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No Country Left Behind (NCLB) and The Race to the Slop

The problem is capitalism. Revitalization requires movement building. We don't need voting Tweedledom or Tweedledee; we need a movement.

by Danny Weil

The 2009 Report Card for America's Infrastructure grades 15 categories of infrastructure, including levees. So how is America doing? The report notes, "... for the second time, America's infrastructure rates a cumulative grade of D. While not all categories fare as badly or are plagued by the same problems, delayed maintenance and chronic under-funding are contributors to the low grades in nearly every category." (ibid). The report goes on:

“Grades ranged from a high of C+ for solid waste to a low of D- for drinking water, inland waterways, levees, roads, and wastewater. U.S. surface transportation and aviation systems declined over the past four years, with aviation and transit dropping from a D+ to D, and roads dropping from a D to a nearly failing D-. Showing no significant improvement since the last report, the nation's bridges, public parks and recreation, and rail remained at a grade of C, while dams, hazardous waste, and schools remained at a grade of D, and drinking water and wastewater remained at a grade of D-. Levees, the newest category, debuted on the 2009 Report Card at a barely passing grade of D-. Just one category—energy—improved since 2005, raised its grade from D to D+." .

A cumulative rate of 'D'? Well, then why hasn't America, as a country, been 'closed'? I mean, under No Child Left Behind, if a public school has students that get cumulative grades of say, 'F' or 'D' on standardized tests, then the school is deemed a failure by the Department of Education and is closed. After all, if we apply the same rigorous criteria about competition and failure to the US as we do to children who come to school ill clothed, ill-housed and ill-fed then we would have closed the 'equity gap' by challenging the systemic rot inherent in the capitalist system long ago.

'Closing America' would mean getting rid of the economic system that America is based on, namely capitalism that fails its citizens in all respects. The United States cannot provide food, shelter, clothing, education, infrastructure or health care to its citizens. One of the more exceptional things about American Exceptionalism is that the USA is a failed state, a Banana republic at best. So why isn't this being addressed? Simple: the grades are given by the one percent and they do not care if the country is failing, if the infrastructure is falling apart. The scorecard is rigged for the 1%.

Race to the Slop

Arne Duncan, the Secretary of Education, has proposed what is called: Race to the Top, as a remedy for what ails American schools. Corporate America is very busy and has been asset stripping the country in a Race to the Slop. America is crumbling under a canopy of neglect, greed, alienation and abandonment while money is being driven to offshore banks and other countries. Many of the 1% Americans are even giving up their citizenship or have dual citizenship in other countries. Business Week reported back in March of last year that:

"The number of U.S. taxpayers renouncing their citizenship more than doubled to 1,534 in 2010 from 742 in 2009, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

"More taxpayers renounced their U.S. citizenship in 2010 than in the previous three years combined, or in any year since at least 2003, according to data compiled by Andrew Mitchel, an international tax attorney in Essex, Connecticut.

"The increase was prompted in part by the U.S. government's growing efforts to find and tax the hidden assets of U.S. citizens around the world. Taxpayers who were thinking about giving up their citizenship now have more reasons to make the move to put them outside the IRS's reach, said Peter Connors, a partner at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP in New York."

And change in the tax code, according to the report in Business Week, allows non-citizens to spend more time in the U.S. without being taxed as US residents. And the 1% have many services they can choose from to avoid pesky taxation.

The expatriates of recent years have included:

Michael Dingman, chairman of Abex, and a former Ford Motor director. Dingman is now a citizen of the Bahamas and lives there.

Billionaire John (Ippy) Dorrance III, an heir to the Campbell Soup fortune. Dorrance is now a citizen of Ireland and lives there as well as in the Bahamas and Devil’s Tower,Wyo.

J. Mark Mobius, one of the most successful emerging market investment managers. Born a U.S.citizen, Mobius has the German citizenship of his ancestors and lives in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Kenneth Dart, an heir to Dart Container and his family’s $1 billion fortune. He is a citizen of Belize and works in the Cayman Islands.

Ted Arison, founder of Carnival Cruise Lines. He kept Israeli citizenship and now lives there. ( http://www.escapeartist.com).

