How George W. Bush screwed this generation of college students...

Every kid in America could have a free public college education right now if George W. Bush hadn’t been such a war monger. In early 2001, prior to the war in Afghanistan, the Taliban government in Afghanistan issued an edict to ban opium cultivation in that nation, saying it was a violation of Islam. (Opium is the raw material for heroin.) And it worked pretty well.

In 2000, roughly 4,500 metric tons of opium was produced in Afghanistan. In 2001, that number plummeted to less than 1,000 metric tons. The price of heroin went up around the world, and the number of addicts – particularly in Europe, Russia, and America – dropped. The Bush administration was so impressed by the decrease in opium production that it gave $43 million to the Taliban, to encourage a continued halt on opium production.

While $43 million may not seem like a lot, it’s important to put it in context. At the time of the deal, Afghanistan’s total GDP was just $2 billion, putting it at the bottom of the global GDP rankings. It was, literally, the poorest country in the world. So, for the Taliban, $43 million was a lot of money. George W. Bush’s decision to fork over $43 million to the Taliban to help curb drug trafficking, use, and abuse was actually a good choice, and a smart policy.

Now fast forward to the days and weeks after 9/11. On October 14th, 2001, a senior Taliban leader, Deputy Prime Minister Haji Abdul Kabir, sent an official offer to Washington, saying that the Taliban would be willing to hand over Osama Bin Laden to a third-party country, if the U.S. stopped the bombing of Afghanistan. Kabir said that, “If America were to step back from the current policy, then we could negotiate. Then we could discuss which third country.”

But Bush, the same man who, just months earlier, had handed over a small fortune to the Taliban government, rejected this latest offer of cooperation. Instead, he took up a “scorched earth” policy and bombed Afghanistan back into the stone ages. Bush’s decision to invade Afghanistan has cost our country over $713 billion since 2001. And that number is rising by the millisecond. In fact, every hour, the war in Afghanistan is costing We the People another $10.17 million.

The Taliban offered to hand over bin Laden on a silver platter, but we said no, and now it’s cost us hundreds of billions of dollars. But what if George W. Bush had taken up the offer from the Taliban, and even sweetened the deal like he did with the opium?

What if he did something similar to what he had done just months before, and offered to give the Taliban money, if they promised to cut down on terrorism and on al Qaeda’s presence and influence in that nation? We could have given the Taliban $2 billion, enough to double the nation’s GDP and make everybody in the country twice as wealthy, and it still would have only been a drop in the bucket compared to what we’ve spent on the war in Afghanistan.

And, if we had done that, we would have saved ourselves enough money to provide a free public college education to every single eligible student in America. As The Atlantic points out, according to Department of Education data, public colleges across America collected $62.6 billion in tuition from undergrads in 2012.

That means that the federal government would only have had to spend $62.6 billion to help make public college tuition free for every student in America in 2012. That’s less than 11% of what we have spent on the war in Afghanistan. The bottom-line here is that George W. Bush had a chance to get America’s priorities right, and he failed. Fortunately, he’s not in Washington anymore.

So now, instead of spending trillions of dollars on prolonging the Bush legacy of unjust wars, we should be spending those trillions on the things that will make America great again, like giving every eligible student in America a free public college education.

Comments

ckrob's picture
ckrob 3 years 30 weeks ago
#1

A friend of ours at church works near an office of an administrator who was/is involved in a facility brouhaha at the University of Texas. The students weighed in with a letter writing campaign of one side of the issue. The mail came in by the multi-cartloads, swamping the office with unopened mail which kept coming. The administrators became so alarmed that they placed an campus cop guard outside the office door. Moral? Don't think your letter when added to many others isn't noticed.

Thomas Wheeler

Chairman, Federal Communications Commission

455 12th Street SW

Washington, D.C.

I oppose the conversion of our open internet into a corporately tiered system.

Sincerely,

----------------------------------------------

(hand address envelope)

whateverittakes 3 years 30 weeks ago
#2

The problem, Thom, is the next one is just as corrupt. How many promises has Obama broken? In fact, I find him more reprehensible than Bush, if only because the village idiot was one from the get-go; and he was sometimes funny. Obama is both deceitful -- and dull! (The TPP as one small example...) But back to Bush and Afghanistan: So many of the scenarios you paint re Afghanistan are suppositional. We have been so hoodwinked about everything that went on under the Bush administration, and since. Given the fact that the illicit drug trade plays a large role in the funding of the world war economy, how serious are we to believe Bush might have been about stopping Afghani production of opium? And what has Obama done to clarify this picture? OBL was, by many accounts, dead shortly after 9/11 -- if so, how are we to explain that announcement Obama made in 2011? Is he capable of that kind of deceit? Probably. The corporate presidency. These people have destroyed this country, each one after Reagan was worse and we thought we had reached the first ring of hell when RR landed in the White House. It's a little like that line of Bush's: "You're going to miss me!" We thought he was joking, of course, and of course, the joke was on us.

