Category Archives: Working Conditions

1984: Melinda and Bill Gates’ Dystopian Ethos of Propaganda

“Our ethos is all that we currently hold to be true. It is what we act upon.  It governs our manners, our business, and our politics.” ~ Howard Zinn

Big Brother: [voice-over] “This is our land. A land of peace and of plenty. A land of harmony and hope. This is our land. Oceania. These are our people. The workers, the strivers, the builders. These are our people. The builders of our world, struggling, fighting, bleeding, dying. On the streets of our cities and on the far-flung battlefields. Fighting against the mutilation of our hopes and dreams. Who are they? ” ~  IMDb, “1984”

    

Yes, WHO are THEY?  

They tell you this is our land.

They tell you we live in a land of peace.

They tell you that we live in a land of plenty.

They tell us we live in a land of harmony.

They tell us we live in a land of hope.

They even tell us we are her people…the workers, the strivers, the builders.

They tell us it is THEM “fighting against the mutilation of our hopes and dreams.

They  tell you “these are our people.”  

They tell you they care about the “builders of our world, the struggling, the fighting, the bleeding, the dying.  

They tell you they care about our streets, our cities …

…and then Bill and Melinda Gates (and the rest of the 1% Corporate leaders of the world) take

ACTION opposite of their words —-

words of propaganda —

bringing us  they dystopia of 1984.


One has to wonder what is happening in the world when the RICH and FAMOUS of “Who’s Who in America?” bring us into George Orwell’s world of “1984”?

“The mechanism by which ideas are disseminated on a large scale is propaganda, in the broad sense of an organized effort to spread a particular belief or doctrine.”  ~  Edward Bernays

But Edward Bernays asks us an important question in 1928 in his book “Propaganda”.  He asks an important question about this brainwashing:

Who is doing the brainwashing?  Who are the new propagandists?

WHO are the men who, without our realizing it, give us our ideas, tell us whom to admire and whom to despise, what to believe about the ownership of public utilities, about the tariff, about the price of rubber, about the Dawes Plan, about immigration; who tell us how our houses should be designed, what furniture we should put into them, what menus we should serve on our table, what kind of shirts we must wear, what sports we should indulge in, what plays we should see, what charities we should support, what pictures we should admire, what slang we should affect, what jokes we should laugh at? “

  If we set out to make a list of the men and women who, because of their position in public life, might fairly be called the molders of public opinion, we could quickly arrive at an extended list of persons mentioned in “Who’s Who.” ~  Edward Bernays, History Is A Weapon”  (emphasis added)

Bernays goes on to describe the inner working of this group further here:

 “In theory, everybody buys the best and cheapest commodities offered him on the market. In practice, if every one went around pricing, and chemically testing before purchasing, the dozens of soaps or fabrics or brands of bread which are for sale, economic life would become hopelessly jammed. To avoid such confusion, society consents to have its choice narrowed to ideas and objects brought to its attention through propaganda of all kinds. There is consequently a vast and continuous effort going on to capture our minds in the interest of some policy or commodity or idea. 

It might be better to have, instead of propaganda and special pleading, committees of wise men who would choose our rulers, dictate our conduct, private and public, and decide upon the best types of clothes for us to wear and the best kinds of food for us to eat. But we have chosen the opposite method, that of open competition. We must find a way to make free competition function with reasonable smoothness. To achieve this society has consented to permit free competition to be organized by leadership and propaganda.”    Edward Bernays, History Is A Weapon”  

Certainly, if Bill and Melinda Gates are masters of ANYTHING, they are masters of propaganda, a word softened by using language like “public relations”.

How else would Gates build their monopoly at Microsoft on an inferior product?

Have Melinda and Bill Gates slipped this time?  After all, they seem to have been successfully hiding their dystopian plans for America quite nicely from average American consumers behind their propaganda until now.

But where did all this propaganda, this “public relations”, marketing, advertising, and consumerism begin?

When did we start allowing Capitalism to intersect with government? Some say “It started with Reagan’s deregulation.”

Let’s look back further….back to the last great depression, post war 1928...  back to another time of dystopia —– and review a bit more of Edward Bernays.

In Dystopias of the Great War Era they write in a thesis from SEDHE:

“The United States prior to World War I was a veritable breeding ground of corporate corruption. Such colorful figures as Cornelius Vanderbilt, Andrew Carnegie, and John D. Rockefeller became icons of capitalism. They had hundreds of millions of dollars – billions in today’s dollars – to such a degree that Rockefeller’s personal assets once bailed the U.S. government out of a financial slump. Industry prior to World War I was largely unregulated; unions were broken up and union members beaten and fired. The United States was not a pretty place prior to World War I. England after World War I was similarly a bastion of capitalism, a place where prosperity enticed people to buy things. The mass production of products for the consumer, one of the major projects of the Industrial Revolution, had come to a head.” ~  SEDHE

The Father of Spin book review

During that time, long ago in that post war-time of dystopia, Sigmund Freud was an uncle of a man named Edward Bernays.  Bernays wrote his book Propaganda in 1928.

“Many of the new insights that Tye offers have to do with Bernays’s relationship with his family and his uncle Sigmund Freud, whose reputation as “the father of psychoanalysis” owes something to Bernays’ publicity efforts. Bernays regarded Uncle Sigmund as a mentor, and used Freud’s insights into the human psyche and motivation to design his PR campaigns, while also trading on his famous uncle’s name to inflate his own stature.

There is, however, a striking paradox in the relationship between the two. Uncle Sigmund’s “talking cure” was designed to unearth his patients’ unconscious drives and hidden motives, in the belief that bringing them into conscious discourse would help people lead healthier lives. Bernays, by contrast, used psychological techniques to mask the motives of his clients, as part of a deliberate strategy aimed at keeping the public unconscious of the forces that were working to mold their minds.” ~  Larry Tye, “The Father of Spin:  Edward Bernays and the Birth of PR”    [Note: You’ll find some of Bernay’s quotes below.]

So here we have it.  Propaganda could be used for good to serve the needs of the individual needing psychological support or it could be used for subversive thought control of others to serve the needs of the propagandist.

It is evident that Melinda and Bill Gates are using their brand of propaganda for subversive thought control of others to serve the needs of the propagandist.

Now the Gates are about to step up their game, increasing their mastermind of thought control through another area of expertise for them — technology.

So what am I basing my statement on?  

I’m basing it on Susan Ohanian’s discovery of public documents on the Gates Foundation grants page on their own website.  And of course on previous research which you can read through my prior blog posts, especially this one on Melinda Gates and where their children attend school compared to the policies they push forth in public schools via their propaganda.  I’ll show you their documents directly screen printed from their website below as evidence.

                                    

Leonie Haimson read Susan Ohanian’s post and quickly sent an email around to Parents Across America.

One of the recipients on this list was Diane Ravitch, Education Historian, former Assistant Secretary of Education, and author of “The Death and the Life of the Great American School System”.

Despite her rivalry with Bill Gates, Diane Ravitch was quite shocked by this Freudian slip.  She writes on her blog:

“I opened the following email and at first I thought it was a prank or, as another reader put it, an article taken from The Onion.”  ~  Diane Ravitch, “Just When You Thought It Couldn’t Get Crazier“, WordPress Blog

Diane’s reaction was probably similar to many’s when she received Leonie Haimson’s email about Susan Ohanian’s futuristic and frightening discovery.

