Dangerous Pedagogy in the Age of Casino Capitalism and Religious Fundamentalism

From Truth Out: http://www.truth-out.org/dangerous-pedagogy-age-casino-capitalism-and-religious-fundamentalism/1330459170

by: Henry A. Giroux
Wednesday 29 February 2012

All over the world, the forces of neoliberalism are on the march, dismantling the historically guaranteed social provisions provided by the welfare state, defining profit-making and market freedoms as the essence of democracy while diminishing civil liberties as part of the alleged “war” against terrorism. Secure in its dystopian vision that there are no alternatives to a market society, free-market fundamentalism eliminates issues of contingency, struggle and social agency by celebrating the inevitability of economic laws in which the ethical ideal of intervening in the world gives way to the idea that we “have no choice but to adapt both our hopes and our abilities to the new global market.”[1] Coupled with an ever-expanding culture of fear, market freedoms seem securely grounded in a defense of national security and the institutions of finance capital. Under such circumstances, a neoliberal model now bears down on American society, threatening to turn it into an authoritarian state. The script is now familiar: there is no such thing as the common good; market values become the template for shaping all aspects of society; the free, possessive individual has no obligations to anything other than his or her self-interest; profit-making is the essence of democracy; the government, and particularly the welfare state, is the arch-enemy of freedom; private interests trump public values; consumerism is the essence of citizenship; privatization is the essence of freedom; law and order is the new language for mobilizing shared fears rather than shared responsibilities;  war is the new organizing principle for organizing society and the economy; theocracy now becomes the legitimating code for punishing women, young people, the elderly, and those groups marginalized by class, race and ethnicity when religious moralism is needed to shore up the war against all social order.[2]

Given this current crisis, educators need a new political and pedagogical language for addressing the changing contexts and issues facing a world in which capital draws upon an unprecedented convergence of resources – financial, cultural, political, economic, scientific, military and technological – to exercise powerful and diverse forms of control. If educators and others are to counter global capitalism’s increased ability to separate the traditional nation-state-based space of politics from the transnational reach of power, it is crucial to develop educational approaches that reject a collapse of the distinction between market liberties and civil liberties, a market economy and a market society. This suggests developing forms of critical pedagogy capable of challenging neoliberalism and other anti-democratic traditions, such as the emerging religious fundamentalism in the United States, while resurrecting a radical democratic project that provides the basis for imagining a life beyond the “dream world” of capitalism.  Under such circumstances, education becomes more than testing, an obsession with accountability schemes, zero-tolerance policies and a site for simply training students for the workforce. At stake here is recognizing the power of education in creating the formative culture necessary to both challenge the various threats being mobilized against the very idea of justice and democracy while also fighting for those public spheres and formative cultures that offer alternative modes of identity, social relations and politics.

Continue reading at:  http://www.truth-out.org/dangerous-pedagogy-age-casino-capitalism-and-religious-fundamentalism/1330459170

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Rosie O’Donnell Opposes Rick Santorum’s Anti-Gay Views In Song

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Komen scrutiny points up conflicts of contributors, cancer-fighting mission

Fuck Susan G. Komen and the pink ribbons.  From here out I see a pink ribbon and I associate it with the destroyers of America, the Koch Brothers.

From The Dallas Morning News: http://www.dallasnews.com/business/headlines/20120302-komen-scrutiny-points-up-conflicts-of-contributors-cancer-fighting-mission.ece

By RANDY LEE LOFTIS
Environmental Writer
Published: 02 March 2012

The recent scrutiny of Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s uneasy relationship with Planned Parenthood revealed the risks any nonprofit faces in deciding where to spend its money so its mission doesn’t appear compromised.

Charities also must answer a related question: Whose money is good enough to take?

Dallas-based Komen, the prime force in making a cure for breast cancer a national crusade, raises money from its well-known footraces but also gets money from product tie-ins with dozens of corporations.

In most cases, Komen’s trademarked pink ribbon appears on household and consumer products.

One of Komen’s biggest sponsors, paper and plywood maker Georgia-Pacific, has donated about $4.5 million to Komen since 2004. Georgia-Pacific’s Quilted Northern bathroom tissue and Vanity Fair paper napkins carry the famous Komen logo, and the company is a member of Komen’s honorary Million Dollar Council, denoting the top donors.

Cancer chemicals

But Georgia-Pacific’s involvement in cancer and health doesn’t end with Komen, illustrating an often-found complication in the calculus of charity, not only for Komen but for others nationwide.

The Atlanta-based company, owned since 2005 by Koch Industries of Wichita, Kan., emits chemicals known to cause cancer in people.

