Thursday, April 19, 2012

Plains Pops: Disconcerting Reads Edition

Lots of items I read bother me, but I don't have the time or knowledge to comment fully on them.  Here are a few recent ones.

From this Washington Post article,
The CIA is seeking authority to expand its covert drone campaign in Yemen by launching strikes against terrorism suspects even when it does not know the identities of those who could be killed, U.S. officials said.
Securing permission to use these “signature strikes” would allow the agency to hit targets based solely on intelligence indicating patterns of suspicious behavior, such as imagery showing militants gathering at known al-Qaeda compounds or unloading explosives. 
If a government is going to kill people, shouldn't it at least know that the people it's killing are indeed the enemy not just some suspicious characters.

Following a couple links from Twitter brought me to this 2011 article from The Nation.
 Lobbyists like Levesque have made 2011 the year of virtual education reform, at last achieving sweeping legislative success by combining the financial firepower of their corporate clients with the seeming legitimacy of privatization-minded school-reform think tanks and foundations. Thanks to this synergistic pairing, policies designed to boost the bottom lines of education-technology companies are cast as mere attempts to improve education through technological enhancements, prompting little public debate or opposition. In addition to Florida, twelve states have expanded virtual school programs or online course requirements this year. This legislative juggernaut has coincided with a gold rush of investors clamoring to get a piece of the K-12 education market. It’s big business, and getting bigger: One study estimated that revenues from the K-12 online learning industry will grow by 43 percent between 2010 and 2015, with revenues reaching $24.4 billion.
I'm betting that Congress will ensure the education corporations follow the same sort of rules that the financial corproations followed prior to 2008.  In fact, I'll wager that some education corporations will soon be too big to fail.

Final following a few links from this interested party post broght me to this frightening paragraph from Free The Slaves.
Free the Slaves’ best estimate, through a study we did with the University of California, Berkeley in 2004, is that there are at least 10,000 people in slavery in the United States at any given time. The US government estimates that 14,500-17,500 people are trafficked into the US each year. Free the Slaves believes that further research is needed to uncover the full extent of the problem in the US. It is already clear, however, that slavery is a significant problem in the United States, and not just in the major urban areas. We found documented cases of slavery and human trafficking in at least 90 cities throughout the country. The majority of victims are enslaved in domestic work, farm labor, or the sex industry. Most are brought from other countries into the US through force, fraud or coercion and then forced to work for no pay. Others make their way into the US on their own but are then forced into slavery when they arrive - tricked by offers of a good job. Still, other victims are born in the US. In addition, slave-made goods flow into and through the US every day and make their way into our cupboards and closets. Everyone in the United States is touched by slavery in some way.
Over the weekend, I will get to relive my youth and see Godspell performed.  These news items remind us that we may not have learned our lessons well.

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