ChicagoMatt 3 years 30 weeks ago
#3

My wife and I are both in our early 30s and have $150,000 in student loan debts between us. (We both recieved Master's degrees from a private university.) We've been paying about $900 per month for over a decade, and our principle has not gone down by more than $4000, because all of the interest payments are tacked on to the front of the loan.

Despite this, I still feel like we both made the right choice. We've managed to use our education to work our way from borderline poverty into the upper-middle class, and now we've started college funds for our three children.

And when I read this column, all that keeps running through my mind are two things:

1. The point of a college education is to separate yourself from everyone else. If everyone has one, it's no longer a selling point for you. And...

2. Using taxpayer funds to provide "free" college education is like forcing me, and other successful people, to bankroll my future compeition. I've heard stories before about factory workers being forced to train their overseas counterparts, just so their jobs could be shopped to those overseas factories. I imagine they feel similar to how I would feel if I knew the $70,000 or so we paid in taxes last year went to provide college education for people who, when they graduate, will be my compeitors in the job market.

Also, on a side-note, I hope someone can clarify this for me: When they talk about the money spent for the Iraq and Afganistan wars, does that include money that would have been spent on the military anyway? For example, are they including all soldier's pay over there, even though those soldiers would still be paid if they were here? I've wondered that for awhile...

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 3 years 30 weeks ago
#4

Free education is a right, just like health care. There was a time when that was a reality. Before Ronald Wilson (666) Reagan stepped in and began the movement to ruin our way of life. Since the Powell memo I have to ask if this trend of restricting education to only the very wealthy is by necessity or by design. Like Thom lamented we have thrown away so much money on waste that can there really be any other logical explanation? The controllers of this government want to keep the masses stupid and ignorant; and, they are doing a very good job of it.

ChicagoMatt 3 years 30 weeks ago
#5

I respect your opinion, but you must understand that the majority of people in this country have no memory of anything before Reagan, and the idea of college being expensive is normal for us. I was born in '80, so when I graduated high school in '98, I had known all along that I would have to pay a lot for college. Yes, I understand that it didn't used to be that way. But asking us to return to the old system now would be as foreign of a concept as asking baby boomers to return to the legal segregation of the 40s and earlier. That is, it is a concept that was always "before their time" and foreign to them.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 3 years 30 weeks ago
#6

I noticed that the graph of opium production out of Afghanistan, in today's Thom Hartmann program, ended at 2008. Hmmmmm! I wonder how much opium has been produced out of Afghanistan since Obama became president?

Well, hey, whaddayaknow! ..take a look at this graph that goes up to 2013. So, it sure looks like the opium production went up higher, under Obama, than it's ever been.
http://media2.policymic.com/9da89df050271cefc658d7704efe35ee.png

Just goes to show that not only did Obama not pull the military out of the Middle East, like he originally indicated he would, but opium production out of Afghanistan is even worse than when Bush was president. Let's face it...there are too many very powerful people in high places that don't want to see the opium/heroin trade stopped...they are making too much money. In fact, our whole economy would probably fail entirely if it stopped. So much for the war on drugs! What a laugh!

This link of the graph looks exactly like the graph that Hartmann showed us except Hartmann's graph was conveniently cut off at 2008. Is he trying to hide the poor performance of Obama's presidency while claiming the Bush presidency was horrible when it came to Opium in Afghanistan? Yes, Bush was really, really bad but is Obama any better? Really?

By the way, has anyone heard the news about the findings of a recently released study from France about the long term effects of smoking marijuana?
"Potential for heart attack, stroke risk seen with marijuana use"--"...on Wednesday, cardiologists writing in the Journal of the American Heart Assn. warned that 'clinical evidence ... suggests the potential for serious cardiovascular risks associated with marijuana use.' "

http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-heart-attack-stroke-...

I bet a lot of people, especially those who use marijuana, will just dismiss it as readily as Climate Change deniers dismiss global warming as being human created.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 3 years 30 weeks ago
#7
Quote hartmann: ...instead of spending trillions of dollars on prolonging the Bush legacy of unjust wars, ...
But it is also, now, the Obama legacy of unjust wars...no, he didn't start them by lying to the world, like Bush did....but he sure didn't work very hard to end our wars over there...did he..just moved them around a little. The ruling elite controls Obama just as much as they controlled Bush.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 3 years 29 weeks ago
#8

Palindromedary ~ Very, very well said!! I agree 100%!!

delster's picture
delster 3 years 29 weeks ago
#9

I believe there is something of a revelation with the Obama administration, and that revelation is that the president of the US is not in charge. He is taking direction from some source but certainly not the citizens of America. Obama is an intelligent leader, but he is not being allowed to exercise his gifts. He is merely a play by play announcer. As a citizen of this country I would really like to know who is in charge. I want clearity because nothing makes sense and pretty much everyone I talk to feels there is a shadow government. It's obvious to most thinking people.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 3 years 29 weeks ago
#10

Chicago Matt says: "The point of a college education is to separate yourself from everyone else. If everyone has one, it's no longer a selling point for you." And "Using taxpayer funds to provide 'free' college education is like forcing me, and other successful people, to bankroll my future competition." Respectfully, Matt, this is a selfish and short-sighted argument. You don't want college to be available to everyone else who wants a college education like you had, because YOU don't want to have to deal with competition in your line of business! Wow. Amazing.