I can only imagine Diane’s thoughts [Is this some kind of joke?] as she read the subject line:

From: Leonie Haimson

To: nyceducationnews ; paa news
Sent: Fri, Jun 8, 2012 10:08 am
Subject: [nyceducationnews] Gates Foundation: one more step into the dystopian future with electronic bracelets for students & teachers

Could it be that there is a crack in the foundation of the Gates Foundation’s education policies that are created to promote their real agenda through propaganda?

Could it be that they went too far this time with their belief in “innovation and technology”?

Actually, we find the Gates are constantly pushing for innovation, but if they were to study propaganda, they would find that their method of thought control actually prevents innovation.  If they have studied propaganda, perhaps that is the real purpose.  After all, isn’t innovation the opposite of thought control?

While novels have been written, their authors contemplated the realities of aBrave New World”.

Huxley warned us of science being used as a tool in racism.  Here in SEDHE’s introduction they write:

Huxley is deeply suspicious of science, and he imbues Mustapha Mond with this same suspicion. Science in Brave New World does not seek to learn higher truths. It merely exists to keep the status quo in control. “All our science is just a cookery book, with an orthodox theory of cooking that nobody’s supposed to question, and a list of recipes that mustn’t be added to except by special permission from the head cook,” says Mustapha Mond (225). True science would be a threat to the stability of the society that Mond has spent so much time attempting to create and sustain. The only kind of scientific innovation permitted in Brave New World is innovation that, curiously, stifles innovation. “We could synthesize every morsel of food, if we wanted to. But we don’t. We prefer to keep a third of the population on the land. For their own sakes – because it takes longer to get food out of the land than out of a factory,” says Mond (224).

This criticism applies to the twentieth century, as well, with its pervasive theories that still attempted to justify the genetic inferiority or superiority of particular races. Eugenics was merely racism justified by attaching “science” to it. Brave New World criticizes these kinds of pseudo-science as methods of allowing some groups of people to continue to be oppressed, but with a more “rational” means for a more rational world. As long as the justification for racism appears scientific, then agency is removed from human beings (“It’s not my fault the Gammas are inferior; they were born that way”). Huxley goes a step beyond exposing racism in science and creates a world in which science itself creates the conditions that justify that racism. We should be wary of science, Huxley suggests, for it can be used by elites to reinforce their control over marginalized peoples.”  ~ Dystopias of the Great War Era, SEDHE Thesis (emphasis added)

What exactly are the Gates’ plans for these “electronic bracelets”?  

More segregation?  

More sorting and culling of children and teachers?

Who is going to volunteer to be the teachers and students wearing these devices and just what is next?  Shock collars?  
wife yelling needs collar

Answer a question wrong?  Zap!

Students aren’t engaged enough?  Zap!  

Student is overly excited?  Zap!  

Teacher pauses to collect her thoughts?  Zap!

Evidently this kind of galvanic skin response experimentation has already taken place on those easy to control, the “mentally retarded” as this separate study says.

If you have seen the movie “1984”you know of the torture involved.

What do you call sending a child to school for 12 years, only to not allow them to graduate simply because they failed ONE high-stakes test?  

What do you call sending children to school without art, music, PE, recess, or electives?

What do you call selecting and culling children, preventing them from attending  charter schools funded by the wealthy that have fantastic programs, preventing “culled children” from attending due to race, class, or ability?

I don’t know about you, but as a special education teacher, I am outraged at this experimentation with people who are not capable of true consent.

Will children and teachers have any say in the Gates’ experiment either?

Or will galvanic skin response bracelets be the next federal mandate?

Buy Common Core and get one galvanic skin response bracelet free  for the first 12 students free —-  we’ll sell you all the rest for profit?

Well, they’re going to use these ‘electronic galvanic skin response bracelets  for  their “Measures of Effective Teaching Project and “student learning”, of course.

Susan Ohanian tells us about it on her website.  She suggests we look this up on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation site.

I have great respect for Susan, so I did.   Here’s  the first in a series of screen shots of this search typed in on their page:

What will we find when we search, I wonder?  Let’s look at the purpose of their Measurements of Effective Teaching Project [MET].

We all need to start reading more carefully.  We all have to start questioning what we read.  

  • What is the spin?  
  • What is the propaganda?

Note the “ALL LIVES HAVE EQUAL VALUE” propaganda.

Note the “PARTNERSHIPS” propaganda.

Note the “WHAT WE’RE LEARNING” propaganda.

And finally, note the ‘MEASUREMENTS OF EFFECTIVE TEACHING” propaganda.  

Let’s first presume that the common ethos includes this belief:  According to Melinda Gates and PBS, Melinda is some kind of education expert as you can see in their introduction of her for their program, PBS News Hour (emphasis added):

“As the co-founder of The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest philanthropic organization, Melinda Gates has spent decades looking at the challenges and potential solutions to the problems facing America’s education system.

The foundation controls over $30 billion, which its staff uses to pursue the goal of giving every child an equal opportunity to thrive. The majority of the money goes to reducing obstacles such as poor health and malnutrition in developing nations. But in the United States, the focus has been on identifying and supporting ways to fix the inequalities within a public school system, where schools in high-poverty areas fall far behind their more affluent counterparts and other countries in terms of graduation rates and academic achievement.

Since 1994, the foundation has spent over $6 billion in the United States, looking at data-proven ways to improve student achievement and often jumping into controversial policy debates such as smaller schools in New York City, charter schools, high-stakes testing and teacher evaluation systems around the country.”

Okay, so the common ethos here is that because Melinda and Bill Gates have been pouring their money into public education, they are experts, and because they have more money than you are I; they are infallible.

If we act on this belief, we take everything they say, all their policies as truth, no?

Here’s Melinda Gates’ ethos…  She says:

  • “American schools are broken.”  
  • “We really do need an effective teacher.”
  • “We’re really going to go for getting an evaluation system to tell us whether they are effective or not.”

Here’s her video on PBS where she plays out the expert role, an expert, that is, at spewing her propaganda.

Melinda Gates on Teacher Evaluation PBS News Hour

Well, now let’s change our minds.  Let’s change our ethos and believe something far different.

Let’s believe that Bill and Melinda Gates are pushing propaganda for a less than altruistic motive.

Let’s just say it’s something as innocent as remaining the richest couple in the world and to do so, they need to break into the frontier of public education testing, Common Core curriculum for every child in America, text books for every child in America, technology from Microsoft for every child in America, teacher professional development and teacher training for every teacher in America, and so on.

Certainly the $8 Billion expected as profits from the textbooks alone, on top of the  implementation of Common Core Curriculum ought to add something to their coffers of cash.

Note: Gates has partnered with Pearson on Common Core.

Here’s what Lisa Fleisher has to tell us about the profits they are about to rake in  JUST from the textbooks ALONE (emphasis added):

“As public schools implement a new set of nearly national curriculum standards, publishers are expecting a wave of demand for new textbooks, tests and teacher preparation.

The guidelines will reshape how students learn math and English in 45 states. The total cost isn’t clear, but a study to be released Wednesday by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute says the price tag could be as high as $1 billion to $8 billion.

