Monday, March 31, 2014

8 Appalling Moments By the Right Wing This Week: Gay Marriage Wedding Cakes Edition


Conservatives come in different brands of liars, moron, racists and other hate-filled idiots, all of them appalling, and this week's piece by Janet Allon at Alternet.org, "8 Appalling Moments By the Right Wing This Week: Gay Marriage Wedding Cakes Edition," starts off with an old friend: "Known unknown: Donald Rumsfeld should be replaced by a trained ape."


********************


"The parade of right-wing morons and lunatics marched on this week. Some highlights:


"1. Donald Rumsfeld: A 'trained ape' would be better at foreign policy than Obama.

"Donald Rumsfeld continues to both shock and awe us with his arrogance and his psychopathic inability to admit he was completely wrong about every aspect of the Iraq war. Being a psychopath, he still has the audacity to hold forth on questions of foreign policy. That he recently included a dollop of racism to his unwanted commentary on President Obama’s conduct as Commander-in-Chief, is just par for the course for good ol' Rummy.

"In an interview with Fox’s Greta Van Susteren this week, Rummy railed against Obama’s dealings with Afghanistan, and with characteristic colorfulness said that relations with Afghan president Hamid Karzai had gone 'downhill like a toboggan,' under Obama whereas all had been rosy under Bush.

"'Take for example that we have status of forces agreements probably with 100, 125 countries in the world,' Rumsfeld said, amping up the technical jargon to confuse the audience and make himself look smart, no doubt. 'This administration, the White House and the State Department, have failed to get a status of forces agreement.'

"He added: 'A trained ape could get a status of forces agreement. It does not take a genius.'

"Hmm, no racism there.

"It is either a known unknown (or an unknown known—we’re never quite sure) that Rumsfeld likes to use these kinds of metaphors, but no, we don’t believe it was an accident. As bad as that is, perhaps worse is his perpetuating the lie that the Bush administration was not a catastrophe for foreign relations, and that he was not hugely responsible for the biggest fuckup, lie and war crimes of all Bush’s merry band of jackals.


"2. Pat Robertson: Rape causes atheism.

"What planet is Pat Robertson on? Planet crazy, that’s what. On Monday, the '700 Club' host talked about a letter he had received from a confused Christian viewer named Sandra. Sandra was flummoxed as to why a coworker was 'hostile at the mere mention of God' whenever Sandra tried to proselytize or 'bring her to Jesus.' Reading between the lines, the co-worker did not care for being hounded to go to Sandra’s church, or repent, ‘cause the end is near.

"'Should I abandon the idea of being a positive influence on her and just let her perish?' Sandra wondered to the televangelist.

"Uncle Patty reads between a different set of lines, and he had a variety of theories on why relentless evangelizing might rub someone the wrong way. Could be something 'demonic... something beyond normal human experience,' he conjectured.

"Working overtime, his little brain alit on the perfect explanation: 'Maybe she had an abusing father, somebody who raped her and acted like he was preaching to her from the Bible,' the TV pastor continued. 'You just never know what’s going on in somebody’s childhood.'

"Eureka! Case closed.

"'Just pray for that anointing,' Pat concluded.


"3. Pat Robertson (yeupp, again) points out that Jesus would not have baked a gay couple a wedding cake.

"Jesus was a carpenter, from what we’ve read, not a baker, so as far as we know, he was not given to baking wedding cakes for even heterosexual couples. Also, did they have wedding cakes in biblical times?  Note to self: research wedding rituals in Jesus’ day.

"But historical anachronisms are besides the point when you’re Pat Robertson and you want to make a point about homosexuality.

"'I think you got to remember from the Bible,' the televangelist said this week, 'if you look carefully at the Bible what would have happened in Jesus’ time if two men decided they wanted to cohabit together, they would have been stoned to death.'

"True enough, Uncle Pat. It’s this next part that gives us pause.

"So Jesus would not have baked them a wedding cake nor would he have made them a bed to sleep in because they wouldn’t have been there. But we don’t have that in this country here so that’s the way it is.'

"So, the problem is that gay people are around and not being stoned to death. This whole thing gets Uncle Pat worked up into a lather, because he is very pro-life.

"'What is it about gays? What is it about abortion?' he ranted. 'Have you ever thought why they’re on the forefront right now? Both of them deny the reproduction of human species.... The Devil is trying to say, "I’m going to destroy your progeny any way I can. If you will kill your babies, that’s fine, I’m with you; if you will deny the chance of having babies, that’s fine too; but I want to destroy your opportunities to reproduce.' It’s a very serious thing and we’re not talking about it, and we need to as a society, we have to realize where the attack is coming because it is definitely an attack."'

"Do you follow that? Devil. Gays. Women. Birth control. Big cabal. Out to get us.

"h/t: rightwingwatch


"4. Chris Christie declares himself innocent, blames 'emotional' woman for Bridgegate.

"Chris Christie ran his own investigation into Bridgegate, used a million dollars of taxpayer money to do it, and declared himself innocent this week. This was treated as news. Case closed, right?

"The internal investigation did reveal that Christie was told about the lane closures on the George Washington Bridge (petty payback to the Fort Lee Mayor who dared not support Christie). But Christie says he does not recall that conversation. Memory is a funny thing, and Chris Christie’s memory is really funny, because at one point he asserted that although he did not recall this conversation (with David Wildstein of the Port Authority, who orchestrated the whole lane closure payback thing), he did recall that the conversation had nothing to do with getting back at some rinky dink mayor.

"While Team Chris Christie shockingly exonerated Chris Christie, they gratuitously stuck it to Bridget Kelly, the staffer Christie already scapegoated and fired for the whole mess. The report called her 'emotional' and mentioned she had been jilted by another staffer, despite this not having a thing to do with anything. It’s just fun to bring up the fact that women are emotional and don’t like being jilted. Whereas men are the opposite.


"5. Bill O’Reilly: Critics of Paul Ryan are 'race hustlers.'

"Paul Ryan has spoken. He does 'not have a racist bone in his body.' Also, some of his best friends are black. Wait, that’s not true. He does not have any black friends.

"But Bill O’Reilly stood up for his boy Ryan this week, defending Ryan’s right to talk about the 'culture' of shiftlessness of 'inner-city males,' cite known racist author Charles Murray, and not be called racist. Anyone who accuses Ryan of using racist code language is a 'race hustler,' O’Reilly says, and he’s sick and tired of that sort of behavior. 'These race hustlers make a big living and they get voted into office by portraying their constituents as victims,' O’Reilly said. 'And it’s all your fault, and it’s my fault, it’s the rich people’s fault, it’s the Republicans’ fault. It’s everybody’s fault except what’s going on.'

"One of these race hustlers was California Rep. Barbara Lee, who had accurately called Ryan’s statement 'a thinly veiled racial attack.'

"She had some choice words about the race hustler characterization as well. 'Unfortunately we’ve come to expect language like "welfare queens," "food stamp president," and now "race hustlers" from the right wing and Mr. O’Reilly,' she said in a statement. 'It is disgusting and divisive and should never be accepted in our national discourse.'

"O’Reilly maturely responded that if Lee did not like being called a race hustler, he’d be happy to call her other names.

"'How about "pinhead," congresswoman?' he said on the air. 'You like that better?'

"So there, you meanie lady!


"6. Michele Bachmann: Birth control equals 'killer drugs.'

"Speaking of pinheads.... In her latest dispatch from Planet Nutjob, Michele Bachmann spewed yet more illogical nonsense this week.

"Continuing her relentless attack on Obamacare, Democrats and just anything resembling progress, she vented about the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court case, and how the religious freedoms of companies are under assault. Religious freedom means Christians are allowed to ram their religion down other people's throat. That's how the Founding Fathers envisioned it.