I think it is ridiculous for you to compare your situation to that of a factory worker, forced to train his foreign replacements before losing his job. Is your job and sustenance subject to someone else's whims? And comparing free education to southern-style segregation, as two examples of outmoded old policies, is even more ridiculous. Education is a source of social uplift; segregation is a form of oppression. Hello.

You didn't say what kind of business you're in. But I'm assuming you'd like paying customers (or clients) who can afford your services. If things go your way regarding the availability of education, this will be a society of mostly soda jerks, burger flippers and motel maids who can't afford squat and are doing well just to be making the rent payments each month. Is that what you want? Because we're already well on our way in that race to the bottom.

I just love these folks who, once they've climbed the ladder to success, can't wait to pull it up before anyone else has a chance to climb it. That old "I-got-mine-and-screw-you" mentality...

Here's a question that keeps running through my mind: Is this a cultural problem, or are people naturally inclined to be self-centered and mean? - Aliceinwonderland

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 3 years 29 weeks ago
#11

Delster: I tend to agree with you here! That may very well be the case.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 3 years 29 weeks ago
#12

Odd, though, the tuition at the University of Florida is one of the lowest in the country at about $3,094/yr. It must have been even cheaper from 1996 to 2000 to earn a BS. Actually, the tuition year 2000-2001 was, for in-state residents, $2,256 and for 2001-2002 it was about $2,490. Of course room and board was about $5,440 for each of those years...in case you don't live near the university. Books about $710...other expenses: $2,280. So, that would be about $10,686 for a tuition year x 4 = lets round it off to $43,000. But, of course, if one only lived about 10 miles or so south of the university it would pay to commute, I suppose...saving $5,440/ year in room and board. That would make the total 4 year cost, except for the gasoline to commute, roughly $23,000 for 4 years earning a BS. But, if one had to travel all the way over to the Computer Science Department in Gainesville then it would have been pretty far to commute.

Willie W's picture
Willie W 3 years 29 weeks ago
#13

Who is in charge? Democrats and Republicans seem to be at odds about everything. If both are taking directions from some dark entity, then why all the bickering. I do believe in that entity but don't understand it's method of control. Maybe it's like siblings duking it out. Mom lets them go at it but in the end, mom decides the outcome.

David in Vegas's picture
David in Vegas 3 years 29 weeks ago
#14

Thom, you're thinking in Static terms just to to come up with yet another way to blame Bush for everything you see is wrong in America. As your side has so famously said under Clinton...'Move On'.

The truth is that the high cost of Education has nothing to do, or less to do with anything republican, than it does have to do with Government (as a whole) intruding upon the sector of Education. The cost of HIgher education (and K-12) has risen BECAUSE of the free-flow of government funds into the sector. Prior to the 80's there was almost no federal student loans and students/families paid their way (mostly) on their own. This was practical because students could pay for it even on the budget of a min-wage part-time job. (cost of education was reasonable)

However, with the introduction of and complete take-over of student loan programs by the Feds, the universities have hiked their tuition rates, far outstripping the rate of inflation, simply because the new, seemingly endless, pile of federal dollars in the form of easy to get student loans. The loans got bigger and bigger because of political pressure to make 'a difference' in education, and politicians being politicians just threw ever more money at the problem. The pile got bigger and the universities kept right on raising their rates. Where is their civic conciousness and liberal ideology in this? Bah, they are the worst sort of money grubbers you 'claim' to detest.

You see, there are no warantees or guarantees in higher education; you make the grade or you are out on your ear - no refunds.

Since Public education provides only an 8th grade level education, all but the most talented or dedicated fail in making the leap from k-12 to college and actually get a degree. (Education data shows that between 25-30% of students entering college actually get a degree.)

So, what you don't understand is that not only do the grads have huge debt to begin with, but the majority of student loans represent debt with no degree and even worse prospects for paying them off. Oh, and Obama's economic policies are busy creating red tape for businesses so the job market has continued to be stagnant.

Perhaps you should quit complaining about what is impossible to change, and focus on the here and now. Examine the source of the 'problem' which is not Bush or Afghanistan, but right here at home with the bad policies of the federal government and the outragously inflated education pricetag. (I just heard yesterday a story of higher education rate hikes in Ohio, again. Check it out.)

Sincerely, Dave

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 3 years 29 weeks ago
#15

Yes, the source of the problem is much deeper...the covert government, consisting of very wealthy and powerful people, that controls the overt government. The visible government is just the facade to keep us all distracted.

Skull And Bones

The owls are not what they seem! Nor are the flying pigs....or sows. oink! oink! ;-} hint: "owls"...a reference to the giant stone owl called Moloch who watches over the burning of a dummy in the Skull and Bones ritual in Bohemian Grove of Sonoma County California.

The job market is stagnant because the captains of industry have relocated our jobs overseas..while sinking the ship..and will, no doubt, leave the sinking ship before it totally sinks leaving all the women and children and everyone else to sink and die. And that started long before Obama... and not with Clinton either....although they haven't been much better..after all, they are part of the cabal.