Such publishers as Pearson PLC, McGraw-Hill Cos. and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt are marketing rewritten or revamped textbooks aligned with the new guidelines, called the Common Core State Standards.’ ~ Lisa Fleisher, “Textbook Sales Likely to Rise  on New Rules”

So let’s shift our ethos to understand that the Gates promote propaganda to help sell products for profit.

If this new ethos is true, then let’s deconstruct the purpose of the Gates’ MET Project first statement as we begin to think about the idea of using galvanic skin response bracelets to measure good teaching and learning.

Instead of believing the Gates’ are infallible, let’s believe instead that they are 100% wrong as “educational experts.”

Here is the final Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation screen shot showing the grant to fund the galvanic skin response bracelets for teachers and students.

Here’s the propaganda of the Gates Foundation on their MET Project:

  1. Evidence shows clearly what most people know intuitively: teachers matter more to student learning than anything else inside a school.

Here’s the truth  as told by education experts:

Diane Ravitch Response to Melinda Gates on PBS

Here’s Diane Ravitch’s response to Melinda Gates on PBS News Hour.  Diane says:

“Well, are there ineffective teachers? I’m sure there must be. I’ve heard stories of ineffective teachers. And I certainly don’t think there should be even one ineffective teacher in any school.

And it’s the job of the administration, the job of the principal primarily, to make sure that no ineffective teacher ever gets tenure. Once they get tenure, all that means is — it doesn’t mean they have a lifetime job. It doesn’t mean they get paid for breathing. It means that they have a right to due process. If, after getting tenure, the principal says, I want to fire you, they have to have evidence. They have to have a hearing before an impartial administrator.

That really is not such a burdensome thing. But it’s very clear that this is not the key problem in American education, because the lowest performance is not in union districts. The highest performance in America is Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Jersey. These are three states that are all union states.

They have very strong collective bargaining agreements and the highest-performing states. The weakest performance is in the states that have no collective bargaining and where there’s a lot of poverty. I think it’s really important in your discussions about education that you recognize that the most — the biggest single correlate and, very likely, I would say the cause of low performance is not teachers or union contracts. It’s poverty and racial isolation.

In every district where there is very low academic achievement, there is poverty and racial isolation. And yet we are now trapped in this national conversation where there’s almost an agreement we will not talk about poverty. We will not talk about racial isolation. We will just talk about teachers. We are talking about the wrong problem.”  ~  Diane Ravitch, PBS News Hour

Here’s what Alfie Kohn says about what matters most to student learning:

“Every empirical investigation of this question has found that socioeconomic status (SES) in all its particulars accounts for an overwhelming proportion of the variance in test scores when different schools, towns, or states are compared.(1)  Thus ignorance would be the most charitable explanation for why charts are published that rank schools (or towns or states) by these scores — or why anyone would use those rankings to draw conclusions about classroom quality.” ~  Alfie Kohn, Fighting the Tests, [2001]

What does Diane Ravitch think of Melinda Gates and Bill Gates influence on education through their so called, “philanthropy”?

How does Ravitch view the Gates’ ethos of “expertise” in education?

PBS News Hour’s Ray Suarez asked Diane:

“Have the foundations been a worthwhile addition to the debate over the future of education?”

Diane replied (emphasis added):

Well, I have a chapter in my book about — I call them the billionaire boys club. The billionaires boys club is led by the three biggest foundations in America, the Gates Foundation, the Walton Foundation, the Broad Foundation.

These are the three billionaire foundations that give a lot of money to American education. And it has been given to push the privatization movement forward, as well as to put a very heavy emphasis on testing and test scores as part of teacher evaluation. I think that — you know, I’m a historian. So, I look back and I say, there has never been a time in our national life where foundations, which are accountable to no one, make decisions about what our education policy should be.

Sometimes, they make the wrong bet. And the Gates Foundation is a very good example of this. They put $2 billion into breaking up large high schools into small high schools. And after doing that for almost a decade, they said, whoops, that didn’t work. We’re not going to do that anymore. Now we’re going to put the focus on teacher evaluation.

And so the immense amount of money, the hundreds of millions of dollars that the Gates Foundation and now these other big foundations are pouring in, they are directing the national conversation. And I think that’s not — it strikes me that that’s in some ways not democratic.

Our conversations about what to do about our schools should be held at the local level and at the state level. The federal government is there to level the playing field. They’re not there to steer the boat.”  ~  Diane Ravitch, PBS News Hour

Now that the Gates Foundation is placing money into the hands of the developers of galvanic skin response bracelets to add to their data bank on teacher evaluation and student learning, what’s next?

So really, what is next?  Here’s just one example:

From Geeko Systems we see that a bracelet isn’t really needed.  All this can”data” be tracked by something much like a temporary tattoo.

“A team of researchers from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign have developed small electronic devices that can be worn on the skin. These temporary tattoos make the person wearing them a part of the device, which can bend, stretch, and move along with the skin. The researchers were hoping to make less obtrusive medical monitors for special needs patients, like premature babies, but the new sensors have proven so successful they could also be used for a variety of other applications.

The idea of making wearable sensors that adhere to the skin seems so easy and useful it’s surprising no one has developed them before. According to researchers, the major challenge in developing the technology was making the parts of the sensor as flexible and stretchy as skin. To do this, the researchers had to take brittle silicon and make it more bendable by making the sensor incredibly thin. The electronic parts of the sensor, light-emitting diodes, solar cells, transistors, and antennae, were assembled in an S-shape that would allow the circuits to still work when stretched in different directions.

 The sensor components are stuck between two protective layers of the polymer polyimide, and these layers sit on top of a rubbery film of silicone that attaches to the skin using weak chemical bonds. The device adheres similarly to a temporary tattoo, which disguises the sensor grid and makes it stick longer. The electronic sensor is less intrusive than other electrode-based monitoring systems that require bulky wires.

According to the researchers, the devices can pick up heartbeats when stuck on the chest, skeletal muscle activity when on the leg, and brainwaves when on the forehead. In their trials of the device, the researchers recorded signals from a thin wire that relayed data to a computer. The sensors were able to collect accurate data for up to six hours and showed no sign of skin irritation where they were attached after 24 hours.

Nanoengineer Michael McAlpine of Princeton University (who was not involved in the research) told Science News:

“This is a huge breakthrough. This goes beyond Dick Tracy calling someone with a cell phone on the wrist. It’s having the wrist itself house the device so it’s always with you.”

The potential for these devices goes far beyond just tracking heartbeats. The researchers tested their sensors to see if they could control a computer. When adhered to the throat, the device was able to read the electrical activity of the muscles moving when the test subject spoke the commands up, down, left, and right. This proved to be a successful way to control a computer’s cursor as it moved through a maze.

So far, the device can be powered by wireless coils and solar cells, and the researchers hope to improve the devices’ power storage capabilities. The researchers believe that in the future these devices could even run on the energy from body heat or stray electromagnetic signals.

Right now, the researchers are focused on the biomedical applications of this electronic sensor temporary tattoo, however, even with a multitude of medical possibilities, there are other ways this technology could be used. One example, aside from controlling computer movements, is CIA interest in developing the technology as a way for agents to silently communicate with one other by tracking the muscle movements that correspond with words.