"Bachmann could not quite bring herself to use the word 'contraception' (it's long and multi-syllabic, so pretty hard). She has a different nickname for it. The birth control that evil socialist Obama is so eager to have companies cover are 'killer drugs,' according to Bachmann, and by that we don’t think she means drugs that make you really really high. In Bachmann's world, there are 'killer drugs,' a.k.a. contraception, and then there are the good drugs, 'life-saving drugs and surgical procedures' that Bachmann says 'only politically connected best friends' of President Obama’s administration will get.

"You probably did not read that in the fine print of your Obamacare insurance policy.

"For more of Bachmann's lunacy, click here.

"7. Rep. Bill Cassidy: The uninsured are 'less sophisticated' and illiterate.

"Of course, there is a reason you did not read that in your new insurance policy that you got thanks to Obamacare, and that reason is that you are ignorant and stupid. Louisiana Rep. and Senate hopeful

Bill Cassidy says he thinks he knows a whole lot more about poor people than Barack Obama, that alleged former community organizer, does. The uninsured are, says Cassidy 'illiterate.' He also says: 'I’m not saying that to be mean. I say it in compassion.'

"He knows, because he’s a doctor and they are his patients (poor things). And it is for their sake that he opposes expanding Medicaid in Louisiana. See how compassionate he is. He’s a doctor, for pete’s sake. He has to be compassionate.

"He then further reflected on his version of 'the reality of who the uninsured are: relatively less sophisticated, less comfortable with forms, less educated,' he said.

"Ergo, no healthcare coverage for them!

"h/t: tpm


"8. Ted Nugent: I’m just like Rosa Parks.

"Bereft of his 'singing' career, Nugent is now a columnist and an all-out, full-throttle race-baiting, gun-slinging slimebucket. Just like Rosa Parks.

"And just like Rosa's civil rights were, Ted’s right to sling those guns are under assault.

"'In 1955, my hero, Rosa Parks,' he wrote this week, 'refused to give up her seat on a city bus. Good for her. In 2014, gun owners must learn from Rosa Parks and definitely refuse to give up our guns. As Rosa Parks once said, "You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it is right."'

"It’s not the first time Nugent has declared himself a sistah with Rosa. 'I’m Rosa Parks with a Gibson,' Nugent has previously claimed. Further confusing his metaphors he has called for gun owners to 'sit down on the front seat of the bus.' And do what? Shoot out the windows?

"Although he says he deplores racism, Nugent has also said that apartheid was not all bad, and that some people aren’t created equal, like indigenous people in South Africa who 'still put bones in their noses.' So he and Rosa are absolutely together on that.

"h/t: mediamatters"

********************


Thanks to Ms. Allon, we've learned  a few things today: Neocons like Rumsfeld are racists too, and Pat Robertson not only would bring back stoning sinners to death if he were in charge, he seems to have had some experience with a child abuser who raped a child while "...preaching to her from the Bible." Hmmm.

We've also learned from the term "race hustler" that Conservatives still know that they're bigots and racists, and we also learned from the Clown Princess of Idiocy that President Obama is handing out "killer drugs" to his "politically connected best friends" for abortions.

And there's more: if you are able to obtain health insurance, you'll become more sophisticated, more comfortable with forms, and more educated; and Rosa Parks is pretend rocker Ted Nugent's secret crush.

We might be accused of being a trifle unfair here, except the quotes are real and the quoters are representative of most all Conservatives.  If they aren't  all appalling, liars, moron, racists and other hate-filled idiots, they're criminals -- or all of the above.








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"Republicans don’t like people who talk about depressions. You can hardly blame
them for that. You remember the old saying: Don’t talk about rope in the house
where somebody has been hanged."

Harry Truman.


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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Understanding Paul Ryan's Racism In Three Easy Steps


Since the inception of this site, we've explained how to understand every Conservative thought and utterance: it's all about money and power for the greediest of the upper class among us.

And Understanding Paul Ryan's Racism In Three Easy Steps, an article by Chauncy DeVega at Alternet.org, will help you understand Conservatism's racial bias from now on.

********************


"Paul Ryan has attempted to clarify his racist argument that 'inner city' black people are lazy and do not want to work. He issued a statement that:
"'After reading the transcript of yesterday morning’s interview, it is clear that I was inarticulate about the point I was trying to make. I was not implicating the culture of one community—but of society as a whole.'
"This is a false and disingenuous pseudo apology. Paul Ryan is the leader of a political party that is the country’s premier white identity organization. The Republican Party has also merged conservatism and racism in such a way that appeals to white racial resentment are its Lingua Franca and a taken for granted way of thinking about political and social reality.

"Paul Ryan traffics in racism because the Republican Party is a racist organization. The calculus is not complicated.

"There has been some smart writing about Paul Ryan’s use of coded racial appeals. However, the majority of the news media is asking the wrong question. Instead of trying to figure out 'if' Paul Ryan is a racist, the more revealing question is 'what type of racist is he?'

"There are three basic ways to understand Paul Ryan’s racism, both as part of a pattern of behavior by Republicans, and as an example of (symbolic) white racism in the post civil rights era.


"The Southern Strategy.

"Paul Ryan’s claim that black people have 'bad culture,' may be genetically defective, and do not have 'normal' 'middle class' values about the merits of 'hard work,' is a simple channeling of legendary Republican strategist Lee Atwater’s tactics for mobilizing white voters by leveraging their hostility to black Americans.

"Atwater famously advised Republicans to:
"'You start out in 1954 by saying, "Nigger, nigger, nigger." By 1968 you can’t say "nigger"—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites..."We want to cut this," is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than "Nigger, nigger."'
"The Southern Strategy has been the cornerstone of Republican politics for at least five decades. While former Republican National Committee chairmen Ken Mehlman and Michael Steele admitted (and apologized) that Republicans use racist appeals to motivate white voters, the Southern Strategy remains central to their party’s electoral logic and approach. Paul Ryan’s racism and embrace of the Southern Strategy is the Republican Party’s conventional wisdom in practice.


"Colorblind racism and White Victimology.

"Paul Ryan’s use of 'dog whistles' and coded racial appeals to disparage and slur African-Americans exist within a social context where overt racism is a violation of public speech norms and values.

"Following the triumphs of the civil rights movement, colorblind white racism has largely replaced 'old fashioned' racism.

"While whites still use very explicit and racist speech in the 'backstage,' private spaces, or online, America’s embrace of multiculturalism and pluralism have deemed such acts anathema to 'decent' people. This is especially true for a nationally known politician like Paul Ryan.

"Colorblind racism inverts reality and distorts the facts. It involves denying that racism still exists as a serious social problem; black and brown people are limited in their life chances not because of institutional discrimination but because of their 'bad culture' or 'laziness;' white supremacy and systems of white racial advantage are dismissed as either exaggerated or non-existent; racism is reduced to mean words by white people, as opposed to systematic institutional discrimination against people of color.

"The most perverse result of colorblind racism is that many white people now believe that they are 'victims' of 'racism,' and that 'anti-white racism' is a larger problem in the United States than is discrimination against black and brown Americans. Mountains of research and empirical data detail how Americans society is oriented around maintaining white privilege and white material advantages over people of color.

"Colorblind racism overrides those facts by distorting white people’s (and some others’) ability to process and understand reality.

"Paul Ryan’s 'inner city' comment is a quintessential example of colorblind racism. He cannot plainly state that lazy black people are genetically predisposed to idleness, crime, violence, and sexual promiscuity. However, Ryan can suggest that the supposed failures of black people are really their own fault, and that all they need to do is 'work hard' and have 'good culture' to get ahead in America like 'normal' (read: white) people.