And the student loan program started way before Obama as well. And it seems to me that the real estate scams did too. You know, the slicing and dicing of mortgages into tranches, crooked ratings agencies, and various other F.I.R.E (Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate) scams that created bubbles that popped leaving the unsuspecting majority holding expensive homes they could no longer pay for..then foreclosures. Those damn capitalist pigs made a killing while the rest of us were left with nothing but debts.

I believe that both Democrats and Republicans are bought off, or cowed in other ways (JFK, MLK ring any bells?), by the people with most of the wealth in this country... the ones running Wall Street and the banks and major corporations. (...and the wealthy from other countries with their pickpocket hands in our country).

One of the reasons why we don't have much of a manufacturing base in the US anymore, aside from the relocation of our jobs overseas and exploiting cheap labor in countries with fewer costly safety and pollution laws, is the move to the more lucrative F.I.R.E. economy for more immediate profit taking without the huge overhead of investing in equipment and R&D (long term investments). The manufacturers were more willing to play the Real Estate bubble inflation game..and bought lots of commercial property and then, with overly inflated values, selling out to retirement fund managers and other sucker countries, before the bubble burst. The hedge fund managers and ratings agencies take their cuts at opportune times before the bubbles pop. And then the insurance companies and banks gets bailed out with tax payer's dollars. And the ratings agencies said their Hail Marys--forgive me father for I have sinned--and went right back to doing business as usual..perhaps under another name...perhaps not. In addition to disappearing wages and benefits, our corporations had a way to get back those retirement savings of all their workers. What a way to get all those people to work for little or nothing all their lives..because that's what it amount to...it's called slavery!

Yes, our government is crooked and inefficient from the little man's point of view but they are doing just what their wealthy puppet masters want them to do...both Republican and Democrat. What it comes down to is the blame-game to keep 99% of us confused and pumped full of some hope flim-flam idea that we can change things at the ballot box while both Republican and Democrat politicians, with their useful-idiot toadies, keep pointing fingers at one another..and continue to fight for their own piece of the cake. The false hope keeps people from taking more immediate actions which the ruling elite wouldn't like at all.

Both Republicans and Democrats have their own finger-pointing ploys. The Republicans try to scare voters their way by claiming that "the government" (and, of course they mean the Democratic government) is somehow against the less fortunate...and is the root of all evil. They are also very good at divide and conquer, election cheating, and majority ownership of this country's sources of propaganda...the media.

The Democrats try to scare voters their way by claiming that the Republicans are so scary that they had better vote for Democrats. But then, when they get into office, they continue to do the ruling elites bidding by giving excuses that the bad old Republican bullies prevented them from doing their duty for their constituents. The Democrats walk tightropes trying to appear they are on their constituents side but know full well that they were bought and paid for by the ruling elite. I believe that they both play us all for fools and pick our bones in the process.

The über wealthy rules this country, not the Democrats or Republicans who are just dishonorable, disgusting opportunist bums (many were once liars..I mean lawyers..now, they are even bigger liars). They are really no better than carnival hustlers and/or thugs in the alley ready to rob you in the dark.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 3 years 29 weeks ago
#16

David in Vegas, the reason we keep blaming Baby Bush (and Reagan & Clinton) for our current malaise is because we continue suffering the consequences of their their destructive policies. And since Republicans go out of their way to block everything that might benefit the vast majority of us, the high cost of education has everything to do with the "Party of No". Just who do you think you're fooling? And since our government, as a whole, has been taken over by corporate interests, our education system is screwed. The Republicans, in particular, are determined to destroy public education, just as they are determined to destroy and privatize everything public. Prior to the '80s, education was largely subsidized by the government, which made it more affordable for everyone. Back in those days, college students weren't graduating under a mountain of debt. From the moment Ray-gun took office, things have gone steadily downhill for most of us. When we eventually fix the damage inflicted us by Reagan, Clinton, Bush and Obama, then- and only then- will it be time to "move on".

The problem is corporate intrusion, not government intrusion. Student loans are a classic example, taken over by these too-big-to-fail, for-profit, casino-style banksters who are making a huge profit at our expense. Taken over by the Feds?! I wish.

These "easy-to-get" student loans are nothing but a debt trap.

While the Pentagon and military industrial complex continue sucking up more than half our tax dollars, people like Dave in Vegas keep bitching about the cost of life-supporting infrastructure and government programs designed to actually benefit people and society.

Only in America do we get shoved into bottomless debt traps over things like healthcare and education! What a stupid country this is. Greed trumps need. It's the American way! But in Dave's realm of reality, students are to blame for not being "talented" or "dedicated" enough.

