The Washington Post has a new series out on “Top Secret America,” investigating the massive security complex that’s sprung up around our war industry. While independent journalists like Tim Shorrock and Jeremy Scahill have been reporting on this for years, the Post brings a new level of attention to the contractors—and the blank check they get from our otherwise deficit-obsessed government.

“Everything else in our society is being squeezed and yet they have almost carte blanche for this,” noted Greg Mitchell of the Nation on GRITtv this week. And nothing’s being squeezed more than our public schools—and by extension, our kids.

Diane Ravitch, in the same show, noted that without exception, the least well performing schools are in the poorest, most racially segregated districts. The solution to poor school districts never seems to be spending more money on poor schools—instead it’s test, test, test, creating a testing-industrial complex that just adds more inequality. And charter schools take government cash with mixed results, while skimming away the best-achieving kids.

Talk about a Race to the Top. While deficit hawks obsess over spending for some, private security companies, private spies, and private armies have gotten there. They rule the tax dollar roost. Even though pricey "intel" was ignored and called bunk – when the President wanted a war on Iraq — there’s no spending limit on intelligence. It’s just education that faces a cash crunch.

What happens to kids whose public school is cut? There are always jobs — in a publicly funded army — or spy center — if they can pass the test. Barring that there’s always a spot in a publicly funded private prison. Intel Yes: Teaching No? What are we thinking? Or aren’t we? Maybe that’s the point.

The F Word is a regular commentary by Laura Flanders, the host of GRITtv which broadcasts weekdays on satellite TV (Dish Network Ch. 9415 Free Speech TV) on cable, and online at and Support us by signing up for our podcast, and follow GRITtv or GRITlaura on