While the technology isn’t available to the public, it is certainly an interesting breakthrough and it will be fascinating to see what kinds of new devices are spawned from it. The research was published in the journal Science.” ~ Erin Podalack, “Electronic Sensors, Stick Like Temporary Tattoos, Present Endless Possibilities”

But why bother with temporary?  Let’s just make it permanent…

I couldn’t help myself.  

I had to see if the Gates Foundation is “building partnerships” with the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign where these devices are being developed.

Although the relationship to these devices is not clear, certainly the partnerships are “being developed” through grants from the Gates Foundation to this branch in the University.

<sigh>… It’s only a matter of time.

What if the Gates and the rest of the “Billionaire Boys Club” ethos isn’t quite so innocent?

What if public education by corporations were being used a a tool to deliver permanent NeoSlavery?

And what if this is only one facet of a much larger systemic problem in America and across the globe?

“The two aims of the Party are to conquer the whole surface of the earth and to extinguish once and for all the possibility of independent thought.”   ~  George Orwell, “1984”

 

Here are some quotes from “Propaganda” by Bernays (emphasis added):

“If we understand the mechanisms and motives of the group mind, it is now possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing it… In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons … who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.”

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.”

“We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized.”

“Propaganda will never die out. Intelligent men must realize that propaganda is the modern instrument by which they can fight for productive ends and help to bring order out of chaos.” …

“Ours must be a leadership democracy administered by the intelligent minority who know how to regiment and guide the masses. Is this government by propaganda? Call it, if you prefer, government by education. But education, in the academic sense of the word, is not sufficient. It must be enlightened expert propaganda through the creation of circumstances, through the high-spotting of significant events, and the dramatization of important issues. The statesman of the future will thus be enabled to focus the public mind on crucial points of policy and regiment a vast, heterogeneous mass of voters to clear understanding and intelligent action.”

“Ours must be a leadership democracy administered by the intelligent minority who know how to regiment and guide the masses. Is this government by propaganda?  Call it, if you prefer, government by education. But education, in the academic sense of the word, is not sufficient. It must be enlightened expert propaganda through the creation of circumstances, through the high-spotting of significant events, and the dramatization of important issues. The statesman of the future will thus be enabled to focus the public mind on crucial points of policy and regiment a vast, heterogeneous mass of voters to clear understanding and intelligent action.” 

 “They govern us by their qualities of natural leadership, their ability to supply needed ideas and by their key position in the social structure. Whatever attitude one chooses to take toward this condition, it remains a fact that in almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons—a trifling fraction of our hundred and twenty million—who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind, who harness old social forces and contrive new ways to bind and guide the world. “ ~ Edward Barnays , “History Is a Weapon”

What if the entire time our own country’s moral principles have been in place to give you a false sense of equity and choice, a false ethos of propaganda?

Our freedom would be at stake, our democracy would be a sham.

How could this be?  

Could we have been a sham all along?  

Remember when women, the people of color, the poor, began to question our founding fathers about equality?  

Oh, ya.  That’s right:  equality was just for the rich, white, male land owner of privilege.  

Has this REALLY changed? (class war, racism, war on women, human rights, immigrant rights, etc.)

 Are we persuaded into our labor by the mere hope of equality?

Our country seems both obsessed and anesthetized by consumerism.

I think Melinda and Bill Gates are counting on it.  Counting on our buying every one of their monopolized products and agendas.

What if Melinda and Bill Gates, by controlling public education were also able to control government and democracy?


Now the real question becomes:  What are you going to do about this threat to our freedom?

Here’s what Senator Bernie Sanders has to say about America’s freedom.

 “Freedom does not simply mean rallying oneself behind the flag.  It’s a great flag, but freedom means allowing the kind of dissent and vigorous debate, and tolerance of onerous points of view, that people regard as obnoxious and hateful, because we understand that once you say, I don’t want to hear that point of view, you can’t say that, you begin to stifle all kinds of points of view. you begin to create a mindset.  Freedom is a very delicate thing, it’s a very delicate thing between limiting people’s intellectual growth, or not.  And that’s why we have to be vigourous and extremely proud.  This flag means the constitution of the United States.  We as Americans should be very very proud of that and we should do everything we can to fight THOSE people who for political reasons are trying to limit basic freedoms in America.  ~  Bernie Sanders

Edward Bernays taught the corporations how to market their products to you by pushing your buttons.  The thought police are growing stronger and we must resist.

O’Brien: Power is tearing human minds apart and putting them back together in new shapes of your own choosing.

“That which the system holds most dear is its greatest weakness.” ~ Ethos

Here’s what YOU can DO:

  • Stop believing the propaganda of corporations.
  • Think critically about EVERYTHING you read and view.
  • Determine your own truth and trust your intuition, your “gut” reaction.
  • STOP CONSUMING!  They need us!  We don’t NEED them.  This is their weakness!
  • Listen to expert professionals, not corporations.
  • Speak up against corporate control over a profession that is complex and leave this work to the professionals who are educators.
  • Demand the education policies in place that require high stakes testing be stopped immediately.
  • Demand a moratorium on all testing that is NOT teacher created, that is not diagnostic in nature to benefit authentic learning through prescriptions created by expert teachers.
  • Write letters to your school board, letters to the editor, op-eds, your superintendents, your congressmen, your state department of education, the federal department of education, the president of the United States.
  • Blog, read, share your information via email, Facebook, and Twitter expansively.  Tell your neighbors.  Tell your friends.  Speak out!
  • Protest:  The Gates Foundation, Microsoft, Pearson, Wal-Mart, The Koch Brothers, the Broad Foundation, all private and so called “public” charter schools, the Departments of Education at state and federal levels.
  • Occupy your classroom and teach the arts – teach social justice, history, and the civics including the importance for the freedom of dissent – teach through as much real reform as you can get by with and keep fighting for more!
  • March, protest, strike – your freedom and the freedom of your children is at stake.
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GATEECA – Part 4

Question:  Is all this talk of Eugenics limited to my paranoia or to conspiracy theorists?  Am I alone in connecting education and Eugenics in the modern era of technology? 

Answer: In a 2011 piece, Eugenic Legacies Still Influence Education by David Cohen, he writes:

“One of the most important guiding principles in education is in loco parentis – we are morally and legally obliged to act “in place of the parent” when children are in our care.  That principle is the main reason for the sharply negative and visceral reaction I had when I read about John F. Kennedy High School using color-coded identification cards based on student test scores, and then a later article describing a similar program at Cypress High School (both in Orange County, California).  According to the Orange County Register, the different cards also led to different privileges around school, discounts on various purchases, and even led an administrator to insult a group of students in an assembly.” ~ David Cohen

Jim Horn also writes recently in Schools Matter: Charles Murray, KIPP, and the Second Coming of Eugenics:

” Just over a hundred years ago the devout social Darwinist, Andrew Carnegie, exercised his philanthropic muscle to fund the creation of the eugenics research hothouse known as the Station for the Experimental Study of Evolution, in Cold Springs Harbor, New York.  He got nothing for it except the satisfaction that his Spencerian values had been expressed in a way that would have lasting effect.  In 2012, economic enablers like Bill Gates and Eli Broad can stand on a similar belief that cultural defectives can be eliminated without the costly acknowledgment of poverty, but this time around these modern day Carnegies can make sure that they are repaid in tax breaks for their classist and racist largesse.” ~ Jim Horn [NOTE: As the author of Living Behind the Gates, I apologize for an incorrect citation when originally posted.  Dr. Stephen Krashen did not write the above blog “Schools Matter: Charles Murray, KIPP, and the Second Coming of Eugenics.  This blog was authored by Jim Horn.]

