You Are Not a Loan

I’m about to mention a few observations that don’t seem to have a connection, but they are all connected. Grand tyranny and extortion are going on at every level from global to local. Name any sector of the socio-political-economic food chain and you will see glaring examples of it. People are FED UP. They have set inspiring examples for the rest of us already in Northern Africa, the Ukraine, Thailand, Venezuela, and counting. Those unfortunate enough to live in North Korea, China, and Syria are silenced by tyranny, and you’d better not be gay in Uganda. The psychopaths at the top live in obscene luxury and salivate for who will get to host future Olympics or World Cup games while the people they tyrannize grovel for scraps and live in fear. You needn’t read any further, but if you do, here are some of my observations.

Gentrification

I live in the US. I’m not at all clear what’s happening in my fish bowl, since the 1% pay for media silence and the vacuous distractions that they call “news.” But I do know that I live in a buffer zone in my city between what might be seen as a blighted neighborhood and entitled neighborhood. Since the recession has “ended” (for those in higher tax brackets), I’ve seen old homes being sold, bought, torn down, and replaced by monster homes that fill entire lots. Just this week end a developer bulldozed a small house behind mine that was selling for about $150,000. A sign board now announces the construction of one of these monster homes priced at $500,000. This tells me we’re about to enter another real estate bubble, or at least a huge creditor scam. Can you say Gentrification?

Human Slot Machines

I recently graduated from the local public university. Like millions of other grads, I’m over my head in debt. But the quality of what I paid for is highly questionable. For example,fist_pencil_color

  • The budget is continually cut
  • 81 courses were cut in less than a year
  • Faculty pay is lower than any other public higher learning institution in the state (nothing to attract high-quality instructors)
  • Alternatively, administration increased its own salaries by 13% in two years (1/3 of the university budget)
  • Before benefits the president’s yearly take-home pay is equal to 71 years of in-state tuition.
  • His travel budget equal to just over a FULL TENTH of the travel budget for every single professor at PSU combined
  • Between 2002 and 2012 the Provost’s salary shot up by 46%, the Vice Provosts’ average salaries leapt by 43%, the  Vice Presidents’ average salaries rose by 29% , the Associate Vice Presidents’ average salaries grew by 19%, and the Assistant Vice Presidents’ average salaries increase by 23%
  • There are currently more than 540 managers and administrators, which is  nearly three quarters of the total number of full-time faculty employed by the university.
  • The number of executive administrators increased by 65% over the past decade
  • The president recently claimed that national student debt was $870 billion when in fact it’s $1.2 trillion. Like all hierarchies, this one is truly out of touch with reality.
  • We sat in classrooms that had no windows and often as not instructors had nothing to write with on whiteboards.
  • We froze in the winter and roasted in the summer.
  • The buildings are old and unkempt.
  • The faculty is sparse, and the choice of classes each term equally sparse.
  • Our student photo IDs are on a credit card, which charges exorbitant and punitive fees for the right to use it to get cash from a machine or for any reason the corporation chooses.
  • On the other hand, the university built a world-class recreation center and siphoned off millions from our tuition without allowing students to opt out (why should we pay for something we might never use?)
  • Foreign students were guaranteed help with housing on admission, yet when they arrive wander the streets asking other students if they know of any place to live.
  • We have recently learned that the president used student tuition to pay for new decor for his home when wife wanted it changed.
  • The administration refuses to listen to students or faculty

The list goes on and on and on. Today I just learned that the Student Union is planning a walk-out in solidarity with the teachers who are getting a raw deal. Is something similar happening in your city? My university’s Student Union has an eye-opening website chock-full of facts and ideas and tools. Check it out and RISE UP!

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