Education With a Debt Sentence: For-Profit Colleges as American Dream Crushers and Factories of Debt
by Astra Taylor and Hannah Appel - TomDispatch Imagine corporations that intentionally target low-income single mothers as ideal customers. Imagine that these same companies claim to sell tickets to the American dream -- gainful employment, the chance for a middle class life. Imagine that the fine print on these tickets, once purchased, reveals them to be little more than debt contracts, profitable to the corporation’s investors, but disastrous for its customers.
And imagine that these corporations receive tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies to do this dirty work.
Now, know that these corporations actually exist and are universities.
Over the last three decades, the price of a year of college has increased by more than 1,200%. In the past, American higher education has always been associated with upward mobility, but with student loan debt quadrupling between 2003 and 2013, it’s time to ask whether education alone can really move people up the class ladder. This is a question of obvious relevance for low-income students and students of color.
There is a forgotten 1933 movie serial called The Three Musketeers in which three members of the French Foreign Legion are rescued by an American, a young John Wayne, using the machine gun on his biplane to mow down Arab bad guys threatening the Legionnaires in the Sahara.
What was John Wayne doing flying around the French Sahara? He had flown over from France to visit his girlfriend. Why did he have a machine gun mounted on his plane? There wouldn’t be a story otherwise.
Like all such series, it is silly, but it is notable for a plot which includes a secret organization called the Devil’s Circle led by a mysterious and evil figure called El Shaitan, someone who wants to destroy the Legion and, after many false leads, turns out in the last reel to be a western merchant rather than an Arab.
In the world of a constantly changing oil and gas environment, the Montney shale basin is the sleeping giant that holds the key to accelerating Canada's shale oil and gas boom, but the real treasure within this giant is a tight liquids-rich zone (approximately 15-20 miles wide) that has big and small players alike narrowing their focus for the potential of a giant payout.
A pervasive hydrocarbon system in the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin (WCSB) in Alberta and British Columbia, the Montney is estimated to hold 2,200 trillion cubic feet of gas, almost 29 billion barrels of natural gas liquids and over 136 billion barrels of oil.
But it is the tight liquids rich fairway (approximately 15-20 miles wide) that contains high concentrations of both free condensate and natural gas liquids that everyone is pursuing in what may very soon be one of the largest commercially viable plays in the world.
At the London Review of Books blog, Omar Hamilton outlines the many confidence-building efforts being undertaken by Israel to construct a just and lasting peace in the Holy Land, following the recent spat in Gaza. Below is Hamilton's piece in full, but do see the original for links detailing the flowers of peace that Israel is planting amongst its Palestinian brothers and sisters.
On 26 August a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas was agreed, bringing a fragile end to a war that killed 2150 Palestinians (mostly civilians) and 73 Israelis (mostly soldiers). Since then Hamas has not fired a single rocket, attacked an Israeli target, or done anything to break the terms of the ceasefire.
Israel has done the following:
1. Annexed another 1500 acres of West Bank land 2. Seized $56 million of PA tax revenue 3. Not lifted the illegal blockade (as required by the ceasefire) 4. Broken the ceasefire by firing at fishermen on four separate occasions 5. Detained six fishermen 6. Killed a 22-year-old, Issa al Qatari, a week before his wedding 7. Killed 16-year-old Mohammed Sinokrot with a rubber bullet to the head 8. Tortured a prisoner to the point of hospitalisation 9. Refused 13 members of the European Parliament entry into Gaza 10. Detained at least 127 people across the West Bank, including a seven-year-old boy in Hebron and two children, aged seven and eight, taken from the courtyard of their house in Silwad – and tear-gassed their mother 11. Continued to hold 33 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council in prison 12. Continued to hold 500 prisoners in administrative detention without charge or trial 13. Destroyed Bedouin homes in Khan al Ahmar, near Jerusalem, leaving 14 people homeless, and unveiled a plan to forcibly move thousands of Bedouin away from Jerusalem into two purpose-built townships 14. Destroyed a dairy factory in Hebron whose profits supported an orphanage 15. Destroyed a family home in Silwan, making five children homeless 16. Destroyed a house in Jerusalem where aid supplies en route to Gaza were being stored 17. Destroyed a well near Hebron 18. Set fire to an olive grove near Hebron 19. Raided a health centre and a nursery school in Nablus, causing extensive damage 20. Destroyed a swathe of farmland in Rafah by driving tanks over it 21. Ordered the dismantling of a small monument in Jerusalem to Mohamed Abu Khdeir, murdered in July by an Israeli lynch mob 22. Continued building a vast tunnel network under Jerusalem 23. Stormed the al Aqsa mosque compound with a group of far right settlers 24. Assisted hundreds of settlers in storming Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus 25. Prevented students from entering al Quds University, firing stun grenades and rubber bullets at those who tried to go in 26. Earned unknown millions on reconstruction materials for Gaza, where 100,000 people need their destroyed homes rebuilt. The total bill is estimated at $7.8 billion
It’s possible I’ve lived most of my life on the wrong planet -- and if that sounds like the first sentence of a sci-fi novel maybe, in its own way, it is. I thought I knew where I was, of course, but looking back from our helter-skelter world of 2014, I wonder.
For most of the last several hundred years, the story in view might be called the Great Concentration and it focused on an imperial struggle for power on planet Earth.
That rivalry took place among a kaleidoscopic succession of European “great powers,” one global empire (Great Britain), Russia, a single Asian state (Japan), and the United States.
Media-memory being short, the name Michael Brown Jr. may elicit no more from most than a blank look; but, last month reaction to his untimely death threatened to burn the town of Ferguson, Missouri to the ground.
