May 16, 2022 / Liz Walters / Common Dreams -This past January, student loan company Navient was made to cancel $1.7 billion in federal student debt in a federal settlement judged by Attorney General Maura Healey. The settlement, which also required Navient to distribute $95 million in restitution to approximately 350,000 federal loan borrowers, came after a long fight against the company's predatory lending practices, which promised to help students in need of tuition assistance, and instead steered them towards repayment plans that piled on unnecessary interest. Navient also participated in risky subprime lending without consideration for borrowers and their families, leaving hundreds of thousands of students in crippling debt that the company knew they would not be able to pay back. These shady practices have been going on for at least two decades with little government intervention. The settlement provided loan forgiveness for students who had borrowed between 2002 and 2010. During this time period, Navient, now privatized, was still known as Sallie Mae, an entity created by Congress to service federal loans. As Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren put it: "Navient cheated students who borrowed money to pursue their dreams and allowed them to be crushed by avoidable debt, all while the U.S. Department of Education turned a blind eye."
The National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth (NNOMY)
With pandemic restrictions easing, military recruiters are returning to high school campuses while anti-recruitment efforts struggle
April 18th, 2022 / Roberto Camacho / Prism - The U.S. military utilizes a number of different recruitment methods to garner new enlistments, but their target audience has consistently remained the same: high schoolers, particularly young men from low-income and rural areas. Eighteen is the youngest age one can join the military without parental permission, but the armed forces still regularly market military propaganda in schools. Although the military does enjoy support within the public system, a grassroots movement of students, teachers, parents, and organizations has led efforts to reduce military recruitment presence and activities on high school campuses.
“We face an uphill battle not only because of the prominence of militarism in our society but [also] because there has been a lack of foresight by progressive people who aren’t thinking about what can happen 10 years down the line,” said Rick Jahnkow, former program coordinator for the nonprofit Project on Youth & Non-Military Opportunities (Project YANO) and a current member of the organization’s board of trustees.
The U.S. military has been an all-volunteer service since the end of the draft and the Vietnam War in 1973, making aggressive recruitment efforts essential to maintaining its 1.3 million-member active-duty global military force. Military recruitment in public schools isn’t new, but the level of access the military has to students and their information has increased alarmingly over the past several decades. Notably, recruiters got a significant boost when then-President George W. Bush signed the “No Child Left Behind” Act into law in 2002—under Section 9528 of the act, schools can lose their federal funding if they fail to allow military recruiters the same level of access to students and their private information as they do to other recruiters from community colleges and universities.
In the United States of America, we are a people at war with the world and ourselves
June 2022 / Gary David Ghirardi & Various Sources / NNOMY - It is the summer of 2022 and the country is reeling with the school shooting of 19 LatinX children in an elementary school in Texas. Multiple shootings before and after are all added together with un-answered questions as to the root causes on the nightly news while the spectacle of it all to the millions of viewers becomes another kind of murder against our collective imaginations.
The reality of what is wrong is invisible in plain sight in a country experiencing endless wars. internally and externally, that define a culture immersed in a “cultural militarization."
We only have to ask ourselves to encompass what such a concept could mean and then we can start collecting the pieces that are all around us, in our politics, our foreign policy, all the endless enemies that we are taught to hate, foreign and domestic, that end up aligning our people to submit to our endless wars.
Some of our wars are engaged by proxy countries funded by money we provide to them as allies who are then directed to buy the weapons we manufacture and sell them. The money provided is often represented as foreign aid and assistance or is owed back to us again as loans.
In our national production of movies, television series and war based video gaming, our imaginations are stoked with militarized or securatized entertainments imposed by consultants from military contractors and the Pentagon itself all folded into each other like the batter of a cake that we readily consume believing it is necessary to do so for our safety and security.