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Category Archives: propoganda

Teaching Children how to Navigate today’s Confusing Media Circus

I was teaching English during the 1st Bush War against Iraq. It was called the Gulf War, and it was 1991. By then, I’d been teaching 16 years. I retired and left teaching in 2005 after 30 years. In 1991, a few of my students had brothers in the military over there, and I asked my students to write letters and send gifts to him and others in his unit. That became our link to a war.

At the time, the country was very supportive of that war, and it didn’t occur to any teachers I knew to discuss and question what was happening because it wasn’t an unpopular controversial issue. There were those that spoke out but there’s always someone that’s against all wars even if the U.S. were attacked without warning like Pearl Harbor during World War II.

The New York Times reported on January 22, 1991, “The American public’s initial soaring optimism about the war against Iraq has flattened a little, but support for the war remains broad and President Bush’s approval rating continues to stand at a record level, the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll shows.”

It also helped that the Gulf War was over before it had time to lose support. It only lasted 1 month, 1 week and 4 days. That New York Times story mentioned in the previous paragraph came out a little over month before the war ended on February 28.

Compare that to the War in Afghanistan that started in 2001 and is still raging, or the Vietnam War that started in 1955 and went to April 1975, almost 20 years that saw millions killed and maimed in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos before the United States finally left.  By 1970 only a third of American’s believed that the U.S. had not made a mistake by sending troops to fight in Vietnam.

Back then we didn’t have the Alt Right lying, conspiracy theory generating media machine that exists today. The worst we had back then was Rush Limbaugh and a few other rising stars in conservative talk radio. Let’s not forget that Fox Broadcast Television Network didn’t have its primetime launch until April 5, 1987. It was almost as if Rupert Murdock knew that the Fairness Doctrine was already doomed, and that a few months later in June of 1987, President Reagan would veto the Fairness Doctrine legislation that would have guaranteed more balance and honesty in the media, and this paved the way for the endless lies and conspiracy theories we have to live with today from the Alt-Right.


What is wrong with honest, equitable, and balanced coverage of controversial public issues?

The Washington Post reported in 2014, “About half (16) of the 32 outlets have an audience that pretty clearly leans to the left, while seven have audiences that lean conservative. The rest (including all the broadcast networks) are somewhere near the middle.”

Back in 1991 during the 1st Gulf War, we didn’t have Vote Smart (launched 1992), or Snopes (launched 1995), or FactCheck.org (launched in December 2003), or PolitiFact.com (launched 2007). These sites have become America’s antibodies fighting the Alt-Right media machine virus that’s infecting any chance at balance and truth in the news. There is a big difference between bias and lies.

Bias is prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair.

But a lie is an untruth. It is deceit. It is deception. It is dishonesty. It is trickery. It is worse than bias. Lies can be revealed by facts, but bias is harder to dig out and varies from a simple bias that cherry picks facts to an extreme bias that ignores facts that does not support that bias. Most traditional media bias is not extreme and is not easy to measure. Lies are easier to discover by a little digging using the Fact Check sites listed above.

With news supported by facts based on actual events, it’s not easy to generate conspiracy theory propaganda that is worse than vomit and diarrhea in your mouth at the same time.

The need for fact checking started soon after the 1st Bush War (ended February 1991) and then grew after the 2nd Bush War that was justified by lies of WMDs (2003 – 2010, a war that lasted 8 years, 8 months, and 28 days).

As the Alt-Right conspiracy-theory generating media machine grew and the GOP continued to move further to the right into unchartered extremist territory, the need to question everything has become necessary.

So, today, before an event or movement can become an issue, teachers must teach their students to question everything they hear and read in the traditional media and especially from the Alt-Right media machine, and teach them how to use all those fact and fact check sites listed above with links. That includes government sites that gather data and information: U.S. Census, the CDC, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, NASA, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, The CIA’s World Factbook, etc.

Of course, if Fake President Trump, who obviously only learns from Fox, and the Alt-Right Media machine, has his way, those fact-gathering government agencies that employs both registered Democrats and Republicans might not exist in a few months or years since Trump has made it clear he doesn’t trust any information that isn’t what he wants to hear or can’t control.