Continue reading at:  http://www.dallasnews.com/business/headlines/20120302-komen-scrutiny-points-up-conflicts-of-contributors-cancer-fighting-mission.ece

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Occupy…the rise of the “99% Spring”

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Occupy Wall Street Gets Fat Ben & Jerry’s Cash Infusion

From The Gothamist: http://gothamist.com/2012/02/28/occupy_wall_street_sees_cash_infusi.php

By Christopher Robbins
February 28, 2012

Occupy Wall Street begins two days of major demonstrations today as a group of wealthy backers announces their plan to pump $1.8 million into the movement. The Movement Resource Group, comprised of the two founders of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Nirvana’s former manager Danny Goldberg, among others, is a not-for-profit 501c3 that has raised $300,000 and aims to distribute it to the protesters in a series of grants. “Many of us have been working for progressive social change,” Ben Cohen told the Wall Street Journal. “There’s been a critical ingredient missing.”

Representatives from the group met with Occupy Wall Street members on Sunday, and announced the plan to approve national grants of up to $25,000 with the approval of MRG and five OWS members. $150,000 will pay for a national office in New York, another $100,000 will pay for individual, targeted projects, and a smaller, undisclosed sum will be set aside for stipends for “core activists.”

Today’s action is a rally in Union Square against police suppression of the movement. Rev. Stephen Phelps, civil rights attorney Norman Siegel, and musician Peter Yarrow will gather with activists in the north plaza of the park for a 5 p.m. rally before marching at 6 p.m.

Tomorrow, more than 70 cities will participate in efforts to “Shut Down Corporations.” (If you have an issue with OWS attempting to shut down some corporations while taking money from others, get in line.)

Continue reading at: http://gothamist.com/2012/02/28/occupy_wall_street_sees_cash_infusi.php

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Dear Rush Limbaugh: Birth Control Doesn’t Work Like Viagra

From Mother Jones: http://motherjones.com/mojo/2012/03/rush-limbaugh-does-not-understand-how-birth-control-works

By Adam Serwer|
Fri Mar. 2, 2012

Does Rush Limbaugh think birth control works like Viagra?

His misogynistic assault on Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke indicates that he does.

Fluke, who was prevented from testifying at Rep. Darrell Issa’s nearly all-male hearing on contraception, has been the target of barrage of sexist invective from Limbaugh over her view that Georgetown’s health plan should include birth control. Wednesday Limbaugh called Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute”, declared that “she’s having so much sex she can’t afford the contraception,” and asserted that covering contraception was tantamount to paying her for sex. On Thursday he blurted out: “If we are going to pay for your contraceptives, and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it, and I’ll tell you what it is. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.”

Once you wade through the bile and the realization that the country’s most popular conservative radio host has devoted hours on his show to attempting to bully a woman into silence for her views on birth control, it becomes clear that Limbaugh, a man over sixty who is now on his fourth marriage, does not seem to understand how birth control works. On Wednesday and Thursday, Limbaugh repeatedly suggested that the amount of sex a woman has is related to the amount of birth control she needs to take, as though women take birth control pills every day they have sex. This is how say, Viagra, the erectile dysfunction medication works. Aside from the morning after pill (which someone on regular birth control shouldn’t use), when and how much sex you have is unrelated to the amount of birth control you need.

Limbaugh is a figure of almost religious stature among conservatives—for Republican elected officials, criticizing him is particularly dangerous—so Republican lawmakers have largey remained mum on the Limbaugh’s despicable tirades. Some conservatives have tried to defend Limbaugh, however, arguing that his analogy, while crude, gets to a legitimate concern over whether religious organizations and insurance companies should have to “finance” someone else’s “sex life.

Continue reading at:  http://motherjones.com/mojo/2012/03/rush-limbaugh-does-not-understand-how-birth-control-works

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Obama: Can’t Drill Our Way to Lower Gas Prices

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What the U.S. Economy Owes to Contraception

From New Deal 2.0: http://www.newdeal20.org/2012/02/28/what-the-us-economy-owes-to-contraception-73037/

by Bryce Covert
Tuesday, 02/28/2012

This isn’t about “moral” objections. Women’s access to contraception has been a huge driver of America’s economic dominance.

It’s no secret that women’s reproductive rights have become a big news item lately, from this to this to this. Contraception in particular is now a campaign issue. George Stephanopoulos was heckled for bringing it up in the New Hampshire Republican debate (to which Romney said we should leave it alone), yet it’s since become clear that Rick Santorum, if not the others, has some very… interesting views. In his mind, contraception is “not okay,” and he warns of “the dangers of contraception in this country.” Meanwhile, a vote is likely this week on an amendment that would allow all employers — religiously affiliated or otherwise — to object to insurance coverage of health care services that they feel are out of line with their moral beliefs, targeted at undoing a requirement that contraception be covered for free.

