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His First Term?

obama_on_highJust Barely President, Baracus Hubris Maximus (hail Ceasar!) has been prattling on about “his first term” since he threw his size 10-gallon hat into the ring, like he knows something the rest of us don’t.  Like the rest of his West Wing “reality,” this is yet another transparent bit of scripted brainwashing propaganda in the Theater of the Obsurd.  However, though he no doubt truly, truly believes this one, the possibility that he might have some sort of insider knowledge on this point is more than a little freaking scary creepy.

Yesterday, while vowing to halve the deficit he inherited, yet saying zippo, nada, nuttin’ about the deficit he’s creating, he promised with his fingers crossed to get the job done by the end of “his first term,” something which he has already hinted would ensure him a second.  But, as with all things Obama, one must ask oneself, is there more to this than that?  This is an especially valuable point to consider, given that before the end of “his first term,” we’re all going to be spending a lot of time mumbling to ourselves anyway.  Might as well have something worthwhile to discuss.

Like his handlers’ now familiar other rather adept feats of legerdemain, such as the tried and true, clever use of favorable polling results ahead of entry into particularly tricky territory, in  proven-to-be largely successful attempts to pave the way for the increased possibility of public acceptance of whatever balderdash is read from left to right off his his Traveling TelePrompTer To Go, “my first term” has the hypnotic effect of “you are getting sleepy.”

Of course, in advance of his sure-to-be-historic first non State of the Union address tonight, we have already been treated to the requisite number of “he’s the shit” polls in the last few days, one even going so far as to assure us that he is more heroic, and thus, logically, more powerful, than Jesus.  Since, for Christians, Jesus trumps Moses, we can take comfort in the blind faith that the Obamessiah will lead us to the Promised Land of Financial Security by throwing out the Money Changers.  See how that works?  And, while all this is going on, we are being properly greased and trussed to receive the news that Our Dear Leader will reluctantly have to bite the bullet and nationalize the already nationalized entire financial sector.  Before “his first term” really even starts.

It is indeed comforting to know that we have a Father Figure who will do what’s best for us, even if that means increasing our (the taxpayer’s) risk while fattening the pockets of the beleaguered banksters.  Which is exactly what he’s about to tell us he’s about to do.  But you see, that’s how he’s going to “remake” the country, and bring about the “change” he’s been promising to achieve before the end of “his first term.”  First, see, he’s gotta get control of the banks, then, all industry, then, put us all to work on chain gangs building roads and railroads, then force us to “volunteer,” then turn over the school system to the military.  After that, by the time the government is in charge of everything else, fixing health care is a piece of cake.  Quite ambitious for the four years he’s got until the end of “his first term,” huh?

Now, if this is your idea of liberal/progressive heaven, the Wall Street Journal’s Matt Miller says, in what I assume is not snark, “Shhhhhh! Shut the hell up and let the man do his thing before you blow it!”  Of course, being an Obot fluent in ObaSpeak, he didn’t use those exact words, per se:

President Barack Obama is taking a beating from liberal critics who think his attempt to court Republican support is a political failure and a policy disaster. Yet this assault on Mr. Obama’s bipartisan instinct is misguided and, ironically, threatens to undermine liberal goals.

snip

Mr. Obama’s stimulus plan, which aims first to mitigate the collapse in aggregate demand in the economy, nonetheless lays down important markers toward this agenda, even if (or perhaps because) the details didn’t please partisans on either side. By marrying major new public investments with major new tax cuts, Mr. Obama is signaling that public activism and private incentives both matter profoundly. This yin-and-yang approach was strikingly on display at the bipartisan “fiscal responsibility summit,” which Mr. Obama convened at the White House yesterday. Before members of Congress and other guests, the president insisted on the need to restore long-term fiscal discipline (including entitlement reform) even as the nation runs up historic deficits to battle the recession in the next few years. The president’s professed reluctance to “nationalize” ailing banks — which has left space for an extraordinarily swift outside consensus to emerge (led by surprising voices like Alan Greenspan’s and Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham’s) that temporary bank takeovers may be necessary — shows similar instincts. (emphasis mine)

See, Obie’s just playin’.  He’s finagling the Republicans with fake out overtures of bipartisanship so they can publicly reject him, then, pretending he doesn’t want stuff he really does want, because he knows whatever he says he doesn’t like, they’re gonna promote.  Clever, huh?  That way, he gets his way and if it tanks, it’s not his fault.  If it doesn’t, he’s a hero. (hail Ceasar!)  Either way, he gets his second term.

But, first, he’s gotta get the banks.

Now, you may say, “oh, come on! Are you really trying to tell me you think this guy is that friggin’ Machiavellian?”  To which I would respond, “you must be an Obot.”  Everybody else is well aware that similarly scuzzy, deceitful, underhanded manipulations are the reason he’s president now.   Step away from the KoolAid, and prepare to serve.  First though, I should warn you, you, too are going to have to assume the position sooner or later.  Once you have a firm grasp on your ankles, maybe you’ll begin to really see The Light.