Contrary to the false opinions of the extreme, deplorable followers of Trump and the Alt-Right, every teacher and every government worker isn’t a liberal or a progressive, but most of them are probably not racists either. In fact, I’ve read that almost 30-percent of public school teachers are registered Republicans while the rest are independent voters and registered Democrats.

There are other terms children should learn about. For instance, confirmation bias, a perfect term to describe Fake President Donald Trump’s choices for where he tunes in to hear the news that is often wrong in so many ways.

To discover more about bias, read The 12 cognitive biases that prevent you from being rational.

And then there’s lies. Yes, there are different levels of lying too from bad to horrible. For instance Politifact.com divides its fact checking into: true, mostly true, half true, mostly false, false, and pants on fire, and on that note, here’s a list of all the Pants on Fire lies from Donald Trump.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and disabled Vietnam Veteran, with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

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My Amazon Review of “The Educator and the Oligarch” by Anthony Cody

You might notice that my last post about Anthony Cody’s book is not the same as the review I’m posting on Amazon, and that’s because Amazon might not approve what I said in my Blog review of “The Educator and the Oligarch”. They might not approve of this watered down version either, but what the heck—nothing ventured, nothing gained.

I firmly believe that the best way to judge a person is by what they do—not what they say—and Bill Gates seldom does what he says when it comes to improving public education in the United States.

When I say that in front of our daughter—and I’ve done it several times—who graduated from Stanford in June, she looks at me in disgust, because she thinks Bill Gates is a great man, a humanitarian and philanthropist, who is trying to make the world a better place—at least that’s what Bill Gates wants her to think. It also helps to know that Bill Gates gave the commencement address for our daughter’s Stanford graduating class in 2014.

Our daughter is right about one thing, Bill Gates is a great man, and that’s why he is CORRUPT. If you doubt what I just said, then argue with Lord Acton—not me. Lord John Acton (1834-1902) said, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men (like Bill Gates) are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority.”

Bill Gates is not the man he wants people like our daughter to think he is, and Anthony Cody in “The Educator and the Oligarch” proves repeatedly in almost every chapter that what Bill Gates says he wants to do to improve public education in the United States isn’t what he’s doing. Instead, Gates is spending billions to influence (through bribes that are called grants) state and national leaders to do what he wants.

For instance, in Chapter 2, Anthony Cody mentions that in 2011, NBC held the Teacher Town Hall program, and Bill Gates was introduced as the top funder of education in the world … spending half a billion dollars to devise a way to figure out what makes a great teacher, what makes them most effective, and Melinda Gates acknowledged that good teaching cannot be reduced to a test score—but that’s exactly what her husband is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to do: to judge teachers by test scores.

Then in Chapter 3, Cody quotes an Op-Ed piece that Bill Gates wrote for the New York Times: Gates said, “Student test scores alone aren’t a sensitive enough measure to gauge effective teaching, nor are they diagnostic enough to identify areas of improvement.”

But regardless of what Melinda and Bill Gates say, the Gates Foundation has spent and is still spending hundreds of millions of dollars to influence the federal and state governments to use the results of the Common Core student standardized tests  to judge and then rank and yank (fire) teachers with an ultimate goal to close public schools and replace them with corporate Charter schools—that several Stanford studies funded by the Gates Foundation have already proven are mostly worse or the same as the public schools they are replacing.

To achieve these goals, Bill Gates is spending $5 – $7 billion dollars, and when he ran into opposition from democratically elected school boards, what did Bill Gates do—he started spending hundreds of millions of dollars to get rid of the democratically elected school boards that run public school districts and replace them with the corporate CEOs of charter schools who will do what Bill Gates wants.

Cody’s book has 27 chapters and they are loaded with more examples than the few I have shared in this review.

How do you help someone by firing them? Why isn’t Bill Gates funding training programs that will eventually show teachers methods that work—that Bill Gates doesn’t select—that will help teachers become better at their job?