You conservative ideologues are so full of it. You'll not get away with it on this forum. - Aliceinwonderland

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 3 years 29 weeks ago
#17

Well said, Aliceinwonderland!!! No one but the incredibly reality-challenged gets taken in by such right wing non-sense.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 3 years 29 weeks ago
#18
Quote David in Vegas:Prior to the 80's there was almost no federal student loans and students/families paid their way (mostly) on their own. This was practical because students could pay for it even on the budget of a min-wage part-time job. (cost of education was reasonable)
Hmmm! Let's see...what happened in the 80s that made people less able to afford things? Oh, yeah! I remember! Reaganomics! Reagan's era heralded in lower taxes, and fewer regulations, for businesses and more for the rest of us. It made it easier for businesses to cheat their employees out of decent wages if not their jobs entirely by locating them overseas. More women had to stop being mommy at home and had to work to help with the ever increasing prices of bubble economies. That, in turn, helped to feed inflation which devalued any savings. We were being propagandized into buying now with credit and paying later. The psychological marketing ploys kept us buying things we would have been better off not buying...keeping us forever in debt. And now, the same capitalist pigs who imprisoned us with their debt creation tricks try to put the blame totally on their victims. That's kind of like illegally invading another country, bombing the civilians, then blaming them for being in the way...in their own homes. Oh, yeah, that happened with the Bushs, Papa and Baby Bush, didn't it? In the case of Papa Bush (Operation Desert Storm), they lied to us through the well-rehearsed lies of a young 15 year old daughter of the Kuwaiti Ambassador's bayoneted incubator babies story*. In the case of Baby Bush (Operation Crusades? oh no, that was too close to a Freudian slip so they called it some other idiot name), it was the WMD lies they told us. In both cases, it cost us a great deal in expenses in fighting those wars.

* http://911review.com/precedent/decade/incubators.html

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 3 years 29 weeks ago
#19

chicagomatt -- If they don't remember anything before the '80s, does that mean they do not know about the US constitution? Does that mean they do not know about the ideals of the founding of our country? Do they not know that the first 3 words of the constitution are "We the People"?

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 3 years 29 weeks ago
#20

Chuck- Beautiful! A slam-dunk bull's eye if I ever saw one. And thanks, PD, for helping to counter David in Vegas's faux-style BS. - AIW

ChicagoMatt 3 years 29 weeks ago
#21

"Is this a cultural problem, or are people naturally inclined to be self-centered and mean?"

From what I can tell, it is a cultural phenomenon (not necessarily a problem) in the United States, and I think it stems from the cultural melting pot ideal of the country. This will sound cold-hearted, but I am just being honest: I feel NO connection with the many other Americans. Hearing that people in Arizona have this problem, or people in New York have that problem, has the same affect on me as hearing about problems in other countries. Sure, I feel bad for them. I donate to relief efforts. But I don't look on them like they are my kin.

There are people in my own city (Chicago) that I would not consider as sharing the same culture as me. We have no shared background, barely speak the same language, shop at different places, have different values, and stay out of each other's neighborhoods. The natural result of that, I believe, is self-centeredness.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 3 years 29 weeks ago
#22

Palindromedary ~ I really like your new Avatar. Cool. Kinda reminds me of Stephen Colbert. Very nice touch! Kudos! Bravo!

I just hope it is an eagle and not the damn owl from Bohemian grove.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 3 years 29 weeks ago
#23

Okay Matt, so you think people should be priced out of higher education and not allowed to compete on a more level playing field because they speak a different language, shop at different places, have different values, etc. etc.?! Beam me up… - AIW

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 3 years 29 weeks ago
#24

I would like to mention that business schools shoud have no tuition support. Actually, we should charge a 50% surtax on their tuition. Those are the institutions of teaching self-centeredness. In the case of the University of Chicago Business School that surtax should be 100%.

ChicagoMatt 3 years 29 weeks ago
#25

I believe there should be low-interest or zero-interest State-run loans. But not "free" taxpayer-funded higher education, especially not from the fereral level. No one who wants a higher education, AND is capable of completing one, should be priced out of it. But that's not the same as giving it to them for free.

For what it's worth, I am a teacher at a private school. So yes, my students are a bit more privledged than the public school counterparts down the street. I have only 15 students in one class, and 18 in another, so collectively I am teaching fewer kids every day than the public school teachers down the street teach in a single period. This year, the students from my school averaged 20-points higher on the high school entrance exam than their public school counterparts.

I could easily teach twice as many students as I currently do. All of the teachers here could. If you want to start talking about free, quality, meaningful education, this is the place to start. Why must the public school students walk past my half-empty classroom on their way to their overcrowded and under-performing school? The tuition here is about $7,000 per year. Personally, I think the majority of students in Chicago would benefit from a better, free grammar-school education more than they would a college education.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 3 years 29 weeks ago
#26

For your information, Matt, nothing is really "free". But let me remind you that in many countries more progressive and more enlightened than this one, education is part of tax-supported infrastructure, like healthcare and the post office. Therefore it is available to everyone interest-free, regardless of ability to pay. That you and others are against this sort of upward-mobility-promoting policy and simple fairness is something that disturbs me quite a lot.

Gee, it sure is heartwarming and uplifting to learn how much better students in privileged private schools are doing than their less-privileged counterparts. That's swell. Here in America it all boils down to this: Who's your daddy? Is he a politician, a doctor, a janitor or Walmart "associate"?