 

Question:  But has the stage been set for the Department of Eugenics to go even further than it did in the 1920’s?

Fact:  One would assume that this crime against the poor and vulnerable ended long ago.  It did not.  Forced sterilization continued in the United States long after Hitler was dead, until 1974 in fact.

“The sterilization program ended in 1974, but its legacy will not go away. Many of its victims are still alive and they bear witness to a bureaucracy that trampled on the rights of the poor and the powerless. ” ~ Kevin Begos, Lifting the Curtain on a Shameful Era,  Journal Now:  Against Their Will

Considering the facts listed above, perhaps the policy and practice of Eugenics has never ended.

Answer:  Although the tool of sterilization has not been re-instituted as yet:

NDAA has been passed and signed.

Internment camps have been built and staffed.

Peaceful protestors are gunned down with rubber bullets or pepper sprayed for no just cause.

Riot police prevent civil liberties based on our nation’s constitutional rights.

Mayoral control has reduced the rights  and liberties of local communities. 

Newt Gingrich is suggesting we replace school janitors with school children, changing labor laws back to the 1920’s.

Child labor laws are being challenged across America.

Minimum wage for children is being recommended at an appalling rate of just $5.25 per hour.

More Black and Latino boys are being imprisoned each year.

The school-to-prison pipeline is designed to profit off of the poor through privatization of prisons.

Union busting laws are decreasing the rights of the working class.

The reproductive rights of women are being legislated without their voices. Virginia Lawmakers threatened to vaginally probe women without a say in their own medical care through legislation that did not allow the testimony of women at hearings.

The Supreme Court is set to rule on continuation of Affirmative Action that may tear down the wall of protection, again segregating and stratifying our people by race.   Higher Education has been held in check to integrate by race through Affirmative Action for years.

 Bill and Melinda Gates have invested in Monsanto which produces GMO corn that has been proven to cause sterility and organ disease.

Activists have protested the Gates Foundation ties with Monsanto.

Yet  Bill Gates claims Monsanto is necessary to fight starvation.

The Gates couple uses Foxconn in China to create X-Box.  Monsanto and Foxconn both enforce slave-like working conditions to maximize profit.

“The same company that we recently exposed to be running ‘slave-like’ working conditions, forcing poor workers to operate the corn fields for 14 hours per day while withholding pay.” ~ Anthony Gucciardi, Monsanto Investor Bill Gates Says GMO Crops Necessary to Fight Starvation, Info Wars

Question:  Why do we continue to listen to Bill  and Melinda Gates? Why do we allow these self-appointed elites to create policies that govern a profession they know NOTHING about?

Answer:  Paul Thomas sorts this out for us in detailing the dangerous way the oligarchs are running public education in his piece for The Daily KOS – “Do As I Say, Not As I Do – Why Authority Fails”.
Paul writes:

“The education reform debate and the current state of education policy are absent authoritative leadership, and like the century leading up to today, we will remain mired in bureaucratic insanity at the expense of students and the wider American society.

It is past time that we acknowledge some harsh facts: Without his political appointments, Arne Duncan’s claims about education would fall on deaf ears (as they should); without his billions, Bill Gates would also be largely ignored. The same can be said about presidents, governors, senators, and members of congress all across the U.S.

Credible leadership springs from “This is what I have done.”

All else is the failure of authoritarian hypocrisy. And even a child can see that.”

`
Make it. Instead of chopping yourself down to fit the world, chop the world down to fit yourself. As a matter of fact, two exceptional people make another world. You and I, we make another, separate world. You don’t want a world same as your brothers-in-law. It’s just the special quality you value. Do you want to be normal or ordinary! It’s a lie. You want to be free and extraordinary, in an extraordinary world of liberty.’ ~ D. H. Lawrence

Dead Poets Society: Contact Microsoft or the Gates Foundation for Free One-Time Membership

Truth like-like a blanket that always leaves your feet cold.

Y-Y-You push it, stretch it, it’ll never be enough.

You kick at it, beat it, it’ll never cover any of us.

From the moment we enter crying t-to the moment we leave dying,

it’ll just cover your face as you wail and cry and scream.

~ Todd Anderson, The Dead Poets Society, IMBd quotes

Melinda and Bill Gates have attempted to cover the cold hard feet of truth with their blanket of propaganda in order to maintain their status as the richest couple in the world.

However, like in the poem from The Dead Poets Society, the cold feet of truth are always left exposed at some point, in this case for the people of the working class.  This exposure falls too late for some, however in the past weeks, two incidents have been uncovered that have impacted the worlds of real people, both in China and in the United States.

Both of these true stories are connected directly to Melinda and Bill Gates,  one to Microsoft, and one to the Gates Foundation’s control over public education.  Both are related to horrible working conditions caused directly by the Gates’.

Both stories end in desperation and finally in the loss of real human lives – lives precious to the families and co-workers of real human beings not as privileged as the Gates family, but valuable nevertheless.

**Warning- like the movie, the topic and photos are dark and graphic, as the truth is sometimes, and even more often as the Gates take more control over our world.

One such story involves the desperate working conditions, a 300 person suicide threat in protest, and the deaths of 16 workers by suicide at Foxconn – Microsoft’s X-Box manufacturers in China.

The second story, closer to home, involves the deplorable working conditions in a public school – ending in the suicide of a teacher, Mary Thorson, who was a 32-year-old physical education teacher at Cottage Grove Upper Grade Center in Ford Heights, Illinois, who ended her own life on November 24, 2011, citing horrible working conditions as her reason.  These horrible public school working conditions can be traced directly to the education reform and bullying of teachers via demonization of our profession started by none other than Melinda and Bill Gates.

The Gates family has more than any human needs – when it comes to money – and they use it to control the main stream media in their attempt at blanketing the truth with pure propaganda.

Here’s the propaganda and spin created by Microsoft and Gates via the media:

“Microsoft takes working conditions in the factories that manufacture its products very seriously, and we are currently investigating this issue,” the statement said.

“The welfare of our employees is our top priority and we are committed to ensuring that all employees are treated fairly and that their rights are fully protected,” the company statement said. ~ CNN, “Microsoft Probes Mass Suicide Threat at China Plant”

And here’s more propaganda by Gates:

“Microsoft is one of many companies that contracts with Foxconn to manufacture hardware. Upon learning of the labor protest in Wuhan, we immediately conducted an independent investigation of this issue,” starts the statement that comes from a Microsoft spokesperson.

Source: The Inquirer (http://s.tt/15csh)

And more propaganda by Microsoft:

“After the incident, Microsoft gave Kotaku’s Brian Ashcraft the following statement. 

Foxconn has been an important partner of ours and remains an important partner. I trust them as a responsible company to continue to evolve their process and work relationships. That is something we remain committed to—the safe and ethical treatment of people who build our products. That’s a core value of our company.”

~ Rebecca Greenfield, “Foxconn Is Still a Hard Place to Work”, The Atlantic Wire

Workers at Foxconn morn the suicide deaths of their co-workers

due to Microsoft’s poor working conditions.