“Cross posted at my place, Cinie’s World.  For more background information on my take on the meltdown and how we got here, see my earlier posts, Inside the Wall Street Whisper Campaign, and What “Is” Is.

Uncle Barack Wants Your Kids

uncle-barack-wants-you1It’s not often that I agree with unrepentant terrorist, and Obabuddy, William Ayers, but when the man is right he’s right.  Seems Ayers’ neighbor, the Obapresident-elect, and his partners in government crime, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and newly appointed Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, “haf plans” for your children.

Black Agenda Report‘s Bruce Dixon interviewed “Chicago educator and activist, George Schmidt,” who calls Obama’s education secretary and basketball buddy Duncan “an underqualified stooge and privatizer” of education, and is highly critical of the job Duncan has done with the Chicago Public School System, and dropped this interesting tidbit of information:

Beginning in the first days of the 21st century, literally Chicago instituted military high schools. And we’re not talking about high schools that have ROTC programs, we’re talking about high schools that are run by and for the military. The first of those was established in the heart of Bronzeville, the south side community at 35th and Giles, in the old armory there. It’s now the Chicago Military Academy. Since then they’ve set up two more army high schools. Carver and Phoenix, a Marine high school and a naval academy which is named the Hyman Rickover Naval Academy inside Senn High School.

Since I was totally unaware of this program, I decided to do a little research, and yes, the military runs 5 inner city schools:

Today, Chicago has the most militarized public school system in the nation, with Cadet Corps for students in middle-school, over 10,000 students participating in JROTC programs, over 1,000 students enrolled in one of the five, soon-to-be six autonomous military high schools, and hundreds more attending one of the nine military high schools that are called “schools within a school.” Chicago now has a Marine Military Academy, a Naval Academy, and three army high schools. When an air force high school opens next year, Chicago will be the only city in the nation to have academies representing all of these branches of the military. But Chicago is not the only city moving in this direction: The public school systems of other urban centers with largely Black and brown low income students of color, including Philadelphia, Atlanta and Oakland, are being similarly reshaped.

Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley is very proud of the military program.  In the fall of 2001, he had this to say:

Congratulations to Oakland mayor Jerry Brown on his plan to open a military academy (see “A Few Good Schools,” Summer 2001). Chicago’s experience with military academies has been overwhelmingly positive. I hope Oakland’s is equally successful.

In 1999 Chicago opened its first public military high school, the Chicago Military Academy at Bronzeville, in a historic African-American neighborhood. Last year the city began converting Carver High School on the Far South Side into its second military school. Both schools are part of the Chicago Public Schools system, not charter schools like Mayor Brown’s academy.

We started these academies because of the success of our Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) program, the nation’s largest. JROTC provides students with the order and discipline that is too often lacking at home. It teaches them time management, responsibility, goal setting, and teamwork, and it builds leadership and self-confidence.

Not surprisingly, the high-school graduation rate for JROTC students in the Chicago Public Schools is 20 percent greater than the citywide average. It’s a little early to measure the success of our academies, but the first class at Bronzeville scored 40 percent better than the citywide average in reading and 30 percent better than the average in math. Perhaps a clearer sign of success is that 1,300 students applied for 110 openings in Bronzeville’s next entering class.

Though a military academy isn’t for everyone, for some it is just what they need in order to make something of their lives.

While proponents claim that the schools do not recruit, and that their ultimate goal is prepare students for college, there’s some evidence that those people are full of hooey.  For one thing, these schools call their students “cadets,” require them to wear uniforms, stress discipline, and teach them to shoot guns.  From AFP:

Dozens of teens dressed in uniforms provided by the US Marines stand at attention in the gym of a Chicago public high school as a drill sergeant goes through a list of the day’s do’s and don’ts.

Bring your books to class. Come for extra help if you need it. And wear your uniform with pride.

“Young men, you think you can get a haircut and say I’m done for two or three weeks. WRONG,” Sgt. Major Thomas Smith Jr. intones.

“Young ladies. There’s been no problem with your uniforms but there is a problem with your ties. Again, I will go through it again. Wear your ties when you come to my class.”

One in 10 public high school students in Chicago wears a military uniform to school and takes classes — including how to shoot a gun properly — from retired veterans.

Also, the webpage of Chicago Military Academy-Bronzeville stresses it’s military curriculum:

Chicago Military Academy (CMAB) is the city’s first comprehensive military academy for high school students. The multicultural school, accepts both male and female students citywide. CMAB has a four-year college prep curriculum in addition to a mandatory Army Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) component. Our last two graduating classes earned over $1.5 million in scholarships and grants. Two of our graduates have been accepted to West Point, and four candidates were accepted to the Citadel. Advanced Placement (AP) classes are offered in four subjects. Honors classes are offered in all core subjects. Virtual courses are also offered.