Santorum may see birth control as somehow inflicting harm on the United States, but that papers over the benefits we’ve all experienced from women’s access to contraception. Far from being a simple issue of morality, I’ve previously argued that it’s an economic issue, particularly for low-income women. Yet there’s another big reason this is an economic argument. Contraception has had an enormous positive impact on our economy. By freeing women up from unplanned and unwanted pregnancies, women are able to complete education and stay in the workforce — plus they usually have less work waiting for them at home.

The pill was first cleared for contraceptive purposes in the 1960s. Just five years later, 6.5 million women were taking it. By 1973, that number hit 10 million. Unsurprisingly, birth rates fell significantly during the same time period. The birth rate in the 1950s and early 1960s was 118 births per 1,000 women aged 15-44. By 1980, that rate had fallen by almost 75 percent, to 68 births per 1,000 women. With a safe, legal, and accessible drug that helped women plan and space out their pregnancies, births dropped dramatically.

Continue reading at:  http://www.newdeal20.org/2012/02/28/what-the-us-economy-owes-to-contraception-73037/

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Newt Gingrich Calls Patchwork Of Gay Marriage Laws ‘Mess'; Wants Federal Ban

From On Top Magazine: http://www.ontopmag.com/article.aspx?id=11119&MediaType=1&Category=26

By On Top Magazine Staff
Published: March 02, 2012

Newt Gingrich on Thursday called the patchwork of gay marriage laws a “mess” and called for a federal ban, media watchdog RightWingWatch.org reported.

During a Gingrich Faith Leaders Coalition conference call, which included guest speakers Jim Garlow and J.C. Watts, Gingrich reiterated his support for a federal amendment that defines marriage as a heterosexual union and called for a federal law that would prohibit states from legalizing gay nuptials.

“I have a question regarding all the laws that people are trying to make for gay rights,” a female caller said. “I heard what you said about marriage being between a man and a woman and I agree, that’s what God said in the very beginning in the Book of Genesis. But the laws of our land are seeing more and more states allowing gay marriage. How can we stop this? It is so profoundly wrong.”

“I think ultimately we’re going to have to have a federal amendment because at the rate we’re going, you might be able to pass a federal law, but at the rate we’re going it’s going to be just chaos, you’re going to have some states that say it’s all right and other states that say it’s not all right. How are people going to travel? What are their legal rights? It is a mess,” Gingrich answered. “I think if we are going to defend marriage in the end it will probably require a federal law.”

Complete article at:  http://www.ontopmag.com/article.aspx?id=11119&MediaType=1&Category=26

Changing the Conversation About Prostitution and Sex Trafficking

From  Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rachel-durchslag/sex-trafficking-chicago_b_1311776.html

02/29/20

When I speak about prostitution and sex trafficking in Chicago, people often ask the same questions. They want to know the scope of the problem in our city, which neighborhoods have the most activity and how to identify trafficking victims. These are normal questions, of course, but it’s rare that people ask the questions that drive my work: “Who is profiting from the sex trade, and who are the men buying sex?”

Sexual exploitation is caused by exploiters. This isn’t a revolutionary idea, but it’s one that our culture buries in favor of other messages, especially when it comes to the sex trade. Just think about the last time you saw a news article about prostitution. Undoubtedly, it was accompanied by stock images of women wearing high heels, or mug shots of women who were arrested and charged criminally. What most articles do not explore is that many of these women are victims of sex trafficking, which happens when someone uses force, fraud or coercion to recruit or keep that woman in the sex trade.

Most johns (men who buy sex) know that they cause harm when they support the sex trade, but they continue to buy sex because they face very few consequences. I know this because I conducted a study that interviewed 113 johns in Chicago, and only 7 percent of those interviewed had ever been arrested for buying sex. When men are targeted by law enforcement it’s called a “reverse sting.” Why is it a reversal to arrest purchasers?

It’s a reversal for our culture because purchasers are men, and as a society we have always blamed women for prostitution. This needs to change. If there were no demand, there would be no prostitution.

I’m very proud of how much progress we’ve made in Chicago and Illinois to address demand, but there’s much more to be done. My organization, the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, leads a campaign called End Demand Illinois. We’ve had two state laws passed in two years to help survivors of trafficking and to hold perpetrators accountable.

Continue reading at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rachel-durchslag/sex-trafficking-chicago_b_1311776.html

Are the Koch Brothers Funding Rush Limbaugh?