These newer emigrants join others of longer standing, including Robert Miller, the co-owner of Duty Free Shoppers International Ltd. Miller has a British passport obtained in Hong Kong, though he was raised in Quincy,Mass.

That's just the tip of the iceberg. According to http://www.Escapeartist.com inheritance tax is what is really getting the ire of the one percent:

"The arithmetic is simple and brutal. A very rich Bahamian citizen pays zero estate tax; rich Americans--anyone with an estate worth $3 million or more--pay 55%. A fairly stiff 37% marginal rate kicks in for Americans leaving as little as $600,000 to their children. The marginal rate--what you pay on an additional dollar of assets--ranges upward from there to 60%. You get a credit for some or all of your state inheritance taxes, but your combined rate will still be in this range, or higher.

"There are huge potential income tax savings, too, in giving up U.S.citizenship. St. Kitts--Nevis and the Cayman Islands, among others--levy no income taxes. Little wonder so many of the expatriate Americans have gone to the Caribbean for a year-round suntan" (ibid).

A year round suntan while the 99% get broken infrastructure, a failed state and no sunscreen. But this is not so unusual. After all the 1% do not live like us nor does their participation in the US even resemble the lives of the 99% of us who either must work for a living or can't find work or are disabled and can't work.

Helpjet and other services for the 1% mean that they are not dependent on the public commons or public transportation other than having their chauffeurs drive down public roads or taking to the air by private jet as they escape in style from natural disasters, as they did from Katrina ( http://www.usatoday.com/travel/flights/2006-09-18-hurricane-evacuation-style_x.htm).

The 1% drink bottled water; they do not have to worry about failing water systems and toxicity in drinking water.

They send their kids to elite schools; they never have to worry about standardized testing or taking out debt to go to college.

They have their own 'Cadillac' health care plans or go overseas for treatment and surgery or with private doctors; this while more than 50 million people go without health care and thousands die each year as a result.

They have more food security than the so-called 'food stamp' recipient and they have wholesome organic foods; they don't eat diabetic fast foods.

They have mansions in more than one country and vacation homes throughout the world; this while millions in the 99% lose their homes to the same 1% -- the banksters and fraudsters and end up homeless.

They do not have to sell their labor for a minimum wage or face the degradation of unemployment and poverty; they live off of capital gains derived from Wall St., bloated CEO bonuses and investments or inheritance schemes while they sit around the pool and languish.

They do not have to follow the rule of law; they impose their own 'rule of men' through crony capitalism and lobbyists.

The 1% have their own security forces, both social and domestic; they do not have to rely on the public police or are themselves victims of police brutality.

They don't pay taxes like the 99%; they have accountants and lawyers to allow them to get rebates or pay no taxes.

The 1% have their own nannies; so they don't need daycare.

They are always on paid holiday; they do not have to work without paid vacations.

They have their own private lawyers who serve as their butlers and valets while the 99% have to rely on overworked public defenders or high priced civil attorneys.

They rarely go to prison for their crimes against humanity and they rarely do any time at all; when they do they do not languish in a for-profit maximum security prison, but instead do Club Fed time with all the amenities, again, if they do time at all.

They do not vote like the rest of us; they vote with their wallets, and handsomely, now due to Citizens United. And they never have to shop at Wal-Mart; they have the billionaires exchange to shop at with free delivery right to the mansion door.

When they choose to do recreational drugs they use fine, pure white powders or expensive cannabis; they do not 'huff' inhalants or 'dust'.

Yes, it has been truly a Race to the Slop for the Super 1%. The result is now what you see -- a flight of chickens coming home to roost. So let's dispense with the silly reforms or the dimwitted thinking that this all can be corrected with some patches and glue and a few regulations here and there. The problem is capitalism: plain and simple. America must now be rebuilt from the bottom up if it has any chance of avoiding sinking further and further into decline and falling on its own petard and on its own moral calamity which it is busy doing right now.

This will take an oxygenated Occupy Movement. One that goes beyond mobilization to movement building -- the need now is to create and prefigure the society from within. This is the only chance we, the 99%, have.

— Danny Weil
Daily Censored





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