This graphic is part of the Swiss-based Public Eye campaign to elect the world’s worst corporation. Foxconn is a 2011 nominee.  ~ Greenpeace

But here are the cold hard facts, the feet of truth sticking out under the blanket of the Gates propaganda about China’s Microsoft X-Box workers:

“Last year a startling 18 Chinese migrant workers attempted suicide at Foxconn production facilities located in Guangdong, Jiangsu and Hebei Provinces. Fourteen died, while four survived with critical injuries. All were between 17 and 25 years old. Why did they, in the prime of youth, give up on their lives?

According to a woman working on the soldering line attaching speakers to MP3- and MP4-format digital audio players: ‘After work, all of us – more than 100 persons – are made to stay behind. It happens whenever workers get punished. A girl is forced to stand at attention to read aloud a statement of self-criticism. She must be loud enough to be heard. Our line leader would ask if the worker at the far end of the workshop could hear clearly the mistake she has made. Oftentimes girls feel like they are losing face. It’s very embarrassing. Her tears drop. Her voice becomes very small.’” ~ Jenny Chan, iSlave New Internationalist Magazine

‘I am just a speck of dust’…

Does that statement give you the same message as the Gates Foundation regarding the equal value [see below, straight from the Gates Foundation website] of every human life?  I think not!

Death at Foxconn: Ma Zishan mourns his son Ma Xiangqian, the tenth protest suicide against draconian management at the south China electronics firm. The suicides continue. Joe Tan / Reuters

“As American consumers ogle over shiny new gadgets at this week’s Consumer Electronic’s Show, the workers that make those products are threatening mass suicide for the horrid working conditions at Foxconn. 300 employees who worked making the Xbox 360 stood at the edge of the factory building, about to jump, after their boss reneged on promised compensation, reports English news site Want China Times. It’s not like this is the first time working conditions at Foxconn have made news outside China. But iPhone and Xbox sales surely haven’t lagged in the wake of those revelations and neither Apple nor Microsoft has done much of anything to fix things. 

Instead of the raise they requested, these workers were given the following ultimatum: quit with compensation, or keep their jobs with no pay increase. Most quit and never got the money. That’s when the mass suicide threat came in. The incident actually caused a factory wide shutdown, reports Record China. 

Sympathetic corporate statements aside, the conditions haven’t much improved. Beyond this threat — the mayor eventually talked the angry workers down — suicides persist. Apple has given similar responses, saying it ensures safe working conditions and fair employee treatment. 

That translates to making employees sign “no suicide” pacts and letting 13 year-olds work half-day long shifts, as Mike Daisey, a self-proclaimed Apple fanboy, detail in this week’s This American Life. Daisey goes to Shenzhen, China, where Foxconn employs over 400,000 workers. He talks to both factory workers and businessmen, gathering chilling information about the situation at the factory, discovering suicide nets, 36-hour shifts, 27-year-old burn outs with dismembered limbs and underage workers.”

~ Rebecca Greenfield, “Foxconn Is Still a Hard Place to Work”, The Atlantic Wire

As I write this blog, I am chilled by the last statement by Daisey and the confirmed suicides of 16 Foxconn workers.  These deaths are due to the horrible working conditions minimized by Melinda and Bill Gates, who fool Americans about their caring philanthropy by more propaganda via media spin.

“Over the last two years, at least 16 Foxconn employees have committed suicide in the company’s Shenzhen, China factory. Three other workers attempted to kill themselves at the factory. Those deaths have prompted the company to say that it will install “suicide nets” around the factory to discourage employees from jumping from buildings. Foxconn has also offered some workers a 20 percent wage increase to improve morale.” ~ Don Reisinger, “Foxconn Settles With Workers Who Threaten Mass Suicide”, C-Net

But how could Melinda and Bill Gates possibly be responsible for the suicide death of a public school teacher due to working conditions? After all, the Gates don’t “own” and “operate” public schools!  Or do they?

Let’s look at the story about Mary Thorson and the Cottage Grove Upper Grade Center in Chicago, IL., starting with the propaganda by the Gates’ own views on how their influence impacts public education.

Gates  and Gates Foundation Propaganda:

“In most workplaces, there is an implicit bargain: Employees get the support they need to excel at their jobs, and employers build a system to evaluate their performance. The evaluations yield information that employees use to improve—and that employers use to hold employees accountable for results.

At Microsoft, we believed in giving our employees the best chance to succeed, and then we insisted on success. We measured excellence, rewarded those who achieved it and were candid with those who did not. Teachers don’t work in anything like this kind of environment, and they want a new bargain.

We know this because they told us so in a recent survey that our foundation undertook with Scholastic. It turns out that teachers don’t like their no-support/low-expectations working conditions any better than we do.”Grading the Teachers” ~  Schools have a lot to learn from buisness say Melinda and Bill Gates.

How does this statement straight from the Gates Foundation settle with you

after reading a statement from a Chinese worker about being a mere speck of dust?

Truth:

One might say that ALL lives have equal value to Melinda and Bill Gates – EXCEPT for anyone not wealthy enough to be in upper management, not wealthy enough to go to private charter schools promoted by Melinda and Bill Gates,or not wealthy enough to run in their social circles.  Some of these “LESS EQUAL” lives might be public school teachers, children and families who are poor, or those who work at Foxconn.  But do I have proof or evidence of that opinion?  I think the lives and words of Mary and the Chinese workers are evidence enough, but is there other evidence?

How do the Gates manage their employees here in Washington State at Microsoft, for example?  There is evidence that Melinda and Bill Gates treat their Microsoft employees in the exact same manner as they are treating US public school children, parents, and teachers – with a few ‘carrots’ and mostly ‘sticks’!

In fact, these ‘sticks’ of cold feet – the truth sticking out from their DeForming measures – are KILLING what they SAY the Gates say they are striving for in education reform –  that big word Melinda and Bill Gates throw around as Corporate EdDeFormers all the time – INNOVATION.  Another one of their trick words is “transformation”.  And another buzz word that they use to make working conditions for students, teachers, and factory workers is “accountability”.

This method of merit-pay-carrots and punitive-decentives kill collaboration, creating a competitive market driven, glory hogging, dog-eat-dog environment where bullies thrive, collaborators despair, and INNOVATION wilts away.  The onl”transformation” that takes place is the increasing stress under bullying that leads to despair.

These methods have also seen a rise in working condition suicides as reported by the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, via Timesizing, Not Downsizing in their article entitled “Work Related Suicide, Death, and Violence”.

See how this same model Gates uses to destroy working conditions impacts employees and INNOVATION at Microsoft. as reported by Joe Wilcox on Beta News in his article, “Why Former Employees Say Microsoft Can’t Innovate”

One of the reasons – Gates doesn’t seem to even understand the concept and meaning of the word… “Innovation”… to him it means “status quo” per his employee, Rodriquez. Yet Gates makes many comments against teachers and teachers’ unions demonizing them for “protecting the status quo!”

