The Legacy Preference Scam: Closing the Door to Social Mobility in U.S. Colleges


What have we here? The Harvard Crimson, Harvard U’s “paper of record,” has just completed a survey of the class of 2021 (this year’s incoming freshman). If you’ve been paying attention, you won’t be surprised to learn that 29% of the class have relatives who attended Harvard. To make matters worse, things are getting worse. In a 2015 survey of incoming freshman, the same paper reported that only 16% of the class had a mommy or daddy or other close relative who called Harvard alma mater. These alumni children (“legacy admits”) get a leg-up when they apply to Harvard, Yale, and other highly selective colleges. So much for the canard that egalitarianism and meritocracy are the bedrock of American democracy. The smart money knows that the U.S. has never had much truck with those pesky values reserving them for pre-election rhetoric. Sadly, it doesn’t take much more than highfalutin double-talk to convince a majority of gullible Americans that their kids have the same chance of being admitted to Harvard (or Yale or any other prized institution) provided they have super grades, high (perfect) scores on standardized tests, and fabulous recommendations. Here’s the associate dean of admissions at Notre Dame on what an ordinary kid really has to do to overcome the two-tier admission system — “walk on water.” That’s the way it is in the empire and don’t let sleazy politicians and duplicitous college administrators tell you any different. But “the times they are changing.” In “The Legacy Preference Scam: Closing the Door to Social Mobility in U.S. Colleges” we point the finger at the outrageous behavior of our most prized colleges and universities but also bring you good news — how a courageous band of first generation Ivy League students are stepping up, stepping out and agitating for change. You owe it to yourself to check it out.

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The Ugly Face of Government: How It Threatens You and Everything You Hold Dear


Commies under the bed, Russian bad guys in the outhouse, Russian spies trying to take down our electric grid (after they destroy “our democracy’)— the derangement syndrome is alive and well in the mainstream media (and sadly in some of the alternate media as well). The media is “all in” as they solemnly pronounce our way of life in a death spiral caused by the Russians who “hate us for our freedom.” (despite recent disclosure that our freedom is already taking a big hit courtesy of our own Department of Homeland Security). Few would deny that the U.S. landscape is littered with uncertainty, fear and unrest. Despite what you may have heard, there’s no evidence that the Russians are to blame. There’s plenty of evidence to look no further than homegrown corruption and self-dealing. We look at how a bought-and-paid for president and a Congress on the corporate dole are reshaping federal agencies. If you want to know how catering to the wealthy and powerful can destroy an exceptional nation, check out “The Ugly Face of Government: How It Threatens You and Everything You Hold Dear

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In the U.S. You Have To Be a One Percenter To Afford College: Not In the Rest of the World

Is the sky falling Chicken Little? Or are those screams of pain emanating from 44 million throats the price of trying to get ahead in the exceptional nation? Where higher education is big business and big business is the domain of U.S. movers and shakers, things quickly go from bad to loathsome. It’s not like that anywhere else in the world, even among economically challenged nations. While most of the rest of the world’s young people are debt-free and college-educated (in over 2 dozen countries, a college education is free, considered a rite of passage), in the exceptional nation, over four million indebted U.S. students are defaulting on their loans and saying good-bye to the prospects of a future of unlimited possibility. If any further proof is needed of how an exceptional nation operates, consider the latest outrage courtesy of the Department of Education. Secretary Betsy DeVos, one of Trump’s favorite billionaires, has hatched a plan to redirect federal funds out of a program intended for student support and academic enrichment toward a major investment in guns and ammo meant to arm teachers and school administrators. (What could possibly go wrong with that maneuver?) if that doesn’t depress you, focus on her drive to deep-six Obama-era rules designed to forgive the debt of students who graduate with enormous debt and non-existent earnings. With an Office of Education staffed by flunkies from for-profit diploma mills and charter school wheeler-dealers, how bad can it get? Read “In the U.S. You Have To Be a One-Percenter To Afford College: Not In the Rest of the World” and find out how the masters of the universe are sucking you and your children dry.

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American Justice: As Unequal As American Economics

What in Sam Hill is going on? Donald Trump revoking security clearances of the assorted also-ran ex-ghouls who used to be officials in what the government and beltway media would have you believe is the “best and brightest’ intelligence community in the world. They said that fifty years ago -it wasn’t true then and it isn’t true now. Those in danger of losing their pot of gold (aka their security clearance} include two admitted perjurers, an Obama apologist who was willing to publicly lie about the administration’s dirty dealings in Libya and an army general who uses his security clearance to shill for big, fat government contracts for the defense industry. There is however a real threat to Americans who don’t have security clearances and powerful friends in D.C. It’s all spelled out in the 2012 NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) sections 1021, 1022. Back in 1942, also in the midst of war (six less than the U.S. is involved in today) FDR, like Obama, considered a “man of the people” detained over 120,000 Japanese-Americans without charge or trial in military concentration camps. Think history can’t repeat itself? Read this article, and don’t think it can’t happen again.

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Suspicious Angels Gets It Wrong

Want to gloat a little? Run don’t walk to “Suspicious Angels Gets It Wrong.” That’s right, we are confessing that our overly optimistic hope that Neil Gorsuch would grow a moral vision consonant with democratic values flew in the face of our recognition of how an increasingly authoritarian, billionaire-run government, with leaders from both sides of the aisle profiting by our endless war strategy chooses justices who know the game and how to play it. We make up for our egregious faux pas by shining the light on departing Justice Arthur Kennedy, not swing-justice Kennedy, but right-wing Justice Kennedy appointed by the right’s lodestone, Ronald Reagan and never forgetting for a moment whose beat he was marching to. What does it all come down to? Democracy sold to the highest bidder and a Supreme Court willing to sanctify the transactions which include installing a president, legalizing voter suppression laws and dealing a death-blow to the U.S. union movement. Abortion rights are probably their next target. Justice takes on new meaning when democracy is corrupted by wealth and power. One thing for sure – the U.S. has left its democratic “cred” in the dust and the corporatist warmongers now control both politics and policy.