Just for a moment, imagine what investing $5 – $7 billion in early childhood education and improving teacher training and follow up support after a new teacher is in the classroom would have achieved—-instead of destroying lives by firing teachers and subjecting children to hours of testing that serves no purpose except labeling children as FAILURES.

I bought a paperback copy of The Educator and the Oligarch: A Teacher Challenges the Gates Foundation at Laurel Book Store in Oakland, California. This review is my honest opinion.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

Honorable Mention in Biography/Autobiography at 2014 Southern California Book Festival

Crazy-is-Normal-a-classroom-expose-200x300

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

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The Educator and the Oligarch Reveals the Real Bill Gates

The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines CORRUPTION as “dishonest or illegal behavior especially by powerful people”, and by the time I finished reading the last page of The Educator and the Oligarch: A Teacher Challenges the Gates Foundation, I was convinced that Bill Gates was a charlatan, is corrupt, and three famous quotes were spinning inside my head.

The first quote was from Lord John Acton (1834-1902) who said, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority.”

I think Bill Gates is one of those bad men who is using his wealth to exercise influence over government to achieve his own goals for public education in the United States—no matter how many millions of children, parents and teachers he will hurt.

There are 27 chapters in the book and—in many—Cody offers examples of Bill Gates saying one thing for public consumption to obviously fool as many people as possible while Cody offers the evidence that the Gates Foundation does the exact opposite.

For instance—not mentioned in the book—is the fact that recently the Gates Foundation promoted in the media an offer of one million dollars in grants to help teachers buy classroom supplies, but—in the book—Cody reveals that the Gates Foundation has dedicated $5 to $7 billion to influence federal and state governments to develop the Common Core State Standards and use student test results to rank and yank teachers in addition to supporting the spread of corporate Charter schools while getting rid of elected school boards and closing public schools—for good.

THINK—Bill Gates spends one million dollars to boost his public image as a humanitarian, but at the same time, his foundation is quietly spending $5 to $7 billion to spread his influence like a malignant cancer—did you know that almost 4-million public school teachers spend about two billion dollars annually to buy materials for their classrooms so children can learn? But Bill Gates offered 0.0005% of what teachers spend annually to buy supplies for their classrooms, and 0.00014% of what he is spending to destroy the public schools.

The second quote comes from Carl Sagan (1934 – 1996): “One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”

It is arguable that Bill Gates was bamboozled by Gene Wilhoit and David Coleman who went to see Bill Gates in 2008 to ask him to underwrite the Common Core State Standards, and now Bill Gates is not interested in finding out the truth and is bamboozling as many people as possible when he says one thing in the media to make himself look good, but then spends billions to crush the teachers’ unions, take away due process job protection from all teachers with a goal to fire almost one million teachers annually, increase class sizes and turn children into brainwashed, bamboozled drones who are forced to learn from computers while the few teachers that remain become classroom monitors (baby sitters) with one goal: to force those children to raise test scores—no questions asked. It doesn’t matter if the children learn anything useful as long as the test scores improve, and billionaires like Bill Gates get to brag that they made it all happen—even if they have to falsify the facts to look like they succeeded when they didn’t, which is already happening—the falsifying of facts!

The third quote comes from Abraham Lincoln who said, “You (Bill Gates) can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you (Bill Gates) cannot fool all the people all the time.”

I think that once many of the people who have already been fooled by Bill Gates discover the facts—then the house of cards that Bill Gates has spent billions to build is going to crumble along with his false reputation as a humanitarian that he has worked so hard to create.

This is where Cody’s book works best, because when you finish reading it, if you still think Bill Gates is a humanitarian—instead of the corrupt billionaire that he clearly is—then you have been bamboozled proving that Carl Sagan was right.

I bought The Educator and the Oligarch: A Teacher Challenges the Gates Foundation at Laurel Book Store in Oakland, California. This review is my honest opinion about Bill Gates and a book that reveals that power and wealth have corrupted this billionaire totally with little chance of redemption.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

Honorable Mention in Biography/Autobiography at 2014 Southern California Book Festival

Crazy-is-Normal-a-classroom-expose-200x300

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

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Badass Teachers Association versus Corporate War on Public Education

Marla Kilfoyle is the General Manager of an education activist group called The Badass Teachers Association.