Incentives that Discourage Risk, Innovation

“Related to gut-bulging middle management: some HR review and compensation processes discourage many employees from taking the kinds of risks necessary for Microsoft to regain its competitive edge and, quite frankly, to innovate in truly meaningful ways. Microsoft’s definition of innovation, for most of its product groups, is anything that preserves the status quo — meaning extending Office and Windows and increasingly server software like SharePoint and Windows Server. Risk is a dirty word for many employees looking to advance at Microsoft.

A former employee whom I’ll call Rodriguez said of the HR review process: “Microsoft has become too ‘scorecard’ heavy and highly litigated to the point it kills an employee’s spirit of free thinking and creativity, since everything a person does is closely judged by management.” Among the former Microsofties I communicated with over the last couple of months, Rodriguez was the harshest critic of Microsoft’s review process, which he observed is going on right now; fiscal year ends on June 30 and reviews occur midway.

Several former and existing employees tried to explain Microsoft’s seemingly complicated review and compensation process. People are hired at a certain level and can advance up levels, which have corresponding salary ranges. During reviews process, employees are graded with such designations as ‘exceed,’ ‘achieved’ and ‘underperformed’ commitment ratings. These are based on numerous criteria, which include management assessment of performance and achieving goals set during the previous review process. Other criteria include “contribution rankings.” Problem: These criteria sometimes work cross-purposes to performance. Fred explained:

Processes became more bureaucratic and individuals were less empowered to take action.  In fact, oftentimes the incentive structure encouraged individual contributors not to do the right thing, but just to do what they committed to in their review the year prior. In other words, if you committed to include Feature A in Windows, and halfway through the year you realized that was a bad thing for Windows and Microsoft customers, the incentive structure actively discouraged you from trying to kill the feature, because then you wouldn’t have achieved your commitments.

Barry also made similar complaints about the “decentives” to doing a good job. “The metrics are too complex,” he said. “We were evaluated also on a client’s satisfaction with our work.” The client could range from a reporter for Microsofties working in PR to developers for employees doing product development or for anyone to other groups within Microsoft.

Several current and former employees wanting to do better or escape from stifling management situations would request transfers. However, many managers wanted to keep their staff in part “because it would reflect badly on them,” Barry said.

“I was put in ‘performance detention’ due to wanting to expand to another part of the company and ended up in the ‘crapper’ list,” said another former employee, whom I’ll call Mickey”. ~ Joe Wilcox, Beta News, “Why Former Employees Say Microsoft Can’t Innovate”

I and many others have already blogged and written about the Gates’ control over public education reform.  The policies of our US Department of Education are controlled almost entirely by Melinda and Bill Gates.  In fact, Fareed Zakaria on CNN’s “Fixing Education” recently introduced Gates as being “more powerful” than Secretary Arne Duncan of the Department of Education.

Philanthropy vs. Billanthropy:

First and foremost, the Gates Foundation promote themselves as philanthropists.  By the Webster definition, I would highly disagree and redefine  the correct term that describes Melinda and Bill Gates as “Billanthropists”, a term coined on a title of the Economist below.

Webster’s Dictionary definition of Philanthropy: “1: goodwill to fellow members of the human race; especially: active effort to promote human welfare; 2: a: an act or gift done or made for humanitarian purposes b: an organization distributing or supported by funds set aside for humanitarian purposes.”

 A friend and I collaborated to write/edit a definition of Billanthropy:  1. Feigning goodwill, generosity and altruism in an effort to consolidate power and control; using propaganda and financial ‘incentives’ (grants, scholarships, gifts) to trick society into accepting changes in legislation and policies that promote the selfish interests and agendas of the elite billanthropists; influencing and controlling policy and legislative initiatives and attaching mechanisms to ensure profit and power for the elite. b. an organization that pretends an interest in the public good and uses indoctrination and brainwashing to encourage others to donate money.  The funds are then used to promote their own agendas, to make profits and create tax havens.   This process also creates a closed loop, whereby the elites maintain power and control over all institutions within the social-political-economic structure, locally and globally.  [see 1, term used to describe the behavior of Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation as well as many other US Billanthropists.]

Clearly, by the record of recent events, the Gates have invested in A.L.E.C. to control Ed Reform , controlling legislation. This has led to changes in laws surrounding philanthropy, allowing them to both control legislation, government, and education policy while profiting from the many arenas they claim to be ‘giving’ to, while in the meantime they also provide themselves with a fat-cat tax haven.

One of the main ways the Gates can no longer correctly use the term “philanthropy ” is because of recent legislation called PRI’s or Program Related Investments. PRI’s  [A PRI, broadly defined, is a foundation investment to support a charitable project or activity involving the potential return of capital within an established time frame., see NHI in link for more.] By legislating PRI’s for profit, the Gates have all but eliminated their claim to fame when it comes to being philanthropists and now fall into what urban dictionary may define as Billanthropy.

But what do the Gates have to do with the working conditions of public school teachers, you ask?  It all boils down to controlling the US Government and if you don’t believe me, follow the money.

How are the Gates involved in poor working conditions for teachers in public schools, you might ask?

It all started when Gates started the path to kill public schools by first demonizing and deprofessionalizing the teachers.

Here, Diane Ravitch schooled Bill Gates and talks about his demonization of public school teachers  in a response printed in the Washington Post by Valerie Strauss.

Gates:Is she [Ravitch] sticking up for decline?”

Ravitch: “Of course not! If we follow Bill Gates’ demand to judge teachers by test scores, we will see stagnation, and he will blame it on teachers. We will see stagnation because a relentless focus on test scores in reading and math will inevitably narrow the curriculum only to what is tested. This is not good education. “Last week, he said in a speech that teachers should not be paid more for experience and graduate degrees. I wonder why a man of his vast wealth spends so much time trying to figure out how to cut teachers’ pay. Does he truly believe that our nation’s schools will get better if we have teachers with less education and less experience? Who does he listen to? He needs to get himself a smarter set of advisers. “Of course, we need to make teaching a profession that attracts and retains wonderful teachers, but the current anti-teacher rhetoric emanating from him and his confreres demonizes and demoralizes even the best teachers. I have gotten letters from many teachers who tell me that they have had it, they have never felt such disrespect; and I have also met young people who tell me that the current poisonous atmosphere has persuaded them not to become teachers. Why doesn’t he make speeches thanking the people who work so hard day after day, educating our nation’s children, often in difficult working conditions, most of whom earn less than he pays his secretaries at Microsoft?”Diane Ravitch, Ravitch Answers Gates by Valerie Strauss, Washington Post

 

The crime is not Mary Thorson’s own suicide, but that of the Gates’ and all those complicit in intimidating her, and the entire public school system.  Mary is not alone in this feeling of intimidation and this will not be the last suicide caused by Melinda and Bill Gates.

But what about the working conditions for Mary Thorson? 

How could Melinda and Bill Gates possibly have influenced her choice to commit suicide? 

The real cause lies in taking away so much control over people through bullying.  This stripping of power instills fear and loss of self-respect.  Students, teachers, families, and all working class people need a sense of liberty — a sense of control over their own lives.  Just like Neil Perry in The Dead Poets Society, Bill and Melinda Gates take over our lives, telling us exactly how we must teach, how and when we have to test, and the high stakes attached blame us for ‘failures’, humiliating all of us publicly.

These draconian teaching methods were not settling well with Mary Thorson as she watched her students in high poverty respond.  These draconian teaching methods aren’t settling well with many teachers.  Draconian teaching conditions lead to horrible working conditions.  Horrible working conditions lead to horrible learning conditions for our neediest students, especially and Mary Thorson just couldn’t keep forcing these on her students.

