unsettled curiosity and inspire further investigation. Unhappily, this comfortable situation is not the case with this one. Here, almost the opposite seems to be the case.

The specific "evidence" which has piqued MeanMesa's geriatric curiosity is actually not what would normally be considered "evidence" of much of anything...that is, anything specific. Instead, what we see appears to be one utterly non sequitur event after another. Don't be too hasty to pillory yourself as an out of control conspiracy maniac. MeanMesa smells plenty of unpleasant evidence lurking just below the innocent, chaotic surface of matters but still -- at this point -- remaining out of sight below some exquisitely fashioned fog.

We Always Begin With Motives.
Bill and Hillary always seemed to be such a...uh...nice couple.
To the Clintons, Trump probably looked a lot like the tooth fairy.


A Public Relation Genius' Dream of a Purple Heart??
[Watch it live - YOUTUBE]
Bill Clinton had PLENTY of bruises to settle with the Republican Party. His Presidency ushered in the GOP's current ideological tirade of not simply losing election after election, but consistently careening toward impeachment efforts as soon as possible after each humiliating defeat.

Bill Clinton has always been a political mastermind, yet, quietly sitting as an ex-President, his "opportunities for revenge" and his possible "opportunities to pursue his ambitions" before Hillary's candidacy were quite limited. However, as his wife entered the political scene as a potentially viable candidate, all his odds suddenly grew much better.

Given this "environment of blood enmity" between Clinton and the GOP billionaires' "rat pack," the motives for this current scheme can possibly be explained along two seemingly separate avenues:

1. Bill would love to have Hillary win, and Bill would love to return to the White House himself -- even as First Husband, and,
2. Bill Clinton would love to "get even" -- dealing a political death blow to his Republican tormentors.

Bill accurately appraised the condition of the GOP a few months ago when he was "encouraging" Donald Trump to "go ahead and run again." The tattered wreckage of the Republican brand exposed a serious vulnerability. The billionaires in charge of the Party had mortally over extended.

After years of financing the GOP's "private media," the billionaires' fantasy of a new, reactionary, illiterate voter base driven entirely by fear, mistrust, racism and anger had finally materialized. Clinton was faced with only the almost effortless -- and no doubt delightfully pleasant -- task of "setting the ball rolling," and Donald Trump presented the ultimate opportunity to do precisely this.

MeanMesa, always in search of a "lofty editorial" perch in such "ethically odorous" matters, is, of course, not speculating as to whether or not The Trump was "brought on board" with Bill's diabolical scheme. The likelihood of either of the alternative "guesses" is roughly the same.

Perhaps all MeanMesa visitors can now understand why this crotchety old blogger now concludes that:

This is a SET UP!

DANGER! DANGER! 
DANGER, WILL ROBINSON!!
Well, probably not actually 
THAT much danger. [image]

Naturally, such an unlikely suspicion will require a review of "the quiet, subtle signs" of such a conspiracy's existence. Unhappily, there is very little more beyond a few "unusual observations" which can be added at this time. Happily, given the current state of things, even such a "Set Up" appears to have "plenty of positives."

A Quick Inventory of the 
Non-Political "Non-Evidence"
Yes, there may be a 
real mystery afoot here!
We can't explain it both ways.
Way Number 1:     What Trump is doing makes sense -- but only secretly.
Way Number 2:                What Trump is doing makes no sense,     and...
no amount of additional evidence will convince anyone
 that Trump is actually doing what he presently claims he is doing.

The basic "conspiracy theory" which is the subject of this MeanMesa post has been presented previously on this blog: 


[MeanMesa suggests that visitors who may not have already read it take a moment to have a look before returning here. It is the "Featured Post" presented at the top of this page thanks to blogger's fantastic new "gadget."]

With this conspiracy theory in mind, let's take a look at a few of the unusual, mysterious, inexplicable and awkwardly strange features of the Trump campaign. We can group these into roughly associated categories.

The Republican Party

The billionaire owners of the Republican Party had been "full steam ahead" in their efforts to create a well positioned "counter establishment" block in the Party's voter base. Their conclusion was that there were simply not enough "looting opportunities" loose in the Congress to share any of them with the "old guard" GOP establishment of banksters, hedgies and the traditional Country Club set.

After a few years of this effort the Tea Party emerged, but it lacked the "revolutionary fire" which would be necessary to finally usher the country into an appropriate mind set to become a permanent, dynastic oligarchy. Still, every hill billy and bigot had been groomed for an even more violently egregious role, and that crowd amounted to a 30% or 40% portion of the voting population which simply had to be used before it slowly evaporated.

Bill Clinton correctly saw this as a potential vulnerability, and he went for the throat. This plan has already inflicted damage on the GOP so severe that it will still be smoldering a decade from now. For the first time in a century is is neither maudlin nor tastelessly melodramatic to speculate about the actual, physical demise of the GOP.

The mysterious part of this is that the heavily invested, heretofore mighty GOP gang leaders either allowed it to develop or could not stop it from developing.

The mountains of money

A Presidential campaign costs LOTS of money. The 2012 budgets easily topped a billion dollars on each side of the race. Don't fool yourself. This money represents an investment, pure and simple. The people and corporations providing this money are not doing so because their "patriotism" drove them to it.