"Paul Ryan’s defenders are enabling colorblind racism by trafficking in its other distortion of reality: white victimology. Paul Ryan is portrayed as a victim of political correctness. His black conservative pets such as Ron Christie claim that Ryan is a 'truth-teller.' Ryan will tell interviewers that he is just misunderstood and is being unfairly criticized.

"Once more, colorblind racism protects white people from the consequences of their racist behavior by transforming them into 'victims.'


"White privilege and white racial innocence.

"Paul Ryan’s faux apology emphasized his intent, and how he was 'inarticulate' in his claim that black people are lazy and have bad genes.

"Paul Ryan meant what he said and said what he meant. White privilege is more than the unearned advantages that come with being identified as 'white' in American society and elsewhere. White privilege is an assumption that whiteness, and white people, are benign. White privilege is also an assumption of preeminent good intent and innocence.

"The historical record suggests otherwise: whiteness was born of violence towards people of color. Whiteness works and is made real through many lies both small and large.

"Paul Ryan, like other racists, will deploy the common phrase 'I didn’t mean it that way' or 'that was not my intention.'

"By contrast, the twin facts of white privilege and white racism are not dependent on intent.

"The racist cannot tell the victim of the former’s racism how and if they should be offended.

"Moreover, Paul Ryan’s claim to have made a mistake will be granted because he is white and male. The errors of prominent (as well as rank and file) African-Americans for example, are never excused away or viewed as aberrations or outliers. No. When black folks are 'inarticulate' or 'misspeak' the white racial frame deems such moments as indications of incompetence, or proof that people of color are somehow 'not qualified' or as 'intelligent' as white people.

"The white gaze does not view black Americans as individuals. When a black person makes a mistake it becomes the focus of a 'national conversation' about the black community, one in which 'black leaders' are forced to publicly explain and condemn the actions of other black people. There is not an equivalent ritual for white people. White conservatives and the white community will not be forced to condemn Paul Ryan. Nor will white people be held publicly accountable for Paul Ryan’s and the Republican Party’s racism.


"Whiteness deems that Paul Ryan is a 'racial innocent,' an 'individual,' and that he should be treated as such.

"Paul Ryan and other movement conservatives are racial political arsonists. Ryan’s racist claims about lazy black people with bad genes are a function of a willful political strategy and determined worldview. They are not exceptions, outliers, or bizarre happenings.

"Racism is a habit for white conservatives because racism and conservatism are the same thing in the post civil rights era.

"Paul Ryan and other conservatives can claim that they are innocent of their racist political arson. But, they are repeatedly caught, hiding behind the dumpster, or in the bushes, as the building burns. One hand is busy, down the trousers, working in onanistic fervor as the conflagration spreads. The other hand is concealing a lighter. The police approach, shake their heads, and say 'you again!'

"Paul Ryan and his fellow racial political arsonists in the Republican Party apologize, flummoxed, and indignant with the police that 'you have the wrong guy!'

"The police will just slap his wrist and say 'don’t do it again.' Why? Because Paul Ryan and other racial political arsonists in the Republican Party are really decent people who are just misunderstood."


********************

With the strategy in mind that the best defense is a good offense, Conservative Sheeplets have been taught by Conservative propagandists to think that when they are "winning the debate," that their opponents shout "racist" at them.

Be sure to read our reprint of another piece by the same author, "How The GOP Became The White Supremacy Party — And Got Away With It."

As far as coded racial appeals, what is good for Paul Ryan is good for all Conservatives, with the added touch for the Sheeplets "... that 'anti-white racism' is a larger problem in the United States than is (racial) discrimination," that white people are "victims."


When Conservatives "debate" and when Conservatives speak, they're easy to decode.  All you have to remember, no matter what they're saying, the truth of the matter is that it's all about the two things Conservatives stand for: giving away the store to the rich or racism.

Everything else is smoke and mirrors, and the bottom line for Conservatives is that they are mouthpieces for the rich, they are racists, they are sexists, they are homophobes, and they are criminals.



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"Conservatism discards Prescription, shrinks from Principle, disavows Progress;
 having rejected all respect for antiquity, it offers no redress for the present, and
makes no preparation for the future."

Benjamin Disraeli.


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Saturday, March 29, 2014

20 Historical Facts That Republicans Distort Or Just Get Plain Wrong


Our post today is a reprint of an article by "capricorn 22" at 2waystreetpolitics.com, "20 Historical Facts That Republicans Distort Or Just Get Plain Wrong," a piece that will have to filed as the 126th article under the label, "Conservatives Are Stupid."


********************


"We all know at least one person that doesn’t know much about history. And we all know that there have been people who have tried to distort history. The Republican Party, however, does both. Over these last two years, Republicans have a made a real effort to distort history as much as possible, to the point where they are now seeking to rewrite school textbooks. The Republican Party has bent over backwards to present their own twisted version of history and it’s starting to look like that one requirement to be a Republican is to be ignorant of historical facts and events. Below is a list of the many historical facts that Republicans have either distorted or have just gotten plain wrong along with corrections of their errors.


"1. Did Paul Revere Ride To Warn The British?) Sarah Palin made the dubious claim that Paul Revere actually warned the British instead of the American colonists. Her supporters even made attempts to edit the Paul Revere Wikipedia entry to make her claims sound correct. If she had taken the time to read Longfellow’s poem, Paul Revere’s Ride, she would not have made this error, as the great majority of school children know that Revere made his midnight ride to warn Americans, not the enemy.

"2. Was The Shot Heard ‘Round The World Fired In New Hampshire?) Did you know that Lexington and Concord are located in New Hampshire? I didn’t. And the people in New Hampshire and Massachusetts didn’t either. When Michele Bachmann exclaimed to a New Hampshire crowd that 'the shot heard ’round the world' occurred in their state, I’m sure that Massachusetts let out a roar of laughter. The sad but hilarious thing is that most American children know that the first shot of the American Revolution occurred in the state of Massachusetts.

"3. Was John Quincy Adams A Founding Father?) Michele Bachmann must have failed American History in school. Because she has absolutely no knowledge of early American history. She once claimed that John Quincy Adams is a Founding Father of America when in fact, JQA was just a child when the Revolution began. He was born in 1767 and was just 14 when the war ended. And like Palin’s supporters, Bachmann fans proceeded to edit the Wikipedia page of John Quincy Adams in an attempt to make her claim viable.

"4. Did The Founding Fathers End Slavery?) Michelle Bachmann isn’t through yet. During a speaking event she once claimed that the Founding Fathers were the ones who ended slavery. That’s a surprise to me since George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe all owned slaves. In fact, 12 of the first 16 American Presidents owned slaves. But Bachmann’s attempt to paint the Founding Fathers as saints is also a denial of past Republican Party history since early Republicans rose to prominence by fighting against slavery and the first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, ended slavery altogether.


"5. Was America Founded As A Christian State?) Ever heard of David Barton? He’s the guy that Glenn Beck goes to when he wants to distort history. David Barton claims that the Founding Fathers intended the United States to be a Christian state. Many Republicans have since picked up on this claim and have been shamelessly using it to court the Christian right-wing, and as a reason to end the separation of church and state that has been part of this country since its founding. His claim can be trounced with one question. If the Founding Fathers wanted America to be a Christian state why did they not say so in the Constitution? Instead, the Founders placed this in the document.

"'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.'
~First Amendment, Bill of Rights of the Constitution

"In other words, there is to be absolutely NO state religion.