You ask "Why must the public school students walk past my half-empty classroom on their way to their overcrowded and under-performing school?" And it all boils down to this: "Who's your daddy?" Because a $7000-per-year tuition breaks down to $583 a month. Many families can't afford that, so here's why you see all these students walking past your half-empty classroom on their way to the overcrowded ones. Here in America ya get only what'cha can pay for 'cuz it's the American way! Too bad the kiddies don't get to pick their daddies before they're born, eh Matt? And this is how our caste system is maintained, generation after generation. - Aliceinwonderland

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 3 years 29 weeks ago
#27

Quote Palindromedary:This link of the graph looks exactly like the graph that Hartmann showed us except Hartmann's graph was conveniently cut off at 2008. Is he trying to hide the poor performance of Obama's presidency while claiming the Bush presidency was horrible when it came to Opium in Afghanistan?

Palindromedary ~ Thanks for that chart. Very eye opening! Actually, very eye popping. Not that I would put it past Obama. After all, even Clinton and Bush Senior were drug dealers. If you ask me, with the only exception of Carter, every president since LBJ had a hand in drug smuggling. Nothing new there. However, it is somewhat shocking to think that Thom Hartmann might be trying to cover up that fact. Someone needs to do some esplain'in.

Quote Palindromedary:"Potential for heart attack, stroke risk seen with marijuana use"--"...on Wednesday, cardiologists writing in the Journal of the American Heart Assn. warned that 'clinical evidence ... suggests the potential for serious cardiovascular risks associated with marijuana use.' "

Palindromedary ~ I'd seriously question the results of one study in the face of so much other evidence and examples. For instance, ask Willie Nelson, Cheech and Chong how their lungs and heart have been holding up. All are in fantastic health for their age and were "trailblazers" for smoking weed.

That said, I have always had my suspicions about any type of smoke ingested directly into the lungs and it's long term effects. Some of the things know about THC when it enters the blood system is that it is a vascular dilator; as opposed to say nicotine which is a vascular constrictor. Obviously a vascular dilator is far better for heart health than a vascular constrictor because of the tiny blood vessels that support the heart. The long term effect of any kind of exposure to smoke in the lungs I have always been skeptical about. Especially the way most marijuana smokers smoke--taking huge inhalations and holding them in for prolonged periods.

Nevertheless, smoking pot is only one way to ingest THC. It can also be eaten. I am fairly confident that there is nothing but positive health benefits that can be attributed to a diet "high" in fiber from THC. The only thing stopping the making of foods available containing this magnificent herb is modern law and the financial benefits to extraordinarily wealthy drug lords--like our recent Presidents--who stand so much to gain from keeping it illegal.

On a side note, all drugs should be legal and available to all adults. Any prohibition is unwise at best, contributes to far greater problems, and establishes a nasty precedent of government control over personal sovereignty and bodily functions.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 3 years 29 weeks ago
#28
Quote Willie W:Who is in charge? Democrats and Republicans seem to be at odds about everything. If both are taking directions from some dark entity, then why all the bickering. I do believe in that entity but don't understand it's method of control. Maybe it's like siblings duking it out. Mom lets them go at it but in the end, mom decides the outcome.

Willie W ~ If you ask me it is a classic example of "Good" Cop vs "Bad Cop". They both put on a huge charade designed to make you surrender that which is not in your best interest.

Who the two parties work for? Now that is the rub isn't it? For the answer to that question I would suggest following the money.

ChicagoMatt 3 years 29 weeks ago
#29

"Because a $7000-per-year tuition breaks down to $583 a month. Many families can't afford that, so here's why you see all these students walking past your half-empty classroom on their way to the overcrowded ones."

I apologize - I haven't learned how to do the fancy direct quoting in a blue box thing that I see others using on this site.

But anyway, the point I was trying to make is that, rather than worrying about a "free" taxpayer-funded higher education, we should focus on the lower grades. According to the Chicago Public Schools website, they spend $13,078 per year per student. My school, which gets better results than the public school that I can see down the block from my classroom, would love to take some of those students, and for almost half the price. Given Chicago's current budget crisis, it would make a lot of sense.

The smart way to do this would be to make private school tuition a 100-percent tax write-off. I would support that same deal for higher education. If a student gets into, say, Chicago State, then they or their parents should get a tax break on the tuition.

My wife and I WERE about to write off 25% of our student interest loans, until two years ago when we crossed some sort of income threshold and were no longer able to claim that deduction. Which, (and I know this is something you've all heard before, but it comes from the heart for me), really makes me feel like we are being punished for being successful.

Most educators - myself included - will tell you that the make-or-break years for students are between the fourth and sixth grades. Students who get lost in those years tend to stay lost. If we're going to start talking about catching people who are slipping through the cracks, and helping people be upwardly-mobile, that's the time to do it.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 3 years 29 weeks ago
#30

Quote Aliceinwonderland:Gee, it sure is heartwarming and uplifting to learn how much better students in privileged private schools are doing than their less-privileged counterparts.