Right along with the monumental investment is the correspondingly larger pay out, that is, the "return on investment." Right, wrong or indifferent, controlling the White House is worth a LOT of money. The billionaires who finance the Super PACs and the campaigns expect to prosper mightily from these investments. The history of the process annually reaffirms this dismal observation.

When control either part of the Congress might also be delivered by such campaign contributions, the potential "return on investment" is expanded even more. Add in control of the Supreme Court, and the "return on investment" begins to look like a U-Haul full of jack hammers parked in front of the Treasury building.

Whether it should be or not, it IS a high stakes, big business game.

Now, to bring this into perspective, let's consider an allegorical example. 

The New Factory

Investors get together to finance a wonderful new factory. The local state government is "incentivized" to throw in publicly financed infrastructure such as roads, water and sewer utilities, and street lights. Additionally, some very sweet tax loop holes are added to "sweeten the pot."

8,000 buggy whips per hour. [image]
The new company spends hundreds of millions on a fabulous new office building. It is located just a few hundred feet from a fabulous new factory. A railroad company, anticipating a nice profit for shipping the factory's goods to market, contributes the ties and track to build a spur right to the new factory's loading dock. Hundreds of new employees are hired.

But then...nothing happens

A billion dollars has been invested in the sweet new set up, but the factory makes nothing. The trains never call. The executives in the new office building never make any decisions which might help the situation. In fact, there was never even any talk about possible manufactured products or innovative ideas of any sort.

This is a picture of the mutated Presidential race Bill Clinton has foisted upon his old Republican enemies. The Republican billionaires can do whatever they wish, but this is the scorched earth that presently occupies the gruesome wake of the Trump campaign. How did the GOP allow itself to be stranded with such an abomination?

Opportunity is everything

Even the barely aware among the Republican Party base is utterly languishing in the economic pit following the Great Republican Recession of 2008. The situation has been further aggravated by the crippling political obstruction implemented by the Republicans since then. These Republican base voters are in pain. They have been wounded, and they are not in a good state of mind.

The GOP "bought" some time with an intricate web work of villains identified in their media "blame game," but the shine has worn off that trinket now. Bill Clinton correctly anticipated this. He and his wife might effectively ease some of this lingering pain from the Oval Office, but before that, Bill intends to use it against the very people who created it.

It worked.

Party policy is practically nothing

The elevation of Trump to "candidate status" solved several of Hillary's [Bill's] "electability problems" at once. Remember -- both candidates had unfavorability ratings which would have, under more normal conditions, essentially eliminated a chance for a Presidential run. This played Bill's hand as craftily as "a fiddle."

Confronting all the reasons any voter might have for not casting a Clinton ballot -- psychological, conspiratorial, reputational or even a few furtive tastes of Mrs. Clinton's "insinuated policy" here and there --  was the constant, impossibly horrid, self-destructive alternative. 

The Kochs and a few other "big money interests" who have traditionally financed Republican candidates are still obsessed with reaping their profits from ugly developments such as the TPP and the Keystone XL pipeline, but neither of these issues is currently included in the tiny amount of "policy" being discussed by either side's campaign. The mindless Trump competition has also written a permanent "hall pass" for most of the discussion of wealth inequality, climate change, college loan debt or some sort of functional health care.

Frustrated with their dwindling prospects of owning the Oval Office, the billionaires are now moving to direct their wealth at purchasing GOP candidates in State races -- constituting a dangerous "flanking feint" which could extend the crippling paralysis we've seen during the Obama Administration into the Hillary Administration.

The candidate - a con man in his own mind

The script called for a
full automatic.
[image]
There is no telling exactly why Donald Trump has been acting out the way he has. If his calamitous demeanor as a candidate has, actually, been filling a character previously defined by Bill Clinton to elect his wife, MeanMesa is the first to conclude that not only is the "script" uncomfortably amateurish, but also that Trump's bumbling, maudlin execution of his role is horribly "over acted."

Still, considering the demographic crowd to which Trump's role must appeal, maybe not. The job of attracting random hill billies and bigots from trailer parks across the fly over states is a "different animal" than impressing more sophisticated types who might be more like theater critics.

A competent con man would know better than to ridicule the handicapped, demand that a crying baby be removed from a press event, attack fire chiefs trying to control crowds to comply with safety regulations, lurch into endless, petulant name calling [i.e. "crooked Hillary"] tease establishment figures in his political party [i.e. Paul Ryan], heckling a "gold star" family and -- whenever finding himself ankle deep in a self-induced political morass -- bravely "doubling down" to wildly and recklessly increase the damage to his campaign.

Relax. This is only going to hurt for a minute, say,
-- until November.
[image - Steve Sack, fB]
Comfort in "Troubled Waters"
Does this mean that the new oligarchy will be under Democratic control?

MeanMesa grudgingly accepts the now essentially inevitable prospect that the United States will be a "fully established" oligarchy within the next two Presidential terms. The billionaires currently own around 85% of everything in the country.

This "descent into the maelstrom" with Donald Trump in power would be violent and potentially fatal for the nation. The alternative is to "descend" with Hillary Clinton [Bill] at the helm. MeanMesa suggests -- perhaps over optimistically -- that the latter course will prove to be far less violent.