"6. Did Benjamin Franklin Reject Evolution?) We continue with the lack of knowledge of the Founding Fathers among the right-wing. Many Republicans have been making the claim that Benjamin Franklin rejected evolution. There are two problems with this claim. First, the theory of evolution wasn’t around until Charles Darwin published the theory in 1859, nearly 70 years AFTER Franklin died in 1790. And secondly, Franklin was a man of science above all else. It is unlikely that he would have rejected a scientific theory in favor of creationism. Franklin in fact, rejected the dogma and divinity of Christianity.

"7. Was The American Revolution Fought To End Slavery?) Yet another claim that David Barton makes in an attempt to present the founding generation as perfect, is that the American Revolution was waged to end slavery. Once again, Barton makes a claim that is completely false. The American Revolution was fought to win American independence from Great Britain. And as I recall, the slaves were certainly not freed before, during, or after the war. They remained as slaves and would be slaves until the Civil War.

"8. Was The Civil War Fought Over State’s Rights?) Republicans claim that it was all about state’s rights and not about slavery. The truth is, state’s rights only played a small role. The South feared that President Lincoln would end slavery, so they took preemptive measures by seceding from the Union and attacked Fort Sumter without any provocation. Slavery was, without a doubt, the main cause of the war between the states. Without slavery, white plantation owners would have to pick their own cotton, or, pay people to do it for them. They also believed Africans to be inferior and would not tolerate their freedom. We should all keep that in mind as the South/Republican home base continues to make claims that they aren’t racist.

"9. Do States Have The Right To Secede?) After President Obama took office, many Republican legislators and governors, particularly in the South, began threatening secession. They say secession is a right but is it really? The answer is absolutely not. Not only did the Civil War settle this dispute, James Madison and Andrew Jackson (both Southerners) also rejected this claim. Nowhere in the Constitution will you find the right to secede. The Constitution was created by the people 'in order to form a more perfect union' and by seceding, a state breaks up the nation, thus breaking a legally binding contract. And Andrew Jackson once threatened to march an army to South Carolina after that state threatened to secede. In fact, Jackson felt that secession was treason. The Supreme Court has also weighed in on this issue. In Texas v White, the court held that the Constitution did not permit states to secede from the United States, and that the ordinances of secession, and all the acts of the legislatures within seceding states intended to give effect to such ordinances, were 'absolutely null.'


"10. Was D-Day All About Health Care?) Republicans have been very vocal about the Affordable Care Act and Rick Santorum is no exception. He has made the claim that Americans stormed the beaches at Normandy on D-Day because they opposed Obamacare. He said, 'Almost 60,000 average Americans had the courage to go out and charge those beaches on Normandy, to drop out of airplanes who knows where, and take on the battle for freedom … Those Americans risked everything so they could make [their own] decision on their health care plan.'

"This is absurd. The men that stormed the Omaha and Utah beaches were fighting to liberate Europe from Nazi rule. They weren’t thinking about health care 67 years into the future. They were thinking of their families and whether they’d ever see them again. Santorum also fails to realize that military personnel and their dependents have government-run health care. And the soldiers aren’t complaining about it either. And as a matter of fact, many World War II veterans and their families also have Medicare which is also run by the federal government. That blows Santorum’s claim out of the water.

"11. Did Ronald Reagan Only Lower Taxes?) Worshiping Ronald Reagan means you also have to believe that Reagan never raised taxes during his Presidency, but this constant right-wing claim is false. While he did cut taxes in 1981 and again in 1988, Reagan actually raised taxes every year from 1981 to 1987 including The Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982 which, at the time, had been the largest peacetime tax increase in U.S. history, the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984, a higher gasoline levy, a higher payroll tax, and a 1986 tax reform deal that included the largest corporate tax increase in American history.

"12. Was Joseph McCarthy A Hero?) Another idol of the Republican Party is Joseph McCarthy. Republicans are now rewriting school books to present McCarthy as a hero who did no wrong. In reality, where the rest of us live, Joseph McCarthy was nothing more than a witch hunter who accused innocent Americans of being communists. He had no real evidence that people were communists and he should have recognized that people have the right to be part of any political party they choose. He violated the Constitution and ignored the values of freedom that we hold dear.
Just like Republicans today.

"13. Was Martin Luther King Jr. A Republican?) Republicans claim that Martin Luther King was a Republican. So they can explain this part of a speech by King, right? In one speech, he stated that 'something is wrong with capitalism' and claimed, 'There must be a better distribution of wealth, and maybe America must move toward a democratic socialism.' So, by claiming King as one of their own, I’m assuming Republicans are also adopting his philosophy.

"14. Who Signed The Smoot-Hawley Act?) Many Republicans still have anti–New Deal views. Michele Bachmann blamed FDR for turning a recession into a depression by passing the 'Hoot-Smalley Tariff.' Except that FDR didn’t pass it. Hoover did, three years before FDR took the oath of office. Oh, and it’s Smoot-Hawley, NOT 'Hoot-Smalley.'


"15. Did 9/11 Happen On George Bush’s Watch?) How many times have we heard a Republican or right-wing talking head on Fox say that no terrorist attacks happened when George W. Bush was President? In July, Fox News host Eric Bolling said 'we were certainly safe between 2000 and 2008 — I don’t remember any terrorist attacks on American soil during that period of time.' Other Republicans such as Rudy Guiliani and Dana Perino also 'misremember' that period of time. I seem to recall sitting in a 20th Century History course at my high school on September 11, 2001 when terrorists struck the World Trade Center in New York City. And as I also recall, George W. Bush was President at the time.

"16. What Did The Founding Fathers Think About Corporations?) Corporations are people according to Republicans. They even believe the Founding Fathers loved corporations. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. The truth is that the Founding generations distrusted corporations with a passion. That’s why corporations were regulated rather harshly compared to the pampering Republicans give them today. Corporations were limited to an existence of 20-30 years and could only deal in one commodity, could not hold stock in other companies, and their property holdings were limited to what they needed to accomplish their business goals. And perhaps the most important facet of all this is that most states in the early days of the nation had laws on the books that made any political contribution by corporations a criminal offense. If the Founding Fathers were still alive and reinstated these regulations, Republicans would be accusing George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and the rest of the founders of being evil, un-American socialists.

"17. What Is The Constitutionality Of Federally Mandated Health Care?) Is federally mandated health care unconstitutional? According to Republicans it is. But that’s not what the Founding Fathers thought. Congress passed and John Adams signed, a mandatory health care insurance law back in 1791. The mandate required sailors to pay a tax and in the event they needed care, they could get medical care from the government. If it was unconstitutional as Republicans claim, why didn’t Thomas Jefferson or James Madison repeal it? The fact is, they didn’t, and I’d say James Madison knew more about the Constitution than any Republican does, considering he’s the primary author of that sacred document.

"18. Is Social Security A 'Ponzi Scheme?') When Rick Perry called Social Security a “ponzi scheme” in the first GOP Debate, he not only made a political mistake of epic proportions, he was also dead wrong. Social Security was created to keep senior citizens out of poverty and it has done a wonderful job of doing just that. When people put money into a ponzi scheme, they don’t get it back. Social Security, however, gives the money back plus more to every person who puts money into the system. It’s far from being a ponzi scheme. The real ponzi scheme is the private health insurance business which takes money from you and then drops you when you need medical care.

