looking behind the curtain

All politics are performances, right? Give ’em a good show, tell ’em what they want to hear, and they go away happy. Nevermind the truth of what goes on behind the curtain. Or so our government leaders seem to think.
Take, for example, the recent news that the Department of Defense has contracted with a private company, BeNow, to gather data on high school students, even though school districts already are required to gather student stats so that they can get federal funding.
Over at Uncomment Thought Journal, Rowan takes a peek behind the curtain:
…..So why the contract with BeNow? After all, under SEC. 9528. Armed Forces Recruiter Access to Students and Student Recruiting Information of the “No Child Left Behind” Act, schools receiving federal funds must turn over the Names, addresses, and phone numbers of students on demand by the military. Isn’t that enough information? According to Chu [David S. C. Chu (U.S. undersecretary for personnel and readiness]. , it is not. The data collected under the No Child Left Behind provisions is “decentralized” and of use only to “local recruiters” and is not a centralized list of all possible recruits.
However, the data being collected for the BeNow contract goes well beyond the data collected through No Child. It includes “The new database will include personal information including birth dates, Social Security numbers, e-mail addresses, grade-point averages, ethnicity and what subjects the students are studying” according to the Washington Post article. Why the additional information just for “recruiting?” Grade point averages and classes being taken? Are the planning on focusing their recruiting on the highest G.P.A. or the lowest? Are they looking for those who are failing? This seems entirely possible, as earlier reports have note that the military is lowering their standards in an effort to meet recruiting targets
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Get a better glimpse of the hidden agenda here.
Then there’s the bit in my local Saturday newspaper by Andy Rooney (not available online)on how lobbying fattens wallets.
….Big Business is in business with Big Government, Rooney says — meaning this Republican administration.
The popular concept is that Democrats favor more government and Republicans want less. But there are no fewer government employees now than there were under President Clinton.
Government spending in Washington increased by a whopping 30 percent between 2000 and 2004 to a record $2.9 trillion…..
….Last year, Hewlet-Packard paid lobbyists $734,000 trying to get Republicans to pass legislation that would allow the company to pay a lot less tax on the $14 billion they made in profits from foreign companies they own. I wouldn’t want to have to explain it to a class of eighth-graders, but if a company pays Chinese workers 35 cents an hour and sells what they make in the United States as if they has paid the workers $25 an hour, the company makes a lot of money.

And then such outsourcing companies can pay even more lobbyists even more money to get out of paying more taxes.
And Americans are treated to a lot of circuses, but not nearly enough bread.
Speaking of circuses, I’m sure someone is going to make a movie out of the just-breaking story of the CIA Operatives who were living the good life in Italy, until they finally got caught:
They ran up tabs of thousands of dollars at some of Milan’s best hotels and restaurants. They chatted easily on their cell phones and gave out passport, frequent-flier and driver’s license numbers when booking flights or renting cars.
And now they are fugitives.
If Italian authorities are right, a CIA operation has been exposed in Milan that on some levels was brazen and perhaps reckless, even as it successfully spirited away a reputedly notorious Egyptian imam.

And, most touchingly, over at (Pro)Claiming Age. blogger Mary Godwin, with a daughter recently deployed to Iraq, begins to wish she didn’t know what keeps slipping out from behind the curtain.
In the months that have passed since Tommi’s deployment to Iraq, I have learned how to read the news faster and better than I did before. I have learned to read electronically, to read RSS feeds through online aggregators like bloglines, and to appreciate the various watchers who collect, synthesize, and engage difficult issues circling around the topics of war and the U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. Months of learning are bringing me to a new place now: each next story seems to raise in me a recurrent response. “Enough now,” I think to myself. “I don’t want to know.”
But we need to keep knowing, no matter how painful and upsetting. We need to keep knowing what the war is costing all of us, and especially what it’s costing those expected to fight, as well as their families waiting for them to come home — and not just American fighters and families.
We Americans have not yet felt the ultimate results of this war and the profiteering that this administration is allowing — even encouraging. There is a big mess being hidden behind Bush’s curtain of deceit.
If the next presidential election doesn’t pull down the curtain and show us how to clean up what’s been swept behind it, we weary travelers are going to be eaten alive by those insatiable lions and tigers and bulls and bears. No, we’re definitely not in Kansas any more.

3 thoughts on “looking behind the curtain

  1. If the next election consists of Kerry or Hillary as candidate, you can kiss all hope goodbye. There is not a single potential Demo candidate on the horizon who has balls enough to stand up and take on the Dumbya gang whose influence just keeps expanding into every corner of our lives.

  2. How nice to have found you! As it happens, I was looking for the lyrics to “It’s a Good Day.” Sometimes I just get tired of that new rock-headed group, Dubya and the Psychophants. I thought I was blowing in the wind, especially regarding the “every child left behind” program.

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