Monday, February 24, 2014

The War Against the Imagination

I've just published a new article entitled "The War Against the Imagination:  How to Teach in a System Designed to Fail" (7,200 words), which pulls the curtain back on a quiet war waging on campuses all across the United States.  I’ve been teaching English composition at California State University Long Beach for over ten years, and have never seen more hostility directed towards the field of education than now.  Unfortunately, most of that hostility comes from within.  What with the implementation of new stringent "Common Core" requirements at the high school level, and the flight from teaching art and literature occurring at many American universities, this is not only a bad day for students—it’s a bad day for the imagination as well.  My new article analyzes this hostile takeover of the American educational system by the “Standardistos,” i.e., bureaucrats more interested in forcing students to follow meaningless rules than in actually exercising their minds.  I explore various ways to stimulate the students’ imaginations in a system specifically designed to do the exact opposite. 

The piece was published by investigative journalist Jon Rappoport on his excellent website,  Rappoport has this to say about the article:  

"I had to print this article because it’s so important to the future of what we call education, and because it’s so important to the future of freedom and human consciousness.  I would like to see Guffey's article spread far and wide.  I would like to see educators and artists and parents and students and psychologists and everybody and anybody read it thoroughly and ingest it and deal with it--and recognize themselves in it.  I certainly saw myself in it.  I saw in it the great struggle being waged, on both conscious and subconscious levels, as this civilization tries to come to terms with, understand, accept, deny what imagination really and profoundly means."
If you would like to read the entirety of "The War Against the Imagination," click HERE.


Saturday, February 1, 2014

Hello, Citizens of 2057!

An excerpt from Mark Mazzetti's 1-7-14 New York Times article entitled "Burglars Who Took On FBI Abandon Shadows":

The perfect crime is far easier to pull off when nobody is watching.

So on a night nearly 43 years ago, while Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier bludgeoned each other over 15 rounds in a televised title bout viewed by millions around the world, burglars took a lock pick and a crowbar and broke into a Federal Bureau of Investigation office in a suburb of Philadelphia, making off with nearly every document inside.

They were never caught, and the stolen documents that they mailed anonymously to newspaper reporters were the first trickle of what would become a flood of revelations about extensive spying and dirty-tricks operations by the F.B.I. against dissident groups.

The burglary in Media, Pa., on March 8, 1971, is a historical echo today, as disclosures by the former National Security Agency contractor Edward J. Snowden have cast another unflattering light on government spying and opened a national debate about the proper limits of government surveillance. The burglars had, until now, maintained a vow of silence about their roles in the operation. They were content in knowing that their actions had dealt the first significant blow to an institution that had amassed enormous power and prestige during J. Edgar Hoover’s lengthy tenure as director.

Skipping down further in the article we read:

…the document that would have the biggest impact on reining in the F.B.I.’s domestic spying activities was an internal routing slip, dated 1968, bearing a mysterious word: Cointelpro.

Neither the Media burglars nor the reporters who received the documents understood the meaning of the term, and it was not until several years later, when the NBC News reporter Carl Stern obtained more files from the F.B.I. under the Freedom of Information Act, that the contours of Cointelpro — shorthand for Counterintelligence Program — were revealed.

Since 1956, the F.B.I. had carried out an expansive campaign to spy on civil rights leaders, political organizers and suspected Communists, and had tried to sow distrust among protest groups. Among the grim litany of revelations was a blackmail letter F.B.I. agents had sent anonymously to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., threatening to expose his extramarital affairs if he did not commit suicide.

“It wasn’t just spying on Americans,” said Loch K. Johnson, a professor of public and international affairs at the University of Georgia who was an aide to Senator Frank Church, Democrat of Idaho. “The intent of Cointelpro was to destroy lives and ruin reputations.”

Senator Church's investigation in the mid-1970s revealed still more about the extent of decades of F.B.I. abuses, and led to greater congressional oversight of the F.B.I. and other American intelligence agencies. The Church Committee’s final report about the domestic surveillance was blunt. “Too many people have been spied upon by too many government agencies, and too much information has been collected,” it read.

As the New York Times celebrates these 43-year-old revelations of government malfeasance, one wonders how long it will take for the full extent of our present day domestic surveillance operations to be unveiled as well.  43 years from now, in 2057, will the New York Times--or its futuristic equivalent--be publishing articles about those dim, dark days when every single U.S. citizen was at the mercy of a fully operational gangstalking program, the existence of which few mainstream authorities were even willing to acknowledge publicly?

As Marshall McLuhan wrote in his 1972 book, Take Today:  The Executive as Dropout:  "Only puny secrets need protection.  Big discoveries are protected by public incredulity."

To read the entire New York Times article, click HERE.