In Mary and the people in China’s Foxconn factory, we see the results of such oppression.

Instead of helping Cottage Grove address the issues of poverty, the Chicago school system, highly influenced by Bill and Melinda Gates education policies, intimidated its teachers.  Through the nation’s policies of No Child Left Behind –  Cottage Grove was forced to become a SIG turnaround school [2010], labeling it forever as a failure and holding it up for public humiliation rather than helping it.  School Improvement Grants [SIG] are only offered to schools AFTER they are designated as “failures”.  Why can’t we give schools and children what they need WHEN they need it?  Before they fail?  Why don’t we honor true innovation and creativity like they do with such success in Finland?

The sticks of public humiliation used by Gates to brutalize Mary Thorson who gave so much to her students in poverty proved to be too much for her.

How many more teachers, students, workers do we have to lose before we stop the Gates from this bullying behavior?

Without the pressure of lobbying and earmark dollars, without the controls placed on both the Bush and Obama administrations by Melinda and Bill Gates — it is quite likely that the education reform policies would die away in their own suicidal death spiral.

But with the Gates funding used as the ultimate carrot and stick, they are truly driving the despair that Mary and millions of other teachers across America are feeling.   Students are suffering much of this despair as well. Most of this despair is due to bullying, starting at the top of our corporations, through government, down through districts, and into our schools.  Mental health experts can tell you about these direct cause and effect correlations.

Here in her article entitled, “Illinois teacher Commits Suicide Citing Working Conditions”  by Kristina Betinis, we find the very similar story line to the workers from Microsoft’s Foxconn in China – a story of being pushed and bullied by Melinda and Bill Gates to the point where life itself is not worth living – where the person feels their own life is NOT valued by the Gates at all, by their unions, districts, or schools –  much less equally.

This kind of Gates pressure -cooker of bullying teachers is taking over the country, as was written about here:

“At a December district school board meeting, it became clear Thorson was not alone in feeling threatened by the school administration. Teachers admitted that they are intimidated by school officials, afraid for their jobs and dare not speak openly about the conditions they face. More than one teacher spoke about being harassed for taking sick days. Another teacher noted the irony of having an anti-bullying campaign in the school while the teachers are being bullied.

At the meeting, school administrators pushed back, blaming teachers for not speaking up or citing specifics. School board President Joe Sherman said, “If you guys would have come and brought allegations and we didn’t address it, then you would have every right to say what you need to say.”

Intimidation is a tactic in a nationwide strategy to de-professionalize teaching, as a precondition for the dismantling of public education and the selling off or leasing of its related assets. The so-called educational reforms, begun under the Bush administration and expanded by President Obama, have largely been couched in the highly confrontational language of “accountability,” which implies that teachers are overpaid and undeserving of professional status. This has accompanied a frontal assault on the workplace gains teachers struggled to win throughout the 20th century.

The state of Illinois has led the implementation of these “reforms”, subjecting schools to extremely aggressive measures, including mass firings which force teachers and staff to re-apply for their jobs, buyouts, capricious and punitive academic testing measures, and regular school closures and consolidations, which force students to make their way to schools in other areas. These policies have inflamed the crisis in public schools and the communities they serve, contributing to higher drop-out rates, violence, overcrowding, and burn-out among teachers.

School boards routinely provide cash incentives to administrators to implement these changes on a school-by-school basis, extracting concessions from teachers in violation of their teaching contracts. Ratings and disciplinary measures are regularly used to meet pre-determined numbers of layoffs which administrators are required to carry out over a school year. Outspoken teachers identified by administrators as “troublesome,” and the better-compensated veteran teachers are typically targeted.

In the Chicago Public Schools system, recent “reforms” have included longer school days, where teachers and other staff are not compensated for an additional seven hours per week, and many have reported being threatened and intimidated by school administrators into voting in favor of the extended hours.

As these reactionary policies devastate schools, students and teachers, the state and local budget crises have intensified the negative impact of lower wages and fewer school resources.

It is deeply tragic that the miserable conditions in public schools could result in the suicide of a dedicated young teacher, but once the ruthless policies of the ruling class are seen in full light, such tragedies are all but inevitable. Last October, a longtime Los Angeles-area teacher took his own life after being labeled a “less effective teacher” by the Los Angeles Times. (See “Teacher ranked ‘less effective’ by the Los Angeles Times takes his own life”)

Mary Thorson’s parents have made a special effort to communicate their daughter’s intentions. Her mother said that the young teacher’s suicide was directly related to the pressures at Cottage Grove Upper Grade Center, emphasizing that Mary had no prior mental health issues and was never in a combat situation in the Army Reserve. Thorson’s father said, “Is the school responsible? Yes, the school is responsible.”

Is the school responsible?  Yes, the school is responsible. 

But by their actions – Melinda and Bill Gates have made themselves ‘the school’.  And they are responsible.   For by placing themselves into this position of power over our public schools – by their propaganda winning over the indoctrinated minds of the public to demonize and intimidate our nation’s children, parents, teachers, and schools until they have become even more powerful than our own Department of Education – now, Melinda and Bill Gates ARE the school and yes, they are responsible.

I grieve for the Thorson family, for Mary’s students and coworkers, and for all the family members/coworkers in China who cared deeply about the 16 workers who committed suicide there.  I know a nation of teachers grieves for the Thorson’s and as a nation of 99% working class people, America grieves with China as well.  Once we get past the most painful part of this grief, I believe something will shift.

Like in The Dead Poets Society, there is a tale of redemption. 

I believe that when enough people begin to feel their cold numbed feet of truth wake up, that indeed these lives in China and Illinois will serve a much higher purpose.

What happens under the pressure placed on us?  Do we conform to Bill and Melinda Gates’ standards?  Or do we walk to the beat of our own drummer with courage?

“I stand up here because I remind myself that I must always look at the world in a different way.”

~  John Keating, The Dead Poets Society

We as a nation need to follow the example of the teacher and students in The Dead Poets Society –  we need to stand up on our desks and dare to be our highest selves, dare to look at the world of working class people differently, dare to look at teaching and learning differently, dare to look at children of poverty differently, dare to defy the Gates dynasty and dare to defy the remainder of the Corporate EdDeFormers.  The time is now, before there are any more tragic deaths like Mary Thorson’s!

John Keating: “Boys, you must strive to find your own voice. Because the longer you wait to begin, the less likely you are to find it at all. Thoreau said, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation.” Don’t be resigned to that. Break out!” ~ The Dead Poets Society, IMDb quotes

Carpe’ Diem, my friends!  Seize the day and reclaim our public schools back from these tyrants! 

Neil Perry’s father, wants to control his life, his destiny,  his future – like Gates wants to control ours.  These aspects of our lives do not belong to Gates or any other man or woman just because they are wealthy.  We must not give this up to anyone.  This much I know, our lives and our schools are worth taking back from the bullies.  Like the narrowed curriculum and bubble tests of the Gates edreform, the bullying and controlling — they leave out the poetry, the marrow of our own lives.

John Keating: “We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer.

That you are here –

that life exists, and identity;

that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse.

That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse.

What will your verse be?”