At least that's the way the story was told by the corporate media, (and repeated by its state-sponsored Canadian correlative, the CBC). Brown was of course the black teenager shot dead in a hail of bullets fired by a policeman for the "crime" of jay walking, sparking angry community protests.
David Rovics is an inveterate American activist singer-songwriter in the tradition of Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger. David has played at demos too numerous to count for myriad issues both universal and circumstantial.
From his start busking Boston's subway to travelling across America and the broader world, he's earned his sobriquet as "professional flat-picking rabble-rouser" honestly. Rovics was in Ferguson last month, checking out the neighbourhood where Michael was killed and attending his funeral.
David reported on the great societal divide his visit revealed in an essay titled, 'Ferguson Reflections,' published at his website, DavidRovics.com, where you can also find his catalogue of more than 200 tunes available for download.
David Rovics in the first half.
And; the tenuous Ukraine ceasefire is holding. This week, the two sides continued negotiations for a longer-lasting peace accord, while civilians displaced by the fighting returned home to pick up the pieces and mourn the dead. Roger Annis is a Vancouver-based peace and social justice activist and editor of the Canada Haiti Action Network website, CanadaHaitiAction.ca. His writing can also be found at Rabble.ca, and at his site, A Socialist in Canada. Roger is recently returned from Crimea, from where he filed reports on deteriorating living conditions for the people beneath the bombs of the Kiev-based coup regime.
Roger Annis and ending the war against the civilians of Eastern Ukraine in the second half.
And; Victoria Street Newz publisher emeritus and CFUV Radio broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft will join us at the bottom of the hour to bring us up to speed with some of the good things going on in and around our city, and beyond there too.
But first, seeing ourselves reflected in Ferguson, Missouri.
by William Blum - Anti-Empire Report Ever since serious protest broke out in Ukraine in February the Western mainstream media, particularly in the United States, has seriously downplayed the fact that the usual suspects – the US/European Union/NATO triumvirate – have been on the same side as the neo-Nazis. In the US it’s been virtually unmentionable. I’m sure that a poll taken in the United States on this issue would reveal near universal ignorance of the numerous neo-Nazi actions, including publicly calling for death to “Russians, Communists and Jews”. But in the past week the dirty little secret has somehow poked its head out from behind the curtain a bit.
On September 9 NBCnews.com reported that “German TV shows Nazi symbols on helmets of Ukraine soldiers”. The German station showed pictures of a soldier wearing a combat helmet with the “SS runes” of Hitler’s infamous black-uniformed elite corps. (Runes are the letters of an alphabet used by ancient Germanic peoples.) A second soldier was shown with a swastika on his helmet.
On the 13th, the Washington Post showed a photo of the sleeping quarter of a member of the Azov Battalion, one of the Ukrainian paramilitary units fighting the pro-Russian separatists. On the wall above the bed is a large swastika. Not to worry, the Post quoted the platoon leader stating that the soldiers embrace symbols and espouse extremist notions as part of some kind of “romantic” idea.
Yet, it is Russian president Vladimir Putin who is compared to Adolf Hitler by everyone from Prince Charles to Princess Hillary because of the incorporation of Crimea as part of Russia.
by David Rovics - Song Writer's Notebook I just got back from a trip to Ferguson, and elsewhere in the St Louis area, and I thought I'd share some of the thoughts and observations I've had along the way.
A little background seems in order, particularly for readers from other countries, who might not know.
Yes, there is a black president. However, the US is a segregated country. It is and always has been institutionally a profoundly racist country. Slavery was defeated, but Jim Crow essentially remains. Only the formalities have changed.
You don't need a “whites only” sign to maintain a very separated, unequal society. My own history is a classic illustration.
Lawless Law Enforcers: In America the 'Terrorists' All Too Often Are the Police
by Linn Washington - This Can't Be Happening Two acts of ugly terrorism occurred in Birmingham, Alabama on September 15, 1963. One act was widely abhorred. The other act ignored.
Many across America know about the 9/15/63 Birmingham murders of four little girls slain in the bombing of a black Baptist church 18-days after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his stirring “I Have A Dream” speech.
However, few know about the Birmingham murder of Johnny Robinson, a 16-year-old shot in the back by a policeman hours after that church bombing.
If the deaths of those four children inside that Birmingham church catalyzed the 1960s-era Civil Rights Movement contributing to the racial progress America now praises itself for achieving, the death of Johnny Robinson represents yet another instance of the regression across America on the issue of effectively addressing lawlessness by law enforcers – lawlessness that most often evades legal accountability.
Michael Brown, murdered by a Fergusson cop while surrendering, and two images of modern US policing at work
by John Chuckman - Chuckman Blog What else can you fairly call a people who attack a population of refugees confined to a small space surrounded on every side by fences and machine-gun towers, a population with nowhere to run? No, that is not put strongly enough. Not just attack, but use the latest and most ferocious weapons from the American arsenal to slaughter more than 2100 people, including more than 500 children, destroying along the way a major portion of the housing, businesses, and institutions of a poor people.
The definition of a coward is not the traditional military one of a soldier who won’t fight. No, that’s far too simplistic and self-serving. The genuine meaning of the word, the meaning that warrants our full sense of revulsion and contempt, is someone who attacks someone far weaker than themselves. A large man who beats a woman or a child with his fists or a policeman who clubs a handcuffed prisoner – that is the accurate and meaningful definition of the word.
And the people of Israel responsible for Operation Protective Edge are as sadly perfect examples of genuine cowards as you can find in the world.