Aliceinwonderland ~ Yeah! Maybe. I grew up having the advantage that Matt is talking about. My parents sent me to one of these private schools. By the time I was a Sophomore in Highschool I had enough of this so called "privilege." I found my fellow students to be spoiled, unruly brats. By then I couldn't stand to be around them. I begged my parents to send me to an overcrowded public school. They were very hesitant but eventually agreed.

I found the environment in a public school to be far more helpful for learning. The discipline in the classroom--albeit larger classrooms--was self induced by the student. The kids here all had the shared need to better themselves and contribute to their families. This was completely lacking in the private school. As a result, I never regretted my decision to fire my private educators and join the state run educational body. Still to this day I do not regret the decision. If I had it all to do over again I would never have enrolled in private education from the beginning.

If you ask me, both Matt and David are completely full of it. Personally, they are not worth my time and effort to engage. Thanks to you, chuckle8, and Palindromedary for jumping on the grenade for me.

ChicagoMatt 3 years 29 weeks ago
#31

"I never regretted my decision to fire my private educators and join the state run educational body. Still to this day I do not regret the decision."

That ability to decide what school you wanted to go to is something that proponents of school choice want to give to all students. How many public school students would go to a private school if given the choice? You were in a privledged position of choosing your school. Everyone else should be able to do the same.

About half of my students are low-income, for what it's worth. We give scholarships. Only a few of my students fit the stereotypical private-school-brat persona.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 3 years 29 weeks ago
#32

ChicagoMatt ~ This is the argument in a nutshell. Historically, even the most recessed, backwards, poverty stricken rural communities have been able to provide FREE cradle to grave health care and education to their communities. The very suggestion that the most wealthiest and prosperous nation in the history of the world--which has a $1Trillion military budget mind you--can't do the same is a crock of BS. Save your breath!

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 3 years 29 weeks ago
#33

Apropos to #33 ~ It only takes one or two brats to ruin the educational experience for the entire class room. Surely anyone who ever attended a private school knows this.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 3 years 29 weeks ago
#34

ChicagoMatt ~ If you want to do the "fancy blue box quotes" I suggest you go to the bottom of the thread below the last Comment box to where it says, "More information about formatting options" The directions are in the link.

ChicagoMatt 3 years 29 weeks ago
#35

I actually completely agree with reducing the military budget, which is why I don't consider myself a Republican. I'm also convinced and worried about global warming, unlike most right-wingers. I also favor more government regulation of the food industry, after reading some books by Michael Pollan.

I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything - just stating my side of the issue. I feel like Thom would agree with me that disengagement of people who do not agree with you is one of the reasons for the polarization that is tearing this country apart. In fact, he frequently encourages people to engage with those who disagree with them. Sadly, being only 34 years old, this level of polarization is all I've ever known. Sometimes I wish I could live in a country where everyone thought along the same lines.

I used to be one of those "If it's not on Fox News, it isn't true" types, until about five years ago. I found Thom's show during a time when I had a 90-minute commute home each day, and I liked his style. He has been able to change my mind about some things. I plan on reading some of his books when I have time during my summer vacation.

ChicagoMatt 3 years 29 weeks ago
#36
ChicagoMatt ~ If you want to do the "fancy blue box quotes" I suggest you go to the bottom of the thread below the last Comment box to where it says, "More information about formatting options" The directions are in the link.

Ok thank you! I hope I did this correctly.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 3 years 29 weeks ago
#37

ChicagoMatt ~ Well done!

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 3 years 29 weeks ago
#38

ChicagoMatt ~ Then welcome aboard! Your input will surely be appreciated. However, keep in mind that most of the members of this blog are worn out from bogus arguments and will attack whenever they see the symptoms. Don't be discouraged. We really appreciate every perspective we can get; and, our goal as well is to unite and speak with one voice. Again, welcome aboard!

By the way, despite the brats, some of the best teachers I've ever had were in private school. One of my biggest problems were the school let them go just when I was really beginning to respect their contributions. That was also a huge contributing factor to my leaving. However, it was the fellow brats that were the straw that broke the camels back.

ChicagoMatt 3 years 29 weeks ago
#39

Thank you! I get the feeling I'm one of the younger people on here. If my politics make you worry about the future of the country, you should hear what most of my students say. I teach middle school - ages 12 to 14 - and when you ask them what they want to be when they get older, they literally say, "I want to be rich." That's ALL they think about it. Some of the girls even, without a hint of sarcasm, list their dream job as "trophy wife". As a parent of two daughters (and a son), it makes me a little worried for their futures.

One of my coworkers, who has been teaching for 40 years and is about to retire, told me that it wasn't always like this. He had seen the shift from an "I want to change the world" mentality in younger people to the current "I want to be rich" mentality. The pragmatist in me encourages the students to pursue careers that are fulfilling both emotionally AND financially.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 3 years 29 weeks ago
#40

ChicagoMatt ~ You are right about this blog. We are mostly older people. Your colleague is also right. A lot has changed in the mentality of people. I think this can be largely attributed to the media and a non-threatening public agenda (ie the lack of a military draft.)