A student, Natassa Bourkas, had this to say about the advantage of military prep education:

“When people see that we went to a military school, they know we’re obedient, we follow directions, we’re disciplined,” Natassa Bourkas, 16, a student at the Naval academy, told the Tribune.

Needless to say, these schools are not without controversy.  The transcript of a PBS Newshour discussion contains this exchange:

ELIZABETH BRACKETT: Minorities make up 92 percent of the cadet population. Only 4 percent are white, compared to 8 percent of the general Chicago public schools population.There are no public school military academies in Chicago’s suburbs. That disturbs Pauline Lipman, a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s College of Education.

PAULINE LIPMAN, University of Illinois at Chicago: When we talk about how these are good schools for these kids, one of the things we want to think about is, why are they not in upper-middle-class white communities? Why are they good schools for low-income African-American and Latino students and not good schools for affluent white kids?


And are we saying that those students need a different kind of discipline, a different kind of regulation, a different kind of option? And I think that’s a form of racial discrimination, and that’s really concerning to me.

It concerns Bill Ayers, too.  On his web page, Ayers, Therese Quinn, and Erica Meiners make the case against the militarization of the school system, summarizing his “radical” ideas on the subject this way:

We live in a city awash in the randomly, tragically spilled blood of our children. We live, all of us, in a violent nation that is regularly spilling the blood of other children, elsewhere. It sickens us to think of students marching and growing comfortable with guns.

In an October, 2007 Chicago Tribune article featuring the dedication of a new Marine Academy, Arne Duncan weighed in:

The dedication of the Marine Military Academy on the Near West Side comesa few days after Chicago officials announced plans to open an Air Forceacademy high school in 2009. If that happens, Chicago will become the onlypublic school district in the nation to have academies dedicated to the Army,Navy, Air Force and Marines.
District officials say the military-themed schools give students morechoices and provide an opportunity to enroll in schools that providestructure, discipline and a focus on leadership. They say the schoolsemphasize academics, not recruitment.
“We have to think outside the box, and what existed before simply did notwork for far too many students,” said Chicago Public Schools Chief ArneDuncan. “These schools are popular and have waiting lists, so that tells meparents want more of them.”

Rahm Emanuel thinks the program is a very good idea too. From his Congressional website, Oct. 15, 2007:

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives joined Mayor Daley and CEO of Chicago Public Schools Arne Duncan at the Marine Military Academy, to officially Commission the launch of the new school.  Chicago Public School’s Marine Military Academy provides Chicago’s young men and women with a college prep education that focuses on Math and Science. Emanuel secured $300,000 in federal funding for the Military Academy in the Fiscal Year 2007 Department of Defense Appropriations Act.

“Our Nation’s success depends on the quality of our children’s education. Chicago Public School’s Marine Military Academy is a pioneer of educational excellence and will become a model for public education across the country.”

Not all of Arne’s plans for privatizing the school system include the military, of course:

Chicago teacher Jesse Sharkey writes, “In the past couple years, Arne Duncan [Obama’s pick for Secretary of Education who hails from Chicago] has been turning public schools over to private operators–mainly in the form of charter and contract schools — at a rate of about 20 per year. Duncan has also resuscitated some of the worst ‘school reform’ ideas of the 1990s, like firing all the teachers in low-performing schools (called ‘turnarounds’). At the same time, he’s eliminated many Local School Councils and made crucial decisions without public input.”

On this website, the effectiveness of Duncan’s efforts is debated, here, the JROTC makes its own case, and here, in a 2003 National Catholic Reporter article, the genesis of the military push is traced to Colin Powell:

The four-year course, offered as an elective in lieu of physical education at a traditional high school or as a requirement at a military academy, comes with its own curricula and instructors, who are retired military officers certified by the branch of the armed services they represent. Army JROTC instructors receive their certification at Fort Knox, Ky., which is also headquarters for Army recruiting.

According to the military, impetus for JROTC’s growth in the last decade came from Gen. Colin Powell, now secretary of state, after the Los Angeles race riots in 1992. Powell, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, surveyed the ruins of southern Los Angeles and decided that what the nation’s youth needed was the discipline and structure of the military. Critics say JROTC expanded substantially in the early ’90s because the military needed more skilled recruits and youth interest in enlistment had declined. As a recruiting tool, JROTC is undeniably effective. According to defense department estimates 40 percent of all JROTC graduates enlist after high school.

While I haven’t yet had the time to process all the information, I have to admit to being outraged.  Considering that both Obama and Emanuel are advocates of mandatory volunteer service, and “civilian defense,” my initial reaction to the notion that children are being militarily indoctrinated at the high school level is WTF!?!

What say you?