"19. Did The Founding Fathers Support A Strong Federal Government Or A Weak One?) This is an easy one. Republicans are dead wrong when they claim that the Founding Fathers wanted a weak federal government. And that is simple to prove. Before we had the Constitution, America was a loose alliance of states under the Articles of Confederation. Under the Articles of Confederation, the federal government was weak. So weak in fact that it didn’t have the power to levy taxes, could not regulate commerce, and relied on the states to provide money for defense. The states had all the power and the federal government had virtually none. This was a chaotic system that threatened to tear apart the new nation. So the Founders wrote the Constitution which created a strong central government capable of levying taxes, regulating commerce, printing money, and forming a military. Most importantly, under the Constitution, the federal government was given the power to provide for the general welfare and the states were given far less power. Republicans will often cite the Tenth Amendment as proof of state supremacy but they’re wrong about that too. After the Constitution was ratified, some wanted to add an amendment limiting the federal government to powers 'expressly' delegated, which would have denied implied powers. However, the word 'expressly' ultimately did not appear in the Tenth Amendment as ratified, and therefore the Tenth Amendment did not reject the powers implied by the Necessary and Proper Clause. In other words, the federal government has the power to make laws about things that are not found in the Constitution such as health care.


"20. Were The Founding Fathers A Group Of Right Wingers?) Republicans have been crisscrossing the country trying to convince Americans that the Founding Fathers were conservatives. But were they really? The answer to this question is absolutely not. If the Founding Fathers were conservatives they would never have revolted against England. One can hardly call breaking away from the most powerful nation on Earth at the time a conservative act. Plus, the Founding Fathers supported a strong federal government, believed in civil rights, supported separation of church and state, despised corporations, and believed the government had the power to provide health care and levy taxes. This is why the Supreme Court throughout American history has rarely ruled laws unconstitutional using the Tenth Amendment.

Republicans and Americans in general need to get a firm grasp of history. The Republicans understand that the lack of education is the key to controlling the electorate. All they need to do is distort and re-write history in their favor to win the votes of the ignorant. We must learn our past history so that we do not go down the backwards road that Republicans are leading us down.

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
~George Santayana

********************


Holy Hoot-Smalley!

As "capricon22" notes, Conservatives not only lie about history, they really don't know much about it...and "truthiness" aside, it's obvious that this batch of lies fits Conservative wants: they want American to have been founded as a Christian nation, they want another president instead of Dumbya to have been in office when the Trade Center buildings went down, they want D-Day to have been all about health care -- so they lie and lie and lie some more.

For another version of the same post, just with different 'toons, read "Why Conservatives Hate Reading History."

An Old Wives dictum, that anyone who lies will gamble, anyone who gambles will cheat, anyone who cheats will steal, and anyone who steals will kill seems apropos here.  Just eliminate the middle arguments and you have defined Conservatism: Conservatives lie and they will kill.



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"Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and
the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people."

Karl Marx.


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Friday, March 28, 2014

Directly Destroying Democracy


"Directly Destroying Democracy," an article by Leo Gerard at Alternet.org, explains how democracy can be destroyed with the Conservatives' best weapon -- money, money in the form of legalized bribery. When you finish this article, try "America For Sale: The Road To Oligarchy."

********************


Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com/Nata-Lia
"In the olden days, buying votes was a risky business. That’s not because the purchaser faced felony charges. No, the real peril was that the guy bribing voters wouldn’t get what he wanted.

"The process was too indirect. The man with 'walking around money' would tell voters what he wanted them to do in exchange for a few beers or bucks. But Americans, being the contrarians they are, could cast their secret ballots for the exact opposite candidates, then accept the booze anyway, thank you very much.These days, there’s a much more direct process. One percenters and corporations can secretly buy politicians. Using front groups, the wealthy can 'donate' unlimited millions to elect a candidate and remain completely anonymous. So the public won’t know that the senator pushing for smiley faces to be printed on cigarette cartons instead of health warnings received $50 million in ads paid for by the tobacco industry.


"Several news stories last week illustrated exactly how this threat to democracy, sanctioned by the gang of right-wingers on the Supreme Court in the Citizens United case, plays out. The most jaw dropping is the case of former Republican Utah state attorney general John Swallow, who used shadowy nonprofit organizations to conceal hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations from the vilest industry in America – payday lenders.

"In exchange for the money, Swallow promised to use the office of attorney general to champion payday lenders, the flimflam men who exploit and bankrupt the poor with short-term loans at exorbitant interest rates.

"Swallow made bald promises to this despised industry. In one letter to a Tennessee payday executive, he wrote, 'I look forward to being in a position to help the industry as an AG [attorney general] following the 2012 elections.' In another, he pledged to ward off regulation by the new federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau by organizing a posse of other right-wing attorneys general.

"Swallow knew, however, a payday lenders’ water boy would disgust voters. So he and his associates shrouded the payday lender donations with a bunch of 'social welfare' nonprofits, which don’t have to report who contributes, the New York Times reported last week.

"The scam disintegrated when the Internal Revenue Service began investigating one of the shady nonprofit groups that contributed to Swallow. Other inquiries followed, and Swallow resigned after less than a year in office.

"Swallow’s payday lender benefactors didn’t lose their investment so quickly in another case, however. They bought ads vilifying Utah state representative Brad Daw, who had pushed for legislation that would have barred payday companies from loaning money to people already deeply in debt. After the payday lender-sponsored attacks, Brad Daw, a four-term lawmaker, lost his primary. Payday regulation defeated!


"Payday lenders, justifiably, don’t enjoy high public approval ratings. Yet, thanks to the right-wingers on the U.S. Supreme Court, they can circumvent democracy with boundless cash and get candidates elected or rejected.

"What the right-wing justices ruled in the Citizens United case is that government can’t limit the amount of money corporations spend to get a candidate elected, as long as they don’t hand the money directly to the candidate.

"New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the Republican of Bridge-Gate infamy, provides an example of how badly this sort of purchased politics plays out for citizens. In 2009, hedge fund manager Paul Singer donated $100,000, not to Christie, but to the Republican Governors Association. The Association, in turn, aired ads for then-candidate Christie.

"At the time, The Nation magazine reported last week, Christie was blasting the Democratic gubernatorial incumbent for what Christie asserted was unethical investment of public employee retiree money on Wall Street, where risk and fees are higher and returns are lower than with traditional conservative investments such as U.S. Treasury notes.

"Christie won and almost immediately after taking office began investing New Jersey public employee retiree money on Wall Street, with of course Paul Singer’s hedge fund. A former trustee for another state retirement system estimated for The Nation magazine that Singer’s fund collected $8.6 million in fees from the New Jersey investments – for one year, 2013. That year, Singer gave $1.2 million to the Republican Governors Association, which by then, Christie chaired.

"That’s good for Christie, a potential presidential candidate, of course. The same can’t be said for New Jersey workers and retirees. With an unusually large portion of the state retiree money in the hands of hedge funds by 2013, New Jersey’s return, at 11.79 percent, was significantly lower than the median return on pensions that year of 16.1 percent.


"The right-wingers on the Supreme Court are expected to rule any day in another case, McCutcheon, that would further empower the wealthy to buy the political process.

"Right now, there’s a limit on the aggregate amount a person or corporation can contribute directly to candidates during a two-year election cycle. The right wing justices are expected to eliminate that cap.

"It’s $123,200. The average American doesn’t make that much money in two years.

"So, it’s no wonder that politicians don’t do what average Americans want. Significant majorities of average Americans think Congress should raise the minimum wage, extend unemployment insurance, lower income inequality and provide a path to citizenship for immigrants. But these are not the priorities of the 1 percent or of corporations. And, naturally, they are not the priorities of the politicians who owe their victories to buckets of cash from the 1 percent and corporations.


"The rich can buy more of everything. More food. More cars. More houses. More vacations. More boats. But for a democracy to function properly, they should be forbidden from buying more votes.

********************


The article opened referencing the Citizens United case, making us see how bribery was legalized by the SCOTUS Fascist Five.

When criminal types declare something legal that everyone knows is illegal, then their declaration is null and void.  And the decision to let Conservatives buy our elections with hidden money, tons of illegal money, makes the old Mafia capos look like amateurs.