The bottom line is that the contribution to society should always be the bottom line in anyones goals. In a large part we have failed our children by allowing that goal set to be replaced. Hopefully, as adults, we can remedy this ill before it contaminates all of society. Thanks for your contribution as an educator. Keep up the good work.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 3 years 29 weeks ago
#41

ChicagoMatt -- Do you realize your 100% tax write-off is what Thom would call a discount for the rich. A large portion of those students who walk by your school each day are part of Romney's 47%. They pay no income taxes, so a tax writeoff would mean nothing.

Also, the profit motive in education seems to have no place. If long term greed were part of the profit motive I could see the profit motive might have some benefit. It seems that the creed of business schools has become in the long term we are all dead. I heard that in my econ courses in the 60's. The expression "long term" seems now to have evolved to 5 years (the avg CEO service length). The business model that has evolved is spend more on PR and than on quality..

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 3 years 29 weeks ago
#42

I have a confession to make. I remember when I was in grade school in the 50's I wanted to be the richest person on earth. Based on that, I am a total failure.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 3 years 29 weeks ago
#43

"Punished" for being successful, Matt? You're breaking my heart.

What we really need is tax-funded EDUCATION, pre-K through PhD. Period. And tax-funded healthcare, fire department, postal service and utilities. None of these things belong in the private sector; if they're all non-profit, they won't cost so damn much. Then nobody gets punished for being not-so-successful, and everybody gets to have a life, regardless of one's status in the job market. And that's all I've got to say on this topic. Have a lovely week! 'Bye now... - AIW

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 3 years 29 weeks ago
#44
Quote Aliceinwonderland:What we really need is tax-funded EDUCATION, pre-K through PhD. Period. And tax-funded healthcare, fire department, postal service and utilities. None of these things belong in the private sector; if they're all non-profit, they won't cost so damn much.

Aliceinwonderland ~ How so very, very, well said!!! And please, throw the Police Department and public works in with that list too!!

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 3 years 29 weeks ago
#45

Thank you DAnneMarc:#23....actually, the avatar is not that clear but it is supposed to be a flying pig....as in "when pigs fly". ;-}

I could sure could use a vascular dilator right now...that's for sure! And although there are vascular dilators for asthmatics in the form of inhalers....I just wonder what the long term effects of those are? I'm sure that those people who are against marijuana will jump on any bit of information that will be a detraction for the use of it. I haven't smoked or in any form imbibed marijuana for over 30 years..and I only tried it a couple of times. In fact, I suspect that the reason I have asthma for about as long is that I smoked some bad Mexican MJ that may have been sprayed by the US government back then. I had a bad reaction to it. Just makes me wonder if I got a dose of Agent Orange from it. Agent Orange is a weed killer they used in Vietnam.

But, I really get a kick out of the fast talking and small print warnings on TV commercials for various prescription drugs. While showing some totally unrelated warm and loving domestic scenes of family or friends they quickly warn the viewer of all of the side effects of the drug they are advertizing. Most of these commercials always includes some pretty gruesome side-effects..including death...but it goes by so quickly you might miss it. They wouldn't even be doing that if they didn't have to. They always end it with "ask your doctor if this drug is right for you!" Yeah, like those pill-pushers are going to say no after you nag them for those drugs? I think that the prescription drugs are more of a problem than illegal drugs.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 3 years 29 weeks ago
#46

Long term today, in high frequency trading, is more than a second. Millions of dollars can be made in less than a second in high speed, high frequency trading. It's fraction of a second insider trading. Their trading computers, with fiber optics network connects to trading houses detect when normal traders are trying to buy or sell and the high frequency trading computers beat them to raise a stock price before normal traders can get their orders placed. The normal traders get stuck with the higher prices when their trades are actually put through.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 3 years 29 weeks ago
#47

Thank you Marc; excellent suggestion! Okay... tax-supported education pre-K through PhD, tax-supported heatlhcare, fire dept, postal service, utilities, law enforcement and public works! Stir all that together, bake at 350 and voila! A civilized society based on fairness and inclusion! - Alice IW

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 3 years 29 weeks ago
#48

Palindromedary ~ Stock trades don't make real money in nanoseconds. For that you need a diverse portfolio and lot's of time. Let the HFT'ers have their shortfall. As the saying goes, easy come, easy go.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 3 years 29 weeks ago
#49

Aliceinwonderland ~ Very, very well said!!!

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 3 years 29 weeks ago
#50

PD says "I think that the prescription drugs are more of a problem than illegal drugs." You got that right, buddy! I don't remember the actual statistics, but annually, the fatalities from prescription quack "remedies" WAY outnumber deaths from black market drugs. And deaths from marijuana? ZERO. Which makes pot prohibition such a joke.

I just thought of the perfect one-liner for a TV pot commercial: "This bud's for yew!" - Aliceinwonderland

So you think You'll Get a Tax Break, or tax cut? Really?

A letter was sent out recently by the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians.

You're not hearing Breitbart News or Common Dreams - right or left - organizations or news sites with a point of view other than that they are committed to healing people.

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