The Badass Teachers Association has broken new ground because they are the first of their kind. They started as a Facebook group of teachers angry with federal education policy. In a year and a half, they grew into a strong and powerful national presence both on and off social media. BadassTA is now 53,000 strong on Facebook, 15,000 strong on twitter, and has a strong presence in fighting the privatization of our public school system around the nation.

BadassTA uses social media to expose the false narrative of the wealthy oligarchs, for instance, the Koch Brothers and Eli Broad. BadassTA trended on twitter for 2 days straight with their #Evaluatethat campaign, and they were recently featured in Time Magazine for their rebuttal to the Time cover showing teachers as rotten apples.

The Badass Teachers Association was created to give voice to every teacher who refuses to be blamed for the failure of our society to erase poverty and inequality through education.

Badass teachers refuse to accept assessments, tests and evaluations created and imposed by corporate driven entities (funded mainly by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) that have contempt for authentic teaching and learning. They refuse to accept the fact that non educators are allowed to make education policies that hurt our children, communities, and public schools. Badass teachers insist on equality, social justice, and equity in education and society. They will be meeting in Washington DC this summer, July 23-26 for their BAT Congress where they plan to lobby the U.S. Congress for children and public education. They are truth tellers and are united in their cause.

NOTE FROM BLOG HOST

The corporate funded and driven public education—FAKE—reform movement in the United States does not respect teachers, pay them what they deserve or intend to train them properly. All anyone has to do is look at Teach for America (TFA) to see what I mean. A TFA recruit has five weeks of summer training and little or no classroom experience with little or no follow up support when they take over a classroom, often from a highly trained and experienced teacher who was paid more and lost their job. More than two-thirds of TFA recruits leave teaching in 2 – 4 years and never return to education as a teacher. Of the one-third that remain, all but 3% transfer to higher preforming schools in wealthier communities that do not teach high numbers of challenging to teach at-risk children who live in poverty. TFA is an element of the corporate public education fake reform movement that was designed to break the teachers’ unions.

If you need more convincing, I suggest you examine closely the Bill Gates funded and driven Common Core Standardized Testing agenda that will rank and yank teachers—in addition to closing public schools and turning our children over to corporate Charters that often lie and deceive through corporate funded propaganda to lure children away from public schools—Did you know that several Stanford studies have reported that about 75% of private sector Charter schools perform worse or the same as the public schools they replaced, and a Stanford professor, who supports market based reforms, says this reform movement does not work in education?

Instead of ranking teachers, firing them and closing public schools, the United States must offer proper training and support for teachers who want and/or need help. Ask yourself this question: Once the public schools are gone, will we ever get them back from profit-hungry corporations and billionaire oligarchs like the labor union hating Walmart Walton family and Koch brothers? Do you want democratically elected school boards in public schools to be in charge of your child’s education or a billionaire/CEO, for instance Bill Gates, who sends his children to the same expensive private school he attended as a child, a school that doesn’t give endless Common Core standardized tests?


Anthony Cody, author of The Educator and the Oligarch: A Teacher Challenges the Gates Foundation

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

Honorable Mention in Biography/Autobiography at 2014 Southern California Book Festival

Crazy-is-Normal-a-classroom-expose-200x300

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

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Democracy versus the Corporate Oligarchs

In a republic and/or democracy where eligible adults vote, the majority of voters decides who wins seats in Congress, and when elected—representing the people—Congress votes on bills/laws; the majority wins.

This is how it works in Congress. This is even how it works in the Electoral College during presidential elections—the presidential candidate who wins the majority of votes in the Electoral College becomes president. It doesn’t matter who wins the popular vote.

For instance, when President G. W. Bush was 1st elected, everyone didn’t vote for him. In the 2000 presidential election Bush had 271 electoral votes to Al Gore’s 266; more than 51 million Americans voted for Gore but their candidate lost and those voters had to live with President Bush for four years—the man they didn’t vote for.