From Truth Out: http://www.truth-out.org/are-koch-brothers-funding-rush-limbaugh/1330633747

by: Robert Greenwald and Jesse Lava, Brave New Foundation
Thursday 01 March 2012

Just in time for the release of Brave New Foundation’s new film, Koch Brothers Exposed, Rush Limbaugh has thrown in with Charles and David Koch in their letter war with Obama campaign manager Jim Messina. No surprise there; Rush has made his fortune defending the rich and powerful against the 99%. But does Rush actually have a vested interest in the Koch brothers’ success?

The letter war started when Messina sent a fundraising letter saying the billionaire brothers bankroll “Tea Party extremism” and manipulate oil prices to buttress their energy business. The Kochs responded that Obama was treading on their “right to free speech.” (To them, I guess, being criticized by the president is tantamount to being arrested for sedition.) Team Obama shot back again, and here we are.

Rush has taken to the airwaves and lauded the Kochs. “This is how you do it,” he says. And on the surface, the reason for Rush’s apologetics is straightforward enough: he’s a man of the Right, and so are the Koch brothers. But below the surface of this defense lies a much more complex and insidious truth. The fact is that Rush needs the Kochs,and the Kochs need Rush.

Limbaugh is, fundamentally, a mouthpiece for conservative propaganda. He’s not a researcher. He’s not a grassroots organizer. He’s a mouthpiece. And where would he be without propaganda to spout? He has to get his ideas from somewhere. He can’t feed the right-wing echo chamber that’s hijacking our democracy if someone isn’t feeding him first. That’s where the Kochs come in.

Continue reading at: http://www.truth-out.org/are-koch-brothers-funding-rush-limbaugh/1330633747

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Silicon Valley Homeless Feel The Grip Of Recession’s Long Reach

From Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/01/silicon-valley-poverty-homeless_n_1302348.html?ref=breakdown&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009


03/01/12

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. — The first time Michele arrived at the Maple Street homeless shelter three years ago, she was still driving her BMW 325xi, the final remnant of her Silicon Valley affluence.

Her paper wealth of more than $2 million had evaporated a decade earlier, she says, via a stock options fiasco. She had used the options to buy stock in her high-flying software startup, netting a seven-figure profit by the government’s reckoning, but then held the shares until they were nearly worthless. That left her with no cash and a $200,000 tax bill. She had sold nearly everything to cover it: her house, her remaining stocks, her art collection.

Periods of joblessness, punctuated by depression and bouts with alcoholism filled out the ensuing years, with cause and effect blurring into a cohesive whole — one life, unraveling.

She had used the shelter as a way station, finding a new job at another software company within two months and then moving into a rented apartment. But by last November, just before Thanksgiving, she was out of work again, broke again, and back at the shelter, again. This time, she arrived on foot, carrying a backpack that contained all she had left in the world: some clothes, about ten dollars in cash, her laptop computer and her mother’s Omega watch.

She had spent the past four nights inside a Happy Donut, using free Wi-fi to watch “Top Chef” reruns on her laptop. Exhausted, dirty and devoid of a plan, she took refuge at the shelter for single adults, a low-slung building on a dead-end road in an industrial area, across the street from a tire recycling center and next to a prison.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/01/silicon-valley-poverty-homeless_n_1302348.html?ref=breakdown&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009

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Coca Cola Enlisted Intelligence Firm’s Help To Investigate Animal Rights Group PETA

From Republic Report:  http://www.republicreport.org/2012/coca-cola-enlisted-firm-for-peta/


2.28.2012

On Sunday, the Wikileaks revealed a massive trove of e-mails from the intelligence firm STRATFOR. Republic Report covered yesterday how these files showed that Dow Chemical was monitoring Occupy Wall Street rallies out of the concern that activists trying to hold the corporation responsible for the Bhopal chemical disaster were joining the movement.

Interestingly, a batch of e-mails from 2009 also show that STRATFOR’s analysts went to work researching the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) on behalf of beverage giant Coca Cola. The correspondence between Coca Cola Senior Manager Van Wilberding — who previously was a Special Agent in the U.S. Army as well as a Foreign Service Officer at the State Department — and STRATFOR’s Anya  Alfano focused on the former’s concern that PETA would be protesting at the Vancouver Winter Olympics. Wilderberg wanted to know about how PETA operated and what the chances were that its activists would be taking part in actions in Canada:

Van C. Wilberding wrote:

Hi Anya,

Thanks again for your help with respect to the Korean Peninsula
situation.

We are now looking at PETA and the potential for protests at the
Vancouver Olympics and related events. (Please see the following
questions below.) We’d like to schedule a time for a conference call
with you and/or your analyst(s) on this topic.

Continue reading at: http://www.republicreport.org/2012/coca-cola-enlisted-firm-for-peta/

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