Once upon a time we knew that hidden political contributions were an invitation to the Mafia to buy our politicians and control our government, and we thought that the logic was unassailable then.  But Conservatives are criminals with much more power than the now defunct Mafia, and if democracy is to survive, the vast criminal conspiracy that is called "Conservatism" must be controlled, it must be criminalized.



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"Facts are stupid things."

Ronald Reagan.


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Thursday, March 27, 2014

7 Most Absurd Things America's Kids Are Learning Thanks to the Conservative Gutting of Public Education


Katie Halper's article today at Alternet.org, "7 Most Absurd Things America's Kids Are Learning Thanks to the Conservative Gutting of Public Education," complements her earlier piece, "10 Insane History Lessons that Private, Religious Voucher Schools Are Teaching America’s Kids, and is the last article in our Voucher School series -- for now.




********************

"Kids learn that gun control is a gateway to tyranny and that science is unchristian.


"Conservatives are masters at using distortion and subterfuge to sell people on things they would never buy if properly labeled. Nowhere is this more evident than in the arena of 'school choice' -- a conservative euphemism for 'gutting public education from the inside out.'

"According to its major proponents, like the late Milton 'Pinochet es mi amigo' Friedman, 'school choice gives parents the freedom to choose their children’s education, while encouraging healthy competition among schools to better serve families' needs.' Sounds lovely! But, it turns out, there are plenty of well-documented problems with school choice, especially when it comes to the school voucher system, which provides families with public funds to send their children to private -- often religious -- schools.

"Voucher programs in particular have been proven to be largely ineffective; they weaken the public school system, and fail to address inequality, which may be why their supporters, like the Koch Brothers, Americans for Prosperity and Dick Morris, love them. Through their concerted efforts, vouchers are on the rise: In 2013, 15 states started or expanded their voucher programs.

"Though supported with public funds, private schools engaged in voucher programs lack the accountability and oversight applicable to public schools, so they’re not subject to the whole separation of church and state thing that forms the backbone of of American democracy. Given that, it seems fair to wonder: What kinds of lessons are our tax dollars supporting at these schools spared the scrutiny of Big Government and the burdens of the Constitution?

"To find the answer, I dug into the catalog of one of the biggest publishers used by religious voucher schools: a company called A Beka Book. A Beka Book is one of the three most widely used Protestant fundamentalist textbook publishers in the country, along with Bob Jones University Publishing, published in Greenville South Carolina, and Accelerated Christian Education, published in Lewisville, Texas. Forty-three percent of the religous voucher schools that responded to a 2003 Palm Beach Post survey based their curricula on either A Beka or Bob Jones. A Beka Book estimates that 9,000 schools use its books in the classroom.

"Founded by Arlin and Rebekah (Beka) Horton in 1972, A Beka Book provides 'excellence in education from a Christian perspective.' Since 1977, A Beka Book has operated out of the unaccredited Arlin-founded Pensacola Christian College (PCC) in Florida. Among other rules, PCC has a zero tolerance policy for 'optical intercourse' or staring too intently into the eyes of a member of the opposite sex (also known as 'making eye babies').

"Though the publisher won’t reveal its finances, over the years, sales from A Beka Book have paid for PCC’s construction projects ($300 million) and annual scholarships ($2 million). Though the publisher used to enjoy a tax-exempt status, that privilege was revoked in 1995 because the company was (surprise!) found to be a profit-making entity. In 1998, A Beka Book paid the IRS an estimated $44.5 million to “remove any question as to our Christian responsibility in the matter of back taxes."

"The Hortons are as rigorous intellectually as they are ethically and fiscally. Here are seven invaluable lessons children learn from their A Beka Book texts, thanks in part to your tax dollars.


"1. Mathematics: The Devil’s Playground

"The publishing company boasts that, 'Unlike the "modern math" theorists, who believe that mathematics is a creation of man and thus arbitrary and relative, A Beka Book texts teach that the laws of mathematics are a creation of God and thus absolute.

"The great news for people like me who don’t really enjoy math is that A Beka Book provides 'traditional mathematics texts that are not burdened with modern theories such as set theory.' It’s unclear why the branch of mathematical logic that studies sets and is considered to be a foundational system for mathematics is so anathema to God. I assume focusing on the 'union of sets' encourages too much premarital coupling and promiscuity.


"2. Critical Thinking: There’s a Mnemonic Device For That

A Beka Book’s Health in Christian Perspective textbook makes it extremely clear that there is one and only one 'Christian World View.' In that view, abortion—defined as 'the killing of babies before birth'— for example, is a sin. But A Beka Book doesn’t just tell students what to think, it empowers them to think for themselves by employing the all-important 'Biblical Discernment' method.

"Like so many of Beka’s critical thinking tools, this one comes in the form of a mnemonic device: 'Use the DISCERN method,' Beka instructs, 'to determine whether abortion is biblical.' The method allows students to make an informed godly choice around any issue, not just abortion. Once they've figured out whether something is biblical or not, they can engage in it and praise it, or refrain from doing it and condemn it. Here’s how DISCERN works:

"Determine your choices

"Inquire of God through prayer

"Search the scriptures

"Consider godly counsel.
"Eliminate worldly thinking.

"Recognize God's leading.

"Never compromise the truth.

"This handy mnemonic is great for moralizing and judging on the run!


"3. Science: Yahweh or the Highway

"Health in Christian Perspective also explains that,
"'A non-Christian world view is any one that is based on the belief that there is something more reliable than the bible. The belief may come from church traditions scientific conclusions, or various theories. The most important teachings to be found in a Christian World View are... God made the world and everything in it; The world has fallen into a tragic state because of sin; and God is working to redeem this world to Himself.'
"Science that contradicts these notions, the people at A Beka Book explain, is just plain wrong. 'These three teachings should influence your interpretation of any facts you study,' they note. 'And if you are serious about being a Christian, they must color your view of scientific thinking.'

"Also crucial is the instruction not to stray from God’s path by using science to help people. 'Others may be curious about the world of nature simply because they want to improve the lives of other humans. Although Christians should also be interested in that, they should mainly be interested in loving God through the study of nature.' I wonder if the Hortons want their doctors to prioritize loving God over helping their patients?


"4. Guns: Our Only Protection from Nazism and Globalism

Beka’s United States History—Heritage of Freedom In Christian Perspective reminds us that the men who founded this great nation would totally oppose background checks: 'The founding fathers... understood that unarmed citizens would not be able to stand against a tyrannical government.' Gun control, according to this text, is simply a 'gateway to tyranny.' The book’s exhaustive analysis of world history backs up this brilliant assertion: 'A study of Hitler's, Stalin's and Mao's ideas on disarming their citizens shows... they were well aware of the concept that control thrives when people are unarmed.'

"As an added bonus, guns are also a way for America to fight against creeping... globalism: 'Armed citizens could also play a major role in thwarting Globalism, the idea to bring the world together under 'one global government.' making the constitution null and void.' This really speaks to America’s youth, who are nothing if not extremely concerned about globalism.


"5. The Death Penalty: The Sanctity of Life Manifested

"America: Land I Love In Christian Perspective laments that the death penalty, and thus the sanctity of life, have become less hip. Back in the good old days, 'because people believed in the sanctity of human life, most states practiced capital punishment.'

"A Beka Book knows what God was thinking when he killed people for crimes like prostitution, bearing false witness, and not crying out while being raped (if you are betrothed): 'Most people believed God instituted capital punishment to discourage murder and to teach mankind the value of human life.'

"Of course, 'most people' doesn’t include people who opposed the death penalty. Like Jesus Christ.