Then in 2004, Bush won the White House a second time with 286 electoral votes to John Kerry’s 251; more than 59 million Americans voted for Kerry; they didn’t get the president they wanted.

That’s the way a democracy works, but that’s not what’s happening in the United States today when it comes to public school reform.

Teachers Union Exposed, an anti-teacher website, thinks it’s wrong that the two teacher unions should pay for lobbyists to represent the majority of their union members in Washington D.C.  Their reason: a minority of teachers don’t agree with political activity of the two unions.

Teachers Union Exposed claims “Unions don’t reflect members’ politics. … Over the last 20 years, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) has given more than $28 million in campaign contributions; the National Education Association (NEA) has given almost $31 million.”

Teachers Union Exposed (I wonder who is behind this Website) points out that looking at polling data from the 2003 National Education Study, only 51 percent of teachers who are also union members identify as Democrats. The rest identify as Republicans (25 percent) or Independents (24 percent)” … and the “Harris Interactive poll from 2003 showed that 83 percent of Republican teacher union members felt that the union was more liberal than they were.”

How many Republican teachers are there? The NEA has 3.2 million members and the AFT 1.5 million. Do the math and that means 970 thousand (20.6%) of the 4.7 million teachers felt the union was more liberal than they were.

Big deal! How many Americans felt that President G. W. Bush was more conservative than they were? The same question could be asked about President Obama: how many Americans feel that he isn’t as conservative as they are?

It’s an established fact that in a democracy elected leaders can’t please everyone. But what happens when someone who isn’t elected spends money to influence the government and elections?

I’m talking about corporate oligarchs. Throughout history, oligarchies have been tyrannical (relying on public obedience and/or oppression to exist) or relatively benign, and corporations are run by CEOs who are not democratically elected.

For instance, Diane Ravitch posted Researchers Reveal Funding Network for Washington Charter Law and exposed the undue influence of oligarchs in an election. Ravitch says, “a small number of very wealthy individuals and organizations bought a policy of their choosing. This subverts democracy. It subverts the principle of one man, one vote. These are not reformers. They are plutocrats who use their vast wealth to buy what they want.”

The Ravitch post is long but worth reading. To keep it short, the plutocrats Ravitch writes about spent more than $35 million on one campaign in Washington State to support a YES vote on proposition 1240 in 2012—legislation that would benefit private sector charter schools paid for by taxpayers. Voters in Washington state had defeated similar propositions three times in the past, but the oligarchs refused to give up.

For a comparison, the leaders of the democratically run teacher unions spent $59 million over twenty years representing the majority of their members—who elected them to run the unions—in Washington D.C. That breaks down to $2.95 million annually, but the oligarchs spent more than $35 million for one proposition in one state.

Therefore, why is it okay for these alleged tyrants to spend fortunes to influence and manipulate voters but if the democratically elected labor unions that represents millions of teachers do it with a lot less money, it’s wrong?

In fact, one of the oligarchs, Bill Gates, has spent about $200 million to turn public schools over to corporations—private sector schools the taxpayers support.

That means one day the13,600 public school districts in the United States with more than 90,000 school teaching over 50 million children run by democratically elected school boards might vanish and America’s children would be turned over to billionaire oligarchs who run/own corporations. To discover how much Gates and his billionaire oligarch partners stand to gain from privatization of the public schools, click Big data and schools: Education nirvana or privacy nightmare?

In her post Ravitch listed about 20 oligarchs who donated money directly—or through nonprofit foundations the oligarchs financially support—to insure proposition 1240 passed and it did by a slim margin of 50.69% to 49.31%.

Who do you really think represents the interests of most Americans and their children: 4.7 million teachers—willing to die to protect children—who elect their union leaders, or 20 (alleged tyrants) billionaire oligarchs—protected by private security?

Discover more on this topic @ New Yorkers Denounce Cuomo’s Stacked panel to “Review” Common Core

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Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to kill Americans.

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