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Hijacking Your DNA: It Could Cost You Your Freedom

As propitious moments go, this is the perfect time to remind our readers of the perils of having your DNA analyzed by one of the rapidly multiplying genealogical research firms. Before you make this potentially life-changing decision, be sure to read this article for a no-holds-barred look at the pros (not many) and cons (lots and lots) of succumbing to the genealogical companies’ siren song.

Unfortunately, for 12 million people (mostly Americans), this warning comes too late. Their DNA is now co-owned by one of the four or five largest players in “genealogical research.” No doubt about it, business is booming. More people took genetic ancestry tests last year than in all previous years combined. Ancestry.com, the largest genealogy company, announced that it had tested more than seven million people, including two million during the last four months of 2017.

How did these eager beavers entice so many otherwise careful consumers into their spider’s web? The old-fashioned way—advertising.

More than a felt need of consumers, the evidence indicates that the testing boom has more to do with the prodigious sums these companies are dumping into advertising. In 2016, Ancestry.com spent $109 millions on TV and other media spots. 23andMe, a smaller company, doing business at the same lemonade stand spent $21 million.

This is big business. Considering the amount of money swirling around, the stakes are high. Corporate behemoths are after your DNA and it’s not altruism that’s driving the aggressive marketing. It’s profits. Once your DNA is permanently ensconced on the database of any one of these companies, profit-making opportunities abound.

Even the Feds might come calling (probably already have). When it comes to the government’s involvement in the DNA collecting of for-profit genealogy firms, one curious little “coincidence” comes to mind. The largest genealogy company in the world is located in Utah. The NSA (laughingly referred to as the “intelligence community”) has spent the past two years building the $1.7 billion Utah Data Center where gargantuan amounts of your data in the form of emails, phone calls, google searches and other sources will be stored. Once the supercomputers are rolled in, it will be all hands-on-deck, about 200 technicians roaming around the one million square foot facility dealing with what used to be considered private and personal information. Not in today’s national security-obsessed America.

Hmm…a million square feet of space waiting for purloined information and the largest DNA-data base company practically on the doorstep. Reason to worry? Read “Hijacking Your DNA: It Could Cost You Your Freedom” and decide for yourself.

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American Paranoia Part 2: American “Innocence” Vs. A World of Enemies

That big snore you hear in exceptional-land signals the end of the road for Russia-gate. When asked, only 1% of the America public believe the Russian caper was a major problem. The enemies most Americans care about are skyrocketing health costs, stagnant wages, life-time student loans, rising interest rates, crumbling infrastructure and the climate change-caused rain and fire destroying huge swaths of the “homeland.” Russia-gate has fallen out of the top ten. Even predictions of a coming Armageddon aren’t cutting much ice. This sorry state of affairs prompted leaders of America’s intelligence agencies to hold a group sing-a-long touting “new evidence” that “Russia continues to engage in malign operations” (as per usual no evidence to support that claim). if you read last week’s article American Paranoia: They’re Out to Get us, you know that even scaredy-cat Americans aren’t buying the hype. To find out how D.C. elites and their media buddies hope to reverse the Russia-gate death spiral, don’t miss American Paranoia Part 2: American “Innocence” Vs. A World of Enemies.

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American Paranoia: You-Know-Who Is Out to Get Us

The drum beats getting louder. The wolves circling the tree for the final assault. The president under fire. The plot against America repeated on an endless loop out of every media, congressional, and pundit hidey-hole. Even the ‘party of the people’s liberal cadre have joined the hue and cry. It’s “likely” the Russians have something to do with Donald Trump. (Jeff Merkely) “Russia interfered in our elections & attacked our democracy” (Elizabeth Warren). This isn’t the first time the intelligence community has had “high confidence” that someone was out to get us. Who can forget the Iraq WMD caper when everyone (who was anybody) knew that we were in the crosshairs of a dangerous demagogue. That was then, this is now and the stakes are considerably higher, the threat of nuclear war considerably graver. Games of chicken have a nasty habit of turning on their creators. We try to distinguish the forest from the trees in this article.

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Exceptional America to U.S. Workers: Drop Dead

“Sis, Boom, Bah” —Whoops of joy from all sectors of the American noise machine, media pundits, neoliberal economists and media talking heads celebrating the rebirth of the American economy. An economic miracle, we are told, that will float all boats. The streets may not be paved with gold —yet but count on it, in the words of one of our former delusional presidents (there’s 45 to choose from), there’ll be a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage. In a more recent example, ex-president Obama was still patting himself on the back for all those jobs his administration created “We saw the longest streak of job creation in American history by far… A streak that still continues by the way…”

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Democrats in Free Fall – Devouring Their Young to Go for the Gold

The Democratic Schism is going full tilt. Not to be confused with the Great Schism in the Catholic Church in 1054 when the Eastern Christian Churches under the leadership of the Patriarch of Constantinople split with the Western Christian Churches led by the Pope (Leo IX in this case). However, it is instructive to note that both schisms 864 years apart have as their defining features winning at all costs, political jealousies, and rancorous disagreements over philosophy and beliefs. The Great Schism of 1054 was not resolved until 1965 when Pope and Patriarch met and the Schism became a draw.

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