"6. STDs: What Happens When you Disobey God

"Beka’s Health In Christian Perspective text also teaches that sexually transmitted diseases are caused by sacrilegious behavior: “Disobedience to God’s Word in the area of sexual purity can also lead to disease.” And statistically speaking, A Beka Book tells us, it is almost impossible to contract diseases from a spouse:
"'Some infections, known as... STDs, are almost always spread by direct bodily contact during illicit sexual relations (sexual relations outside God’s institution of marriage). People who live according to God’s standards of waiting until marriage to have sexual relations are very unlikely to acquire venereal diseases.'
"There is no correlation, in the Beka world view, between 'sex education' and preventing STDs, because such diseases aren’t caused by 'a lack of scientific information or "sex education" but a lack of morality and righteousness.' While A Beka Book neither believes in nor provides any 'sex education,' they do offer a lifesaving 'Personal Checkup' checklist, encouraging students to check boxes for things like, 'I wash my hands thoroughly on a regular basis' and 'I obey biblical principles regarding morality, self-control, attitude, and anxiety.'

"'Unchecked boxes' the book warns, 'identify conditions of risk.'


"7. Homosexuality: Cultural Decay

"Homosexuality is listed under United States History—Heritage of Freedom In Christian Perspective’s 'Cultural Decay' section: 'Traditional American family values have dramatically declined....When [the family] comes under attack, all of society suffers.'

"Though it’s not clear how, the media have emboldened homosexuality by showing violence and attacking fathers and husbands: 'The media has increasingly belittled fathers and husbands, portrayed blatant violence, and laughed at immorality. One result has been the increased acceptance of homosexuality.'

"In other words: Every time there is violence on the screen, or a man is mocked by a feminist, or a heathen cracks up over sin, a homosexual is recruited and a family is attacked. But you already knew that.

"This is but a mere sampling of A Beka’s righteous lessons. Check back soon for more."

(Katie Halper is a blogger, comedian, filmmaker, and the cofounder of Laughing Liberally. Her latest documentary is Commie Camp. Follow her at @kthalps.)

********************


If "Beka Book estimates that 9,000 schools use its books in the classroom, then rightwing religious charter schools are churning out an alarming amount of idiots, although they probably won't be making "eye babies" at your kids.

In short, these children will learn that Math Is Bad, Science Is Bad, Critical Thinking Is Bad, Gun Controls Bad, Death Penalty Good, when you disobey God, he punishes you with sexually transmitted diseases, and homosexuality  is increasingly acceptable because it shows "violence and attacking fathers and husbands." (No word on wives, but maybe that's because it's also okay to watch lesbian porn?)

Oh yeah, and scientific information does nothing to stop the spread of STDs.

Be assured that when Conservatism is outlawed, only outlaws will be reading Beka's books.



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"If we took away women's right to vote, we'd never have to worry about another
Democrat (sic) president.''

Ann Coulter.


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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

10 Insane History Lessons that Private, Religious Voucher Schools Are Teaching America’s Kids


Yesterday's post, "Why Religious Fundamentalists Are So Excited About Charter Schools," was a perfect lead-in to today's story by Katie Halper at Altenet.org, "10 Insane History Lessons that Private, Religious Voucher Schools Are Teaching America’s Kids."


********************
"With public dollars, kids are being taught that the Great Depression was a hoax.

"School voucher programs are being debated everywhere you turn — in courtrooms, in state governments, and even in popular culture. Just Thursday, Republicans in Florida tried and failed to expand their state’s voucher program. On Friday, Arizona’s Supreme Court ruled that using state funds to pay for children’s education at religious and private schools was constitutional. And perhaps most importantly, 'True Detective,' which was already one of the best shows ever to be on TV, became the best show ever to go after vouchers when a villain explained his desire to use the school voucher system to achieve his nefarious ends:
"The whole idea was to provide an alternative to the kind of secular globalized education that our public schools were promoting. When we get the school voucher program instituted we’ll reintroduce the idea. People should have a choice in education, like anything else.
"So why are vouchers so justifiably vilified? Where to start! As I have written previously, school voucher programs, which allow parents to use public dollars to pay for private education, are not only ineffective but they fail to address the rampant inequality that plagues our nation’s schools and weaken the public school system as a whole. Despite these facts, voucher schools are on the rise — and many of them are religious schools using public money to teach a distorted version of reality, which I had thought only existed 50 years ago or in over the top parodies of the right wing.

"Where do these religious voucher schools get their so-called 'facts?' One place is Christian publisher A Beka Book. Founded in 1972 by Arlin and Rebekah (aka, 'Beka') Horton, A Beka churns out a significant number of the textbooks used by such schools. Forty-three percent of the religious voucher schools that responded to a 2003 Palm Beach Post survey based their curricula on texts published by either A Beka Books or Bob Jones University Publishing. A Beka Book estimates that around 9,000 schools utilize their books.

"And just what does A Beka Book — which in 1998 paid a $44.5 million fine to the IRS for masquerading as a non-profit while reaping hundreds of millions of dollars in profits — teach students about, say, the creation of the world, or modern American history?

"In an article I wrote for AlterNet late last month, I highlighted the “ 7 Most Absurd Things America's Kids Are Learning Thanks to the Conservative Gutting of Public Education.” But these 7 examples didn’t even begin to do justice to the way textbooks published by A Beka Book empower religious schools engaged in voucher programs to distort the truth in order to further an extremist political agenda. And I would be remiss if I failed to include additional disinformation campaigns being launched in schools around the nation.

"So here are 10 further examples of totally dishonest lessons brought to you by 'school choice' (aka, your tax dollars). This time I focus on five of the scariest history lessons kids are learning thanks to the popular A Beka Book title, America: Land I Love In Christian Perspective, plus five of the publisher’s most notable profiles of historical figures, taken from a variety of its books.


"1. The Great Depression: Made Up to Spread Socialism

"In a section titled 'More Rumors,' America: Land I Love In Christian Perspective takes on the origins of the Great Depression. The book explains that,
"'Some people wanted to create an imaginary crisis in order to move the country toward socialism. They spread rumors of bank mortgage foreclosures and mass evictions from farms, homes and apartments. But local banks did all in their power to keep their present tenants. The number of people out of work in the 1930s averaged about 15 percent of the work force; thus 85 percent continued to work. Most had to take a pay cut, but prices also declined during the Depression, enabling people to buy more for their money.'
"See! The Great Depression was really a great hoax!

"In the 'Propaganda' section, under the subhead 'Exaggerated Fiction,' students learn that,
"'In 1939, John Steinbeck wrote The Grapes of Wrath. This novel described the plight of the Okies, farm families from Western Oklahoma who went to California in search of jobs. Most families who went west did not experience the hardships that Steinbeck presented in his novel. Steinbeck openly supported labor violence and strikes instigated by socialist groups to keep the Okies from earning a living as migrant farm laborer in California.... Socialist photographers and artists produced misleading pictures of the... mountaineers of Appalachia. These mountaineers did not have the modern conveniences of homes in the town or cities but they did not consider themselves to be poor. The Depression actually had little effect on their lives.'
"So, the Great Depression was a figment of the liberal, socialist, artistic imagination... a figment that happens to be supported by indisputable empirical evidence of a severe economic crisis.


"2. Nazis: Brought to you by Karl Marx and Charles Darwin

"The book also teaches students that 'as a socialist, Hitler believed that the government should own the nation's industries and take responsibility for its people.' Through socialism, the book tells us, Hitler became 'the absolute dictator of Germany. By embracing socialism, the German people lost their freedoms to a tyrant.'

"Not to mention the role evolution played in selling the Germans on the whole Holocaust thing: 'Hitler combined Marxist socialist thought with Darwin's theory of evolution. Because many Germans believed the notion of evolution, they accepted Hitler's ideas.'

"So in short, we have Charles and Karl to thank for the massacre of 9 million people.


"3. The Post-WWII Era: A Time of Crusades and Constant Praying

"According to the book’s authors, preceding the 1960s, the 'moral values of biblical Christianity provided a just standard of law, order, and mutual respect, which in turn increased material prosperity…. School days often began with prayer and Bible reading, and parent-teacher meetings and civil organizations usually opened with prayer.'

"Furthermore, 'families were strong during the 1950s. Most couples considered divorce a tragedy and made every effort to stay together and work through their difficulties.... in the larger cities, crime was primarily restricted to back alleys. People considered the occult, illegal drugs, pornography, homosexuality, and other immorality to be disgraceful sins.'

"It is during this exciting time in our national history that so-called 'crusades' (as in, military campaigns launched by the Catholic Church during the Middle Ages, and apparently, by evangelicals in the middle of the 20th century) are carried out. As a result, evangelist Billy Graham becomes the world’s biggest superstar ever: 'Evangelists conducted crusades through the nation....Graham received national news coverage, which led to large televised crusades, making him one of the best known and respected persons in America and the world.'

"In other words, Billy Graham was the Kim Kardashian of the 1950s. But with a smaller butt.


"4. The '60s and '70s: Everything Goes to S***, Mainly Because the State Stops Killing Born People and Starts Killing Pre-Born Babies and... Freud.


"We also learn from America: Land I Love In Christian Perspective that when the death penalty was suspended in 1972, 'crime began to increase across the nation. In 1973, just one year later, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of abortion, the killing of babies before birth.'

"Coincidence? More likely God’s plan: 'A lesson taught continually throughout history is that, as prosperity and new found enjoyments increase, people ‘forget’ God. As morals lessen, culture will definitely take a turn for the worst [sic].'

"Which it did, according to A Beka, with an 'increase in white-collar crime [and] the legalization of gambling….' But the worst part? 'Many psychologists,' the authors note, began advocating 'the teachings of Sigmund Freud.'

"Just like it says in the scriptures: the suspension of capital punishment will be followed by the legalization of abortion, and then the return of Freud.


"5. Freedom of Speech: Gateway to Porn

"Though freedom of speech may sound good, it is in fact a dangerousgateway freedom. As the authors of America: Land I Love point out: 'Pornographic films and books were legalized under the guise of 'freedom of speech.'

"I’m sure if PornHub had existed in the 18th century, the Founding Fathers would have nixed that whole freedom of speech thing.

A Beka Book also offers a great who’s who of American History throughout its catalogue.


"6. Clarence Thomas: Greatest Example of Black American Achievement Yet

"The History of Our United States, Teacher Edition instructs us that,
"'By the 1990s, black Americans had made many significant political and economic gains. One great example of Black-American achievement was the appointment of Justice Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court by President George Bush in 1992. Thomas was born to poor sharecroppers in the hills of Georgia. Through his own hard work and God-given ability, he earned a law degree and achieved several important government positions.'
"I’m sure if the authors had more room they would have included a note on Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court justice and a champion of civil rights. But since they only had room for one example of 'Black-American Achievement,' A Beka decided to go with the black Supreme Court justice whose success stems from (where else?) bootstrapping and god.


"7. Ronald Reagan: Finally! A Non-Loser Patriot for President

"America: Land I Love In Christian Perspective teaches, with extreme objectivity, that, 'President Carter had failed both in foreign and domestic affairs, and the nation was ready for a change.'

Luckily, Ronald Reagan was there to assume the presidency, to deliver the nation 'a return to peace through strength' and 'a patriotic revival.' And best of all: 'He expressed a special concern for the problem of abortion.'

"Bonus!



"8. The Clintons: Draft-Dodging, Economic-Crisis-Creating, Joint Presidents

"A Beka Book teaches students that 'The Liberal Media,' Bill Clinton, Ross Perot and the... economy joined forces in the 90s to create the myth of an economic crisis:
"'President Bush sought reelection in 1992 on a platform of traditional values, free enterprise, patriotism and a strong military defense. He also promised to lower taxes if re-elected. Democratic candidate William Clinton... and independent candidate Ross Perot, a billionaire from Texas, campaigned on an imaginary economic crisis. In reality, the economy was strong and healthy, but the liberal media helped Clinton and Perot create a "climate of economic crisis," warning the American people that only a major change in leadership could save the nation from economic disaster.'

"(Sounds a lot like that fake Great Depression.)

"As for the Clintons themselves: 'Bill Clinton had dodged military service and participated in anti-war demonstration in Great Britain. His wife Hillary was an outspoken advocate of feminism and abortion rights.' As if that’s not enough, Hillary was also one uppity woman: 'Hillary Rodham Clinton, who had campaigned with her husband, declared that she intended to share the responsibilities of the presidency with him. She promised to be as influential as Eleanor Roosevelt, who helped bring about FDR's New Deal.'

"As far as the folks at A Beka are concerned, the Clintons’ victory sounded the death-knell of everything that was good: 'With the election of Bill Clinton, the children of the rebellious 60s came to political power, and their values began to influence the lives of many Americans.'

"We still haven’t recovered.


"9. George W. Bush: Awesome President Invades Iraq and Saves Mid-Born Babies

"A Beka has much love for President George W. Bush and his efforts to keep America safe from harm. According toAmerica: Land I Love,after launching a bombing campaign in Afghanistan and failing to capture Osama Bin Laden,
"'the Bush administration turned to another nation known to have harbored and supported Islamic terrorists—Iraq. Governed by dictator Saddam Hussein, Iraq had been under suspicion since it was discovered in the early 1880s to be stockpiling weapons of mass destruction....By March 2003, the White House, convinced that Saddam Hussein was still hiding weapons of mass destruction, launched Operation Iraqi Freedom.'
"Notably, the book omits the fact that no WMD were ever found in Iraq. But, again, there were more important things to include—like a “pro-life victory” section, which states:
"'Of particular concern to pro-life Americans was the barbaric abortion method known as partial birth abortion, in which the abortionist kills the baby as it is being delivered. In November 2003, pro-life groups rejoiced as President Bush signed the Partial Birth Abortion Ban of 2003.'
"In other words, Bush was as thorough at wiping out non-existent WMD as he was at wiping out non-existent abortion practices.


"10. Barack Obama: Great for the Homosexuals
"Finally, America: Land I Love pinpoints 2008 as a particularly bad year for American tradition, though it’s unclear precisely why. It’s probably because Barack Obama, a Marxist-Nazi-Muslim-atheist-homosexuality-approving Kenyan, was elected president:
"'In 2008, the American culture stressed tolerance for people who choose to live an alternative lifestyle, a "lifestyle" the Bible calls sin.'
"Speaking of sin, I wonder what Jesus would have to say about taking funds intended for public use and using them for private purposes. I guess A Beka Book forgot to ask itself: What Would Jesus Do?"

(Katie Halper is a blogger, comedian, filmmaker, and the cofounder of Laughing Liberally. Her latest documentary is Commie Camp. Follow her at @kthalps.)

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After this reading this article only a fool would enroll his child in a religious voucher school, and for more information on the Conservative plot to eliminate public schools see:

Conservatives Hate Education, Charter Schools = Goodbye, Middle Class!The Last Word On Charter Schools As Their Teachers Scramble To Unionize, and Why Religious Fundamentalists Are So Excited About Charter Schools.



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"These are not bad people. All they are concerned about is to see that their sweet
little girls are not required to sit in school alongside some big overgrown Negroes."

GOP President Eisenhower commenting on racial segregation after the Brown vs.
Board of Education decision.

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